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When it comes to putting a texture on a house in Blender, there are several things you need to do. I’m going to break these processes down into bite-sized chunks to make it easier to work through.
First, let me introduce to you Materials.
Materials probably have a lot more to them than we’re going to cover here. But for the sake of working with a house we’re uploading to Second Life, think of Materials as Blender’s word for Texture.
Basically, when you assign a material to a face of an object in Blender, that tells Second Life that this is a selectable area you can texture once you upload the object in world.
The Rule of Eight
VERY IMPORTANT NOTE: When you upload a mesh object to Second Life, that upload can only contain up to 8 separate materials.
This means, if you decide to make each individual wall in your house a different texture (4 walls on the outside and 4 walls on the inside = 8 individual texture areas) you will have to upload the other parts of your house (like the doors, windows, floors and roof) separately. Again, this is because a single object can only have 8 textures assigned to it.
For more complex houses and objects, you will have to break it apart and upload individual pieces because of this.
So, this requires planning ahead and combining your texture areas when you can. Do all of your outside walls really need a separate textured face… or can you assign the same material to all outside walls while still achieving your design goals? Things like that.
Checking Out the Materials Tab
Now that we got the Rule of Eight out of the way, we can talk about where to find Materials in Blender and how to make a new one.
First, let’s talk about where to find Materials in Blender.
That long, funky menu on the right side of the screen has a bunch of rather small tabs indicated by icons. The materials tab looks like a multi-colored circular object.
Selecting this icon will change the right-hand menu to something like this:
Get to know this well! We’re going to be working with this a whole lot!
So, you might notice that by default, the house already has a material assigned to it. That’s what this little bit indicates (red arrow below).
This material is currently covering every face of the house I’ve been making by default… since I’ve not assigned any other material to it yet. It’s also currently a boring, dull gray color, which you can see because the sphere object in the Preview section is boring and gray.
So, just for the fun of it, and to make it easier to see, let’s make the default material stand out a bit by recoloring it something brighter.
Recoloring a Material
If you click on the white bar in the Diffuse section (under the boring gray sphere), you’ll get a color wheel pop-up! Now we’re in business!
I chose a terribly bright mauve here. The sphere and the icon next to the Material name will change color. The whole house will change to the color, too, since I haven’t assigned any other materials to it yet.
This will make more sense when I add a new material to the house. So, let’s go ahead and do this now.
Adding a New Material (Texture Area)
This is actually a pretty simple process, and is the most important part of this section to understand.
In the Materials Tab, right next to the original material, click the Plus sign. This will create a slot for your new material.
Keep in mind, that only adds the blank material slot, not the actual material (for whatever reason). So let’s add the material now.
And there you go. Two materials!
Now, double-click on the material to rename it. I named my second material “Wall” just to set it apart from the original base material. You can name it whatever you want.
I then changed the color of the new material, that way I can see it on my object easier. This is optional, but it really does help.
Assigning a Material to a Wall
Now that you have a second material, let’s assign it to a wall. Keep in mind, Blender considers walls as an object’s “face.”
- In Edit Mode click Select Face.
- Click on the wall you want to set as a texture area.
- In the Materials Tab, select the material you want to use. In this case, we’re choosing Wall.
- Click the Assign button, located just below the list of materials.
And sure enough, the wall turns blue (or whatever color you chose the second material to be) to indicate that you’ve assigned the second material “Wall” to it.
So what’s the outcome of doing this in Second Life?
This assigns this wall a texture area in Second Life. This means, everything that’s mauve uses (for example) a brick texture. But that wall can be textured separately with (for example) a wood texture instead.
Here’s a very quick video that shows everything I just explained above in action:
Can I Have More Than One Texture on a Wall?
Yes, you can!
Say, maybe you want to put a different texture on top and bottom of a wall. What you can do is use a horizontal edge loop (See Part 3 for instructions) to make a slice along your wall. This separates the wall’s face into two pieces, which allows you to select each part individually.
Create new materials for the top and the bottom (I named them Top and Bottom in the screenshot below), and apply the material to each part.
When you upload this, Second Life will allow you to select each of these parts as a different texture area, allowing you to put more than one texture on one wall!
Just keep in mind that while this is fancy, you still have to hold to the Rule of Eight. So don’t go too nuts with adding too many materials to your build!
Now, there’s a lot more intricate things to do with texturing such as bringing in images, lighting, baking AO Shadow maps and stuff. But for the sake of this simple tutorial, I’m going to stick with this very simple method. Once I get a better handle on the more advanced topics for myself, I’ll probably work on a more advanced Blender series dealing with those topics on down the line.
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