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Chosen Few

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  1. FD, if you're using Photoshop CC, painting on the imported model is quite easy (assuming the model already has UV's and materials on it). First, make sure Photoshop is set to use hardware acceleration. To do that, click Edit -> Preferences -> Performance, and make sure Use Graphics Processor is checked, in the lower right quadrant of the dialog. Also, click the Advanced Settings button, and set the drawing mode to the highest setting your computer can handle. (If it's set too high, you'll experience lag as you paint.) if you know your graphics card is super high end, then Advanced should work for you just fine. But if it's midrange or low end, I'd suggest you start with Normal, and see how it goes. If it's laggy, you may need to drop down to Basic. Once Photoshop has been configured to use your GPU, you'll be able to paint on 3D models as easily as you paint on regular images. Simply import the model, make sure its layer is active, and start painting. The paint should land on the model, instantly. If that's not happening for you, then I suspect your model doesn't have any materials on it. Take a look at the layer stack. Underneath the layer that the model is on, you should seea sub-layer called Textures, and underneath that you should see your diffuse textures, bump maps, etc. If those aren't there, then your model needs to be fixed (in your modeling program). If they are there, and you still can't paint, then I'm stumped for now as to what might be the problem. Assuming they are there, double-click on one, and the texture image will open up as a PSB file. That's your 2D texture canvas. You can add layers to the PSB, paint on it, apply filters, whatever you want, and the changes will show up on the model. Conversely, as you paint on the model, changes will also show up in the PSB, all in real time. By the way, if you need to be able to paint across seams, make sure you've got your brush set to projection mode, rather than texture mode (3D -> Paint System -> Projection). To rotate the model, grab the move tool, and drag it around. You can also roll, pan, and zoom by changing the 3D mode in the tool settings bar at the top of the screen. For added control, open up the 3D panel (Window -> 3D). This will show you a hierarchical display of your scene contents, similar to the Outliner in Blender or Maya. When you have Current View selected, the Move tool rotates the whole scene. If you select the model, you'll see a manipulator and bounding box appear in the workspace, and you can then move, rotate, and scale the model itself. As I said earlier, Photoshop isn't the best 3D painter on the planet, but it does work pretty well. If it's truly not working for you, maybe tell us a little more about what's going on, and we can try and hunt down the problem.
  2. Heh, I'm still using Maya 2009. So, your 2012 has me beat!
  3. Thanks for the attitudinal points, Ivan. Good stuff. To answer your question, Turtle is strictly for Maya, not for Max. It now comes with Maya 2014, which is nice. For Maya 2011, 2012, and 2013, it was only included if you bought Maya with the Creativity Suite. Prior to 2011, it was available separately from Illuminate Labs, before Autodesk bought the company. Why on Earth Autodesk didn't just start bundling Turtle with Maya as soon as they acquired it, I have no idea. It took them four years to start doing the right thing.
  4. Someone sent me a PM this morning, asking about Autodesk Turtle's various shader output options. I thought I'd share my reply here, in case others have similar questions. If you don't have Turtle, that's OK. You still may find this post useful, for general information. The principles are universal to all (good) renderers. If you're using Mental Ray, or what have you, you'll be able to do all the same things; you'll just have to push a few different buttons. My point here is not to say how great Turtle is (although it is), but rather to express that baking each of your shader attributes to a separate map can be a really powerful way to create great textures. It happens Turtle makes this supremely easy to do, since it's the only renderer that was was designed specifically for baking, from the ground up, and as such, its interface happens to be incredibly baker-friendly. If you're using something else, you may need to hunt and peck for some of the options I'll be talking about, but assuming your renderer is worth its salt, they'll all be in there somewhere. Below is an image of Turtle's Baking tab, with the Shader Outputs checklist exposed: As you can see, just check the box(es) for whatever type of map(s) you want, and Turtle will spit them right out for you. It's really slick. Again, if you're using a different renderer, it might take a few more clicks, but at least now you know the terminology to look for. The primary use for this kind of mapping is for 3D engines that are more sophisticated than SL. In those engines, you can create shaders that can use literally every single one of these maps as inputs to control their respective attributes, for spectacular dynamic effects. In SL, however, we're limited to just three kinds of maps: diffuse (color), normal, and specularity. So, if we want to use any of the others here, we have to fake it, by baking them into our textures. That's what we'll be talking about here. One way to do it is by compositng the maps together in Photoshop. While PS won't necessarily yield fully accurate results, since it's not technically a material compositng program, you can still use the maps together in various ways to create good looking textures for SL. The specific questions the person asked in regard to this were, "What should the precise order of these layers be when assembled in Photoshop? Also, what are their blending modes?" As worded, the questions seem to imply the author is under the impression that there's a strict set of rules one must adhere to in order to get good results. That's not actually the case. If you bake the shader outputs to separate maps, there's no specific order in which they must be composited back together, and there are no set rules about what blending mode must be used with each type of map. These things wll vary every time, depending on the particular imagery, and how you want it to look. To understand how to use the various shader output maps, it's of course helpful first to know what they all are. Here's a quick definition of each: Full Shading - Adds up all the other outputs, to produce a single full color image, including all lighting effects, colors, etc. This is the fastest and simplest way to bake. Illumination - Maps only the effects of direct lights shining onto the model's surface. For example, shine a spotlight onto the middle of plane, and you'll end up with a white circle in the middle of an otherwise black map (assuming that's the only direct light source in the scene). Indirect Illumination - Maps only the effects of indirect lighting on the model's surface. This includes things like global illumination and final gather. Albedo - Maps the amount of light that can be bounced off of a surface. In RL, when light hits a surface, some of it gets absorbed, and some of it gets bounced back. A perfect mirror would have an albedo value of 1 (pure white), since all the light that hits it would reflect right off of it. On the opposite end of the spectrum, a black hole has an albedo of zero (pure black), since no light can reflect off it at all. Everything else in the universe falls somewhere in between (shades of gray). Diffuse - Maps the actual color(s) of the surface, without any lighting/shading effects. You can think of this as equivalent to full bright in SL. Specular - Maps the intensity of specular highlights on the surface. It's important not to confuse specularity and reflectivity. A lot of people in SL tend to talk about them as if they're the same thing, but they're not. They both contribute to "shininess" in different ways. A good example for noting the difference is brushed metal. It tends to be very specular, but not very reflective. Shine a light on a brushed metal surface, and you'll see a nice concentrated highlight shining back at you. That's a specular highlight, one of the defining characteristics of all metalic surfaces. Because brushed metal is not reflective, you won't see your face in it like you would in a mirror, but because it is specular, you do see concentrated highlights. Ambient - Maps the amount of ambient light that can escape from surface. Incandescence - Maps the amount of light emitted from self-illuminating surfaces. A red-hot metal rod, for example, would have a high incandescence, since it lights up all by itself, regardless of external lighting. SSS - Maps the sub-surface scattering of light in a semi-translucent surface. A good example of sub-surface scattering in real life can be seen in human skin. When light hits your skin, it passes through the outward surface, and then gets bounced around at irregular angles, before finally exiting the surface at a different point. This is what causes skin to have that nearly indifinible quality about it that is so hard to replicate in artwork. In any 3D application, SSS requires special shaders, specifically designed to utlize it. Needless to say SL is not nearly sophisticated enough for that. SSS is of little to no value in Photoshop, since it's a dynamic effect that requires three-dimensionality in order to work. Reflections - Maps the reflectivity of the surface. Pretty self explanatory. Refractions - Maps how far light is bent as it passes through a surface. For an easy real life example, put a straw in a glass of water, and take a good look at it. The part of the straw that is below the water's surface will appear to be at a different angle from the part above, as if the straw is bent. This is because water bends light. SL does not support refractions. This is one of the reasons it's very difficult to create realistic glass, ice, etc. in SL. In RL, we recognize that those things have depth because of the way they refract. But in SL, that never happens, so it always looks unrealistic. It's unlikely you'll find refraction maps to be of any use in Photoshop. By definition, refraction requires three-dimensionality. Custom - This would map any custom shader properties you've created for use both in Maya and in whatever game engine you're designing for. If you want to get super creative, you could probably come up with custom properties that you could utilize in Photoshop in interesting ways, but I'm not going to get into that here. Learn the existing stuff first, before you go making up your own. For most of the outputs, alpha mapping logic applies. White represents the maximum value of each property, black represents the minimum value, and all shades of gray are in between. Some, of course, use full color. As for what blending modes in Photoshop to use with each type of map, that depends on what kinds of effects you want to achieve. Remember, the maps weren't strictly meant to be composited in this fashion. This is just one of the hacky little things we do to sort of work around the fact that SL's graphics engine is so limited. Thus there really are no right or wrong answers. That said, now that you know what the various outputs all are, some the common ways to use them are probably already coming to mind for you. Again, there are no hard rules, but here are some general tips: In most cases, you'll want your base layer to be a diffuse map, since that's the one with the base colors in it.To add shading from ambient occlusion, use one of the darkening modes (Darken, Multiply, Color Burn, Linear Burn, or Darker Color).To add lighting from illumination, specularity, incandescence, etc., use one of the lightening modes (Lighten, Screen, Color Dodge, Linear Dodge, Lighter Color), or Luminosity.To control overall intensity via albedo, use one of the contrast modes (Overlay, Soft Light, Hard Light, Vivid Light, Linear Light, Hard Mix), or Saturation.In all cases, you can control the intensity of the effect via layer opacity. Don't feel you have to limit yourself to just one blending mode per map, by the way. You can combine them in all sorts of ways, for additional effects. And don't forget you can mask them any way you want, for precise per-pixel control. Also, don't limit yourself just to blending modes. You can also use any of the maps as alpha channels for Photoshop's lighting effects, and for various filters. The sky's the limit with this stuff, so experiment. Whatever you do, don't fall into the trap of overthinking it so much that it prevents you from simply taking action. There's certainly no rule stating that you have to learn this stuff dry, before you even start. The best way to learn is by doing. So play with it, and have fun. There's also no rule that says you have to get complicated in order to get good looking results. There's nothing wrong with just doing a full shading bake, and calling it a day, if you like how it looks. I hope people find this helpful. I'm still out in the cold, so to speak, thanks to the new TOS, but the occasional forum post like this is still fun to write. :)
  5. I'd love to test this, Cathy, but unfortunately, since I cannot agree to the new TOS, I can't. I'll be curious to hear how this plays out, though. It's probably silly of me, but I'm still holding out hope that the TOS will change back to something reasonable, and I'll be able to use SL again. Then again, if it doesn't, I guess that's one way of not having to worry about any Maya/SL compatibility woes.
  6. I use Photoshop's 3D paint features just about every day. It's not my go-to 3D paint program, though. I tend to use Mudbox to do most of the heavy lifting, since it's infinitely faster to work with, it's far more stable and reliable, and because it's a true 3D paint program, as opposed to Photoshop's oddball hybrid of 3D and 2D, it's just easier. But Photoshop still plays a crucial role, in that it well supplements the weaker parts of Mudbox's tool set. For example, Photoshop's cloning and healing tools are far superior to those of Mudbox (or any other 3D paint program I've ever seen), and sometimes its projection-merge feature can serve as a nice sledge hammer, to solve certain problems by pure brute force, which can be a little bit trickier with the otherwise vastly superior projection paint abilities of real 3D paint programs like Mudbox. (And of course, for working in 2D, Photoshop is second to none.) It makes for a bit of an odd marriage, using both, since the interfaces are so different, and since Photoshop treats the very concept of 3D in a strange way. But still, the two tool sets do fill in each other's gaps well. If I had to choose only one 3D paint program, Mudbox would win hands down (as long as I still could use Photoshop for 2D). But if Photoshop is all you've got, it'll certainly do the job. Since your thread title was "Editing DAE & OBJ with Photoshop?", let me address that question as worded, before I get to anything else. No, you cannot edit a DAE or OBJ file with Photoshop, nor can you use the program to directly edit a 3D model in any way. You cannot alter 3D geometry, manipulate UV maps, assign materials, or change anything else inherent to your 3D model itself. All you can do is paint textures onto the existing surface(s). Remember, no mater how many new bells and whistles get added to Photoshop with each new version, the program is strictly for image editing, nothing more, nothing less. It just happens that these days, "image editing" now includes working with textures directly on 3D models in addition to on 2D canvases. In other words, you must complete your model, including all geometries, UV maps, material assignments, etc., BEFORE you bring it into Photoshop for texturing. Photoshop is just for the paint job, not for the construction. So, let's talk about Photoshop as a 3D paint program. It's a decent 3D painter these days, but it's got a lot of quirks to it. While its (pseudo)3D capabilities have been getting steadily better since it first acquired them with CS2 (way before CS5, by the way), Photoshop remains a 2D application. It will never be a true 3D paint program like Mudbox, Zbrush, etc. It's important to be aware that when you import a 3D model into Photoshop, the model is embedded into your working PSD, which is a 2D document. The model ends up on a "3D layer", which is sort of a pocket-universe of 3D space within the PSD's native 2D existence. I know this sounds kind of confusing, but it's important to grasp the concept, as it does affect the way you'll work. The fact that the environment is 2D doesn't mean you can't do things like move, scale, and rotate the model as if it were in 3D; you can. You just have to make sure you're working on the 3D layer at the time, and that you're using the 3D manipulation tools, rather than the old 2D manipulation tools that you're used to. For example, if you zoom in on the image via the navigation methods you're used to in Photoshop (ctrl+, ctrl-, scroll wheel, navigator panel, etc.), the model will start to look pixelated. This is because you're zooming in on the image as a whole (because Photoshop is still Photoshop). If you want to zoom in on the model itself, without changing the overall image magnification, you need to activate the layer the model is on, and use the 3D camera tools for that layer. This slight disconnect between tool sets tends to confuse people the first few times. But once the logic clicks, you'll find it's not a problem. It's just something to get used to. The good news is, because it's Photoshop, you've got the full arsenal of familiar tools at your disposal. You can use literally every single one of Photoshop's tools to paint and edit textures, either directly onto a 3D model's surface, onto its 2D texture canvas, or both. As you work, changes you make on either the model or the canvas will appear on both at the same time, which is nice. The bad news is, in addition to the aforementioned oddities that are inherent to working with 3D objects in a 2D environment, that there are also occasional memory usage glitches which can stop you in your tracks. Every so often, you'll find that the changes you make on a model surface won't appear on the 2D texture canvas, or vice versa. Once that happens, stop working immediately, because none of the changes you make will save. You have to close Photoshop, and re-open it in order for things to work normally again. The more RAM you have in your machine, the less often this will happen. 8GB seems to be the magic number. If you've got less than that, expect the problem to happen often. If you've got more, it'll be pretty rare. Either way get in the habit of saving very, very, very often. Seriously, hit ctrl-S like every 2 minutes or so, as you work. Adobe continues to do its best to force-fit 3D into Photoshop's 2D existence, but at the end of the day, it's somewhat of a square peg in a round hole, compared to true 3D paint programs like Mudbox and Zbrush. But again, if Photoshop is what you've got, use it. It will do the job.
  7. In terms of memory usage, they're exactly the same. With regard to processing, there may be a slight amount of increased overhead from tiling the texture, depending on the particular implementation. But even when that does happen, it's nowhere near as much of a performance hit as you'd get from increasing the actual texture size to repeat the image the same amount of times.
  8. Interesting... According the Blender manual, Mesh Cleanup is in the Mesh menu, when in Edit Mode. I'll be damned if I can find it, though. Maybe it got nuked by an update? The manual appears to be a little behind the current version.
  9. Drongle, in the scenario I was referring to, the client would create the avatar, and accept the TOS themselves. Then they would simply give me the login info. So the "you" would physically be the client, the whole way through to that point. From there, I'd simply be acting as the client's agent, per my contract with them. The only content uploaded via that account would be that which belongs to the client. You do raise an interesting quesiton, though, regarding alts. Here's my take on it. LL requires that you re-agree to the TOS with each alt that you have, before they'll allow you to log in with each one. Therefore, they must consider each account to be an independent "person". I suspect, though, that if any of us were to make an IP rights challenge on that basis, they'd claim that the per-account agreement requirement is merely a technical limitation, not meant to imply a legal separation between your stuff and your alt's stuff.
  10. Pierre, you raise some good points. I'm not sure how much weight they'd carry with a court, but they're certainly worth arguing. The devil's advocate in me has to admit that the counter arguments are all too easy to make, though. Regarding notice, LL had no legal obligation to give any. And as for Linden Dollars, the TOS has always stated that LL is not responsible for any losses you may suffer as a result of purchasing them. So, whilre it obviously wasn't ethical of LL not to give notice or allow us to cash out, it also wasn't illegal. We're all in a tough spot.
  11. All I can really say from here, Toy, is that I sincerely hope you're right, and I'm wrong. I'll be interested to see what success the UCCSL has in the efforts you mentioned. Contacting the FTC is a good place to start.
  12. Sorry to hear you lost your business, Darrius. I do hope you were able to find something else that works for you. I too hope that LL will reverse course on the TOS, but like you, I'm not holding my breath. If history tells us anything, it's that LL isn't exactly fast on its feet. I picture board meetings at LL to be kind of like entmoots. "It takes a long time to say anything in Old Lindish, and we don't say anyhting unless it's worth taking a long time to say." You're right about the loss of customer trust in all this. Even if they do make the necessary changes tomorrow, a lot of damage has been done that can't be undione, in that regard. It saddens me that I'll never be able to look at LL the same way after this.
  13. Alicia Sautereau wrote: Thankfully you can write alot better then I can, but this is exactly the point I was also trying to point out that applying it to all content can`t be legal but could be applied to all new content after the ToS came in effect Just because we disagree with something, and we feel it's unfair, doesn't mean it's illegale. Was it fair of LL to snatch up all that existing content? No. Was it legal? Yes, if you agreed to it.
  14. Toy, before I respond to your specific points, let me take a moment to remind everyone that we're all on the same side. I don't like the new TOS, you don't like the new TOS, I don't even think most of LL likes the new TOS. But as long as we're stuck with it, we can't ignore its legal realities. It would be great if what it says were not what it means, but wishful thinking doesn't make it so. Whether or not it says what any of us wish it to mean, leagally it means what it says (until and unless a court orders otherwise). Those who agreed to the new TOS have unfortunately given up a great deal. Those who can't agree to it are just as unfortantely giving up a lot, as well. Sooner or later, I'm sure LL's going to feel the pain of it, too. In "streamlining" their business, as they allegedly have called it, they've turned their backs on their core principles. Very few businesses ever fully recover from the inevitable long-term fallout when they do a thing like that. This is a lose-lose-lose situatiion, for all concerned. Morally, I completely agree with you that changing the terms like this wthout any warning was unconscienable. But legally, it's a different story. No laws were broken, no binding contracts breached. Legally, LL had the right to make these changes, and to block access by anyone who refused to accept them. The fact that you or I or anyone else has opted to depend on SL for income does not change that, sad as it may be. I wish I could offer a more positive assessment, but until LL sees fit to relinquish the new rights they've claimed, I simply can't. Let me respond to what I think are your main points, and your direct questions: Toysoldier Thor wrote: What if members of the non-negotiating party (i.e. all us creators of SL) fundamentally disagreed with the new terms but were forced to agree to the terms because by not agreeing to the terms they would be placed into a position that is financially damaging, illegal on their part, contractually violating with their other parties for delivering services, and even personally damaging? That's a really good point, which we should absolutely talk about. Thanks for bringing it up. Here's how I'd handle any outstanding contracts for SL content, if I had any right now. I'd simply inform my clients that I need them to give me access to an avatar that they own, which I would then use for uploading/building for their projects. (Some clients insist on this, anyway, so it shouldn't be a big deal.) That way, I could fulfill my obligations without having to agree to the new TOS myself. In some cases, that might mean I'd need to redo some work, but that's hardly as bad as the alternative. The catch is I'd need to be sure not include any stock content, be it my own or anyone else's. Everything would need to be 100% original for the specific project at hand. That might mean changing some delivery dates, but my contracts give me the right to do that under extraordinary circumstances, and this certainly qualifies. Toysoldier Thor wrote: The position you are taking is purely a BLACK AND WHITE situation based on your own current working relationship with LL and the SecondLife grid. I can assure you my legal interpretation here is not based on whatever relationship I do or do not have with LL. It's based on the letter of the new TOS, as it is written, and my understanding of the laws I've been doing business under for the past 20 years. As I've said repeatedly, I'd love to be wrong in my interpretation, but my experience tells me I'm not. Once again, I'll certainly be bringing this up with my attorney, next time I see him, and I will report back what he has to say. I'd love for his opinion to differ from mine, but again, I'd be surprised if it did. Toysoldier Thor wrote: So I ask you to step back and consider the situation / relationship of countless other creators inside SecondLife. Those that over the years, established a significant part of their critical RL income based on what they have created over the years. those that built this business/income under years of an acceptable set of TOS rules whereby LL has showed presidence that it was "the way it was and will be" as a working relationship between LL the Service and these Creators. I promise I'm not blind to the fact that SL has provided great income opportunities for a lot of people, myself included, and that some people have come to depend upon that income. You can ask me to step back and consider whatever you like in that regard, but I'm not sure what good you expect it'll do. I'm not the one who decides these things. The law is the law, and the courts are the courts. While my heart goes out to those who may end up losing their SL businesses over this (again, myself included), my personal feelings cannot change the legal reality. Perhaps I have not made it clear enough yet that I'm one of the very people you're talking about. A critical part of my income HAS come from SL, for many years now. In fact, SL content creation was my sole occupation for several years, back in the mid 2000's, when demand was at its peak. These days, while SL is not the only platform for which I make content, it's still a far from insignificant. I'm definitely going to feel the impact of not being able to work in SL any longer, if the new TOS stays. So, my reasons for being upset about the new TOS do not stop at mere principle. Believe me, it puts a significant dent in my bottom line. Toysoldier Thor wrote: Let me put you into one of their shoes for a moment.... No need. I actually know quite a few people who fit the description you provided. My heart goes out to each and every one of them. They're perhaps the ones who are feeling this the most. However, it still can't be said that LL has put any sort of gun to their heads. The fact that LL had provided some great opportunities for the disabled through SL does not mean they have any legal obligation to continue to do so. Again, they're a private company, and they can close their doors any time they like, no matter how the rest of us feel about it. Toysoldier Thor wrote: Do you as a person in this sitation have a reasonable option to NOT ACCEPT? Not accepting on that day means that you instantly can no longer collect the income coming from your business - the income that feeds you and your family. You instantly cannot operator nor even smoothly shut down your business operation within SL since you have no access to SL without Agreeing to the TOS. You have customers that you may have agreements to support whereby you no longer can and there might be contract violations on your part if you do not meet them. Sorry Chosen, in my non-legal opinion this would seem to me to be a contract agreed to under duress. Yes, absolutely I'd have a reasonable option not to accept. When one has opted to go into a business that depends upon IP rights protections, one can NEVER accept any agreement that requires the granting of unlimited rights to third parties. Does that mean LL's actions weren't unfair? Of course not. Does it mean it's not going to be awful for those who may lose their livelihoods as a result? No, it's going to be awful. Am I absolutely furious with LL for doing this to all of us? Absolutely. But again, none of that changes the legal reality on the ground. If you want to call it "duress", feel free, but recognize that it's pretty easy to argue it's self-imposed duress. Nobody forced anyone to start an SL business, or to ignore the inherent risks that go with depending on any one platform for all their income. And certainly LL never made any guarantee that any SL business would remain viable forever. Toysoldier Thor wrote: If you as a creator were to take LL to court under these conditions... are you saying the courts would not see this as new terms that are "not reasonable" and therefore the courts would deeem parts of the TOS unenforceable because its an unconscionable contract? Anything is possible, but as much as it pains me to say it, here's what I think would most likely happen. If someone were to go before a judge and say, "I was forced to agree becuase all my income comes from my Second Life business," the judge would reply, "So what you're saying is this. You knew that the service Linden Lab was proividing could be switched off or changed at any time. You knew that they could choose to deny you access to their service whenever they want. You knew they could change their terms at the drop of a hat. Yet you still chose to make your income completely dependent on their service anyway? I'm sorry, but the law doesn't protect you from your own bad business decisions." Had LL ever made any specific promises to us, it would be a different story, of course. I'd love to think it could be argued they did. I'm just not sure it really could. Each TOS has made it clear that the TOS can change at any time. Toysoldier Thor wrote: Yes, I would love to know what your Lawyer thinks of that. But remember this is important... when asking him, make sure you bring up the relationship that others have with LL... not yours. Maybe you can easily walk away from your SL business... but countless others cannot. What would your Lawyer and the Courts think of that? I'll definitely post as soon as I've had the conversation with him. In the mean time, let me say this. You may recall there have been lots of times throughout the long history of this forum that I've tried to encourage people to develop universally applicable skills as digital artists, rather than just SL-specific skills. This type of situation is one of the biggest reasons I've tried to do that. While I did not specifically foresee that LL would go off the rails on IP rights claims, I've always known that SOMETHING could go haywire one day. I've tried to encourage people to keep in mind that LL is a private company, who has no real obligations to our own businesses. They could close their doors at any time, for any reason, or for no reason. Thus anyone who's insisted on putting his or her eggs just in this one basket all these years has benn taking a tremendous risk. Every RL business owner goes through this kind of thing. Think about how many have to move or close every time a RL zoning law is changed, or how many have to reinvent themselves when some service they've depended on no longer exists, or how many have to try to find a new path when some new doohickey comes out to make their products obsolete. It happens literally all the time. In the time I've taken to write this post, probably at least a thousand businesses around the world have suffered exactly what I'm describing. The simple fact is if someone's business is not pliable enough to evolve as conditions change, it's not a viable business, and it will eventually fail, no matter how well it might be doing today. Therefore, it is every business owner's responsibility to be aware of that, and plan for it. Owning a business is hard, which is why most people don't do it. If SL for a few years gave some the false impression that it is easy, that was unfortunate. Among the simplest truths of the world is that most buisnesses go out of business. Sometimes the catalyst lies in circumstances the owner could have controlled, and sometimes it doesn't. But every time, the outcome directly depends on the owner's ability to adapt to change. Those that adapt well have a good shot at long term success, while those that depend on status quo invariably perish. No matter how we each feel about that, the fact remains. When a business dies, we can mourn its passing, and we can empathize with the plight of the owner and his or her family. But none of that means the change that killed the business was necessarily illegal, no matter how unfair it might have been. It's no different in SL. LL changed the "zoning laws", and some of us were zoned out. If it changes back, we can return. If not, we have to move elsewhere.
  15. There are lots of methods, but here's a super easy one: 1. Create your table, and light the scene as you see fit. Make sure at least one light is set to emit ray-traced shadows. 2. Place a plane underneath the table, with a pure white material on it. 3. Bake a texture from the plane. The texture will appear as a black shadow on a white background. 4. Bring the texture into Photoshop, and invert the colors, so the shadow appears white, and the background black. Use this as the alpha channel of a blank white image, save as 32-bit TGA, and upload to SL. 5. Go back to Maya, export the plane, and upload it to SL. 6. In SL, apply the texture to the plane. It will now look like a white shadow on an otherwise fully transparent surface. Obviously, you don't want the shadow to remain white, so tint it whatever color you want it to be (black, gray, whatever). You can also control the intensity of the shadow by adjusting its transparency setting in SL. Enjoy. As is the case with most written tutorials, this might seem like a lot of steps, when it's all written out like this. But in practice, it's like 3 minutes worth of work. As I said in the beginning, there are lots of other ways to proceed, as well, but I like starting people with this one, because it is so quick and easy, plus it's universally applicable, not just for Maya, but for every other 3D modeling/rendering program. If you were using Max, or Blender, or Lightwave, or what have you, the genral procedure would be the same. Of course, another option is to stop using shadow planes, since SL has actual shadows now.
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