Mesh Studio Building Tips--Resizing & Texuring

Mesh Studio Building Tips

I wanted to offer up a couple of quick tips (okay maybe not so quick)  for things I have come across using Mesh Studio you might find useful. These may be things you already know or, they may not. I hope you find them useful. 
 

Stay Educated

Have you ever tried to re-size a sculpted item and thought OMG this looks awful and will never work?  You may have ended up tossing the item and/or cursing the sculpt creator?  Well the same thing can occur when you re-size mesh.  It is an inherent quality of both sculpts and mesh re-sizing from the original size an item was created at could distort the final product.

Can this distortion be fixed? How do we fix it?  Yes, with a little thought and ingenuity we can avoid some of the odd visual messes, although some we cannot.

Our first line of defense is AWARENESS.  

I can't stress this enough....keep yourself informed!  Be aware how sculpts and mesh operate, each has its' limitations, and how it acts when resizing.  Being aware will save you many many hours in labor and frustration not to mention Lindens. 

Becoming Educated?

Don't know where to start?  Try Eleanora Newell's Mesh Studio Virtual-A blog on using Mesh Studio to build mesh in a virtual world...listening and asking your questions in Sweet Meshes groups...even reading the Creator's forums on the Second Life website can provide you with valuable information to help you with mesh creation.  Also, try Googling for information on Mesh Studio but, do not limit yourself to searching for Mesh Studio alone.  Look at other articles or videos related to mesh. 

Also, Test, Test, Test...your meshes before you spend the Lindens and upload.  Use the SL Beta Grid and do your testing for free (you will need to take the mesh quiz for Beta Grid as well).  Testing on the beta grid will allow you to discover problems you may not have seen or thought of when making your mesh.  This will also include texturing problems. 

Being aware of issues allows us to take steps to resolve possible problems from the beginning of our project  and not wait to find something doesn't work right in the middle or at the end of a project.  If we are aware from the start, we can take precautions  when we create our mesh, which may help to avoid, down play, or find a workaround solution for our finished product.


Mesh In-World

So we have our mesh made, upload it, rezzed it and find out that upon re-sizing on one of the axis makes it look distorted.   What do we do now?   

Try taking the object back to the original size (in edit mode, Ctrl-Z will take you back a certain number of steps) and incrementally in small steps, make the mesh larger/smaller.  For those re-sizing on a single axis, this might be the easiest solution for you.   It may still have some distortion, but won't be as noticeable if you re-size in very small steps.  But, you will have to decide what is and is not acceptable.

Proportional Resizing

Another option would be to try to re-size the mesh object using proportional re-sizing.  What do I mean by re-sizing proportionally? I mean you would re-size the object by the same amount on the X & Y axis, possibly on the Z axis as well, instead of on a single axis.  Some times adjusting on the X & Y  axis a similar amounts may be  an acceptable solution for many problems.  

The easiest way to do this is in edit mode, is tick the "Stretch Both Sides" box (option may be different in non-Firestorm Viewers) , then adjust the same amount on all pertinent axis.  Or, you can re-size using the  "white square boxes" in one of the corners and stretch up or down as needed. Note...this will effect all 3 axis so you may need to adjust one or more of the axis individually.    

NOTE--When making mesh larger, make sure you check your land impact amount.  Depending on the resolution and size of the mesh, large re-sizes could pack a wallop in increased prim usage. 


What Is This Crazy Woman Talking About????

Noooo....I am not crazy....okay maybe a little.  Is every one lost?  Let me see if I can explain in better terms by showing you a project I was working on that caused me to offer up these tips.

Example

Case in point...fence resizing. (See Photo Below). 

This is a fence I have been working on for a friend of mine for her farm.  If you have every tried to re-size a sculpt fence, who's optimum size was 5 meters long and you wanted to stretch it to 10 meters long, you will understand what  I am speaking of.

On the LEFT, is a 2.50 Meter fence built to the correct size and scale I wanted.  Notice the end posts.

While on the RIGHT,  you can see a copy of the 2.5 section, which I re-sized to 5.50 meters on the X axis only.  This fence portion is   a little over double the size of the original



Fence Top View

If you look at both photos, you will notice that while the planks look proportional to the original, the two end posts do not.  The two fence posts on the right appear to be much larger than those on the left. 

While this may not be a problem for some people, visually it can be distracting.  Some want things visually correct in their builds.  This seemingly small issue can quickly turn a great build to mediocre in nothing flat. 


Fence Front View
While the planks in the fence look fine when re-sized, I still had to do a bit of texture tweaking to accommodate for the stretching.  


Solutions?

I am sure there are other solutions to this dilemma others may use, but this is what I used to solve this problem. It was a little bit more  work and a bit more costly in upload fees, but it worked well for me and, my friend was very happy with it.


I created various size of fences...10 meters...5.50...4.0..2.0.  I made sure that the 10 meter fence was carefully textured BEFORE  I copied it.  Once copied, I decreased the distance between the posts, keeping the posts the same size while shorting the planks in between.  I tweaked the textures on each re-sized piece then re-meshed and uploaded to SL.

Now, I have pieces that will fit better in the space they need to fit, such as gates or in corners.  I also am able to re-size the various pieces a bit in case I need to go a bit smaller or larger.

Anyone else use any other solutions for this problem?
 

Texturing

There is a certain knack to texturing and shadowing with Mesh Studio.  We have, in Second Life, limitations of only being allowed to use 8 materials/textures for a mesh object.  Since Mesh Studio does not allow the option of making UV maps or ambient occlusion (AO/shadow maps) currently (have to do this in Blender or another 3rd party 3D modeling program), "faking" shadows on your mesh object can be pretty tricky at times. It really takes some planning on your part as a creator. 

 Using Pre-Made Textures

Since I am rather picky and want my customers to be satisfied with the final product, I try to plan ahead of time how an item will be textured.  I tend to use pre-made textures sold by a variety of creators rather than spend the time on making my own. By using pre-made textures, I can refer people wanting to change my creations to suit their needs to texture artists or help them find what they may need.  

So being old fashioned, I generally sketch out how I want things textured on paper and really look at how the final product will work...how the texture is/was applied...what I am going to use...the repeats...rotation, etc. Repeats and rotations can cause you some problems if you texture an item with one texture and someone uses a different one.  

Colorizing for Texture Faces

If you are using a single texture on multiple areas, BUT each area will be a different amount of repeats or rotation, you may want to add a color to it (Mesh Studio recognizes each different color as a different material/texture) and make these areas separate faces to be textured allowing for the user to adjust textures better on the final product.

Something else I have learned while texturing, be very careful if you use color increments  when trying to color different areas to create a different texture face on your mesh.  I used this method originally with gray for shading and shadow purposes on the created prims before meshing.  But, what I found is if I did not have dramatic differences (i.e. light gray, medium gray, dark gray) but small incremental differences, Mesh Studio did not always recognize the color differences making the areas one texture face.   I am assuming the same would go for other colors as well.  So, when planning/creating your individual texture faces, I strongly suggest you use colors and dramatic differences in shades of color.


Too Many Texture Faces...Now What

"Help!  I did what you said now I can mesh my prims because it says I have too many texture faces!"  

Go back over you object and look at it carefully.  

Do you really NEED all those separate faces? Can you do without one of your texture faces, combing it with another part of the object? Do you really need to make the underside of the object, most people will not see anyway, a separate face?

"Yes!  I need it all.  Now what?"

I think the best solution is see how you can make your single object into two or more objects to be meshed separately.   This will allow you more freedom in the number of textures you can use, the way a texture can be repeated or rotated, and if careful, it should not drive up your LI or prim costs.  Once the two or more objects are In-World texture accordingly, link your separate pieces, and when needed, change your child prims to none instead of convex hull. 


The End

Mesh Studio is a great easy to use product, but are many things to consider above and beyond just dropping the script into a bunch of linked prims.  It takes time and experience to learn all there is to learn.  I hope this information is useful to you. 

 



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