Applications and Tools, Second Life

Export and Render Second Life Builds in 3DS Max: Prim Composer Version 1.1 Released

Prim Composer was a significant milestone, achieving near seamless integration between 3DS Max and Second Life and OpenSim. Which meant that you could build both prims and sculptys in 3DS Max, texture them, light them, render, and then easily import the whole thing without needing to individually split, upload and place textures.

Now, for those of you who prefer to build in Second Life but still wished that your builds could be rendered in a professional third-party program like 3DS Max….well, you can. The update to Prim Composer also includes NURBS modeling in 3DS.

The full release notes explain the export process:

“The really big feature in 1.1 is the ability to export prims from Second Life and OpenSim to a local disk. Once exported, you can load the project into 3ds Max or upload it to another grid. In 1.1, prims and linksets can be exported but not textures. You must be both the creator and owner of a prim in order to export it. Basically, you can export anything that you have created. Textures aren’t currently allowed because determining the creator of a texture is more difficult than for prims. Later in this post, I will discuss textures in more detail.”

For content creators who also work in 3DS, or who perhaps have a friend who does, Prim Composer now allows you to rez your prims like you normally would and then export them to give them that finishing touch that only a rendered build can have. The future addition of texture exports would take this a step further, of course, but this is still a significant addition to the content creation pipeline.

I can envision a little boutique industry of 3DS modelers who sell their services rendering out the builds of Second Life residents, for example.

The pipeline isn’t quite complete. Because Second Life and OpenSim don’t support meshes (although RealXtend, a variation of OpenSim does), the ability to import other content isn’t available, and the decision to allow importing Poser or Modo or Sketch-Up models would give a serious shake to the content economy.

Anything that allows you to export content from the Grid can set off alarm bells for some people. But Prim Composer has been developed to err on the side of caution when protecting the ownership rights and protection of content creators:

“(The) exporter is forced to err on the side of caution. Restraint is also demanded by the fact that exporting and re-importing content has the egregious effect of removing all of the original creator’s identifying information from the content. In effect, the person who re-imports the content becomes the new creator in the target grid.

It is for these reasons that no prim or texture will be exported unless it was created by and is owned by the person doing the export.”

For now, the ability to move content back and forth from SL and OpenSim to 3DS is a boon to the richness of our virtual worlds: and kudos again to Shack McDougall for his contribution to content creators.

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