Texture Tab - Edit/Build Mode

This page covers the Texture tab of the toolbox window in Edit and Build modes. This tab is shown in the image to the right. The upper section of this window is described here.

In Edit mode, fields will be unavailable if the object is not modifyable.

NOTE: The term “Object” is used to refer to a single unlinked prim, or to a linked set of prims.
Note that the overall properties of a linked set are the same as the properties of the root prim.

NOTE: All of the texture parameters described below apply to all selected faces of an object. If you have not selected any explicitly, then the entire object will be affected by any changes made.

  • Color Picker: Opens the color picker, which may be used to tint the object.
  • Transparency: This allows you to make the selected face(s) or object(s) partly transparent. The value is expressed as a percentage, with the maximum being 100% (totally transparent).
  • Glow: Causes the object to glow. Note that Glow does not imply light; Glow is a very different visual effect. Glow can vary from 0 (totally off) to 1.
  • Full Bright: Check to exclude selected faces from external lighting and shadow effects and render them at full, neutral brightness. Commonly used on screens displaying media and information signs. And often overused to ill-effect on plants and buildings.

Then there is a drop-down menu which allows you to select what kind of information the prim (or prim face) will show: a texture or media.


Seeing, and therefore editing, Materials requires that Advanced Lighting Model be enabled. This can be doen in PreferencesGraphics -> General.

Use this mode to apply standard textures to an object. Aside from that, you can also apply bump (normal) and shiny (specular) images for added effects8). This combination is known as materials.
The drop-down to the right allows you to select which of these three types of images you are working with. Depending on the current seelction, the options immediately below will vary.

  • Texture (diffuse)
    • Texture Picker: Opens a window from which you may select a new texture to be applied to the selected face(s) or object(s). This includes use of the local bitmap browser. You can also drag a texture from your inventory onto the square. See here for more information on the texture picker.
    • Alpha mode: If the texture has no alpha channel, this will be greyed out and set to None. Otherise, it can be set to one of the following9):

      • None: Alpha channel data is ignored.
      • Alpha Blending: The value is a degree of transparency (255 = opaque, 0 = fully transparent)
      • Alpha Masking: The value (0…255) is compared to the Alpha Cutoff parameter (below); if the pixel is greater than the cutoff, it is fully opaque; if not, it is fully transparent.
      • Emissive Mask: The value is used to encode how brightly the pixel appears in the absence of light (ambiance): 0 = no additional ambiance (default); 255 = full brightness.
    • Mask Cutoff: Used only when Alpha Mode is Alpha Masking (see description of that mode above).
  • Bumpiness (normal)10)
    • Texture Picker: Opens a window from which you may select a new texture to used as a bump (normal) map for the face.
      Or you can leave that blank and use one of the default bump maps from the drop-down to the right - or none.
  • Shininess (specular):11)
    • Texture Picker: Opens a window from which you may select a new texture to used for the texture shininess.
      Or you can leave that blank and use one of the old-style values (low, medium, high) - or none.
    • Glossiness: This controls the “glossiness”, or the roughness, of the reflected light on a surface. The lower this value is, the “rougher” the light reflectance is, while the higher the value the “sharper” the light reflectance is. When the normal map’s alpha channel is present, the specular exponent map contained in it is modulated by this parameter.
    • Environment: Modulates the intensity of the environment on the surface as a whole.
    • Color: Tints the light reflected from the object; this value is combined with any value from the color for the pixel as specified in the Specular Map, if any.

Texture Channel Encoding

How the renderer will treat each color value in a texture image channel.

Parameter Red Green Blue Alpha
Diffuse Map Red Green Blue selectable; see alpha mode
Normal Map Normal X Axis Normal Y Axis Normal Z Axis Specular exponent
Specular Map Red Green Blue Environment intensity


Media is usually applied to single faces of a prim, so before starting, select a specific face.

Click the Choose… button to select a media URL. The media settings window opens. Specify the URL to display and select other parameters as appropriate.

To change the URL, click the Choose… button again; to remove the media altogether, click the Remove button.

The Align button automatically stretches and aligns media to fit the face(s) it's displayed on. Align relies on the Size setting in Media Settings to determine the correct aspect ratio.


The remainer of this tab of the Toolbox applies both to textures and media.

  • Mapping: How textures are mapped onto the object. A typical use for Planar is reducing distortion on angled surfaces. There is a Torley tutorial on planar mapping here.
  • Horizontal/Vertical Scale: Sets how many times the applied texture is repeated. Use Flip to reverse the texture's orientation.
  • Repeats / Meter: Sets how many times the texture is repeated per meter.
  • Rotation: Rotates the texture on the selected face(s) or object(s).
  • Horizontal/Vertical Offset: Shifts the center of the texture relative to the center of the face. Generally used to align textures across objects.
    Note that if you select a specific face, you can press and hold the Control key to manually drag the texture across the prim face.
  • Align planar faces: This can be used to align textures of different prim faces, a very handy tool. It requires that the faces have Planar texture alignment. Select all the faces, then click this box. The textures will align to the last face selected.
  • Synchronize materials: If you enable this, then any changes made while editing (for example) the bumpiness parameters will also be applied to the other two (etxture and shininess).

Then there are two buttons:

  • Copy button: Copies all the texture parameters for use on another face or object.
  • Paste button: Sets all textures parameters from values previously copied.

For an introduction to materials, see this SL wiki page.
Note that using any alpha mode other than Transparency may cause problems when rendered with viewers that do not yet support materials because they will be rendered as blended transparency.
A normal map is an image whose color data encodes changes to the “normal” for each pixel on the surface. The normal is the direction that the pixel “faces” for the purpose of determining how it is illuminated by and reflects light sources (imagine that each pixel is turned on tiny pivots). The alpha channel of the Normal Map may contain a specular exponent value that is mutilplied by the “Glossiness” parameter. A higher alpha value will result in specular highlights that are brighter and tighter. Keep in mind these are OpenGL style normal maps, where bright green is up and bright red is right. For details on what a normal map is and for a sample normal map see here. See also the Texture Channel Encoding table.
This encodes the color of the light reflected by each pixel on the surface. See the Texture Channel Encoding table. The Alpha channel value of the Specular Map encodes the environment intensity. A lower value in the alpha channel will diminish the impact of the environment map reflections on the surface of the object.
  • toolbox_texture_tab.txt
  • Last modified: 2018/05/25 15:47
  • by miro.collas