Talk:Sculpted Prims: 3d Software Guide

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Are you sure about the "software subscriptions"? The product that Autodesk sell that is called "3DS MAX subscription" is actually an update service for people who already own the software, not a cheap purchasing option. Yumi Murakami

Well, in hindsight (I did some checking), the "$200" price tag was a 1-year licence offered by an educational resaler. However the person I met in school who got his copy of Max this way (who happens to be a Second Life resident too) was pretty satisfied with it; it's a full licence and not the "educational use only". You can keep buying 1-year licences but I don't think you get the same perks as the "subscription", which turns out to be more like $500/year.

There was also an article in Game Developer Magazine about a year ago on the trend torwards software subscriptions, I'll post it if I find it. Elle Pollack 18:29, 6 May 2007 (PDT)

Update: I've corrected the info about subscriptions accordingly and added a new line for the annual licenced. Elle Pollack 17:03, 16 May 2007 (PDT)


The following discussions (number 1 - 5 in the TOC) have been relocated here from Talk:Sculpted Prims.

I would like to yank this discussion thread over to the software guide page to reduce the clutter over here. If there are any objections, please say so; if not, I'll drag it over in the next day or two. Elle Pollack 18:55, 6 May 2007 (PDT)

Could be nice if we keep here for discussion and draft things for a little while, and we only move what is achieved, like Amanda's tut, to where you said ? So that the said page doesn't get cluttered :) camilla Yosuke 7 may 2007
Well the clutter can be controlled...really, this sections has about 4 or 5 different topics going and each of those could get a discussion section on the software guide talkpage, i.e. one for the Blender stuff, one for Maya stuff, etc. Elle Pollack 11:42, 7 May 2007 (PDT)
Sounds nice yes!



Blender Exports

- Eddy Stryker says he made an exporter for Blender.

-- Linkage?

i spoke with Eddy Stryker - he does indeed have a procedure for extracting sculpt textures from blender. currently it's a bit of manual labor - he's looking from someone who knows blender's scripting language so he won't have to learn it himself.  :) --Qarl Linden 13:03, 29 April 2007 (PDT)

- IIRC, I belive Blender uses Python for scripting. Eddy hangs out with enough programers that he ought to be able to find *someone* with that qualifation. :) (Jeffery Gomez is the reigning guru of Blender to/from SL projects, last I checked.) Elle Pollack 15:54, 29 April 2007 (PDT)

- Amanda Levistsky has posted a method of using Blender --Destiny Niles 09:52, 5 May 2007 (PDT)

I made a little template file to help exporting from blender without efforts. This is not an export script, but rather a file-to-start-from-and-export in-two-clicks. It has its little limitations, but it should be helpful, waiting for something more complete and friendly. So here is the blend file, and I made a little tutorial to explain : tutorial. I hope it makes sense :) camilla Yosuke 6 may 2007

I tried your template file, and it works very well. I was able to stick a lattice on the sphere, stretch it into some funny shape, then bake that texture and upload it into SL. The one thing I don't understand is how you unwrapped the sphere to get the UV map to fill a square. It's easier to understand with Amanda's tutorial (which starts with a cylinder), but you've already done that part in your blend file, so if you could maybe add a section to your tutorial explaining how you did that, that might be helpful for others too. -Ziggy Puff 6 may 2007
My intention was to provide a template which is directly usable, even if you don't know about uvs and all. For those who want to get deeper into it, Amanda's tutorial is much better done I think. But I'll try to make a little addition and corrections to explain that part. This said, I had a chat with another resident, and he found a very interesting way to build the mesh, getting progressively into detail. I think this option is real worth a tutorial, because it doesn't limit us to start from a cylinder or a sphere, and you can almost build whatever shape you want without having to deform a base mesh. I'll try to write something tonight or tomorrow camilla Yosuke 6 may 2007

Thanks. I don't think anything needs to be changed in your tutorial, I agree that it's a good write-up for people who don't want to get into the details. Maybe a link at the bottom called "If you want to know more", for the more curious readers :) New ways to make meshes would be helpful too. And you should add your link to the Tutorials section below. -Ziggy Puff 6 may 2007
Updated with sphere explanation camilla Yosuke 7 may 2007

I think we really are on the right way, I could talk with Tomha Zymurgy, and combining our ideas we are very close to be able to export almost anything with blender, provided it has no holes and its a tube topologically. I could export nurbs, meshes, metaballs, anything. The process is simple if the thing is close to convex, it needs a bit more work if there are non-convex parts. I stll have to figure out why it makes odd things at poles,and I write a tutorial to explain. Here an export of Suzanne ^_^camilla Yosuke8 may 2007

So here is the tutorial I hope this can help ^_^ Please if you don't want to follow it entirely , at least take a look at the conclusion, at the very end.camilla Yosuke 9 may 2007

Version francaise d'Amanda avec plein de tips et d'exemple de .Blend files : ou avec les théories fumantes de Jo Melnik.

It's a french version of the Amanda's Method, with some tips, and Blend files used by Jo Melnik.

Jo Melnik - 4th december 2007 - Thanks Amanda

Blender Previewer

Here I posted a new version of a better blender previewer, it comes without tutorial, but the tutorial below explains it good camilla Yosuke 9 may 2007

I made a little blender file to preview the sculpted prims. Basically its just a cylinder with the 2 extreme loops sized to a single point ( yes, not a sphere, to avoid blender's odd sphere projection ) with a clean spherical uvmapping. Then in edit mode I sized all the vertices to the smallest possible, approaching a single point, then I applied a displacement modifier, with RVB-XYZ as displace direction, and UV as input, using the apple texture given here as the texture for displacment map. This one is a 16x16 vertices mesh, but I assume it must be the same with a 32x32. Here is the result and the older blender file I managed to export deformations of this mesh to pictures,baking the displacment map generated like Eddy said, then previewed these with my little reciepe, it works fine :) Considering the sculpt mode , we have an awesome environment to create sculpted prims in blender ^_^ Beeing very used to use meshes instead of nurbs, that have relatively poor handling in blender so far, I don't even see the point of a script - well, this is my own and personal opinion :) Can't wait for playing with it in world, and make damn die-for-shoes ! Ty for all camilla Yosuke 2 may 2007

Camilla, hate to say this but I got an unexpected shut down on Blender when trying to run the Blender-script. : / It didn't say what kind of error or a cause. Was on AMD 4000+, ATI x1600XT with latest driver update, Window XP Home, hope that helps. --Vincent Nacon 00:07, 2 May 2007 (PDT)

--> fixed, due to using 2.42a instead of 2.43

Vincent, do you mean, when trying to open the .blend file with blender ? Or the 'uv-face-layout' export script, which I packed with the file unintentionally, and which is absolutely not needed for the preview to work.camilla Yosuke 2 may 2007

That's right, just opening the file itself. Not sure what else is there that I had to do with it. --Vincent Nacon 12:27, 2 May 2007 (PDT)

I opened it in Blender 2.42a - instant crash. Blender 2.43 - crashes when i select a Texture (using Win XP SP2/NVIDIA 7600). Which Blender Version and OS did you use ? Just like in SL, new Blender Versions lead to new Problems.--Cindy Crabgrass 13:26, 2 May 2007 (PDT)

Cindy, Camilla and I worked out to see the problem in the blender. Must have Blender version 2.43. However, I'm not sure why you are crashing when selecting texture. I'm on Windows XP and she was on Linux. Both are working well, except the normals are flip sided, which said to fix later. You should talk to Camilla if you're still crashing, she may figure out why. --Vincent Nacon 16:36, 2 May 2007 (PDT)

--> I updated the blend file with normals in the right direction ^_^ camilla Yosuke 3 may 2007

Now i managed to load it, using a special Blender Version from - must have been a Bug in 2.43 that makes it crash on some Machines. --Cindy Crabgrass 07:39, 3 May 2007 (PDT)

Blender Misc.

Wow, talk about perfect timing! For those who use or are considering using the free & open-source Blender, it just so happens that the latest Blender release (2.43) has an all-new feature that appears to be a wonderful solution for modeling sculpted prims for SL: Sculpt Mode. From the description page: "Sculpt Mode is a new mode for editing Mesh objects. Unlike Edit Mode, the model's shape is manipulated with various brushes, rather than by editing individual vertices, edges, and faces. Additionally, Sculpt Mode only edits the shape of the model (meaning vertices, edges, and polygons cannot be added or deleted in Sculpt Mode) which allows Sculpt Mode to work considerably faster than Edit Mode on denser meshes. Sculpt Mode is primarily a tool for creating organic shapes with curved surfaces rather than mechanical shapes with flat surfaces and hard edges." Can someone say free alternative to Zbrush? :O Beatfox Xevious 15:27, 1 May 2007 (PDT)


Will the Maya exporter work with Maya Personal Learning Edition? [1] --Kamilion

haven't tried it - but i believe the personal edition puts gaudy maya watermarks on images - which would definitely cause sculpties grief... but this isn't a typical rendering, so perhaps not. worth an experiment. --Qarl Linden 09:58, 28 April 2007 (PDT)
Hi, I just tried it and and it does unfortunately watermark the resulting image with the free edition. (P.S. Even so, still, WOOOT!!! :)) --Logan Bauer
This is unlikely to happen because of SL's potential commercial applications, Buuuuut..... Epic Software apparently has a standing deal where their export plugin for Unreal Tourniment 2k3 mods works in Maya PLE without the normal restructions (this may be holdover from before Autodesk bought them). Might it be possible for Linden Lab to look into a similar deal? Elle Pollack 14:58, 28 April 2007 (PDT)

Does anyone know whether sculpts made with the student/faculty edition of maya render correctly in second life. As a hobbyist on second life ( and a college prof) $289 is much easier to justify than $1999. Reginald Barrymore --Reginald Barrymore 08:10, 6 May 2007 (PDT)

The educational version of Maya forbids any commercial use of content produced and expires after two years. Yumi Murakami
The free "Personal Learning Edition" watermarks images making it good for making the sculpt maps, but if you're buying an educational licence for the full program, that should give you full functionality. Elle Pollack 09:37, 6 May 2007 (PDT)


Is there any further info. on this or on how the Blender export is done? I have an in-world friend getting miserable because they use Lightwave and nobody knows how to export from it. I looked around and found that there is a normal-map generation plug-in for Lightwave, but it's not open to modification, and it seems to be the same for ZBrush too. So just saying it's a "simple modification" is presuming a bit I think ;) Yumi Murakami

I just rezzed a pair of bright red one-prim sculptie wellies in world that was originally crafted within Lightwave's toolset. To encourage exploration, I'll drop a couple of major points rather than hand you a tightly parcelled scene. This generic layman walkthrough will require some knowledge of Lightwave, a copy of Lightwave, and imagination: - --Patchouli Woollahra 08:59, 5 May 2007 (PDT)
Here's roughly how Eddy described it to me when I asked in email a few days ago:
- Follow the directions at for creating a normal map, except select the option to use "Orco" (local position) instead of "Nor"(mals)
- "The problem with this is that it's not normalized from 0-255, and aside from doing post-processing on the image I don't know if that can easily be solved in Blender without breaking down and writing a script."
If you contact him in-world or by email (on the libsecondlife page, he's jhurlman), he can probably give more up to date details. Elle Pollack 12:16, 1 May 2007 (PDT)
Yumi - consider that the blender work by Eddy was done ONE DAY after we announced the sculpties - i do think i'm safe in saying that exporters are simple work. let's give this project a WHOLE WEEK before we get too upset about how long things are taking... ? :) --Qarl Linden 11:01, 1 May 2007 (PDT)

Pricing and demo updates:

LightWave currently sells for US$895 without printed manuals, or if you have Photoshop you can get it as a "companion upgrade" for US$495. The demo version is currently unavailable through the website, but it comes on a DVD with a couple available LightWave 9 books. Anna Gulaev 10:01, 9 August 2007 (EST)


I was surprised to see Henshin III under the bullet point "Current Sculpt Map Support?". Henshin III is used to create builds within AutoCAD and then import them into Second Life, the tool is very powerful but unfortunately does not support sculpt map generation. I was informed by their support that you can define a block in AutoCAD of "sculpted" type and Henshin will get its parameters and will position it into SL. I'm not sure how this should be noted on the article or if the entry for Henshin should be removed (not my intention to flag it for removal) but as such the answer to "Current Sculpt Map Support?" is "No" (at least to the best of my knowledge, please please please someone prove me wrong). Signed with tildes, nand 02:27, 18 December 2007 (PST)


I personally own a full commercial license for Rhinoceros which I also use to generate sculpties. All that is needed are Rhino itself plus a couple of free, 3rd-party utilities. I am documenting my success on-line. A link will follow. Meanwhile, please be aware that the folks at McNeel who distribute Rhino have already begun an early-version (experimental!) plugin for working with sculpties. If enough folks write them to send encouragement, it might possibly hasten that wonderful prospect.

Rhino in Second Life This is my tutorial/info page on how to make sculpties using Rhino. I will maintain/update this page on a regular basis as I become more adept. Hope that helps. Aplonis Ember 2008-04-11

If NURBS are going to be the recommended method of making SL objects...for about the price of a Photoshop suite ($995 for the full licence, $195 for students) there's Rhino 3D, which is made with NURBS in mind. I don't know much else about it at this point but it supports plugins and has a trial version (full functionality for 25 saves). Elle Pollack 13:14, 28 April 2007 (PDT)

whoa, no need to buy rhino, I think its overkill, besides - you can't really texture anything in it. if I read correctly, this is more like maya, in which case we're talking patch models. there are lowcost to free patch modelling programs, like A:M, hamapatch, etc. rhino doesn't function like that really, it's a great program but it's not as good for organic modelling. but this is all under the hood stuff. I suspect a polygon model made to approximate the control points and uvspace of the prim will be plenty good enough to work with - and you can sculpt it to your hearts content in a variety of low-cost programs from blender (free) to silo, hexagon, up to programs like zbrush (which would be my preferred method, as I can up and downsample the resolution). I'm guessing based on the info provided about the texture, we're talking about a low poly model limited to 64 control points. --Hypatia Callisto 14:23, 29 April 2007 (PDT)

Misc. 3d Software Qs.

I know of three perfectly free modellers that run on many platforms: Blender, Google's SketchUp, and the open source Wings3D which I use with X-Plane. It would help the "pennyless" content makers tremendously to have exporters for these.
I'm not sure if Sketchup has the functionality required for this sort of thing. It can do plugins (Python, IIRC) , but it doesn't have much in the line of map rendering and export of non-native formats except maybe for .jpg renders is tied to having the paid "Pro" version. There might be importers for skp files into other programs. Might. Elle Pollack 12:05, 28 April 2007 (PDT)
SketchUp just has raster exports (i.e. JPEG, PNG, etc. renders) in the free version. The paid version adds exporters for AutoCAD DWG and DXF, as well as 3D Studio Max. So you can design something in SketchUp, export it to another (more expensive) program, then export a sculpt texture. However, I don't think SketchUp is really ideal for this sort of work... it has a bit of a bias towards orthogonal architecture stuff, which you can already build fairly easily with prims. -- Pablo Andalso 02:04, 5 May 2007 (PDT)

In considering programs to offer export support for, is there any chance of offering support for Caligari Truespace [2]? It is priced much more in reach for the average users than 3d Studio Max/Maya, and is not as esoteric as Blender. Cristiano Midnight 21:12, 27 April 2007 (PDT)

- these exporters are really easy to create - basically if your program has a normal-map generator (most do) it's a simple mod to make a sculpt exporter. so i challenge YOU Cristiano to make the truespace exporter.  :) --Qarl Linden 09:43, 28 April 2007 (PDT)

-- if i understand the issue right, the main obstacle at the moment would be: the displacement map is "baked" into texture which is created based on UV map associated with low resolution prim. In case of SL sculpt prims, this low res UV map is "hard coded" property of the sculpt prim as it's rezzed in SL rather than anything user would create themselves, and so the displacement map generator has to be given this exact prim with this exact UV map to use it as baking reference or Bad Things(tm) happen. Is there any chance such reference "sculpt prim" with its UV map could be provided for download, perhaps in .obj format for easy use?

- Gonna post tech specs for that sort of thing any time soon? Won't help me much since I'm not a coder, but... Elle Pollack 13:14, 28 April 2007 (PDT)

One of the programmers responsible for Rhino is working on a tool called Moment of Inspiration. Functional beta is available online. Not sure how long it'll be useful, but it does export to .3ds, .obj, .iges, .stl, and OpenNURBs (aka Rhino3D format).
In addition, there are other NURBs-capable modelers available. Art of Illusion is an open source, Java-based hybrid modeler iirc. Ayam is another NURBs modeler that some people might prefer. -- Csven Concord 17:40, 28 Apr 2007 (PDT)

Please excuse me if i am not posting this correctly but here goes. I know very little about 3d programs so my question is. will the average SL user be able to readily use this new prim with out having to pay 1000's 0f $$ for an expensive 3d modeling program. regardds crucial Armitage

I'm working on a sculpture map exporter for MilkShape3D, which is free to download and evaluate for 30 days (with no cripples or restrictions, IIRC), and after that is only US$25 to register. --Deanna Trollop 15:34, 2 May 2007 (PDT)
Short answer: Yes, if you're willing to put in the effort to learn how.
Slightly longer answer: see the section above that discusses various free and not-so-free programs here. Blender will probably be the first to be fully supported. A tool within the SL client is planed eventually. And inevitably, there will be people offering sets of free sculpt maps to builders; new primitive shapes, assorted architectural elements, etcetera. Elle Pollack 15:41, 2 May 2007 (PDT) (who will probably merge this into the afformentioned section but leaves it to be found for the moment)

Has any work been done on a Modo exporter? For those unfamiliar with this wonderful program Lallander Parvenu 13:53, 7 May 2007 (PDT)

None that I know...I only know one other person who uses Modo though and the laws of demand and supply are in full force. Elle Pollack 09:30, 8 May 2007 (PDT)

Other Qs

Why not provide (for example) a 3DS to texture converter instead of a conversion plugin? Most programs I've seen will save and load 3DS format, so this would be just the same as writing an exporter plugin. Yumi Murakami

- If someone were to go that route, they might be better off using OBJ format, which every polygon modeler worth it's salt can export, or MDL which is less common but the files can be read as plain text like BVH (Neverwinter Nights uses it and there are some existing tools to work with it); it's closer to being a "standard" format than 3DS. I like the idea, but for programers, a lot of existing 3d suites have the ability to render textures built in, which I think would make plugins easier to write initialy.

-- the reason it's better to write an exporter is for programs which can generate a normal map from displacement painting a low polygon mesh. Most of these programs let you subdivide the model to higher resolutions, letting you displacement paint with better detail, giving you a map that can better approximate nurbs-style patch curves, rather than the blocky nature of a polygon model. (OBJ and 3DS are polygon model formats) --Hypatia Callisto 16:20, 29 April 2007 (PDT)

While on the subject of export formats, does anyone know the prefered format to export NURBS objects in? (OBJ and 3DS are both polygon exports). Elle Pollack 12:16, 29 April 2007 (PDT)

to answer this question - Rhino's 3DM format is becoming a standard in that area. But my previous statement holds - no need for Rhino for sculpties. You need a modeller that can export a normal map. Probably best would be some kind of converter to deal with Zbrush's normal maps to turn them into sculptie format. Most programs which can import/export and use normal maps can deal with Zbrush-type maps. --Hypatia Callisto 03:15, 30 April 2007 (PDT)
Well, the question is directed at figuring out platform-independent formats for those working in programs for which there isn't an export to sculpt map yet, in order to pass it along to a program (or person) that does. For polygons it's usualy OBJ.

-- you'll be looking basically at creating something like qavimator is to bvh files. But with an exporter for blender around (and I suspect this will come about pretty soon, and a manual method exists already), I doubt there'll be much need for a stand alone app. The price ranges from free to midrange to highend professional apps can be easily covered. --Hypatia Callisto 15:47, 30 April 2007 (PDT)

one problem is that no one can agree on which program is the best, which format, etc, etc. ideally i'd like to see our vibrant community develop the import/export mechanisms - they're the ones who know exactly what the want/need. --Qarl Linden 13:09, 29 April 2007 (PDT)
I would like to create an OBJ->texture converter but I'm not 100% sure on the best approach to use. At a general, conceptual level, and please correct me if I'm wrong, I envisage the conversion process to get a 64x64 textures as follows:
 - draw a sphere around the object to be represented
 - draw a 64x64 grid on the sphere (like parallels and meridans on a world map)
 - for each ray from the center of the sphere to a grid point
    -- compute the intersection of the ray with the object
 - Scale, normalize, etc to fit into 0-255 range.
I understand the process as described above, assuming is correct, is heavy and that 3d software have means to ease that conversation so exporters are preferable to converters. Nevertheless there are so many 3D programs (CB Model Pro, anyone?) able to create .obj files that I believe a converter will prove itself useful.
That said, I must confess that I still don't understand many things. It's not clear to me how normals map (that is stored into the .obj file) relates to the sculpted texture even if elsewhere in this discussion someone said that from the normal maps one can derive the texture. Any hints? --Rael Delcon 01:29, 9 May 2007 (PDT)

Just so I'm clear, Linden Lab is supporting Autodesk software first and then open source second, despite the fact that the viewer is open sourced? This is a very mixed signal. I would have thought that the open source stuff would have been done first. Is this how we should expect features to be done in the future? Cater to the minority so that process drives product instead of product driving process? --Nobody Fugazi 10:37, 5 May 2007 (PDT)
Sounds like you're very unclear. I don't believe LL supports any plug-ins at all. It doesn't even support sculpted prims yet. When it does, it probably still won't support any plug-ins, but by then the community will have them for many different platforms. The question of "Which platforms?" will be decided the same way it's always decided in open-source community projects -- coders who use particular platforms will code for them, and the order they get made will depend on the speed of the individual coders in question, and will not be determined by any official policy anywhere. --Gaius Goodliffe
The original blog posts clearly highlighted Autodesk software which is as good as a pepsi ad in a movie. As far as 'what is decided in open source communities', well - let's see, Gaius - would an open source community have started with Autodesk software when they could have started with Blender? But Deight defends below, saying Qarl knew only Maya... and I feel for Qarl. I do. But this is NOT about Qarl, this is about software available to the community for features available to the community which affect an economy where Maya users were at an almost immediate advantage. Despite what some people may think, I am fairly certain that Maya users form a minority of the SecondLife community. --Nobody Fugazi 08:19, 16 May 2007 (PDT)
Sculpted prims were made by Qarl. Qarl knows Maya best. So, when he made this he did it with Maya because that was the easiest and quickest option for him to do it. He didn't make it so that's it's impossible to use other tools, and in fact it took pretty much one day for serious progress on Blender export to come along. One week later, it's now easy to make Blender exports. Would you rather have waited for Qarl to learn Blender, make an exporter for it, and then release it? Or do you just wanna remember that Qarl just wanted to get this out as soon as it was stable, and worry about other applications later? --Deight Boccara 18:36, 5 May 2007 (PDT)
Short answer: Yes. When releasing a new feature to a diverse community, it is sensible not to treat some better than others based on their ability to use one package over another. Qarl may have made it, but the release of it to the public was probably not his decision. Would it have been horrible to wait a little while to get sculpted prims out the door in a more mature manner? That is the point. We could have waited another week or two for a more balanced release, especially with the bubbly entries highlighting Autodesk software. They sure got some cheap advertising out of that. --Nobody Fugazi 08:19, 16 May 2007 (PDT)
couldn't have said it better, Deight. --Qarl Linden 20:03, 5 May 2007 (PDT)
Perhaps you couldn't have, Qarl, but perhaps more preparation before release is in order. Just because you're good in Maya doesn't mean that the Linden Lab client base is, and demonstrating something can be done in Maya is fine and dandy - I appreciate that - but having the blog entry releasing it along the lines of an advertorial did not impress myself. The only people who seem duly impressed are defending you when in fact I am not attacking you. What I am attacking is a supposedly open source friendly company forcing the community to develop something for a feature simply because internally they do not seem to be eating their own dog food. What I will suggest to you, Qarl, is to become more familiar with open source software. Based on the belief people have in you, I have no doubt you could have learned blender - if you have not done so yet - and there could have been a balanced release which didn't seem like an advertorial for Autodesk. It is a good thing, these sculptured prims - but when they skew toward one small user group, you can expect criticism and perhaps some righteous indignation. This is not just about prims. This affects a lot of other things, and to say otherwise is myopic. --Nobody Fugazi 08:19, 16 May 2007 (PDT)
Nobody, by the time you're posting this, it's allready a moot point, with exporters now avalible for Blender, Wings 3D, Lightwave and more programs on the way. Sculpted Prims: 3d Software Guide should be up-to-date with the links and such. (Of those I listed, Wings is probably the easiest for a complete newbie to pick up, though the first version of the export is somewhat limited to specific dimentions.)
It does not take "a coupple weeks" to learn Blender. One may grasp the basics in that amount of time but Blender still has one of the sharpest learning curves of all the 3d software out there. Even were that not so, I took a college course in 3ds Max over a year ago and I'm still learning the program, not because it's necesicarly difficult but because there is a lot to learn. Yet in those "coupple weeks" five or six methoods have been developed using other programs, some of them that may even be better than Qarl's initial script if I may venture to say so, by people who allready learned the programs. Wouldn't you say that's better than one guy spending a month or two or more trying to learn the program in his spare time (and very possibly a new scripting language to go with it) by himself one at a time?
And while I hardly think the blog anouncement sounded like an advertisement, Autodesk does make good stuff. (Or in the case of Maya, buy out good stuff.) I'm not particuarly defending Qarl or Linden Lab...I'm just saying you're wrong. Elle Pollack 16:56, 16 May 2007 (PDT)

Hey i just found this.... PolyTrans-for-MAX 3D conversion plug-in system 4.3.

It can do OpenNURBS wondering if someone can look at it and its use with the OPENNURBS exporter for SL Dimentox Travanti 11:09, 23 May 2007 (PDT)

A very green Newbie in 3D world

Another 'Free' program is 'Dez Studio' ... by all accounts it's easy to use with plenty of material available . Does anyone know if its compatible with SL re upload ?. Thanks : )

I suspect you mean "Daz Studio...the program circulated among SL animators for a while as a way to do BVH exports...initaly it lacked an exporter at all save the paid version and I think even if they ever did include a BVH export, people found it lacking. It's more of a competitor to Poser than any of the programs listed here.
Now on the other hand, Daz does make other products and looking at their page, I see that one of them is Hexagon. There's a chance that might fit the bill. I'll have a looksee at their feature list. Elle Pollack 16:31, 16 May 2007 (PDT)

3D for all SL artists.....Vive la revolution !

Whilst I see much talk of the super league 3D programmes that require a stack of $'s to own, it would be great if Linden Labs could source an economical selection of compatable software and make a list available for the less well-off creative 'greenhorns' who want to get involved in the new prim revolution. It sounds to me like Sculpted prims are going to change the way SL looks in a major way .

Read the article attached to this talk page and note the big section that says "Free 3d Modeling Software". Particuarly Blender and Wings3d. Elle Pollack 22:25, 18 May 2007 (PDT)


Modo isn't a NURBS modeler, its focus is on polygon and subdivision surfaces (sub-d) modeling.


Hexagon was originally developed by Eovia of France. It was purchased by Daz to supplement their product suite - poser assets and Daz Studio. Daz Studio isn't really a modeling package, but is used to pull together scenes from pre-existing assets.

Carrara is another Daz (formerly Eovia) product that is more of a full-fledged 3D package than Hexagon, although the modeling capabilities are (apparently) not as comprehensive as those in Hexagon.

Thanks for the info...feel free to update the section in the article, as you seem to know more about it than I (who made an educated guess from the webpage). Elle Pollack 21:03, 21 May 2007 (PDT)

Modeling Tools of Interest

Forum Thread

Free Software Directory: Graphics > 3D



How do I upload images to Second Life?

Please Help!!

I heard the main grid can now accept prims sculpted in Blender. I've made objects, cooked them, and saved them, but can't upload them from Second Life via "file/upload image, animation, or sound" so how do I do it? Do I download them to my avatar's inventory from Blender???

-Wish Lusch

PS I have succesfully uploaded Images... This can't be that hard... What am I missing?

You use "upload image" same as any other texture; find the image file (not the .blend file) that you saved out in Blender and upload that. Elle Pollack 09:31, 24 May 2007 (PDT)

Thank you, Elle, HOW DO I SAVE AS .pdf IN BLENDER? Sounds silly, but I can't find out how to do that in "save as" or under "export" though there are 27 other files types I can save as. -Frustrated Avatar Sculpting Tangibles

If it's not explained in the tutorial you're using, you should bug the tutorial authors to include it. I'm not in a good position to dig for the answer at the moment. Elle Pollack 06:06, 26 May 2007 (PDT)

Organizing the list

So, something for the hive mind to ponder:

When I started this list, it initialy seemed that there need only be 3 catigories: Free software (in either the beer or the speech (but mostly the beer) definition of the word), Professional software, i.e. paid stuff in the league of Maya and Max, and "other", software that, whether paid or free, would probably be less than ideal for sculpt making. Right now though, we're being inundated with programs I didn't even know existed and a lot of stuff that doesn't fit any of those catigories cleanly.

One catigory that I think I'm going to add is "Resident-Made Sculpting Tools", for which Rokuro and 3dm2sculpt would be the current entries along with obj2sculpt if it ever gets made...programs that aren't 3d modelers but can generate sculpt maps nonetheless.

The "Other" and the "Professional" catigories are troublesome, because otherness is largely in the eye of the beholder. For example, I put Milkshape as one of the first entries into that costs $25 but you're getting what you pay for in this case, which I say with a small degree of experience trying to use it. Does that mean Amorphium ($79) should go in "Other"? If someone manages to create a sculpt map plugin for Milkshape then does it get bumped up with the pro software? Should Ayam (in the "free" catigory) be bumped down to Other because no one seems to be using it? And where does POV Ray fit into all this? It doesn't create models but it can still render sculpt textures from existing ones.

Part of the problem is's hard to know what a program is good at without giving them a test drive and who has time to download and play in all these demos? How are you going to entice people to try out something that doesn't allready have a following? (As I mentioned above somewhere, the laws of demand and supply are in full effect...people will demand sculpt support for their program and the higher the demand, the more likely the supply. To what degree should this list pay attention to that demand as well?)

Should "Professional" perhaps be reclassified as "paid" and have programs grouped by price range? I don't know if that's a particuarly good idea because "Professional" indicates a certian degree of quality and usefullness and I want to preserve that aspect of the grouping somehow.

It should not be the goal of this page to list every 3d software program in existance...if we turn up some previously unknown gems in the process, that's good, but there's got to be a seperation of wheat and chaff somewhere in order to be usefull.

Elle Pollack 10:34, 24 May 2007 (PDT)

At first I was thinking alphabetical. It maybe easier to index them at the end of the page under one group. Then, they can be sorted in different categories near the top with page links to below. Dzonatas Sol 11:03, 24 May 2007 (PDT)
Another thing I'm thinking of is whether there's a sane methood of having user ratings on here. I'm not sure how that could be done well without some extra coding or an external webpage. Even something as basic as a thumbs up/thumbs down tally with comments would be nice; it would offer a rough gague of how popular a program is among SL users who are following this stuff. Elle Pollack 10:51, 31 May 2007 (PDT)


This space is my running list of things I'm working on or would like to see done with this page. Feel free to add to it or grab an item off the list and do it. Elle Pollack 10:46, 31 May 2007 (PDT)

Continual tasks:

  • Find sources for general tutorials in the various programs, especialy beginer-level ones and link them in the respective Resources section. (Sites with tutorials or other resources that apply to many different programs go into the other resources section)
  • Many of the scultpy tutorials Residents are writing are in need of serious copyediting and fleshing out - a lot of them assume the reader knows what they're doing in a program, for example.
    • If you can get permission from the author, offer to mirror the tutorial on the Wiki where we can get our collective hands on it.


  • Instead of saying whether a program supports NURBS modeling, it will be more usefull to say what methoods of modeling it supports. The importance of NURBS has, in my opinion, been shown to be a moot point and it's going to boil down to personal preference in the end.
    • Polygon, NURBS, Subdivision, Brush sculpting (the later is a bit tricky: 3ds Max has paint deformation, Blender has a new sculpt mode, but do they even compare to zBrush and the like?) Done
  • Organize the pro software list by price range. Suggested divisions: Under US$100, $100-$499, $500-$999, $1000+ Done, but with 3 divisions instead of 4)
  • Create a section for tools that are just for 3d painting/UVMapping: i.e. DeepPaint3d, UV Mapper Pro, Tattoo. These may warant a seperate page since they're not strictly related to sculpties.


Uploading Textures

It says in the article that 128 x 128 textures are not compressed. Is this correct? I find it hard to believe since I've attempted to upload 128 x 128 textures and I still receive some vertice drift.

- Obsidian Stormwind 06:33, 3 June 2007 (PDT)
Tests show that 128x128 is lossless or at the least near to lossless. Maybe 128x128 only has loss in specific cases. You can test for yourself if you're suffering from compression artifacts. Save the texture from SL back to your disk. Load both original and saved texture in photoshop. Add a layer to the original one with Mode set to difference. Paste the saved texture in the new layer. Flatten the image. Change the contrast to +100. If you get a full white image you've no compression artifacts. If you spots of red, green, yellow, black ... you do.
Note that there are many reasons why you may seem to have drift. Precision is only 8 bits so it's not always possible for exporters to reproduce exactly what you had in your designer. I also don't expect this situation to last. Logically what you'd expect to see is the reverse: 64x64 and below lossless, 128x128 and above lossy. Maybe that's what they wanted but they made a typo? :) --Blakar Ogre 07:43, 3 June 2007 (PDT)
Blakar, please see my comments on the JIRA page. There is a bug in your testing methodology. 128x128 textures definitely are lossy-compressed. --Deanna Trollop 19:46, 3 June 2007 (PDT)

AoI're kidding, right?

Someone left a note under the bit about Art of Illusion that says that some form of malware was included with their distribution. It's inconceivable to me how he could have contracted a virus from an open source project, particularly one that is still quite active, since that would undermine the very purpose of open source software. Since, I presume, they are using an OS with extreme security flaws, it is much more likely that the machine was spontaneously infected during the same day that AoI was installed. Shall we remove the uninformed comment? --Insekt Susser 11:19, 13 April 2008 (PDT)

It's better to correct FUD than to sweep it under the carpet.
I'd suggest contacting Caboose and trying to corroborate the report of malware in Art of Illusion, and if no corroboration can be found, the comment be removed.
False positives are quite common- the installation prog for foobar2000 (and also Second Life!) "NSIS" regularly gets false positives-
SignpostMarv Martin 12:51, 13 April 2008 (PDT)

Autodesk Maya

Just wanted to mention that there is no complete or unlimited edition with Maya 2010 anylonger. Prices have been reduced too, education bundle of Maya and 3ds with Mudbox, Motionbuilder and Softimage are around 350 US$.

Dead Link

The JASS-2 link on this page is dead and has been dead for at least the past week. Is there an alternative download URL for Jass-2 that can be posted here? Cole Eyre 15:01, 5 August 2010 (UTC)