Topic Summary:

Class 9: Introduction To Sculpted Prims

What are Sculpties?

Here's the official definition from the SL Support page:

A Sculpted Prim is a primitive whose shape is determined by a texture, called a Sculpt Texture. You can use Sculpted Prims to create complex, organic shapes that are not possible with conventional Second Life prims.

The more technical definition:

A Sculpted Prim, or sculptie, is a prim whose shape is determined by an array of x, y, z coordinates stored as RGB values in an image file (a Sculpt Map or Texture Map).

Look at it this way, so far we have been using regular prims, like a Box, Cylinder, Prism, Sphere, Torus, Ring, Tube. We slice and dice, stretch and shrink, rotate and position prims as we build up our final linked object. The final SHAPE of the object that we build is a combination of multiple linked prims.

Sculpties are different, they are a special type of prim whose shape is determined by a Sculpt Texture.

Note, a Sculpt Texture is NOT the same thing as a Texture...... even though they both use the same icon in the Inventory folder... (thanks SL!)

Sculpties are only 1 prim and have only 1 surface to texture. You can mix and match sculptie prims with regular prims and link them all together to create your object.

There are 2 steps to creating sculpted prims:

  1. Define the Sculptie SHAPE via a Sculpt Texture -> Object tab
  2. Add texture to the surface of a Sculptie -> Texture tab

Let's make some Sculpties!

Created a Sculpted Prim

To start, rez a regular prim. You can select any prim type as we are going to change it anyway :)

Rez a prim

In the Object Tab there is a filed called Building Block Type. Click on this box to open a drop-down list of prim options.

Building Block Type

The very last prim type on the list is called Sculpted. Click on this option to select it.

Congratulations, you have just made your first Sculptie!

Notice that your original prim has now changed to an apple shape. This is the default starting shape for all sculpted prims.

Default Sculpted Prim Shape

You will also notice that the fields on the Object Tab have changed to match the options available for a sculpted prim.

So, some of the fields that have previously appeared on the Object Tab - like Hollow, Taper, Twist, Hole Size, Skew, Dimple etc are no longer visible on this screen.

Have a look at the left hand side of the Object Tab; you can immediately see fields for Position, Size and Rotation. That's all the changes we can make to a sculptie!

So.... we can't do much prim torture on a Sculptie it seems!

The other big obvious difference in the sculptie's Object tab is the Sculpt Texture window on the right hand side.

Sculpt Texture Window

The image displayed in this window is the Sculpt Texture. The Sculpt Texture we can currently see in this window tells SL to make an apple shaped prim

To make different sculpted prim shapes, we select a different Sculpt Texture via this Sculpt Texture picker window in the Object tab.

Let's change our default apple to a heart shape:

  1. Click on the Sculpt Texture picker to open up the pop-up texture picker window
  2. Scroll through the list of textures or type in a name to find the Sculp Texture
  3. Select thexture and click on Select button to apply it to your prim

Sculptie Heart

Note how these steps are very similar to the way we select a texture and apply it to the surface of a prim via the Texture tab, BUT, we are still in the Object Tab.

We apply a Sculpt Texture to a prim via the Object tab to give a shape to a sculpted prim.

Did you know your Inventory Folder already has a default set of sculpted prims in your Library sub folder that you can use?

Library Folder with Default Sculpt Shapes

NOTE: Unfortunately, SL uses the same icon image in your Inventory folder for a regular Texture and a Sculpt Texture :( Very, very confusing! We have to rely on the maker of the sculpt texture to use sculpt, Sculptie, SC or any other hint to let you know their texture is a Sculpt Texture.

Common Mistakes

Common mistakes - that I have made many, many times!

Vertex Vomit

What a horrible name! LOL.

Vertex Vomit happens when you select a normal Surface Texture via the Sculpt Texture picker window in the Object Tab. I personally call this Prim Abstract Art :)

Vertex Vomit

Why does this happen? As mentioned earlier, the Sculpt Texture defines the shape of the sculpted prim, so the RGB values of the image are translated into XYZ co-ordinates of the prim vertices (edges). So in fact, the Vertex Vomit is actually the prim trying to make the shape defined by the Surface Texture. The odd-shaped prim that you see is what the surface texture looks like to a Sculptie.

If your sculpted prim does a "vertex vomit" you need to click on the Sculpt Texture picker window in the Object tab and this time, make sure you select a Sculpt Texture to apply to it.

The other common mis-texture is where you try to apply a Sculpt Texture to the surface of a regular prim. This mix-up applies the Sculpt Texture as a Surface Texture to your prim and you get a pretty coloured prim.

Apply Sculpt Texture as Surface Texture

There are 2 options that you can use to correct this mis-texture: a) Make sure you have changed the Building Block Type to Sculpted in the Object tab, or b) reapply a Surface Texture to your sculpted prim's surface via the Texture tab.

Apply a Surface Texture

Now, its time to add a texture to the Sculptie and get rid of the plywood texture.

One important fact to remember is that Sculpties only have one surface that you can texture. Usually, the regular textures in your Inventory folder will distort and stretch when applied to a Sculptie, not always, but more often than not.

Distorted Texture on Sculptie

The easiest solution to avoid distorted textures is to use a texture that was made specifically for the surface of a Sculpted prim. The creator of the texture has designed it for a Sculptie surface.

One option that may reduce the effect of distorted textures is to switch the texture Mapping to Planar. This setting is located in the Texture tab, about half-way down on the left hand side. Click on this field to open the drop-down list and select Planar from the drop down list to change the mapping of the texture.

Planar Texture Mapping

Hmmm, a bit better, the stretched effect has gone, but there are still areas of distoreted textures that are visible on the surface of the prim.

At this point, I would consider Plan C - set texture to Blank and apply a solid colour instead.

Solid Colour as a Texture

Experiment with textures and colours until you get the effect that you want. Here's your chance to be creative and original.

Wrap Up

Click on the image link below to go to the Sculpted Platter of Fruit project page where you can practice making s platter full of apples, oranges and bananas.

Platter of Fruit


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Previous Class: Class 8: Advanced Texture Techniques Prims

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