New Year’s Lesson: Keep Trying And Ask Questions

Thanks to the extremely helpful and patient +Aine Caoimhe, I learned a thing or two today about Blender.

Regarding a question I had about the mesh plant prim I made to replace a legacy plant sculpt, I almost got it right. My original mesh has 4 planes, which means 8 faces once uploaded:

You definitely want to keep the mesh version rather than the sculpt for 3 reasons:

– far lower face count
– easier control over texture
– if you don’t make them phantom, vastly lower physics impact

I would make it in Blender by:

1. Add > plane
2. Make the plane as per the way you did it (one of the three)
3. Unwrap it
4. With the pane selected in Object mode, use the hotkey sequence shift D R Z 60 which will duplicate it and rotate the duplicate 60 degrees on the z-axis.
5. Repeat that to duplicate and rotate again, giving you three of them

(when you duplicate an object it also duplicates any modifiers and UV mapping)

7. Join all three pieces making them a single mesh
8. Add a solidify modifier with thickness of 0.0005, offset of 0.0, and un-check the fill edges option…this will make them double-sided and you don’t need the edges filled when they’re that narrow in spacing

That gives you a single mapped mesh object with the minimum 6 faces (12 after triangulation) where it’s all nicely mapped. The physics after import will a shape with only 12 faces too, making it extremely light on the region resources.

The “identical” sculptie would be at least 128 faces and if set to non-phantom has a much more complex and less sim-friendly physics shape.

I was SO CLOSE. THISCLOSE to getting it right. So I went back and redid a new one with 3 planes, 6 faces. This is the old sculpt on the left, new mesh with 4 planes on the right. There are edge artifacts on the Legacy sculpty, where the creator (LK) was not careful about cleaning up the edges or having them scaled all the way down.
Compare Sculpt to Orig Mesh_001

And this is the new one, on the smaller plant.
New 3plane vs 4 plane_001

Next, it looks like I’ll have to go back and redo the crates later, maybe when I need them for props again. I’ll be building a survival shelter and of course the boxes and crates and pallets are fair game.

+Aine Caoimhe again:

I would recreate them in Blender since you can really cut down on the face count if you keep them simple boxes (don’t add bevels, etc.).

I can’t tell from your pictures if you’re using Blender render or Cycles but I suspect that’s Blender render. I’d suggest getting used to Cycles materials set-up since as you become more advanced you’ll likely want some of the additional controls/features of Cycles that the older Blender render engine doesn’t allow.

General method:

Make 1 box.
Mark seams and unwrap it
Assign a material to it (maybe “box1”)
Duplicate it
On the duplicate, delete the material and assign it a different one…it will still preserve its UV mapping so you shouldn’t need to do anything further
Continue doing this, each time with a new object and each time assigning it a new material (unless you want two or more boxes to share the same material, in which case just assign it that mat).

You are allowed to import a single mesh with a maximum of 8 different materials so you can join your boxes into a single mesh object provided it doesn’t exceed this. If not, you can join 8 materials worth of boxes as one object, then another 8 materials into a second, etc… On import each material is a “face” from an in-world texturing standpoint.

You can select multiple objects at time of export which will take them out as a single dae and, on import, come in as a linkset.

Doing it this way, each box ought to be only 6 quads = 12 tri which makes it easier on graphics cards. Because of the way SL calculates LI (to inflate the cost of mesh artificially) there’s likely not going to be much/any savings on that level.

You can find more detailed info about cycles materials assignments and unwrapping in my intro series of tutorials (http://ainetutorials.blogspot.ca/p/list-of-tutorials.html) or +Chic Aeon has done some great ones too.

I’ve read everything Aine and Chic have posted recently on G+ and I also see posts on the official SL forum for mesh, though I don’t go there often. They are extremely helpful and generous with their hard-earned expertise.

I did want to make a couple of “hero crates” that are more detailed, with inset faces and raised edges. That can wait for another free day. The next time, it all begins with a single box, in Blender. Don’t worry, I always delete the default cube automatically and start fresh. 😉

Exporting builds from SL or OpenSim so far is of limited use, as the prims come in with triangles everywhere and hidden faces that have to be deleted. I learned when I imported various other objects (my old store, a Victrola that I made in class) that the triangle count gets CRAZY on small, tightly curved sections, and the corners of buildings are a mess. I managed to learn where to find the “tris to quads” in the Face menu, but the shortcut in Edit mode is Alt-J, need to commit that to memory. It’s nice to bring in a build for reference purposes, though. With the box assemblage, I really could have gone in and dissolved all the unnecessary faces and verts, though.

A friend of mine from Steelhead, Zaida Gearbox, has been doing wonders with mesh conversions – her Mission style furniture is GORGEOUS; I think she uses Mesh Studio to clean it up – I can only hope to produce nice things like that someday. Her store is on the Marketplace, and she has a location in St John. I thought maybe I’d be able to do conversions like that, too, but there’s more to it in getting it right.

I didn’t get much done IRL today, but did at least start the “castaway” narrative. Now I can think about the next part of the story, which involves salvaging some useful and repurposing some wacky items, and I need to think about adding some geology (not geometry) to my island refuge, which means finally getting that rock project correctly done and building some lava and tufa cliffs.

Don’t worry, there’s a twist for how I get started making clothes, hats, and other survival gear – and later on, a reason for making vintage stuff, too.


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