Firestorm Has Bakes On Mesh

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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! 😛

Alpha Issues

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Yesterday I attended a class on how to use the Artiste set rezzer.

I’ve used set rezzers before, but the Artiste has some unique abilities, including the ability to use no copy and/or no mod items.

It also offers the ability to crossfade up to 6 sets/scenes directly from the HUD.

Now, while I’ve not used fades much in routines, they are pretty standard fare in dance shows these days.

So I was surprised to learn that some dancers have encountered issues when using fades.

I’m not really clear on the exact problem, just that something with the alphas goes wonky and things don’t completely disappear/reappear as they are intended.

I was also surprised to discover that some dancers had mothballed certain routines because of the issue.

I have to wonder if it’s really widespread, given that I still see fades used on a pretty regular basis in shows.

Perhaps others have found a workaround that some don’t know?

Have you encountered this issue?

How did you solve it?

Mesh Avatars?

Ebbe Altberg (aka Ebbe Linden) debuted a new mesh avatar at the VWBPE conference this weekend.  Jo Yardley had a picture of it on her blog – see the picture here.

I must say, I personally don’t like the look of this avatar.  His eyes look bloodshot and the overall look, to me, is somewhat menacing.  However, this is (according to Ebbe) one of the new mesh avatars that will be an option for new accounts.

Aesthetics aside, what does this mean to the rest of us?

So new accounts get a mesh avatar, but since I have an established account, I have to pay for one?  Do I even want a mesh avatar?  I’m not sure I do.

I like mesh clothing, but I’m not clear on how a mesh avatar can wear mesh clothes. I have enough trouble already adjusting to mesh clothing. I refuse to make a shape for every outfit, so I just modded one of my shapes for mesh and use that shape when I wear mesh clothes.  However, a lot of people don’t have moddable shapes.

As a dancer/performer, mesh clothing isn’t always a great option.  A mesh skirt can be great because the panels don’t appear to move through your legs when you’re dancing. But doing a kick and having your legs appear to be disconnected from your torso can be a disconcerting sight to audience members.  Mesh clothing also presents issues if you remove it during your performance, because it may take a few seconds (or quite a few seconds) for the alpha to disappear and your avatar to reappear.  I’ve seen dancers who appear to be missing limbs and/or pieces of their torsos because they removed a piece of mesh clothing.

And now fitted mesh is hitting the market.  As I understand it, the fitted mesh is supposed to allow creators to make mesh clothing in one size, rather than having to provide the 4 or 5 ‘standard sizes’ we’ve gotten used to with mesh.  I tried on a fitted mesh dress yesterday and it did fit well, just needing adjustment in one area.  As someone who constantly worries over the size of her inventory, I would love to only get two items – the alpha and clothing, rather than what happens now.  When I buy a mesh dress, I get at least 5 items – the alpha and 4 sizes of the dress.

I’ve also run into issues with trying to wear too many mesh objects at once (something I didn’t realize was limited).  You can only wear 5 alpha layers at one time.  I currently wear on a regular basis: an alpha for my shoes, an alpha for my eyelashes, and an alpha for my SLink hands.  That only leaves two slots for mesh clothes – add in a top and pants, and I’m at the 5 alpha limit.  There are creators who are combining alphas to combat this problem, but if we go to mesh avatars as well, how will that work?  Then you have one alpha for the avatar itself – and then you have to add the others on top of that?

I just saw, several weeks ago, that the creator of the SLink hands/feet has released mesh heads.  I haven’t looked at them closely, but they do appear to have some interesting options, like changing eyebrow color, lash style, facial expressions, etc. through the use of a HUD.

If mesh avatars become the norm in SL, does that mean that system clothing layers will become obsolete?  I’m not sure I like that idea, as it causes issues when dancing and performing.  Although it would certainly make it easier to reduce my inventory count if I could no longer use system clothing.  🙂

It seems like there are lots of new changes that will be happening in SL in the days ahead.  Change can be exciting, but also scary, so it will be interesting to see how SL residents react to these changes.

Would you use a mesh avatar?