Tuesday, August 20, 2013

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New Singularity Viewer Lets SL Creators Convert & Export Their Prim-Based Works to Unity 3D & Other Top Platforms

Everyone who's ever created prim-based objects in Second Life or OpenSim which are important to them (especially educators, developers, and other professionals), needs to read this blog post by ex-Linden Lab evangelist John "Pathfinder" Lester and watch the video below, both of which explain how to convert a prim-based object in Second Life or Opensim into a mesh object, and export it to your hard drive. This is seriously important for reasons he and I will explain below, but click Play below now to get the party started:

The latest update of the third party Singularity viewer (which you can download for free here) includes a killer feature which lets users export their prim-based creations from SL or OpenSim into Blender, Unity3D and other industry standard modeling applications and game engines. If it works as well as Pathfinder explains (and I have no reason to doubt that), this is a great solution for content creators who want to truly own the prim-based works they make in SL. (Instead of leaving them as data that only exists on Linden Lab's servers, which users don't own or control.)

Control isn't the only factor here, because commercial and audience viability is too -- the Unity 3D engine, for instance, has a much much larger userbase than Second Life. And for John Lester, who was Linden Lab's education evangelist, this Singularity viewer technology is a (relatively) easy way for folks like him to jump into this larger market:

SL Prim to Mesh tool

"One of the biggest barriers to entry for educators and immersive learning professionals exploring the world of Unity3d and other mesh-based virtual world platforms has been the difficulty in creating mesh-based content from scratch," as he explains it to me via e-mail. "It's still a huge challenge for beginners to learn to use programs like Blender and Maya. One thing SL really did right was to give people an intuitive and easy to learn 3D building environment using prims. Now that Singularity allows you to easily export your prim-based creations as mesh models, you have a brand new content creation workflow where people can log into SL (or fire up their own local Opensim sim on a stick), build quickly and easily in prims, and then save their creations as mesh models to then be used in any mesh-based virtual world platform. Of course there will always be some tweaking that people might want to do in a mesh editing program to optimize these exported mesh models (e.g., reducing triangles and deleting extra verticies). But the main point here is that people who love building in prims now have a great new way to get their content into other systems."

So there we go. And now here you should go, to John's blog post, and the Singularity site.

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Pussycat Catnap

Can't yet watch the video, but I assume this has blocks to prevent a person from downloading things other people made?

Which of course would also mean its not an 'inventory saving' feature, but as noted: a way to save your own creations.

But what about an item someone else made and gave you that has full open perms?

Hopefully will remember to watch the video tonight.

Ajax Manatiso

Holy moly. This is awesome. Another reason Singularity is my favorite viewer. And a great way to "save" your creations in an offline inventory. Also building in various other programs is a lot more tedious than in SL. I am thinking of Poser and Vue to name a couple of wavefront compatible programs.

nothowitworks

@Pussycat

Exporting an object in a viewer that is full perms but not one made by you is not allowed under the TPV agreement to my knowledge. It has to be something you made, explicitly.

Pussycat Catnap

I know its not allowed under the TPV agreement. But that doesn't stop a lot of content thieves. :)

At 3:40 into the video he notes you have to be both creator and owner. I'll assume that's coded in, and not just a reminder of legal obligations.

Arcadia Codesmith

Even if you have no plans to venture beyond the garden walls of SL, this is huge. The ability to convert prim objects to mesh is priceless.

Iggy

A wonderful development for educators who want more than SL offers. I've had more than a few say they like what Unity offers, but they did not wish to lose their creations or have to remake them.

Exporting to OpenSim content we developed in SL was possible under Imprudence, but it was very tricky.

Pussycat Catnap

@Arcadia: Agreed.

I doubt I'll use it myself as I cannot stand the 4-years obsolete V1 like user-interface.

But for those who can manage to find anything on that old mess, it should be very useful. Just watching him click through all those pie charts was nauseating for me... :) Not to mention needing a menu or something to link his objects? Ad the garish button colors, so 2000-and-late. :)

nothowitworks

@Pussycat

Obsolete? Hmm,simple and easy to use will never be obsolete. Singularity is head and shoulders above the rest>they said it 'wasn't possible' and now it's an innovative viewer. Gee, imagine that. You're just a subtle troll, but a troll just the same.

Pathfinder

From a human-computer interaction design perspective, pie menus totally rock. Of course everyone has their own personal UI preference, but the science behind things like Fitt's Law is pretty clear.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pie_menu#Comparison_with_other_interaction_techniques

Also, pie menus are an ideal UI design for fully immersive and gestural based 3d environments (i.e., what you need when designing for Oculus Rift).

Long Live Pie Menus! :)

Ajax Manatiso

I have no trouble using a viewer that has everything clearly laid out and unobtrusively outside the viewing margins. Pussycat, you gotta be trolling - your "complaints" don't hold water.

Nya

Pie Menu is nice, but has disadvantages though: it can contain only few items and you have to go through sub menus to get the rest, which is a further click away, while in the linear menu it pops out as your mouse cursor hovers it. Also introducing new menu items becomes more work for the developers, since they have to find a spot where to fit it.
Example I want to check the scripts inside an object (with Firestorm):

* Pie Menu: Right click, click "More", click "More" again, click "Scripts", click "Script info"

* Linear Menu: Right click, move to "Object" and click "Script info"

...which is also more intuitive and easier to find.
Also in V1 interface I miss a lot the address bar (among other things), that comes very handy when I copy and paste slurs from an hunt page, for example, and many in other circumstances. When I see people pasting SLURs in public chat as workaround... well, it is sad, beside the fact that you are using again more clicks than the necessary and all other people around you will know where you are going. I changed viewer many times and for a long period I kept switching from Phoenix and V2 and Firestorm and vice-versa. In general I liked V2/3 interface more (and probably it makes the life easier for newcomers too), but I understand that exigences may vary, and what is good for somebody isn't necessarily as good for anyone; also who is used to V1 and is not very elastic in adapting to changes (i.e. old people or impaired), has a further obstacle. I like Firestorm approach, that lets the user to choose what suits s/he better: V1 or V2 style or a mix between the twos. And it is good that viewers such as Singularity can exist, offering a further choice.

Wolf Baginski

I suspect that the copybot crowd will export content as prims, import it (the smart ones might have an open-sim instance) and then use Singularity-to-mesh.

More generally, some prim-heavy creations have a lot of faces that are simply not visible. If they're not removed from the converted mesh, the LI could be worse than for the original prim linkset.

My AV depends on some pre-sculpt attachments, and a mesh conversion is tempting, but I don't have the permissions to export. My look is part of what is me in Second Life, and a legal upgrade would change my look. It's the sort of thing which can make copybotting tempting.

(It's a special case of the problems with shapes. How do we preserve our faces if we need a specific shape for Mesh clothing?)

Pussycat Catnap

Trolling because you don't agree with me?

Ajax, your comment goes beyond stupidity.

The rest of the people, I can disagree with because they are intelligent, but you have sunken yourself to the level of a schoolyard child's argument...

Pathetic.


As for pie charts - that v1 UI is something pretty unusual in modern design. I find it alienating. Whether or not a few scientists have found it "better", its too different from the norms.

I find the v2/v3 UI simple and easy to use because it more closely resembles everyday software. Its still poor, but its leaps better than v1 was by virtue of being more in line what other things I encounter in my day to day experience.

A key aspect of good UI design is after all, familiarity.

But I still find the argument that pie charts make good UI flawed. Too many steps, too much eye movement involved. That's straight out bad design to require the eyes to rotate around looking for the user to find what they want. And to then need to keep moving and making 'gestures' to get anywhere... muscle taxing after enough repetition. If this was at all good design, you'd have seen it in things like FPS games, MMOs, and even MS Office. But you don't. Because it taxes a user after too much time dealing with it and visually lays out information in a way counter to how we have evolved to process it.

My comment about obsolete is simple: v1 was replaced in Feb 2010. That's almost 4 years... its obsolete. No longer officially supported. And now with SSB, no longer functional (as opposed to V3 with V1's UI hacked onto the top of it). That's a factual rather than judgmental statement.

Pussycat Catnap

Wolf: Does this really change anything for the copybot crowd? I've always assumed they had better tools anyway.

Seems a real value would just be for people that want to move things like their shop from SL to a popular Open Sim (InWorldz for example). For me the major hurdle of looking into something like InWorldz has been the lack of content from the specific content developers I like - namely good neko and furry creations.

I don't expect my specific list of them to change their stance, sadly, having listened to their reasons and felt they were more emotional ones than anything else...

But it may open up a world of potential for other content makers to be more agile between different 'worlds.'

Your note on Land Impact though is a good one... People might not get the benefits from this that they are hoping to get. I guess we'll see. Some mesh makers like Loki are currently experimenting with this, and I'm sure they will get around to commenting on how it compares to their other options.

nothowitworks

@Pussycat

Once again, I have to strongly disagree with what you've said. Specifically the 'hacked' viewer part.

A good example of a hacked together kludge viewer would have been the older Phoenix viewer in it's entirety. Singularity is coded, not hacked, to ensure that it runs everything properly. The people behind that project actually have an idea of what they are doing-which is why it works and is not really dependent upon whatever LL later decides to throw down the pipes.

The devs on the project have also committed many many lines of *original* code and not kludge. I think you try to know too much, without knowing anything in particular.

Ajax Manatiso

Pussycat - I also disagree with you very strongly but Im not into the SLU flaming so I will leave it at that. As for familiarity being part of good design, then the official viewer is bad design having veered way way off from 1.x I won't even discuss it's lack of usability for builders.

Seana Gearz has not only done an awesome job coding but has invited some stellar coders to contribute including Henri Beauchamp, taking time away from his own viewer. Support is also fantastic - she has actually come out to my sim to check on possible bugs I have noticed.

Singularity is clearly turning out to be the viewer to have, especially if you are a content creator. As a building tool it is far superior to anything else out there, and has lots of bells and whistles the other ones have left out.

Lirusaito

Y'know what's wonderful? When people don't actually look at an application before judging...

"Not to mention needing a menu or something to link his objects?"
There's a keyboard shortcut, and a button on the build floater, Pathfinder said he wasn't a builder, he's just not familiar with it all.
We even have a shortcut to toggle edit linked prims.

"Ad the garish button colors"
Singularity 1.8.1 released with an update to our massive skins package, if you don't like those colors (I certainly don't), just don't use that skin!

"When I see people pasting SLURs in public chat as workaround... well, it is sad, beside the fact that you are using again more clicks than the necessary and all other people around you will know where you are going."
Chatbar as commandline: /open [slurl]

Now, as for the piemenu issue.. I do see the point that piemenus are a little different to navigate, but if you know where you're going, it's a pretty quick motion, and technically, you could just give it a menu entry in one of the other menus by modifying menu_viewer.xml, and just select it and even press a keyboard shortcut, so there's not really much issue here.

Banba

.obj files can be converted to .stl for use on a 3-D printer. I would love to try and print some of the objects I created in Second Life on my Solidoodle. I already have Singularity viewer, so this is very exciting for me.

jorgental

i follow all steps in singularity but the viewer tell me that only 13/66 objects will be exported... why?
the object is mine and the object is a real sculpty object!!! please help me!!!

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