Tips Tricks for Furniture and Room Deriving,

How to Pick a Mesh


Okay now that we have thinking about design concepts down now its time for the real challenge, finding that perfect mesh. This chapter we will go into the basic criteria of what makes a good mesh and then delve it to the world of UV Mapping and what it all means for the texture maker. All meshes and meshers are not created equal, and depending on your texturing style and what your goals are what type is ‘best’ for you will vary.


Meshers may want to pay particular attention to this section as I will be touching on what you need to be thinking about to make your derivable meshes more texturer friendly.



Poly: The basic triangular face that combined together make up the surface of the mesh.
UV mapping: Instructions for the mesh telling it what part of the texture to render on what Poly.
Furniture Node: A spatial reference point in a mesh’s skeleton file (xsf) that tells the client where furniture can be placed.
VGP: The document that defines what products are General Audience, Access Pass Only, and Unfit for IMVU.
GA: General Audience Content that IMVU deems viewable and useable by all users 13 and up.
AP: Access Pass. Content that IMVU deems only appropriate for those over the age of 18 AND have purchased the Access Pass. (such as nudity, racier content, profanity, alcohol and tobacco.)
UFI: Unfit for IMVU, items that IMVU has deemed inappropriate for their chat environment. (such as sexual activities, drug use, extreme violence, promoting hate)
PID: Product Identification number.


Mesh Considerations


There are several factors to consider when picking out a mesh. Thinking about these things before you start texturing will save you a lot of frustrations later when you may discover that a mesh simply cannot do what you need it to.

Make sure it is the Parent Mesh! First and foremost make sure you are looking at the actual source mesh and not someone’s marked up derive of it. If you don’t know about deriving chains yet and how they can DRAMATICALLY effect your products cost and your profits check out my Deriving Guide. The short of it is you want to be deriving from the actual mesh maker, not someone who just left their product derivable.


Cost: Is the base mesh so expensive you won’t be able to put a markup on it and be competitive? If it is and you’re not just making a version just for you you may want to skip it. Likewise is the mesh super cheap? If so will everybody and their uncle be deriving from it or will its parent’s low cost make it feel ‘cheap’? Is the mesher’s textured version so  cheap that you cant compete with them in the marketplace?

File Size: A room has to come in under 2mb, so if it is already close to 2mb when you start you won’t have much room to play with.


Poly Count: A products poly count should always be considered. IMVU is a live gaming style environment so its meshes should be constructed with that in mind. Unfortunately this is often not the case. The catalog is full of dense meshes that are better suited for a rendering program such as CAD, Daz or Poser not got a game style chat. To check a products density, you’ll have to open it up in the Previewer or Create mode and look at the geometry, There you can select each part of the mesh and I will tell you its triangle count. In the low thousands is good in the tens of thousands is going to be a laggy product.


Ease of Derivability: Has the mesh maker provided any information to help you with the deriving process? Are the textures clearly labeled in the previewer? Have they provided any texture maps if the room needs them? If you are going to be spending most of your time trying to puzzle out what is what on a mesh, you may be better off finding another one.


How well is the mesh UV mapped? Well be diving into UVs in detail in a bit ;)


Are you happy with the items layout: Is the rooms Scale, Seats, Poses and Node Placement How you’ll want them? Make sure before you spend hours and hours on a room that you will be happy with the room’s bones. In The Previewer or Create mode you can test out the seats by moving the avatar around in the room and furniture nodes by adding a piece of furniture and moving it around. If the room has derives it may be worth skimming through a few to read the reviews to see if there is any mention of node issues.


Ratings Compliance: There are many miss-rated meshes in the catalog. Do not think for a heartbeat that just because an item has passed through Peer Review that it meets the rules. Peer Review DOES NOT screen out misstated content and YOU will be held financially responsible and have to issue back refunds if you submit a derived item that is misstated if is later flagged and re-rated. If you are developing you should already be up to speed on the VGP. If you think an item is borderline AP but is in GA or if you think it might be close to UFI, really think hard if you want to take on the financial risk of deriving from it.


Start Simple: If this is your first room or furniture project start small. Rooms can have dozens and dozens of textures to deal with so its best to start with a simple room to get a feel for how everything works before you move on to more complex projects. IMVUinc makes some great starter rooms, with some even come with guide textures to help in making your own textures.

UV Mapping:

This is probably one of the most overlooked aspects of meshes by many textures and novice mesh makers yet a mesh’s UV mapping or lack thereof can truly make or break it as a derivable. As you begin to make textures for rooms and furniture items you will soon get to truly appreciate those meshers who take the extra steps to make their products re-texturing friendly.

What is UV mapping? UV mapping is the process in which a mesher tells the mesh how they want its texutres to tile or to tell it I want this part of the texture there, and that part of the texture there, the end result of the latter is a UV map, also sometimes called the ‘texture map’ ‘wire frame’ ‘grid map’


The UV mapping process can literally take hours and hours, often longer than making the mesh itself, so it is an often skimped on or even all out ignored aspect of mesh making.


Unfortunately there are a lot of room meshes out there that are put together quickly and/or do not take into account a texture maker’s needs. They will have textures tiling where you really need to have detail, texture seems it the most awkward places, and areas with complex mapping with no maps provided to make textures with. While these rooms will work fine for a ‘slap and go’ texture, for anyone wanting to fit textures to the room they are useless. I have had to pass up on texturing many a room because of sloppy thoughtless UV mapping and it was this is lack of useful UV mapping on rooms that motivated made me get into room meshing myself.


UV mapping Styles


I break meshes down into to three schools of UV Mapping.


Type One, The Non Mapped Mesh: There’s are meshes that have no regard to how a texture is going to wrap. There are what they are, and about all you can do with them is slap on a simple texture or solid color and hope for the best. Things will repeat in odd places, stretch in odd ways, and all and all look like a mess.


Type Two, The Tiling Mesh: These are meshes that are designed to use seamless textures and repeat them in a gird across their surface. Done well the repeats will be nice and even and all line up at the seams, done poorly they will not line up evenly, and or squish and stretch the texture is some areas (do note: some stretching and squishing is necessary, especially on rounded surfaces)


There is good tiling and bad tiling… Generally for a room you’ll want the texture to go from floor to ceiling, only tile on the sides, and the corners of the room to align with the end of the texture not someplace in the middle of it. For floors and groundcovers nice even square tiling is best. You don’t want things to be tiling so small that the repeats become very evident (unless that is the goal.) or be tiling so little that you need a huge texture to make it look good.


If you are unsure of how a room tiles you can test derive from it then put in a texture alignment image in as your texture and it will show you how things line up, you can make your own or use mine. Ideally texture seams should be in logical places, repeats evenly spaced, seams in logical places. You will want to see how a room’s textures tile before you commit to re-texturing it.


texture alignment tester


Type Three, The UV Mapped Mesh: These are meshes that are mapped in such a way that they give you a pattern as to where each element of the mesh is on the texture map. (If you are already a clothing maker and have used a skin or clothing template you are already aware of this style of UV mapping.)


IMVUs head UVMap of the female Head


My UVMap of part of my piano


This is the most versatile type of mesh map as it always you total control over what each part of the mesh looks like, however it is impractical file size wise to do this type of mesh mapping on all surfaces of something as large as a room mesh. Like the rest there are good UV maps and Bad UV maps. UV maps should take up as much of the texture field as possible, have relieve parts in scale and be understandable.

Which UV style of mesh is best for you?


To sum UV’s up you can have Non Mapped meshes, Tile Mapped meshes and UVMap Mapped meshes… (say that ten times fast, lol).


Non Mapped (chaos mapped) No, to barely any order. Only good with solid colors or very simple seamless textures.

Tile Mapped (orderly mapped) requires seamless textures or textures that a seam line is part of the look.

UVMap Mapped (custom maps) requires custom made to fit texture work to look best. Can generally also use seamless or solid colors but wont look as good as if it were made to fit.


You’ll find rooms and furniture will generally tend to fall into one of these three categories or they will be a hybrid style with a mix of tiling and UV mapped for details.


The question to ask yourself then is what type of texturer are you? Are you a ‘slap and go’ texturer, a texture user or a texture maker?


A ‘Slap and Go’ texturer is someone one who just puts any image or solid color on an item with no regard to thinking about scale, fitting, lighting and shadow, etc. This should be wood, slap on an image of wood and it’s done. I want this green slap on a image of green and its done. If this is you then you can use any of the style of meshes and get about the same results.


A Texture User if you are someone who utilizes ready made stock textures and for the most part uses them ‘as is’ on a product or if you are one who wants to make utilitarian textures that can be used on many different products then nice even tiling products are what you want to look for. Generally speaking while this kind of utilitarian texture use can also be used on UVmap mapped type products they will not look as good because those products tend to require fitting the textures to them to sing.

Note: As long as the textures used are from legitimate (legal) sources using ready made content is a perfectly acceptable developing style.


A Texture Maker is someone who either starts from scratch or uses legitimate image sources as raw ingredients and from that make their own textures evolving them into something new. If this is you then well tiled as well as well UV mapped items are what you want to look for. UV mapped items allowing you to add details, highlights and shadow to items that that tiling cannot.

Where to Look for Meshes


This is an amazing resource site maintained by KittenKat. Meshers submit their products to be listed and if they meet the criteria (must be an actual new mesh, not a derive).

Catalog and Products Forum: Link & the AP Catalog and Products Forum: Link
New derivables are occasionally posted here. Also you may see a derive that you may also want to try to derive from the parent too.


Browsing the catalog: Link
Sometime just boring legwork is the best, grab a beverage, put your feet up, and go catalog cruising. Make a ‘derivables’ folder in your internet favorites to save promising finds to. Don’t forget to look down to that customers also bought area, you’ll often find gems there too.

Public Rooms: Link
Some of the most popular rooms are being used as public rooms. Also good to do just to see what folks like to use in rooms and furniture. Right Click when in the room and view all products to track stuff down.

Peer Review: Link
Yep Peer review is a great place to spot meshes making that mind numbing time occasionally worthwhile, lol. You should be able to track the parent mesh down once it has passed PR. Remember to jot down its PID so you can look it up later.



Personal Note:


Not all meshes are going to be available for driving. Some meshers, myself included, do a considerable amount of developing that is exclusive, that is we make content exclusively for our own or another developers use. Please do no INSIST that any developer is obligated to share they’re personal content with you. Being rude to a developer who runs their business this way is unprofessional and uncalled for. If some tells you ‘sorry that item is an exclusive’, be understanding not demanding.



PPC Forums Link