Bakes On Mesh Series – Part 4 (SLink Redux & Final Thoughts)

It’s the final installment of this Bakes On Mesh series.  When I decided to write about my experiences with BOM, I thought I’d get one or two posts out of it.  Turns out it was more intensive than I thought – and I didn’t even cover everything! This last post will cover using the SLink Physique Redux body bundle and some final thoughts.

After all my testing with the Maitreya body, I decided to try out the SLink Redux body, since it was specifically made for BOM.  I put on the body and since I was still wearing the Glam Affair Margot skin on my system avatar, it applied that to the Redux body parts.

The head looked okay, since I was still wearing the LeLutka head.  So I just needed to check out the hands and feet.

Here are the hands as they appear with the Glam Affair skin. You can see that the nails from the system skin show under the mesh nails.

As mentioned before, included in the Redux body bundle is a fix for the hands and feet.  Here are the hands with the fix added.  You’ll notice that the shading is off – you need to tint the fix to match whatever skin you’re wearing.

The tinting is easy – I just used the color picker and matched it by eye, but of course you can find the RGB of whatever skin you’re wearing so that it will match exactly.  Keep in mind, your lighting may affect how the fix looks.

Ta-da!! Perfect hands.  Now for the feet!  The feet without any fix applied:

Again, you can see that the nails from the skin don’t match up with the nails on the mesh feet.  After wearing the included fix layer for the feet:

You can see that the nails on the feet look much better.

Now that I knew the hands and feet looked good, I turned to playing around with some of the system layer clothing I still had floating around in my inventory.  The Redux HUD also has a few things to help with issues that might arise with using system layer clothing on a mesh body.  There are buttons on the HUD that let you turn the nipples of the body on and off, as well as smooth out clothing so it looks better when applied to a mesh body.

System layers follow the UV map of the system body, so clothing that in real life would stretch across your chest, for example, may ‘sink’ weirdly when applied to your mesh body.  SLink has thoughtfully provided a button to help with this issue.

Here is a pic of a system layer shirt applied – notice the area between the breasts, where the shirt appears to be tucked behind them.

Using the smoothing button in the HUD, you can smooth the area so that the fabric looks more realistic.

You can do the same thing with two other buttons – one for your rear end, and one for that pesky camel toe! The difference is subtle, but often those subtle details make a huge difference.

I tried several other outfits, including this old system layer dress. There is a mesh panel for the dress, but the shirt and pant system clothing layers applied without a hitch.

Once I was happy with the hands and feet and I had a handle on how everything worked, I decided to try a complete outfit – with shoes and hair!

After going through everything, I realized that I had forgotten to test the rendering cost of the Maitreya/LeLutka combo versus the SLink Redux/LeLutka combo.  After all, the whole point of BOM was to try and reduce the rendering load on your computer by getting rid of extra mesh layers.

Now, I expect the Maitreya to be heavier, because the body hasn’t been updated for BOM.  So the onion layers are still there, they just aren’t being used.  I was curious, so I went back and did some testing.

Wearing the Maitreya body and LeLutka head, my render weight/ARC was 25,262.  If I remove the hair and shoes (which are mesh attachments and add to my ARC), the ARC drops to 19,772.

Wearing the SLink Physique Redux body and LeLutka head, my ARC was 21,890.  If I remove the hair and shoes, the ARC drops to 16,400.  So the Redux body is less ARC, as expected.  Keep in mind that ARC isn’t exact, and sometimes removing things in a different order will change the ARC you get.  However, I am happy with the way both the Maitreya and Redux bodies look.

I can’t wait to dig out some of my old system layer clothing and start playing around with different looks!!  If you haven’t given BOM a try – you should.  I hope this series was helpful in explaining how some of it works.  Thanks for reading!

Change Is Inevitable

I spent most of Saturday afternoon teleporting around SL and looking to see what’s changed in the 2 years or so that I’ve only been inworld intermittently.

I was trying to see if any new animation stores had opened so that I could see (ok, buy) some new dances.  Didn’t really find any.  Although I did find a few old stores still around.  Old as in they haven’t uploaded anything new in the last few years.  But SineWave was around forever even though nothing new was added.  Not sure when it finally closed, but it’s no longer there.  Or at least, no longer accessible.  It shows up in search, but I get an error trying to tp there.

I’ve been going through my inventory and boxing/deleting old things.  Which, to be honest, is most of my inventory at this point.  There are always things I won’t part with – sentimental things and my dance animations, of course.  But everything else is fair game.  I have an overflowing build folder that is full of items I use to build sets.  It needs going through (again) but it’s so large it’s overwhelming. So, clothing folder it is!

I deleted most system clothing several years ago after I bought a mesh body.  I still have a lot of mesh and applier clothing, but everything is at least 2 years old now.  Which is, like, a decade in SL time, right? 😛

I really should go through my hair and makeup folders as well – no need to keep that 9 billion prim hair from 2010, is there?  Just kidding, I got rid of most of those a couple of years ago.

Back in 2013, I bought a CTS Wardrobe system.  Boy, was that a blast from my SL past.  Once upon a time, I was trying to put everything in my wardrobe so I could see photos of what I had, since many creators don’t include photos of the item in your purchase.  I haven’t touched the system since 2015, I don’t think.  I know that probably 90% of what’s in the wardrobe was boxed up and/or deleted in 2016.

Right now, I’m leaning towards just deleting most of my clothing and buying new stuff.  I mean, things have to have improved in two years, right? I’m still waiting on bake-on mesh, but the animesh project did happen while I was away.  So I’m curious to see that in action as I wander around inworld.

The saddest thing I’ve found so far is that PurpleMoon is closing.  I’ve been a member of that group forever – almost since I joined SL.  I was going through my groups and seeing what notices I’ve missed and discovered the sim was going to close that day.  So I missed out on her huge closing sale.  Bummer.

Ah, well, change is inevitable, right?

Epic Fail

I like to think of myself as organized – I don’t like a lot of clutter, and I routinely go through my inventory to box up or delete old items.

Thursday, I was happily organizing, boxing up old clothing and shoes.  My inventory count has been hovering around 35K, and it was bugging me.

After I box up everything and delete what I don’t need, I generally empty my trash.  I always look at it first, just to make sure I don’t delete anything accidentally.

Except Thursday.

Lost Inventory

This is me, Friday, sobbing and wailing when I discovered that I had somehow accidentally deleted my ‘Solo Acts’ folder – the folder where I kept all my show costumes – corsets, burlesque outfits, feather fans, headpieces, tiaras, crowns, weapons, gacha outfits, particle effects, and more.  And then, blissfully unaware that the folder had somehow been moved into my trash, deleted my trash.

*Wails uncontrollably*

Pretty much every costume I’ve been collecting for the last 6 years is now gone. Silks – gone.  Corsets – gone.  Hand particles – gone. Feather fans – gone.  Wings – gone.  Hats – gone.  Cute avatar costumes, like my gummy bear – gone.

When I realized what happened, I felt sick. There was absolutely no way I’d be able to get back everything I lost.

I spent a good 15 minutes crying about it, and then told my husband.  Such a sweetheart – he told me I could take all his L$ and go shopping.   I didn’t, but I did start making a list of all the items I could remember that I might want to replace.

My two biggest wants were the items I’ve purchased from Cole’s Corner (she makes absolutely fantastic particle effects – check her out!) and, of course, all my costumes from !deviousMind.

I tried to visit as many places as I could and try to get redeliveries – however, neither Cole’s nor !dM had a redelivery terminal.  Yikes!  I took a chance and sent notecards to both owners, asking if I could get redeliveries, even though the purchases were so old I didn’t have proof of them.  My hope was that the owners would have their own records and could verify I’d actually purchased the items.

I know I won’t get any gacha items replaced, so I’ve had to say a tearful goodbye to all the outfits I collected over the years. 😦

As I was frantically tp’ing around to various places for possible redeliveries, items suddenly started appearing in my inventory.  ColeMarie Soleil – owner of Cole’s Corner – graciously replaced all my particles.  I was ecstatic.  So be sure and check her out – the particles are fabulous, they are very well-priced, and she is an absolute gem.

I’m still waiting to hear back from !deviousMind, so wish me luck. 😀

I did manage to get redeliveries from several stores, but I was surprised at the number of stores who don’t have that option.  I have also purchased a lot of costumes on Marketplace, so I will be going back through my orders and sending notecards to some merchants asking for redelivery for those items.

Thankfully, my loss did NOT include my dance animations (I have those backed up just for this sort of thing!), my dance HUDs, my mesh body/heads, skins, hair, or shoes. I do have a folder of regular (non-costume) clothing, so I don’t have to wander SL naked.  😛

I’m trying to find the humor and see the silver lining here.  A lot of my costumes were old, and many of them were system clothing, which I don’t wear very often anymore.  However, the shock of losing 11K items, especially some of my precious and much-loved costumes, was terrible.

So, avoid your own epic fail, and make sure to check and double-check your trash before you hit ‘delete’.

Save

Never-Ending Inventory

Mine isn't this pink, but you get the idea. :-)  Image Source:  weheartit.com
Mine isn’t this pink, but you get the idea. 🙂
Image Source: weheartit.com

I am engaged in a constant war with my inventory.

I try to keep it as low as I can, and although I’ve won several battles, I’m still losing the war. 😦

I recently did a big purge and I lowered my count by almost 2,000 items.

I still can’t bring myself to just delete items without even looking at them.

For instance, I know that deleting my ‘costume shoes’ folder would probably free up about 1K in inventory, but I just can’t do it.

My mind is always filled with ‘what if’s.’

What if I accidentally throw away an awesome pair?

What if I throw away a pair that would have worked perfectly for the routine I’m working on?

For the last few weeks, I’ve been slowly going through my clothing folders.

I deleted a lot of old system clothes I never really wear anymore, and I boxed up quite a few that I just can’t bear to part with, but don’t need to sit in my inventory.

In the process, I discovered that I wear way more mesh than I realized.

Really the only items that I kept that are system clothing are lingerie sets.

A burlesque dancer ALWAYS needs lingerie!

Some of the items I deleted were, quite frankly, hideous, and I have no idea why I kept them in the first place.

I took pictures of certain outfits that I liked.

I have one of those ‘wardrobe’ things that lets you take a pic of item and puts in a database so you can search through them.

After working through my system clothing, I started on mesh.

I was hoping to put together quite a few outfits with my new mesh body, but I’m finding that most (95%) of the mesh I already own doesn’t work well with the mesh body.

Although the alpha cuts are generous, they just don’t work well with low-cut, asymmetric, or strapless clothing.

I will definitely be keeping my eye out for more fitmesh clothing and clothing made specifically for the Maitreya body.

Once I’m done with mesh, I’ll start on my ‘costume’ folder.

In the meantime, I will keep pushing my rock up the hill, despite every indication that my inventory count will continue to rise.

It seems like every time I turn around, there’s a new event, a cute this-or-that I have to have, or an item I think will be a perfect prop in a routine.

A girl has to shop, right?

😀

Timeless Memories

Winter WishesNow that I finally have a Flickr account, I have been busy taking pictures all over SL.

In my efforts to pare down my inventory, I have been taking pictures of myself in old outfits.

After I have taken a pic, I have no qualms about the deleting the clothes.

Why?

Who knows?

I decided I wanted to take some pictures in my winter outfits (because the winter sims are quickly disappearing).

I had a quick peek through the Destination Guide and found a wonderful sim called Timeless Memories.

If you haven’t been, you should go.

Really.

Go!

Winter WarmthThere are lots of little areas that are decorated with chairs, cushions, animals, and all manner of cuteness. 😀

I spent quite a bit of time there exploring.

There’s an adorable pond with ice-skating penguins and a bakery shoppe.

It actually made me wish for some snow to go play in!

I can’t fit all the pictures I took on the blog, so make sure to take a peek at my Flickr feed and see the rest.

It was all just so cute and adorable and so gosh-darn pretty!

 

Content Creators – I Get It

Image Source:  community.secondlife.com
Image Source: community.secondlife.com

Yesterday was a bit of a frustrating day for me.

I have a ton of projects I’m working on all at once, and yesterday I couldn’t seem to get anywhere with any of them.

One of my ongoing projects has been to work more with my Maitreya mesh body (which I love!) and see if I could figure out how to tint it to match my current Laqroki skin.

Thinking that I could just go grab an RGB value from somewhere, I went looking.

I found about 15 different ones, and none of them worked.

Sigh.

So, because I had a picture I wanted to finish, I ended up wearing the Glam Affair skin I bought.

It looks good.

It looks really good.

It just doesn’t look like ‘me.’

I spent a little bit of time feeling sorry for myself because Laq doesn’t make appliers for the Maitreya body.

But I totally understand why they don’t.

It’s a mad, mad, mad, mad applier world out there right now.

I have no idea how content creators keep up with it all.

It has got to be maddening.

I’ve made some clothing myself (using both system and mesh templates) and I’ve considered selling them on MP, just to have a few L$ trickling in now and again.

I haven’t, so far, because I have absolutely no intention of learning how to do appliers.

Which, I assume, would hinder sales.

Everyone wants something for nothing these days.

Was it annoying to have to pay for the GA SLink appliers separately from the skin I purchased?

Yes.

Do I understand why the creator does that?

Yes. Absolutely.

Time is money.

After watching my daughter (a ‘digital native’) struggle to learn Blender, I have no doubt of the time and skill it requires to create good content for SL.

That said, I also have to watch my own bottom line.

So sometimes that amazing headdress from !dM is totally worth the $300L in gacha tries.

Sometimes it isn’t.

That’s my own decision, and not something I would ever complain to a creator about.

They price their products based on many factors, including difficulty, creation time, overhead expenses, etc.

Are some products priced ridiculously high (imo)?

Yes.

Does that mean I complain about it?

Hell, no.

It just means I don’t buy it.  😀

*For a content creator’s view of this issue, read this post by Sian.

She makes some incredibly amazing stuff, and it’s interesting to hear about this issue from a creator’s perspective.

To Mesh or Not to Mesh?

Maitreya HUD - Image Source:  http://strawberrysingh.com
Maitreya HUD – Image Source: http://strawberrysingh.com

With the release of Maitreya’s new mesh body (and it’s more reasonable price point), I have been again considering the purchase of a mesh body.

I just can’t seem to make myself pull the trigger, though.

I was leaning towards the Belleza body, but then all the DMCA fuss happened, so I put it on the back burner.  (I’m feeling metaphorical today, obviously.)

Anyhoo – here are my thoughts regarding mesh bodies.

One – I’ve already invested in SLink hands/feet, so having to junk those (and the shoes that go with them) leaves a major dent in my wallet as well as my wardrobe.

Two – I have a LOT of system clothing/outfits that I use when I dance for costumes.  The thought of having to toss over 1/2 of my wardrobe is not appealing.

Three – I do not like the mesh heads at all.  I get the appeal, with the changing expressions and all, but to me, everyone ends up looking like Barbie.  The same Barbie.  Just different skin colors.  Barbie.

Four – there are now so many choices of mesh bodies, it’s hard to know which one will work the best for me.  And given the cost ($3-5K) for a body, it’s not a small investment.  For me, anyway.  (If you think $3-5K is cheap, I’ve got some swampland in Frisland to sell ya!)

Five – Appliers.  These are already a headache enough for me with the SLink hands and feet.  I can’t imagine wearing mesh breasts and a mesh booty as well.  How do you not go mad?  And then to learn that you’ve invested in a body and your favorite skin maker doesn’t make appliers for it?  Frustration galore.

Six – I read today in other post there’s a rumor that mesh bodies actually don’t look all that great when you take pictures on Ultra settings.  Whaaa???

Seven – I have a lot of mesh clothing that I’ve collected over the past year or so.  But not all mesh clothing works with all mesh bodies – so I would end up having to toss a lot of it too?

Eight – For dancing, mesh is often a poor choice, especially given the time it takes for alpha layers to disappear and the avatar bod to reappear.  Watching torso-less or leg-less people dance is not entertaining.

Nine – after reading back over my list, these are mostly negatives.  The positives? Nicer curves.

Ten – That’s it.  I can’t think of another positive.

Readers?  Help me out here?

I’m So Confused . . .

They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

Well, I’m not sure exactly what LL’s intentions were, but they don’t make a whole lot of sense to me (and judging from some of the reactions I’ve seen, they don’t make any sense to others).

A few days ago, I picked up some chatter via my Twitter feed about a change to the Transaction History page.  I wasn’t overly interested or concerned.  In the 4+ years I’ve been in SL, I’ve only ever used my Transaction History page if I had either a) a problem with delivery of an item I’d purchased or b) I couldn’t remember spending my L$, and looking at the transaction history reassured me that no one hacked my account and stole all my L$. (Did I mention I love shoes?)

However, many merchants use the Transaction History page to track their sales and the change caused a huge upset.  Enough of an upset that LL actually rolled back the change and asked for some more input.  It didn’t stop the changes, as LL still plans to change the Transaction History page in order to better serve ‘all users.’  I’m not sure exactly what that means, because I’m a ‘user’ and it worked just fine for me.  I would much rather LL spent time focusing on other things.  But that’s just me.  😀

In addition to all the uproar over the Transaction History, LL is now also requesting that merchants ‘help customers buy clothing that fits their avatars.’  Now, I read through the post, and even as a long-time SL’er, I’m still confused.  Apparently, because we now have mesh, LL feels the need to clarify what’s what.  That sounds great, right?  So they want to classify avatars by the following categories:  ‘classic’ – the original, default, non-mesh avatar (like the one I have), ‘standard mesh avatar’ – a classic avatar wearing a rigged mesh attachment, and ‘custom/branded’ – ‘an avatar of either type (i.e. that does or does not use mesh) that is a custom size or shape, requiring custom-made clothing to fit it. A brand name for the shape will help users easily identify which clothing fits which custom avatar.‘  But I have a classic avatar, and I wear rigged mesh attachments.  So am I a classic avatar or a standard mesh one?  Or does it change depending on what I have attached?

Because I was still confused, I followed their link to the Knowledge Base here.  ‘Classic’ I understand – that’s me.  Plain old avatar.  The standard mesh avatar is ‘a classic avatar that is wearing a rigged mesh attachment, usually a full-body avatar, and whose classic body is hidden by a full body alpha mask.’ Ok, I think I’m following so far.  I do wear mesh attachments, but not a full-body avatar.  Last is the custom/branded avatar, defined as ‘a classic avatar that is hidden by a full body alpha mask and is wearing a customized rigged mesh attachment or attachments that otherwise replace the classic avatar body.’  Ok, I’m with you.

Then they talk about the clothing and how they want merchants to make clear what kind of clothing you are purchasing.  There’s ‘classic only’ – system layer clothing that only works with classic avatars.  Got it.  There’s ‘mesh only’ – an attachment that appears as clothing on a standard mesh avatar, and does not work properly on classic avatars.  So I can’t wear ‘mesh only’ clothing, because I’m a classic avatar.  Then there’s ‘classic/mesh’ – attachments designed for standard mesh avatars that can work on a classic avatar.  So this is the mesh I currently have, which works on my classic avatar.  Then there’s ‘branded’ – this is their catch-all category for anything that doesn’t fall under the previous categories.  Ok, I think I’ve got it.

Does your head hurt?  Mine does.  I must admit that typing all this out helped me to understand the categories.  However, I was confused after initially reading the article.  I mean, I buy clothes, I adjust my shape, and ta-da! I have mesh clothing that looks good.

At the bottom of the Knowledge Base article, LL displays an icon they want all merchants to use to allow customers to easily distinguish which kind of clothing they are buying.  Except there are only two options – classic and mesh.  But wasn’t one of the categories ‘classic/mesh’?  What about those items?  And what about ‘branded’?  There’s no icon for that?  And the icon that LL wants merchants to use is copyright material – so creators have to put that copyright on all their vendor ads, in addition to the icon?  Can you imagine having to go back through all your already created vendor ads and make all these changes?  Change all the vendor ads, upload the new ones to Marketplace, plus change all the ones in-world?  So you have to pay to upload them all again?  I’m already tired and I don’t even have a store!!

Plus, the only difference between the two icons (besides the text) is the cross-hatching on the mesh icon.  When merchants shrink those down to fit on an ad, odds are you won’t be able to tell clearly which one is which.  So it will probably only lead to more confusion, rather than being helpful.

I had no idea that people were so confused about what clothing they could and could not wear.  Apparently the confusion is of such epidemic proportions that action had to be taken.  Who knew?

Me, I have other things I’d like fixed first.  I do a LOT of shopping on Marketplace.  Why?  Because my computer is slow and tp’ing around to stores and waiting for vendor ad textures to rezz in takes forever.  So it’s much easier to shop on MP.  It would be nice if there was a check box for mesh (like the boxes for copy/mod/transfer), because sometimes I’m looking for mesh and sometimes I’m looking for anything BUT mesh.  While I’m dreaming, wouldn’t it be nice if there was a way to exclude demos from your searches?

Wishes and dreams aside, the search function is sometimes all but useless.  Why?  Because merchants are allowed to tag their items with pretty much anything.  So if I do a search for say, ‘street light’ because I need a light for a set, the first two items that come back from my search are *ahem* sex HUDs.  Whaaa????

No wonder people are confused . . .

Do You Mesh?

Mesh is another one of those divisive topics in Second Life.  It seems you either love it or hate it.

Me – I’m in the middle.

I like mesh because my skirt doesn’t fall through my legs or the chair when I sit down.  The edges are crisp and clear and look like clothing I’m wearing, not clothing I painted on.

I don’t like mesh because you have to wear alpha layers, which usually don’t fit my avatar well, so pieces and parts poke through unless I stand still.  Since there is a limit of 5 alpha layers, wearing a layer for shoes (or feet), hands, shirts, pants, hair – it doesn’t take long to hit the 5 layer limit.  And though I have modified my shape for mesh clothes, I refuse to clog up my inventory with a shape for every outfit.  Another reason I dislike mesh – because of the multiple sizes, I’m left with a ton of items in my inventory that I don’t need/want.  But the ‘what-if’ voice in my head won’t let me just delete them.  😛

Lindal Kidd wrote an interesting blog post about mesh and alpha layers.  With the advent of items like Lola’s, the Phat Azz, and the latest – mesh avatar heads – how long will it be before we’re using alphas to completely obscure the original avatar in favor of mesh? (Specifically for human avatars, as tinies, furries, and the like already do this.)  Check out Lindal’s post here.

What about using mesh clothing when you dance?  I’ve heard from people on both sides.  Some dancers love mesh because it looks more realistic.  Some dancers hate mesh because of the alpha layers which render parts of your body invisible.  It can be a little disconcerting to watch someone dance and then when they do a jump, leap, turn, spin, breakdance move, whatever, their legs don’t appear to be attached to their bodies.  For dancers who remove/change costume pieces during a performance, the alphas can be problematic, because it may take a few seconds for the alpha to disappear and that portion of the avatar to reappear.  (Imagine watching someone dance, remove a coat, and then appear as if their torso is missing – a little disconcerting.)

What would you like to see change about mesh to make it better?  Or would you rather mesh just went away?