Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Making a Mesh: Uploading to #SL

It's great to hear so many of my friends dabbling in Mesh creation now. 
They are all levelling up into a world thats going to offer more creative choice in the near future with 3D printing starting to hype it up.

Some of my friends have expressed frustration with the SL mesh uploader, so i have decided to blog how i do it and what i know in order to perhaps make my friends lives easier. There is nothing worst than slaving over a model in Blender only for SL to spit some error message at you on the final hurdle.

Beta Grid
To start with get on the Beta-Grid 'Aditi'. When starting in mesh, it's not kool if your first 100 practices are gonna cost you your Linden Credits. Until you have got a feel for how to optimise the mesh to cost as little as possible with low Land impact.




Mesh Uploader Window
There are a few things the SL viewer needs to generate when uploading you .dae Collada file to the grid.

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1. Generate Levels Of Detail.
Each level should
be less detail than the
one above
As you move away from an object in SL, the further away you go the less detail you need to see because you are to far away. So 3D worlds and games use a system called 'Levels of Detail'. If you yourself are so far away that you can't see the object in detail then your computer need not waist valuable computing power to render all that detail so far away.

The first in the options tab is the Level of detail Generator. This is very important to how much Land Impact (prims) your mesh will cost/weigh. Proper Pro model creators will create and upload Levels of detail separately, but if you are like me an amateur self taught monkey then you will probably use the built in Levels of Detail Generator.

the LOD (levels of detail) options show four levels Lowest, Low, Medium & High. Each level has tabs of options, but the only options i change are the numbers on the end with the up and down tabs. The higher the number the more detail that level has. The lower the number the less detail and less computing power is needed to render it.

To better see changing a levels detail, click and change the 'Level of Detail Selection' button to the appropriate Level.

TIP FOR LOW LAND IMPACT: Select the Lowest Level of Detail in the LOD preview selection. now go to the Lowest level options and set the numbers to 0 (ZERO). The preview should show a small triangle. I always set the Lowest level of detail to 0. The reason for this i will explain in the next section XD.

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Go through the other levels options and adjust the numbers as you feel best. What will happen is in SL as people walk away from your uploaded object the Viewer will drop down through the layers. As you walk towards the object the SL Viewer will raise up through the layers until you are stood in front of the object seeing the highest level of detail.... hope this makes sense :-)


2. Physics.
Adding a Physical shape to your object is like adding another invisible level of detail and as with the Levels of detail, the more detailed your physics shape is the more it will ad to the final land Impact (prim count). Using the Physics Options Tab you can select one of the Levels of Detail to use as the basis for your objects Physical shape. Pro Model creators will probably make their own specialised Physics shape to upload.

I have not had much success with Mesh Physics. I'm still finding them a bit crazy in their outcomes so what i tend to do is set the Physics shape to use the lowest level of detail. This basically makes the object an almost NON Physical shape (phantom).

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TIP FOR LOW LAND IMPACT: Instead of making your mesh object an accurate Physics shape during uploading, use the lowest LOD as set in the previous TIP. "But I want my object to be physical!??", I use the old fashion PRIM. After uploading your low impact mesh you can link it to a normal SL PRIM with usually no additional Land Impact costs. Set the PRIM to 100% transparency and away yu go :)


IMPORTANT: Before moving on to the next section it is important that you remember after selecting your Physics shape to click 'ANALYSE'!


3. Upload Options.
In the Upload Options Tab there are some useful told for extra mesh fun such as Rigging and joints and... well stuff i don't totally understand yet. But the important thing for you is SCALE.

What ever the 3D modelling program you use, getting an idea of the scale of your object is tricky. When first trying mesh i would upload a t-shirt that was  big enough for King Kong or Godzilla.

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The Scale section shows what the in world dimensions will be in metres once uploaded to the grid. Very handy for keeping costs down as you do not want to upload an object unnecessarily huge at a high Linden Credit Cost only to then shrink it down.


4. Calculating and Uploading.
Finally you are ready to click that Calculate Weights & Fees button. It will take a few seconds to calculate before giving you a price and land impact as well as some very handy costs Download/Physics/Server.

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If you are happy with the calculation you can click upload and after a few seconds it should appear in your inventory.

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TIP FOR UPLOADING AGAIN: Not everyone knows this but every time you upload a new Mesh Object your SL viewer will automatically save a file on your desktop. This file called a .slm file stores all the configurations for the mesh file associated with it. 


This is handy if you uploaded a mesh perfectly on the beta Grid and want to upload the same object with the same settings onto the Main Grid.

WARNING: Although handy for re-uploading previous Mesh Objects, the .slm file can totally screw things up if you modified your object and saved under the same name. In cases like these all you need to do is simply click 'Clear settings & reset form'. 


So thats the basics. 
It is the way i have learnt to use the Mesh Uploader and there is a lot of stuff i still don't understand yet. I hope this helps my creative friends and anyone else who wants to get into mesh as it really is a levelUP in the creative game. Most of all i hope this allows you to have more fun experimenting XD.

Some other tips about Mesh once uploaded that i have learnt...

1. Changing the Size of the object changes the cost in Land impact (prim cost) dramatically.

2. You can change a mesh objects physics shape to be PRIM, Convex Hull or to NONE.  This changes how the physical shape interacts with the world and also dramatically changes the objects land Impact.

3. When making vehicles it's land impact will change dramatically as the object changes from a static object to a physical object. A way around this is to set your mesh objects Physics to NONE in the features tab of the Objects edit options.


1 comment:

Tepic said...

Thank you Loki, i will try this, with hopefully more success - though i think some of my problems are more to do with my incompetence combined with sl truculance! Perserverance required! hehehe