The new hair textures.. and how the ELCM made hair creation fun again.

Right, so you might have heard I have recently released a slew of new hair texture options at the store. What I want to share with you now is how I managed to retexture 18 hairs in 30 different colors over the span of a few days. The answer to this would be the Extremely Lazy Coloring Machine (ELCM), created by KStarfire Rich.

When I made the first series of textures, 12 of them in total, I was doing them by hand. I recall the second night I did 5 of them in the 12 new textures and it took me about 6 hours, and basically I was losing the will to live. Thankfully my friend Brandy had read about this amazing machine on a blog and sent me a link so I went to investigate.

After reading about the ELCM I was determined to find out if it actually could take the hair I have and make copies of it using all the new textures I had created. The answer was a resounding yes. The ELCM could indeed copy my prototypes and apply my new textures flawlessly, with the textures all placed exactly how they are on the prototype and no halos or texture rings around the alpha textures.

I will try to explain how this all works in this post for anyone who is curious, though if you are very interested in the machine you can contact KStarfire Rich in game. He is great about explaining how it works and answering questions regarding the machine.

Basically the ELCM currently can apply 6 different textures to a prim object at once. These textures can be full textures, alpha textures, various colors, etc. The 6 scripts come in 2 different preset versions. The first is the full side script which will color the prim on all sides with the texture that corresponds to that script number. The second script will change only the front side of the prims texture. For someone like me using it for hair, this is very important, as using alpha textures on certain prims requires the bottom and top of the prim to have an invisible texture on them to prevent halos or the strange rings you see on some hair from time to time. These are the two script options that come with the ELCM, but KStarfire Rich is also willing to get you custom scripts that will texture only certain sides that aren’t the front if you need one that only colors the bottom side or top etc.

So basically you have the corresponding scripts in the prims you want to color. My first texture, on layer one would be named sand. It is the full texture and I would choose the first script, the full sides version, and it will apply that hair texture to all sides of the prims that the script is in. The second texture would be named _2sand. This is the alpha layer of the sand hair color, which when applied to prims will give the look of strands of hair. While I’m talking about this, it’s a good time to mention this naming of the textures is the way the ELCM knows which textures go with which. So it kind of looks like this inside the ELCM with your textures:
Sand
_2sand
twilight
_2twilight

So these hairs use 2 of the possible 6 textures you can apply. When everything is set, you just add the root script to the root prim, which comes in 2 forms to choose from – one which textures the prim and one that doesn’t. After that just drop the root script in the root prim of your hair, which comes in a 2 versions, one that will apply the first texure to the prim and one that won’t texture at all.

And after that, it’s quite easy. You rez the ELCM and load the textures you want to use in it. Then add the prototype to the machine, and hit texture. There is also a test run feature you can choose to make sure you have the hair scripted correctly. That will only do the first 2 textures sets. Once the hair has rezzed, you hit the clean up button on the menu and that will remove all the scripts from your hair so that it doesn’t change your permissions, and then you simply take the hair copies into your inventory. After it’s all done you can save your prototype and any time you want to add colors or update the old colors you can use that same master copy to do them all again. Also, the ELCM allows for you to add other scripts, and the clean up will only remove the texturing scripts from the prims. So if you have a texture changing script for a hat for instance, you can add that set of scripts and the textures you want it to use to the hat before you run the texturing process, and it will copy the texture change script and all of its texture options to each copy.

In the end the ELCM made things so much more viable that I added 30 new colors of hair. And now when I make new hairs it takes all of 5 minutes to do them in all 30 textures.

On a final note, it’s easiest to use the scripts as you build the hair, by placing them inside the prims you are using and copying those prims over and over to distribute the scripts throughout the hair. However in my case I had 17 styles I wanted to add the new textures to that were already completed. KStarfire Rich has a solution for this as well. He has a script copier script available to anyone who needs to do an old style or completed prim object. It’s easy to use once you do it once or twice as well. How this works is you drop this script and the first texture script (or whatever texture is over most of the prims) into the root prim and then it copies this script to all the linked prims. Then you simply change the ones that require different scripts. For me this was a simple matter of deleting the texture 1 scripts out of the prims that used the alpha texture and replacing it with the texture 2 one side script. Trust me that it sounds more complex than it really is, and KStarfire was great about answering my questions.

In closing, I would recommend anyone who is making hair and either uses a lot of color options or wants to add more color options to check this system out. You will be amazed at what it can do and how easy it is to configure. Also I feel I should mention that even though it’s perfectly suited for hair, there are many things it would make much easier to add a lot of textures to including shoes and various clothing attachments but really any prim creation that needs to be recolored with various textures over and over. KStarfire also offers lifetime upgrades and tech support for the ELCM when you purchase it. Thanks to KStarfire for making this great system!

If you’re interested in the system please contact KStarfire Rich in game. The system as of this post is only available personally through him though I believe he is working on releasing it for purchase in other ways soon.

A bit about me

Hello everyone! As mentioned in the sidebar, I am Kavar Cleanslate, owner of Exile in Second Life. I thought the blog was getting a bit bogged down with just release posts, so I wanted to kind of introduce myself. I have been designing and 3d modeling for a few years now. I started with Sims 2, and my focus there was hair, which has been a focus in SL too, though I am finding there is a lot of fun to be had in making clothing as well.

As this blog grows, I would like it to be more than just the store and its news. I hope to have some tutorials at some point and some other fun posts as well like mash-ups and even posts that highlight some of the other designers I think are amazing. I also want to take the time to give a thanks to Brandy Rasmuson. She is my closest friend in SL and has been a huge help with the store and just generally making me believe that people might actually like the things I make. She also makes this blog possible in large part. She will be bringing a woman’s view to fashion in SL to the blog as well, and I hope to be able to to twist her arm into doing some female mash-up posts and whatever else I can talk her into. :)

Anyway that’s a bit about the blog and the direction it’s moving in. For those of you reading, I’m glad you found your way here, and I hope you will find more and more interesting things here in the near future.