Bakes On Mesh Series – Part 3 (Hands and Feet)

Whew! I can’t believe it’s Part 3 of this series already!  So much information – and I still think I missed some points, but covering everything would make this series even longer, so I’ll just stick to the plan.

This time, I’d like to take a look at how BOM works with hands and feet.  As I mentioned in the previous post, it’s a known issue that BOM can cause problems with hands and feet, particularly around the area of the fingernails and toenails.

Original system skins were created using the system avatar.  (Remember the hideous club feet and the permanent jazz hands?)  Because of this, when you apply old system skins to mesh hands and feet, they don’t usually match up.

Here’s a picture of the Glam Affair Margot skin and how it looks with the Maitreya mesh hands.

You can see the nails of the skin under the mesh fingernails.  Not a great look.  There are some workarounds, though they are not all perfect either.  One option is to buy tintable BOM layers (usually gloves and socks) that you can tint to match your skin.  There are a ton of them available on Marketplace, so just do some searching.  I bought the fix from SmitCo and tried them.

Here is a pic of the fix layer around the fingernails before I tinted them.  You can see that the nails look slightly better, even though the skin isn’t the right color yet.

Here is a pic of the fix after a quick tint (I didn’t take the time to go find the RGB value of the skin I was wearing, though of course your match will be better if you do that).  Not bad, and certainly not as noticeable as in the first picture.

Since I had already purchased the SLink Redux body bundle, I knew that a nail fix was included.  I decided to try it, knowing that it was made for SLink mesh hands, not my Maitreya ones. It was better, but still not great, because the nail beds didn’t line up on the pinky or index fingers.

So I still need a better fix if I’m going to use my Maitreya body with BOM and old system skins.  Keep in mind, as creators begin making new skins specifically for BOM, this issue will hopefully be addressed.

The same issue occurs around the feet.  Here’s a look at my Maitreya feet with just the Glam Affair skin using BOM.

Not attractive.  So I tried the tintable layers from the SmitCo fix I bought.  However, I could not get them to tint.  They were a grey color and I couldn’t get them to change to anything else.

I’m not sure if it’s an issue with the layers, or if it was user error.  I should have tried the SLink fix on the Maitreya feet, but I neglected to do that.  Again, however, as new BOM skins are released, it should become a non-issue.

In the last post of this series, I’ll take a look at how the SLink Redux body bundle works, along with the fixes for the hands and feet.  Finally, I’ll also try on some system layer clothing and see how it works with BOM.

Bakes On Mesh Series – Part 2 (Maitreya & LeLutka)

Since I’ve owned my Maitreya body for what seems like forever, I decided to start out my Bakes On Mesh (BOM) testing with it.  There are already tons of blog posts out there about how to use BOM, so I’m not going to spend a ton of time reviewing it all.

The Maitreya body is not BOM ready.  You have to purchase a relay in order for BOM to work (as well as making sure that you are using a BOM viewer).  The relay for the Maitreya body is free on Marketplace.

Basically, to start, take off everything.  Body, feet, hands, hair, clothes, alphas – everything.  What you’re left with is the original system avatar.  Previously, you needed to wear alpha layers to hide the system avatar.  With BOM, you don’t need the alpha layers.  Essentially, the BOM system takes the layers you wear on your system avatar and ‘bakes’ them onto your mesh parts – hence “Bakes On Mesh.” It also hides the system avatar so it can’t be seen under your mesh body parts.

Once you’re down to the system avatar, put on your Maitreya body, hands, and feet.  Add the Maitreya HUD and the Maitreya BOM relay.  (I can’t remember if you have to click the relay or just wear the first system skin, but once you apply a system/BOM skin, you don’t need to continue to wear the BOM relay.)

I was going to just take photos wearing the Maitreya body, but the deformed system head from my Bento shape was hideous, so I ended up adding the LeLutka Simone head as well to test.  LeLutka sent out updated heads that are BOM ready, you just have to click on the HUD to activate it.

Once I had all that done, I hunted around in my inventory for a system skin.  The first one I found was a skin from 2015 – DS Lyberty Spelt Quartz.  (Don’t mind my bald head – I didn’t want hair to distract from the skin!)

It actually looked pretty good.  So I tried a few more.  This is a Belleza skin from 2013 – Mya Pale BBB 1.  The make up looks good on the LeLutka head.

 

The next skin I tried was LAQ Martina was 2013.  This skin was my go-to skin for a long time.  You can see, however, the tip of the nose and upper lip area under the nose look odd.  The shading is off.  Ah, well, I didn’t expect everything to work out perfectly.

Next I tried a skin from Lumae – Fae 6 Cinnamon Plum Delight from 2015.  This skin has freckles – you can see that they applied to the Maitreya body with no problem as well.  I did try a few of the old ‘cleavage’ tattoos – remember those?  Some were better than others, so in many instances you’re just going to have to try things on and see what works and what doesn’t.

The last skin I tried was my most recent go-to skin – Glam Affair’s Margot India Dark from 2015.

After testing quite a few other skins and finding out that most worked well, I decided to try messing around with some makeup.

I have to say, this is the part that got me the most excited.  I used to have a ton of system layer makeup and tattoos.  Once mesh bodies and heads hit the grid, they’ve basically been languishing in my inventory.  I don’t know why I didn’t box them up like I did everything else.

Because BOM supports system layers, you can now once again layer makeup and tattoos – up to 62 layers, if I remember correctly.  BOM will bake them onto one layer and then apply them to your mesh parts.

For example, here is some system layer face paint I got from who knows where:

Here’s some snowy winter makeup I found:

In addition to single layers, you can add multiple ones.  In this picture, I am wearing a blush layer, an eyeshadow layer, and a lipstick layer, in addition to the system skin.  BOM applies them all to my mesh head.  The eyeshadow is a bit off, but the blush and lipstick look great.

Once I had playing around with skins and makeup out of my system, I decided to focus on what I knew would be problem areas – the hands and feet.  However, this post is long enough, so I’m going to discuss those in Part 3 of this series.

Bakes On Mesh Series – Part 1 (Preparations)

Image Source: xelerus.de

A few days ago I finally got around to trying out some of the Bakes On Mesh (BOM) features.  I have to say, I’m pretty excited about this. 🙂

For several years now, I have used the Maitreya mesh body and a LeLutka mesh head (Simone).  I know the Maitreya body is not the most viewer efficient body, but I like it.  Mesh heads have always been resource heavy because of the layers required for things like makeup.  Honestly, the heads were confusing to me, so I generally just used the makeup that was included in the HUD, because I hated having to faff about with appliers.

Also, Maitreya and LeLutka both used the Glam Affair skins in their HUDs, so I just stuck to those skins, since I could make my head and body parts match with a click of the HUD.

The amount of appliers was an issue for me as well.  Creators had to make items/HUDs/appliers for so many different bodies – I would end up deleting items for bodies I didn’t own just to keep my inventory down.

I did keep my SLink shoes, however.  Ages ago, before mesh bodies were a thing, many dancers purchased SLink hands and feet, because they looked miles better than the system avatar hands and feet.  Remember these lovely gems?

Losing consciousness . . . from the ugly . . .

Now, these are extra hideous because of the old shoe layers we had to wear with heels.  But still – hideous.

I have been watching SLink and her updates to the SLink body with the release of BOM.  My partner owns the male SLink body and since I already owned SLink hands and feet, I decided I would also splurge and get the new Redux BOM body version.

So I went to SLink and updated my hands and feet purchases and then purchased the new Physique body.  Let me tell you – there’s a lot of stuff in there!  When I tried to update my hands, I got a notice that I needed to send a notecard, because the updates had to be done manually.  So I did.

I got a lovely note back that I actually didn’t need the update, since I had purchased the updated body bundle.  The CSR also let me know that I had received a refund because they were taking into account my previous purchases.  Awesome!!  5 stars for SLink. 😀

Once I had all the pieces purchased and assembled, I was ready to sit down and start playing around with BOM.  Surprisingly, I still had a fair number of system skins in my inventory (I thought I had boxed most of them up and stored them).  I didn’t have much system clothing because I did box up most of it for storage or just deleted it outright.  I did find some pieces mixed in with my applier outfits, so I used those.

I did a first round of tests with my Maitreya body and LeLutka head.  Then I did a second round with the SLink body parts and the LeLutka head.  Stay tuned for Parts 2 and 3, where I show you the results.

New Black Dragon Viewer Update

Image Source: xelerus.de

This was brought to my attention by a post in the Visionaire group from WrenNoir Cerise.  There has been an update to the Black Dragon viewer.

I’ve used the Black Dragon viewer before and really liked it for taking photos.  However, I haven’t used it in ages – mostly because I haven’t really been in SL much in ages.

But I will definitely be downloading it and trying it out.

The new update apparently lets you move any/all of the individual bones that make up your avatar.  So you can pose yourself exactly how you want.

WrenNoir included a link to a video in her notice, which I’ve embedded below.  If you can’t see the video, click here for the link.

The music was a tad annoying, so I muted it.  The first part of the video shows the editing of the avatar pose in Black Dragon.  The last half is photo editing in Photoshop, so you can skip that if you’ve no interest in that part.

I can’t wait to dig in and start experimenting.  Thanks to Wren for the heads up!

Exploring Unconditional

Time is the one thing I always wish I had more of.  There never seems to be enough time in my day to accomplish all the things I want to get done.

I suppose I should be grateful that I have things I want to do on my list, rather than it being full of things I have to do.

There – that’s me, practicing gratitude.  😛

I did manage to carve out some time to head in to SL for some exploring.  I visited several places, but I always have more on my list.

One of the places I visited was Unconditional.

The sim is gorgeous and full of little hidden areas. I’ve seen pictures from it all over Flickr, so clearly lots of people find it as pretty as I did.

In some places, it reminded of home – I’d see this sort of thing traveling around the roads where I live. 

I think this is one of my favorite pictures of all those I’ve taken.

Of course, there are no beaches where I live, so I always find those areas fun to explore, since I can’t do that in real life.

Whatever you’re looking for, you’re sure to find it in SL.  But be sure to stop by and give Unconditional a visit.  You won’t regret it.

Firestorm Has Bakes On Mesh

Image Source: xelerus.de

Firestorm has released an update that includes the new Bakes On Mesh option.  I have updated my viewer, but I haven’t yet had time to play around with how it all works.

However, I have watched a few videos and read a few blogs that have some pretty good explanations.

Elayne over at The Studio has 2 videos about BoM.  The first one explains the difference between the two alphas provided with her mesh head and which one you should use depending on what you’re trying to do.

She keeps the explanations fairly simple and non-technical, which is always helpful, in my opinion.  Lots of people don’t care how it works, they just want to know how to use it.

Elayne also linked to a blog post by Cazimi that has a lot of resource links for BoM at the bottom of it.  Tons of good info there.

I still need to pick up the Maitreya BoM HUD and the nail fixers, but I’m excited to play around with them.  I have a ton of makeup layers and tattoos I used to wear all the time and I’m curious to experiment and see what they look like using the BoM system.

Not having to use a HUD to apply layers to my mesh body would be a HUGE deal for me personally.  I never got into tons of appliers, especially makeup, because it was too overwhelming for me dealing with all the layers of a mesh head.  Plus, I try to be conscious of my personal rendering cost, so wearing things that are easier to render is a bonus as well.

I’m still debating whether to keep my Maitreya body or pick up the SLink Redux body made for BoM.  I don’t know if Maitreya plans to remake their body with fewer onion layers, so the SLink body is tempting.  Except that previous frustrating experiences with SLink hands/feet issues is still recent enough that I don’t know if I want to do that.

On the other hand, if I do pick up the SLink body, I definitely will need to go shopping, as most of my current shoes and clothes are made for Maitreya only.

Hmm, an excuse for shopping – I may have made my decision! 😛

Flickr Frustrations

Image Source: Pixabay

It’s been a frustrating week for me.

I discovered several days ago that my Flickr was suddenly not working.  Now, I’ve had a love/hate relationship with Flickr for a long time.  It started when I opened my Flickr account – something I resisted for a while, because they required both a phone number AND a yahoo account.

I didn’t understand (and still don’t) the need for a phone number and I did NOT want to get a Yahoo account given all their privacy issues and data breeches.  However, I finally caved and set it up.

I was happy with it and all went fine until Smug Mug bought Flickr.  Now, I don’t know much about Smug Mug, but of course they made a bunch of changes.

They changed the number of photos you can post on a free account (completely understandable) and they wanted you to migrate away from your Yahoo account/login.  Again, completely understandable.

Except I was absent for a while and I apparently missed the window to change my email/login for Flickr to something that isn’t Yahoo.  So when I discovered I couldn’t log in, I couldn’t fix anything, because I don’t/didn’t/never have used my Yahoo account that was associated with Flickr.

I researched the issue and tried several different things to no avail, so I contacted their support.  I stated my failure to log in and my inability to access the Yahoo email.  I got a helpful reply – telling me to log into my Yahoo email and follow the link to update my Flickr.

Yes, generic angry lady, this is exactly the face I made. Image Source: Pixabay

So, since Flickr was sooo much help, I decided to just try and see if I could log into my Yahoo account.  Maybe the password was a simple one??  I could try several I remembered and see??

Nope.  Nothing worked.  So I tried the ‘forgot password option.’  I couldn’t use the phone text option, because I haven’t had that number in literally years.  I thought I was completely screwed and would just have to start over on Flickr.  Which, likely, I would have just abandoned.

Thank goodness for past me, who thoughtfully linked a back-up email to that Yahoo account (something I generally don’t do, so past me was feeling super special that day!) and I was able to access that email to reset my Yahoo password, which in turn let me fix my Flickr login.

Whew!  All fixed, right?

I wanted to avoid all this in the future, so I thought, I’ll just update my email on Flickr to my current email address and be done.

Not so fast.

For whatever reason, you cannot just ‘change’ or ‘update’ or even add a second/back-up email on Flickr.

If I want to do that, I have to contact Flickr support.  You know, those people who were so helpful in the first place.  In this day and age, what site doesn’t allow you to update your information?  Especially email addresses?!

Copycats – Flattering or Annoying?

I haven’t posted anything to Flickr in a few weeks, but while I’ve been neglecting my own stream, I have been paying more attention to others.

What I’ve noticed is some people who seem to be copying the styles of other popular SL Flickr photographers.  Not that that is necessarily bad, or that they are doing it to cause problems for the other photographer.

I guess I find myself taken aback because when I see a photo, I think it’s by the photographer I associate with that style, and then realize it isn’t.  Doesn’t mean the photo is bad, just that it feels – wrong?

I don’t want to name names or point fingers, because again, I don’t know that there is any malicious intent behind it.  Maybe they just really like a particular photogs style and want to try and emulate it.

But I have to wonder if those photogs are flattered or frustrated by the copycats.  I know in at least one instance, the original photog felt frustrated because the copycat was not only copying the style but the content of the photo.  Which, again, could be a way to build your skills, but certainly comes across as disingenuous.

Have you had anyone copy your photos?  How did you feel about it?

Second question: What is with all the photos that appear to be taken portrait, but then turned to landscape when posted to Flickr?  I end up tilting my head trying to make sense of the images.  Is there a memo I missed somewhere that said this is the new ‘thing’ in photography?

I Need More Time!

Time-Flies
Image Source: empower-u-academy.com

Time has gotten away from me again and I haven’t been able to spend as much time in SL as I had hoped.  I need to carve out some time just so I can play around with the new BakesOnMesh stuff.

I did see that Maitreya had some sort of update, so I logged in quickly last night to pick it up before it disappeared from notices.

It’s not a new body updated for BoM as I had hoped, but a relay that will allow Maitreya body owners to use BoM with the current body (I think?).  I’m still waiting to hear about a Firestorm update for BoM, but since they just issued an update recently, it may be a while.

Which means if I want to play around with BoM, I will have to use the (gasp of horror) official LL viewer.  Honestly, I’m sure the official viewer is great.  It’s just that I’ve used Firestorm for so long that using the LL viewer is nothing but an exercise in frustration for me, because nothing is where my brain thinks it is! 😛

After reading the post on the Maitreya blog about the relay and the likelihood of an update soon (read: not likely), I may actually go and purchase one of the SLink bodies, because a BoM update for it has already been released.  I already own SLink hands and feet, so I can purchase the body, get the BoM update for all of it (I think) and be on my merry way.

The hitch in that plan is that I’ve deleted from my inventory any SLink mesh items I’ve bought in the last several years.  😦   I still have my SLink shoes (because – shoes!), but most mesh clothing items made for bodies other than Maitreya went in the trash bin.  I may have original purchase boxes that I can dig out and rescue, but I’m not even sure about that.

I am sure that I have a ton of boxed system skins, tattoos, and clothing layers, so I may be doing some digging through storage anyway to locate those.  We’ll see how much free time I can carve out this weekend to do just that.

Permanent Jazz Hands?

I don’t know if anyone else has noticed this.  If there is a fix I’m missing, let me know.  I’ve gone to a few dance shows in SL and I’ve noticed a weird trend – what seem to be permanent jazz hands on some dancers.

I’m assuming it likely has something to do with bento hands and non-bento animations, but I’m not sure.  It is distracting, however.

Most dancers in RL keep their hands in a relaxed ‘dance position.’  There are exceptions depending on the type of dance, of course, but that has been the standard position I’ve seen when using mocap dances in SL.

With the advent of bento hands and bento animations, things seem different.  I’m wondering if it’s a conflict of priorities with a bento hand HUD (my mesh body/hands came with a bento HUD, I’m assuming most do), and a bento dance animation.

To be honest, I haven’t really bought many bento dance animations.  When bento first went live, it seemed like most of the bento dance animations were just updates of animations I’d already purchased, albeit with the new bento hand movements included.  For most dances, given that hands were in the default ‘dance position,’ I couldn’t justify repurchasing a bunch of dance animations just to get hand movements that most audience members wouldn’t even notice.

With some animations, like for certain bellydances, or others where the hand animation made a difference, then it would be worth it.  But the jazz hand thing really bugs me. 😀  Maybe it’s a conflict with bento hands and non-bento animations – but then you would think that the default hand position would kick in, not the jazz hands.  Or maybe this is something weird in my personal settings – in which case, for the love of dance, can someone share what I need to change?

I mean, I like jazz hands, don’t get me wrong, but not in every dance. 😛