Update 14th May: My thanks to Oz Linden for pointing out that if you apply a Local Texture in-world, and then modify the original image file in a suitable editing tool and save it again, the viewer picks up the change and automatically applies it in-world (see Comments). I’ve also clarified that Local Textures can be used for clothing and skins within the text of this article.
Local Textures is a means by which textures stored on your computer can be applied to in-world objects on a temporary basis, allowing you to judge their suitability for use prior to uploading.
In this, it combines functionality currently found in many third-party Viewers (TPVs) in the form of the Local Bitmap Browser, with the added capability of being able to apply a selected texture directly to an object in-world within your own world-View.
The option, contributed by Vaalith Jinn, the originator of the Local Textures Bitmap, has been available within a number of recent Development builds of the official Viewer, and is now available in the latest Beta release (255742), so expect to see it in a mainstream release very shortly. (It should also be noted that the option is already available in both Dolphin and Niran’s Viewer.)
Using Local Textures
Local Textures is accessed from the Texture tab of the Build floater:
Note that there are now two new radio buttons on the Texture Picker itself – Inventory and Local. The former will, naturally, allow you to browse the textures within your SL inventory as we’re all familiar to doing.
Clicking on the Local option, however will change the Picker to display the following:
This contains three new buttons, described below.
- Add: Opens a window allowing you to browse your hard drive(s) to find textures.
- An individual texture can be selected by double left-clicking on it or by left-clicking once on it and then clicking OPEN
- Multiple textures within a folder can be selected using either SHIFT-left-click or CTRL-left-click (which can also be used to de-select individual items from a multiple selection
- Selected items are added to the list panel to the right of the buttons
- You can browse as many folders as you wish and add items to your list, but you cannot select folders themselves
- Remove: (only available if a texture is selected in the list panel) removes an unwanted texture from the list
- Upload: (only available if a texture is selected in the list panel) will open the usual texture upload panel, allowing you to upload the selected texture to your inventory with the usual L$10 fee and use it from there. Note that bulk uploads are not supported from the button.
When you have added one or more textures to the list panel, clicking on an individual texture within the list will apply it to the selected object / object face. Note that as these are only local file associations, the applied texture will only be visible to you; no-one else will see the texture (the object/face will remain untextured in their view).
Textures added to the list panel will remain available to you until such time as you log-out of Second Life, at which point this list will be emptied.
Note that clothing and skins can be tested in the same way – just use the Edit Appearance floater and the New Clothes / New Skins options.
Local Textures and Temporary Textures
Local Textures might also sound like the Temporary Textures upload capability also found in many TPVs, but there are notable differences:
- Temporary textures appear in your inventory, usually with the prefix “temp” for the duration of your current session in SL, then they are lost
- Temporary textures can be see in-world by people other than yourself; this makes it ideal for things like collaborative building, where joint decisions need to be made prior to the selection and upload of textures
There have been rumours that LL are looking to “break” temporary texture uploads with the release of Local Textures. This does not appear to be the case at present; LL have so far given TPV developers no indication that they expect to see Temporary Textures removed from Viewers. Certainly, Dolphin is running with both Temporary Texture uploads and Local Texture; providing LL do not indicate they have a problem with this, it is likely that other TPVs will opt to do the same.
However, it might be worth noting that Temporary Textures do rely on using a feature in a manner in which it is not intended to be used, and which is specifically related to avatar baking. LL are currently looking into ways in which to make avatar baking more robust and less prone to problems such as bake fail (when your avatar fails to rez correctly). One of the options being considered in this regard is moving the bake process server-side.
If this does indeed happen in the future (and it is not a trivial change), then it may result in Temporary Texture uploads being “broken”; but again it is important to emphasise that no actually decision on how to deal with avatar bake issues has yet been taken.
In the meantime, expect to see Local Textures in your preferred Viewer in the near future!
With thanks to Innula Zenovka for raising my awareness that Local Textures had reached the Beta Viewer (forum post), and to Latif Khalifa and Trinity Dejavu for input to this piece)
ETA contributor’s details, supplied by Mobius Ryba.