What is a Content Creator


Welcome to the world of IMVU Content Creating, and what is a very overwhelming place to be a beginner in.


This guide is to help you get a basic understanding of what Content Creating is and set you onto your path to becoming an IMVU Content Creator.


I’ve found that the IMVU provided tutorials while strong in the How-To department not no so great in the Who, What and When departments. It’s my goal in this guide to give you a greater understating of the broader base concepts of Content Creating so you have a better understanding of what it’s all about as you begin you creative journey.


As with all things this guide is based on my personal experiences and opinions on Content Creation. You don’t have to agree with me or my philosophies on all things, the intent here is to share with you what I have personally seen and experienced over my years on IMVU and to provide you with the answers the questions that get asked regularly in a guide form.



What is a Content Creator?


A Content Creator is an IMVU user who submits the products we all use in the client. The only Content Creator that is not a user is IMVU.inc, everything else you see by others in the catalog was made or modified by a user like yourself.


There are several different levels of focus Content Creators have on IMVU. IMVU has everything from the casual user who just wants to make a simple tee shirt they can wear, hobbyist designers who create their items for recreational fun, professional level designers who’s skills can earn them an income here, all the way up to professional companies who outsource or have staff members who create their content for them. So, no matter how big or small you aspirations, skills and resources are you are in good company.


That said don’t be overwhelmed when you are just starting out and can’t seem to make stuff as good as what you seen others do. You may truly be looking at products that have been made by artisans or industry professionals that are trained and have been at this for years. So take your time, go at your own pace and only judge yourself against your own efforts. The best you can do today will always be leaps and bounds from where you were yesterday, and no matter how good you are you will always have room to learn and grow tomorrow.




What are the types of Content Creators?


There are several schools of content creators on IMVU, highlighted here are the major ones. Some users chose to specialize in one area others like to work in several areas. Each area requires unique skills that take time to learn and a loooooooong time to master.


Sticker makers:


These are the folks that create the images we use to decorate our homepages with. If you interested in graphic design, pixel art, avatar art or photography this is a great place to specialize in. A sticker maker creates an image in an image making program, uploads it to the IMVU servers as a sticker and it can then be used on our homepages.


Homepage Stickers



Texture Artists:


These are the folks that make the amazing skins, hair colors and outfits we wear. The majority of Content Creators on IMVU are Texture Artists. A Texture Artist takes an existing base product and creates new graphical work for it to make it into their own vision of it. If you have aspirations of being the next great fashion label or interior designer on IMVU a Texture Artist is what you want to be. Some Meshers are also Texture Artists combining both skills to make unique content.


Making Textures in Photoshop




Avatar Animators:


These are the folks that create the fun poses and animations that our avatars can do. This is a specialty skill and mastery of it is indeed an art. Pose and Animation making requires specialty programs to create them. Some Meshers are also Animators as furniture and accessory meshes with custom avatar animations are fun stuff indeed! If you have a strong knowledge of anatomy and movement and have a good feel for working in 3D space avatar animation may be an area you’ll love to work in and have an aptitude for.


Animating Avatars in 3D Studio Max




These are the folks who create new content for IMVU. They make the base product shapes all other products are built on. Every room, piece of furniture, clothing item, hairdo, accessory item and critter starts with a 3D mesh. Mesh making is a skill that takes specialty (and sometimes very expensive) software, months to get the basics of and years to master. If you want to create true new content for IMVU, and don’t mind puling all your hair out and repeatedly tossing your monitor out the window through the months it takes to learn, a mesh maker is what you want to be.


Room Mesh Buiding in 3D Studio Max


Personal Shoppers:


There is also a lesser known yet just as valid type of content creator and that is the Personal Shopper. These are folks who pull rooms and outfits that are made by others together into new and creative sets that can be then bought as a collection via bundle creation and outfit bundle creation. While this person does not necessarily have to create any of the content they are reselling they serve as a marking agent for those who do create the content and thus get paid for that service. If you own a product and it is available for bundled sales you can resell it in a bundled set and earn a commission. If you like to put outfits together, are a Daily Outfit Contest regular, or love to decorate rooms, becoming a Personal Shopper may be something you’ll want to look into.



What do I need to be a Content Creator?


Creative Talent! You don’t have to be a true artist to be a content maker but having some artistic and creative juices flowing in you veins is a must! Those who come to the plate with an already trained artistic eye, established sense of aesthetics, and an innate knowledge of 3D design and space are at a huge advantage to those without those skills. While many of these artistic skills can be leaned over time for some these are inborn gifts that make them more naturals at what others will have to work very VERY hard for and yet may never achieve mastery of.


Motivation and Drive a LOT of Patience. You need to be ready and willing do the work it’s going to take to learn, do a bit if trial and error and make many spectacular failures along the way. Content Creation is not an intuitive thing, you will have to do a lot of reading and experimenting on your own in order to get a real feel for it. The quality of what you will ultimately be able to make will be a direct reflection your raw talent as well as the amount of time you put into your education. Talent without skill with your tools is useless.


Credits. Submitting products to IMVU costs money. This is to offset the ‘cost’ of your product’s burden on the system. Every product on IMVU takes up server space to store and bandwidth to download each time it is used or seen by another. Stickers have the lowest cost to submit, all other products start at a base cost of 775cr to upload and can easily go up into the thousands depending on what you are submitting. So before you get serious about developing as a hobby make sure you are willing to spend a little money to support it. While some developers are eventually able to get to the point they can turn a profit on their products and make their developing hobby self supporting, this is not the norm so you must be ready and willing to subsidize your own creative hobby. Its not all that crazy expensive though, for the cost of a night the movies you can upload a lot of stuff and get a lot more than just one evenings entrainment from it!


An IMVU Creator Enabled Account for Access to Create Mode You will need to have a VIP subscription in order to register as a content creator (as of May 2012). Create Mode is the tool provided by IMVU for Content Creators to submit products in the CFL format the IMVU client uses. (Stickers do not require Create Mode to upload them.)


Create Mode is merely a CFL file editing and viewing tool it does not actually 'create' anything, rather you use it to assemble together what you have created in other programs with an already existing IMVU product to create something new.

Create Mode will NOT make a texture, make a mesh, edit a mesh, or make coffee. Additional program(s) are needed for all product making in IMVU.


Software. All Content Creators need to have some sort of image making/editing software and this is not provided by IMVU. There are free programs available as well as professional grade programs. (complete with professional grade price tags)

Gimp (a free open source program), Paint Shop Pro, Photoshop Elements, Photoshop are all programs that will work for the image making needs of Content Creation (MS Paint which comes free on most PCs is not recommended due to its tool limitations.).


Each image making program has its own fan base so what is ‘best’ is entirely subjective. I personally use and can highly recommend PhotoshopCS. What program you can a) afford b) find the most intuitive c) has ample available educational resources such as books, online tutorials, and friends who also use it should be the best choice for you. All these programs will let you try them on a limited license so don’t be afraid to try them out and see which one fits you the best.


Animators and Mesh Makers will also need additional 3D Software.

The 3D software that can be used with the Previewer is limited to what has compatible Cal 3D exporters and that unfortunately leaves out many of the most popular 3D meshing programs so sadly the greats such as Maya, Brice, CAD, and *cries* Zbrush are all not compatible. While you can always still create in them and then import your work to a compatible program, you will still need to have one of the few compatible programs and know how to use it to make your creation functional for IMVU.


3D Studio Max ($$$$) 3D Studio is the only fully supported and documented 3D program by IMVU. 3D Studio is currently the only program that can make all 3D content on IMVU. (rooms, furniture, animations, avatars, heads, clothing, hair, accessories, pets, and pretty much anything else you can imagine can be made in 3d Studio. More recent versions of 3D Studio do not currently have the compatible Cal3d exporters available that IMVU needs so if you have a newer version you will have to downgrade.


Google Sketchup ($) has limited IMVU support but is well user supported. Though it has limited product making use on IMVU several users have made some amazing room and furniture meshes with it. Head to the Sketchup Group on IMVU for support for specialized help with this program.


Blender (Free) Blender is a community supported open source program and as such you will get out of it what you put into it. It has the potential to make everything on IMVU, and several users are working at figuring out the workarounds to get there but its not quite there in an easy to digest resource yet. There is a Blender community group on IMVU that is working on pulling together the knowledge to make Blender reality for anyone with meshing goals and not the means to purchase Max. If you already know Blender you’ll be leaps ahead than most so please join in and help make Blender a tool for the masses.


Deliverance’s Pose Maker (Free) Deliverance has made an ingenious tool for those interested in making poses and simple avatar animations. Deliverance has created a free tool that uses Flash to create the pose files needed for IMVU. It’s a must try for anyone waiting to make poses and can’t afford 3D Studio.



What are the rules I need to be aware of as a Content Creator?

IMVU’s TOS and VGP IMVU is a privately run company and as such they get to deiced what content is allowed and what content isn’t. Once you sign on as a Content Creator you agree to abide by these rules. You can suffer severe credit fines and or account disablement if you choose not to.


First you should thoroughly re-read the Terms of Services and the Virtual Goods Content Policy, these policies define what is allowed on the site in general, what products are for all users, what is restricted to Access Pass holders, and what is not allowed anywhere on the site. If your product is found to be miss rated or ‘Unfit for IMVU’ you will be held responsible for the refunds of that product when it is taken from the users who own it.


IMVU’s Product Ratings Here is a very general overview of what they are and what they mean. Please refer to the actual VGP for the complete listing of dos and don’ts.


GA, General Audience: Content appropriate for all users 13 and up to see and use the products.


AP, APO, Accesses Pass Only: Content appropriate only for adults and only viewable and usable to those who have purchased the Access Pass. (nudity, sensual clothing and activities, tobacco and alcohol use, profanity, blood and gore.)


UFI, Unfit for IMVU: Content that IMVU feels has no place on IMVU (sexual activities portrayed or implied, illegal drug use, hate speech, graphic violence.)


Every product needs to abide by these ratings as well as all the marketing on its product page. If your product is GA but your product page infers AP activities your product will be retreated to AP. If your product is AP and its page infers UFI activities the product will be pulled from the catalog. Repeat or extreme cases will incur account disablement.


IMVU has intentionally left some areas grey and open to interpretation, if you think your product is in one of these gray areas you may strongly want to re-think about submitting it at the lesser rating or if its borderline UFI not submitting it at all.


Minimum Coverage Guidelines (found within the VGP) Know the Minimum Coverage Guidelines and live by them. The Minimum coverage guide tells you what areas can not be shown if the garment is going to be rated General Audience. As well as having these areas covered the garment has to show a realistic means of staying in place (ie the no pasties rule) so even if all the red is covered if adhesives would be required to hold your outfit on or a slight breeze would blow it off then it is really an AP outfit. Use common sense, if it looks borderline and its something a minor really wouldn’t need to see its best to just make it AP.


Be mindful of the minimum coverage guide when making your marketing shots, just because an outfit is rated GA doesn’t necessarily mean it is. So before you start taking pictures of your great new hairdo or skin you may want to double check that the outfit the avatar is wearing is truly GA. Many items are re-rated because of AP marketing such too tiny bikinis, pasties or black ‘censor’ bars made give illusion that the avatar is nude behind them. Red showing, pasties and implied nudity are all AP and therefore marketing a product that way makes the product AP.


Once you upload a product IMVU ‘owns’ it. When you upload content to the IMVU severs and publish it you are granting them full unlimited use of that item. You still maintain your creative rights to the item but once that product is in the inventories of others you do not have the right to later decide to change that product into something else, or make it unusable to those who purchased it. Minor repairs are allowed but anything that changes the, look, color, or feel of a product is not. The only notable exception here is if the product was advertised and intended to be a product that will change such as an advertising poster that updates, a present that becomes something else, and similar such products.

Copyright and Trademark. While copyright and trademark theft are rampant on IMVU please do not fall for the ‘well everyone else is doing it’ mentality. You need to have full commercial rights to any image, song, logo, sound effect, or other asset that is uploaded to IMVU. You will be far more respected by your peers as an average dev of original content then a ‘big’ dev of bootleg content.


Images and Graphics: All Images found on the web are all copyright protected. Only those images which specifically have a statement that they can be used for commercial purposes can be used on products.


Music: IMVU now restricts all audio clips to 20 seconds so it’s best to leave the music to the official Music Store. Owning a CD or downloaded audio file of a band does not grant one license to distribute their songs to others. If you love a band and want to share them with your friends instead use the Music Store so that the artists properly get compensated for their work. If your faves are not in the Music Store contact the band and see if they will get their catalog listed with Tunecore.


Names and Logos: Trademarked names and logos such as Nike, Channel, Converse, DKNY, NASCAR should never be used on a IMVU product unless those companies themselves are the Content Creators. Instead think up your own brand name and logo and make your own IMVU brand!


Basically don’t use someone else’s work or ride on the name recognition of an established brand’s name, (or and established developer’s for that matter). Instead stick to making content you have full legal rights to sell. The legal owners of images and trademarks can issue takedown notices and have your content removed if their property is used without their permission. It’s best to just not risk it.


Happy Content Creating!



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