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With mesh, will you have to get smart in Blender or Maya or such to create clothes?

Myra Wildmist

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So I've been dabbling in making clothes and I think I have the idea of that down a little. But today I started watching the mesh videos. I don't know if I watched them all, but they did make me wonder about two things:

Is clothing creation the old way going to be obsolete, fast?

Should I spend time getting smart about Blender or something if I'm planning to make clothes?

I'm pretty comfortable in PS and Gimp, and I can still see where they'll be needed, but it seems I'm going to have to know a 3-D program, too. Am I wrong?


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Even now the majority of clothing makers augment their lineup with accessories made of prims or sculpts. Clothing making as we know it won't become obsolete, but with the advent of mesh the field of possibility will expand greatly. If you've been happy making clothes as just textures without prim accessories, that part won't change. As your skills develop it's natural to want to expand and try new things that a texture just won't do. From 2007 til now we've been able to use sculpted prims and that opened up a lot of possibliities with organic shapes such as collars, cuffs, etc for clothing. Sculpties take a bit of a learning curve and while they're definitely not going away (they're actually better at some shapes resource wise than a mesh) , the world of mesh will offer the next level of creative freedom and expression AND be easier for most people to get a handle on rather than struggling with sculpties. Basically the choice in how you create clothing was just broadened, that's all.

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It is very likely people will make clothing components (like a heel, or collar) from 3D models, and sell them with associated UV mapping.  They can then be textured by the buyer.  So I don't think it will be *required* to learn a 3D program, but if you want to make all your own parts, you might want to.

It is also likely that a combination of body shape, prims, sculpts, mesh, alpha layer, and tattoo layer will all be useful in making clothes.  Mesh will not take over everything because, for one thing, they are not flexible, and for another, they are single-sided (invisible from the back).

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Um, since clothes that are mesh will be attachable AND move with avatars, meaning they are a bit better than sculpties, I would invest a bit of time into learning all the basics of mesh, work up some materials and textures to add to a library so I can grab them when inspiration hits! Sculptie clothes bits are...well, sort of well known and some things worked out alright I guess...but this new collada file import is better, IMHO.

The reason I use blender is because in SL you see a lot of support for it and you can do animations (via the tentacolor websites file or any new one that might emerge due to blenders 2.5 changes), sculpts (via Domino Marama's Primstar 1.0 or newer 2.0), and also now SL's mesh import. So, I figure it is sort of there for whatever you want.

But I also have a philosophy of thinking "is this usable for anything else besides SL?" because I will hardly ever need the skills I might have developed when using prims lol. That is so NOT portable of a skill. Well, I like CG art. So duh, I can make neat scenes, sureal images or abstract art! Not only that, but I can make images for other endevours. I like to build things now and then, plus know a little about several things in RL that this might work to help me make visualizations ect.

On top of that, I might have fun making game mods, cars for other games ect. So, I say "hey you can use it for tonnes of stuff, so learn it!" BUT...if you really don't need it for anything other than a coat or a hat....I am not sure it is worth really digging into all blender can do.

But, lets face it that all 3D progs have methods that are similar. You select some set of verts, faces or edges and then move(translation), scale or rotate them/it. So, maybe you might like Art of ILlusion or AC3D? Maybe shape is good for you (wow, do they have .dae export...hhhm, I can't remember) and so on. Blender does cover sculpting style, vert, face, and edge extrusion and subsurfiicing style making. They have modifers and scripts to generate things. They have some NURBs stuff you can convert to mesh and export. It can bake materials, bake AO(ambient oclusion) maps and there are files to help you rig a full avatar.

Now, if you want market trends...wow, this is so difficult. But look at the market for normal texture only stuff. It has lots of holes filled, lots of happy customers and can easily serve a bazzillian more that might prefer them to mesh. So, you have less competition and a higher chance of gaining some ground if you fill a few popular holes that people search for. Which brings me to the post I wanted to make....wow, I forgot that...I need to go make that soon...yeah, um....well, I can't predict the market, I don't practice sooth saying...and, that is what it is.

Not to mention you can make animated texture frames via just animating a scene and rendering it, importing it into gimp and putting those frames into the order they need to be for SL's animated texture script function (it is easy) and you can also render stuff to use as textures!

Not only that, but it will make your hair thicker, increase your bust size by a whole cup and negotiate with you bankers for a 1.27% increase in interest....possibly this not true or even a rumour and may just be bad humour....but it is free, so you at least save a little bit AND that percent could be similar, compared to some 3D software! I mean, 3000USD is a big chunk of change for me to come buy. Plus, breast implants are about 5000usd these days, maybe cheaper in some south american towns (which I am totally worried about, if anyone does that...you need to be sure and make sure the docter is the same one and you have seen someone with the same operation, even in a richer country even! Heck, don't do it...I love you jsut the way you are!) and....well, you can put a down payment on a house in the USA, build a small safe hut in some countries and even drill a freaking well in others...heck, you might even have change for a goat for them to! Seriously, this is not as low a price as many thinks, 3000usd$ can do a lot!


Wowe...anyway....yeah, it might be worth it because the avatar file that is on the wiki is in .blend file format....this tells me there is a lead in SL for blender as we enter the "mesh era"

IWill ALL clothes makers make mesh clothes and leave all the old stuff cheap and useless? There is a possabillity that they might drop prices of older stuff and charge a bit for mesh. But the full perms mesh pack makers will make any style that becomes popular, this is a given. So, mesh might devalue after the first parts. Plus, some might suck at making decent stuff and might rely heavily on thier texture painting skills still. So, you migth be able to get more marketshare and then build a brand on that with mesh as a strength? Wow, this is all beyond me. I struggle wiht some basic tasks now and then, so I can't begin to predict what others do. I make items that are slow to make a bit, because of the amount of parts and scripting, sound and even little details like animation. Not ony that, but I do a tiny bit of R&D....well, much learning and searching out stuff to innovate from/with (LSL scripting mostly) and...well, clothes are totally all looks. So, if you can see mesh that looks better...then I would say, yeah it will end up displacing the regular old texture stuff. Prudeware is where I wanted to invest my time lol. All the skin tight stuff is covered! But, those big old blouses, period gear and so on might not be so well covered in sculpts AND this is betterthan sculpts! One thing though, flexi....no mesh flexi! Prims still come in handy!

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I started out as you, making texture clothing, back in 2005. I had been in SL since 2004 and decided I wanted to make clothing for the role play market niche. Then flex prims came along and made all my clothing obsolete. Everyone wanted flex prims! No problem, I took a deep breath, made new stuff and dumped all my old stuff. I look back at some of that old stuff now and laugh, and hide it where no-one can see it. My photoshop skills have come a long way since those early days!!

Then sculpties came along. It did not make all my old stuff obsolete, for some things work fine without sculpted parts. I bought some sculpted clothing part kits, but quickly decided I wanted more control and to be able to make custom sculpties for my clothing and other objects that I create. I started searching the web for "SL sculpt" and found Vlad Beornsen's blog, Shiny Life, and watched his excellent video tutorials on how to make sculpties with a program called ZBrush. I bought ZBrush, which is very good at organic shapes, detailing and texturing and dove in.

When the mesh beta opened up to everyone, I quickly realized that I needed more than ZBrush. I was unwilling to pay the high price of professional 3D modelling tools and decided to use Blender. Once again kind people of Second Life had made helpful tutorial videos for the rest of us, in this case Gaia Clary on her Machinimatrix website. She has a great Blender Primer there, as well as a good introduction to mesh and rigged mesh, which can be used for clothing that moves with the body. There are gazillions of free tutorials for Blender on the web, but my favourite series of video tutorials for Blender were made by "Canned Mushrooms," also known as Jason Welsh, who teaches Digital Art programs in college, including Photoshop, Blender, ZBrush, Maya, and more. He is a great teacher and not hard to listen to and watch.

Now you have everything you need in terms of resources to get started. You don't need ZBrush, Blender can do everything you need. You will need to invest a lot of time to watch the videos, try things out, and learn through trial and error, and you may or may not have that kind of time to invest with busy lives today.

If you don't want to invest that kind of time or do not have it, you will be able to buy mesh collars, vests and such I am sure to incorporate into your own designs.

Your skills will definitely NOT become obsolete. There will still be texture clothing parts and flex prims and sculpties used in clothing as well. Clothing that does not have mesh parts will still sell well if they are well crafted and marketed. Rigged mesh is nice, but has its drawbacks. It will be good for some things and not so good for other things.

I hope this helps.

I have been experimenting with mesh clothing. If you like, look at my blog where I posted pictures and some discussion of it: MyBlackRose

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Hi Myra,

I'm only a little bit further ahead than you (and I bet your photoshop skills are probably better than mine!).

Anyways here's my 2c. There is such a thing as "specialization of labor". You don't need to be a jack-of-all-trades.

Neither prims, nor textures nor sculpties nor flexi-prims will go away with the advent of mesh. There will still be need for all of them. The coming of sculpties and flexi-prims didn't eliminate the old painted-on-the-avatar texture clothing. On the contrary, there's nothing worse than a prim or a sculpty or a flexi-hair which is poorly textured.

That said it's really up to you what you decide to specialize in. Mesh will not wipe out anybody, it will expand the marketplace instead.

Currently as far as I understand it there are skin makers who are pure texture artists (skins are made out of three textures one for the head one for the body and one for the legs). You can still make clothing in the same way - pure texture clothing and there are still many artists offering excellent textured clothing (surf couture springs to mind here).

Additionally there are sculpted prim add-ons for clothing - sculpties are really just small meshes which are stitched together. If anything sculpties are *harder* to do than meshes in my opinion because of the stitching up part.

For shoes there is a need for both textures and sculpted prims.

For hair, hair is usually made of a combination of regular prims (contorted!!), sculpties and flexi-prims. Again there is a need for texture artists here as there is plenty of UGLY UGLY hair caused by poor texturing.

I'm no tarot-reader but I can imagine the first uses for meshes will be lower lag higher detailed replacements for multi-part sculpty linksets. So instead of having 120 sculpties to make a shoe you might have one mesh instead. Likewise for hair I suspect that instead of say 100 sculpties and 50 flexiprims we will see instead 1 mesh and 50 flexiprims.


In all cases there will still be need for good texture artists.


My 2c.


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