Getting started with Blender for IMVU
Before getting into "meshing" and product production for IMVU using Blender it's worth taking a few moments to consider that doing so can be extremely tricky and frustrating, especially for the novice or beginner to the art of "User Generated Content".
Generally speaking being a 'Creator' requires knowledge of not just "3D" but also image manipulation and software therein - Photoshop, GIMP, Paintshop Pro, Corel Photo-Paint and so on. It's also essential to understand the basics of the IMVU Client, "Create Mode" in particular, where all content is put together before final upload to the Catalogue.
WARNING: to be a successful creator, a lot of reading is required at all times!
READ ME - before beginning ^
The successful Creator has of two main traits, (1) "patience" and (2) "dedication". Why? Because it is simply not possible to press a few buttons and have a product uploaded to the catalogue in a few minutes, especially where there are many compatibility issues between Blender and IMVU. With this in mind, should the budding IMVU Creator still wish to investigate making IMVU items with Blender, read on.
Should I use 2.45, 2.49, 2.64+ or newer? ^
Blender 2.45 and 2.49 are of the same 'family' so the differences between the two are less significant than between the aforementioned and Blender 2.64 and newer versions. Although the latter is newer and support for IMVU is more complete, there is much less information available on using the application specifically for IMVU as support is relatively new. However, Blender 2.45 includes a 'valid' Cal3D export script whereas 2.49 and 2.64+ don't. This means one needs to be installed (see below).
Download Blender for IMVU ^
Export support varies depending on the version of Blender used. Although the scripts available for 2.45 and 2.49 has a long history of use they offer less complete capabilities than that available for 2.64+ or newer. Because of the way support for IMVU is provided specific versions of the application may to be required. These can be found by visiting http://download.blender.org/release/. Having said that, download and test the latest version of Blender from Blender.org to check compatibility.
Older versions of Blender are available from the following links;
Blender says Python is missing? ^
Blender can actually be run as-is, but on starting will typically display an error saying "...no installed Python found." (or words to that effect depending on he version used). To fix this error Python needs to be downloaded and installed (download the exact files below). Note: for Blender 2.49b, Python 2.6.6 is the latest Windows compatible version available.
NOTE: Python is optional when using Blender 2.64+ as it already includes the necessary files
I installed Python but still get the error in Blender ^
If using Blender 2.45 or 2.49 it's possible that even though Python has been installed an error message is received when starting. The fix for this is relatively technical and can be found by reading through, and doing, the following tutorial;
Where can I download the IMVU exporter? ^
Blender 2.49 and 2.64+ or newer require third party Cal3D IMVU export scripts.
NOTE: the AddOn export script below is tested for compatibility with newer versions of Blender as they are published but support and functionality may vary.
What do I put the IMVU exporter? ^
Blender needs to be installed using the default settings, if not, trying to find the correct folder locations to correct problems can be tricky. For Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7 the directions in the following tutorial will help locating the script folder;
First, learn to use Create Mode ^
It's essential for Creators to know how to use Create Mode in the IMVU Client. The best way to learn is to get stuck in and start with the basics, 'Stickers' and move on to 'furniture' and more complex items thereafter. For this visit the following;
Second, learn to use Blender 3D ^
It does not go without saying that before products can be made for IMVU, it's crucial the first steps on this path are the learning of Blender. This best and simplest way to do this is to follow the tutorial linked below, which provides a basic overview of Blender and using it to make meshes that can then be used in IMVU (the following is for 2.49. most actions are applicable to 2.45 except where noted above).
Third, learn to make IMVU content ^
Once both the basics of IMVU's 'Create Mode' and Blenders basics have been learnt, it's time then to move onto learning how to make specific items for IMVU. As of now, and due to compatibility issues, IMVU items made with Blender are largely limited to 'rooms', 'furniture' and 'accessories' (hair, hat, jewellery etc.) and 'pets'. Currently it's not practical to make clothing, poses, or animated actions. The following tutorials will help;
Important: IMVUs default scale, the size objects appear to be in the 3D View, is approximately 100x LARGER than Blenders. Always start a project by opening the appropriate template for the product type being made to ensure everything is the correct size relative to IMVU, else scene "Scale" and "Clip" values will need to be increased to properly view view content (press "N" to access "View" properties, adjust "Scale:" under "Display", and "Start:" and "End:" under "Clipping").