Mesh background information

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Mesh background

A mesh is of a collection of vertices, edges, and faces that define a 3D shape, usually made in a program external to SL, although there are in-world gadgets that allow one to convert prims to mesh (these do use an external program as part of the process as well).

Vertices black640.png The basic element of a mesh is a vertex. Vertices represent points in space.

Edges 640.png Edges are lines that connect two vertices.

Triangle6401.png A face is a triangle composed of three vertices connected by edges.

Mesh Image640.png Together, they can combine to make models that look like this!

The creation process is in several stages.

  1. you create a mesh in an external program Mesh/Creating_a_mesh
  2. convert it for upload to Second Life
  3. upload it Mesh/Upload Model UI reference
  4. decide what physics shape to assign to the model Making Mesh Physics
  5. decide how the mesh will look at different levels of detail Mesh and LOD
  6. decide what the surface of the model will look like Mesh/Texturing a mesh

As you can see, there is guidance available on the wiki to help you to do all of those things.

File Format

Second Life can import meshes in the COLLADA 1.4.1 (.dae) file format. COLLADA is a powerful open standard format consisting of human-readable XML. Although Second Life uses COLLADA for importing mesh data, it internally uses a custom format for uploading, storage, and streaming of mesh content.

KBnote.png Note: While the COLLADA spec supports everything from polygons to nurbs, the Second Life mesh importer only imports polygonal data. This means that you must convert your models to meshes before exporting to a COLLADA file.

More than you'll ever need to know about COLLADA:


There are many applications that can create mesh and export to COLLADA. See Mesh/Creating_a_mesh for a list of the tools that can be used.

Many other software packages can create mesh, though some may require minor settings adjustments or even external programs to generate .dae files.

Here are some examples of files in COLLADA .dae file format. Mesh/Sample_Content