I use the official SL Viewer. I use it for a variety of reasons, most of which have to do with stability and features. I have been pretty pleased with the viewer. (Yes, I said it. Heresy!) The interface doesn’t bother me, I am not missing many features (double click to tp works, etc), and it runs pretty well for me.
Lots of people are reluctant to try the SL viewer for various reasons. One of the biggest is not being able to do temporary uploads.
Well, guess what? You CAN do “temporary textures” or what is called local bitmaps in the official SL Viewer AND you can view real time changes to those textures!
This summer, when I was working on my laughable bandana for the Hair Fair, I whined to my pal Vaalith Jinn that I wish there was a way to see the texture ON the bandana so I knew were I was putting things. I wanted to change the texture on both the inside and outside of the bandana and be able to line them up so any decorations weren’t ending up in weird spots on the bandana, and I wasn’t keen on uploading 200 textures while I tried to think my way out of this paper bag.
“Easy!” he said. Turns out he wrote the code for this feature for the official SL viewer. And he showed me how to do it in a few simple steps. I want to share that with you!
Let’s use the bandana as an example. Let me state that Mel Vanbeeck made the bandana and its textures for Hair Fair. I am simply dumping stuff on top of it. Thank you, Mel for a great job.
Here is the bandana rezzed as it was given to me with its textures:
I started by selecting the top surface of the bandana and clicked on texture so I could focus on that one texture.
Here is where the magic happens. When you open the texture picker, you see two radio buttons, one for Inventory and one for Local. Click “Local” and this is what you get: an untextured prim.
What the client is doing is looking to your computer for a texture rather than to the asset servers. (Ah ha!) So all you need to do is “Add” or point to a texture from your computer. This way, the SL Viewer pulls a texture locally to apply to the mesh.
As you can see, I chose “Hair Fair 2013 Outside Bake,” which is a Targa (.tga) file. It’s really important to remember 1. the name of the file and 2. the extension for the file. It must always remain exactly the same or the SL Viewer will not find the file again when you make changes.
As I add the file to the list and “apply” it, the texture shows up automagically in my viewer! Now if my pal is standing nearby, he won’t see that in his client because it’s pulling off my hard drive. It’s a local action, not going through the internet. Until I upload the texture to LL’s servers, no one but someone at my computer will be able to see that texture on the mesh.
Now here is the cool part. When I make changes to that texture, they show up as I save them to the file.
The first thing I did was take my paint can and dump purple on the texture. (We could have a long discussion about layers here and how clearly stupid I was to do this but for the purposes of illustration, let’s pretend I meant to do this.)
I SAVED the file to the exact same name and it showed up in real time on the client.
Let me show you here what I mean by saving correctly. Since I messed with the file and turned it from a .tga to a Photoshop file, the extension changed. If I saved it as a Photoshop file, SL wouldn’t even accept it. If I save it as a .tga file, it appends the name “copy” to it in PS. So I made sure I saved it, character for character, as I originally told the SL Viewer to find it.
Then I flipped over to my SL Viewer screen and this is what I had! OK, yeah it looks stupid. But that’s not the point. The point is—there it is, as I saved it!
Now let’s say I figured out layers and managed to color my bandana purple and want to put a little leaf on it as a motif. I’d like the leaf to be on the side of the scarf so people can see it. I stamp the leaf on the texture. I save.
And then I find that my leaf has ended up entirely on the wrong side. Of course.
I moved the leaf over, based on where it seems it should go, saved. And voila! I have a leaf on the side of my bandana.
I could do more tweaking—changing the shape of the leaf so it’s not so stretched, adding more layers, etc. Each time I change something, I can save the file off to the original file name I had targeted and see how it looks in SL. That simple.
For every object, you can load multiple textures so you can see how they look together. Simply pick the next surface, “add” the file name and it will target the file. You will not have to reupload textures to SL. Every time you save, SL will show the revised file.
Select the surface, add the texture from your hard drive.
Go into your graphics program and make it look the way you want. Save as the exact same name and file extension.
And voila, it appears on the surface you had chosen, changed.
Finally, when I have decided the textures work, I upload both to SL, apply them to the mesh, and I have a finished piece—ready for everyone to see.
A few things you should know: once you relog or crash, you will have to relink your files. It’s unavoidable. This feature can also be used with avatar layers (skins, makeups) or anything in SL that needs textures. Best of all it works with materials!
I hope this tutorial helps. If you have questions, please feel free to IM me with questions about this procedure, and if I can’t answer, I will try to help you find the answer.
Amendment: I just got word that this works in EVERY viewer that has graphic capabilities. (Don’t try this on your iPhone ;))