There is no facility to make textures directly in Second Life™. External software, typically Adobe Photoshop® is used, although most image editors can be used.

You can upload textures that are:

TGA files are preferred because you get less corruption during conversion to jpeg2000.

TGA transparency is achieved by an alpha channel. Only one alpha channel per file, otherwise things get confused! Shading from 0-255 (black to white) in the channel gives variable levels of transparency with 0 being wholly transparent, 255 being solid. It is the only format which allows transparency information to be uploaded - although PNG files support this it is ignored by the conversion process.

Second Life (along with just about everything else) suffers alpha-sorting problems: it's a weakness of the graphic card rather than Second Life although it is more commonly observed in Second Life because builders don't recognise the problem. Surfaces close to each other than each contain alpha channels (even if the alpha channel is completely white) will "flicker" and appear to fight for position. This is largely unavoidable for translucent curtains in front of windows, but means you should avoid alpha channels unless you are going to use them and it can make building tricky (plants, windows, curtains etc.).

Creating clothes and skins for Second Life (usually) involves photoshop as well (there are clothes, particularly skirts, which are made from prims. Hair is almost always prims these days, although new residents wear “Linden Hair”). The skin and clothes layers are created on templates available from Chip Midnight, Robin Wood or Linden Lab. The first two sets are 1024 X 1024, the Linden Lab set is 512 X 512. Final clothes and skin textures should be converted to 512 X 512 pixels before uploading: internally all clothes layers are converted to this size if necessary then composited and sent to the client for rendering as a single 512 X 512 texture for each of the 3 parts (lower body, upper body, head).

Tips and tricks:

Although not strictly a tips and tricks for the texture-savvy, this blog post about importing presentations for the non-expert contains a lot of useful information and could well be useful to point your teaching staff at too!

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