Sculpted prims

September 4, 2008

   When I think back to the very first thing that I saw in Second Life that made me want to find it, to learn more about it, the memory is very clear: Hair!
   The next big thing was sculpted prims. I knew nothing about them, and my immediate assumption was that the tools for creating them were beyond my reach, or that I would need six hours of uninterrupted time to learn how to use them.
   Then I found Rokuro. This was an easy tool to use and I made all kinds of crazy round things with it, hats, pots, bottles, and other round things that don’t have names.
   When I learned more about sculptmaps and how they work, I figured out how to curl the brim of a hat in Photoshop by editing the color balance of those areas of the sculptmap that defined it, by shifting them toward blue (+z) just a little bit.
   I also tried a few other things along the way; Plopp, Blender (I gave up on this one), and some others I can’t recall.
   Peter Stindberg, my business partner, told me that others he has talked to couldn’t believe that some of the sculpts we’ve created were done in Wings 3D. When I first tried it I admit that I thought it rather simple and limited.
   The other application (see above) that I tried to use quickly overwhelmed me with the sheer volume of buttons, sliders, levers and fulcrums, and seemingly arbitrarily named editing functions. And I am pretty sure that I really had no use for all the bells and whistles. What I mean to say is that most of its functions would not have been useful in creating sculptmaps compatible with Second Life.
   In Wings 3D I found order and reason. Ironically, the reason I thought it simple and limited was because it didn’t have rows and rows of buttons and functions with highly technical name. Wings uses context sensitive menus for tool selections relevant to your current selection, and an info bar at the bottom of the screen which tells you how to further modify your currrently selected tool. There is an impressive array of editing options there waiting to be discovered. Two of my favorites are using the magnet option to gradate an edit to one selection of elements along a range of other, nearby elements; and the ability to specify virtually any axes of movement, scaling and rotation you wish. It’s very flexible.
   If you think you would like to experiment with Wings 3D and sculpt making, don’t forget that we all have four different types of sculpts to choose from; sphere, cylinder, torus and plane. with them, a wide array of design concepts can be realized.