Today, I decided to put on a little black cocktail dress to visit the Particle Laboratory. This is one of the must-see places in Second Life. Just like the Ivory Tower Library of Primitives, the Particle Laboratory shows you what can be done with SL particles. Particles are temporary prims. A prim with the proper scripts can spit out these temporary prims :) These temporary prims can move, change colors, change transparency, and even be textured. So anything that blings, explodes, swirls, poofs, or fogs up is probably a particle effect in Second Life.
The Particle Laboratory is HUGH!. You can spend a few minutes here, or hours if you really want to go through all the displays.
You take these scary (high-speed!) balloon rides between different areas. When you get to your destination, it all ends in one big puff of smoke (its a particle effect, of course) *cough* *cough* :P To get here, Search for "Particle Laboratory" under Places. Teal (180,74,21).
So what do you think about my little black dress? :) Its the basic design found in just about every woman's closet, except this one has the little pink ribbons in front. The bow on the pink ribbon is actually a prim attachment.
This is a one-piece dress, which is pretty tricky: The SL skirt does not join seamlessly with the shirt. It pops out slightly. Thats why I wear a prim belt on almost all of my outfits (to hide this seam and to separate the shirt design from the skirt). But I didnt want to use a prim belt here: it would ruin the lines of the little black dress.
So I am actually wearing an SL shirt and a pair of SL shorts (pants). Shirts join more closely to pants. Unfortunately, it still leaves a small seam. So I covered this up with an SL jacket. The prim skirt pleating makes the bottom of the dress look like a dress instead of a pair of shorts. It may not look like it, but I am wearing a shirt, pants, jacket, and underwear, not to mention all the prim attachments on this little black dress! :)
And what goes with a little black dress? Pearls, of course. So I turned on my Necklace Generator and (after a few dozen tries :P) got a string of pearls! You can find the Necklace Generator, along with a lot of other cool scripts and tools, at Ariane Brodie's Second Life Tips and Scripts.
So in Creating Cloths Part 1 we talked about how to create and upload a texture map and turn it into a piece of clothing you can wear. Today, Ill show you how I made the texture maps for the little black dress Im wearing. :)
For most designs, I use one or more fabric textures. Each of these textures are basically a 512x512 pixel Photoshop file. But as noted in Part 1, 512x512 is not a lot of pixels for details. So I often create a texture at higher resolution, say 2048x2048 or 4096x4096 and shrink the texture to 512x512.
The little black dress used only one texture: this nearly black texture gives the fabric some character, instead of just being pure black or dark grey. Specifically, I created a blank picture with 4096x4096 and filled it with black. Then I went to Filter/Noise/Add Noise... and selected Amount = 25%, Uniform Distribution, checked Monochromatic, and clicked OK. Next, I went to Filter/Blur/Gaussian Blur... and selected Radius = 3.0 pixels and clicked OK. Finally, I went to Image/Image Size... and Changed the Width/Height to 512 pixels.
Just for giggles, I create a completely opaque Alpha Channel (Ctrl-A to select everything, Click on Channels tab on lower right window, and click on the button with the white circle in the grey rectangle).
I saved this texture as a Targa (or .tga) file. This file is ready for use as the texture for the pleatings, for the shorts (pants), and underwear. These items do not have special cuts or details. So you can upload the first Targa texture file at this point.
The top part of the outfit, which will require a shirt and a jacket (to hide the seams), will require a special texture map file for 2 reasons: First, I wanted a nice, precise neck and sleeve cutout (instead of the uneven ones from the Appearance Menu). Second, I wanted pink ribbons! :)
So I made a copy of Robin Wood's template for the "top" and opened it in Photoshop. I created a new layer called "neck". I drew 2 ellipses (one at a time) around the neck using the Elliptical Marquee Tool. I filled both of these ellipses with white (doesnt really matter the color).
I created another new layer called "body". I then used the Polygonal Lasso Tool to mark the front and back parts of the body, leaving out the arms at the bottom. Once the polygon is complete, I filled it with black (again, doesnt really matter the color).
I make sure that the "body" layer is selected. I then press "Ctrl" and click on the picture in the "neck" layer to select the 2 ellipses in the "neck" layer. Make sure that the "body" layer is selected. Then select Edit/Clear. Finally, hide the "neck" layer (click on the eyeball next to the "neck" layer).
You should see the basic shape of the dress top emerging. I generally stop at this point and do a test save to check the seam joints and general shape using the SL texture upload's preview window. This is a good time to fix any shape-related problems.
Next, we want to apply the fabric texture we created above to the dress top. Open the fabric texture file in Photoshop. Select the texture and copy it to the clipboard (Select/All and Edit/Copy). Next, go back to the dress top. Create a new layer named "fabric". Paste the texture from the clipboard to the "fabric" layer (Edit/Paste).
Make sure the "fabric" layer is selected. Press "Ctrl" and click on the picture in the "body" layer to select the dress shape. Make sure that the "fabric" layer is selected. Create a new layer named "dress top". Paste the contents of the clipboard to the "dress top" layer (Edit/Paste). Hide the "body" and "fabric" layers.
Congratulations, you now have a little black dress ready to upload. But dont forget the pink ribbons! :) These are relatively simple: create a new layer called "ribbons". Be sure the "ribbons" layer is above the "dress top" layer. Use the Polygonal Lasso Tool to draw out the "X" shape for the ribbons and fill it with pink.
So there it is. The dress is ready to go. Just a few final details. First, dont forget the Alpha Channel! Press "Ctrl" and click on the picture in the "dress top" layer to select dress shape. Click on Channels tab on lower right window, and click on the button with the white circle in the grey rectangle.
Now, you are ready to turn off all the "guide" layers. Hide all layers except the "dress top" and "ribbons" layers. This will make the template go away.
One more optional thing: You might want to create a layer below the "dress top" layer and fill it with a flesh-tone color. This prevents the greyish halo around edges.
Finally, save the file. I would recommend saving as both a Photoshop file (so you can come back and fix things), and as a Targa (.tga) file for uploading.
So go ahead and upload the texture files and create the clothing items based on these files!
When you are done, you should have a ready-to-wear little black dress! Hope this doesnt get ruined by the particle water sprinklers! ;P