Sooner or later after you bought a boat and feel happy with sailing the Seven Seas, you want to customize it. Adding a name to your boat, or the name of the harbour which is your home place, or simply change the colour or add a logo.
Boat builders understand this and that is why most of them supply a bunch of textures with the boat package, which you can modify, if you know how …
The basic steps for most boats are as follows
Unpack the box with textures that came with the boat (if any).
Try to identify which texture is used on the boat part which you want to change, for instance the hull. The best way to do this is rezz your boat, edit it and select the texture you want to change. You need to use the Select face option in the edit menu. This is not always as simple as it sounds, because on mesh boats the textures are often hidden underneath. In the Edit menu choose the Texture tab and click the texture icon. if all goes well the texture which is used on that spot (hull) will be highlighted in your inventory. Write down that name.
The next step is to upload to your PC the texture you identified in the previous step by opening it in your inventory viewer and choosing Save as PNG in the pull down menu at the bottom. The viewer will try to save the file on your PC. So now you have basically exported the hull graphics from your boat back to your PC and can edit it in a picture editor.
Using an editor
To edit this graphic you need an editor like Adobe Photoshop or the free GIMP software for Windows or an equivalent for Mac.
If you open the uploaded file in your editor it looks a bit odd. Below you see an example of the HULL graphic of a Bandit 60 adapted with a text and a logo. As you can see both the text and the logo are upside down, this may look strange since on your boat they will look normal, but that’s how the designer of the texture has created it and you have to follow it. Please note that the text is mirrored both vertical and horizontal.
Changing a texture
Its not always so easy to identify where the text should go and whether it needs mirroring or not, you need to experiment to find out. So this is a simple example on how to change the backside of your boat with text and or logo. Of course you need to export the graphic from your editor as a transparent PNG file (NOT JPG) and upload it back to SL. Of course you need to have some understanding on how your editor works, in Photoshop for instance use Export to web, not Save as to export the file, and don’t forget to use the 32 bit PNG transparency format.
Finally you apply the uploaded graphic to the right face of the boat.
Changing colours of a graphic, like the colour of the hull, is more complicated because you need to know how to select the pixels with your editor and change the colours of it. I will not go into that here, there is much involved in proper pixel selection which is beyond the scope of this article.
TIP: I am often asked how to change the file name in inventory of an adapted boat. You cannot do that in inventory. because the boat scripts are no modify. You need to rezz it in world and go to Edit>General>Name and change the name, after which you can take up the boat or a copy of it back in inventory again. If you make consecutive versions of adapted boats, I advice to use a numbering system like V1, V2 V3 etc. (like in software). This works better than conventional naming.
TIP: Firestorm has a build-in colour checker. Develop menu>Show Info>Show Color under cursor.
Right down on the screen you see the RGB and transparency values of the current selected screen pixel.
Some designers use a different approach. Loon boats for instance don’t permit to apply textures straight onto the boat prims since they keep it no mod. You need to read the instruction that come with the boat. Its basically a command system using the Asset UUID of the texture you made. Right click a texture and choose Copy Asset UUID. Its a 32 character string like 8f937a7a-f664-f60b-84a7-24e9ec4f244d.
Note: you can only copy a UUID if you are the original owner of the texture.
Example for a Bandit 55 with adapted hull colours.
An alternative approach is to buy a texture set in world or have one custom designed for you which is often a costly affair.