Far be it from me to poo poo people from using Blender and not actually provide help.
Many many people complain about Blender’s interface being too complicated etc etc. As a noob, i felt that too, yet ended up pushing through the initial learning curve and ended up finding Blender is actually really flexible. I’m still a noob! But I do find Blender very comfortable to work with and find it provides the most options towards creating things that I want.
Towards that end, I did a bit of searching for tutorial videos today and here is what I found:
Introducing the Blender 3D Environment by Glen Moyes is a clear and concise example of how you can make the Blender interface work for you (and not the other way around). In particular, the Blender Interface video is most useful to those who are starting out with the interface and are confused at how to make it work.
Lex Zhaoying’s tutorial teaches how to make a simple martini glass using a NURBs sphere and how to convert it to a sculptie texture you can then import in to SL. This is the tutorial that I held as a touchstone when I was first starting out because the process towards generating a sculptie texture was initially long and confusing. Nevertheless, it was necessary to understand the *how* of making them in order to properly edit them later.
Domino Marama’s Blender Scripts are explained here(SL Building Tips forum – requires verified payment info) and include utilities that allow the import of sculptie maps in to Blender for editing, as well as a utility that makes the mesh to UV texture process go MUCH faster.
The Second Life Building Tips Forum is also extremely useful to be a part of, but can only be accessed if you have verified your Av’s payment info. If your account is verified, make sure you’re logged in to get in on this wealth of information. There are a lot of tips and tricks provided that have helped me more than a few times when i’ve gotten in to ruts.
Additionally, as far as general process tips with Blender:
1) I always start with a NURBs object, whether sphere, torus (Blender calls them donuts), plane or cylinder. These are the four fundamental shapes SL will recognize. Starting out with these shapes when making sculpties will save you the headache of having to recreate them later in the long run.
2) Subdivide these shapes in order to add additional control points, but DO NOT add or extrude points from these shapes. SL requires a square texture to create your sculptie, and adding/extruding points outside of your object will prevent this! If you must add additional shapes outside of your first object, simply create another object and export that as a sculptie as well.
3) Many people stress the need for sculpties to be modelled in NURBs mode. This is not necessarily true. Modelling exclusively with NURBs is recommended because NURBs is the method SL uses to create its sculpties… BUT it needs to use a UV map that was created from a mesh anyway. NURBs can be rather clumsy to work with if you’re not familiar with them, and due to the manner in which they control an object’s mesh, it’s easier to make smooth, basic objects with them. IF however, you require greater detail, converting the object to a Mesh and manipulating points and vertices may provide you with greater flexibility. Personally, I start out with NURBs, block out the major shapes that I want, then convert to mesh and edit vertices individually until I get what I want. I then map the object to a UV Map using Domino’s ‘Render – Bake Second Life Sculpties’ tool to get Blender to generate a sculptie.
That’s what i can think of at the moment. At some point I’d like to make a short video describing this process that might help. That’s going to be dependent on what software I can find that will help me do this.