Since i reached a point where I’m happy with the mesh shape of my avatar and how it moves, i’ve not been able to take it off.
I took my new body for a spin at SL11B with new shorts and vest specially created for the body shape. This allowed me to create clothing that fitted perfectly with the body and didn’t even need an alpha layer to hide the body under it, even as the vest hugged the body tightly. But this has nothing to do with the ‘fitted mesh feature’ which i did extensive experiments with.
I’ve spent the better half of two months now experimenting and researching the fitted mesh feature. With help from Avastars Gaia and others who have dabbled in it i have come to the decision that i won’t be adding the feature to my new Mesh body… well, not in its full form.
How i’ve come to understand it, fitted mesh fits as long as you stick to the default SL avatar shape and i really do mean DEFAULT. As a small child avatar the arrival of Mesh meant i could smooth over the bumps and hiccups caused when deforming (squishing) the avatar to be child size. Fitted Mesh simply brings back the bumps and hiccups because its following the rules of the default avatar.
So if fitted clothing shrinks horribly on a child avatar, then perhaps i should start my clothe creation on an avatar shape that is already deformed (squished). Using the awesome Avastar blender plugin i was able to import an XML file exported from SL that contained all the deformation presets for a typical child avatar. My first results were very promising but the drawback is that creating a shirt that looked great on a small avatar meant it was no longer following the Fitted rules of the default avatar. This means squished bits like the pokey shoulder blades of doom still have to be masked. Another issue i found was that once you stray from the default avatars shape, the deformation sliders start to loose there strength. My friend Marianne raised this issue during my testing, showing that the Shirt would not stretch enough to cover her tummy.
This weakening deformation issue is the main reason my Mesh Body will not be 100% fitted mesh. I managed to make the body so you can enlarge the belly and feet, but when it came to allowing for more muscularity in the arms and legs the sliders had lost proximity 75% of their strength leading to little or no change in the body shape and making all the hard work pointless. I don’t fully understand why this is, but from what i could gleam from Gaia and others, any fitted mesh will reference the default adult avatar shape when deforming regardless of how you have rigged and weighted your avatar.
Fitted Mesh is a great if somewhat complicated feature and for those making clothes for adult avatars it’s very handy. That being said , it will give a little bit of extra customisation for my future clothing, but i won’t be promoting it as fitted, because thats not what it’s doing.
There is a bug i need to present to the Lab once i figure out the best way. You’ve all probably seen it at some point and seems to effect some people more than others. I think i’ll call it ‘the Joint Rig Bug’. Basically you wear a ‘joint rigged’ item rather than a simple rigged item. Joint Rigs change the overall shape of the skeleton your avatar animates to. It can be used to make petits, animals or creatures with long arms and short legs. In my V3 shirts i use it to raise the shoulder joints to get what i consider better pivoting of the shoulders in relation to the neck.
The bug happens when you take off the joint rigged item or replace with a different one. What should happen is the skeleton should return to the default joint rigging of the avatar but quite often it will get confused and make your limbs go bonkers resulting in large heads, long arms, eyes popping out, and stretched bodies. Sometimes your avatar will appear in front of people failing to to rez the joint rig without which you look stupid and you don’t even know its happening because on your screen you look fine. Only way to fix the issue is an old faithful relog.
Now my mesh avatar is a joint rigged avatar and already people say i don’t load correctly, so i need to see if the Lab is aware of it and have a fix down the road somewhere.
People want my body.
I got great comments about the shape and detail of my mesh body, as well as a lot of interest in when i plan to release it for people to buy for themselves. Well that will all depend on my next line of experiments.
There are a number of things i need to add to a commercial version of the mesh body. First i need to test to make sure it works well with a number of sizes, but i also have to make sure its easy to customise, wether by tinting or changing skins. Customising your avatar is a fact of virtual life so i need to really think hard about it.
I am considering possibly two versions, one where you can use the default avatars head with its expressions, but also one with a mesh head.
There is also the issue that users will not be able to use any other clothes than the ones i make for it. It’s a completely original model and in no way based on the default avatar mesh. So users won’t be able to use old clothes with it, nor can they use anyone else’s clothes with it. This leaves accessorising the mesh avatar solely at my store which is great for me, but not for the community. So i can see a need to offer other creators the opportunity to make clothes for my mesh avatar, perhaps by suppling a mesh model to work from.
Currently Linden Lab are working on series of LSL commands that will allowed script monkees to control material mapping. I’ve been preparing for this by experimenting with the idea of having the mesh body changing from looking dry to looking wet by changing the material mapping. First tests seemed promising, am now waiting for he LSL additions to be released. This may lead also to clothes that change their appearance in water.
There is so many little extras i could build into the mesh body, such as cartoon cell shaded modes, footprint sounds, different types of hand poses. But I’m also conscious about Avatar Draw and Script weights.
These are fun times 🙂