Yesterday I posted a tutorial from Torley Linden about how to get texture info, and I had a feeling my friend Serendipidy Haven might have more to say on this subject. I was right! I checked my email later and found she’d submitted a guest article for us.
Not too long ago Seren redid the entire club of a place we go with friends each week. She reduced the prim count to hardly anything, and optimized all of the textures for less lag. She did a great job, and I started to pay more attention to the size of textures after that. Today, Seren has some texture tips for us or “hacks” as she calls them. If you want to start building, here’s some good things to know!
SLife Hacks: Smart Textures
by Serendipidy Haven
Shauna recently posted a Torley Linden video tutorial giving you the lowdown on how to grab texture information using the viewer’s built-in functions. It’s a great tip for getting to the bottom of why some textures take an age to load, and although it won’t speed them up, it can stop you from falling into the trap of trying to refresh a texture that’s taking an age to show up; forcing the viewer to reload it is just going to make it take even longer!
However, virtual beauty is not just in the eye of the beholder… when it comes to your own creations – that scale model of the Taj Mahal you’re constructing, or your latest range of furry thigh-high wellies – you’re going to want to ensure that those textures are going to rez quickly and not leave everyone thinking you have a weird fixation with battleship grey! Nobody wants to be a resource hog, right? So here’s some sneaky tips for keeping on top of those troublesome textures:
- Like Torley explained – bigger is not always better. Think of a 1024×1024 texture as being 4K Ultra HD – that’s way beyond what most people want or can handle – 512×512 is a good compromise, with plenty of detail for covering large areas and a reasonable load time for the vast majority of people.
- Tailor your textures to your surfaces. If you’re texturing a strand of hair, a tiny texture is fine – ever wondered why you’re favourite hairstyle plunges you into lag hell, even after deleting the scripts? It’s probably because every single strand has been given a 512×512 texture, and your poor graphics card is trying to render masses of them in real time. If you’re making regular repeating shapes – signs, paving slabs or tiles – try 128×128, it makes a big difference.
- Textures don’t have to be square – as long as you stick to the normal ratios (64:128:256:512), you’ll be fine. So, for example, if you’re making a rectangular neon sign, use a rectangular texture – 256 long by 128 high. It’s also easier to visualise what the end result will look like, rather than trying to squish a square texture into a rectangle.
- And, most important of all: Make those textures work for you! You can fit four 256×256 images on a single 512×512 texture – your graphics card only has to load one texture to render all 4 images, it’ll be quicker, and you’ll save yourself L$30 uploading! Once uploaded, use ‘texture offset’ in the build floater to isolate the image you want. Why stop there? You can fit even more, smaller, images onto a single texture and there’s absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t – I’ve managed to texture a whole building, inside and out, using just a couple of textures in this way. Everyone wins!