Furniture Production Path

Most of the Help requests we get involve a small step missed in the middle of a process to take a design from conception to the catalog. Below is a diary style description of the production steps taken in the creation of a Furniture Product. Your experience may be different as the addition of multiple Animations, or many Meshes will mean additional steps will be added. We create this as a place to revisit while you are building your products and hope it helps as a refresher for even seasoned IMVU Developers:

Building a Furniture Product:

1 . After having conceived of our Furniture product we begin to build my Mesh in 3D Studio Max. We make sure to be economical with our Polygons because we know the fewer Polys in our finished product the faster it will load in the IMVU Client.

2. We name our Mesh name.Mesh . If our product is going to include multiple Meshes, we make sure to name them all with the suffix “ .Mesh

3. We create a Multi-Sub Material in the Material Editor. This will allow us to apply multiple Textures to our Mesh while having all of them exist within the same Multi-Sub Object Parameter.

4. We import the 2D Texture We have created and make sure to name them properly. We begin with the importing of the first Texture and end the imported name with a bracketed zero, [0].

5. Each imported Texture name after that is also bracketed, [1], [2], [3], etc. (i.e. Darkwood [5] )

6 . We use the Vertex Paint tool to add shadows and depth to my Mesh by filling it with a darker color and erasing away the highlighted areas.

7 . We create a Root Node and place it at the base of my Furniture Mesh, making sure that the Root Node axis (center) is at the floor level.

8. We merge an Avatar Placeholder M esh and its accompanying Seat, Catcher, Pitcher , and Handle Nodes . We scale our Mesh to best fit the proportions of the Avatar, rather than altering the scale of the Avatar Placeholder Mesh.

9 . If we are going to include multiple Avatar Seats in our product, we either Merge additional Avatar Placeholders and Nodes, or Clone the one already in our model.

10 . Each Node needs its own unique name, so we make sure all of my Avatar Placeholders and Nodes are named appropriately.

11. We make sure to Link all of the Avatar Nodes to the Root Node.

12 . If we are going to create a Mesh Animation, we build a separate Mesh that will later be Animated. We create a new Node and label it name.Animation. If our product is going to include multiple Mesh Animations we make sure to name them also with the suffix “.Animation”

13 . We Link the Animation Node to the Root Node.

14 . We Weight the Mesh that will be Animated to the Animation Node.

15. We Animate the Animation Node only. Moving the Node will effect only the Mesh that is specifically Weighted to it.

16. If our Furniture product will include a section that we wish to disappear when the camera moves behind it (to allow visual access), we name them that same as we name our other Meshes.

17. We create See-Through Nodes and name them SeeThrough01, SeeThrough02, etc.

18. We Link the See-Through Nodes to the Root Node.

19 . We Weight these Meshes to each of the See-Through Nodes.

20. We make sure that the Hierarchy of all our Linked Nodes is correct using the Select Objects window in 3D Max.

21. We Export our Root/Skeleton as .XSF file. If our placeholder Avatar Meshes are Linked to the Seat Node, we make sure to Un-check them during the Export process.

22. We Weight the remaining Meshes to the Root Node. If there are more than one Mesh, we Weight each separately.

23 . We Export each of the Meshes as a .XMF file.

24 . We Export the Animation as a .XAF file. When the list of Nodes appears as part of the Export process, We make sure to un-check everything but those Nodes that are specifically being Animated.

25. If our product includes a Morph Animation, we Export it as a .XPF file.

26. When we Export our files we make sure to double check that all of our Textures are named and numbered properly within the Sub-Materials list. Often, problems with a finished 3D product in the Create Mode Editor can be traced back to a simple mistake in the naming and numbering of a single Sub-Material texture.

27. In the Create Mode Editor we choose a pre-existing product that we wish to Derive from.

28. We start by Importing my .XSF file in the Config TAB .

29 . Next we Import all of our Mesh .XMF files in the Mesh TAB .

30. Within the Mesh TAB we start the process of Importing all of the individual Texture files, making sure that we include any Opacity Maps that accompany Textures that include transparencies making sure we Import the correct Texture files for each of the Materials listed in the window to the left.

31. If our Mesh includes Vertex Paint we make sure that the Vertex Color check box is selected.

32. If all or part of the Mesh does not include Vertex Paint, then we un-check the Vertex Color box. If not, the surface will appear black.

33 . We Animate those Textures that need Scrolling or Cycling effects.

34. We Import any Animation files, .XAF & .XPF in the Actions TAB . We make sure to Import the file, but also make sure that we are naming the Trigger name correctly (i.e. stance.Idle, etc.)

35. We Save As, and give our new .CHKN Project file a unique name, which by default will save to the IMVU Projects directory in the My Documents folder..

36. We Submit our product to the Catalog.

37 . In the Product Submissions window we upload a Catalog snapshot that we have taken within the Create Mode Editor, using the Camera Tool. We can also take larger Ad images that can be used to better promote our new creation, or grab video to edit into a music video to post on YouTube and our Product Description page.
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