BLENDER MESH JEWELRY FOR SECOND LIFE

After a year or so hiatus, I recently started getting back into creating things for Second Life.  Having remodeled my in-world store for my Plaine Jaine clothing line, I started working on new clothing items to sell both In-World and on Second Life (SL) Marketplace.  While working on a Winter garment package, I couldn't find the desired mesh jewelry components I needed to create some simple jewelry to go along with the clothing. What I needed was a very simple hoop earring, how hard can that be to create. Right? 

So, I went on a hunt for Blender tutorials, both on the web and on YouTube.  Imagine my surprise when I didn't really find anything for SL.  Oh sure, there are lots of jewelry videos on YouTube that showcase SL Merchant Jewelry, some sculpty jewelry making, or, how to make jewelry for the real world and/or 3D printing but nothing specific for Second Life.  I did find a video  by Torley Linden on how to make prim jewelry in-world, but nothing I needed that was specific for SL mesh jewelry creation.  It's not that you can't use these other videos to create jewelry, but I was looking for how to upload nano prim mesh (i.e. items smaller than the 0.01 meters Second Life allows).  

Not to be defeated, I decided how hard can it be?  So, I decided to play around and experiment with this project and see what I could do with it. It took me several tries to figure it out but it turned out fairly well. 

MATCHING HOOPED EARRINGS AND BEADED NECKLACE

NOT HALF BAD!

Now, don't get terribly excited, but I a going to show you how to create this very basic earring for SL using the using the Curve Tool in Blender. It is nothing fancy and the tutorial is more about how to get nano prims into SL for your jewelry crafting needs.  This is a very very basic tutorial and you WILL NEED to have some Blender experience

For this tutorial, I am using a Mac and Blender 2.75a but this will work with older and newer versions of Blender as well. 


SIZE & BOUNDING BOXES

Before we start on our Blender project, you need to understand the concept of Bounding Boxes.  For very tiny or, nano prims, we are going to have to fool the uploader, so to speak, that our object meets the size requirement of no object  smaller than 0.010 X 0.010 X 0.010 meters

If you are familiar with building and working with nano prims (really small sized prims) In-World, you know the minimum prim size we are allowed is 0.010 X 0.010 X 0.010 meters. Yes, this is pretty tiny but not always tiny enough for things like gems stones, settings, rings, hooks, etc. But...but...we can make them smaller than that In-World!   Well, yes and no.  We can torture our In-World prims to make the prims appear smaller by using Path Cut, Slice, Hollow, and Dimple; however, the actual size of the prim being tortured is still consider to be 0.010 X 0.010 X 0.010 meters.  Why is this?  It has to do with the prims' bounding box.

What is a bounding box? 

I am not an expert nor a techie person so I am going to explain this the way I understand concept as a creator.  If you want a better technical answer, you will need to  do a bit of Googling and read up on the subject. 

A bounding box is a geometry term that defines or, represents the points in space of the coordinates of X,Y, and Z.   It is a box cube shape enclosing the entire set of coordinates for X,Y, Z at it's furthest points. This box provides a boundary for these coordinates with a physical or collision impact definition (i.e. you can walk into the object but can't pass through it)

Every mesh object has a bounding box that encloses it.  It will depend on the composition of the object how close the bounding box is to the object.  I may be wrong here, because I am guessing, the bounding box wraps around an object is dependent on the software used to create the mesh and/or the parameters set by the software or gaming engine the object is being loaded into. 

Here are a few graphic examples I found on the web that may help explain this a bit better visually than I can in words.

This first example shows a full size cube at the bottom and on top of the cube a smaller rectangle. The green broken line around the cube represents this object's bound box. 

See how tightly the bounding box hugs the bottom cube?  As you go further up to the rectangle potion, the bounding box is further away from the rectangle. Since bounding boxes are mathematical calculations and the box has to contain the entire object, software it will calculate the size of bounding box according to the  furthest points on X,Y & Z coordinates of the object.  This ensures the object will be completely surrounded by the bounding box. This particular object is a single joined object.



Example 1
In example 2, we have a couple of different shapes...a cylinder and a couple of different rectangular shapes.  Unlike example 1, these 3 objects are not joined to make a single object; thus, each object has its' own bounding box.  Note the green solid lines around each of the objects.  

If the shapes had been joined, the bound box would be large enough to contain all three shapes.
Example 2


Each shape's bounding box will be based on a box or rectangular type shape enclosing it; however, some shapes, such as cylinders and spheres may have more empty space surrounding them like in example 3.  The same would go for joined or extruded objects or parts that are of varying size. In this sphere example the top, bottom and sides are touching the bounding box. Where it curves, those portions of the sphere are further away from the bounding box so it looks like space is wasted.
 
Example 3

Okay so back to discussing the 0.010 X 0.010 X 0.010 minimum size requirement for prims and mesh objects in SL.  

When we torture prims to make them smaller In-World, we are cutting away a part of the of the original material that makes up the (cube, cylinder, sphere) prims shapes.  Because Linden Labs has decided that 0.010 X 0.010 X 0.010 is the minimum size Second Life will accept, this translates into a bounding box that has to be a minimum of 0.010 X 0.010 X 0.010 to upload. 

Logic dictates that as long as our mesh object has a bounding box of the minimum size, any object within that bounding box, can be smaller than the bounding box itself it can be uploaded as mesh. So, in our case, I will be teaching you how you to make our jewelry piece meet the minimum uploadable to Second Life.

**If you do not understand about bounding boxes, please, please, please research it. This information is very important to understand when you are creating objects in Blender, Maya, or other 3D software applications if you intend to upload nano mesh to SL. 

MAKE A MESH HOOP EARRING USING BLENDER

To start, you need a blank scene in Blender, which should look something like this.  Please note, mine will look somewhat different because I am using the Science Lab them and a few addon. I very seldom use the timelime view so have changed it to be my UV Editor.


If your Tool Shelf is not open, while your mouse is hovering in the Viewport, hit T to toggle the Tool Shelf on and off.   Hit the letter N to toggle the N-Properties Panel off and on.

Since SL operates on meters, we are going to make sure we have our scene set up for meters.  On the far right Properties Panel, select the 3rd Icon on the right, which is for SCENE properties (is to the left of the round blue gem). 

Under UNITS, be sure METRIC is set and check SEPARATE UNITS.  This will activate the meters and centimeter subunits.


LET'S BEGIN OUR PROJECT


Shift C to Center your Cursor. It is important that your objects be centered.  

 Object Mode > ADD MESH > CURVE > CIRCLE.  


NOTE:  This Circle is currently NOT mesh; however, after we do some manipulations, we will turn it into a mesh object. 

You probably will not see it in the Viewport once added.  Hit 7 on your number pad to go into Top View to see the Circle, which looks like sorta like a single pencil line circle.  

TAB > Edit Mode. 

Your single line circle has grown some fuzzy parts! At each of the 4 cardinal points, you will see handles you can manipulate using the points in the middle and at each end. 

You may want to play around with these at a later time. How they move around takes some getting use to.




Let's continue Edit Mode > Properties Panel (far right of the Viewport) > Object Data icon (kinda looks like a backwards C with two points on the end) by clicking on it to open up a new set selection of choices.



We are going to change a few settings.  Locate the following and change the settings to what is listed. 

IF the panels are closed, just click on the arrow next to the name to open them. 

SHAPE 
  • Click 3D to make sure you are on the correct option
  • FILL change from Half to FULL
  • Check FILL DEFORMED (if it is not already checked by default) 
GEOMETRY
  • MODIFICATIONS:
    • OFFSET:  Leave at 0m
    • EXTRUDE: Change to 10cm
  • Bevel:
    • DEPTH: Change to .07cm
    • RESOLUTION: Change to 4 
All of the rest of the settings in the Object Data panel, leave as they are. 

Your Bezier Circle should now look similar to the following graphic.  Notice how Extrude has given it height and Depth has filled in the ring? Also, you will see our handles are still there, which we could manipulate to change the shape.  Something you may wish to try at your leisure along with the Modification and Bevel settings.




TAB back to OBJECT MODE so we can convert this to mesh.

Object Mode > Alt C >Select MESH from Curve. 

While we are still in Object Mode, 

Tools Shelf (T) > Tools Tab > Edit > Shading > Select Smooth > TAB to EDIT MODE.

Your earring, while not the most sophisticated or glamorous looking, is now a mesh object and can be edited and manipulated as normal. 




ADDING MATERIAL
We finished creating our ring and converted it to mesh.  Now, we need to mark the seams, unwrap it, and add a material to it  which will allow us to texture the earring In-World or make our own from the UV Map

Also, we need to do a simple unwrap and export a UV Map in case you want to create your own texture to apply In-World later on.   

This is NOT a full blown tutorial on how to unwrap or how to add textures via materials.  For such tutorials, check out Haven Ditko's YouTube Videos or others available on the subject. 

Edit Mode > Hit A to deselect All > Click Edge Select > Select the top edge loop of the ring. 

On the Tool Shelf (T) > Click on Shading/UV > Under UVs, click MARK SEAM > Hit A to Select All

Open a UV Editor Window.



After your seam is marked and you have selected ALL so ALL the earring is selected...if you don't have it ALL selected this next step won't work 

Hit U on your keyboard to UNWRAP. You will receive a new selection of choices, click on UNWRAP.

If you have ALL still selected, you can look in your UV Editor to see how it unwrapped. 

In the UV Editor, at the very bottom of that window, click on UVs > Export UV Layout and save it to our computer.  
   
Our next step is to add a material so you can add a texture to the earring In-World. 

Look at the earring and decide if you want 1 or more different materials to be added and select/highlight the faces. 

Go to the MATERIALS TAB (small yellow looking gem) and click on NEW.

It opens a new window, go to PREVIEW > Click DIFFUSE > CHOSE A COLOR > Hit Assign.  

Your earring is now 1 color.  If you want to add more, select the faces you want to add a different material too, click the + sign and ADD NEW then follow the above steps.  BE SURE TO HIT ASSIGN or a new material/color will not be added.

 I have selected 3 materials to be added to this earring object.



Not so hard right?  

Click back on the little camera in the properties panel then Hit N to open up the N Properties Panel.   Go to OBJECT MODE and look at the dimensions of our object.  Mine has X 2m 14cm, Y 2m 14cm, Z 34cm.  This way too big for an earring! 

OBJECT > S to scale > Watch SCALE in the N properties Window.  I scaled mine down to 0.006 on all axis. It is very tiny now.   

Optional Step
Since I have Avastar for making mesh clothing, I added it in so I could judge the scale of my earring with the SL AV.



I rotated the earring on the Y axis -90 and moved the earring to the ear of the model. Looks good!  Then I did Ctrl Z to go back to where I was before I added in the model to finish off this project. 

FINISHING THE EARRING
 While still in OBJECT MORE > SHIFT C to center the cursor > Add from the object menu > MESH > CUBE this cube...Dimensions is 2m X 2m X 2m so we need to scale this down quite a bit. 

Hit Z to go to wire frame, you should be able to see your earring centered inside the cube if you zoom in far enough. Hit Z again so we can work on the cube. 




Example 4-SL Cube

Now, remember our discussion of bounding boxes?  We are going to reduce out cube to the line you see in the above example.  BUT PLEASE NOTE, the line in the cube is going diagonally though the box. We need to keep this line as it is.  Why?  Because this line incorporates X, Y, and Z coordinates.  The best way I have found to keep this line intact and it's rotation is by merging the vertices. 

TAB to EDIT > Vertex Select > Select the Upper left front vert, Hold down Shift and Select the Lower left front vert.  Alt M to Merge and select LAST.  Do this with each of the vertices till you have only the Lower Left Front of the cube and the Upper Right back vertex of the cube.  There should be a line connecting the two.


While we could now down the earring and the line, it is very large.  When you attach the earring in world it will be at least 2 meters away from the earlobe.  To take care of this issue. We need to scale the line down. 

Return to Object Mode > Select the line > S to scale it down. Watch the scale and dimension size as you scale it down.  I changed my scale on ALL AXIS to 0.015. 

Now with the line still selected, hold down shift and right click to select the earring. I have found it works best to select the earring last and make it the parent. 

On the Tool Shelf > Tools > Join then SHIFT C to center the cursor. 

While still in OBJECT MODE, click on OBJECT in the menu, > Transform > Origin to Cursor.  This should make the center of this object the center where the cursor is. 

Now Export as a .dae file and upload to SL. I do not change any of the settings in the uploader.  This particular earring is a bit over 4 LI, which is not bad due to the curvy nature of the mesh 




While in inventory, ATTACH the earring onto one of the ears and rotate and scale as you see fit.  You may wish to take your hair off to do this. Add a texture to the mesh or recolor it for your project.  You can even add shininess to it.

Notice you DO NOT see the line with the two vertices?  SL doesn't see the line bits because it is so small but the verts and line spacing and angle gives the appropriate size bounding box to be uploadable. 

Jewelry is usually high in prims or, land impact.  If you must rezz it to work on it, be sure you have enough prims on the land you are working at to support your mesh.  Also, I suggest you rezz a big black box  if you must rezz your jewelry pieces in world so you can see it.


 RESOURCES:
The following resources may assist you when it comes to making your own mesh jewelry for Second Life.  Perhaps, you will make your own video tutorial and share with the rest of us. :-) 

Mesh Studio-The steps to "TRI" for nanos
http://meshstudiovirtual.blogspot.com/2012/10/the-steps-to-tri-for-nanos.html

Blender Reference Manual 2.76
https://www.blender.org/manual/modeling/curves/introduction.html

Tory Linden-How to make tiny prims - Second Life Video TuTORial
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m6XqQM9hgB0

Making Mesh Jewelry
https://community.secondlife.com/t5/Mesh/Making-mesh-jewelry-small/td-p/2671562


How to Make Tiny Prims - Jewelers Secrets Revealed 

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