~ How to make clothes in Second Life tutorial

There are lots of reasons to trying your hand at making clothes in Second Life. Maybe your an artsy person? want a new creative outlet? Maybe you need some clothes for yourself, or a friend in Second Life and don't want to pay the full linden price of an already made design? Or maybe your interested in starting your own business and making cloths in Second Life, seems like a great idea!? Well, Ill tell you, for wanting to earn some extra linden dollars, clothes is one of the best ways to go! Reason being, avatars will always need clothes, that is one trend that will never die out ;)

I started to make clothes in Second Life because I was a new player and I was looking for quality clothes for free, or as inexpensive as possible. I had a free account at the time, and Linden dollars were limited. Most the things I acquired were from friendly handouts. Ive always been artistically inclined and I knew my way around Photoshop for simple things, like photo touch up and manipulations. I had also bought an Intous 3 Graphic Tablet by Wacom for digital painting. Funny thing is, I never really got into it that much, until I tried my hand at making Second Life clothes. I do highly recommend the use of a tablet if you want to seriously get into making clothing designs and textures. It allows you to draw and shade more realistically, and the digital pen (drawing tool) for the tablet allows pressure sensitivity for shading. Excellent investment!

So in this tutorial I will show you the basics of making some textured clothes by use of Photoshop, as that is the program I use and recommend However the principals are similar, and so you could apply the same techniques in another program, like The Gimp, which is a free open source program very similar to Photoshop.

Use of Templates:
You need a template to work over as a guideline on how to draw for the second life avatars frame. There are a few templates to choose from. The one I use is Avatar UV Template. The default appearance of the templates bust appears to be that of a female. But in reality any clothing texture can be worn by a male or female avatar. Of course shading uniquely to fit the gender is likely to give the wrong impression if worn on the opposite of what was intended! Ill go a bit more into that at the shading step of this tutorial. :)

Above is a picture of the template where I have also outlined key elements of the program we will be using which I will cover in each step. The first step is to get yourself the template and open up the "top template" into Photoshop. The lines and grid are there to help you connect the dots so to speak. Enabling you to line up clothing edges, textures and seams.

Working with Layers!
First we need to fill some of this template in and make a base layer to work off of. Layers are important when making clothing because it allows us to go back and easily correct mistakes in pieces. If we drew all the details on the same layer, anything that needs erasing would erase any work we have previously done correctly as we built up to the ending details. With layers, each specific detail has its own space. For example, our first layer will be called "base layer" and it will be the base color for our fabric. In time we will add more later on top of that for shading, stitching details and so forth.

Step 1) At the top of your program is a tool bar. Click "layer" then "new" and then "layer"

Step 2) A box will pop up. Where is says "name" and offers a text space, type "base layer color" or whatever works for you. This just helps us easily identify what layer is what. You will then see on the right hand side on your screen at the bottom a new layer has been added to your template called "base layer color" as shown in the example. Make sure you have that layer clicked and highlighted, as this is the layer we will be drawing on.

Making a base fabric layer!
Now we fill in the areas we want covered in fabric on the template. In this case I'm making the top for a dress. You can simply color in the space with a paint brush tool, but to make sure you get nice crisp lines that properly bleed over, I like to use the lasso tool. With the lasso tool I draw around the outside of the bust in sections, connecting the line to make an enclosed area and I can apply color with the “paint bucket tool”

Step 1) on the left hand side, on your tool bar find the lasso tool at the top. Right click to make sure the polygonal lasso tool is selected.

Step 2) start to draw a line around the templates bust, making sure your going around the colored edge. Click continuously around the shape to draw the line until you have come full circle and made the line connect. It will form a moving dotted line which indicates the lines have connected.

Fill in the color

Step 1) Select on your tool bar that paint bucket tool, called “paint bucket tool”

Step 2) On your tool bar are two squares, click the top one and it will bring up a “color picker window” as shown in my example. Drag the color dial up and down, and use your mouse to select an area of the shade displayed that you like. In this case I chose a sort of olive green. Hit the “Ok” button when you have it. You'll see that box on your tool bar show the color you selected.

Step 3) with the “paint bucket tool selected, click inside the area you have outlined with the lasso tool and fill the space in with color. Next, to get rid of the dotted lasso line, go to your menu bar at the top. Click “select” and then “deselect” Continue this process for the back of the shirt template and the sleeves if desired.

Make it look like fabric, explore blending options!
We can give this base layer a texture if we want, to further give the illusion of fabric. I do this on all my clothes now because it ensures that even the “blank” spaces have some textual interest even if minimal. You don't have to do this, but its a step ill show nonetheless :)

Step 1) Click on your “base color layer” in your layer section as shown in the example image. Make sure its highlighted. Right click to get a menu and choose “blending options”

Step 2) Choosing “blending options” will bring up a new window for you with lots of interesting options. Feel free to explore each one and see what they do. All can add interesting effects to a layer. For now though, we focus on giving our base color layer a pattern.

Under the “style” section, as shown in the example picture, click where it says “Pattern Overlay” make sure the field is highlighted by clicking and the box is checked.

Click the box next to where it says “pattern” and choose one of the available patterns. I chose second pattern from the top row on the left.

Next, slide the dial for the opacity bar down, this will let us control how much of our base color layer shows through the pattern. I bring the dial way down so that the fabric just as a hint of texture. But you can leave it wherever you like it best. When you have it where you like, it the “Ok” button.

Erasing areas to expose flesh.
When making clothes and wanting areas on the outfit that show exposed flesh, we want to leave blank. In order to do this we need to go back and erase areas we have filled in with color. In this instance, I decided I want the top of this dress to have a low V neck.

Step 1) Making sure your base color layer is still selected.

Step2) Now using the lasso tool, as show in “Making a base fabric layer” cut out the area in which you like to erase. Again, using the lasso tool will ensure crisp lines that don't bleed unevenly. You could simply just draw and erase if you like, but for even and strong erased lines I recommend the lasso tool. Make sure the area you wish to erase connects with the beginning of your lasso tools line.

Note: You may wish to “hide” the base layer color” to see the template structure below so you know just where your hoping to erase. Using the lasso tool while looking at the template design will help ensure you don't “cut” to far in where nipples may show est. To hide a layer so you can see whats underneath, simply click or un-click the box that shows the “eye” icon next to each layer.

Step 3) On your tool bar, choose the “eraser tool”

Step 4) Just below your menu bar at the top of the program are brush options. With the eraser tool chosen, pick a brush. In this example I chose brush number one, as it draws/erases with a solid edge. Then with the dial you can increase or decrease the size of the brush. Once all is selected, you can start to erase on the inside of the area you have defined with the lasso tool. You'll notice that you cant draw outside of this defined line, so don't be afraid to get sloppy! When finished, at the top of your menu bar, choose “select” and then “deselect” this will get rid of the lasso line.

Time to add some shading and shape!
You don't have to do this step if you don't want to, but I highly recommend it. Without proper shading an outfit will look disinteresting and flat, despite being stretched over a sharply avatars frame. Shading adds visual appeal and shape in just the right places. Even minimal shading can make all the difference.

In this example I am shading for a female shape. But the idea applies to mens attire are well. Simply accommodate by drawing the dark and light colors to simulate pectoral muscles and the like.

Step 1) Make a new layer, as shown above in “Working with Layers!” This time I've labeled my layer as “dark shading” as shown in the example picture. Make sure this layer his highlighted, we want to draw OVER the base color layer, not on it.

Step 2) Choose a paint brush tool from your tool bar.

Step 3) Just below your menu bar at the top of the program are brush options. With the eraser tool chosen, pick a brush. In this example I chose brush number 45. It has a soft fuzzy edge that allows for a smooth gradient of color. Then with the dial you can increase or decrease the size of the brush. In addition you can change the opacity level, just to the right of the brush options to increase and decrees the flow of color applied. You may need to do this if you don't have a digital tablet.

Step 4) Start to carefully draw over the base color layer, after choosing a darker color as explained in “Fill in the color” using the color picker. I recommend starting light and building up to darker hues. I tend to think subtle is better. Like wise, you can add more shape and detail by making a third layer for your lighter color as shown in my example picture.

Getting ready to save – merging layers and resizing.
Textures load best in Second Life at 512x512 pixels. We need to resize our shirt layer, and we need to hide the layers of the template we don't wish to see. To hide a layer, simply click or un-click the box that shows the “eye” icon next to each layer. For this step, we need to un-check all “eye” icons next to the template layers until all the template layers cant be seen. Be sure to leave all the layers we have made. See example picture.

Step 1) Make sure your “base color” layer is highlighted after you have hidden all template layers. Then on the menu bar at the top of the screen choose where it says “layer” then scroll to where it says “merge visible” This will merge all your visible layers into one layer, leaving an alpha background.

Added, sub-step for newer Photoshop versions, for saving transparency! please follow this step.

Once you have merged the layers as stated above, to make sure the transperant parts stay transperance, you must follow these steps. (Apologies for the different texture in below example, this section of the tutorial came at a later date!)

Step 1) Once you have merged the layers as stated above, highlight the merged layer and hover your mouse over the box as indicated in the example. (click to enlarge) Hold down your Ctrl key and click your mouse to select around the edges of your texture. You will see a "selected" line now hugging the shape of your texture as shown in the example.

Step 2) Once this is done, look at your menu bar and click where it says "Select" to open a drop down menu. From there, choose where it says "Save Selection" to bring up another window.

Step 3) Be sure that the "Channel" field is set to "New" and that "Operation" is set to "New Channel" - Then where it says "Name" type in the word "alpha" and then hit save. Now proceed to the next step below. Step two of resizing your image.

Step 2) Time to resize the image. On the menu bar choose where it says “image” and then click on “image size” This will bring up an image sizing window with options.

Step 3) Make sure the image properties are set to “pixels” in both boxes. Make sure the two boxes at the bottom are checked as shown in example image. Now for width and height type in 512 and then hit “Ok”

Save the image!
Go to the menu bar, choose “File” then “save as” Name the image something easy to remember and in a location you can find on your computer. “desktop” perhaps. Then save the format as a Targa file, tga.

Time to upload to Second Life!
Next you need to upload the texture Second Life. This part is easy, and done in a few simple steps.

Step 1) On the menu bar at the top of the screen in Second Life, click “file” and then “Upload” then click “image (L$10)”

Yes it costs a small amount of linen dollars to upload a texture, but ten inst that much especially compared to what profit you could earn. Also this is still cheaper then buying a whole outfit yourself, though arguably more work and time consuming to creature your own.

Step 2) You will get a preview window of the texture. From this point you can just hit “upload (L$10)” and move into the next section.

Step 3) You can also preview the texture on a 3D model. To do this, where it says “Preview image” there is a drop down box. Pick “female upper body” You can now click on the 3D image and move it around with the came camera commands to see it from different angles, front and back. Ctrl and Alt pressed at the same time, then move your mouse to rotate. Hit the “upload (L$10)” button when ready, the image will show in your textures folder in your inventory.

Time to put the clothes on the avatar!

Step 1) First you need to create a clothing layer to wear, you will later apply your own texture to this layer. In your inventory, on the upper menu bar click where it says “create” scroll to “new clothes” and then click “new shirt”

Step 2) Find the new shirt in your inventory, rick click it and choose “wear” you'll see your avatar wear/rez a new white shirt.

Step 3) To apply the texture and edit it, you now need to edit your own appearance. To do this, rick click on your avatar and choose “appearance” This will bring up your “appearance window” Next in the left hand side column, click where it says “shirt” so the field is highlighted as shown in the example picture.

Now click the white box next to where it says “fabric” A search bar will come up. You can type the name of the texture you just uploaded to find it, or else check your inventory texture folder. Once you have the texture, choose “ok” You'll see that your avatar is now wearing the texture you made.

You can play with the dials to adjust the shirt some more. You will likely need to adjust the shirt length and collars, front and back to make sure the whole shirt shows. Once you have it all set, click “Save as” Now this shirt has the texture applied. Next time you wear this shirt layer, it will be your custom design!

The End!
And there you have it, your own home made texture, unique to anyone else! Unless you sell it! Likewise, these tutorial instructions apply the same principals as making men or womens clothes, as well as making jackets, pants, undershirts, underwear ect. All you need is the right template. Bust, skirt or bottom.

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