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I did a similar tutorial on just shadow maps a while ago, but now that UV maps have become so popular with Mesh, and Gimp 2.8 is so different from 2.6, I decided to redo it. I’ve also made some mesh items with UV and AO maps, as well as the sculpty logs with the AO maps, so this seemed a good time to update.

I also teach classes on this and other things at the Builders Brewery, a most excellent place to learn things. If you’d like to grab the supplies used in class,  they are by the landing point of my shop.

You can download Gimp for free here.

My friend Zed Tremont of Twice Baked Textures has also made a tutorial in 2 parts on how to use UV and Ambient Occlusion Maps in Photoshop: Part 1, Part 2. The principles are the same in Gimp, and its always nice to see different ways of doing things.

The basics in this tutorial are the same for Photoshop, to tile a texture in PS use Filters > stylize > Tiles …  and set your repeats, use 50% offset  and fill empty areas with unaltered image or inverse image.

Download Textures to Your Hard Drive

Let us begin. First download all of the  UV maps, AO maps and textures that you will be using.  On most viewers you double click the image to open it, and in the lower right of the view pane will be a Save… drop down button. Other viewers you can simply right click and select Save..  Save as png or tga – it really doesn’t matter.  For my own purposes I tend to save textures in png format and sculpts as .tga – but thats just to help my tiny little mind remember what things are.

All of these textures are the same size, 512 x 512 pixels. You may receive UV & AO maps or textures in different sizes. Its important to make all the layers the same size when working like this.

Experiment with textures on your object in-world

Now rez your sculpt or mesh which you would like to work on, in this case its a mesh log.

The mesh log in the class kit comes with its UV texture on it. But I would like you to take a moment to play with it and see how it textures.

Notice that I have helpfully labeled the UV map with the words “inside” and “outside” to help when you use the UV map as a template in Gimp.

This log has TWO textureable faces. The inside and the outside can be textured differently. They both use the same UV and shadow map, or you can open the texture tab and put the bark texture on and it will all be barky.

Or you can put another texture on the inside! Apply the DBS rough wood grey for class texture to the inside of the log.

To texture a different face, the safe way is via the build menu Have the log in edit, tick “Select Face” on the top left area of the edit menu, and then click on the inside of the log – lines and circles will appear showing that that face is active.

Then drag the DBS rough wood grey into the texture window on the build tab.

Yes, you CAN also drag your texture from your inventory directly to the face you want to texture without even using select face. However down that road lies many a ruined floor due to dropped textures…

Notice that the DBS Seamless bark for class sits on the bark at 90 degrees to the expected grain. Thats on purpose – to give a bit of practice here.  Select the outside face of the log using “select face” on the edit menu, then click on the outer face and in the texture tab change the rotation of the bark to 90.

01 2 faces bark faces rotate 90

So now you have two textures on this log, with different settings – the outer one is rotated 90 degrees. Remember that for when we go to work in Gimp.

I usually play with textures in-world first and then go work in Gimp. Because all that matters is how it looks in-world.

Bear in mind that as you  stretch this log (with stretch textures ticked ON), the textures will become more stretched as it gets larger.  If I wanted a really big log, I would increase the repeats of the texture.

Because a custom texture is meant to fit on a sculpt or mesh at the default 1 x 1 repeats, and if its shaded it MUST be at 1 x 1, you want to compensate for that in the texture you are going to make.

Go ahead and change your repeats on the texture tab until the results please you.  If repeats of 1 horizontal and 1 vertical look good for the size of the object in-world,  by all means use that. But often you will want to change the repeats.

Remember that there are TWO faces on this log, and pay attention to note if you are working on both (no single face selected) or the inside only, or the outside only.

For the purposes of this tutorial make the horizontal repeats equal the vertical repeats, and make those repeats a whole number of 4 or less.  Repeating too high in Gimp or Photoshop will blur the texture due to loss of pixels.

02 repeats 2 x 2

For this example I have chosen a repeat of 2 horizontal and 2 vertical for both the inside and outside of the log. If you are using the same repeats for the whole log, you do not need to select face.

While you can modify textures with unequal repeats, lets keep them even for simplicity’s sake. You may want to refer to Zed’s tutorials for hints on how to do that.

Remember these repeats, or write them down.  If you were to offset the textures in any way you would also record that.

Return your texture settings to default

03 return texutre settings to default

IMPORTANT! Now return your texture settings to default. Otherwise when you apply your custom texture at the end of the class you will get a fright and think its wrong. Change all the texture repeats back to 1 x 1 and the rotation to zero.

Do it now and save yourself the crazy making

Layers in Gimp

Ok – now open all 4 of the textures you downloaded in Gimp, you want to open them as 4 layers in one image window – not 4 separate images.

The easy way is to simply click and drag one image into Gimp when its open, then click and drag each of the other 3 to the same image window.

You can also use File > open as layers.

04 4 layers in Gimp

You want your Gimp workspace to look like mine here in the image. Click and drag your layers on the right layers pane to put them into the same order: Shadow map on top, then UV, then the dark bark, then the rough wood.

Hide top 2 layers, rotate bark layer

First hide the shadow and UV maps so we can work on the bark layer. Click the eyeballs next to the UV and shadow layer to hide them. Then click the thumbnail of the bark layer to highlight it with the blue band. Just as you see in this slide.

05 roate bark

Now go to the top Gimp menu bar and select LAYER > Transform > Rotate 90 deg clockwise. This will rotate the dark bark 90 degrees clockwise just as we did in-world.

Small Tiles

Now we will tile the two wood textures in Gimp to the same repeats we used in world.

With the bark layer active, apply the same repeats that were pleasing to you in world on the sculpt using Filters > Map > Small Tiles…  The dialogue shown will pop up.

Just change the segments to what your repeats were – in my case I will change the segment slider to 2. Leave the rest of the window at default. Click ok. This will tile your seamless bark to repeats of 2 x 2 within the same size of 512 x 512.

06 small tilesHide the bark texture by clicking its eyeball, then click the rough wood texture to highlight it, and change the rough wood to repeats of 2 x 2 as well, just as you did for the bark.

Now you have both of the wood layers tiled in the same number of repeats as you did in-world.

Using the UV map as a guide

Now make your UV map layer visible by clicking the eyeball. You will notice that not only did I very helpfully label the inside and the outside, but I also drew a darker black line on it – can anyone guess why?

That line shows where the outside of the log meets the inside of the log on one side (the other is at the upper side of the texture).

On some builds you want a very harsh demarcation, but on organic things I think a fuzzier line is nicer.

Ok so now make your UV layer visible by clicking the eyeball, but you want your BARK layer active by clicking the thumbnail to make it blue. You are using the UV map for reference, but will work on the bark layer.

07 use UV as a gude draw a box

Click the Rectangle select tool to make it active. Then tick ON feather edges and change the number to around 14.

Now draw a rectangle as shown here on this slide. Made the edges wider than your gimp image, put the bottom of the rectangle right on the darker line. Make the top of the rectangle come just barely below the top edge of the UV map.

Cut out part of the bark layer

Hide the UV layer by clicking the eyeball next to it. The rectangle you made will remain active

08 cut out bark

Make sure your dark bark layer is active. Go to Layer > Transparency > Add Alpha Channel

Then go to Edit > cut and remove the bark that you do not want. You can also use ctl + x or on mac cmd + x to cut things out in Gimp.

Once you cut your workspace should look like my image above, with the rough wood showing now.  Remember that if something goes wrong you can use Edit > undo or, just like in SL, ctl + z to undo your recent changes and try again.

Change Mode

Now make sure the top AO shadow layer is visible (click eyeball) and active (click thumbnail to highlight).. Go to MODE above the layers and change the mode from Normal to Overlay.

09 change mode

There are LOTS of options here to choose from – and the slider makes the choices infinite. but for now just change to overlay at 100%

Many people also like to use multiply or even grain merge for shadows. Do play around with different modes and see their effect on the layers below them.

10 overlay

BAM! See how nice that looks? now the inside is all shaded, and a grungy wood. And the outside is lit up and barky.

And look at that nice soft line where the bark meets the rough wood. Gogo feather edges.

Save as .XCF and .PNG

Saving! Now is the time to save your work. First save all your layers in Gimps native format – XCF.

Always save your work with layers so you can go back and make changes.

But we can not use an XCF file in Second Life.

11 saving xcf pngSo export it as a png – simply type in .png for the extension. Then save it to a logical location, I save to the same place as my XCF file. In your final export window slide the slider to zero compression – we want ALL our pixels.

Then click export.

You now have 2 files, an XCF with all the layers, and a PNG that you can use in SL.

Remove the Alpha from the PNG

Let us work now on the PNG file, so go ahead and open it via File > open recent, or command +1 or probably ctl +1 on a pc to open the most recent file you exported or saved.

Ok now we need to remove the alpha in this png. Accidental alphas are terrible things.

Make very sure you are now working on the exported PNG image that has only ONE layer.

12 png remove alpha

Because we created an alpha when we cut out that bit of the bark, we now need to remove it.

Remove the alpha by right clicking the layer and select “remove alpha channel”. For future reference, if that option is already greyed out, the alpha is not there to remove.

Now this is critical – go to File > Overwrite whateveryounamedit.png to save this change. If you do not, you will loose your changes.

Then exit without saving – you cant save a png in Gimp, only in XCF. But youve already saved it by overwriting (or exporting if you’ve given it a new name).

Check the texture you made in-world & local textures

Check to see see how your texture looks in-world. You can check without paying for upload by using local textures.

To use local textures go into edit on your log and go to the texture tab. Double click the texture window to open the texture picker. Underneath the picture of the texture you have 2 buttons, Inventory and Local. Tick local.

The tick the Add button to bring up a window to browse to your PNG. then select Choose. That texture will now appear in your Pick Texture window – highlight it and it will appear on your object.

Now whenever you overwrite your png with the same name – the texture on this object will update!

Just remember that only YOU can see this texture, its only grey to anyone else.

Shadows Only

Now, notice that the outside texture, the bark, has become significantly lighter because of the overlay effect. What if we wanted ONLY shadows and no highlights?

Well thats quite simple. On your XCF file with the layers, make sure that the shadow or AO layer is active, and go to Color > Color to Alpha and make white the color to change to alpha.

13 color to alpha for only shadows

BAM! this gives you only shadows, but no highlights.

You could also do the same but color to alpha out the black if you only wanted highlights, but no shadows.

And thats your basic lesson on how to use UV and AO maps in Gimp for Second Life or InWorlds or whatever your virtual world of choice is. Go make pretty things.


Fun with Scarecrows!

I can not believe that Thane got all of this detail into a 1 prim / 1 LI sculpted scarecrow, and Im super pleased with how they textured.

If you are a member of the Builders Brewery, the straight armed scarecrow set is a gift to group members at the Brewery Halloween Gift Exchange until 31 October.  If you aren’t a member or don’t like searching, clicky on the image to nab it on marketplace.

All images are links to the marketplace, or come see them at the shop!

There is also a version with bent arms, and a fatpack of all of them. The custom textures are interchangeable between the two sculpts, or use the textures as a template to make your own.

Inky Accident

This set was made with role play in mind. The spilled ink pot is 1 prim and the scroll is another. The texture for the scroll is just a simple texture, so other textures can definitely be used. Of course each piece can be used separately.

I adore this new duckling. He is the vanguard for the rest of his family, who have not been made yet. But in the meantime his adorable 1-prim duckiness can grace any scene needing small waterfowl:


This Devil’s Dance set includes both the regular sculpt and a nanno sculpt in case you need tiny dancing devils. Each devil is 2 prims (eyes are a separate sculpt) and 1 custom body texture – color and shiny the eyes as you like.

Thane made this clawed hand for a throne, and indeed it makes a lovely claw throne. But I think it wild also be good for a lamp, or for a multitude of gothic decor where you need a demon or dragon claw accent. This comes with 3 textures – one seamless grey scales, and a custom red with claws and a custom grey with claws (grey textures are good for tinting in world). But I imagine other textures would be interesting as well.

The full perm mini hunt #6 is on from Sept 27 to Oct 8. If you like floating islands, you want my gifty – that’s all I’m sayin’

I’m back from our trip about UK and Ireland! And I have a bazillion photos to process into textures! But I did these Celtic crosses first because I love them.  These are nice clean alpha textures with lovely detailing and marks of age. Some added 3d effects make them quite realistic in-world.

And I finally put my autumn leaf pathway textures up on market – I’d used these for last years Samhain event, they worked very well for pathways and splashes of color.

And new sitting kitties! We’d had a number of requests for sitting blinky cats without hats. So now we have a tabby and black kitty – sitting up alertly and blinking.

Ok!! so one thing Im sure we have all noticed, or been warned about, is when you link a mesh to a sculpt the Land Impact (LI) has the potential to get very large.  This has been fixed!

Ignoring scripts for the moment – if you link a sculpt to a mesh – the sculpt will have no more than 2 LI, and very often remain at 1 LI. Read this link and this is the portion of interest:

Changed prim accounting for legacy prims which use the new accounting system

  • All legacy-style prims have their streaming cost capped at 1.0 (except for sculpts, which will be capped at 2.0). This provides the benefit of not penalizing prim-based creators for optimizing their content by opting into the new system and will make the streaming cost more reflective of the true network cost of the objects.

What does this mean? Well – I’ve experimented a bit and here is what I have found:

When I link a 1 prim sculpted bird to a 2 LI mesh birdhouse, I get an LI of 3.


How does this help a builder? You can make the chickadee sculpt in your name – so the build shows your name as creator with chickadee as root, and prim count does not go up (yes I know chickadee isnt root in this picture – but it does work with him as root!).

Again – it works with either prim as root – so you can have the sculpted grass in your name as root.

But sometimes the sculpt will jump from 1 prim to 2 LI – as in this case:

A 1 LI sculpt field:

And a 1 LI mesh clumps with ground cover:

When linked ads up to 3 LI:


Now 3 prims for a a field? Is that a lot? Well – this field is 8.5 x 8.5 meters, has 4 textureable plant faces (1 sculpt, 3 mesh) you can animate one of the mesh faces AND you have textureable ground cover. I think it looks pretty good for 3 Land Impact / Prim Equivalents.


So what does this mean for the builder? Experiment experiment experiment! You may be pleasantly surprised 🙂 I think these new changes give us some interesting options for combining prims, sculpts and meshes.

Hints: after the items are linked – try changing the root to “convex hull” on the features tab and changing the child to “none” – that should ensure that you have the lowest LI possible.

Also – check out this wikki post on physics optimization. Lots of handy information and a script to set all child prims to none!



Oh my my. I have recently achieved a long held dream of mine. Low prim animated plants!!

I love my sculpty plants, but the whole of a sculpt is 1 face – so not good for a proper animation. You can animate on the faces of prims – but to make a field that is hardly low prim then. But mesh! You can define faces on mesh and animate them!

So check this out (click picture to see in marketplace):

I know I know – it looks sort of simplistic in the ad. But that’s the point! It IS simple. There are 4 faces: ground cover and 3 plant forms up above. There are helper faces below the field to help you texture the faces above. You can put whatever texture you like on any of these faces, or a totally clear texture to make it disappear!! So you can have plants in dirt, grasses in sand, rushes in water, 3 flowers and no ground cover – the possibilities are endless!!

But wait – there’s more!! You can animate a face. I have included 4 textures for animating (16 grass images on one picture, each slightly different). Two types of movement, colored or desaturated. And several scripts for different faces.

I made the grass textures included here to go with my DBS meadow grass with flowers set, but grass goes with many many plants.  Or put your favorite water or mud on the ground face and animate that! Go super realistic or crazy wild surreal!!

Dagmar Klaar made a short video to show this motion:

And it looks very pretty in world:

All this plus instructions, scripts, textures & examples will make a 1 prim field at 8 x 8 x 2.5. AND – it will still be 1 prim if you add a small prim of your own!! Which means your name will show as the creator. But please – make a build and do not simply sell a copy of my example.

Come see it in-world  – that’s where it looks best!

Wow – so I boarded a ship on the 6th bound for New Zealand, but had to stay on till Australia for another week. I didn’t get the chance to post about these hunts before I left – but there’s still time!! Im in Melbourne right now, but flying home tomorrow.

Silk Road Hunt 3 – June 1-30

If the above link doesnt work (it keeps redirecting me to a .au site) try

One day left! I adore this hunt – my flight of fancy led me to imagine spice merchants bringing seeds, bulbs and seedlings home and carefully propagating them. I chose saffron because of its rarity and lovely flowers. Then turmeric because of its lovely golden dyes and the fact that it is sometimes used as a substitute for the costly saffron. Plus I think it makes a lovely plant.

Full Perm Hunt – Bon Voyage – June 14 to July 2

Follow the link to see the fun stuff!

I made a leetle leaf raft sculpty set, for floaty fun. As usual, I went a little nuts with options, but I think this set is great fun.  The hunt gifts on this hunt are for sale for 2L – and there’s lots of amazing builders stuff – only a couple days left so hurry!

Wow – work is just killing me and its all I can do to get stuff made, let alone package it! Here is the latest pile of new stuff. Clicky on the images to see the marketplace link and more pictures. The market place links to see the item in SL actually do work 🙂

5 Tree Grove in 2 prims

This grouping of trees allows a big impact in just two prims. A new foliage and bark texture are included, but many other textures will work. And the 5 trunks alone would make a neat effect for a spooky or desolate look.

Wall vine sculpt set

Add some 3D visual interest to your walls or fences. This set includes one sculpt for against the wall, and one to top the wall. A texture is included, but again – most foliage textures with a good alpha border will work.

3 Prim Wishing Well kit

Yep – this was a hunt gifty. But if you missed it – here it is! Plus this version has full perm sculpts. These sculpts would work for a variety of other things – rocky well wall, roof with axle and handle, and flower patch. There are included textures, and the wood and flowers are white so you can add a bit of tint. But lots of other textures would work too.

Rockwork Sculpts – 3 maps & 2 textures

I made these as patios for hunt gifts and used them for the new shop area – and people started asking for them. These were designed for flooring with gaps and holes in the more rustic versions. Nice holes and gaps for water or dirt or plants or just plain holes. They would also work well as retaining walls and stuff.

*RH* & DBS Women in Love

Two gorgeous women sculpted by Thane Woodford of Raven’s heart sculpts. I gave em pretty textures. This is a 1 prim sculpt you can use for celebrations, as decor, or use a different texture to make garden statuary.

*RH* & DBS Man to Man

A handsome male couple in one prim. Thane sculpted them and I made the textures – but again they would also be very nice statuary as well. Or perfect as decor for a wedding or celebration.

New DBS stuff in New Stuffs section, on patio right by landing point.
Small sculpted sprout in a pot
Thane made this adorable sculpt set which was a joy to texture. Just the thing for a springtime addition to a greenhouse or windowsill garden.
See in Marketplace

Over in the *RH* & DBS Critter section – Running Hares!
Each hare is in a different action pose, ready to thunder across the landscape!

See Running Hare 1 in Marketplace

See Running Hare 2 in Marketplace

Trees! Trees have started taking over – so I have given them their own grove area

People have been asking about the patio sculpts Ive used here – so I stuffed em in a vendor crate right on the patio.

Ent Master!
In a striking pose, he is on a rock and looks like he is poised for action. 4 prims of customizableness, with included textures and a new viney foliage.

See Ent Master on Marketplace

Tree Woman
She is crouched and looks very different from various angles.
See Tree Woman on Marketplace

DBS Hollow Log kit 

I’m super excited about this new log kit.

The log is lumpy with uneven edges, included are 4 custom textures that have bark outside and rotten wood inside. This also comes with the full perm sculpt map, an ambient occlusion (AO) map and a seamless bark texture in case you need lots of repeats on a really big log.

These logs are also available in InWorldz

Oh and, a handy dandy tutorial posted here on how to use shadow textures that come with sculpts.

DBS Daffodils set 7 textures

I also finally got off my lazy fuzzy butt and took some photos of pretty daffodils to make a set of them in different configurations.

Individual textures can be bought in my in-world shop in Second Life.

Last week Thane Woodford of Raven’s Heart Sculpts and I worked on some more trees. The trees below are also in available in InWorldz

*RH* & DBS Lady Heart Couple Tree

This is a really pretty tree with the trunk in the shape of a couple dancing.  It looks good from all angles and Thane really captured the joy of the couple dancing, while making it look very natural.

*RH* & DBS 2 prim Birch Trees

These new birch trees have a clump of interwoven trunks in 1 prim, with a custom foliage sculpt to fit, 4 seasons of foliage textures and a really nice birch bark texture by Beautiful Shamen of Amulet.


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