Materials - Mesh - Modding

This is more than a simple fashion and design post, but let's get all those new release things mentioned first.

My outfit is a complete (includes glasses and necklace [not worn]) outfit from SLX called Bum. Comfy and casual, it is great wear around the house attire.

I went shopping Tuesday eve, mostly for MOSP -- but a little for myself too. Now I bet you have seen this sign in some fashion posts of late. Too cute and too inexpensive to resist, I got one too. The ohsofitting "closet" is perfect for my warehouse loft. What else would a gal use?

The Toronto closet features three choices of wood finish. Find both items at BAZAR at The Home Show. 

And here's my segue -----

The closet is mod - the closet is mesh. For those of you that might not know how, here's how to tint mesh.

Click the photo for a larger version.

It is really fairly simple. You use "Select Face" or possibly "Select Texture" depending on your viewer and go from there.

Now all mesh is not created equally or in the same manner. Each designer has a plan; what works for them, what they think is the best way to make their designs.

Some items are actually link sets, meaning that you can UNLINK the pieces if needed. Some mesh will have only one texture for the build, some will have several. Let's look at the Toronto closet as an example.

I'll skip the techie part here and just show you how you could adapt this lovely piece to coordinate with your home.

Open the build menu, go to the texture tab and choose "Select Face".
Click on the item whose texture you want to change -- in this case I clicked on the boxes on the top shelf. If you look closely in the TEXTURE pane of the Texture tab you will see that the texture for the boxes is "only" for the boxes. You can tint the color of the boxes easily using the Color pane. I made mine a goldish color for this example.

Clicking on other parts of the build will show the textures used on those parts. Some may be for a single part of the build, some may have various items all on the same map. This all depends on the choices of the designer. BUT it is good to know that you can often tint sections of a item to your liking.

You could in SOME cases replace the texture of an item (let's say a pillow) with one of your textures. BUT, you will lose the subtle ambient shadows that are most likely a part of the original texture.

Click for a larger photo.

As I type this, materials have recently come to the Second Life grid. The official viewer is the only one that I know of able to see materials, but there may be some other third party viewers that include the new feature. Firestorm does not.

Even if you don't build, even if you don't mod your items, materials will have an effect on your world once you can see them.

I am very excited about the new map additions, but there are things to watch out for and as consumers (of modifiable objects) that you need to know.

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I spent a good portion of the morning looking at my in progress build in all kinds of light. Now that wasn't my PLAN you understand, but when I logged in on the Linden viewer to upload some more parts of my structure I was met with super shiny OMG what is that-ness. Not good. SO not good.

There are a couple of threads on the forums that relate to this. I can't really call it an "issue" any more than I can call having a choice of our skies and water settings is one. I definitely don't want to give up Windlight and I don't want to give up materials in our future. They ARE however very dependent on our personal settings.

There is no perfect answer that I can see, but there is something that will HELP. Yep, it's that mod thing. I am a big proponent of the ability to modify after the sale. While I will by items that are no mod, I am less likely to for many reasons. As materials move across the grid the ability to make changes will become even more important. Here's why.

If, as a consumer, you have the ability to work with the build menu and adjust the new features (normal maps replacing the generic "bump" choices and specular maps replacing the generic "shine"), then you can make changes as needed to go with your default lighting.

You can see by the photo that there are special choices for specular maps. I tried a variety of my favorite Windlight settings (not so easy on the LL viewer *wink*) to see how my build might look. I wasn't happy. In THIS CASE, I found that making the specular light gray rather than white helped across a range of light settings. I also adjusted the other perimeters to work with as many lighting types as I could.

One way around all this is simply not to use specular maps. But, they give so much definition (sometimes) that it would be a shame to relegate them to the unused features drawer.

So, as we move into a new era, keep this in mind. If you see a build that you love that doesn't look great with your Windlight setting AND it is mod, you can most likely fix the issue. My personal plan is to sell items with both materials and without and MOD of course. It is actually possible to turn off the normal and specular maps on a per material (texture face) basis if you have modify rights.

Just like with mesh we are bound to see some items that are not so good as we all struggle to incorporate new skills into our building sets.

Skin: Akeruka Manuela Tan MK4
Hair: Dura from Fashion for Life
Poses by: Diesel Works