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Annotated Guide to SL Clothing Tutorials & Resources

Annotated Guide to Second Life Clothing Tutorials and Resources

There are many fine resources on the web that can help with your Second Life clothing projects.  Below I’ve prepared an annotated list of the fine resources that are available.

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Chimera’s Second Life Clothing Tutorials

The Short Beta:  Up-to-date, illustrated tutorials.  Plus, you can download free template files, tools and other resources to go along with the tutorials.

A series of up-to-date Second Life tutorials illustrating the latest techniques.  Included with most tutorials are free downloadable packages of template files and other resources to help make things easier.  You’ll find it here:  Chimera’s Tutorials

Also see Chimera’s list of free scripts and an annotated list of scripts and scripting resources

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Second Life Texturing Forum (Past & Present)

The Short Beta: the best way to keep of abreast of the latest information on making clothing.

Textures are graphics that you apply to avatars – or buildings or landforms – in a virtual world which makes them look real-like.  In other words, textures are clothing on a avatar, the brick on the side of a building, the green grass on a hillside.  The Second Life “Texturing” forum is where you can pose questions – or help others with others with their questions about clothing and textures.

Older discussions about clothing and textures are found in the Texturing Tips Archive.  The archive includes something called “stickies” which are quite valuable.  They are long-ranging discussions of interest on such topics as helpful photoshop techniques, UV maps and others.

The most recent discussions are found here: Current Texturing Forum.

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Robin Wood’s UV Texture Templates

The Short Beta:  A Must-have Tool if you make Clothing.  Works in all graphics programs.

What are texture templates?  A template forms the base layer when you create clothing for Second Life avatars.  The template is opened in a graphics program like Photoshop, GIMP, or CorelPaint, and then on top of the template, you add color and texture layers to create shirts, pants, skirts, etc.

Second Life provides templates (these are more accurately called UV maps), but the very best are those by Robin Wood.  (That’s her real name.  Robin’s Second Life avatar is named Robin Sojourner.  On Twitter, she describes herself as a “Wiccan lesbian liberal artist”).  The templates are free.  If you’re like me you’ll end up using Robin’s masterpieces day in and day out — and each day you use it, you should telepath a bundle of thank you’s Robin’s way.

There’s even a better way of thanking her than telepathy.  At the top of the Robin’s web page (linked below), you’ll see a “Donate” button.  Click on it and send her some moola — however small, it doesn’t matter.  Just do it.  Download Robin’s templates: UV Templates.

If you’d like to make a t-shirt with a logo of your choice, Robin has everything you need, including instructions and ready-made graphic files found here: T-shirt Template.  Robin also has a short & sweet instructions on how to create lace textures:  Lace Transparencies.  Additionally, Robin has a learning center in Second Life, and a store.  You’ll find a helpful Second Life book on making clothing at the learning center.  (I can never get the SLurl’s to work for me, so you can also find her place by searching for “Places” in-world for “texture tutorials” and “AV Store.”)

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Natalia Zelmanov’s Tutorials

The Short Beta:  Natalia rocks.  Natalia’s site has the most extensive & far reaching set of tutorials on Second Life clothing & other creations.   Tutorials in both Photoshop and GIMP.

Natalia Zelmanov is not a character from a Tolstoy novel.  Natalia (her Second Life avatar name) is one of the most generous and giving persons (real or imagined) that has ambled this great green earth.  At one time, she had a store in Second Life.  It’s gone now, but she freely provided information on how she made the wonderful designs in her shop.  She’s also witty – and good at writing in an understandable way.

Natalie’s blog is no longer on-line, but fortunately, there’s an achieve of her tutorials which preserves the hours and hours of time that she took putting them together.

Here are Natalia’s tutorials.

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Nicola Escher’s Tutorials

The Short Beta:  An splendid introduction to Making  Second Life Clothing.  Make a Shirt & Tattoos.  Instructions for Photoshop.

Nicola creates unique, hand-crafted clothing for Second Life.  She has an excellent introduction to clothing in Second Life.  It’s simple and concise and very understandable.  She also has a tutorial on creating a shirt, making tattoos, and putting together a complete avatar.   Links to all these are found here:  Nicola Escher’s Tutorials

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Seshat Czert’s Tutorials & Designer Toolkit

The Short Beta: First class set of tutorials using GIMP, a free graphics program

Seshat Czert, another Second Life clothing designer, has a free offering called Designer Toolkit.  It’s basically the UV Maps (described above) which are worn as clothing – and which you can use in the initial and tweaking stages of clothing design.  She has a four part tutorial on the use GIMP, the free graphics program.  Plus helpful information on how to sell your items.  Seshat’s website and a list of tutorial links are found here: Seshat’s website.

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Making Second Life Clothing from Photographs

The Short Beta:  The title says it all.  Instructions in Photoshop but information applies to all graphics programs.

It is possible to take photos of clothing and then lay the photographs over the UV maps.   You can create some very realistic clothing this way, but it’s not all cut and dry.  No matter how careful you’ve arranged the lighting, it is difficult to matching the colors where parts of the clothing join on avatar.  Nonetheless, it’s a useful technique.

You’ll find a description of it on second life shirts.com.  I’ve never been able to find out who maintains this website.  No where on the site is his name to be found.  I assume it’s a he.  Of course, since it’s Second Life, the avatar behind it could be a fire-spewing dragon; a lovable, purring cat; or a chattering monkey.  One never knows.

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Olila Oh’s Tutorials

The Short Beta:  Wonderful series of Skin Tutorials.  Instructions in Photoshop.

Olila Oh (her avatar name) is from beautiful Stockholm, Sweden.  She says in her blog that she has done RL work by translating tutorials for technical products from English to Swedish.  Olila has a great series of tutorials on making skins.  Unfortunately, her blog is now gone, but the Wayback Machine (http://archive.org/web/) has kept an archive.  Here’s the starting link: Olila’s Skin Tutorials.  She also has the best series that I’ve found on hair textures.   Just a clarification.  Olila deals with the texture (the underlying graphic which makes the prims looks like hair).  For the actual putting together of the prims use Natalia Zelmanov’s tutorials. Olila also has two tutorials on tattoos (this is also an archive link from Wayback Machine.  Note that Olila refers to using Alpha Channels and creating a Targa file.   Second Life now accepts PNG files which are bit easier since it’s not necessary to mess with Alpha channels.   A list of Olila’s tutorials are found here:  Subject List of Tutorials.

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Incredibly Helpful Skin Resource

The Short Beta:  Simply Amazing – A Set of Photoshop Files of Free Skins.  Instructions in Photoshop.

In addition to Olila Oh’s skin tutorials, I want to point you to the wonderful generosity of Eloh Eliot.  She is a masterskinmaker, sometimes poet, always articulate Second Life commentator (see her blog) and self described “part-time miscreant’ who “distributes MIT-Licensed contrabands.”  The contraband?  Skins.  Free Skins.  This a wonderful way of learning how to make skins or create your own.   First read through her FAQ section to get a background.  Then here’s a tutorial on working with the skins.  Finally, here is the main area where you can download the skins.  She sells marvellous skins, and you must stop by and patronize her shop.

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Making Folds  & Wrinkles in Clothing

The Short Beta:  Several links to learn the important technique of adding folds & wrinkles to clothing.  Applies to both photoshop & GIMP.

In order for clothing to look natural in Second Life, you must have some folds or wrinkles in it.   Without some form of lighting and shadowing from folds or wrinkles, Second Life clothing just looks too painted-on, too artificial.  So if you want to make clothing, you need to learn some folding and wrinkling techniques.  There are a number of descriptions and tutorials out there, but I’ve tried to put together the better ones:

  • The primary way of creating wrinkles on clothing involves creating a separate layer.  The layer is filled with 50% gray and the blend mode is set to “Overlay” (at least in a Photoshop environment but you can do this in GIMP too).  Then it’s a matter of using the burn and dodge tools to create the shadowed and light areas.  The smudge tool is used to more gradually blend the burning and dodging.  The most detailed explanation of the procedure, along with helpful background material on creating folds and wrinkles is found here:  How to Create Folds and Wrinkles in Second Life

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A list of techniques used by others:

  • Ryker Beck describes a technique for both Photoshop and GIMP users.  She creates a new layer, uses a soft brush to draw black lines.  Then she duplicates this layer and changes the black to white, moves the white lines so they are above the black, then uses the motion blur filter to blur both layers.  This is from the Wayback Machine archive:  Ryker Beck’s Technique
  • This technique (for GIMP users) which is found on the Markova Apparel (a Second Life Merchant) website and blog, creates the folds right on the fabric layer.  I highly recommend that you don’t do that.  Rather, use one of the techniques in which folds are created on a separate layer.  That allows you a lot more flexibility and doesn’t spoil your main layer in the event of a mistake.  Nonetheless, it’s also helpful to see how others do it:  Markova Technique
  • InSight Designs sells textures in SL.  They describe a technique that involves overlaying a texture that already has folds on it over the fabric layer.  The trouble with this technique is that the folds are different than the natural folds on clothing.  You also have to purchase the fold textures from them.  (But you can make fold textures yourself.  Here’s link to a tutorial which describes how to create a folded texture.)  This technique might be useful for folds on a skirt — and it’s certainly useful for creating bedding and curtains.  Here’s the tutorial: InSight Designs Tutorial
  • Still another technique is to use specialized Photoshop brushes.  I’ve downloaded them and tried them, but I still resort to the primary method of using overlaid 50% gray layer.  That gives me more control.  Nonetheless, you might find the brushes useful for some applications.  They are generously provided free by Elle Cereselle:  Photoshop Brushes

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Making a Sweater & Jeans

The Short Beta: Claire can help you with your science project and can help GIMP users make a sweater and a pair of jeans

Claire Harford (avatar name) says on her website that she prefers to be “that nice chick who helped you with your science project.”  Along that same vein of helping, she has a couple of nice tutorials:  one on making a sweater.  The other on making jeans.  Both are oriented to GIMP users.  She also has a fun, time-lapse You Tube video (with a sultry music accompaniment) of making one of the clothing items that she sells in Second Life.

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Photographing Your Clothing Creations

The Short Beta: Helpful information for take photographs in Second Life.

If you make clothing and you decide to sell it, you’ll need take photographs of your avatars or other avatars wearing your creations.  Vint Falken, a Second Life photographer, has put together several informational pieces on the subject.  The information is getting dated, but you might find something of use.  Here’s the archived page on Wayback Machine:  Vint Falken Tutorials

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