Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Day 51: Little Black Dress and Creating Clothes Part 2



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

53 comments:

Devon Fischer said...

Hi Natalia

Great info about making SL Clothing. Do you have anything on making flex/prim clothing. I have attempted this in the past but I'm struggling making things fit correctly, do you have any designer tips that could help me?
:-)

Marion Rickenbacker said...

Hi Natalia

Thanks so much for the information, I've been making notes from your blog of the places to visit when I get back. I love all your outfits, and feel very envious, as I'm new to SL and my freebie outfit looks dreadful compared to your pictures!
:-)

SLNatalia said...

Thank you for your comments, Devon and Marion! You are the first commentors ever!!!!! :) I am so glad someone is actually reading the blog and finding it useful :)

Great suggestion, Devon. I will write some entries about flexi clothing and jewelry items, like skirts, ribbons, necklaces, maybe even shoes. They are such a pain to fit, arent they? :P

Thank you, Marion, I appreciate the compliment! I am sure you look beautiful. And what is important is the right look for you and how it makes you feel! :) Some of my favorite clothing items are freebies. Im making a formal gown today based around a freebie corset. So have fun and play with it. Thats what SL is all about! :)

Ul Tyron said...

Hello Natalia, I found your blog while searching for SL clothing production in google. Your blog is very interesting to read and also very helpful. Thank you very much! :)

Deezy Abruzzo said...

Natalia,

I am an aspiring clothes designer and I appreciate you taking the time to explain the art there of. Keep on doin what your doin girl.
WOOT! WOOT!

Deezy

SLNatalia said...

Thanks for stopping by, Ul and Deezy! And please let me know if I could help answer any questions or if there is something I should write about :)

Take care, and have fun with making cloths! :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Natalia,
I was looking for instructions on creating clothing and finally found them here.
I read the rest of your blog too and it's great! Keep up the writing!

take care,

Greg Giotto

SLNatalia said...

Thanks Greg! I hope you found the instructions useful.

Have fun making cloths, especially for men! Theres not that much men's cloths around SL!

Anonymous said...

Not to be too nitpicky, but the word is "clothes," not "cloths." Cloths are rags and washcloths. Clothing items are clothes.

Sorry to sound overly critical because you're providing some great information, but you should be aware of that.

SLNatalia said...

Dear Anonymous, yep...thats definitely my bad :P Ive started spelling it as "clothes"...

But its a good point...let me update at least the title.

Thank you for bring that up! :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Natalia. Great info, but I'm confused about a couple of things and hope you can clarify.

In this entry, there are a couple of times you say to make sure you have one layer selected and then click in another layer. I don't think my software lets me work with two layers at once.

Probably the easiest way to ask this is, what is the purpose of these steps? Are you combing multiple layers into single layers as you go, which is what it sounds like? Or is this to accomplish something else?

Thanks for any help you can offer.

SLNatalia said...

Dear Anonymous, sorry about all the Photoshop-specific steps in these 2 tutorials!

There are steps in the tutorial where I select one layer, then Ctrl-click on another layer. This is Photoshop-specific for wanting to work in the first (selected) layer. The Ctrl-click selects the outline of a shape from the second layer.

For example, I would select the main layer for the dress. Then Ctrl-click the layer with the shape for the neckline. When I select Edit/Clear, this will cut a hole (in the shape of the neckline) in the select main layer for the dress.

Im thinking of showing this in a video or something! Again, sorry for being so confusing!

Anonymous said...

Hi Natalia. Thank you for your help, its great. I had not such an idea to build shoes and jewels before.
Just a little problem. I can create shirts for girls. But impossible to get it for the males. The result is really hugly. Does it exist a template for the men ? Or is it something i'v not really understood ?

SLNatalia said...

Dear Anonymous, both male and female AV's use the same clothing templates. So a male AV should be able to wear the same tops made for a female AV (although things stretch differently :P)

It is actually MUCH easier to make a T-Shirt for a guy. There is a great T-Shirt tutorial/template here: http://www.robinwood.com/Catalog/Technical/SL-Tuts/SLPages/RSWTShirtStart.html.

Dress shirts for men are particularly challenging... I wish I could give a simple answer, but Im trying to do one myself :) You can try using prim collars and ties...

Anonymous said...

Natalia, your special mix of blogging and tutorials is simply delightful. Thank you so much . I will spread the word to all the newbies (and not so new) I meet to come and have a look. huge hugs (if I may)

SLNatalia said...

Dear Anonymous, thank you! I appreciate the support :) *Hugs*

andrew C said...

NIce work real helpfull thanks
The items that you do make do you sell them because if you make this great stuff you could easily sell it.

Andrew

SLNatalia said...

Andrew, I do sell most of the newer dresses I make in my store (Sirena Fashions). It is challenging to make stuff to sell, versus just stuff to wear yourself. Definitely have to worry more about fitting :)

Jayden Robbiani said...

Hi im just wondering if anyone knows why the shirts when you make them for men come out short? like a belly shirt LOL, ive tried configuring them through different ways and it wont work. please help

SLNatalia said...

Jayden, the shirt layer ends just below the belly button. But it joins seamlessly with the pants layer. You can either continue the shirt using pants/underpants. Alternatively, if you have a long shirt, you can use a jacket item (which uses both the upper and lower texture maps).

Hope this helps :)

Jayden Robbiani said...

Would you happen to know where i can find a place to help me make wrinkles in the shirt?

SLNatalia said...

Jayden, there are a few places to go for wrinkles :)

1) I have a blog entry on wrinkles for an entire texture (with a link to a tutorial): http://slnatalia.blogspot.com/2006/12/day-88-vanity-in-new-orleans-and.html

2) In SecondStyle magazine #4 http://www.secondstyle.com/downloads/Second_Style_Issue4.pdf Starley Therian has a tutorial on drawing wrinkles

3) There are a few tutorials on drawing wrinkles in Deviantart.com

Hope this helps...

Anonymous said...

I think there is something wrong here, when I thy the "ctrl" click thing all I get is a "Warning no pixels were selected" Any idea why?

SLNatalia said...

Dear Anonymous, sorry, but this is one of my earlier attempts at explaining things and I wasnt that clear :P

Be sure that the proper layer is selected and that you are Ctrl-clicking on the "picture" of the layer in the Layers palette. Its possible that one of the items was drawn on a different layer.

I wrote a new Photoshop tutorial that is a bit clearer: http://slnatalia.blogspot.com/2007/04/day-195-creating-clothes-with-photoshop.html Its more of a step-by-step tutorial and hopefully easier to follow :)

Bynora said...

Hey Natalia
New to SL, found your site on Google & just wanted to drop you a note saying awesome job! Thanks for taking the time to help us newbs to see how things work :D

SLNatalia said...

Bynora, you are very welcome! Im glad these guides are helpful! Have fun in SL :)

jimboscookies said...

Awesome tuts. I have been trying to get the necklace generator to work. I've read the howto and can't get the script in the first prim to find the second prim named "test bead", the error is that it can't find it. What am I doing wrong.

Thanks VERY much.

SLNatalia said...

Jimboscookies, Ive never tried using scripts within a prim to make the necklaces...(actually, Ive never made necklaces that twist like that). You might want to try Ariane or the SL Forums...

I know Ged Larsen's LinkRez can make stuff like that (check his blog slged.blogspot.com).

Anonymous said...

hi Natalia
thanks you so much for helpin out thru your blog...
i just have one question...i am using slcp (the clothes previewer) i have used the alpha channels but on the preview it shows white...am i doing sumthin wrong?

SLNatalia said...

Dear Anonymous, it's probably a problem with the Alpha Channel. Be sure that you save the file as a Targa file, and that you only have 1 Alpha Channel (and it looks like the shirt).

Check out the Day 195 tutorial...it has a lot more details about creating the Alpha channel!

Hope that helps :)

Anonymous said...

hi Natalia,
Great website! Just a quick reply to anonymous- I use the slcp previewer and I believe the previewer cant show alphas, so just use that to check seams etc and check your alphas in the sl previewer just before upload in-world. Your alphas may well be perfect already!

SLNatalia said...

Dear Anonymous, thank you for your follow-up answer! Im glad there wasnt a problem after all :) Lol I really need to try SLCP ;P

Anonymous said...

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.



Can you elaborate on this somemore. I'm having a problem with fuzz around my cuts and I'm using CS2 and saving files as pngs. I was told in a class that i didn't hav to worry about doing the alpha channels since I can save as a png. Can you also tell me why do the alpha channel thing as well. Thanks , QueenCream Kamachi (inworld name)

Natalia Zelmanov said...

QueenCream, check out the new "Creating Clothing with Photoshop (PNG)" under the Build page. It's a step-by-step tutorial on creating clothes with PNG files (much easier to having to make Alphas) :)

Jordyn Carnell said...

the question/tutorial i've looked (seemingly) everywhere for.. is "how to make a "jacket".. you know, for those t-shirts and things left "untucked".. any chance of a tutorial in that direction?

Natalia Zelmanov said...

Jordyn, a jacket is just a combination of the Upper and Lower texture templates (create a Jacket clothing object, then create the Upper/Lower textures :) ). The trick is to line them up...so something like AVPainter would be VERY helpful :)

Lucia Wanweird said...

Hello Natalia,
I thank you for your detailed info on makingclothing in SL. HOWEVER I am still texture map challenged,
I can not understand how AFTER you color in the texture map how you can still see the guidelines underneath so you can add details in the right places.
I have GIMP but it is basically similar to photoshop. Can my question be simply explained in terms for the texture map challenged, as myself, or do i need an advanced course in layers?
P.S. I have figured out how to use alpha channels all by myself and have gotten as far as making a shirt with cut-outs in the front, so I am a little tiny bit above BASIC shirt making!
Any help you can share would be great! THANKS AGAIN!
LW

Natalia Zelmanov said...

Lucia, to add details, just add new layers on top of the existing ones and put the details into the layer (colors, etc). BTW, theres a GIMP tutorial on the build page too :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Natalia

I am trying the little black dress tutorial and it really is helping me with photoshop. i am coming across one problem though i cant solve.... When i go to add the fabric to the top part of the dress, it doesn't add it to the top (black) are. It just places a square of the fabric in the middle of it and not covering the top totally. I am sure it is user error :) but any thoughts on what I might be doing wrong please? Thanks

Natalia Zelmanov said...

Dear Anonymous, when you add textures to the outfit, you should put them on a separate layer. Then you can just move, resize, or trim the new layer as needed :)

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous, when you add textures to the outfit, you should put them on a separate layer. Then you can just move, resize, or trim the new layer as needed :)

Thanks - i am probably being totally thick here.... i can move it but not resize the fabric layer...

Natalia Zelmanov said...

Dear Anonymous, thats just regular Photoshop techniques (there are tons of tutorials and books on working within a layer).

Anonymous said...

Hey nathalia, your blog it's really good. You know, I've been searching about how to create latex texture and I noticed that I'm not the only one :(

Could you post something like that in your blog if you know or find it, please???

Natalia Zelmanov said...

Dear Anonymous, unfortunately, I have never made shiny textures like latex, etc. There are some general tutorials on Deviantart.com. But in general, they are created either by drawing in the shiny parts (and Im not that good :P) or using an expensive 3D program like Lightwave to create the effect (which I dont have :P). Heehee def a bit over my head ;P

carrie said...

hi Natalia, thanks for your wonderful guides :)i am new to clothing and i think i'm gonna love doing it, following your guides i made a black top with one shoulder strap and then joining the front and the back below my 'free' arm if you know what i mean... but i cant get rid of my default sl shirt.... when i blacken it it reveals both shoulder straps, when i move my sliders in SL Appearance all to the left, then it changes my own top texture too.. :( .. is there any way around it? thanks!!!! :)

Natalia Zelmanov said...

Carrie, Im not sure what your default SL shirt is...but is the shirt part of your avatar's skin? If you have another skin (from a different place or even a skin demo), try wearing it and see if the default shirt goes away...

carrie said...

oh, i have a X2 skin, i think that is allright, but before loading my new top texture i must go into 'appearance' and create a new shirt, right? that is when the white SL shirt appears and i apply my texture to that, but i think i read it somewhere else in your blogs, something about the alpha channel missing, dont quite get it though, because i made the texture in PNG, but i will give it another go, i must have missed something out.. :)perhaps i should try the other format, tga instead, ty anyways!!!!

Natalia Zelmanov said...

Carrie, heehee it's not the skin then :P Be sure the background really is transparent (when you are in the upload preview window, you should see not see the transparent areas). Check out the Photoshop tutorial with PNG...

Carrie said...

thanks Natalia, it was the background, which wasnt transparent and thanks for taking the time to answer all our silly questions!!! :)

Natalia Zelmanov said...

Carrie, oh good. Im glad you got it to work :) Good luck on your project!

Anonymous said...

Hi Natalie ,

youre tutorial helped me alot to desing my first shirt.
Now I want to put a script into for
strippers.

Can you tell me how I can put it in the new shirt.

Greetings CK Lannock

Natalia Zelmanov said...

CK, you can only put scripts into prim objects (so the clothing item would have to be a prim, not a regular SL clothing texture)

Jasmine Nicole said...

Hey Natalia. I binged how to craete clothing n came across ur blog..I really am i glad i did! I can now call myself a designer in secondlife! :) 1 part im finding a bit difficult is the cutting and seaming...:/ I know how but ok so i grab the templates u provided in the links from roberts website..so now when i upload it to sl i just wear it and the cuts and seams should be in already? please help me out id greatly appriciate it thanks