Modelling Sculpties (Blender 2.49)

abstract:The tutorial shows in easy steps, how to create an object with blender and export it as a sculptie map (UV-texture) for usage in OpenSim or any compatible online world. We assume, that you have basic knowledge about the blender user interface. But we still provide enough background information, so that even blender newbies can follow the process. The tutorial covers any recent blender-version up to release 2.49b. Note, that we not yet support blender release 2.5!

Important Note: Please take a minute to read the Tutorial license terms.

intended audience:

  • Creators of “sculpted prims” for OpenSim and similar environments
  • Blender noobs (no/low level skills)

prerequisites:

related tutorials from other sites:

  • none

Downloads:

Transcription

Welcome to our first blender tutorial. We want to show you how you can create sculpted prims for your online world by using blender. And besides this we will also show you how you can create surface textures for your sculpties.

We assume, that you have already downloaded blender and you got at least some experience with the

blender user interface. Furthermore we will assume that you use blender version 2.46 or newer (we recommend blender 2.49b)

Special thanks go to Amanda Levitsky who has provided a very good tutorial giving us a fair amount of
insight. But at the end it was the solution provided by Domino Marama, which we found the most convenient of all. Domino has created some very nicely working scripts and we are going to use them in this tutorial.

So let us begin by installing these scripts now. The scripts are available from domino’s website. The most recent version is available under the product name primstar
Note, that the most recent version of primstar has got a massively improved GUI. Unfortunately primstar faces some problems running on Mac OSX.

Once you have downloaded the zip file, you will have to extract the contained scripts to the blender scripts directory. If you are running on windows, this usualy can be found at

c://program files/blender foundation/blender/.blender/scripts

After you have installed the scripts, start blender and you can begin your sculpty art work right away. We have choosen to create a safety helmet which is very easy to make.

So we can concentrate on the technical part. We will use blenders plain and simple “out of the box” configuration in this tutorial. So let us first remove the default cube object by pressing ‘x’ and then click on, ‘erase selected objects’. Now we are ready to create a new object by clicking:

SPACE -> add -> mesh -> sculpt mesh.

A dialog opens where you can choose among 4 different sculptie types, namely sphere, torus , plane, and cylinder.

We recognize that a helmet is almost equal to the half of a sphere. So, here we go and begin our work with a full sphere, and then transform it until it looks like the desired result. We can make our life easy. Let us load a picture of our helmet. For this purpose click on

VIEW -> background image

A new dialog box opens. Here you verify that you want to “use background immage” . Now you can click on the upcoming load button, and select a background image from your hard disk. We have provided a picture of the helmet in this tutorial, so we are going to load it now.

Here it is. Let us now move and scale the object a bit.

Note, that a sculpted Prim always contains exactly 1024 vertices. Not less. and not more. Exactly 1024. The predefined sculptie shapes can in fact only be sculpted and bended but the mesh itself must be kept unchanged. But we will show you in a minute how to create a half sphere without changing the mesh topology. (remark: With Domino’s Script we have more freedom, since his algorithm automatically creates the correct sculptie maps, even if the source object has got “a wrong mesh”. We do not know the exact implications of this, so we will investigate this in our next tutorial)

Our object is currently seen from the top. Let us change this so that we can see the sphere from the front. This is achieved by clicking on

VIEW -> front.

Maybe it is time for a little more practical information about the blender user interface. You can select all vertices by pressing “a”, on the keyboard.

  • Pressing “s”, enables scaling up and down, in parallel to the mouse movement.
  • When all vertices of an object are selected, you can move the object by pressing “g”. The object then follows your mouse movement.
  • Stop moving by clicking the left mouse key.

Now we will take care of the lower half of the sphere. I will select proportional editing using the “connected” mode. This will move all selected vertices plus all vertices which are nearby.
Please check that you also have disabled the button, “limit selection to visible”.

Now i select some of the vertices at the bottom of the sphere and move them straight up, using the keyboard keys: g z .

I can change the deformation range with the page up, and page down keys. Do you see \stress=yes how the sphere gets deformed?

Now it already looks like a cap. We will make a few more changes until the helmet shape is finished.

  • You also can limit the scaling to one axis only. If you want to scale horizontal, press: “s”, followed by “x”, which constraints the scaling to the x-axis.
  • If you want to move the object along the x-axis, use the key “g”, followed by “x”.

You see here, how all these functions operate in concert.

  • By pressing “b”, you can select only one, or a few vertices. You will click the left mouse button, and hold it down, while dragging over the screen.
  • Remember: if proportional edit mode is on, moving the selected vertices

will also move all connected neighbours. The range of influence is controlled
with the page up, and page down buttons.

In a few moments we will have finished the sculpted prim. Then follows, what people normally find to be the most complex part in sculpty production: rendering the UV texture.
We promise, it has become very easy now. It is only one additional click away. Honestly. But we want to give you some more usefull details before.

since we are going to work with UV maps now, it is a good idea to also open the UV-image editor. We show you how to create a split screen, so we can see the UV map and our object at the same time.
This will become very handsome in the next part of the tutorial, but hold on.

  • First move your mouse button to the upper part of the screen until you see a double headed arrow key.
  • After pressing the right mouse button a small window appears.
  • Select “split area”. a vertical line appears and follows your mouse movement.
  • move the line around until you have found your preferred split point,
  • then click the left mouse button.
  • Now you see two windows showing the same content.
  • In the right window go to the “window type selector” and choose the UV image editor.

And now comes the magic part. Go to

Render -> “bake SL sculpties”.

Your sculpty map appears in the right side window. You can scale it up a bit to see some more details.
And now finally open the image sub-menu and save your map to your hard drive.

Now it is time to inspect the just created sculpty in your online world. Be sure you use lossless compression, Otherwise your sculpted prim might look a bit broken.

Please send us your feedback to the SL forum at http://forums.secondlife.com/showthread.php?t=257428 .

Thank you for reading,

The Machinimatrix

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Sites That Link to this Post

  1. Programe pentru sculpties | Diana Lanfier's Blog | September 9, 2010
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  2. Gaia Rossini says:

    Hello Gaia ,

    I dont know if it is my pc but the video is not available.

    It says : “woops. Missing ember param : file “

    • Gaia Clary says:

      everything seems ok here. The message you report does not come from the machinimatrix website… Have you tried with another computer and/or with another browser ? you need javascript and a newer flash version, but the web page normally whould tell you if that where the problem…

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