New texture-sharing group on Flickr

TexturesFolks regularly share textures in the various Google Plus communities, and I’ve long wished that there was a place I could go to look through them all, instead of having to download them the minute I see them because I might not find them again.

In particular, I want a place to share CC0, or public domain licensed, textures. That’s the license under which Linda Kellie released her work, and it’s the most useful for builders.

With other Creative Commons license types, such as CC-BY and CC-NC, you have to keep track of each texture to make sure that you don’t use them in violation of the license terms.

CC-NC content, for example, is only for non-commercial use. That means that you might not be allowed to use it in a way that could be construed as benefitting a commercial grid. And you certainly can’t use it for making content that you plan to sell.

CC-BY content requires that you keep track of the creator of the content, and make sure that the creator gets credit. That can quickly become a bookkeeping nightmare if you have lots of different CC-BY textures in your build.

I understand the motivation behind both of these licenses — creators who donate their work to the public sometimes don’t want to see it show up in commercial projects. And its understandable that creators want to get credit for their work.

Personally, however, I want to see OpenSim grow and develop, and that means making as much content available as possible. And that includes helping commercial creators make stuff for sale.

And just because you’re not using the CC-BY license doesn’t mean that you don’t get credit for your work. Lots of people are extremely grateful to Linda Kellie, for example. Sure, there’s plenty of content out there based on her work that does have her name on it. But plenty of people do find ways to give her credit in other forms, and the user-friendly license terms means that a lot more people can use her content without worrying about violating license terms.

New Flickr group: CC0 Textures

At first, I thought about setting up a photo section on the Hypergrid Business website, or waiting for one of the planned content sharing sites to come online.

But managing photos is a bit different from managing generic virtual content, and requires some specialized tools. Plus, there is already a great free platform out there for sharing images, with lots of searching and filtering tools already built in.

So I’ve set up a new public group, CC0 Textures, that anyone can contribute to, or download images from.

I’ve uploaded all of my own textures to this group, plus all the Linda Kellie textures I could find.

To add photos or textures to the group, please:

Under “Permissions”:

  • Allow anyone to see, comment, and add tags
  • Set the license type to “Public Domain Dedication (CC0)”

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maria@hypergridbusiness.com'

Maria Korolov

Maria Korolov is editor and publisher of Hypergrid Business. She has been a journalist for more than twenty years and has worked for the Chicago Tribune, Reuters, and Computerworld and has reported from over a dozen countries, including Russia and China.

  • Tara Millgrove

    Thank you! This should be very helpful.

  • Some tips on taking pictures for turning them into textures:

    * Use the highest-resolution setting on the highest-resolution camera you have

    * Shoot in good light — cloudy days are great for outdoor shots, multiple light sources for interior shots

    * Shoot straight on to the surface as much as possible, not at an angle. Angled shots are more dramatic, but harder to make into textures.

    * Take multiple shots

    * If going for a seamless texture, try shooting the part of the surface that doesn’t have anything that jumps out at you. For example, if you’re shooting a brick wall, try to stay away from the spot where one of the bricks is broken or a dramatically different color, since it will make an obvious pattern when it’s tiled.

    There are a few ways to turn an image into a seamless texture:

    * Mirror the image vertically, then mirror it horizontally.

    * Use GIMP’s “Make Seamless” tool

    * Displace the image halfway in each direction with Layer-Transform-Offset, then use blurring or cloning brushes to fix the seam

    * Use the perspective tool in GiMP to make horizontal lines horizontal and vertical lines vertical

    * Use a nifly little program called “Texture Studio” to automatically do the perspective fix, fix uneven lighting, and fix the seams.

    Info here:

    http://www.hypergridbusiness.com/2012/12/how-to-create-seamless-textures/

    http://www.hypergridbusiness.com/2012/12/seamless-textures-take-two/

    Download Texture Studio here: http://www.blitzbasic.com/Community/posts.php?topic=46368

  • I also want to point out for anyone making their own textures, that Flickr has a filter option on the far left, near the top, labelled “Any License.” Click on that and pick “No Known Copyright Restrictions” for images that you are allowed to use for anything at all.

    Remember when creating content that the most restrictive license wins. So, for example, if you make something out of lots of different pieces and textures, and one of them is -NC, and another one is -BY, then the end product is going to be BOTH -NC and -BY.

    It’s easy to lose track!

    That’s why I recommend having a “clean” avatar for commercial building work, where everything in its inventory is CC0 or your own creation.

    Otherwise, if you plan to sell something, don’t just randomly pull stuff out of your inventory that you don’t know where it came from, but grab all components from scratch from places you trust, with appropriate license terms.

    It might sound like a pain, but if you set it up right from the beginning, then you don’t have to worry about any of this stuff ever coming back and biting you in the butt.