CREATING ON IMVU
A lot of the IMVU community enjoy the extra benefit of becoming a creator, that is to say, someone who
makes the wonderful Items that are in the IMVU catalogue.
Creators mainly fall into three categories Derivers (Dev's) , Meshers and Coders.
Dev's are always on the lookout for new meshes (the main base that all items are
made from, (for example, see my room mesh page via the shop link)
Dev's spend a lot of time creating 'Textures'. A texture is the file that gives the mesh life
and is normally a jpg, gif, or png picture file. Without textures the mesh remains
in its base form and does little for the imagination. To see examples of the difference
check the catalogue, each finished item that you see for sale is a set of textures
that are grafted onto a base mesh file.
Base Mesh as produced for the Dev's Textured and ready for sale in catalogue
The same rulings and system is applied to every item in the catalogue that is used within realms of
clothing, rooms, furniture, and held or worn accessories that are in sight. (some items such as voice boxes,
light effects, Avatar actions and scale altering are not made on a mesh, these will be explained later).
Dev'ing is the final chain link between the mesh and the catalogue so they are often more important to
the finished product than those who create the mesh files.
Dev's are paid out of the catalogue price after the mesh creator and IMVU are given their respective
share of the final price.
for example, a room might cost 935 credits, this would split as 500 IMVU, 85 Retail mark-up (form of sale tax)
150 Mesh creator, 200 Dev' total 935
As you see from the example pictures above, both Creator and Dev' earn the money and this is on every sale.
Meshers are the starting block of the items, they use external programs to create 3 dimensional files
made up of splines and vertex, they are often extremely complex and can take many hours to make a large
room or complex item. Taking into account that they have limitations to work within, such as the final upload
item must not be greater than 2 megabytes memory in size, and it must conform to the terms and conditions
of the site, they have to work hard to produce the base files.
A mesh may consist of many parts, All meshes have a 'skeleton', this is the base that the mesh relies on for such things as
where each person my stand, each furniture item, wall picture or light fitting will fit, these are a collection of small 'nodes' each of which must be placed precisely
and in the correct orientation, and they are then linked to a 'Root' node where the room will be linked by a process known as 'skinning'.
Nodes have specific ways of being named and this is also important and can not be deviated from. The next part of a mesh will be the main mesh body
whether it is a clothing item, a room, or an axe, it will always have a body made up from vertex and lines, often known to 3D tech's as
'Poly's', these lines and verts make up the texture panels and when all connected and placed correctly make the final shape of the mesh ready to
'skin' to the root node. positioning and sizing is crucial in mesh creating, so much time is put into this.
once the main body is done, there may be more mesh files added for separate additions or animated objects, even ready
fitted furniture, these are then added along with the main to the 'root' node.
Animated mesh files require a node to be skinned to and are not skinned to the root,
instead they will be skinned to an animation node, and the node is then linked to the root making the hierarchy system become apparent.
when all the work is completed to the satisfaction of the mesh creator they must them 'export' the files into a format that IMVU recognises and then
imported to the IMVU creating section. Files will consist of, Skeleton, 1 or more meshes, and if required an animation file.
The mesher must then put his or her standard mesh textures onto the item before saving and uploading it to the catalogue for the Dev's, unless they are creating
an item solely for their own catalogue, in which they must then texture it accordingly before uploading the finished creation for
purchase by the community.
Coders make the sound effect items, or action files and light effect files etc that are unseen but are still bought and worn on an avatar
or in a room, they are comprised of a file containing the animations, or sound effects, and the triggers to activate each of its pieces,
these items, much like meshes and finished products, require time and the correct procedures in order to work in the program
and still have the same rules to follow. whether it is a trigger that makes the avatar say "howdy doody" or to make it kiss another
it still requires set parameters to function and these are all loaded onto a blank creation module in the creator program via an 'actions'
section. Some coders work hardest of all, the time to make for example a voice box containing 20 phrases might take up to 12 hours of
work over several days, a voice box file must first be recorded, the sample levels adjusted, the format saved into a suitable type from say
a 'wave' file into an 'ogg' file, and then placed into the actions, set with a trigger, any speed adjustment, and the precise settings to work
correctly, multiply this by 20 for the box and you can imagine the work put into the finished product.
Coders also work on Home page designs, this is another world of programming and a few sites have been dedicated to help
coders with this task by providing code snippets to aid in the process, one such site being the very good 'Gaf210 codes'
these are people who work hard to create and bring to the coders the things that can make that part of IMVU better enjoyed.
If you visit a 'home page' of an Avatar and you find something like my main page on this site, then it will have been designed and created by a Coder
with a knowledge of HTML and an artistic eye who has worked hours to make the page 'special'
pages often have additions that many take for granted and do not notice, like links to catalogue items, music that plays
as they brows the page or subtle differences in the way certain sections of the page are displayed.
I can not leave this section without mentioning the home page 'stickers' although not used within the actual chat site
client, they are still a popular and large part of the community, these range from a simple name to a great work of art, they can
be personal, or general in tone, but each and every one is made and follows the processes of the other items in the catalogue.
Almost all creators at some stage make stickers, and some who make stickers never bother with in client items being happy
to simply sell stickers, but all who make them put work in and deserve a mention here.
The most important part and final stage of any creating on IMVU
All created items no matter what they are must go through a review process where they are tested, looked at, listened
to and general scrutinised for quality, terms of the site and for suitability to either general or only adult sections.
the newest creator and the seasoned pro all face the review for an item and this final stage is there to protect
the community from abuse in many ways.
In essence, to create something that makes others on the site enjoy it more can only be a good thing, and enhances the
enjoyment of the creator. Without them there would be very little on site other than a few base items and custom orders
from 'customers' would almost certainly never become available. Show your appreciation to them by buying something occasionally
posting a review on items pages if you like what you bought, and always respect the fact that they work hard, for you, the
person behind the Avatar.
Links to Tutorials and Information can be found in my Useful Links page
Thanks for reading and I hope it perhaps wetted your appetite to create for the community if you don't already.