Software Required: Photoshop 7.0.1/CS/CS2 & Second Life

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Template Setup

Let's walk through the creation of your first piece of custom clothing: a very simple shirt.

  1. First let's set up our template so it's a little more helpful. Move UV_map layer above Working Layer. If you need help understanding the SL templates, please see the Clothing in SL Tutorial
  2. Select the UV_map layer and choose Control-I (Mac: Command-I) to Invert the image. (fig. 1)

  3. Fig. 1
  4. Change the Blending Mode on the UV_map layer from "Soft Light" to "Normal." You can find the Blending Mode menu in the Layers tab adjacent to the Opacity menu.
  5. Change the Opacity on the UV_map layer to 15%
  6. Select the Working layer and change its opacity to 100%. This will provide a white background upon which to work. Hide the Overlay layer.

Fig. 2

The template now looks like the blank slate I use when creating all of my custom clothing (fig. 2). While the Overlay and Background layers can be helpful to make sure I've covered enough area, I don't find them subtle enough to work with, especially when doing precise work. In addition, as you'll see, the UV map layer will guide us when we need to match our textures from front to back.

Creating and Saving the Shirt


    Fig. 3
  1. Let's add some color by filling the working layer with red. From the Edit menu choose the Fill command. In the Fill dialog box, in the Contents area, choose Color... from the drop-down menu. Select a nice shade of red from the color picker and confirm your selections. The working layer should now be completely filled with red. (fig. 3)

  2. Fig. 4
  3. Choose the Horizontal Type Tool from the toolbox (shortcut "T"). Place a symbol -- I chose an asterisk -- on the chest area using the UV map as a guide. I chose to make my asterisk white, but you can use whatever color you'd like. (fig. 4)
  4. Save your work with a different name so you don't overwrite your template.

  5. Fig. 5
  6. Now hide the UV_map layer and flatten the image (Layer Menu\Flatten). When prompted click OK to "Discard hidden layers." (fig. 5)


  7. Fig. 6
  8. Now you're ready to save your image for upload to Second Life. From the File menu choose Save As... and name your file. For file Format choose Targa from the menu. This should give you file and extension of .TGA. (fig. 6)


  9. Fig. 7
  10. Upon saving a Targa image you will be prompted with some resolution options. At the moment choose 24 bit/pixel. This will be explained later. (fig. 7)

Uploading and Creating Your Shirt in Second Life


    Fig. 8
  1. Run Second Life. Once in Second Life, choose Upload Image (L$10) from the File menu. Find your recently made .TGA file and upload it. (fig 8)


  2. Fig. 9
  3. Beginning with version 1.3, Second Life allows you to preview you custom clothing textures on a default model before you upload them. You can even zoom in and rotate the model to make sure you texture. This can be very helpful with complex textures with seams and patterns that need to line up across sleeves and shoulders. (fig. 9)
  4. Right click on your avatar and choose Appearance from the radial menu
  5. In the Appearance settings box (which you should be familiar with) select the Shirt tab and click the Take Off button to remove your current shirt. Hopefully you gals are wearing bras if you're in a PG sim. Once you take off your shirt, click the Create New Shirt button. Your avatar should now be wearing a plain, white shirt.


  6. Fig. 10
  7. Click the white box labeled Fabric to open the texture picker. (fig. 10)
  8. Locate your texture in the texture picker and choose your TGA texture file and then click the OK button


Fig. 11

Instead of choosing the texture from the texture picker, you can also drag and drop the texture from your inventory onto the fabric box. Congratulations, you've created your very first shirt!

About Tints and Clothing

Within the world of Second Life a fabric or texture may be assigned a tint. This tint is subsequently combined with the color of the fabric to give you the color you see in world. While this is technically not tinting, it does allow for a certain amount of customization of clothing. If the color of the fabric is pure white the tint color is matched exactly on those areas of the shirt. For example, in the previous example if we had made the shirt background white and the symbol black, the white background could have been modified to any color within Second Life itself.

The example in figures 12-14 shows a blue tint being applied to a white fabric. The outcome is a blue shirt of the same tint color. If you plan on selling the clothing you make creating items that are tintable allows for added level of customization by your customers.


Fig. 14

Fig. 13

Fig. 12