Who still uses sculpties?

Building using prims, sculpties and meshes. Texture creation techniques.
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Tess Juel
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Re: Who still uses sculpties?

Post by Tess Juel »

Crash McCloud wrote:
Thu Oct 19, 2023 1:30 am
Unless I had a tool that could turn a lot of prims into a single sculpty!
I have to repeat what I said in my first reply: Converting prims into sculpts or mesh is generally a bad idea. Yes, you can save on the prim count/land impact that way but that's only because the formulas for calculating them are misleading. When it comes to actual lag, prims will nearly always be the best option and they are also cause far less physics and LOD issues. Sculpts and meshes are for objects that can't be made with prims at all.
Snoots Dwagon wrote:
Fri Oct 20, 2023 2:41 pm
...
we can't make true mesh in-world (LL didn't think it necessary to include a sculpty or mesh creator within the viewer)
It may be that they couldn't find a way to do it, no other VR/game platform I'm aware of has built in mesh creation/editing features either. Integrating a mesh editor into the viewer wouldn't actually be that hard to do but it wouldn't make mesh creation much easier; the main reason people find it harder to work with mesh than prims isn't that it requires different software, it's because it genuinely is harder.
Snoots Dwagon wrote:
Fri Oct 20, 2023 2:41 pm
I've often wished they had come out with a "256-point sphere" prim that one could stretch to whatever they wanted.
One thing that really frustrates me, is that it would actually be easy to create and implement a "super prim" feature, not much more complicated than the current prim system but with far more possibilities. Prims as they are implemented now are generated from only five simple one/two dimensional shapes, two of which can be combined into a three dimensional one and then tweaked by eight (or so) simple modifiers. There are lots of other shapes and modifiers that could be added to increase the system's flexibility but nobody's doing that.
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Re: Who still uses sculpties?

Post by Crash McCloud »

When it comes to actual lag, prims will nearly always be the best option and they are also cause far less physics and LOD issues.
YES! I do love me some good, old-fashioned prims! (And they're fun to torture, mwahahahahahaha. :mrgreen: )

But seriously, when it comes to mesh versus sculpties, sculpties also LOOK better to me--smoother with more substance than mesh, which appears to have only ONE side and very sharp edges. And like Fayre Scribe, my laptop can handle a little mesh, but, despite having an AMD graphics card, if I go INSIDE a building that's made of mesh or am at an event surrounded by people covered in mesh costumes like I was last night, I can barely move my avatar or camera, and a roomful of people dancing looks like a slide show, even with my draw distance turned WAY down. I don't have that problem around sculpties at all ... and I don't see gaps between people's bodies & clothes (that take forever to rez, especially in a crowd!) because they have to wear alpha layers under their meshwear. Also, it's often difficult for me to figure out WHERE on a mesh item to right click to edit and move it; they're like an optical illusion. Sculpties are straightforward, and I've seen sculpted items that look far more realistic than mesh ones. (Mesh hair, especially, always looks like it's made of plastic to me.)

I haven't figured out how to create either sculpties OR mesh, but I BUY sculpties & not mesh. So if anybody's still selling sculpted products or full-perm sculpties to use in builds, e.g., staircases & windows with panes & shapes that would otherwise require a lot of prims, or not be possible with prims, please let me know & I'll DEFINITELY be interested in shopping at your store! (Until such time, if ever, that I figure out how to use Blender! And even then I'll still be interested in buying other people's sculpty products because my time on the computer is limited, unfortunately, and I appreciate the variety of original ideas & creativity that the talented people here have to share. :) )
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Re: Who still uses sculpties?

Post by Gusher Castaignede »

Adding more tools to the list of software that
can create prim sculpts..

Daz Hexagon 3d - FREE
[youtube]https://youtu.be/Xh5fgS04rzk?si=Xp_xyu8SLfMpYNY-[/youtube]

PloppSL 0.6 - FREE
[youtube]https://youtu.be/QPugpycBZ5k?si=ItMSwcCxv-Mlcn-S&t=48[/youtube]
https://ploppsl.software.informer.com/

Wings 3d = FREE
[youtube]https://youtu.be/AnfAHxq62Ss?si=jxV85yHN6-ecZgSO&t=62[/youtube]
http://www.wings3d.com/

AC3D - PAYED (Unwrap 3d Pro has a plugin for it)
[youtube]https://youtu.be/Y8RC5aJuWks?si=CqCcxTPyplyBf0Mv[/youtube]
More info: https://www.inivis.com/secondlifesculpted.html

Archipelis Designer = Payed
[youtube]https://youtu.be/PBFrG4IMmL8?si=vJtkRnIsZm4I4mKn[/youtube]
http://www.archipelis.com/home.php[url] ... rvy3d.com/

ROKURO and others at same website - FREE
https://kanae.net/secondlife/rokuro.html

SculptyPaint - FREE
[youtube]https://youtu.be/a_iPJs5yNxg?si=GDBk0HCxIGR1B_UB[/youtube]
https://elout.home.xs4all.nl/sculptpaint/

Primstar 2 (Blender Addon) - Payed
[youtube]https://youtu.be/2ASBJ-SFnkA?si=rYUJnI5UdHZWgXJG&t=57[/youtube]
https://www.avalab.org/product/primstar/
Last edited by Gusher Castaignede on Mon Oct 23, 2023 7:29 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: Who still uses sculpties?

Post by Snoots Dwagon »

I do have Rokuro and Blender, so I can make whatever I want if I decide to take the time. But there's still the issue of not being in-world to build... and in-world is my whole reason for using virtual worlds. If I'm off-grid for hours building something... what fun is that? I remember sitting with friends in sandboxes, testing out and saving tortured prim shapes. Would have LOVED that 256-point sphere we discussed earlier and like someone said back there, it would have been relatively simple for LL to implement that. Shame they never did, cos that would have been awesome.

As mentioned, PRIMS are the least-laggy building tool on VW. Their "lag" (even tortured ones) is almost zero. We tested once on a blank SL sim, rezzing 12,000 various prims. The lag tests showed zero difference between that and an empty sim. On Opensim I personally tested 80,000 prims totally surrounding me and did the "walk" test (as well as checking stats). Zero lag. Someone else tried it with 140,000 prims. Same results.

Sculpties lag... not so much once they've rezzed, but they are basically textures... and we all know how laggy textures are while loading. It takes forever to rez a sculpty-based item... which is just plain bad coding. So I avoid sculpties, as much as I like them. It's like so many other things: great LL concept, poorly implemented.

Mesh is terrific (IF it's done right... much of it isn't). It lowers prim count, has reasonable or no lag, and looks great (again, if done right). Mesh does take much longer than prims to rez, but not as bad as sculpties. But the total lack of in-world support for mesh creation just ruins it for me. That's a personal issue, but I kinda like to see what I'm building in the environment in which I'm building it. If I'm putting a house on the side of a mountain, it would be nice to see exactly how it sits as I'm creating it.

I honestly miss the days when prims ruled. I will use a prim-to-mesh converter; that's easy enough to do and it works. But as mentioned before, it doesn't have the visual quality of true mesh. The only real advantage is drop in prim count... and it can be advertised as "mesh".

One of the most popular games on the market is Minecraft... and maybe folks could learn something from that. Even with such primitives as Minecraft has... people love building IN-WORLD. I mean, if we're not building inside the virtual world, we lose something in the virtual experience.

I loved those days my friends and I would sit around in a sandbox and test-create-trade tortured prims. That was awesome. I made an entire spaceship out of tortured prims and it looked so good it LOST a prim building contest because the judges thought I was using sculpties and mesh. (Grrrrr). I made an awesome line of swords and other weaponry out of prims. We built an entire Firefly starship, full-size, out of prims.

This problem doesn't exist on Opensim (thankfully) but on SL, Linden Lab has created new rules that seem somewhat biased against prim creations. That too has somewhat ruined the experience. Now about all I do on SL is dance and go on trail rides. I haven't built anything in years... and I used to build hours a day. I think at least in my case (dunno about others), that says it all.
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Re: Who still uses sculpties?

Post by Dot Matrix »

We don't HAVE TO build with mesh.

What if we choose instead to build a region using prims alone, perhaps with a restricted set of sculpties -- a bit like we used to back in the early 2010s, from necessity at that time?
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Re: Who still uses sculpties?

Post by Snoots Dwagon »

I fully agree Dot. Especially with OpenSim and super-especially with Kitely, we have the prim count to allow us to get fancy with our creations. Even prims can be made to look very awesome if we have the prim count to make them so. On SL we don't have that unless we restrict our prim builds to a small area (such as a prim castle or home surrounded by a low-prim-count forest). But on Opensim we have a lot more prims available.

There is an understandable great temptation even on "prim sims" to use available mesh items as decorations. And that's totally okay with me, because that is still "building" in-world (or at least, landscaping in-world). I got no problem with that at all, because it's still the full virtual experience. Setting down a mesh item is not much different than setting down a prim object. Is still fun.

So I'm not "against mesh" specifically. Mesh is awesome. I think what I dislike is the idea of having to create an original mesh item off-world. If we could create mesh shapes and texture them in-world... hubba hubba. :D
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Re: Who still uses sculpties?

Post by Tess Juel »

Snoots Dwagon wrote:
Sat Oct 28, 2023 10:17 pm
So I'm not "against mesh" specifically. Mesh is awesome. I think what I dislike is the idea of having to create an original mesh item off-world. If we could create mesh shapes and texture them in-world... hubba hubba. :D
One partial solution is to build a collection of ready made useful optimized meshes. I have a lot of that for sale on the SL Marketplace but never uploaded many of them to Kitely since they don't really sell very well. I'll fix that though, keep an eye on the Merchants section of this forum for new listings!

---

I wasn't going to post again in this thread but since I do, I might as well annoy a few people with a long rant. ;)

The suitability of mesh on opensim depends a lot on how well it's optimized. Well optimized mesh won't perform much worse than prims and will easily outperform the same shape as sculpts. Too much poorly optimized mesh will cause serious lag issues of all kinds.

Optimization is not only about simplification btw, it's about getting as much visual quality as possible out of as few triangles, vertices and pixels as possible. Take a look at this tree for example:
55 tri Birch.jpg
55 tri Birch.jpg (146.08 KiB) Viewed 13775 times
It's made from only 55 triangles, 108 vertices and three 512x512 textures. The LOD doesn't break down no matter what distance you view it from and it has proper physics, you can walk underneath the branches but not through the trunk. Yet I dare say it looks just as good as trees that causes three to four times or more as much load on server and viewer and still are likely to break down when viewed at a distance and have lots of physics issues. This is what optimization is all about.

---

I don't know of anybody who has taken mesh optimization as far as I have but that's ok; I'm overdoing it and I know I am.
More problematic though, if I was asked to list ten SL and opesim content creators with both the technical and artistic skills to make top notch high performance mesh, I would struggle. I think I could do it but I'd have to think hard. (I'm not going to name any here because this post is likely to be read by a few people who believe they would belong on the list but don't.)

I could probably come up with more than a hundred names of mesh makers who do an ok mesh optimization job - about the same level good quality sculpts give or take a little bit. That's still a minority of the mesh makers in SL and opensim though and very, very few of the big sellers would be among them.

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The worst meshes on opensim (and to some degree SL) though, are the ones that were made for different environments. I once read a post by a professional game developer who compared porting assets from one game to another to trying to fit truck parts to a racing car. He was talking about games made on the same platform (Unity), adapting content from one platform to another is much harder. Adapting content that wasn't made for real time rendering in the first place, is much, much, much, MUCH harder.

Most of the mesh I've seen on opensim are such ports. I'm ignoring the legal aspect of it here; some of the items are genuine open source, some are copybots. It doesn't matter in this context: from a technical point of view it's all garbage. At least everything I've seen is, even the objects uploaded by the two people who actually do a pretty decent job with their own meshes.

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Before I get too many hate replies, I'm not telling anybody what to do with their sims. I'm just pointing out the inevitable consequences of poorly optimized mesh. What you decide to do about it, is none of my business. I'm also trying to establish some perspective on the mesh vs sculpts issue which is the main topic of this thread. My answer is that really well optimized mesh performs significantly better than sculpts, reasonably well optimized mesh is usually about the same as sculpts while poorly optimized/un-optimzed mesh is worse.

We also have to keep in mind that a few heavy meshes isn't going to do much harm. As you've probably already figured out, I'm obsessed with optimization. But back when I had land in SL, I still managed to find room for a few Apple Fall items and that's about as poorly optimized as mesh can possibly be. It was perfectly fine because I only had a few such items - and they were all indoors so they were only visible in a confined space with very few other assets.

---

We should also be careful not to blame the content creators for content that isn't as good as it shuold be.

Hobbyists for this for fun and they're generally doing their best. In my experience most of them are actually very keen on improving their skills but it's their choice; we have no right to demand anything from them.

Commercial content creators have to keep in mind that time is money. Every hour you spend improving your general skills or tweaking your build for better performance, is an hour you spend not marketing your products and marketing is what matters if you want to make a little bit of money from your meshes. I once confronted a well known SL builder for his poor LOD models. His reply was "people in SL buy it anyway" and I don't actually have a response to that; he was absolutely right.

There's also the question how to improve. Me, I've spent tens of thousands of hours studying, learning, experimenting and just building. No sane person would do that. (I also have the advantage that I have both a little bit of tech and artistic RL background. You really need both and that's something very few have.)

Even if somebody wants to improve their mesh optimization skills, it's hard to find the relevant information. Linden Lab would of course be the most obvious source but they don't have any skilled mesh makers themselves. The pathetic meshes the Moles produce are hardly examples to follow and the official documentation they've produced is all tech with little or no practical relevance. There's a lot of information about mesh making out on the wide, wide web but most of it is created by people who aren't really that skilled themselves and very little is specifically for SL/OS. The "fitting truck parts to a racing car" metaphor is just as relevant for information and tutorials as it is for actual meshes.
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Re: Who still uses sculpties?

Post by Snoots Dwagon »

Tess Juel wrote:
Fri Nov 03, 2023 6:18 pm
Even if somebody wants to improve their mesh optimization skills, it's hard to find the relevant information. Linden Lab would of course be the most obvious source but they don't have any skilled mesh makers themselves."
This is indeed a major issue. LL has a long history of having great ideas, poorly implemented. They brought mesh to the system... which people had been wanting for ages. But then they provided practically no information on how to prepare mesh, provided no mesh tools, almost no guidelines. What they did provide was the same technobabble we see in the scripting manual: written by techs for techs, lacking caveats, full of system errors, and severely lacking in "what you absolutely should not do".

As a result we have a load of faux mesh homes that have no interior, mesh homes with doorways one cannot walk through, etc etc (that I'm not going to go into because it's a long, long list). Which is why I stopped building: it stopped being fun. (At least for me.) I love building in-world. If I want to sit alone with no friends around creating things, I can just grab Photoshop and my graphics tablet and have a grand ol' time. That's not why I use virtual worlds. I'd rather be at a dance or go on a trail ride in-world than build a mesh object offline.
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