L’Uomo Tip: Enhance With Materials
Materials have come to Second Life with the Second Life viewer, and the recent Firestorm 4.5.1 beta – among others. An introduction to Materials can be found here.
If you are using a viewer that supports materials, there are a few very simple things you can do to enhance your L’Uomo mesh avatar: you can add a bit of gloss to the skin, to give an oily or sweaty look, and you can even create skin pores!
Let’s start with sample pictures. These were taken with the sky at midday, and a light source to the left of the avatar.
Default Mesh Avatar – No Materials
Mesh Avatar with Specular Effect
Mesh Avatar with Specular and “Bump” (Normal Map)
Yes you can’t see any difference compared to he previous one … till you look up close.
Mesh Avatar with Specular and Normal Map – Close Up
See the pores on the skin? Neat huh? So…
How Do I Do This?
Let’s take this one step at a time. But first:
The steps below assume that you are using a viewer that supports Materials. You also need to have Advanced Lighting Model enabled, in Preferences -> Graphics.
Edit the mesh avatar; in the edit window, go to the Texture tab. About halfway down, there is a dropdown which says “Texture (diffuse)”. click that and set it to “Shininess (specular)”.
Now, click the Texture picker and select “Blank” (which is solid white). This is MUCH too strong as it is, so change the Color from white to a shade of grey. I like RGB values of 128,128,128. Then play with the values for Glossiness and Environment. Good values to start with are 45, and 10, respectively.
Adding Skin Pores with a Normal Map
For this step, you need a normal map that will create the skin pores effect. So save the image below to your hard drive, then upload it to Second Life.
Now, edit the avatar again; again, Texture tab. This time, select “Bumpiness (normal). Drag the saved normal map into the texture slot. Below, set horizontal and vertical scale, both to 20.0. Close the edit window – you’re done.
Naturally, this method is not ideal. For example, hair that is painted on a skin will “shine” just as much as the skin, which isn’t very realistic. Nonetheless, these simple steps can enhance your mesh avatar considerably.