Posted in Second Life

Making My First Bento Water Horse Custom Coat – Cookies N Cream

I’ll admit that while I know plenty about using Photoshop for art, texturing things in Second Life is not something I’ve fully explored before. I knew the moment I saw the Water Horse Riding Horse bento avatars, and saw that other people were making custom textures for coats and patterns, this was something I wanted to try.

Last week, I broke open the shadow maps and sample texturing stuff that came with my water horses. Apparently, these are the same for both light and draft horses, which is nice to know.

I wanted to try something simple to start with, and I knew that there were a lot of creative designs I could use as inspiration on places like Deviant Art. So, I picked this particular piece, and decided to design a coat based off of it. I’m not looking to create things of pure realism, nor am I versed enough in coat colors to pretend I know what to name them. So I’m going with a slight fantasy slant in my coat creation.

I fired up Photoshop on Saturday night and started painting. Thank goodness for the Beta Grid, is all I have to say. I uploaded so many attempts as I worked on getting things right. My first try, however, didn’t turn out so good.

Ugh…

First of all, my shadows were all incorrect, and the coat all smeary. The textures that came with the horse are… interesting and unwrapped flat. So it was hard for me to gauge exactly where something I painted would end up on the horse. Second, SL displays the coat a whole lot lighter colored than it looked on my tablet.

Taking these two things back with me, I started working on my own internal guide for mapping the shape of the horse. I pulled out the grid texture that came with the horse and began to red line it.

This took several tries to get anywhere near this accurate. The idea was that I’d outline areas, especially the shadows, so that on the flat version of the unwrapped texture, I would have a better idea of what was what. The legs and rump, for example were a lot thinner than I thought they would be, and drawing them out like this gave me a guideline for painting.

So, when I came back on Sunday to work on it again, I tried to do this painted furry looking pattern on it. This is what I got.

Yeah. The shadowing is a bit better, but the fur was all over the place, going in directions I had no idea it would. It’s a kinda interesting stripe design, but not what I was intending.

It’s also still looking a bit too grey.

So I continued to make adjustments, blurred out the lines and I ended up with this:

It’s.. getting better. But now it’s lost a lot of pattern and looks more blurred than anything else.

About this time, I decided to shift the color to make it a little warmer. I also tried to define the pattern a bit more. I was fighting especially with the black speckles I wanted to appear over the neck and shoulders. They weren’t working well.

This was a bit too brown, but I actually kinda like it. I have a feeling I’ll revisit this iteration and expand on it to make another coat on down the line.

I shifted the color again, trying to give it a more strawberry tone. This was the point where I learned that using a spearate pattern for the black speckle effect was the best way to go. I also learned how to add a specular shine to the coat and experimented with that a bunch.

Getting closer to what I want…

I started trying the coat on the draft horse, and learned that I needed to darken the legs to better fit with the black feathers for those breeds. I was also pleased to see that the coat worked on the Arabian Mod (though the speckled pattern does not).

Not too bad for a Sunday’s work.

Last night, I spent time refining the coat details. I added more subtle pattern to it, fixed the leg darkness for the drafts, worked on defining things around the eyes and nostril. Fiddled with the specular coat shine and toned it down so that it didn’t blind you when the sun was setting. That kind of stuff.

Overall, I’m happy with how this turned out.

Warmblood with specular and pattern:

A better look at the pattern from above:

The Clyde draft without the shine or the pattern:

The Arabian with the shine:

I think I’ve come a long way from that first coat attempt!

I’ve also placed the coat up for sale in the SL Marketplace for anyone who is interested in picking it up for their own water horse! If you do, I hope you enjoy it. I’ll be making more, for sure! 🙂

Posted in Gaming, Second Life

Second Life: Modding My Arabian Horse

When I was growing up, like many girls, I loved horses. And there was one series of books that fueled that love — Walter Farley’s The Black Stallion. We had a small bookmobile that came from our main county Library and stopped by my neighborhood. They almost always carried a book from this series, and if they didn’t, I could put in book requests to get more.

I devoured these books as a child, fell in love with the Arabian horse, and the art on this book cover in particular was my measuring stick for all horse artwork I drew:

blackstallion

I probably still have a box set of these books somewhere in my closet. And if I don’t, I might just take it upon myself to go and collect the series with this particular cover art just to keep for myself.

Anyhow, what does that have to do with video games? Well, a few weeks back in Second Life, I stumbled upon the Water Horse Riding Horse… which isn’t really a horse but a fantastic, realistic bento add-on to your SL avatar. The Posse has been getting a lot of mileage out of our horses as we explore some really awesome places on the grid.

That little spark of Arabian horse love still burns in me, so I knew when I saw the Arabian Horse Mod for the Water Horse weeks ago that I’d be making that a project of mine. Over the weekend, I did just that.

While I think that my original Warmblood bento horse is very lovely, I have to say that the Arabian mod has transformed it to something above and beyond.

horsecomparisons

A lot of work from talented creators went into this horse. I wanted to take a look at how all that comes together and give them my props for wonderful creations that bring me joy!

It Started With a Skin

I’m a huge fan of Hap’s work at Painted Pony. There’s a lot of great content out there for these horses, but her skins and content keep pulling me back in. She develops a lot of work for the Arabian mod in particular.

When I saw the new specular silver coat in her Highlights section, and noticed it could be used with the Arabian, I was struck by it immediately. I can’t really explain how this coat catches and reflects the light, but it’s amazing in person. I can just sit here and look at the way light plays off of my stallion… Beautiful work!

Painted_Pony_Vendor_--_Silver_Specular_coat

So, this prompted me to head to the Jinx store (another creator I really love) to pick up her Arabian mod. This was the most expensive part of the modding process, and also the most tricky.

Jinx__Arabian_Add-on_mod_for_the_WHRH_-_Postersm

This is a full body replacement for the Water Horse. This means when you add this to your avatar, you essentially have two horse bodies. You make the original horse body and tack transparent, and somehow this mod meshes beautifully to show instead.

It uses the Animation Override within the original Water Horse tack, so it moves and controls exactly like the original. Here’s a video of this horse in action (Note: lightly dressed female avatar warning):

If I had to nit pick about anything in this mod, it’s the tail portion. I’m not sure what it is about the tail, but the textures in the originals just don’t render right for me. Especially the white tail.

But that’s easily fixed with a texture replacement from Painted Pony. I picked up the Arabian Tail Fat Pack 1 and the Happy Tail add-on (which makes the tail swish from time to time like a real horse).

Painted_Pony_Vendor_--_Arabian_Mane_Tail_-__MP

And the final cosmetic piece was, again, from Painted Pony. I already had this from making my Miss Daisy setup — a lovely Tropicana Blue eye.

Painted_Pony_Vendor_--_Tropicana_eye

Syn and Amoon like to tease me that the eyes make my Arabian look spooky, so I’m almost tempted to name him Specter. XD

Anyhow, I needed one final touch to really make this all come together. If you watched the video above, you’ll see the custom Arabian animations created by Mythril in action. Great stuff!

Snapshot___A_Lovely_Place__Pegasoi_(215__166__2002)_-_Moderate

So, I learned how to mod the tack AO to replace the standard animations with these. They included a very regal idle standing pose, a floating trot, and a lovely canter replacement. I also picked up a new gallop animation that I really liked.

What’s even better about this animation set is that it includes sidesaddle animations, which I was looking into picking up to fit a medieval dress that I bought. So a medieval warmblood project might be my next focus — we do have the Fantasy Faire coming up this week in Second Life!

And finally, the tack. I chose the new Sultan tack by Jinx. This is currently exclusive to the March Fantasy Collective, so I have no idea how much longer it’ll be there, or if Jinx will sell it in shop after the event is done.

sultantack

Much of the Arabian tack available is quite ornate, so I liked that this was less flashy and didn’t take away from the horse. These are cosmetic add-ons, and not a replacement for the AO tack. They look great and come with a HUD that allows for color change and minor modifications.

In the end, I’m very pleased with the overall results of the mod. What do you think?

Snapshot_254

Snapshot_296

Posted in Second Life

Second Life Quick Tip: How to Log In to the Beta Test Grid

Second Life has two grids — the Main Grid (Agni) and the Beta Test Grid (Aditi). Sometimes Aditi is also called the “Preview Grid.” Both grids use the same log in name and password.

If you are going to be building, especially in mesh, and you know you’ll need to upload objects several times to test them and get your build right… please do your Linden balance a favor and do all your initial testing on the Beta Grid!

What’s so great about Aditi? Well, as per the wiki…

In order to participate in Beta testing, you just need to login to the Aditi grid using your viewer of choice. Your account should automatically be set up and you should receive L$50,000 to start.

Nothing that happens on the test grid (Aditi) has any effect on your avatar, inventory, L$, or marketplace listings on the main grid (Agni). Objects, inventory and L$ on the Beta grid may be damaged by bugs, be removed, or disappear at any point during Beta testing.

This means you’re granted L$50,000 to do with as you please (limited to the Beta Grid) and none of your uploads will effect your actual L$ balance.

Now, looking over that wiki page, I also see this, so be aware:

WARNING: June 2016, 2017 – If you are a new user and have never logged into ADITI, you will need to contact Support to gain access. This is supposed to be a temporary bug in Aditi login.

Below, I’ll cover how to log in to the Aditi on the native SL Viewer and my viewer of choice, Firestorm.

How to Log In to the Beta Grid on the SL Viewer

If you’ve never logged into the Beta Grid before, you have a little bit of setup to do on the SL Viewer:

  1. Click Me in the top left corner, then click Preferences. 
  2. Click the Advanced tab.
  3. Select Show Grid Selection at login

  4. You may need to log in to the main grid, log out, and restart the viewer for the Beta option to show. It was kinda wonky for me.

Once you’ve done that, then you will see this drop-down menu option. Just log in with your normal SL account and you’re there.

 

How to Log In to the Beta Grid Using Firestorm

This is a bit easier.

Click the Grid drop-down menu and select Second Life Beta. Log in with your normal SL account.

Finding a Place to Build

Aditi has a bunch of public sandboxes that you can use to upload, test and build to your heart’s content. Just know that there is an automatic return built into them for every so often (usually 3 to 5 hours).

To find a place to build, just Search your Places for Sandbox.

Any of the sandboxes will work just fine. I tend to gravitate to the one in Mauve because when I was a complete SL nooblet, I used to build there on the main grid. So many hours spent in that sandbox… 🙂

Anyhow, happy building! I hope this helped save you some L$ on uploading and testing your stuff!

Posted in Second Life

Making a Second Life Mesh House in Blender – Part 4: Assigning Textures to Walls

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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.”

  1. In Edit Mode click Select Face.
  2. Click on the wall you want to set as a texture area.
  3. In the Materials Tab, select the material you want to use. In this case, we’re choosing Wall.
  4. 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.

Resource

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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Posted in Second Life

Riding Miss Daisy: Aero Pines Park

I want to kick off the first of my Riding Miss Daisy series — where I explore places in Second Life on horseback — with one of the first trails I rode after getting my Water Horse Riding Horse. Originally, I visited this with my friends, but then came back to spend some time taking pictures and exploring on my own.

Aero Pines Park

-Visit In World Here-

This is a set of 3 joined sims that offers shopping, residential rentals, riding trails, entertainment locations, and lots of open area to explore. They were holding an Easter egg hunt along the trails while I was exploring, which was fun.

I love the atmosphere of the location. The Windlight settings were such that you always experienced a slight twilight feel with a hint of mist over forest and hills.

I began my visit at the Welcome Center next to a scenic lake.

…Where I found they have their own Park Ranger. She also has a nice Water Horse Riding Horse to complete the ranger feel. I was impressed!

There’s lots of things around the lake to see and do — a gazebo hangout, dancing, horseback riding, bikes, and a full playground for the children. I saw a good number of folks out and about enjoying the evening at the lakeside.

If shopping is your thing, there was a small town plaza surrounded by little themed shops for you to explore.

And if you want to have a little fun, you’ll find activities such as bowling, a log flume and even a roller coaster here! Looks like they also have sailing and a path for jetsking as well!

If you’re looking to rent a home here, there’s some houses scattered among the hills of the main sim. There’s also a second sim that looks like it’s dedicated to lovely landscapes and residential rentals. What I liked was that the style of housing varied quite a bit, while still holding true to the atmosphere.

Of course, I was there to ride and explore. And the park didn’t disappoint in offering lovely sights to see!

Want to experience the park for yourself?

-Visit In World Here-

Posted in Second Life

Making a Second Life Mesh House in Blender – Part 3: Making Windows and Doors

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This post is going to assume you understand concepts like working in Edit Mode, creating new objects, resizing them, and just basic stuff I covered in Part 1 of this series. See the link above.

With that out of the way…. In the last post, we left off with a plain set of walls like this. This was made by creating cubes and using Face Select to resize them (described in Part 1).

Now, we want to add a door and a window to our structure. The best way I’ve discovered to do this is through using something called Edge Loops. This is a tool that slices through the entire shape, allowing you to cut pieces out of it. For our purpose, this will make doors and windows!

Making an Edge Loop

In Edit Mode, focus on the wall, and press Ctrl+R to initiate the edge loop.

This makes a little pink line on the surface of your shape. If you hover over a vertical edge, the line displays horizontal and vice versa. Here, I hovered over the left edge to get a horizontal line.

This line is mostly just for display. It’s not until you left-click that Blender actually draws the edge loop.

The line turns orange and it also allows you to edit the position using the colored handles. Once you’re happy with it, just press A to deselect and see the cut.

If you don’t like what you just did, you can press Ctrl+Z to undo and try again.

Here’s a quick video showing you what that looks like in motion.

Resource

Cutting Out the Door

That first edge loop is the top of the door frame of the house. Now, just keep making edge loops for the sides of the door until you have something like this:

Okay! There you have it. The door is outlined using edge loops!

Now, make sure that Face Select is enabled.

Then right-click on the face to select it.

With the face selected, press the X key. This is the delete tool.

Choose Faces to delete the face.

Alright! Now you have something that looks like this. But there’s a face on the other side, too, as you can see.

That’s fine. Just select that and delete it like you did the first.

Now you have an open doorway!! Yes!

Building the Door Frame

But there’s one little problem with this — it’s kinda hard to see. There’s some open areas around the door frame (since we just cut through the middle of a hollow shape).

We want to fill that in — it’s important for texturing and for making the actual door. Thankfully, this isn’t hard to do.

Click the Line Select tool – located next to the Face Select on the bottom menu.

What we want to do is select two lines opposite of each other and fill it in:

  1. Right-click on the first line.
  2. Hold the Shift key down.
  3. Right-click on the line opposite of it.

Two lines selected will look like this:

To fill in that missing face, press the F key. And boom!

You’ve just made a solid face for your door frame! Congrats!

Now, you’ll have to cam around and take care of the other missing faces — the top and the other side to complete the door frame. Getting the one above will be a bit of a pain to position, but it’s good practice!

Making Windows

To add windows, just repeat the exact same process:

  1. Make edge loops to draw the window.
  2. Select the window face and delete it. Then, delete the face on the other side, too.
  3. Fill in the missing geometry around the window sill.

And you get something like this!

Duplicating to Make Doors and Windows

Let’s talk about duplicating. This will actually be helpful for making windows and doors.

So, say you have a cube. You want to make a second cube exactly like the first.

Make sure the cube is selected and press Shift+D to duplicate.

Let’s see how this helps making a door.

  1. Ensure Face Select is on.
  2. Right-click on one side of the door frame to select the first face.
  3. Shift+Right-Click on all the remaining faces of the doorframe, including the bottom. If a part of the door frame was sliced in half with an edge loop, make sure to get all pieces!
  4. With all faces selected, click Shift+D.
  5. Gently pull your mouse away from the building and you’ll have duplicated the door frame.
  6. Left-click anywhere to place the duplicate part.

Gosh, that would be a perfect fit for a door, wouldn’t it? Lucky for us, that’s easy to do!

Making Doors and Windows

Remember how we filled in faces between lines for the door and window frames? We’re going to do this again.

Using Line Select, select the front line at the bottom and the front line at the top of the door frame. It’s not easy to see, but if you look, one line is yellow and the other is white, indicating your selection.

With both lines selected, just press the F Key. It’ll fill in the front of your door!

Repeat for the back face of the door, and now you have a perfectly sized door that will fit in that frame!

Repeat for your windows. You can narrow this shape a bit to make it more like a thin piece of glass if you like. And if your windows are all the same shape, just duplicate the first to make them all consistent!

Now that you’ve got the method, go out there and make as many windows and doors as you please!

Next, we’ll tackle how to add materials to your house so that Second Life knows where to put your textures! 🙂

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Posted in Gaming, Second Life

Second Life: Building Houses for the Ultimate Sandbox

This weekend, I taught myself the basics of Blender, built my first house for Second Life and made my first sale on an item I created all on my own.

Sure, it took me the better part of two days to figure out Blender and trial-and-error through making that house. Sure, I sold it for a pittance of $L50 Lindens. I didn’t feel like I could charge much for my first try at a simple house… I was more curious about the process of putting something up on the Marketplace (which I’m still learning) and whether it would sell at all.

But it still felt awesome, was a crazy learning experience… and I’m eager to take these skills I’m developing and continue to build new things. I’m even writing a series of blog posts on my Second Life blog just to chronicle what I learned… mostly so I don’t forget how to do things! XD

As a creator, part of me gets a little thrill out of thinking someone else in Second Life might be living in the house I built. Maybe someone else gets a little bit of happiness at having their own little Modern Loft House somewhere on the grid. That’s pretty inspiring.

Sorry for the ramble. Most of the MMO stuff I’ve been doing lately is standard leveling, roulettes, weekly turn-ins, so nothing to report there. I’ve just been far more fascinated in making things right now.

Posted in Second Life

Making A Second Life Mesh House In Blender – Part 2: Planning is Important

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Before starting a Blender project, it’s important to have a good feel for the structure you want to make. That’s why referencing a floor plan is a good idea.

You can make your own floor plan using free online software. Here’s a few I found with a quick Google search:

I’m sure there are more, but you get the idea. Find something that works for you.

I’m not so skilled at creating a floor plan, and I just went into this wanting to learn Blender, so I did a search for house layouts. I found a house that looked like it would be fairly easy to start with:

A little boxy modern house with a lot of windows and a loft inside.

This came with a floorplan, which I chose to reference and follow really loosely. The idea isn’t to be exact, but to have something to work from. To have a plan to follow.

To start out in Blender, I began by watching videos on how to create a house from a floorplan. Here’s one of them:

Resource

This is a lot more complex that I’d suggest someone new to Blender try. Me being me, I did try it.

I failed completely the first time (having no knowledge at all of what I was doing), then got something workable the second time. But when I tried importing it to the SL Beta grid, it was all wonky.

So, I decided that this method of building wasn’t going to work out for me. However, I learned a lot of neat and important skills from this video. Namely, how to duplicate objects and how to work with edge loops. I’ll go into some of that in my next post!

I decided that building with shapes, much like you build with prims in Second Life, was easier for me to wrap my head around. It wasn’t too difficult to rez some boxes, resize them to be walls and fit them together.

Here’s a sample of a very hastily put together set of four outside walls created in that method. Looks a lot like something you’d make in Second Life, doesn’t it?

But a house needs doors and windows and textures and the like. Well, unlike Second Life, you can actually slice and dice these rectangles to cut shapes out of them! And that’s exactly what I’m going to show you how to do in the next post!

See you then!

Other Posts in This Series: 

Posted in Second Life

Making a Second Life Mesh House in Blender – Part 1: The Very Basics

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I’ve always wanted to learn how to build mesh in Second Life. I’m pretty good at moving things, sizing things, and doing things with prims in world, but mesh is a whole different animal. Reading up, I see folks say, “Learn Blender! It has a learning curve, but it’s worth it!”

So, yesterday, I dove into Blender for several hours to do just that.

Disclaimer: I am a 100% Blender noob. So this is for the noob by the noob. 

Everything I’m writing here is super, super basic for people who are like me — struggling just to do something with the program. I’ve tried to mess with Blender before, but the UI and the lack of user-friendliness always left me baffled. This time, I put my nose to the grindstone, pulled up a bunch of videos and Google searches, and ended up with an actual textured mesh structure Second Life by the end of the night! Woo!

About Blender

Blender is a free 3D modeling program for anyone to download. So pick it up here.

The version of Blender I’m using for this tutorial is v2.79.

It’s wonky to learn. It doesn’t control anything like other programs I’ve used. The things that got me from the start were:

  • You select stuff with the right mouse button instead of the left.
  • Things that should be easy to do feel more difficult than they should be.
  • Blender asks you to remember keystrokes to do stuff. So memorize them!

But all of this can be overcome. Here’s a little cheat sheet of very basic info I learned that I want to dump here for my own reference, and for yours if you need it.

Save, Save, Save!

Did you get something going that looks pretty good? The project going well?

Save it!

Save often!

Save as many different files as you progress. Verson 1. V2. V3….

There were too many times I had to go back to an old save because I messed something up and had no idea how to fix it as a Blender noob.

Did I mention save?

Blender Modes

Blender has things called modes. There are several modes, but for the sake of simplicity, I’ll only reference Object Mode and Edit Mode.

When you open the program, you’re greeted with this little cube. By default, it’s in Object Mode.

As long as you have an object selected, you can press Tab to cycle between Object and Edit mode. You can also just click the menu down in the bottom left side of your viewing window to pull up all the modes and switch between them.

This is only available if you’ve actually selected an object (right-click it). So if you find yourself tabbing furiously, and you can’t get out of Object Mode, it means you don’t have any objects selected! (Lesson learned.)

Things work differently depending on which mode you’re in, but obviously, Edit Mode is where you do all your building.

Getting Around

How do I move around in Blender?

This is honestly trickier than it should be.

Scrolling the middle mouse button = Zooming in and out. 

Hold down the middle mouse button + Move your mouse around = Moving the camera around the center point of your project. 

I got that pretty easy, it’s mostly standard. But to do this this thing called Grab/Move so that you can re-position the whole project, was a little more tricky to figure out.

Hold down the Shift key + Hold down middle mouse button + Move your mouse around = Grab/Move around the project

Whew! Okay. We know how to move around now! This still takes practice and time to get a feel for it, so just keep trying.

Making Stuff

How do I make a new object in Blender? 

Okay, so you’ve got one cube, but you want another. How do you make something new appear?

Clicking on Shift + A will give you this menu in the Edit Mode.

Just pick the thing you want to make and it appears.

It’s a little more complex if you do it in Object Mode.

See how things are a bit different between the two modes already?

Keep in mind that everything you add to this project is considered one object by Second Life. So if you were to export two cubes together, that’s what you’d get when you import the object as a mesh in SL.

tl;dl: So, be sure to delete any extra stuff you don’t want hanging around before you export!

How do I move a Blender object?

If you’ve played Second Life, this is pretty much the same. With the object selected, grab one of the handles – Red, Green, Blue — click, hold, and drag. 

Wait, how do I select a Blender object?

This was one of those things that should be super simple, but isn’t. Took me some Google-Fu to find.

In Edit Mode:

Select an object = Hover your mouse over the object, click the L Key.

In Object Mode:

Select an object = Right-click on it.

In Edit or Object Mode:

Select all objects = Click the A Key (when nothing else is selected).

Deselect an object/all objects = Click the A Key (when you have something selected).

How do I delete a Blender object?

In Object Mode, select the object (right-click) and press the X key. Choose Delete.

In Edit Mode, this changes! It gets much more complex…

Don’t worry about this right now. I wanted to mention it because this will come in handy later! 🙂

Oops, I made a mistake!

Ctrl+Z = Undo last action

Ctrl+Shift+Z = Redo the undo

Ctrl+Alt+Z = Pull up a history of actions

How do I resize a Blender object?

Here’s where something is trickier than it needs to be.

To scale the whole object:

  1. With the object selected in Edit Mode, press the S key.
  2. Drag the mouse outward to make it bigger or inward to make it smaller.
  3. Left-click on the object when you’ve made it the size you want.

To resize along an axis: 

  1. With the object selected in Edit Mode, press the S key.
  2. Press the letter key corresponding to the axis you want to size along:
    1. To resize along the X axis press the X key.
    2. To resize along the Y axis press the Y key.
    3. To resize along the Z axis press the Z key.
  3. Drag the mouse outward to make it bigger or inward to make it smaller.
  4. Left-click on the object when you’ve made it the size you want.

I find this way wonky, and not very precise… though it does what it’s supposed to do. I use a different method that feels a lot more like working with prims in Second Life!

Selecting Faces, Edges and Vertex

Okay, this is where building for me really started to take off. This is all directly related to resizing and shaping your object (I’ll show you), and is the key to getting stuff done.

When you’re in Edit Mode, there’s a little menu to the right of it that allows you to select a Vertex, Edge or Face of your object.

Right-click with any of these active to select the part of your object. I didn’t mess much with the vertex, so I’m going to talk mostly about edges and faces.

Here, I have the top face of the cube selected.

Here I have the right edge of the cube selected (in white).

You can select more than one face or edge by holding down the Shift key and right-clicking on multiple faces or edges. Here I have several edges selected

Now with that introduced, let me show you how I like to build and resize.

My Noob Method

Rather than messing around with that whole S key business (unless I want to scale up the whole object), I select a face of the object, much like you’d do in Second Life, and use the handles to resize the object.

Here, I’ve made the cube more flat by selecting the to face and using the blue handle to push the top downward.

Now I’ve made it even smaller, by selecting the front face of the cube and using the red handle to move it inward.

And using this technique, I was able to eventually build the outside walls of what will become my first mesh house.

This is just a rough draft, and a noob try, but not bad after one day of stumbling through learning the program!

I’ll talk more about how to cut out the windows and doors and more advanced things like that in the next post. But for now, you have the basics of working with shapes. Get to it! 🙂

Other Posts in This Series

Posted in Second Life

Expansion: Riverwalk Mountain View Pets

About two weeks ago, I re-entered Second Life as a land owner, thanks to the changes to Mainland ownership for premium members. After doing a long search for a place to live, I settled down on a 1024 next to Riverwalk in Gandymede. I bought the plot for a steal of a price, and the seller remained on a 1024 lot right next door. I never had any contact with the guy, but I tried my best to keep my land looking somewhat  similar to the theme him and the other neighbor behind me already had.

It was a somewhat narrow fit, and a bit of a pain to build on because it was a hilly slope. I ended up with something that looked like this:

I had planned on adding trees and other things, but never got around to doing it. Because of the hill, I didn’t have room to place my kitty shop on the ground level, and put it in a little skybox instead.

Despite my efforts to keep the place looking fairly consistent, the guy next door still slapped up ban lines around his plot, which was a bit annoying. I didn’t mess with his stuff or poke my nose on his land. I also didn’t ever see him there. Same for the neighbor who owned the tiny lot behind me.

Well, all of that changed this weekend. I think it was late night on Thursday when I noticed that the ban lines were gone next door… and so was all of my neighbor’s stuff. He’d put that lot up for sale, too.

A few things ran through my mind about this — namely, getting someone who wasn’t as quiet moving in next door. 1024 land is getting snatched up right and left due to the changes to premium. This lot was a tad more expensive than what I paid, but still not bad for legacy land. I knew I could buy it and merge it with my own, and then I’d have a bit of flat land along with the hill… and a whole lot more prims to work with.

I considered it a whole 3 minutes before I pulled the trigger, and now I have quite a bit more land to decorate!

I was able to not only bring my pet shop down to ground level, but place a small house for myself, a hangout for my friends, build a waterfall and a pond, and place a campsite and gazebo outside.

Work in Progress Pics

I added a mountain path pre-built piece, where I could place buildings, such as the Hangout and my shop. This helped with the issue I had where the slopes and hills were preventing me from using the land well. Along the side of the tallest cliff, I built the waterfall.

On the back side of this, next to the Hangout, I put the little camp site for outside recreation.

I made some nifty neon signs for our Hangout. Inside, we have a TV, some lounging chairs, a playable Tetris arcade game and the golden throne. 🙂

Some fireworks over the Hangout.

The next day we had a zombie invasion at the Hangout, but I had my sheep gun ready to fend them off! While riding a giant Peep. Don’t ask.

And yet more fireworks, in front of my shop.

Yesterday I noticed that the neighbor who owned the tiny bit of land behind my place (whom I’ve never once seen there), abandoned that tiny piece of land. So that means the entire mountain behind me is now completely abandoned.

I never like to see land abandoned in SL. However, the upside is that everything there is somewhat “protected” for a while… unless these pieces of land go to auction. We all know how often that happens. This land in particular isn’t easy to build on due to the slopes. And the ground covering being mountain will probably keep folks away from wanting it much (I used a prim mapper to make my ground cover grassy rather than stone).

So, for now, it looks like my Riverwalk Mountain View will remain quiet and peaceful.