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LESSON 5: This is where we start getting picky about precision. We’re going to smooth out your balloon and add string to it. WARNING: This lesson may not make sense if you tried to skip LESSON 4!

Now it’s time to get picky with our organic stuff and get more precise when it comes to smooth objects. We’re going smooth out the balloon that we made in Lesson THREE and we’ll make some string to go with it. Even if your balloon came out perfectly smooth, going through this lesson will help understand why it came out perfectly smooth which is good to know 🙂 . 

NANO: This is a term I’ll be using for a size that is smaller than standard prims allow. So grab a cylinder, thin it out to .01x.01 and see if it works like string. It might if your balloon is big enough but if you shrunk it to a regular party-sized balloon, it will look more like a stick than string. So let’s make string! 


1. Smoothing out a lumpy sculpt. 
2. A precise method to making sculpties using a photo guide. 
3. Planning sculpt strategies.
4. Editing the bounding box (frame) to get “nano” sizes. 
5. Predicting exact nano sizes. 

Alright, lets pull out our balloon and have a closer look. At the very least, you’ll notice that there is a point on the top of the balloon. You might find some lumps and find it a bit lopsided. 

Now rez your balloon slices. 

Rez your frame and Autoadjust. Note the position coordinates of your frame and paste them into your balloon. This will place your ballon in the middle of your slices. 

If you resized your balloon after making it, copy and paste the size of the frame into your balloon. 

If you’re not following me, you’ve been skipping lessons! 😛 Here is one last photo on the subject. From now on, there will be less photos on this type of thing. I highlighted the position. The size is below that.

Close your frame and zoom into the side of the balloon. Note where your balloon falls into the edge of your slices. Where are they? 

If you said “in the middle”, you are correct. The sculpt follows the midpoints of our slices. 

NOTE: If you looked at the bottom, the “tie” will NOT align with your slices. This one of the affects of small sculpties (or small parts of sculpties). It’s the same thing that causes that “wrinkle” at the very bottom (even though our slices were perfect circles and should be smooth in theory). We’re fine here because we like that wrinkle … In either case, you’ll find similar problems if you start making very small sculpts or attempt to create some very tiny details within very large sculpts.

So if you were using this (or another fixed point of the slice) as your guide, you probably have a smoother balloon than others. We’ll use this information to smooth out our balloon. But first lets do some tweaking. 

To make it easier to guage the midpoints, lets make thin out our slices. 

Find slice 0 and resize the Z to 0.01m (just put a 0 in the box and it will automatically adjust to 0.01m). Do the same for the Z size in slice 31. 

0-31 –>> [click that arrow on the bottom left of the menu] — >> only 1 dim –>> Size Z

Note: yes, I’m skipping buttons … you should be able to set slice 0 and 31 for the “from-here to-here” function by yourself. 

Now get rid of your balloon and replace it with the balloon photo. Align it with your slices.

NOTE: If you got rid of your old balloon photo and grabbed a new one, it might be a little different than your balloon (LiveJournal spat the first one I put up). Just place the box in the middle of your slices and move the bottom part over to align with the new photo. We’re redoing the rest anyway. 

This time we’re going to realize ahead of time that the X and Y sizes should be the same since it’s symmetrically round. So we’ll resize the X manually and paste the new number into the Y size box. 

So shrink the Y of your photo to 0.01m. It should look like this: 

We learned in the last lesson how to get rid of that point on top of our balloon. But we don’t want it “prim flat” so we’re only going to use one slice this time. 

Copy the position of slice 31 and paste it to slice 30. 

The bottom of the balloon (above the knot) doesn’t need to be flat also but we do need slice 3 closer to slice 2 so the bottom part doesn’t slope too much, so lets move it close to 2 but not in the same position. If it comes out too flat, move it up some. I’ll leave it to you to decide which position is best (the same way you will in the future: trial an error). You ARE using a sculpty previewer by now, right?

Run the “Position” function for slices 3-30. 

Slice 30 –>> to-here … Slice 3 –>> from-here –>> studio –>> sl.3-30 –>> Position

NOTE: This is the last time I’ll be typing out the “from-here to-here” clicks. From now on, you only get that first line. 

Now lets start resizing the X. So zoom over to the side and start stretching/shrinking until the photo digs into the center of the edge (the way our sculpty balloon sat into our slices earlier). 

The edges of the photo are blurry. A lot of your photos will likely look like that too unless you touch it up. So you can either touch it up or align it by eye. I’ll leave it up to you since I have no idea what graphics programs you are using. You can also use some cut cylinder prims and boxes to define the curve/lines which is what I do when I’m having trouble getting a smooth affect.  It all depends on how precise you want your sculpt and what you’re comfortable with.

As soon as the X is in the right place, copy and paste the size into the Y box so it’s perfectly round. 

If you’re using a prim, this is what your slices should look like. The closer you can get only half of the slice to poke through the prim, the more exact your slice-placement will be.  

NOTE: you will need more than 1 prim to accomodate the various slopes of the balloon. 

Don’t worry if you decide to not use prims; we’ll get more practice in the next lesson. Eyeballing the photo will work better this time around because we know how the sculpt will align with the slice. 

Once complete, click through each slice in the edit window to be sure the X and Y sizes are the same for each slice. 

Studio –>> edit frame –>> autoadjust –>> sculptie!

studio –>> say slices

Copy and paste the output into your old notecards and upload your photo. 

… for PC users, copy the output, click the notecard open, CTRL+A to “select all” and delete … then paste

frame –>> sculpt prim

Upload your photo and apply it to your sculpt prim. Rez the new balloon next to your old one. 

The red is the new sculpt. Yours will be smoother also .. so take the old one back into inventory and leave the newer one out. It’s time to add string.


Clear your slices and rez your box sculpt. 

Set slices 1-30 and load to circle. 

Edit frame –>> autoadjust

Note that the frame is only 1.996 instead of 2m … this is because our circle is too small for the slice. Let’s fix that real quick. It will make “nano” techniques easier to calculate.

Take one slice and move it over (anywhere clear of the other slices). 

Click slice and edit slice … resize slice to 1.996 in the X and Y box. 

Close slice. Say Slice. 

Put the slice back into place by using your undo shortcut while in edit mode. For PC users, right-clik –>> edit the clice and hit CTRL+ Z a few times until it’s back in place.

Copy and pase the output into the circle notecard inside the studio. Drag into your tutorial folder for future use. This is the circle we’ll be using from now on. 

There’s no need to redo your balloon with the new circle unless you want more practice. The difference will be very minor; we’re working on a balloon after all!

Moving on … load all to circle again (so the new circle settings can take place) to slices 1-30. Autoadjust again. Your frame will be 2x2x2. 

So the bigger your frame is, the smaller your sculpt will become. Making the size of your frame two times bigger will make your sculpt twice as small and so on.

If you wanted your sculpt 3 times smaller, how big does your current frame need to be? 

2 x 3 = 6

So type the following size into your frame: 10x10x2. 

This makes the new sculpt 5 times skinnier on the X and Y so our string will be extra skinny but will be able to get as long as 10m (since we’re keeping the Z at the 2m).  

Grab your sculpt and upload it … If you like, you can save your sculpt into a new notecard. Just note that it’s a cylinder until you adjust the frame so name it cylinder-SCULPT. 

Click the frame and rez a sculpt prim. Apply your new sculpt map. It will be a wide cylinder because the frame automatically rez’s a sculpt prim the same size as the frame. So the X and Y are at 10m! Resize your string to .01x.01×2.5m and set the texture to blank (it will already be white). 

Move the string down to the bottom of your balloon. 

You will need to move it over so it falls in the middle of the balloon pinch. Widen it temporarily if you’re having trouble moving it. 

A party-sized balloon would be around 0.35×0.35×0.5m … Don’t forget to link it before taking it into your inventory. 

We now have a pose that will allow us to hold our balloons! Special thanks to Moon Cole for making and providing it for the rest of us. 

Grab your copy now at Chindogu; it’s in the same box as the photo. Just drop the pose and script into (the contents folder of) your ballon and wear. Your balloon may need to be rotated and moved to fit into your hand correctly. 


NOTE: You should be able to start experimenting on your own by now. 

1. Attempt simple things at first; I learned Sculpt Studio by figuring out how to sculpt basic prims: cylinder, prism, box, etc. 

2. Don’t attempt to sculpt without a photo and/or prim guides (I can’t even sculpt without them yet). 

3. Use a pencil and paper to outline where you expect your slices and/or points to go; this can save you hours of guess work.

4. Use either the test server or a sculpty prevewer for your experimental uploads.

5. Have fun!

9 Comments on “LESSON 5”

  1. #1 basqlvr
    on Mar 8th, 2009 at 8:15 am

    Great tutorial…just a problem with the outcome….if you only change the size of the X axis and not the Y axis…you get a square balloon with a bulge. What did I do wrong?

  2. #2 Ghanie Lane
    on Mar 22nd, 2009 at 10:53 am

    Ah, sounds like you missed this part … “Once complete, click through each slice in the edit window to be sure the X and Y sizes are the same for each slice.”

    So you resize the X and then copy and paste that number in to the Y, either while you’re resizing or afterwards, depending on what flows easier for you.

  3. #3 Ghanie Lane
    on Mar 22nd, 2009 at 10:54 am

    Sorry I didn’t respond earlier … I didn’t get an email for it for some odd reason.

  4. #4 Ancient1
    on Apr 7th, 2009 at 1:32 pm

    I am just starting on Sculpt Studio and I was looking for Lesson 1, which I cannot seem to find at this web site. Could you please tell me where the link is? Thank you.

  5. #5 Ghanie Lane
    on Apr 10th, 2009 at 7:18 am
  6. #6 The string « Lorimae Undercroft
    on Apr 21st, 2009 at 3:14 pm

    […] href=”“>Lesson 5, the String</a> (scroll down a […]

  7. #7 bloodsong
    on May 10th, 2009 at 4:28 am

    ghanie, can you explain a bit more what we’re doing at the start of the string section?
    why are we using the box sculpt instead of the mydefault shape? does the method you’re going through not work with the default shape, because i keep trying to set my slice to 1.996, and my frame keeps coming out to 1.990 and never 2.
    also, am i to understand that by resizing the slice prim while the points are turned on can actually change the relationship of where the points are on the slice? i’m guessing that’s what we’re trying to do by doing ‘edit slice’ and resize..? making the points closer to the edge? (some more explanation would help in this area, i think 🙂 )
    and close slice, say slice is now apparently close slice, save ->> say slice. took me a bit to find it. :/

    the rest is great! oh, i found it helpful to move the reference photo prim back from the center, because as i was trying to size the slices to hit the edge of the balloon, that big red sizing handle kept getting in my way and i couldnt see. since the slice prims are cubes, any part of the edge aligning would work. 🙂

  8. #8 Ghanie Lane
    on May 10th, 2009 at 10:41 am

    MyDefault is open ended, there are no poles at the ends or slices on those poles.

    Don’t forget to resize the slices back to 2m after you edit the points. It basically pushes the points to the very edges of the slice.

    There have been quite a few changes to Sculpt Studio recently. I’m going to have to go back and rewrite certain portions of the tutorial soon. If you get stuck, there is normally someone in the sweet sculpties group who will be able to answer your questions.

    I had to start working IRL recently so my time in SL has been cut down quite a bit. But I’ll try to answer your questions when I do see them :).

  9. #9 Ginevra Lancaster
    on May 16th, 2009 at 9:00 am

    i did it, i have my balloon with string 🙂 so proud lol
    TY for yout tutorial, and thanks to the people in the sweet sculpties group who gave me a big help :)))

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