Beginning Personal Experience with Blender
My Reasons... Inspiration, if you will!
It was actually in the month of September 2019. So not too long ago actually. I'm still a beginner per say, but I kinda got the ropes in by now.
It all started with my passion for fashion in Secondlife. Seeing all these designs to sell... made me want to create my own fashion! Not only that, but this new mesh body called Alice by Signature had just come out. Seeing there was no clothing it, made me want to create clothing on my own. Accessories, designs, patterns, all sorts of things that were in the process of making my own mesh clothing!
I wanted to create and share, for my own enjoyment and perhaps even make a few dollars. As in, you can sell it for the in-game currency (L$ or Linden) and if made enough, you can sell, or exchange, the L$ for real currency. It's pretty cool actually, being able to exchange the in-game currency into real money. So that was another driving force in me, to perhaps make real money for anything outside the game, or in-game currency for anything I wanted without having to spend real money.
It felt having a purpose, like I was doing something productive while unemployed and seeking out a job.
So, it started with that...
And so we delve right on in.
I first started by downloading Blender and getting the developer kit from the maker. Blender is a free (thankfully!) 3D Design program that had the necessary built in exporting tool (Collada) that had checkmarks, or presets, that were meant for SL (Secondlife) and other open sims that you can upload your designs to and sell. There are addons, such as Avastar (for Blender specifically), that help you, but that costed money. I couldn't afford that! I wanted to make my creations as free as possible and still look amazing and something that people would want!
Then went onto videos...
I watched many, many videos. General Tutorials on Blender that were unrelated to Sl to ones on how to make a clothing piece specifically for SL.
It helped me learn before I made my first piece...
My first attempt... was well thought out. Somewhat. It didn't go to well because what I wanted to make was a bodysuit as my first piece and, ah, well... it's supposed to be skin tight. I had cut out what I wanted from the Alice body in Blender from the developers kit. I added cut outs in the bodysuit to give it a bit of flair.
Where I messed out was not the rigging (however I did have trouble with that) and there wasn't any errors. The armature and weight and how it moved was just fine.
It was the fact that it didn't fit how I wanted and I couldn't figure it out during the time how to make it fit! It was supposed to be skin tight and I couldn't make it such!
Second Attempt... was different in a way. I did the same thing as last time; cut out what I wanted. Except this time it wasn't a skin tight bodysuit; it was a dress! A dress with a cute cut out in the collar area.
The error in the density. By that time, I asked on the forums how to lower it. Because not only that I ended up on making it blocky. All because I had used a modifier to make the mesh dense, with tons of triangles and vertices and then used another modifier to lower it...
Turns out, when I asked on the mesh forum for SL, I didn't turn on smooth shading.
So I had to give up on that dress as it was a lost cause.
Third Attempt. I finally quit with cutting out from the body to get what I wanted. This time I used mesh circles and cylinders. I loop-cut it into how ever many vertices I wanted and used sculpt mode. A mode I've come to really enjoy doing!
This time I used smooth shading. All was good! It fit, the rigging and weighting was perfect...
Until it came to uploading on the beta grid and ah... it fit. It was rigged fine... but because I used three separate circles for the collar, top, and skirt and didn't connect the vertices, they moved separately.
That I couldn't figure out through searches and I didn't ask on the forum this time, so I moved on.
Fourth times a charm? This time I just used one circle. Extruded it how I wanted to, sculpted it, smoothed it out. With smooth shading, of course! I could never forget the smooth shading now. I did the same whole modifier jazz with making the mesh dense and then 'decimating' (as the modifier is called) the vertices as that really helped and it didn't make things 'blocky' or 'chunky' like before now with the smooth shading.
I did automatic weighting when connecting to the armature, using one from a blog that was run by the one who made Avastar for Blender. Which connected perfectly, hardly any weighting issues other than a few tweaks here and there.
Upload to the beta grid...
Everything was perfectly fine! Now, I did have to make a few fitting tweaks to make it not clip so much. As the developer kit, of course, had some flaws it seemed in terms of fit. Even with the warning of how it was smaller than the actual body.
But I did it! I made some successful!
Now just came in where my 2D designing would come in handy... Texturing.
All you have to do is make a seam in edit mode, unwrap, then either use nodes or texture brush to make the texture to upload.
It took some time getting into it, having a few mistakes, but I managed.
The Final Result
In the end... I was pretty happy! I figured out and persevered with it. As stated before, I am still just a beginner and have yet to upload my designs that I made for the body (as well as hair) to the main grid, due to costs, but I believe someday I will manage to do it!
From what I learned is that I might actually want to do more with 3D designing. Make a job out of it perhaps?
What I l Learned
The purpose of sharing this is to let people know to persevere, no matter what happens. I did! I made errors and mistakes and made it through, to where I could continue learning and designing.
Here is what not to do and what to do that I have learned.
- Put on Smooth Shading. Always.
- If you can help it, the less vertices, the better.
- Always ask for help. Look at videos, tutorials, anything you can find to help you in your designing process.
If you are someone who is working with Blender, especially designing for Secondlife, do not give up! You can do it, just as I have done it!