How to make an animal and make it move using Archipelis for Second Life

I use Archipelis to make a lot of animals and birds in Second Life. In this article, I'll show you how you can easily make a moving animal in Second Life by combining the output of Archipelisfrom with my newest database-driven Prim Animator. The clip at the right shows how easy it can be to draw and make 3-D content in Second Life with Archipelis. When you combine this easy to use tool with my easy to use scripts, you can make moving, jumping, and crawling objects in Second Life.

The first thing you will need is a copy of Archipelis. I use Version 2. You can purchase V2 at their online shop for 38 Euros, which is about $55 US. You can also try out their demo version for free.

You will also need a copy of my Prim Animator scripts. There are two scripts that use can use: a notecard driven one, and a database-driven one. The notecard version is used entirely in-world. It can handle about 200 movements before it will run out of memory. The database version allows you to avoid the notecards and copying and pasting of coordinates. It has no limit on how many animations you can use before you run out of memory.

After you download Archipelis, Run the program. You will get a screen like this:

Archipelis screen at startup

For the next step, we use an image of the desired animal. For this post, we are going to make a mother robin feeding her young. We will make it so her head is separate from the body and legs so that the bird can tilt and move her head.

( click for full size )

There is also a small baby bird to model, along with the nest material we will use. We will make it so the head is separate from the body babies can tilt and move their heads.

( click for full size )

Go ahead and click each image and save them to your hard drive.

Step 1: Make a baby bird

Now that you have the bird and baby bird images saved, you can click the Texture button in Archipelis and load the baby bird:

Click load, browse to your saved image, and click OK. Your baby bird will appear:

You will see that the image is not centered and is too large. The next step is to get the birds to fit the screen, inside the white dotted line.

At the bottom of Archipelis are zoom and center controls:

Click each control and then move your mouse until the size and position of the texture on the bird match this view:

The bird should be inside the white dotted line, and as large as possible.

Now click on the pencil tool:

Using the Right-mouse button, draw a line around the head of the bird. I am drawing down the center of the mouth of the bird, not the far side, as Archipelis will mirror the bird and make the other mouth half for me.

When you let go of the mouse, you should see new controls appear around the selected area. Click the white circle in the middle to exit this menu.

Need more detail? Click the Zoom Tool on the left side and click-select and area of the screen.

Now you can draw in finer detail:

If you made a mistake, click the 'Remove' button at the top left and draw it again. If your lines are not matching the edges, then correct it with the Contour Outline tool:

This will make red dots appear around the area that you drew. You can right-click these dots and move them around.

One you have moved the dots, click "Modify Contour" to save your changes.

I decided to move the mouth parts in closer to the edge:

Now its time to look in 3-D. Click the arrow on the far left of the bottom toolbar, click on the screen, and drag your mouse:

You should be able to look all around the model.

In my case above, there was a small problem that commonly occurs: you can see a white area along the back of the birds head. The edges stretch into textures that are not part of the bird, There are two ways to correct this: Relocate the red dots with the contour tool, or to re-shape the edge with the Deform tool, as shown next. We will be using these tools later to make the bird nest.

I have used the arrow on the tool bar to rotate the view, then I clicked the Zoom button to zoom in to the problem spot.

You can see the white stretch marks along the top of the head. Next I select the Deform tool. Place your mouse over the trouble spot, right click, and drag the mouse upwards:

You can repeat this action to make the edges smoother. You are actually pushing in the edges of the outline into the textured area, so a little pushing can re-shape your model. If you make a mistake and push too far, you can pull it out with a downward stroke of the right-mouse button, or you can remove the entire modification with Remove Last or Remove All buttons.

You can also control how far the effect spreads and how hard it pushes with the Influence and Depth sliders.

I also rotated and pushed the inside of the mouth inwards:

Now that you have the bird head, go back to the Pencil tool and draw in the body:

And then draw in the wing:

Here is a view of the baby in 3-D:

The wing is too fat, and the wing needs to be slid to one side. On the left side of your screen are Design controls for setting offsets and widths:

Select the wing, and shrink the Z scale down so it looks more thin, like a wing.

Now slide it over to one side with Z translation:

Later, we will upload the one wing, and copy it in Second Life. Since no one will be able to really look and count the feet on our small baby, I have decided to save a prim and make only one large foot.

Here is the finished baby bird:

Save you model into a new folder and give it a name such as 'Baby Bird'. This will make a "Baby Bird.designer" file that can be loaded and reworked if you wish to make changes.

Now click File -> Export to Second Life

You will end up with two scripts and a set of images:

You can download the entire set from this Zip file.

Step 2: Make a Mama Robin Bird

Now we are ready to make a Robin:

Make a new Archipelis project, and Import the Bird texture:

Repeat the Pencil tool and draw the body, and head and beak as separate items so that they can be animated.

Birds feet are very tricky to make, so I am going to use a sculpted birds foot I made in AC3D.

Save the bird in a new folder, and export to Second Life.

You will end up with a set of textures like this, and two scripts:

Birds feet are tricky. They have 3 pointing toes forward, and one backwards. To keep our prim count to a minimum, I am including a nice set of bird feet I made in AC3D:

You can get the sculpts, textures, scripts and the foot for this bird in this Zip file.

Step 3: Make a Nest

Now we are going to make out birds nest in Archipelis.

Here is the material we will make the nest from. Save this to disk, and load it into Archipelis.

( click for large image)

Loaded into Archipelis:

Now select the Pencil tool and draw a large circle

Now click the Silhouette deformation tool at the far right on the tool bar.

Right-click and grab the top of the bird nest and pull it downwards

Use the arrow on the far left and look at it in 3-D:

We can now use the Deform tool and push the nest inwards:

Continue to reshape the nest with the deform tool until you have a birds nest:

Now save this project in a new folder, and export the data to Second Life:

Or you can get my Zip file to upload.

Now it is time to load the three projects into Second Life!

Next: Loading your project into Second Life