Wednesday, August 24, 2011

« There's Advertising Deals for Ads on New World Notes | Main | Beautiful Second Life Machinima Inspired by Snowcrash & Thoughts on Humans & Being Virtual »

How to Create SL Mesh Objects with Google Sketchup

Now that mesh is available gridwide, this looks like an especially useful tutorial for creating and importing mesh objects for Second Life in Google Sketchup:

There's advantages with using Google Sketchup, versus other 3D building tools: It's free, for one thing, and looks much more user friendly then most other 3D modeling software platforms. (Experienced modelers, correct me if I'm wrong on this point.) My favorite part of the video happens around 4:50, where the mesh goes from Sketchup to SL:

Google Sketchup to SL Mesh

As you can see in the demo, there's a lot of dynamic customization (size, texturing, and so on) that you can do with the mesh object once it's in SL. When mesh for Second Life was announced a couple years ago, there was a fair amount of talk that the offline building tools needed to make mesh would dilute the magic of dynamic, collaborative creation in SL, one of the world's most distinguishing features. But even if we see less prim-based, prim-by-prim building, I think we'll still see a lot of dynamic building in-world with mesh.

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d8341bf74053ef014e8aeaaf41970d

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference How to Create SL Mesh Objects with Google Sketchup:

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Inara Pey

Runitai Linden had this to say bout SketchUp at SLCC, during The Future of Mesh presentation:

"We have a list of applications we test against. Blender ... we wanna make sure we're compatible with Wings3D ... and 3D Studio and Maya because they're the big players from Autodesk. ... and Zebra.

"You'll notice that I didn't say SketchUp, and that's intentional. SketchUp's exporter creates content that just isn't very efficient for the Second Life importer. You end up with a lot of very, very small meshes, and there's a lot of overhead in Second Life for each individual mesh object."

Just thought I'd let you know.

MaggieL

I've had a perfectly awful time trying to import meshes without crashing the viewer. Not ready for prime time.

Rusalka Writer

I ended up having to move a SketchUp piece into Blender to clean up the one zillion extra vertices and do proper texturing. The one test piece I took from SketchUp into SL was pretty simple, and imported in a bunch of random chunks. Not great, because SketchUp is a fun, easy, and— as you say— free program. There are still projects I'll consider starting in SketchUp (I use it in my woodworking projects and like it a great deal), but most of my SL mesh will be pure Blender.

Thadicus Caligari

You will find you will get lower PE meshes if you use the older V7 Sketchup and the import method that is on the SL Mesh Wiki.

Version 8 Sketchup export is not right as it makes that are stacked together. This causes higher total PE for the object.

Winter Ventura

Sadly, SketchUp fails when it comes to texturing. Assuming you can even get your mesh to import "in one piece" into SL.

Sketchup uses arbitrarily repeating textures in lieu of materials. These textures are things like "wood grain" or "brick wall". While similar tiling textures can be used in SL, the SL paradigm of "one texture = one face" can be difficult to pull off using SketchUp.

When you find the texture alignment tools in SketchUp, you'll find that they're extremely useable. (Sketchup is really easy to use). But if you attempt to "rotate" a texture on a given face, you're in for a nasty surprise.

Let's assume we have a cube with 6 sides. If you apply a single texture to all 6 sides, when you import that mesh, you will have "one face". that is to say, like a sculpt, one texture-able surface. In this case however, that texture will be applied to all 6 sides, in the same repeat and offset ratio as you had in sketchup. SO if you made your texture fill one face in SU, it will fill that side in SL as well. And any texture offsets, scaling, or rotating you apply to one side of the model in SL, will be applied to ALL sides using that same "texture group".

But when you rotate a texture on a face, like let's say you rotated one face 90 degrees, sketchup actually interprets that as a new material, and so it saves it as a secondary texturable surface. In short, when you get it into SL, you'll now have "2 textures" on the cube.

Now this sounds fine for a cube.. but the problem comes in if you're building a semi-complex object, with let's say 10 sides. Let's say you have a gradient texture, and you want it to align in certain ways on the mesh.

The max number of "faces" (textures) that a mesh in SL can have, is 8. So even if you're using the same texture over and over again, and just scaling and rotating it, it can unexpectedly create more than 8 faces in the mesh... resulting in the mesh uploading as "more than one part".

I am told that SketchUp 6 didn't do this, but honestly I haven't had the motivation to try it.

SketchUp was the ultimate dream modelling tool for SL mesh, since it makes 3d modelling as easy as using SL's building tools. Unfortunately Linden Lab decided not to expend any effort trying to understand SketchUp's quirks, and so we all must suffer.

Another important note:

If you're just going to use the default "color" materials in sketchup, thinking you'll get simple sides.. listen up.

The default color materials have EXTREMELY LOW REPEATS. Meaning that if you import a "white" object into SL, and try to apply a texture on it, it will look similar to how a prim looks with 0,0 texture repeats.

If you want to build objects in sketchup, be sure to assign some decent looking materials inside sketchup, or you'll pay the price L$ for uploading a nigh-untexture-able model.

Because of this, it seems that the best plan for sketchup fans may be to use sketchup to do the raw modelling, and them import that model into another program, like Blender, to do any texturing. Don't ask me how though, I haven't the faintest idea how to use Blender.

Arcadia Codesmith

I'm hoping to get a chance to mess with mesh this weekend.

I've been using the SoftImage Mod Tool to create sculpties. Mod Tool is powerful (especially for a freebie), but counterintuitive and slow.

I'd love to have an ingame function that takes a prim/sculpty linkset and reproduces it in mesh, with some optimization sliders for fine tuning.

Ciaran Laval

Are you sure Sketchup is free for commercial use? When I was looking at 3D modelling tools something I read suggested the later versions of Sketchup are only free for personal use, can't find the link right now but it's the reason I decided to only look at Blender.

Post a comment

This weblog only allows comments from registered users. To comment, please Sign In.