Creating a book

In this tutorial you will learn how to create a simple 1-prim and 2-prim book. Beyond that, you will learn generic basic skills and simple tricks that you will be able to re-apply in your other builds.  Among these are:

  • Using numeric values in the Edit box, rather than the Stretch handles, to re-size objects to exact dimensions
  • Texturing objects, and adjusting the rotation and offset of textures
  • Selecting and texturing individual faces of primitives
  • Precision aligning of primitives
  • Using Hollow and Path Cut to modify the shape of primitives
  • Linking and unlinking primitives in the creation of more complex objects
  • Editing linked parts of an object
  • Naming an object and setting its permissions
  • ‘Saving’ it by taking it into your Inventory

Return to this check list after you have watched the videos and worked through the tutorial.  Are you now confident that you know how to do each of these things?

The 1-prim paperback book

I recommend that you view this video full-screen so that you can see what I’m doing in the Edit window.

First ‘rez’ a box to the ground (click the Build button in the menu bar at the bottom of the viewer window, select the box shape if not already selected, and left-click to the ground).  Resize the box to the relative dimensions of a book (though remember that people and objects are characteristically a little larger in Second Life than in real life) by entering the dimension in the Size fields of the Object tab of the Edit window (see screenshot, above right).  A typical book will be taller than it is wide, so a height (Z axis) of 65cm, a width (in this instance the Y axis) of 50cm, and a depth (X axis) of 5cm should be fine.

We’ll now texture the edges to look like pages.  Drag the book up to a height where you can inspect all faces, click the Select Texture radio button in the Edit window, and then click on any of the edges to select it.  You can select several faces at the same time by holding down the Shift key as you click each face.  (Hint: you’ll find it easy to access each of the faces by ‘camming’ around to each in turn.  Hold down the Ctrl and Alt keys while left-clicking and dragging the mouse.)

Once you have selected each of the faces, switch to the Texture tab in the Edit window, and click the Texture thumbnail on the left.  This will open a texture picker (see screenshot, right), with a large thumbnail on the left and, on the right, a listing of all textures in your inventory.  Assuming you may have only the default set of textures in your inventory (but, if you have others, by all means use them), scroll down to Library and, inside that, Textures and then Atoll Textures.  Select Atoll Road Planks.  (Books of various ages, conditions, states of wear, may suggest alternative textures.  You might also look at Atoll Wood Endcut, Atoll Wood Slats2, Atoll Woodwalkway, and Atoll Woodwalkway Main.)

Depending on the orientation of the texture you choose, you may need to rotate it by 90 degrees so that the lines run parallel to the edges of the book: in that case, enter 90 in the Rotation (degrees) field in the Texture tab.  You will then need to ‘ squeeze’ the lines tightly together in order to make the texture look less like road or walkway and more like pages (depending on the texture you have chosen, a value between 20 and 60 will generally work).  The resulting effect should look as in the screenshot below:

Multi-page effect

We’ll now add the front and back covers, and the spine.  (You’ll find a collection of free book cover textures on a shelf in the freebie shop near the Reception on LearningWorks, and may wish to use these for the tutorial.)  Click Select Texture and select the front cover of your book; and now open the texture chooser and select a book cover in your inventory (or, if you have no book textures saved there, use a picture from the Photo Album inside the default Library).  For the back cover I generally use just a colour with the blank texture; in the example shown in this tutorial and above, the cover is a plain black.

Texturing the spine is a slightly more intricate business, involving a small amount of trial-and-error in sizing and aligning the lettering on the spine.  Select the same texture for the spine as you did for the front cover,  and in the Rotation field of the Texture tab rotate it 90 degrees such that the lettering will run along the length of the spine.  Now go to the Repeats Per Face fields and reduce the vertical repeats from 1 (the whole image shows once) to around 0.1 (one tenth of the vertical aspect of the full image will show); depending on the height of the title for any given book you may need to increment this number up or down.

In the Offset fields, increase or decrease the vertical offset until only the title is visible (think of Offset as a sort of sliding letterbox window that runs the length of the image; see screenshot, right, where the black background is the area in view, and the greyed areas outside of the view area).  You may need to move back and forth between vertical repeats and vertical offset until you get the lettering to the right size and perfectly centred.

The 2-prim hardback book

Creating a hardback book, the hard covers visibly overlapping the body of the book, involves a few further steps beyond creating the one-prim paperback.

Below I’ll show you how to create a simple hardback book.  You might also use exactly the same technique, incidentally, to create a wall with a doorway cut into it; but I’ll explain this in a later tutorial.

First rez a box to the ground and re-size it to book shape. I suggest that, for a practice run, you’ll be better able to see what you’re doing if you make this a very large book (you can always resize it later)–in the Object tab, for example, make the width of the cover (the x axis) 4.000, the thickness of the book (the y axis) 1.000, and the height of the book (the z axis) 5.000.

Next, hollow the box to 95.0–the outer shape will become the book cover, the pages will be inserted in the hollow. But, for the insertion of the pages, we now need to sheer off the appropriate face of the book. Go to the ‘Path Cut Begin and End’ field and set the ‘End’ value to 0.750. The order in which you perform these two steps doesn’t really matter, of course; the screenshot below shows the operation in the alternative order–the box has already been sheered, and I am now progressively hollowing it out.


In the next step, you’ll texture the inside of the book. This is not solely for the purpose of customising its appearance–you’ll find it visually easier to configure the book if the inner cover is a uniform colour (for example white or light grey). So go to the Texture tab, click the Select Texture radio button above, select the hollowed inside, then click the texture icon and, in the new dialog that appears, select the Blank button.

Now you’ll create the content pages to be inserted within the cover. Rez another box to the ground and make its dimensions just a fraction less than those of the cover. Mine, for the above book cover, are: x=3.900, y=0.975, z=4.900. Now position the contents box inside of the cover. The easiest way to do this is to copy the X and Y values for the cover into the contents box, while slightly raising the Z value (e.g. by 0.020).

You’ll now want to texture the remain surfaces. Separately select faces of the cover and add the front image, back image, and spine (see screenshot, left). For the texture of the inner pages I used a simple trick: I selected Atoll Woodwalkway from the Library, and gave it a Horizontal value of 1.000 and a Vertical value of 25.000–or, in other words, wooden planks compressed so tightly that they look like book pages (see below).


When you’re happy with the appearance of your book (for example, have resized it to more realistic book proportions), select both cover and contents and link them with ctrl-L; then right-click and choose Take to put the book in your Inventory. Voilà! you’re done.

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