Saturday, March 24, 2007

Day 181: Creating Clothes with GIMP

If you have not created things in Second Life because graphics programs are expensive, then GIMP may be the answer. GIMP is FREE, and has many of the same high-end features as programs like Adobe Photoshop. The best part is that GIMP has everything you need to create clothing for Second Life :)

So you have no more excuses. Download a copy of GIMP and start making your own clothes for Second Life right now!

This is a tutorial on how to create a simple shirt in GIMP using the SL Avatar UV template from Robin Wood. You can download the templates from here. For this tutorial, you should download the "layered Photoshop (.psd) Files". You only need the "Top (2.4 MB)" file. These are the same template files I use for making clothes in Second Life.

This tutorial will cover how to use the Template to make a shirt, and how to export the shirt with Alpha Channel information for uploading to Second Life.

This tutorial is not intended as an in-depth GIMP tutorial. There are several excellent books dedicated to this topic, not to mention the excellent GIMP documentation and tutorials. I do intend to show you step-by-step on how to use GIMP to make a shirt in Second Life.

So lets get started!

From "The GIMP" tool palette, select "File", then "Open". Look for the "SL Avatar Top Layers.psd" file on your computer. Click the "Open" button to open the Template file in GIMP.

This will open the Template file in a separate window.

First, let's save a copy of the Template file so we dont accidently overwrite it (I cant tell you how many times Ive done this...:P) Select "File" from the top of the window, and "Save as...".

Enter a Name for the new file (something like "Little Black Top"). Click on the "+" next to "Browse for other folders" if you want to save it in a different folder.

Click on the "+" next to "Select File Type (By Extension)" to open a list of file types. Select "GIMP XCF image" and click on the "Save" button.

OK, now we can play with the file without worrying about messing up the original. :)

By default, the Template file is 1024x1024 pixels. This is great for detail work where you want the highest resolution to align the edges (such as when you are making skins or textures that need to be closely aligned). However, we are just making a simple top for demonstration purposes.

Also, we will be producing a Targa format file (with transparency information). This file will be huge at 1024x1024 pixels. So let's reduce the size to a more manageable 512x512 pixel file.

Click on "Image" from the top menu bar. Select "Scale Image...".

This will open the Scale Image window. Enter "512" in both the Width and Height textboxes (Height might change automatically when you enter Width). Under Quality/Interpolation, select "Cubic (Best)" (because we deserve the best :P). Then click the "Scale" button.

This reduces the resolution of the Template from 1024x1024 to 512x512 pixels.

Now we can start drawing.

First things first...I cant see anything :P Lets put a white background so we can at least see the Template.

Go to the Layers, Channels, Paths... palette. Click on the "New layer..." button.

(If you dont have the "Layers, Channels, Paths..." palette, click on "Dialogs" on the top menu bar, select "Creat New Dock >", and "Layers, Channels & Paths".)

Put "Backdrop" as the Layer Name (I dont want to call it "background" because that layer has a special meaning in Photoshop). In the "Layer Fill Type" select "White". Click on the "OK" button.

On the Layers, Channels, Paths... palette, click on the "Backdrop" layer to select it. Then click on the Down Arrow button ("Lower Layer") to move the "Backdrop" layer to the bottom of the list of layers.

OK, thats better. Now we are ready to work :) You might want to save a copy of this file as a starting point for your future projects...

The wonderful thing about these graphics programs is the ability to create different layers for different things. Dont be shy about creating new layers! They are there to make things easier. As you can see, the Template came with a number of layers already. We just added a layer as the backdrop to make it easier to see the Template.

We are going to create another layer to draw in our shirt.

On the Layers, Channels, Paths... palette, click on the "Backdrop" layer to select it. Click on the "New layer..." button on the left.

Enter "Shirt" as the Layer Name. For Layer Fill Type, select "Transparency" (because we dont want a background color on this layer). Click on the "OK" button to create the layer.

Go to the Layers, Channels, Paths... palette. Click on the Shirt layer to select it.

Make sure that the Shirt layer is below the SubDivided UVs layer, but above the Backdrop layer. If not, then click on the Shirt layer to select it, and use the Arrow buttons to move it into place.

From "The GIMP" tool palette, select the Lasso tool ("Select hand-drawn regions").

Draw a line all the way around the front side of the shirt (the figure on the left). Be sure you dont include any parts of the arm at the bottom.

From "The GIMP" tool palette, select the Paint Bucket tool ("Fill with a color or pattern").

Select "Black" as the foreground color. You can click on the Black and White Squares on the lower left of the foreground/background color squares to reset the colors.

With the Paint Bucket tool selected, click in the area you selected around the front side of the shirt. This will fill the selected area with black.

Now repeat the same process with the back side of the shirt (the figure on the right): select the Lasso tool, draw a line around the back side, selec the Paint Bucket tool, and fill the area with black.

Next, we are going to cut out an opening in the front and back sides for the neck. We are going to do this using the Path tool.

From "The GIMP" tool palette, select the Path tool ("Create and edit paths"). Make sure that the "Design" mode is selected at the bottom of "The GIMP" tool palette.

Using the Path tool, draw a path around the front side of the shirt (the figure on the left). It may help to zoom in on the neck area.

Simply click at each of these 5 points. Dont worry, if you dont get it quite right, you can go back and move one of these points around. Try to get the first 3 points on the Green line.

From "The GIMP" tool palette, make sure that the Path tool is still selected. Click on the "Edit" button on the bottom of "The GIMP" tool palette.

OK, this part is a little tricky...

Move your cursor over the Anchor Point in the middle of the neck. You will notice the cursor will change to a hand with a pointed finger. Left-click and hold on the Anchor Point, and drag the line towards the left. Dont let go yet!

Now press and hold the Shift key. You will see a mirror image of the line on the right side of the Anchor Point. Move your mouse around until you have a nice-looking neck shape.

OK, now you can let go of the mouse button and the Shift key.

On "The GIMP" tool palette, click on the "Create selection from path" button.

This turns the Path we just made into a selection.

Go back to the window where we have been editing the shirt. Click on the "Edit" menu at the top of the window. Select "Clear".

This will cut a hole in the shirt for the neck :)

Now, do the same thing for the back side of the shirt. Go to "The GIMP" tool palette, make sure that we are back in "Design" mode at the bottom. Then click on the 5 points around the neck.

Go back to "The GIMP" tool palette. Change to "Edit" mode at the bottom. Pull the middle Anchor Point to the left and press the Shift key to mirror it.

Go back to "The GIMP" tool palette. Click on "Create selection from path".

Go back to the window where we have been editing the shirt. Click on the "Edit" menu at the top of the window. Select "Clear".

So here is our completed shirt.

You can create additional layers and draw in additional designs. You can do that now or come back later after you finish this tutorial. I would recommend you run through this tutorial first though...

Its now time to prepare the Alpha Channel. The Alpha Channel provides transparency information for the file. In this case, we want everything in black to be opaque, and everything else to be transparent. By the way, white does NOT mean transparent! White is a color, just like black or any other color. We just happened to pick white to use as a working backdrop color. The Alpha Channel is a separate layer altogether.

Go to the "Layers, Channels, Paths..." palette. Click on the "eye" next to all the layers to hide them, leaving only the Shirt layer visible. When you are done, the Shirt layer should be the only one with an "eye" next to it.

Because we used a transparent background on our Shirt layer, GIMP automatically builds an Alpha Channel for us. To look at the Alpha Channel, go to the "Layers, Channels, Paths..." palette. Click on the "Channels" tab at the top. You will see a channel named "Alpha" with an outline of our Shirt in white.

Go back to the window where we have been editing the shirt. Click on the "File" menu at the top of the window. Select "Save" to save all of our changes.

Finally, lets export the file in Targa format...

Click on the "File" menu at the top of the window. Select "Save as..." to save all of our changes.

In the Save Image window, select "TarGA image" and click on the "Save" button.

The Export File window will appear. Just click on the "Export" button to continue.

The Save as TGA window will appear. Make sure you uncheck the "RLE compression" and "Original at bottom left" options. Click on the "OK" button to continue.

Thats it! The Targa file is now ready to be uploaded to Second Life.

The steps for uploading a Targa file to Second Life and turning it into a shirt was covered in Creating Clothes Part 1 Tutorial. You can jump to the end of the tutorial, where it says "Next, go into Second Life..."

I just showed you the very basic steps in creating a clothing item in GIMP and uploading it to Second Life. Now, feel free to go back and change the shape of the Shirt. Add some layers and create some designs. Or play with some of the other clothing templates (SL Avatar Bottom, Skirt, etc).

Have fun with your SL designer career :)

numly esn 17370-071006-934502-72

© 2007 All Rights Reserved.


Cazzy Ewry said...

Hello Natalia (or Talia? Can't be sure these days...hehe). Just wanted to thank you for all these excellent tutorials. Your flexi skirt tutorial is fantastic, I just finished making a skirt by using it. I posted a picture of it on my blog if you want to go see: Now I suppose I shall have to check out Gimp! Thankyoooouuuu!

Anonymous said...

Nice trick with the neckline to get it clean. I'm embarrased to admit I forgot about the "path" tool.

You say, "Make sure you uncheck the "RLE compression" and "Original at bottom left" options. "

I have been saving TGA files with those boxes checked and have not had any problems withe upload or the resulting textures.

Torley said...

Ahhhhhhhh more bigtime thanx are in order from me, Natalia! This, at first glance, looks really comprehensive and very helpful for me to share, the next time I get asked about making clothes.

Screenshots are very, veryM helpful. (I find it hard to follow when someone makes a tutorial about primarily visual elements and doesn't use images.)

What a void this fills!

For those accustomed to Photoshop, there's a mod called GIMPshop that, well, makes GIMP less GIMPy and behave more like Adobe's flagship app. :)

@anonymous: Yes, TGAs uploaded to SL should not be compressed at all.

Edward Pearse said...

Very nice work Natalia. I have a friend of mine who has been interested in getting into clothing design. She has downloaded gimp but has yet to start using it. I shall pass on this entry as it looks like a very helpful guide for people just starting out.

Lyndsey Forager said...

Whoo hoo!

I love this blog entry, i am going to go and download GIMP straight away!

i didnt have a programme that created tga files, so i could only upload jpg to second life

Once again, you come up trumps!!


Ana Lutetia said...

Great! I have a Portable GIMP but didn't quite know how to work with that. I am accustomed to Photoshop...

Melissa Yeuxdoux said...

Hooray! Thank you for having a tutorial on using GIMP to make clothing! Now, I have no excuse whatsoever...

Kefrens LOWE said...

You're right Natalia !
What Photoshop does, The Gimp does too !
Tip : this is the end with alpha channels problems ! Just use the layers opacity ;)
I use it since a lot of time, trust me !

SLNatalia said...

Cazzy, who's Talia? :P I love the skirt you made with the Tartan textures :) Very cute! And if you dont have Photoshop or PaintShop, definitely check out GIMP!

Dear Anonymous, I used the Path tool because I couldnt get the Ellipse selection tool working right :P Anyway, thats the way I do it in Photoshop, so Im glad to see I can do the same in GIMP!

Regarding RLE compression and Original at bottom, I have no idea what they do. I read somewhere (and cant remember where) that we should not use RLE compression. It works with these 2 buttons unchecked, so I cant speak for other settings...

Torley, ah oh...the Eye is watching :P Heehee thank you so much! I am glad this will be helpful for residents. I wish I had this when I started...I probably would not have used Photoshop! Oh well, too late :P

GIMPshop sounds cool! Thanks for the link. I have to go check that out!

Edward, please let your friend know. I just discovered GIMP and I am surprised at what it can do! Its amazing so far, and I havent even played with the filters yet! It will definitely be useful for creating clothes in SL!

Lyndsey, yes, GIMP will definitely do TGA! In fact, it is a bit easier than doing it in Photoshop. I cant wait to play with it some more.

Ana, great to finally meet you today! :) I have been using Photoshop too, but I am amazed at what GIMP can do. Unless you are using very Photoshop specific features, Im pretty sure you can do just about anything you need for SL in GIMP!

Melissa, heehee no more excuses! Get the free download and start drawing :) You dont even have to use it for clothes: it works great for making textures for jewelry, buildings, whatever you enjoy making. Um...I just like clothes :P

Kefrens, I totally agree! GIMP is amazing! Especially for SL. And the Alpha Channels are even easier to build than Photoshop. Truly an amazing product. Especially for the price :)

Peace Lilly said...

Hi Natalia! I'm a newbie at SL and your blog has been an invaluable resource. Thanks so much for gathering all this great info and sharing it with everyone. :)

I have Photoshop but sadly no artistic talent whatsoever. I love your skater dress and was wondering if you watched the recent World Championships because I loved Miki Ando's LP dress and was thinking what a great SL dancing dress it would make.

I had the same thoughts about the dress worn by Paulina Porizkova last night on DWTS and Heather Mills' outfit made me wonder if flexi bottoms could be added to pants to create that bell effect with movement. Sorry for rambling but I'd love so much to see you replicate these pieces.

I can provide pics and video if you'd like to see the garments but I don't know if you take requests or not. Anyway, thanks again for your great blog!

SLNatalia said...

Peace, making flexi dresses is not all about Photoshop. In fact, Photoshop isnt an important part of it unless you are using a very complex texture or design.

Its actually the flexi panels in the skirt (and other attachments) that make the dresses interesting. Check out the Day 97 post on the skirt generator :)

If there are dresses you like to replicate, try making it! Its a great learning experience, and you will love the resulting product that much more. Also, you can do so much more when making things for yourself (you dont have to worry as much about fit). Give it a try! You would be surprised at how easy it is...

Anonymous said...

Hi Natalia,
thank you for taking the time to create and share your tutorials with us SL newbies. I'm looking forward to create some great pieces of virtual clothing thanks to your help.

Aluviel Nakamura said...

hello Natalia!!
Great easy tutorial I got it down with hardly any mistakes my first try. One thing I am still confused about is how to put a texture instead of a color on your shirt?
I have to have a white stripe at the top of all my kimonos since im a Geisha now.(just graduated) Inoticed some kimonos have it built into the shirt.
Blows my mond how they did and you think they will tell? Ha! Its expensive and i really need the help.
Aluviel Nakamura

SLNatalia said...

Dear Anonymous, I hope you get the chance to try making things in SL! Thats part of the fun of being here :)

Aluviel, in general, to use a texture, create a new layer and place the texture in the same location as the black top.

If it is a simple texture (a repeating pattern or something), you can select the shape of the black top and just "cut" the shape from the texture. Then position it where the black top is. These steps are not SL specific (more general GIMP-related). There are some GIMP tutorials that go into these steps (

The idea is to paint or paste in whatever you want at the same general location as the black top. Because this gets "mapped" onto your avatar.

Hope this helps!

Aluviel Nakamura said...

Hello Nataila!
Have you ever noticed how your tools are set right one day and then the next day they start doing things they didnt do before?

Im having a problem cutting the neck line. My path tool has any ayyoning little box or sqare on top of it. I cut out the neck line on the first piece and then I go to the second pice and it wants to connect the lines!
Its all because one day a stupid sqare showed up on that path tool
Any help would save me from ripping my hair out!
Im inches away from finishing my first kimono and suddenly this has to happen : (
If I cant cut a neck line im a gonner!
Aluviel Nakamura

marcella said...

Fantastic tutorial...i've used the gimp for dolling a few years ago and have been dying to have a try at making my own clothes, but nobody i've asked new if the gimp was suitable or not. after searching for days and find very little information that was understandable to a relative noob, i found your tute and jumped up and down (internally) with joy lol. there are nowhere near enough gimp tutes around for sl clothes. you my girl are a legend and a scholar lol. can't wait to get started!

SLNatalia said...

Aluviel, Im not a GIMP expert (so I could be totally off here :P) If I understand the problem correctly, it sounds like you are having problems creating a new path (GIMP keeps trying to connect you to the old path).

You can create a new path in a couple diff ways: If you press and hold Shift and clicking in a new spot, this will start a disconnected path. Be sure to let go of the Shift key after the first click.

Or even better (this is what I do in Photoshop), bring up the Paths palette (in the Layers, Channels, Paths window), and click on the lower left corner to create a new Path. This keeps the 2 paths separate from each other, and lets you edit them separately :) You can cut and stroke them as needed!

Hope this helps!

Marcella, thank you so much! GIMP can definitely be used to create clothes for SL. It has all the features you need (and its actually easier to create Alpha Channels with GIMP than Photoshop!) So have fun with your SL projects :)

parker said...

hm, I so want to believe that its easy to create the alpha channel and I think I actually did, or so it says :-) it's there! but, when uploading I still see that white halo. what am I doing wrong? what am I forgetting?

SLNatalia said...

Parker, it actually is pretty easy to create an Alpha channel with GIMP! If you are having problems, try this: just create a blank drawing with transparent background. And draw a circle in the middle. Then try to upload it and check the SL preview screen. Thats it!

When you save the drawing with the shirt, be sure that you see a transparent background in the main window (checkered background). Its possible that one of the layers did not get hidden. Also, when you create the Shirt layer, make sure that you select Transparent background.

And be sure that you save to Targa format. Hope this helps!

Aluviel Nakamura said...

Hai hai this is Aluviel again ^^
Just wanted to follow up with a sucess story!!

Ok here are a few tips incase people are getting hung up in Gimp.

1. While its important to have your background layer all the way at the bottom of the stack, I have found that if you want to do any painting it best to push that layer all the way to top.
2. I have found playing with the layers actually helps. There might be some order to the chaos, however when you have a ton of layers all stacked on top of the stuff your working on, it has a tendancy to screw up generally. I think its a gimp bug.
So play with the layers up and down.

3. (this is how I do Gimp clothing now) I do my back drop layer (white one)first thing.. then I add another layer (transparent) and I fill the whole thing with my pattern. I goto dialogues channels paths and I set the opaque slider to about 60% so I can see through the back drop to do my painting and cut the neckline whatever.
(also before saving to tga turn off all layers except your paint layers and backdrop and whatever til there are no shirt lines.)Then save as xfc r gimp style then save as tga. Try to save at 252 size. mistakes are way less noticeable.
4. if you need to texture a shirt!!! Listen Closely. get your texture in jpg format. Make sure its aleast size 252. (otherwise the tileing doesnt look good)
Goto the last menu option on your window."Script-fu" scroll down to selection and down to pattern.
you can then fill your shirt(bucket fill on tool box) with a nice texture instead of the stuipd ones Gimp provides like pine and bubbles ect.
Ok I am going to do research on how to get better seamless textures now in Gimp.
Good luck everybody this is Aluviel Nakamura Signing out and contact me in game if anyone needs help!

SLNatalia said...

Aluviel, Im glad you got it working :) GIMP and Photoshop are both wonderful tools, but theres certainly a lot to learn about them (and they can be picky sometimes :P) Thanks for the wonderful post and your advice.

Anonymous said...

Is this a male and female shirt?

SLNatalia said...

Dear Anonymous, lol well, its sorta like a top I have, so its probably a girls top. :P Just kidding...

I made this just to show how to create an Alpha Channel in GIMP. The shirt would fit a male or female AV. It would just look like a T-Shirt on a male AV.

Anonymous said...

Hey! Nice totorial, but i have a question..

Can i use wings 33D to do things like swords or, furniture?

Cuz i have lots of experience in working in wings 3D, i've done swords and armour for Mount&Blade, an medieval game.. And.. how do i submit my work to SL?

P.S. My name is Petruz, in second life.

P.S.S. Thanks!

SLNatalia said...

Petruz, yes, you can create things in SL using Wings 3D. They are a special kind of prim called sculpties (click on the "Build" page on the Site Index and look for the Sculpted Prim Tutorials).

However, you cannot use all of the features in Wings 3D (you have to basically stick to a sphere with certain dimensions). So it tends to be best if you mix Sculpted Prims with regular prims if you want to build complex objects.

But it sounds like you are a Wings 3D expert, so you already know the hard part ;P

Randall Lovenkraft said...

Long time GIMPer, first time SLer....

A little tip to speed things up ever so slightly: If you want to move that new backdrop layer all the way to the bottom, hold Shift when you click the down arrow button. Brings it all the way to the bottom.

SLNatalia said...

Randall, thanks for the tip! It really helps to have a GIMP expert look at this :)

Indigo Bury said...

Hi Natalia

Just to say a big thank you ... just used your Gimp guide for shirt making to make my first top and I loved it. Your instructions were so clear and encouraging ... thankyou ... you have a dress on it's way to you in a few months ... once I've perfected the techniques!

Lol x Indigo Bury

SLNatalia said...

Indigo, congratulations on your new shop! I wish you much success :)

Anonymous said...

hi natalia!
i was so thrilled, when i found your gimp-tutorial! all the others used photoshop and that is a no-go for me!
so finding my favorite image-editor included, my little linux-gal-sl-newbie heart jumped! ;-)
i followed all your steps, but have a slight problem, when i save my shirt, the shirt has the proportions of my lasso-selection, not robin's .psd outlines? i read the tut several times and started all over again 3 times...!
or is it supposed to be like that and sorts itself out, once uploaded to sl and put on?
please shed some light, so i can do my own stuff too! :-)
keep up your wonderful work!
ontrack offcourse
p.s: do you create hair and fashion for sl fulltime? if not, where do you get the time to create stuff AND write tuts(blog!?
takes me hours to figure things out! *sighs

SLNatalia said...

Dear Anonymous, only the stuff you draw inside the template will be used on your avatar (the stuff outside the template outlines will be discarded by SL). Its just easier to draw stuff around the template without worrying about the edges :)

Go ahead and look at the shirt in the Upload Preview window (this wont cost any L$)

Anonymous said...

Hi and thanks for all the help. Ive been attempting to make a prim dress but I cant seem to get the shirt and pants parts to blend. The seam looks very obvious. Is there a way of doing this that Im missing?

SLNatalia said...

Dear Anonymous, if you have a pattern in the area of the skirt and pants, its kinda hard to make them blend (you would have to match the pattern across the 2 clothing templates). Try to go to a solid color in that area (or use a belt :P).

Also, theres a thin gap between the shirt and pants. You can get rid of that using a jacket (with the same shirt/pants texture).

Hope that helps :)

Neveah Corvale said...

Hey Natalia... I downloaded the newest version of the GIMP software and am having problems seeing the uv layers...I'm a noob to GIMP, and am a bit confused..


SLNatalia said...

Neveah, the template is kinda hard to see in GIMP, so be sure you put a white layer at the bottom of the layers palette. This gives you a background so you can see the template :)

ejl_ww said...


This Diary item is great! It was so much help in learning about making cloths.

SLNatalia said...

Ejl, thanks and good luck with your designs :)

Nevaeh said...

Well, Natalia,, that helped a bit, but the uv layers arent separated in my layers palette... :(.....hmmmm....

SLNatalia said...

Nevaeh, there are 3 different types of template files you can download from Robin's site. Be sure you are downloading the one with Layers (its a .psd file). GIMP can read Photoshop files, so its OK :)

Anonymous said...

okay it's making me crazy. i tried photoshop .. tried version 7 . .then CS .. i CAN'T get the alpha channel to work and make transparency.. so i got GIMP... like GIMP.. however.. now i can ONLY get transparency.. *whimper* pleaassseee save me from this!

SLNatalia said...

Dear Anonymous, sorry about all the frustration!

But theres an easy fix if you dont want transparency in GIMP...just save the file as a JPEG (actually, you should always save as JPEG unless you have an Alpha Channel).

Anonymous said...

hi again and thanks for trying to help me :-) I do want an alpha channel though.. for example i might want a nice bright red t-shirt with a hole in the middle to show off a belly ring (i wouldn't really wear that honest!) or simply just have 3/4 length sleeves with some pretty edging. But i can't get anything to work. i follow the steps exactly (i've been working on this since this morning!) and the shirt comes out black, but transparent (definitely not PG!)


SLNatalia said...

Dear Anonymous, when you use the paint bucket or paintbrush, be sure the Opacity is set to 100%! Otherwise you are painting with a semi-transparent brush...

Anonymous said...

omg you are brilliant - and i'm once more modestly covered in all the right spots. Thank you !

SLNatalia said...

Dear Anonymous, oh good! Im so glad it worked :) Have fun creating those outfits!

Anonymous said...

In your tutorail you say to make sure that the shirt layer is below the subdiveded uvs layer. I dont have a subdiveded uvs layer on my screen. What should I do? Also when I try to scale image it wont stay on "512" "512".

SLNatalia said...

Dear Anonymous, be sure that you are using Robin Wood's templates. Also, you should use the "layered Photoshop (.psd) Files" (these files contain the layers you need) :)

Anonymous said...

thanks for the GIMP instructions on clothing. Since I'm too cheap to spend the money on photoshop, its been very helpful.


SLNatalia said...

Theosophilus, I know what you mean (I couldnt have bought it without the student discount). Im not a GIMP expert, but it seems to have all of the tools that Photoshop has :) So have fun with your projects!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for takeing time to respond to my question about uvs layers etc. I do appreciate it.

SLNatalia said...

Dear Anonymous, you are very welcome :)

Silver said...


I'm in your tutoral an can't get the fill to work. What am I doing wrong?


Natalia Zelmanov said...

Silver, what seems to be the problem?

Anonymous said...

hi, thank u for all!! so helpful.
but i would like to personalize my shirt with some textures for example, i tried to make a new level... but no way to draw on my shirt... i don't know where i have to put the new level.... if someone could explain ...

Natalia Zelmanov said...

Dear Anonymous, be sure you create your layer at the top of the list of layers (or at least above all the visible layers). You can move layers around by dragging them in the palette :)

Anonymous said...

love youre site Nat. just a tip,
to make gimp more PS like go to and download the plug in . Its an older version but turns it into the PS screen, easier to use.

teake homewood

Natalia Zelmanov said...

Teake, thank you so much! I definitely have to try it...although I think the GIMP people are going to get mad at me :P

Serina Breda said...

Hey Natalia, i tried creating the top using Gimp and it came out perfect but when i got too uploading it too SL it shows the arms and chest area in black, is this right?
BTW the top i made is in red.

Natalia Zelmanov said...

Serina, be sure that you turn off any black background layers in GIMP (actually, turn off all layers except the shirt). Before you create the TGA file, you should see only the shirt (and the transparent area beneath it). Good luck ;)

Lu said...

Hey Natalia,
I think I must be really slow or something because I can not figure this tutorial out at all. When it says to open the new layer, I have to go thru dialog, and I don't have a lot of layers there, only one. Plus when I try to do the shirt layer and add the black it doesn't show up at all. I'm new to GIMP, I really only know Paint.NET. Something I might be missing?

Natalia Zelmanov said...

Lu, be sure you are using the correct template for this tutorial: It has to be Robin Wood's "layered Photoshop (.psd) Files".

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the guide but I'm having problems opening that template (do you need photoshop to open it?)

Shania Singh said...

Hi Nat,

first of all thank you so much for doing this -- you saved part of my live - i tried so many other tools and helps -- and failed. With your tutorial I was finally successful and uploaded a nice leopard shirt.
In the meantime I searched the web for more textures.... How do i get them into gimp - so that I can easily use paint bucket to fill my clothing...
Thanks for answering Shania Singh

Natalia Zelmanov said...

Shania, the easiest way is just to create a new layer, then paste the texture into the layer. You can then resize the texture/cut/erase as needed to fit the template :)

Anonymous said...

hi Natalia
firstly, great tutorial, i made a couple of tops and they uploaded fine, but i've tried to make a few more and when i go to save it, the export box doesn't come up and so i can't upload it into SL, what's gone wrong? any ideas?

Natalia Zelmanov said...

Dear Anonymous, lol Im not a GIMP expert...but you should simply be able to Save As as TGA file in GIMP...

Alaana Undercroft said...

Hi Natalia

Love your hair, hands down my favorite stuff on SL. I love the fact that you get a lovely sheen on the black hair.

Thanks for writing this as well, very much appreciated.


Natalia Zelmanov said...

Alaana, thank you so much! Heehee good luck with your designs ;)

Anonymous said...

Hi Natalia
I am SugarNspice Dreamscape,sorry I could not get the google ID to work.
I just want to express my appreciation for the hard work you have done to help the SL people that are new to creating clothing(can hardly wait to see them all). And I would like to thank "Torley Linden",for his cool T-Shirt tutorial that led me to your wonderful tutorial sites. I made my first shirt,and it turned out great.
I did this with "GIMP" which is an exellent program to use.
I recomend it to anyone that would like to make clothing the easy way. One last thing,I love the Serina Destiny store, I have many Items I wear from there. I hope to have my own store soon ..Thank you and great work...

Natalia Zelmanov said...

SugarNspice, thank you so much! Heehee I saw Torley's video (and if you have never met him, check out his inworld office hours, they are a lot of fun :D) Good luck on your projects! :)

Anonymous said...

Hello! Cute site! And thank you very much for this information Natalia. But how do I put the clothes i've made in Second Life?

Natalia Zelmanov said...

Dear Anonymous, once you are done with the texture, you need to upload it to SL. The steps are at the bottom of the Day 50 tutorial :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much for the GIMP tutorial. It is often difficult for us GIMP users to translate Photoshop references to GIMP.

Anonymous said...

This was the single most helpful toturial that i have actually come across about dress/clothes making. Thank you so much Natalia.

Natalia Zelmanov said...

Dear Anonymous, heehee I know what you mean...GIMP and Photoshop are quite a bit different (and GIMP was actually easier to use until SL started supporting PNG)

Dear Anonymous, thank you! Have fun and good luck with your project :)

Ori Perl said...

This helped me a lot in figuring how to get the necklines to work nicely, and not just rely on the 'apperance' option XD About half of it I couldn't find the steps to in my version of GIMP, so I had to pick up about halfway through, but the 2nd half did =3

Gothic said...

hi there, I have been fidling around with Gimp a little bit and although your tut is very simple and clear I cannot find the "Layers, Channels, Paths... palette." I have clicked on everything and it just doesn't seem to be there .

I d/l'd the newest version so I don't understand what I'm missing here .. any help would be greatly appreciated!

Gothic said...

ps: didn't realize it until I browsed around here but I purchased a hair pack of yours about a month ago in SL and I just love it!

you do very nice work :)

Natalia Zelmanov said...

Ori, heehee sorry about that! Lol GIMP must have changed quite a bit since I wrote this...

Gothic, the Layers palette is one of the View options (unfortunately, it is too easy to close by accident). Also, I dont know if it's in the same place in the new version of GIMP... (I need to update this tutorial one of these days)

And thank you so much for getting the hair! Hope you have lots of fun ;)

Veritas said...

Thanks so much for this tutorial. I just relocated to SecondLife from being a developer at IMVU and I wanted to know some basic stuff about transparency support in SL. All of the other tutorials seem to assume I only want to know how to fill a template blue and upload it as a t-shirt, never mind cutting out the neckline or anything like that. ;)

Natalia Zelmanov said...

Veritas, heehee Im glad its helpful! Have fun, and good luck with your project ;)

Anonymous said...

hey this tutorial worked great for me but couldn't I have done the same thing in "appearance" mode? I'm just confused and probably missing something obvious.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this great tutorial...I was wondering if you or anyone out there can modify these instructions for a Linux version of Gimp, which is slightly different from the Windows version. Many thanks.

Natalia Zelmanov said...

Dear Anonymous, this tutorial was meant to show how the texture templates work (you can make this skirt using the built-in Appearance menu). But now, you can change the texture from Black to something else :)

Dear Anonymous, even if the Linux version is a bit diff, the basics should hopefully be the same. The idea is to create texture using layers to cover the right areas of the template, then save it as a TGA or PNG file.

Vero said...

Hola!! He ido montón de veces por tu tienda, el pelo es genial!!
Queria preguntarte una cosa, por favor: Sabes que puede ser, que cuando abro las plantillas, no se abre ninguna capa?
Es ahi donde tengo problemas, no se que capas tengo que abrir, y no me viene nungua abierta , y a partir de ahi no puedo hacer ya nada, no me funciona ni la herramienta de rutas...
Que será que no hay capas en la plantilla?

Muchísimas gracias !!

Natalia Zelmanov said...

Vero, make sure you are using the ".PSD" version of the template. This version has the layers.

Google translation: Asegúrese de que está utilizando el ".PSD" versión de la plantilla. Esta versión dispone de las capas. (lol I have no idea what it's saying :P)

Vero said...

Hi again!! Thank you so much for your answer, you were rightm templates were wrong. And sorry for writting in spanish, the page opened for me in spanish and I faught you would understand, but I think was Google, don't know what happened.

Thank you :-) !!

Natalia Zelmanov said...

Vero, lol I used Google translator too! It's great, isnt it? ;)

Caiti said...

Wonderful tutorial :)

So I've tried to make a shirt, using 3 different layers, two to make different texture on top/bottom half of the shirt, and a third layer because I like a nice border between the two other layers.

I make sure only the three transparent layers are visible, and save as TGA.

My problem is that when I have made a shirt in world with this texture, each time I wear my shirt, everything is half transparent until fully rezzed. It is a bit... errr... embarrassing ;p Any idea to where my mistake lays?

Anonymous said...

Ive used this tutorial once long ago and had no problem yet now that I try it again and open the template its already white and not transparent like on your tutorial, I even downloaded the templates again in case I had accidently saved a white layer on it, yet still templates over white any suggestions?

Natalia Zelmanov said...

Caiti, that should only be the case when you change clothes. Lol so you might not want to change in public...SL takes a little bit of time to "bake" the textures.

Dear Anonymous, be sure you are using the .PSD version of the template (not the JPEG). Also, there may be a white layer...just turn it off ;)

Maya Spore said...

Hey Natalia.
An awesome tutorial, I learned so much about this already.
One problem that keeps bugging me though is transparancy. I followed all the mentioned steps and then I get an all black tga file. If I choose another color to fill, I can see the shirt on a black background in the tga, and this will also be the way it shows in sl. Somehow, the transparant parts aren't transparant in sl.
Am I missing out on a setting?
I tried exporting as png and have some options for transparancy. Now I can see my shirt on a transparant background in the png, but still the same in SL :(

Natalia Zelmanov said...

Maya, try this: Create a new document, and make sure it has the checkerboard background (meaning a transparent background). Then draw something on it with a brush (anything...doesnt matter). Then save it out to TGA or PNG file.

When you preview this file in the SL viewer, you should see a checkerboard background. If you do, the transparency is working ;)

Maya Spore said...

I tried it out. I made a black object on a transparant grey "checkersboard".

After exporting, my tga viewer (quicktime picture viewer) shows it all black.

Preview in sl shows my black figure on a white checkersboard.

After uploading, my picture is all transparant with a grey checkers board.

confused now

Maya Spore said...

Oh yeah, I'm using gimp 2.6.7
WHat version are you using?

Natalia Zelmanov said...

Maya, that sounds like it worked. Try applying that texture to a prim, or turn it into a piece of clothing (a shirt or anything). Hopefully, it would be transparent :)

Actually, I havent used GIMP for a long time (only used it to write this tutorial 3 years ago :P). But when you create a new drawing, make sure you select a transparent background if you have a choice. Good luck!

Maya Spore said...

Well I don't know if it worked as I actually drew something and sl only showed...nothing. It seems that black is merged with the background.
I'll fiddle with it, thanks for the tips.

Natalia Zelmanov said...

Maya, try applying the texture to a prim (and set the prim's Repeats per Face under the Texture tab to 1.0). Hopefully, you have a weird transparent-looking prim :)

Contessa Lacombe said...

I am relatively new to SL and learning to build. I have made a couple artlcles of clothing, but when I import into SL using appearance, the neckline gets messed up. Either the "appearance shirt" shows above my neckline, or I have to lower my neckline in order to get rid of the appearance shirt. I know there must be a way arount this, becase I see all of the nice necklines in SL shops. What can I do? Thanks!

Contessa Lacombe said...

PS--Thanks for all of the great tutorials! They are a HUGE help.

Natalia Zelmanov said...

Contessa, be sure that your background is transparent (not solid white). That way, the neck line should show up properly. You can check it when you try to upload to SL (the preview screen will show you).

Tyson Tigerauge said...

OMG!! Natalia!! I love ur blog and ur tutorials.. I love to come and read and learn.. you are awesome!
Thank you soo much! I'm learning things I never thought I'd learn!

Natalia Zelmanov said...

Tyson, isnt it fun to make your own stuff? Good luck on your projects ;)

Raven said...

Hi Natalia, thank you so much for this. It really made it easy for me. Just made my first shirt :D I only have one question. My avi is male and the shirt even on full length doesn't reach his trousers. Is there any way to make it longer? I got everything else, even managed to work out the sleeves, but I just don't know how to fix the length issue.

Again, many thanks :)
Eirik Aura (SL name)

Natalia Zelmanov said...

Raven, the shirt def stops a bit short ;)

If you want to make a long shirt, you would need to create a Jacket. A Jacket uses both the Avatar Top and Bottom templates (so you can have a really long shirt).

The trick is to make the seam as seamless as possible :) You might want to use something like AVPainter for that. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

wow thank you sooo much! you have no idea how happy you made me! now i can make my own clothes thank you!

Amanda said...

Can you possibly update it with the newest version of gimp.. You do well with words. and I really liked how you did this all. You are smart.. I am computer retarded.. But I am sure you can step me threw this.. Please if anything you can contact me on secondlife to let me know if you have updated..
Texas Hammerthall
Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

hey! I like your tutorial. But I dont have a Second Life account...what else can I use this for?

Kenzel Greymoon said...

I am quite confused actually. I get to the point of naming the template Backdrop and it seems to me you jump to photoshop for the rest of the tutorial. Can you contact me in sl under Kenzel Greymoon please?

Anonymous said...

Thank you so very much for the tutorial. I've make some unbelievably fantastic tattoos from it.

Would you please include how to have separate patterns on each arm? Duplicate and mirrored tattoos are fantastic if you plan accordingly but it's not realistic enough for ink obsessed freaks.

Anonymous said...

Hello Natalie. I read your books and they help me a lot, but there is still a big problem with a necklace and a script for it. Of course, I can just repeat your actions - it is not difficult, but I want to understand what I'm doing, but I do not understand how to insert a script in a skirt?
I would be very grateful if you, or anyone who reads this post, I will explain.

Mega Przhevalsky said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you for making a tutorial with GIMP! I'm getting so many ideas now!

bibliobibuli said...

Thanks. After being in SL more than 4 years I've only just got round to making clothes. This has been my jump off point. Your instructions were easy to follow.

Loquacia Loon

Hiromi12345 said...

it wont let me open the folder it says unknown file type D; help!

alley prestage said...

i have a question i been making skirts and i try to give them flatter pannels and shorten them when i do this the skirt dont sit right the pannles keep moveing out wards how can i stop this from happening

Connieg said...

Excellent thankyou!

Sheamus Warior said...

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Raymen Davis said...

GIMP, best tutorial to make a shirts with fabulous designs.
T Shirt Box

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