Texture Tools

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Revision as of 13:16, 28 June 2007 by Nobody Fugazi (talk | contribs)
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The purpose of this page is to increase awareness of resources that'll help you texture better in Second Life. Texturing is a fundamental part of a building skillset, as evidenced when you put that dang plywood texture on everything.

This list includes but isn't limited to: programs, tutorials, and packs of textures themselves. I (Torley Linden) am starting with what I know and have actually experienced — please share what you've found useful!

Texture-making programs

  • Gimp (Free Software/Open Source) The Gimp, or GNU Image Manipulation Program, is a freely distributed piece of software for such tasks as photo retouching, image composition and image authoring. It works on many operating systems, in many languages and is available for Linux, Mac OSX and Unix. Powerful, with many tutorials on the web - great links for the main site. Best bang for the buck.
  • Filter Forge (90-day trial, pricing info here, with the possibility to get it for free, Windows only) - It's the very spicy (because it's so diverse), no-holds-barred plugin which allows you to make your own Photoshop filters! This isn't some crummy, unintuitive rubbish either: it's top-drawer, with a wealth of presets, many free filters already created by the FF community to download. I'm particularly hoping to see builds inworld use some wall and tile sets made from this. Have you done such a thing? LET ME KNOW OK? :o)
  • PhotoSEAM (30-day demo, US$35, Windows only) - Helps you make textures seamless like a superstar! Often, after sketching raw 768x768 chunks in ArtRage 2, I'll bring 'em into PhotoSEAM to master as 512x512s, with some buffer 'round the edges so I can cross borders smoothly. What's more, you can apply touch-up effects to come up with some radical variants of your source material. Caveats: it hasn't been updated in 6+ years and it's prone to crashing, but it's the best I've found thus far!
  • ArtRage 2 (free edition available, US$19.95 for full version, Windows and Mac) - Simple, superb, sexy. It's a painting program with a snazzy user interface and minimal controls. Nope, it doesn't even have Copy OR Paste, but the brush tones are lush. Did I mention the glitter tool adds so much amazing depth? I can almost feel the grains get layered down when working with it. On 2007-02-04, I created some free ArtRage canvases; they're based on some of my textures.
  • Context Free (free, Windows and Mac and *nix) - An elegant, refreshing program to mathematically generate art — see the gallery for many examples. Starting with the 2.1, you can specify tiled rendering. Even if you don't know programming languages, it's very easy to get into Context Free by changing a few numbers around, then learn more. I've made textures like "Context Free Trees" and "Context Free Flowers" using this.
  • Paint.NET (free, Windows only) - Paint.NET is free image editing and photo manipulation software. It supports layers, unlimited undo, special effects, and a wide variety of useful and powerful tools.

Texture utilities

Here's some stuff you may never of heard of; I hope it'll make your Second Life texturing easier!

  • Texture calculator (free, Windows only, 4.9 MB download) - By Adrian Eisenberg. If you've ever wanted to map multiple textures onto a single one for greater efficiency, also known as texture zones, give this a spin. It'll save you the headache of working out the offsets. You can see an actual example by Detect Surface and learn more.

Texture tutorials

  • Photoshop video tutorial series (most in WMV format) - Look under the left sidebar under the "PHOTOSHOP VIDEOS" header. By Twiddler "Frisky Pirate" Thereian.
  • Texture Mapping Tutorial- Creating texture maps for objects/products/builds in SL. Content-rich designs. Piccies to come soon as well as advanced Photoshop techniques. By Detect Surface aka "The Prim Hog".
  • Various Tutorials - Many building tutorials which touch on textural aspects of content creation, such as how to make clothes. By Natalia Zelmanov.
  • "Tutorial: the texture of our world" - This is a general guide from '05, but what you learn here will help you in related areas — they're all interconnected. A tidy, very-easy-to-understand piece o' work explaining the benefits of fine texture control in SL.

Texture packs

Watermelinden Land, home of Torley Textures.
  • Torley Textures (inworld) - Fully-permissive in a variety of surreal, sketchy, painterly, organic, cyberiffic, etc. styles. More info here. Also take note of the LOVE TEXTURES, a '07 Valentine's Day special! If you make kewl stuff, let me know!
  • Harbinger's Haven - Builders sandbox (inworld) - "No push, no scripts. All builders welcome. No weapons, vehicles, selling or advertising. Cleared daily.Free Textures" A pleasant place to build. You'll land right in front of free texture kiosks, sorted into a variety of categories.
  • Lemog3d texture collection - One of my favoritest free texture resources on a well-organized French site. High-quality, seamlessly-tiling, assorted goods. These are at 512x512 resolution, which is just peachy for uploading straight into SL.
  • CGTalk's Online Texture Libraries links - Also includes links to tutorials. Note that some of the links are broken — it's still worth a look. Note that most of them aren't seamlessly tiling, so if that's your intention, you'll need to do extra editing.


These don't fit under a single category.

  • Second Life Design & Textures forum - Where I started out. Discuss texturing tips & tricks with fellow Residents and look at the top for the helpful tutorials stickied in orange.
  • Developers Resource Matrix - It's kinda hard to find on our website, but it's got lots of helpful links I refer to regularly. If you're a content creator or looking to Do-It-Yourself, bookmark it and keep it close. Some additional resources are listed which I'm not going to overlap here.
  • Deviantart.com Resources - Ready-to-use textures, as well as application-specific brushes, patterns, and other tools for making textures. Click on the "Categories" button to get a list of the different sections. Be sure you read about crediting requirements before using a resource! (Most artists just want to know what you did with their work.)