Update June 21st: Kokua version 18.104.22.168975 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.
If you are already running the release version of the viewer (22.214.171.1246452) 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 126.96.36.1997516 by following the above link to the official download page.
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).
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).
- Get the New Materials Viewer Today! – Linden Lab
- Materials FAQ – Linden Lab
- Good Building Practices wiki – Linden Lab
- Content Creators Guide – Linden Lab
- Materials Processing bug reporting
- Video resources (normal maps):
- Materials processing reaches beta – overview and more – this blog, June 1st
- Playing with materials processing in SL – this blog, April 9th, 2013