Change Is Coming – Welcome to Steelhead City in #SecondLife

My chosen community in Second Life is going through some exciting changes – Sheriff Fuzzball Ortega is reorganizing things, and a crew of folks are working on various remodeling and rebuilding projects around Steelhead City. There will be parcels available for rental very soon, and my shop is probably going to move across the street to make way for a civic improvement project.

While thinking about these changes, I rezzed out some of the buildings I have in inventory to see if I’d want to change things completely. Most of my DFS items are packed and ready to sell in another platform sale, probably this weekend, but a few things like seeds and so on will still be sold at St Helens Dry Goods, as they’re “in theme” for the shop as of yet. New products are in the vapor-pipe that is my brain. Updates are planned. Stuff happenin.’

Here are the buildings that I may swap around, or lend out for the big civic refresh. Some of them I included just because it was a long time since I’ve seen and evaluated them – the best of the lot are the mesh “Soho” ones, which are modular, and the Trompe l’Oeil ones.

Second Life Buildings I Own


PBR in #SecondLife – Chic Aeon

Chic Aeon raised an interesting point on the transition to PBR:

On the plus side folks that are still building using inworld tools (prim builds) will have new options for a better look and that might encourage some new users to become simple creators. There was definitely something –well just GOOD — about building out on the sand box starting with a cube.

Yes, I think so. I uploaded my coffee mug today to the test grid, Firestorm PBR viewer, but using the current materials workflow. It was gorgeously glossy. Uploaded for realsies, normal Firestorm, and it was harder to get the nice ceramic satin-gloss. But possible! Old stuff looked good, and the glTF test was drag-and-drop easy.

The test grid is one big sandbox. Social building can be a thing again. glTF materials will make texturing easier for new builders. Now to provide those textures…

ZOMG! #glTF Channel Packer Tool for #PBR Materials

Whoa! While browsing Rei’s site, stumbled on to this open-source tool. #SecondLife is moving to a PBR workflow “real soon now,” and the big content creators will have a painfully steep learning curve converting their products’ textures. This will help, expect SL to bury this info deep in the PBR wiki.

Channel Packing Tool #specularworkflow for #SecondLife or #gameassets

While doing homework for the coming #glTF workflow in #SecondLife I struggled with #channelpacking textures for manipulating how light reflects off of materials in a game engine. It’s easy in Photoshop, harder in GIMP.

There used to be a plug-in for extracting different kinds of “maps” from images, but it was easy to screw up. The manual method is tedious; you can’t just plop a texture into an RGB channel, you have to make each greyscale.

This open source tool might be helpful, and the is cited in the SL wiki as authoritative. The same site also has a good explanation of the pending PBR workflow, but for backwards compatibility, it’s good to know both.

Learning #Blender with #BlenderGoon – Edit mode tools and hotkeys

Now some more fundamentals for review. If you find this series of posts tedious – please filter on #BlenderGoon as I’m trying to watch all his instructional videos in order.

Goon (Goonther Blackcinder) is a #SecondLife resident who teaches at #BlenderSchool inworld at (SLURL) GoodVibes

There’s an active Discord group – there’s an invite link in the school landing area. You can support his work on Patreon at this link.

Learning #Blender with #BlenderGoon – Intro to Edit Mode

Next up – how to get in and out of edit mode, and also some recommendations for setting up your Blender in the Preferences menu.

Currently I prefer to use the Light theme and have the Scale for the interface set to about 1.25 so I can see it better. I may want to go in later and increase the vertex size a bit. I also took his recommendation to UNcheck the Load UI preference when opening someone else’s .blend file. Scene statistics are also now turned on – these are all reasonable beginner settings, especially for creating efficient mesh for #SecondLife (or any game engine, really).

He gets into face orientation – how to display it in Overlays, and how the “backward” facing normals of each face look transparent in #SecondLife – which bit me in the butt last night with the “build a fridge” exercise. These are all good fundamentals to get down EARLY in the learning process in order to try to avoid them.

Goon (Goonther Blackcinder) is a #SecondLife resident who teaches at #BlenderSchool inworld at (SLURL) GoodVibes

There’s an active Discord group – there’s an invite link in the school landing area. You can support his work on Patreon at this link.

Learning #Blender with #BlenderGoon – V1.5 Building in Object Mode, uploading to #SecondLife

Now we’re getting somewhere. I’ve recently created objects with the standard “primitives” in Blender, so for me this is still review. It was still a struggle but eventually I produced the required lesson objects and got them uploaded into the “test grid.” GREAT SUCCESS.

After taking a long break for some RL errands yesterday, I was able to produce the two objects from the lesson… and during Goon’s discussion of uploading to SL, he mentioned he was skipping some “checklist” steps. And yep, one of those steps was to check for flipped normals. The soda cup and straw is fine, the fancy French Door fridge, not so much. The normals are flipped on the hinges and “handles” – or maybe I forgot to uncheck an Alpha setting when going through the materials process.

#ALTTEXT 3D Objects uploaded into Second Life – a soda cup with straw and a refrigerator.

3D Objects uploaded into Second Life - a soda cup with straw and a refrigerator.

Yes, it was flipped normals, fixed it with Shift+N. I always keep my PDF copy of Blender Secrets open as it’s searchable.

#ALTTEXT – overlay view of 3D objects shows the parts of my “fridge” that have flipped “normals” and are facing the wrong way out.

Blender Overlay showing flipped normals - correct with shift+N
This is easily fixed by selecting the object in Edit Mode and pressing Ctrl+N, so now my fridge looks less stupid. This whole lesson was on creating completely in Object Mode, and eventually I got handles put on, materials assigned, and so on. It seemed the thing to do to use my own fridge as an example – I didn’t bother to tackle the ice/water dispenser!

#ALTTEXT – Refrigerator object now displays “right side out”

3D Fridge object now faces the right way out

(I’m adding extra alt text to avoid having to go into Mastodon later and update my autoposts).

Thanks to Goon, learned a few things today (that I’ll probably forget unless I make a lotta stuffs soon). It’s late so I don’t think I’ll complete the next lesson in the series until tomorrow.

Goon (Goonther Blackcinder) is a #SecondLife resident who teaches at #BlenderSchool inworld at (SLURL) GoodVibes

There’s an active Discord group – there’s an invite link in the school landing area. You can support his work on Patreon at this link.

How To Sign Up for #SecondLife

This is Goonther Blackcinder’s walkthrough for how to sign up for a free Second Life account. Personally, I recommend that you set up your account to go through the “community gateway” that most aligns with your area of interest – Firestorm Viewer’s is good, and my favorite is Caledon Oxbridge University (a Steampunk/Victorian mini-nation within Second Life. There are other community gateways listed here.

Goon gives instructions for how to contact him, how to find the Blender School classrooms, how to access the Aditi “beta grid” to upload mesh models, and even a bit about how to earn Lindens (the inworld currency) rather than buying them. He also recommends downloading and installing the Firestorm viewer, which is much better for creating, building, and uploading mesh from than the standard SL viewer.

CaledonOxbridge University Gateway to Second Life - learn how to move, buy, find free things
Interesting – that “Gentleman Jim (boxed) is a free Animation Overrider – my business associate Dhughan Froobert used to make prim-built walking sticks that were compatible with that AO. He’d better get “on the stick” and start making mesh ones!

Learning #Blender with #BlenderGoon – V1.4 Blender Object Mode Tools

The next video in Goon’s series covers Object Mode tools.

I’m going to try to speed up for these and spend less time looking for funny Blender memes to replace the “featured image.” BUT THEY ARE SO FUNNY…

Ten or thirty minutes later I finally watched the video! And then started playing around with the Annotate tool and got horsed up trying to get a Wacom tablet working. More watching, less going down rabbit holes.

Goon (Goonther Blackcinder) is a #SecondLife resident who teaches at #BlenderSchool inworld at (SLURL) GoodVibes

There’s an active Discord group – there’s an invite link in the school landing area. You can support his work on Patreon at this link.

Yes We Are Calm now SHUT THE FUCK UP

Learning #Blender with #BlenderGoon – Viewport Navigation

The next video in Goon’s tutorial series goes over viewport navigation, whether using the gizmos in the upper right corner, or keyboard shortcuts. I have struggled in the past with some of these and with some shortcuts, they just don’t “stick” in my head, like Shift-C to re-center my cursor. Repeat, repeat, repeat.  Other shortcuts (the numpad keys to change from front, right, left, top, bottom views) come easily.

Goon has a pleasant presentation voice – and has a quirky sense of humor. He often hosts live workshop videos on Discord that are a lot of fun. You can support his work at Patreon at this link, and get access to exclusive tutorial content. He tries to do all the #SecondLife mesh creation without paid addons, which is commendable, and a little bit crazy. Just now in Discord he was editing a cute female outfit for Second Life, and doing some weight painting – something WAY OVER MY HEAD at the moment. Previously he made a really nice men’s leather jacket, working on it in live videos. You really get a sense of how the process works when you see someone trying different methods before hitting on the right workflow.

He also uses really good screencast keys that are very highly visible, and has the scale of his installation of Blender set a bit higher than normal, with large-size vertices. It reduces the frustration level you get with some “speedrun” Blender vids that are just… not very helpful for learners.

As I start to get to the meatier “Let’s Make A…” videos I’ll post images of my attempts. There could be some comedy gold there to mine.

Blender logo with “keep calm and don’t ragequit”

Have to remember to keep calm and don’t rage-quit when I get there.