Materials Processing reaches SL viewer release status

Update June 21st: Kokua version has been released, which include Materials Processing support.

Update June 20th: NiranV Dean has released a version of his “in development” Black Dragon SL viewer with Materials Processing support. See his blog post for details.

Further to the first part of my SL projects update for week 25, materials processing has now officially reached release status with the release of viewer

If you are already running the release version of the viewer ( and have automatic updates enabled, the new version of the viewer, you should be notified that the update is available. If not, or if you have not previously installed the SL viewer, but wish to try-out the new materials capabilities, you can download and install by following the above link to the official download page.

A katara showing detail created by the use of materials properties
A katara  created by June Dion showing surface detail and reflective qualities using materials properties

For those not in the know, Materials Processing adds normal and specular maps to the in-world tools capabilities of the viewer (using the new land impact accounting system in the process!), allowing much higher / improved levels of realism be obtained with textures used on prim, sculpt and mesh items (they do not work on avatar skin and clothing layers).

I provided an overview of the Materials Processing, including brief notes on normal and specular maps when the project reached a beta viewer release status at the start of June, and I refer you to that post for details.

As noted in that article and elsewhere, the materials capabilities introduce a revised Textures tab to the Build floater in the viewer, which allows you to add normal and specular maps to objects and object surfaces, as well as textures (referred to a diffuse maps).

Materils Build floater Texture tab: The diffuse (texture) option, showing the Alpha mode drop-down options (l); the normal map options, with map picker and default bump map drop-down (c); the specular map options, in which the Shininess drop-down displays the familiar low, medium & high shiny options (r)
Materials Build floater Texture tab: The diffuse (texture) option, showing the Alpha mode drop-down options (l); the normal map options, with map picker and default bump map drop-down (c); the specular map options, in which the Shininess drop-down displays the familiar low, medium & high shiny options (r)

Note, as well, that in order to see materials in action, you’ll need to enable the Advanced Lighting Model option in the Graphic tab of the materials viewer. Please also see the Materials FAQ for other information relating to Materials Processing.

Given the capabilities are now available in the release viewer, and allowing for pressing activities around Server-side Baking / Appearance, it is likely that we’ll start seeing more TPVs start to adopt materials in the coming weeks (for example, the Cool VL viewer already has materials support in the experimental branch).

In the meantime, the Lab has released a video demonstrating the capabilities, complete with a Torley Dancing SL10B bear!

Materials Processing represents a collaborative project developed and implemented by both Linden Lab and third-party viewer developers. Originally a proposal submitted by members of the Exodus viewer team in 2012, the project has included the direct involvement of developers from Catznip (notably Kitty Barnett) and Firestorm (notably Tonya Souther) as well as from Exodus (notably Geenz Spad) in the development of the viewer-side tools and capabilities, with the Lab working on the server-side of the capabilities.

If you encounter any major issues with the viewer, such as alpha issues, severe problems with texture rendering as black, etc., please make sure you file a JIRA on the issue, with any screen shots you can provide in addition to details of your system (Help > About Second Life > COPY button to copy / paste system information).

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5 thoughts on “Materials Processing reaches SL viewer release status

  1. The experimental Cool VL Viewer is (currently) only able to view Materials. It doesn’t have a build capacity.

    With Penny Patton recently citing large textures as a part of lag problems, Materials do provide new opportunities for extravagance: more data to download and cache, and more to be sitting in the graphics card memory.

    I don’t know if anything in SL10B uses Materials. It’s not something a designer could rely on, but it ia something I would go have a look at if there were.

    Perhaps under-reported, there is a mention of a gamma-correction feature included in the viewer release. This may have already provoked a bemused William Tare Fox in the forums, as somebody saw the world turn unusually dark. I have been trying the new SL Viewer, but since I routinely use Starlight to get a colour scheme I can use, the gamma control I see may be a Starlight tweak.

    There’s a chain of possible adjustments to improve the gamma and get a good display. A good general rule is to start with monitor settings, brightness and contrast, then check the graphics driver, and leave anything in user software to the last. People working with graphics can have other tools, associated with colour rendition as well as overall brightness, and should know all this.

    I am sure I have mentioned these LCD test images before.


    1. I’ve not looked in-depth at Henri’s experimental branch, so thanks for that.

      The gamma correction feature has been mentioned in these pages (although not extensively, I admit), and is actually part of the focus of a forthcoming update on the SL viewer. Thanks for the link to the LCD guide. The subject of potential impact of large normal and specular maps has also been discussed at a recent meeting.

      I’ve no idea if any builds at SL10BCC are using materials; I’d actually be a little surprised if they were. The “beta viewer” community is relatively small, and the materials didn’t hit release status until after SL10BCC had opened. Cetainly, in my perambulations around the celebration regions, I’ve not bumped into any signs saying, “Best seen with the materials viewer” – which I might have expected, were this the case. Although, I caveat this by saying that a) I’ve not actually been loking for such signs; b) I’m still some way off having passed by every exhibit.


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