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A texture is an image which can be used to cover the faces of a prim as a visual representation of the material and look of an object or be used to make clothing or other tatoos or be put in a notecard. A texture is uploaded to Second Life through File > Upload Image... (L$10) Ctrl-U. They can be uploaded in bulk.
Bumpmapping and "shininess"/"shiny" (environment mapping) are texture effects.
Texturemapping means to put ("map") a texture on a surface. Texturemapping uses UV (and W which isn't used) coordinates (U for horizontal, V for vertical) which can be seen in the edit window's "Texture" tab. SL supports 2 different texturemapping (just "mapping") systems: default and planar.
Textures are a way of giving prims a greater sense of form and reality. The actual texture itself is an image file of type TGA or JPG. By default, when a texture is applied to an object, the entire object is affected. There are ways, however, of affecting only specific faces while leaving others untouched.
If you will check your inventory, yo will find that there are two major sections. One is for your personal stuff, and the other is a standard library common to everyone.
In World Collections
Any number of people have gone to the trouble of making their own textures. Many have created actual collections, that are then offered for a price, or in some cases for free even.
Second life provides you with an in-world camera with which you can take snapshots. Should you see something that you like, you can take a snapshot for future use later.
If all else fails, you can find or create your own texture outside of Second Life, and upload it. Just keep in mind that there is a L$10 fee to upload images.
By default, any image applied to a prim affects the whole prim. However, most prims have two or more selectable faces. For example, the default cube comes with six faces. Hollowing it out creates another face. Cutting it might create more. Depending on the cut, you may have as may as nine faces. So, in theory, you could use as many a nine different texture on the same prim.
To restrict a texture to a specific face, click on the face in question. It should be highlighted to the exclusion of all else. At that point you can start applying the texture that you want.
Ideally, if everything was done right, simply placing in the texture where you want it should do the job. However, sometimes adjustments are needed. Consequently there are a number of options available:
|Image is too big or small||Change the repeat rate|
|Texture isn't centered properly||Adjust the offsets|
|It isn't bright enough||Adjust the Shiny option|
|Too flat?||Try the Bumpy option|
|Texture is facing the wrong way||Two options exist. You can try either flipping or rotating. Or both.|
|Not right colour?||Try changing the colour|