Friday, 4 July 2008

Textures in Second Life......Workshop 1

Well, not exactly a workshop, more some thoughts and opinions on the use of tex in SL.

As it is purely my opinion I will state my case without lots of maybes and perhapses, although generalisations have their faults and there is always an exception to any rule. I am not unaware of all the shades of grey that lie between the black and white of such broad statements.... and take them as read.

Why I Hate Phototex..... especially the freebies.

by phototex I mean textures that started life as a photograph of a RL object, Linden trees, wood, brickwalls...etc, the list is endless, and they are available free by their thousands. I believe they are the worst textures to use for many reasons...

1. Resolution.... .. we are used to seeing printed images at a resolution of 300, at least, in magazines, computer screens TV etc. Taking a photo at 330 and uploading to SL at 72 spoils the whole thing. They look shoddy, out of focus and grey. There are several reasons for this, and a number of tips I have.....

Why anyone in their right mind would WANT SL to look like RL is totally beyond me, and I will restrain myself from having a rant here and now. Suffice it to say that objects in RL age, that is.... nothing is new all the time.... wood, stone, etc, all look like they are ageing in RL and this give an aura of reality to RL....... which is seldom recreated in SL. Also no two bricks, stones, pieces of wood or other commonly used tex are ever the same. As you will never achieve an authentic copy of RL, why try??

Tip a, if you have to use a phototex in SL, try the following... first open it in your Photoshop, or Gimp, whatever image manipulating software programme you use and see what it looks like at a resolution of 72, 512x512 pixels. OK, now maybe it doesnt look so bad on your screen, BUT, and this is the big but, you may be using it on at 10x10 meter prim. ZOOM IN. Zoom IN again. Looks crap doesn't it. Yes it does.

Tip b, so, enlarge your tex to 1024x1024, or if you are planning on a very big tex in SL (more about tex sizes later) 2048x2048 if you puter will take the strain. Try using fewer colurs, this can often be done by increasing the Contrast or Posterizing..... bepends on what you use. The idea is to get rid of as many greys as possible. This will also tend to accentuate areas of colour.

Tip c, experiment, experiment, experiment........ anything....Stroke, Fill, Invert, use all the different tools and gimmicks your programme has.

tip d, is quite simple.... the finished image, once you've played around with it should look good enough to hang on your wall, in your front room, or as a fabric for your clothing...... its NEVER gonna look better in SL if its even slightly dodgy in RL.

2. Surfaces

No surface in RL is as uniform as it is in SL. So any surface you take a photo of is gonna loose depth when transferred to SL. Shadows and nuances of texture get lost, Wood in SL isn't quite as bad as brickwork and stone, but very nearly, and the free textures or large collections of tex you can buy make very poor viewing on a flat SL surface. You may have more success on a bumpy or distorted surface, like clothing, or, best of all on a sculptie

3. Colour.

The human eye is capable of distinguishing an extremely large number of colours. Dont try to upload em all on one tex. The best effects can be had by using 16 to 64 colours in a tex, and like I said before.... see tip b.

4. The Transparent Prim.....

How poor is it to fly over Linden trees and flowers, and look down, when they are purely dodgy tex applied to a transparent prim or three in a cross or hexagonal plan???
Well, I think one of the ugliest things there are.

Why I Love Painted/ Photoshop Tex

Well, basically for all the reasons implied above.

Size of Texture.

512x512 is the norm for me. I use tga, or PNG personally, tho I have seen a video of one of the Lindens extolling the virtues of PNG.... I cant see the difference. Alpha texs are easier to do in PNG, cos you dont have to make another layer, just 'save as....PNG' and the transparent part of you tex get treated as alpha.

256x256... obviously faster to rezz, perfect for tex with few colours, few features or if used on small items.

1024x1024... for all tex thats gonna be applied to large items, its better to use a larger tex, obviously, but also for things that will be studied in close-up, where people are gonna zoom in..... in SL..... better use a larger tex and hope people are gonna be interested enough to wait for it to rezz.

Simple is great

Some of my best tex, some i use again and again are really very simple. Lots of things are easier to "read" i.e. to see and understand, if a simple tex is used, and this goes even further...... on very complex prims/objects a plain colour may be the best tex you can choose. Even better a tex with a gentle gradient from one tone to the next (Photoshop).... v cool.

ok thats enough for today, I got Wimbledon to watch, (I'm an addict)....will continue tomorrow, .....:)))
Maybe more about putting two tex on the same object...

No comments:

Post a Comment