Layered Mesh: Shadow maps ~ Kitsune Shan

Thursday 17 May 2012

Layered Mesh: Shadow maps

Layered mesh is how I'm calling to some kind of meshes that due some bugs of the mesh uploader, they can be uploaded with more than one "subobject/texture" but sharing the same polygons. If you want a direct comparison, this is some kind of different "channel" for textures, but all of them shares the same UV. This allow to use one texture with some repeats and another for the shadow/AO giving more realistic effect.

The uses can vary drastically. From bodies with different skin layers or clothes, to meshes with different layers where you can apply a different effect like glow, full bright or even animations. And, since there aren't different mesh acting as a new layer (very common in some mesh avatars) there are no risk of alpha sorting problems.

I don't know yet if this will work for rigged meshes, but for now it works perfectly on static ones and I find it very useful for buildings.

I recommend to you to watch the video in HD.

Here you can download the example files.
Remember to read first the Creative Commons license:



  1. hi Kitsune, I am working on a mesh and accidentally layered it like you describe here and its a mess and was wondering how to remove the layers. I tried remapping the uv's and removing all materials and it is still a mess. Thanks Shilarea Resident (second life)

    1. You must use FBX plugin 2013.2 or Collada files won't work in SL. If you haven't or can't install that version because your product it's newer than that (like Maya or 3D Max 2014 for example) then you must download FBX Converter from Autodesk website. Just make sure that it's also 2013.2 version. Export the files as FBX from your app and make sure to choose 2013 compatibility from the export dialog. Use FBX Converter to convert the FBX file into a working DAE file.

  2. Hi Kitsune. I am trying to learn this but I am having problems. I am using blender. And exporting as a dae. I just can't seem to get any other faces except one.

    1. This relay in a bug. I don't recommend your usage plus not everyone sees the layers in the same order. I would recommend you to stick with the default meshes. Also, it doesn't work on Blender.

  3. Kitsune,

    I've managed to replicate your tutorial with my own files but i've noticed an issue with copying prims afterwards. When a prim is coppied, it's as if the shadow layer is deleted and I have to re-apply both textures to the wall i'm building all over again. Have you noticed any issues like this?

    Any comments on what could be going wrong would be greatly appreciated.

    -Johnny Bunderfeld


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