I’ve been trying out a recent purchase, and oh my god it is fucking awesome.
It’s Mesh Studio, and it’s an inworld mesh-creation tool. I’ll leave you to check out that Marketplace link and, when your eyes have stopped watering at the price, I’ll show you why it’s worth every Linden buck.
That giant chest that I’m sitting on is one single prim of land impact. And yet, when I originally made it, it was 11 prims. What Mesh Studio allows creators to do is make something in prims, do some texture-editing (more on that shortly), chuck in a single script, set the LoD (Level of Detail) they want, click the object, and instantly download a .dae file that they can re-upload to SL, with all faces and texture repeats etc set, ready for re-texturing.
Here’s my original Large Golden Chest (no, not a pair of suntanned Lolas…) Note the land impact of 11.
Unfortunately, the only thing that doesn’t seem to work well with Mesh Studio is planar texturing. The golden edges of those panels, as well as the beveled edge of the top are planar textured and, on re-uploading and re-texturing, two sides of each came out perfectly, the other two were screwed, and I couldn’t figure out a way to get them textured properly. So, in the end I changed the texture to a simpler wood one.
Here is my final, re-textured, re-uploaded one-prim chest:
Okay, so then I had to start trying this out on more complex objects! This is an old set from my Verne Gentleman’s Study series: a leather blotter with a pen and old letter.
The original weighs in at a five-prim land impact (Mesh Studio calculates it at ten, as that’s how many prims are in it; I used convex hull to halve that):
The hovertext you can see in the screenshots is generated by the Mesh Studio script, which is in the item. And here’s the one-prim mesh version as it’s just been uploaded. As you can see, the initial upload is all-white, so I’ve enabled shadows so you can see a bit more detail:
And here it is, re-textured:
Five prims, down to one!
The procedure is very, very simple.
- Make your item and texture it. Get all the texture repeats etc exactly as you need them. No sculpties; it has to be all legacy prims, but you can cut, hollow, etc as much as you like. This really does bring us full-circle to the days before we had sculpts and people got creative with the only prims we had. Some incredibly-complex things were made back then, and you would never guess – if you saw them today – that they weren’t mesh, until you inspected them.
- Link the item together, then set all faces to 100% transparency. That’s right; everything’s now invisible.
- Use the CTRL+ALT+T (or Mac equivalent) command to view transparent prims, and select all the visible textures (that is, everything that will show) and set those back to full opacity. If you’ve made, for example, a simple table out of a tall cylinder with a large flat cylinder on top of it, then the bottom and top faces of the tall cylinder aren’t even going to be seen, so you don’t want to waste mesh vertices on them.
- Once you’re done (cam around the object and double-check that you’ve not missed any visible textures) put the Object-2-joined-mesh script into it.
- For the next bit (sorting out your LoDs and making a physics shape for things such as furniture and buildings) I suggest checking out the official Mesh Studio website, which has a lot of great tutorials and is easy to follow. I just went for the default LoD on both, and made a very simple physics shape for the chest.
- When that’s done, click the object and select ‘Mesh!’ from the menu. Wait a few seconds, then you’ll be given a link in chat (it’s an object IM, so only you can see it). Click it, and a new browser tab or window will open, and you’ll have the download to a .zip file waiting for you. Save it on your computer, unzip it, then go right back to SL.
- Go to upload a Mesh Model (you can only do this if you’ve completed the Linden Lab IP Tutorial; find it here, or look under your account on the SL website for Mesh Upload Status). Browse for your .dae file, give it a name, set what the model represents (building, static object, etc), use the physics tab to add a physics shape if you have one, then click Calculate Weights and Fee.
- It’s a good idea to perform your initial uploads on the Beta Grid, if you have access to it, as they won’t cost you anything and you can perfect each item before uploading to the Main Grid. You can always use an alt for this, so your main avatar can stay on the Main Grid and tweak the original object for re-downloading until you’ve perfected the upload on the Beta Grid.
- Once the model is in your inventory, rez it and re-apply the textures. Voila!
Best thing I’ve bought in years.