Beginner Blender - Simple Bookcase

more on mapping and ambient maps

I started out with the project thinking that I would explain WHY it is important to get mapping all neat and tidy. The real reason -- for me at least -- is so that you can have lovely baked ambient textures on your builds.

As I have been working on the VERY basic builds for the prim building video series, it became evident that while BUILDING with prims is fairly easy, it is the texturing that makes all the difference in the final project.  This follows through to mesh building and texturing too and is indeed why that mapping thing is such an important piece of the puzzle. 

IF you simply wanted to slap on a tiling texture to this bookcase, there would be no real need to place things so precisely in the UVMapping area. Indeed, as long as the PROPORTIONS  and DIRECTION were correct (still important) you could have the pieces overlapping and even way off of the texture plane.

That could certainly be a choice on some platforms (Cloud Party was one and SL is also) where the biggest advantage to mesh is the low land impact. But, in OpenSim? Honestly, it would make much more sense to just build this with prims.

Then why not just DO that ?  A good question.

For me it is the shadow map that you make at the end of the process. It adds a layer of realism you just can't get with regular prims. Even if you subtly tint what would be the darker areas of the bookcase (certainly an option if you are going the prim route), it just isn't quite the same. So for me -- liker of all the fine details -- I go with mesh most times.

This is a review in some sense as it IS important to understand and some subtle points may have missed it into previous posts.  The pictures pretty much tell the story. Here is a recap -- and then (I think) there is something new at the end. No promises; I have a lot of Blender posts under my tool belt at this point.

*  Make a "2x8" board the length that you want your bookcase. MAP IT and DEFINE a material such as "wood".

* In object mode Shift+ D_Key followed by X_Key to duplicate it and drag it up. Repeat the process to make as many shelves as you like.

* IMPORTANT: Right now maps for all the shelves are stacked on top of each other in the UV Image area. We need to resize and move them around so that each board will have an individual quality.

* There are plenty of ways to complete this part of the process. I JOINED all four boards together so that I could select them and see all the maps appear at once.
Then I turned on wireframe (Z_KEY) and box selected (B_KEY and drag around the area you want to select) one board at a time and moved them to a different spot on the image area. I resized so that all fit well.

* Next, I separated just ONE BOARD from the others with the P_KEY - Selection and then duplicated it, rotated it and aligned it as one of the side supports.

* Next, the side support was shortened to fit the shelves (S_KEY + Z_KEY). The island for the mapping of the correctly sized support board was placed in an appropriate spot on the UVimage area.

* The side support was duplicated, dragged to the other side and the map for that island moved to a new spot.  EACH BOARD THEN HAD A SEPARATE DEFINED ISLAND ON THE UV MAP.

* In this case -- just to show you the option -- I made a NEW image to bake to. I defined it as 2048 x 2048 and baked the ambient map.

* The ambient map was resized to 1024 in graphics software, the woodgrain placed on another layer and the textures were combined using MULTIPLY in the properties window of the texture document. The resulting textured ambient map was saved as a png file (It could have been resized to 512 if bandwidth is an issue.)

*In world, both mesh and textured ambient map were uploaded and combined.
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