I am so super-excited about this news that I am up early just to blog on it!
Yesterday LL announced the new Project Bento – about enhancements for your avatar skeleton.
When I first heard the news, my mind was literally racing with what this could mean and how it would change things in SL.
It may seem like a small change, but it isn’t. And after reading more from designers and creators, I can’t wait to see what changes come in the next few months.
Project Bento is still currently on the beta grid, but creators are already hard at work.
Many of the additional bones that are being added will not have much affect for human avatars – the tail bones, bones for extra limbs, etc.
However, Project Bento adds bones for ALL 10 FINGERS! This means that your fingers can move individually!
As I think about what that could mean for animations – dances, poses, AO’s – I am excited. 🙂
Siddean Munro, creator of Slink, has stated on Plurk that she will be reworking/updating her mesh hands to reflect the additional bones.
Dancers – imagine being able to change your hand position during a dance (without having to change mesh hands perhaps?). Bloggers – imagine being able to move that pesky hidden pinky out of your skirt or pants without having to move your entire hand.
You could create non-human avatars that are more realistic. Talk on Plurk has mentioned things like centaurs, spiders, or even an octopus – with tentacles that would actually move.
Adding the new bones for facial expressions will be huge, I would think, for people who role-play, act, or make machinima. Imagine being able to look shocked, or sad, in a much more natural way than is possible currently.
I had also hoped that the new facial bones would mean that mesh heads would be able to respond to facial sliders, allowing for more individuality than is currently possible.
After reading comments from creators, however, it appears that that isn’t one of the things that will happen. Disappointment about that aside, I can’t wait to see what amazing things will come of this new enhancement.
As I’m not particularly techie, I’m a bit confused about how the new bones will affect mesh heads. I think that it will allow for more facial expressions via the bones (rather than the head creators having to create the expressions themselves), but that the sliders (in the avatar appearance window) will have little to no effect on the shape of the heads.
Of course, I could have misunderstood all the tech speak, so if you understand it and can clear up my confusion, please leave me a comment!
If you’d like to try this all out for yourself, read Inara’s post for details about how to do that. Be sure to watch the short video, it’s pretty cool. 😀