*VIDEO* Tip of the Week #28: Particle editing magic!

Friendly greetings! After last week’s Tip on “Making transparent textures“, it’s sensible this week’s is sort of a followup, and one I’ve wanted to do for a long time: HOW TO EDIT PARTICLES!

Even if this is your first day in Second Life — welcome! — you’ve prolly already experienced particles: from loud bling on jewelry, to environmental effects like fire and snow, to C-beams glittering in the dark…

Summer Seale makes awesome particle effectsparticle flowParticle snowBurning Down THE MAN! 20

there’s no shortage of special effects, and you can be more than a spectator and make your own particle awesomeness! In less than half an hour, I cover:

  • Opening a sample particle script
  • Copying contents from one script to another
  • Editing particle parameters
  • Adjusting particle visibility for time of day
  • Giving particles a texture (MY FAVE!)
  • Normalizing particle settings for a texture
  • Disabling particles in your objects
  • Backing up your particles
  • A few words of encouragement — I inspire the artist in you!


The Particle LaboratoryThis video tutorial wouldn’t have been possible without the ultrahelpful Jopsy Pendragon’s Particle Laboratory in Teal, which is featured prominently, and righteously so. Just look for the colorful balloon + red arrow and ride it on up!

Related video tutorials:

Torley Linden https://i0.wp.com/torley-linden.s3.amazonaws.com/little-watermelon-eye.png
     When I teach you something and you teach someone else, WE RULE!

About Torley

Who am I? See http://torley.com/
This entry was posted in Community, Creativity & Ideas, Resident Experience, Tips & Tricks. Bookmark the permalink.

74 Responses to *VIDEO* Tip of the Week #28: Particle editing magic!

  1. Ganesh says:

    YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS !!!!! Let’s add some lag !!!!

  2. Detox Watanabe says:

    @1 (ganesh) client side lag and therefor easy to control? 😛

    cool tutorial torley, particles are way cool 😉

  3. Mercia McMahon says:

    Is Torley camping using SLeek? She has a SLeek texture showing in the inventory in this video.

  4. LOL Sleek is far more useful than just camping 😉

    Hey wow, Torley! Awesome! Thank you!
    As long as I’ve been in SL – this is one area I’ve never explored. Sweet!

    /me stops to think a moment about all the knowledge Torley has about SL and the viewer and becomes frightened for a moment

  5. Dekka Raymaker says:

    @ 3, just a few corrections. Torley is male therefore the correct form of address is He. It’s probably not wise to suggest that a Linden employee may be camp. Please use SL™eek from now on when referring to SL™eek so your not violating trademark usage. Torley probably has things in his inventory it’s best not known about, in this regard a SL™eek texture is probably a minor discretion.

  6. william Fish says:

    i love how people are some niave and think that all lag they feel is because of SL. 90% of their lag is actually from their computer.

    but they will always deny this.


  7. Zi Ree says:

    I think it’s simply the name of one of his textures. It’s inside a folder that suggests this.

  8. Detox Watanabe says:

    @6 (william Fish): lag is also due to the excessive use of large sized textures.
    if more people knew how to use UV maps or wouldnt use textures with a resolution of >=512 for everything the lag would be reduced a lot 😉

  9. Lees says:

    @Detox: Why not publish an Tutorial how to use UV maps in SL?

  10. LOL Sleek is far more useful than just camping

  11. Deeso Saeed says:

    The problem with particles is they just are scripts and scripts are server side and add load to the simulator. Mono should bring some performance improvements to particles aswell

  12. Zi Ree says:

    Particles do not lag the simulator. They are initiated by a script, but after the particle source has started, the script can be removed (as you can see in the tutorial). Particle calculation and rendering is entirely done on your own computer.

    Mono doesn’t help with particles at all, apart from being faster to set them up on first run 😉

  13. one year in SL says:

    @11 (Deeso)

    After one has used a script to turn on particles in a prim, the script can be DELETED, and particles will still emit…no script caused lag

  14. The Inquisitor says:

    I think it’s time now to turn off particles permanently.
    As a matter of fact – particles cause a lot of client- and server sided
    Lag… the particle scripts are giving load to a SIM.

    Just compare it yourself….

    Add 30 different particle scripts to a SIM and watch the performance
    going down.

    May I remember the times when “Marios” were Nr. 1 griefers choice?

    What comes next…? 1024 x 1024 fullsized PNG’s in high rez?

    Time to sigh deeply and deselect the particles.

    I love Torley’s tutorials… really – but some things should be
    safely kept in the drawer where they were.
    Never wake a sleeping dragon.
    Or are you the guy who runs into a cave and poke a hibernating
    Grizzly by poking a stick into it’s eye?
    (I guess not – but if you do… hey woooow – you have a cool way to survive)

    live long and prosper my friends =8)

    (sings Mel Brooks’ Inquisition song)

  15. Bau Ur says:

    Oh, Torley, this is great! Somehow I had never seen the Templates at Jopsey’s particle lab. And even though the place is great, your tutorial makes it clearer and is very encouraging. Thank you, wow!!

    (And since Torley enjoys the fluidity of gender in SL I don’t think we need to scold anyone about the wrong pronouns 🙂 But SL is a great place to start using nondichotomous pronouns. She or he is “Zie”; his or her is “hir”. Nice, short, easy to type. Avoids unnecessary personal questions like “Hey, are you actually a male dragon or a female dragon in RL?”)

  16. william Fish says:

    #8… still rendered by their video cards… so back to my point 🙂

    you do make a great point and yes if people learned that then life would be good for those that use the “walmart special of the week” computers.

    bottom line … upgrade the video card!

  17. william Fish says:

    #14 what comes next is upgrade your video card. im still sporting two 7600 GT KO evga cards in SLI mode and have NO LAG what so ever due to client lag. Nodda.

    stop trying to ruin SL for those that have computers that can actually use SL as it was ment to be.


  18. Blinders Off says:

    To back up what Zi Ree says: let’s put an end to the endless myth that particles cause lag.

    #1. Particles are totally client side. They do not affect the servers (in most instances).
    #2. Particles are totally client controlled. You can go to preferences and totally shut off particles if you so desire.
    #3. An entire sim can only have a total of 8192 or so particles going at one time. That number can be adjusted by the user. Most have it set around 2000-4000. But a sim cannot go above the 8192 mark, no matter how many particle generators there may be.
    #4. It’s not the particles that lag a sim… it’s poor particle scripting. I’ve seen impressive particle scripts that evinced almost zero lag, and unimpressive particle scripts that would lag a sim to a stand-still. It has to do with how the coders code and how well aware they are of Linden Lag coding limitations. Using a continual loop in any script is sure to lag a sim, whether it’s creating particles or not.

    So these things said, enjoy the particles folks. For most users with decent computers and graphics cards, particles are not the problem. In fact, most client content is not the problem when it comes to lag. The greatest amount of lag I have seen has been dominantly server-side, meaning Linden Lab, not the customers ,is responsible for the slowdowns and data transfer problems (as more and more people are coming to realize).

  19. Zi Ree says:

    @14 The Inquisitor: The “Mario” particles were mainly chosen for their ugliness, and not because they create lag. And if you have a particle script which *does* lag the sim, you should throw it away, it’s poorly scripted.

    @18 Blinders Off: Nice summary, thanks! I’m not sure about the 8192 value. Is there a source where we can read up on this?

  20. LauraXXXXXX6of7 Demina says:

    Hooray! I don’t fell like an idiot any more when I look at particles and wonder, where are they coming from? Very usefull. I think I will have a go at that. Thankyou Tory. 🙂

  21. Alyx Sands says:

    Ooooh, Bladerunner reference *does geek happy dance*

    Finally a tutorial that does something for me- <—particle noob here

  22. Jazzman says:

    Blinders Off has it right. Get a proper computer if you have trouble. I can turn every darn particle I own on in my 4,000sqm and various lag ‘o metres and the statistics bar in the UI don’t indicate any problems..I turn, I fly, I tp, I sit on sculpties, I upload, I whatever I like.
    Big Textures are the slowest thing, and it ain’t us particlers using them much it’s the houses, castles, and scenic builders who shoulder that one.
    Anyway..thanks Torley for bringing this business to the fore once again, although I get a bit tired of the lag vs particle debate, there’s a lot of misinformation and myth abroad on the grid.

  23. Ron Crimson says:

    “…it sounds like I’m promoting this place”

    (YES I AM)

    LOL Torley 😉

  24. Sharra says:

    8192 Is the max.
    Go try it out. Build a Script which emiits 8192 particles and move to the other end and try to create particles there. Output = 0.

  25. Ric Mollor says:

    It matters little if lag is server side or client side as in both cases it results in an undesirable user experience. Unless the client is going to start checking for specific graphic hardware on installation and then refusing to run on systems without sufficient capabilities there will _always_ be complaints about lag. Additionally, the current emphasis on stunning visuals has increased system requirements significently to far beyond what the _average_ PC possesses.

    Second Life has achieved enough attention in the mainstream press that average, non-gaming computer users are giving it a try. Unfortunately many are coming away with a very unfavorable impression and then sharing that impression with others.

  26. Georgette Whitfield says:

    Thanks, Torley, for another great tutorial! I have never been a fan of particles, and even less of scripting, but I might try more of both now. You made it look so fun! And the leeks! Ahahaha off to leek heaven? Awwwwww. :))

  27. Naoki Ninetails says:

    I’m impressed to see so many more posters in the comments talking sense to the idiots who think that everything that has lag potential should just be removed from the world.

  28. Jazzman says:

    Hate to double post on a limited thread…but…this one isn’t filling up to quickly anyway.
    Just wanted to say that Jopsy’s Lab was one of the first places I stumbled on in SL and what I learned there has kept me amused for more than 18 months.
    I had occasion to IM the fellow once and he was polite and informative even though he seemed up to his nose in particles.

  29. Hello Torley; Great tut! I have found an easier wayt to stop the particles that continue in an object that has had the script removed; simply drag another copy of the particle emitting item you have made in which you have removed the script. The original will still emit particles, but the copy that remains will NO LONGER emit particles. Once verified; simply delete the “dragged” copy that still is emitting particles. I hope this helps many as it did me when I accidentially, serendipitiously did. To ALL; Have a Great Second Life….

  30. Zi Ree says:

    @23 Sharra: This would be a viewer-side limit then, not a Sim limit. And this is a setting in Prefeerences. I wanted to know where I can read up on a Sim limit of 8192 particles. So, if this is true, I should be able to see more particles when I have two adjacent sims.

    As for trying it out, I will, as soon as I get home from work 🙂 But I can’t do it right now, thus I asked for a source.

  31. Karmic Forager says:

    That was one of the best yet! I have been on SL for a few years, and you still bring something new! You R AWESOME!

  32. rocky rutabaga says:

    thanks for a great tute, Torley.

  33. Gil Druart says:

    I notice that when Torley presses ‘Save’ – the server saves his script. On my machine it says ‘Unknown error – please try later’ and discards my edits. And when Torley opens a script he sees the contents. On my system it just say “Loading ..” And when Torley drags a script into an object it appears straightaway instead of ten minutes later.

    Obviously I need to rush out and buy a new ‘rig’ complete with top-end video card to fix my entirely client-side problems. 😛

    [That aside – best videotut yet Torley]

  34. Zi Ree says:

    @31 Gil Druart: You shouldn’t confuse particle display (client side) with asset upload or download (server side). Since you seem to have this problem regularly, I would do a check on your provider’s connection to Linden Lab’s servers and see if there is any misbehavior.

    I don’t see the problem myself in regular use of SL. Sometimes scripts don’t save or load, but that usually happens for everyone then. If it’s only affecting a single person (or very few) at that time, the problem would be most likely somewhere on the network path from User to Linden Lab.

  35. You can have 100,000(or more) particles on a single sim but only render the amount you choose. I have gotten around approx 40,000 at once on my screen when I played with the client menu. more particles more client side lag. Only limit is the one placed by you on the viewer. Script lag is a myth. The script sets the particle attributes on the prim then the script lays idle. although the sim dose need to send an update packet to the agents in the sim. so if you update the particle every 0.01 seconds it could create lag, sense the sim has to keep updating the client. This is also true for other type of prim attributes, texture changing, size changing, etc.


  36. Broccoli Curry® says:

    hey 17 william Fish Says:

    March 28th, 2008 at 6:27 AM
    #14 what comes next is upgrade your video card. im still sporting two 7600 GT KO evga cards in SLI mode and have NO LAG what so ever due to client lag. Nodda.

    Nvidia announced immediate availability of the GeForce 7600 series on March 9, 2006

    upgrade you lazy fool!!!

    How can you have no lag on such OLD OLD video cards :):)

    what must these fools be runnin who say they DO have lag? TNT2?

  37. Detox Watanabe says:

    @9 (Lees): Because there are dozens around. Google is your friend 😉
    oh and also visit torley’s texture tips 🙂

  38. Sherry Greggan says:

    Congrats on a brilliant tutorial Torley!!!
    Keep em coming!

    Leeks for all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  39. Summer Seale says:

    Yay! Torley linked one of my particle poofers at the top of the tutorial post. =) Woot. =)

    Great tutorial btw, and the particle lab is awesome. I agree. Wonderful place to visit in SL.

  40. jz paine says:

    Seems the link for the high resolution version is not working!

  41. oupsla says:

    please oh please add a particle editor in sl browser

  42. Wake up in SF please says:

    ok u geniuses in sf…. what is wrong with the databases right now? how about giving us real time stats on this? You can do this, so be honest with residents and embrace transparency… i know tech types just dont get it… but honest communication will actually increase your odds of success

  43. Complete HOGWASH says:


  44. Thili Playfair says:

    log in take ages, database isnt working, objects failing attach,rez,doesnt exsist anymore.

    Time for a SL reboot again?

  45. Complete HOGWASH says:

    DATABASE LOSSES AGAIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIN just logging in pounded with lost from database crap i swear to gawd i would love to attach my shoes to a linden asset right now

  46. Wake up in SF please says:

    @ 43 amen! running the just release version of the release candidate with the best computer and connectivity on the face of the earth. SL is not working!!!!!!

    Good lord someone have the guts to fire people at SL who clearly have no idea WHAT THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO BE DOING!!!!!!

  47. Phaedra Basevi says:

    Can Lindens please update the blog – I’m getting the message that the Grid’s offline and logins only for Lindens

  48. Pieter Whitman says:

    I’m also getting that message…have no other place to let them know.
    Been trying to log in for 30 minutes.

  49. Shai Khalifa says:

    Nice tute Torley – was looking forward to – and all excited about playing with some particle scripts – but woe is me – the grid’s buggered again.


  50. Sploosh Ribble says:

    lol. quote “kick ass” wew

  51. Sploosh Ribble says:

    i can’t log in at all 😦

  52. Beta X says:

    not bad at ALL, rock on Torley 😀

    (2 thumbs 4 barrels up)

  53. shaq Merlin says:


    Looks like sheep. Thought. 😉


  54. Beta X says:

    aaaaa, an offtopic suggestion though, possibly makeing a “rez guard” might be good since there are peeps in there and they are still rezzing items and things usually running somewhat normal in that since when i see these timeouts myself, the limited logins only seem a prolonging of comunication and what not from residents, what you guys think in there?

  55. delrona says:

    Downgraded a while ago from paying account . Logging to SL again since a few weeks . No surprise . Its so often offline . Great fancy effects vid . What about making the grid stable ? Always the same old problems. No regrets I am not giving money there anymore. Just sad its not stable or I would.

  56. Redmoonblade says:

    More people should downgrade their accounts. Its not worth it.

  57. Wake up in SF please says:

    OK those “geniuses” in SF have had more than enough time. How many times do residents who pay SL have to endure incompetence? SL markets itself as a product for major commercial companies? SL markets itself to major universities as an “educational product?” Please. The kiddies in SF need to pay attention to what people want. It is simple. “Reliable Product”

  58. Mach Volitant says:

    brilliant. simply brilliant. 🙂

  59. Arganius says:

    I’m glad about my decision not to spend any more RL money to SL after the last total crash. This confirms my opninion that it wasnt worth it spending over 80 USD monthly (and I know people spend lot more) to not be able to WORK on friday evening on my business. nice one once again

  60. Wake up in SF please says:

    Below are the official words of SF. No educator on the face of the earth would ever risk a offering a course in SF. Student expect reliable results, just in case you people in SF dont know that.

    “The Second Life Grid provides a unique and flexible platform for educators interested in distance learning, computer supported cooperative work, simulation, new media studies, and corporate training.

    Create a safe environment to enhance experiential learning, allowing individuals to practice skills, try new ideas, and learn from their mistakes. Prepare your students or employees for real-world experiences by using Second Life as a simulation!

    Students and educators can work together on the Second Life Grid from anywhere in the world as part of a globally networked virtual classroom environment. Using the Second Life Grid as a supplement to traditional classroom environments also provides new opportunities for enriching an existing curriculum.”

  61. Lars Donardson says:

    Great video as usual Torley.

    Just one suggestion…PLEASE stop singing/humming the same ol’ tune all the time 😀

  62. Tiny Mind says:

    Hey, Tooooorley! (knock knock)

    It’s “Val-you.”
    Not “Val-Loo.” Haha.

    And wow, I can follow your verbal-pace once again on these newer videos. Good, steady vocal delivery once more. No more SpEEd ReAdIng and rushing through,

    See ya next week!

    The Tiny One

  63. Fed Up says:

    I know it´s now prime time usa and sl is an unusable product…But do you think sl will ever be usable again? I at least would like to be able to log onto the sl hp and check if some one was so foolish to spend money on it.

    Thank you and enjoy your incompetency

    Freakin joke this is

    Sorry torley, your post does make sense

  64. Yayzerama!! Thanks for a great Video Tutorial Torley! =)

    As always, constructive feedback and suggestions on The Particle Laboratory are always welcome! =)

    Hard to believe it’s almost to it’s 4th anniversary already! =)

  65. Cliff Dieffenbach says:


    That cracked me the hell up.

    An awesome tut Torley, thank you.

  66. Ugh, pardon the typos in my previous post… was rushing to get a comment in before the off-topic downtime gripes filled up the comment section. 😉

  67. If you’re not lagging your sim your doing something wrong ; p

  68. Alisha Matova says:

    Your really famous now Jopsy =P Weeee!

    Nobody mentioned The Cloud Chateau. It is a must visit for anyone in need of particle inspiration!

  69. Masuyo Aabye says:

    people must be using 1st generation pentium 4’s and geforce 2s if they having issues with SL. i have a 3 year old machine and it runs SL fine. my newer machine can run the latest RC full belt and even in crowded sims with particles etc it never lags. as metioned before, upgrade your graphics card to something that wasn’t included in the first atari home console.

  70. Simondo Nebestanka says:

    Thanks for the excellent tutorial Torley, and to Jopsy for his fantastic laboratory. Can’t believe I hadn’t been there before. Just a splendid way of sharing information, thank you!

  71. Katerine Ninetails says:

    How would someone thats totally clueless on computer mechanics go about upgrading the graphics/video card?

    ^^ great tut Torley^^

    =^.^= awesome place Jopsy

  72. Pingback: The Grid Live » Second Life Tutorials and Quicktips

  73. Pingback: Second Life | Vídeo tutorial: Cómo editar partículas | DiarioSL

  74. iliveisl says:

    weee! another awesome tut by Torley! =)

    or as they say in New England: a wicked tut! thanks from your biggest fan, Ener Hax!!! 🙂

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