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Micro Sculpties

As you may know SL has a prim-size minimum of 0.01m which can be annoying specially on attachments such as jewelery.

For regular prims there are prim-torture methods to make a prim appear smaller than the prim-size suggests.

For sculpted prims there is a different method. The trick is to make the Frame larger than it would be after a regular Auto Ajdust.

Regular Sculptie using "Auto Adjust"

Regular Sculptie using Auto Adjust


Micro Sculptie with an inflated Frame

Micro Sculptie with an inflated Frame

The result is that you get a sculpt-texture which will make the Sculptie appear like a smaller version at the same prim-size.

Regular Sculptie (left) and Micro Sculptie (right) both having the same prim-size

Regular Sculptie (left) and Micro Sculptie (right) both having the same prim-size

Take a look at the Sculpt Texture of the Regular Heart and the
Sculpt Texture of the Micro Heart. To make this example yourself simply start with Sphere and load Heart from Slice 1 to Slice 30.

This method for Micro Sculpties can also be used to cheat the Level-of-Detail system of SL a little to get a higher LoD for a longer distance by enlarging the prim-size without enlarging the visible shape.

The negative side effect is that this method will force the visible parts of the Sculptie into a lower resolution depending on the inflated Frame size compared to an automatically adjusted Frame size.

A sculptie has a resolution of 256x256x256 (not the size of the texture, but the range in which a Point may be) with only integer values.

The reason for this is that they are stored as images. In an image each Point has a color, and each color is usually stored as four 8-Bit integer values (meaning each can hold an integer from 0-255).

These four values are usually used for: RGBA (Red, Green, Blue for the color and Alpha for the opacity)

In a Sculptie these values are used for: XYZ (the fourth not being used)

This X Y Z will give the position of a point of the sculptie-mesh for that sculpt-texture within its prim.

Auto Adjust makes sure that the full 0-255 range for X, Y and Z is being used to get the best possible resolution for Point-positions.

By inflating the Frame (relative to the slices) for Micro Sculpties, it is being made sure that not the full 0-255 range is being used, but for example only 80-169.

In that example it would mean for Point-positions there are only 90 integer values to which X,Y and Z can snap to, instead of the original 256 ones (0-255).

Regular (left) and Micro (right and close-up) showing the precision problem of Micro Sculpties

Regular (left) and Micro (right and close-up) showing the precision problem of Micro Sculpties

3 Comments on “Micro Sculpties”

  1. #1 Ghanie Lane
    on Sep 10th, 2008 at 1:14 pm

    There are ways to smooth out the distortions. I use less points and/or slices by either tucking them away (out of sight), doubling up, loadng to poles, and often combinations of the three. It’s a tedious process in finding the right combination for each sculpt but well worth it when you’re going tiny.

  2. #2 Ghanie Lane
    on Sep 14th, 2008 at 11:41 am

    You can control how small you make your sculpt by observing the size of the “auto-adjusted” bounding box. If you multiply each dimension by 2 (x, y, and z), your sculpt will be half the size of standard prims. Multiply by 3 to get it 3 times smaller and so on.

    If your project is too big to get the size you want, select all your slices in the edit window and shrink it. NOTE: You may need to resize some of your slices (often the Z value) if it refuses to shrink small enough.

  3. #3 Konad10
    on Jan 21st, 2010 at 4:42 am

    I have been on a search for the “holy grail” of Sculpt creation tools, and thus far have found that it appears there really is no one tool that will do everything… in reality (at least my fragile reality)
    it’s ultimately about what you are try to accomplish, balanced with your comfort level in the various tools and software and the establishing of consistent workflow(s) commensurate with your ability. (not exactly a “stop the presses” headline statement but just my observation.)

    That being said…. it was while I was playing around with… errr I mean doing research that I happened to be in PS and wound up putting a gray scale layer over top of the sculpt map… I flattened and saved before I really thought about it but thought… “oh what the hell, temporary textures are a wonderful thing” and loaded to SL….
    HOLY CRAP… the thing shrank down to micro… I played with the different transparency settings in PS and sure enough the higher the transparency percentage… the smaller the sculpt.

    My question is… is there any downside to using this method of creating micro prims vs resizing the frame in-world with SS?

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