Business Tips: 10 handy creator resources
This is a bit of a new feature, since this blog seems to be developing a bit towards helping business peeps as well as dealing with scams and talking about business, and we are going to start with what I feel are 10 tools out there that no content creator (particularly one just starting out..) should be without, or at least should know about. Now, these will have different levels of relevance depending on what you want to make, but its worth noting all of them have their uses. These are not ranked in any particular order of usefulness, they are meerly numbered.
- Texture Optimizer
This handy little gadget helps you optimize your textures on prims to reduce loading times and reduce lag. Useful if you are setting up shops with a lot of textures to show your wares. Because you want to keep the area as fast loading and lag free as possible, its important to make sure your textures are optimized.
- SL Clothing Previewer
This insanely handy ultility is specifically for making clothing. Once you've created some clothing, and need to preview it to make sure things like straps and scenes line up, this tool becomes invaluble. Instead of having to spend 10L to upload to check and see if something lines up, finding it doesn't, and then repeating the process until you spend a small fortune, you can use this little guy. Just load your texture map and rotate the figure to have a look. Supports all the different clothing maps and figures, male and female. Works excellent for skins as well. It runs locally, so no worrying about being online or having to log into SL as you work. Generally speaking, if it works on this previewer, it will work on SL.
- CMFF Master Templates
The original, definative templates for creating skins and clothing in SL, now these replace the original linden templates in the downloads section I understand. These comprehensive, layered template files are complete with a color coded map and grid to align those pesky seams and provide an invaluble guide file when working on making textures of any sort that go on the body.
Need a basic, quick, easy to learn method of making simple sculpties? Well this is your solution. This freebee program has several built in shapes as well as very simple tools to make common and simple sculpty shapes. With some practice, one can learn to make more complex shapes in the editor. Handy and relatively easy to learn to use although isn't as robust as say a program like Blender, Maya, or other commercial software, it can do some impressive things, and its free!
Need to make your own animations? Are you sick of Poser's constant screwing up? Need a free alternative? QAvimator could be your answer. I have heard some content creators say that the animations they've exported from this tool are more reliable than poser, although I haven't noticed much of a difference myself. Although, unlike poser, this is free.
- The Gimp
Not everyone has the money to buy an expensive program like photoshop to create clothing and skins. This free option, while a bit more complicated interface wise, has most of the features (and a few more in terms of functionality) of photoshop, without the hefty pricetag. With a little tenacity you can create for free.
This is a super cool tool that 'rescues your creation from static existance', but is essentially a prim animator tool. It has video tutorials as well as a very cool demo video on youtube. A very handy thing to make your creations move, (wings flap, tip jars spin, tails swish, etc.) If you aren't a scripter. This blog links to the free version of this tool.
- Particle Wizard
Need to generate particles for your creations? This is a handy little tool that allows you to create a particles without paying and arm and a leg for them, or buying a tool inworld.
- SL Scripter
Need some basic scripting done, but not a scripter? This handy little tool generates scripts for you based on menu prompts of what you want the script to do. Still in its basic incarnation, but extremely handy for those of us who are not script savvy, but still want some basic functionality in our creations without paying through the nose.
- Avatar Databank
A handy site that has broken down the basic avatar meshes into downloadable objects for import into other programs (like blender, maya, etc) to help you work out sculpties or preview textures onto. A useful resource, particularly if you want to focus on only one particular part or object. Also good for working on non standard body frames and parts.
As content creators we are constantly looking for new and interesting things to do with our creations. Some might require a bit of learning, but some are actually helpful to those of us who lack certain skills (like extensive scripting abilities), having resources is very handy and often less expensive than hiring someone else to do the job.
I do hope these links help some folks out there who are looking for resources, especially if they are just starting out and not sure what to use to create what.