Textures – A Few Quick Tips

Some hints and tips that might make working with textures quicker and more efficient.

1. Instantly apply a texture

…without even opening the Build dialog! Simply drag a texture from your inventory onto the surface that you want to texture. The texture will instantly be applied to that face. Obviously this will only work on prims that you have modify permissions for.

2. Applying a texture to multiple faces

In the Build menu, tick ‘Select Texture’ as usual, and select the first face. Then hold down the Shift key and click on any other faces that you want to texture, even on completely different prims. Then apply the texture that you want, via the Texture tab. The texture will be applied to all the selected faces.

The only catch to this is that sometimes Second Life is a bit flaky about actually texturing all the selected faces, so don’t unselect straight away, and simply re-apply the texture if it doesn’t ‘take’ to all the faces.

3. Using the dropper

On the Texture tab, click the texture image to bring up the texture selection dialog. There is a small ‘dropper’ icon at the bottom of this. Click this icon, then click on any other prim face, and the texture from that face will be selected for the current face. This will only work to pick up textures that you have copy permissions for.

4. Choose between the texture selection dialog or your inventory

There are two ways to directly get a texture onto the texture tab (and hence on to the selected prim or face), either by dragging a texture from your inventory onto the texture image, or by clicking the texture image to call up the texture selection dialog.

Both have their pros and cons.

The Texture Selection dialog will search through your Inventory, and will only show you the textures or snapshots that you can apply as a texture. It will hide everything else, including textures that you cannot use (probably because you don’t have copy permissions for them). This is useful, but if you have an
inventory of any size it can take some time for the list of textures to fill up.

If you use your inventory instead, you don’t have this delay, but of course you will be shown everything, including textures/snapshots that you cannot actually use. If you try to drag these onto the texture image, the cursor will change to a ‘stop’ icon to show that you cannot use them.

5. Use the Library

Down at the bottom of your inventory is a folder called Library, which contains a default collection of stuff that Linden supplies to every avatar (they sometimes add to this collection, so it’s a good idea to take an occasional look here for new things). It includes a useful and varied collection of textures. Before you spend your hard-earned Linden Dollars buying a new texture, look here first, to see if there is already something which suits your needs.

6. Use the Library’s default transparent and media textures.

If you need a fully transparent texture, or a texture to display videos on (a subject which is beyond the scope of this blog entry), the Library has default textures for these (they are at the top of the Library ‘tree’, not in the Textures folder). The advantage to using these is that they are very likely to already be in the viewer’s cache, and hence won’t need to be downloaded, which means that they will rez much faster.

8. Use the bumpmaps and colors

I’ve mentioned this in a previous post, but it’s worth repeating: experiment with the bumpmaps option on the Texture tab. Using bumpmaps, and applying colors, can create good textures without making use of a texture image at all (simply change the default ‘plywood’ texture to ‘blank’), or can create useful variations of existing textures.

Also worth repeating is the example to illustrate this technique:

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