Local Textures: coming to a Viewer near you

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:

Texture picker: note the Local radio button (circled)

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:

Local texture panel

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).

Applying a local texture – only visible in your own world 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 detail, supplied by Mobius Ryba. 

19 thoughts on “Local Textures: coming to a Viewer near you

  1. It has been a while since I have made any clothing, but when I did Temp Textures saved me L$10/upload to refine the fit to the funky SL avatar frame. Admittedly this could be done on an external 3D viewer but one of the core precepts of SL is to maximize what can be done in-world. In addition it is only in-world that you can see the effect of a wide range of poses and movements on a particular clothing layout.


      1. But when you don’t can’t purchase L$ and have to earn them solely from in world transactions, it can seem like a lot more. Multiple payments of 10L$ can add up as well on larger projects if re-uploads are required. Just tossing that out there =P


      2. A simple shirt or blouse might sell for L$100 so every trial upload is 10% of the first sale. Yes, there really are production costs in SL and that is an example.
        Comparing L$ and UD$ is futile unless the transaction crosses the RL/SL firewall.


        1. You can still use the Local Textures feature for clothing and skins via the Appearance Editor. I’ve clarified that in the post.


  2. Side notes: Local textures has been around since Emerald / Phoenix times (and thus has been in FS for ages also), originally made by Vaalith Jinn with a new version contributed by him to the LL Viewer Project.

    It may be worth spending a bit more time looking into original credits for things like this?


    1. TY. I was aware that it was a contributed feature. However, as has been pointed out numerous times, it’s not always possible to track who contributes what and where, and trying to keep a list of evening is both difficult and time-consuming. However, I’ve updated the entry and thanks for supplying the details. Always happy to do so when presented .


  3. Well, here comes a really useless feature! You have to hunt down your textures at every log-in. But that is a minor problem compared to the giant step away from collaborative work… As if meshes weren’t already pulling the creators far away from SL to spend hours alone in “Blender World”.
    It would have been so much better to just have the viewer point to some local folder and show what’s in it, including the sub-folders. Even if we weren’t allowed to rename, delete, etc, like in a real file browser, that would have been much better… Especially if the viewer doesn’t forget this local folder at each log-off.
    In the end, it doesn’t matter. It will never replace the “real” temporary textures which can be seen, shown, shared (within limits) and are handled like regular textures.
    Making the temporary textures official would have been a better move than adding more bloat to the UI for a very crippled feature.


    1. I have to agree on the mechanics of how you select files for use as local textures, at the very least remembering them between sessions seems sensible.

      However, I do have to strongly disagree about the usefulness of this feature. Texturing just took one huge step towards being able to paint directly on a prim and while it’s a shame it’s not as collaborative as it could be that’s not as much of an issue as it might seem. You can always upload your work and get feedback as you go.


      1. I agree wholeheartedly with you, Trinity.

        In fact, what amuses me is that Local Textures is more-or-less the same code as the Local Bitmap Browser function with some added functionality, which the creator has submitted to LL. As the Local Bitmap Browser, it has proven very popular with users and has propagated across many TPVs.

        But as soon as the code finds its way into the official LL Viewer, even the most basic functionality is being decried as a “waste of time”. This seems to speak more to a bias against the LL Viewer than anything else (the collaborative build issue notwithstanding).


  4. I think you missed mentioning one of the nicest parts of what Vaalith did… which is that if you use a local texture, and then modify your image file and save it again, the viewer picks up the change and automatically applies it in-world. You can use open the viewer next to your graphics editor and immediately see how your changes will look in-world.

    This also exemplifies just how the process works at its best – Vaalith created this feature, proved its usefulness and popularity in TPVs, and then not only contributed it upstream but substantially rewrote it to be more robust and efficient based on feedback during the code reviews.


    1. Thanks for this Oz!

      No, I hadn’t realised that this is even possible – will update the article to reflect your input, thank you!


  5. i can only guess that the people who do not see a value in this do not texture either sculpts or clothing. i see using this as a way to keep ps open, modify sculptie textures all day long in real sl time and only pay 10L when i am done, and I CANNOT WAIT!!!


  6. “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. ”

    That may have been true back in May but The folks with the Firestorm viewer just announced as of early Dec 2012 that Yes, SL is changing code to cripple all temp and local textures. LL said they are doing this to help solve bake fail issues. There will be No more temp and local textures.


    1. I’ve actually covered server-side baking at length (and this is actually the overview blog post the Firestorm team link to as background reading on the matter :)).

      Yes, the move will “break” Temporary Textures, as these have always exploited the current avatar baking process to upload textures “temporarily” to the LS servers. Once server-side baking is rolled-out, the exploit will no longer be possible.

      However, Local Textures will continue to work after server-side baking goes live.

      As explained in this post, and my follow-up, Local Textures are officially supported by Linden Lab, and do not require any form of upload to the server. Therefore, there is nothing for server-side baking to “break”.


    2. i wish people would learn the difference between local and temporary textures. just sayin. and if this did start with a viewer blog, one that i think has both the exploit for temporary textures as well as the entirely different and officially sanctioned code for local textures, then that would be a bit disturbing.


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