Some Second Life users have complained that Sansar is an elitist virtual world platform because it requires expensive and complicated content creation tools, such as Maya and 3DS Max. For example, here’s the current Canadian pricing for Maya:
Some Second Life users say that Second Life supports amateur content creation with in-world prim building tools, but that Sansar locks amateur creators out. Here’s a direct quote from someone on the SLUniverse forums, which is the largest and longest running community site dedicated to Second Life:
Looking at the sticker price and …more importantly the training and art background required to use those tools, it’s clear that Sansar isn’t going to be a platform for amateurs or tinkerers.
They’re wrong. In fact, there’s already an excellent “prim building tool” for Sansar! The trick is, you have to use an external program. But it’s a program designed just for amateur content creators.
Paint 3D is a free app that you can download and install from the Microsoft Store. You must have Windows version 10 to use Paint 3D (it won’t work with any earlier versions of Windows).
Paint 3D is sort of the 3D successor to Windows’ venerable (32 years old!) original Paint program. The program is so simple that a child could use it!
Remix 3D is an online community full of 3D models, integrated into the Paint 3D app. You can find characters and objects to use in your own projects, upload and share your own portfolio of 3D work, and get inspiration from other 3D creators. You can do a keyword search for models to bring directly into Paint 3D and use as a starting point. Here, I did a search for 3D models of flowers:
I wanted to see just how easy it was to export an FBX-format file from Paint 3D and upload it into Sansar (FBX is the native file format for mesh objects in Sansar). Previously, I had had a little trouble importing objects I had created using Oculus Medium and Google Blocks (both programs require a VR headset), so I wanted to check that the workflow process for Paint 3D was indeed as painless as other people had told me.
I chose the daisy from the Remix 3D gallery above, clicking the little eye icon. A 3D preview of the daisy appeared, that you can use the mouse to look at from various viewpoints, with a bright purple button underneath saying “Place in project”. You click that button, and the model is loaded into Paint 3D for you to work with. Here is what the loaded file looks like in Paint 3D:
I didn’t bother to do any editing of the object; I just wanted to test the exporting feature. So I chose Export File from the Menu button in the upper left-hand corner of the screen, then pressed the “3D – FBX” button. The standard Windows Save As window popped up and I gave my daisy a filename and chose a directory to save it in. That’s it!
I was able to upload the saved FBX-format file into my Sansar experience, then drag it from my Inventory into my scene, position it, and resize it. After saving my work and rebuilding the scene, I went in-world to Ryan’s Garden to check out my new creation!
The best way I can describe using Paint 3D to someone from Second Life would be to say that it is prim building for Sansar! You can start out with simple 3D shapes such as cubes, spheres and cylinders, colour them and connect them together and build from there! It’s just so easy!
So don’t let anybody tell you that Sansar is an elitist world for content creators. It’s not true!
Update August 13th: As I often say about the beta testing process, “The pioneers are the ones with the arrows in their backs.” It turns out that there are still a few problems with Paint 3D and the whole process of importing the files it creates into Sansar! One problem is that the objects it creates are HUGE in Sansar, even when rescaled to the smallest possible size. Here’s a sphere I created and decorated in Paint 3D, resized to the smallest possible size using the Sansar edit tools and placed into my unpublished workshop experience:
Also, I have discovered that you can only import single objects right now. You cannot import linked objects. For example, when I created a sphere and a cube and grouped them together as one object in Paint 3D, then exported it as an FBX file, then imported that file into Sansar, only the sphere shows up in-world.
So there are still a few bugs to work out. However, objects you select from the Remix 3D gallery, such as the daisy, do seem to work out okay in Sansar.
Virtual worlds are a natural showcase for art, and successful art gallery exhibits have already been staged in such social virtual reality worlds as VRChat. This video was taken while I was in my Oculus Rift headset and walking around in the Sansar experience Digital Arts Gallery, created by Mad Max. The works of a number of esteemed digital artists are represented: Adam Martinakis, Zoran Cvetkovik and Zdravko Girov, Martina Stipan, Grégoire A. Meyer, Natalie Shau, Ben Heine, and Keith Webber Jr. There is also a small exhibit of psychedelic 1960s record album art and even some Rolling Stones art!
This is a very enjoyable experience and I urge you to visit for yourself and experience some great art. Then go visit the artists’ web sites using the links in this blogpost!