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  • Textures and alpha channels

    Jeremy Linden

    Saving textures

    You can export any fully-permissive texture from Second Life and save it to your hard drive (or other storage medium).

    Fully-permissive means you must have ALL Modify, Copy, and Resell/Give away (transfer) rights for the texture. You can check this by right-clicking a texture in your inventory and selecting Properties.

    Example of a fully-permissive texture:


    By default, textures you upload yourself, whether it's via File menu > Upload Image or the Snapshot Preview's Save to your inventory (L$10) mode, are fully-permissive for you.


    So here's how to do it:

    1. Double-click the texture in inventory to view it.
    2. Go to File > Save Texture As.
    3. Give it a name (it doesn't auto-copy the name of the texture), and save it to a directory.

    If you go to that directory on your computer, you should see a texture.tga file. The TGA file format can also be used to upload textures into Second Life. Most graphics editors are capable of viewing TGA, and there are some free ones, like FastStone or XnView, which can convert into other formats too.

    This video tutorial shows you how the above steps work in action:

    Save textures to disk from Torley on Vimeo.

    In any case, once the texture's on your local disk, you're free to edit it, then re-upload it back into Second Life if you want. You can upload them to a photo-sharing website like Flickr, which has a lot of Second Life pictures in many groups.

    Texture icons

    All textures have two icons, and they function the same, but the icon denotes how the texture got into Second Life. If you use File > Upload Image, the resulting texture has this icon and ends up in the Textures folder (Inv_folder_texture.png) and looks like this: Textures_icon.png

    And if you take an inworld snapshot (Snapshot button, choose Save to your inventory ($L10), then click Save (L$10)), the resulting texture has this icon and ends up in the Photo Album folder (Inv_folder_snapshot.png) and looks like this: Snapshots_icon.png

    One other difference is, if someone else sends you a snapshot with the latter icon, it'll end up in the Textures folder.

    Alpha channels

    Transparency information in TGA and PNG textures, which can be uploaded with the Second Life Viewer, is stored as a grid of grayscale data called an alpha channel. The alpha channel's pixel values, ranging from black to white, determine the texture's degree of transparency. Transparent textures are used to create organic shapes such as flames, trees, clothing with ripped fabric — just about anything where visibly boxy dimensions are undesirable.

    How to use alpha channels and get clothing templates

    Different image editors have different specific implementations. Consult your preferred paint program's manual for guidance, and try to find knowledgeable people who have created the kind of image you want to make. Most image editors have forums or other social networks dedicated to getting the most out of their product.

    Alpha channels are a critical part of advanced clothing creation. The Texture Tools and Clothing Tutorials pages are good resources to help you get started. For more information, see the SL Creation Forums and Second Life Answers.

    Edited by Jeremy Linden

    User Feedback

    This page is woefully out of date and incomplete.  It refers to a File menu that no longer exists, links to a tutorial video that has been removed, makes no reference to Local Textures, and does not say anything at all about standard texture formats and dimensions.  It needs a total rewrite.

    In the meantime, I have posted my own brief tutorial about Local Textures at http://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/User:Rolig_Loon/Local_Textures .  There are many other good linkable resources that could be included here.

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