Somato: create textures and shadows for sculpts and mesh

Over the course of the past year or so, I’ve covered several of the Kanae Project applications developed by Yuzuru Jewell and aimed at the Second Life content creator. Innovative, and easy-to-use, the Kanae products are a suite of applications which can be used individually or side-by side (and in the case of the Tatara tool, contain several of the other apps).

On February 23rd 2014, Yuzuru released the latest version of Somato (4.58, available for Windows in 32-bit and 64-bit flavours, and Mac OSX), and dropped me a line about it.

Somato is an application which allows the user to take an image or picture and project it onto a 3D model (sculpted prim or Collada object), specify the direction and strength of light (ambient or diffuse), and add the model’s natural shadow to the texture. The finished texture can then be baked and saved, ready to be uploaded and applied to the shape in-world.

The somato user interface
The somato user interface

Details on the tool and its capabilities can be found on the Kanae Project website, where a simple tutorial demonstrates how to apply an image and shadows to a complex sculpted prim. The tool itself can be downloaded for free on a three-day trial basis. This provides full access to all of the application’s capabilities, except that of being able to save finished textures, and should be sufficient for users to familiarise themselves with the application’s features. A full licence for the application can be purchased in-world at the Kanae Project store (L$4,750 at the time of writing).

There are a couple of warnings which come with the product (which I’ve sadly not had time to really play with), and these are:

  • It is possible that a texture modelled within Somato may not display on a sculpted prim in SL in precisely the manner shown within the application
  • Due to an issue with AMD/ATI graphics drivers, Somato may not operate correctly on systems using these drivers. Potential purchasers are advised to use the trail period to check the application against their AMD/ATI graphics.

As well as the written tutorial, Yuzuru has produced two videos demonstrating how to use Somato. In the first he takes users through creating a texture to be used with a sculpted prim. In the second, he demonstrates adding shadow effects to the texture. I’ve included the second video here.

Both videos are also very good demonstrations of his Keshiki (Landscape) screen capture utility, which I looked at in September 2013.

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