Inventory Bloat – Thanks, BOM!

Who has the biggest inventory?

Now that Bakes On Mesh (BOM) has hit the grid, things have changed.

While I am excited for all the old (and new!) stuff I can now wear easily with BOM and without faffing with a zillion appliers, I am NOT excited about the inventory bloat I see headed my way.

Unless you’re an old SL’er from way back, like me, you may not remember how all the system layers worked.  But we never had enough of them.  When mesh bodies hit the grid, suddenly everything became appliers (HUDs with whatever you needed to wear/apply loaded into them).  So instead of 20 thongs in 20 colors in my inventory, I had one mesh thong, and HUD that would let me change it into 20 different colors.  20 items vs 2 items was a blessing for my inventory.

But now that system layers are back with BOM, I can easily see my inventory creeping up every time I buy something.  Because some people will want the system layers, but others will still want the appliers – so creators will provide them all.  Who doesn’t want to keep their customers happy?

But that means I could end up with 24 items – the 20 BOM system layers in different colors AND the mesh item AND the HUD/applier.

I may have to become ruthless when it comes to new purchases.  I’m still on the fence about unboxing my old inventory stuff as well.  I mean, while it’s great that I can wear a skin I purchased in 2013, do I really want to?  Is it worth spending the time unboxing everything just to see?

When I box something up in RL, my rule is that I haven’t needed it in 6 months or longer, it goes.  It clearly wasn’t something I needed.  (There are exceptions, of course – seasonal clothing and decorations, things like that.)  But since my SL inventory is, in theory, infinite – maybe they can just stay in boxes for now and I can wait another 5 years for a trip down memory lane.

We’ll see.  In the meantime, I definitely have some purging to do!  If you need tips for managing your own inventory, I’ve written some tips and tricks here.  It’s still useful information. 🙂

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.

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! 😛

Bakes On Mesh Has Arrived

Image Source: http://www.darrickbynum.com

The new Bakes on Mesh viewer is now live (if you use the official SL viewer).  Those of us who use a third-party viewer will have to wait until an update is released.  So those who are already using BoM will probably look strange to us until then.

There are several really good blog posts out there already about how to use BoM, but what it essentially boils down to is the ability to use system layers (remember those?!) for skins, tattoos, makeup, clothing, etc. – even with your mesh body.  I’m not going to explain it all here in detail (for that, you can read more here, here, and here).  I haven’t actually tried BoM myself yet, so I don’t want to hand out bad information.

If you use a SLink body, an update for use with BoM is available.  I haven’t yet heard about update for any other bodies or heads, so we will have to wait for those creators to update.  I’ve used my Maitreya body for so long that I don’t think I even have other mesh items anymore, so I really hope it gets updated.  If it doesn’t, I may have to switch over to SLink.  I did keep my SLink hands and feet (and shoes!), so I’ll have to wait and see what happens.

There are some issues with BoM, so don’t expect it to work perfectly right out of the box.  Hands and feet are known to cause issues, so I’m hoping that by the time Firestorm updates for BoM, most of the bugs will have been worked out.  Fingers crossed!

Second Life Render Cost and Limits

Kay has a REALLY good post about render weight. Image Source:  avataric.wordpress.com
Image Source: avataric.wordpress.com

This post was inspired by someone asking in a group how/if alphas, shine, and glow contributed to lag.

I had recently been researching some other topics and had come across a page in the wiki about mesh/rendering weight costs.

In fact, I had been doing some testing on my avatar with render weight, because I seem to be wearing more and more mesh lately.

With a mesh body, mesh head, mesh hands and feet, mesh hair, mesh clothes, mesh shoes, mesh jewelry – it’s endless.

Though I have a decent computer, I try to be mindful of others who might not.

When I attend dance shows or crowded events, I try to be as low-cost (render weight-wise) as I can.

I’ve even started adding the render cost of items to my LOTD posts.

It’s interesting to see how much items ‘cost’ – some I would think were heavy turned out not to be, and vice versa.

Render Weight Basics
800 ARC
I seem to have misplaced my hair. 😦

Your basic avatar (wearing eyes, skin, shape, and hairbase – all required items) should be 1000 ARC.

I got mine to 800 (there’s a note on the Wiki about some baked textures having a -200 score, but I’m not entirely clear on what that means or how it works).

However, I was surprised to see how much some ‘additions’ to items can affect their render weight.

There is a base cost for an item, but then you have to add in ‘multipliers’ based on certain features.

If you make an item ‘shiny,’ for example, it will multiply the render weight of the item by 1.6.

Glow is 1.5 and flexi is x5!

This Can’t Be True, Can It?

The question about these render weight factors was asked in a rather large clothing template group, and I was surprised by some of the responses after the render weight wiki page was shared.

Someone said, ‘Don’t pay too much attention to those.  They’re just ‘guidelines,’ not rules.”

Really?

Another person commented that the page couldn’t be right, because it listed alphas as x4, and “alphas make things invisible, so there’s no work for the computer to do.”

If you want to check your avatar render weight, go to Advanced > Performance Tools > Show Render Weight for Avatars (if you use FS).

I try to stay in the green (around 20,000) if I am going someplace laggy.

I’ve found that most jewelry has a pretty high render weight, so I tend not to wear jewelry a lot anymore, except for photos.

(Don’t forget to remove all those pesky scripts from things like hair/jewelry/shoes – those can add to lag as well.)

Kay over at Avataric has some really good posts about render weights, including the one featuring the picture above.

Should You Care?

Why should you care about render weights?

You don’t have to, of course.

But if you spend time dressing up your avatar and want others to see you in all your glory, you may want to, especially since LL is working on new tools that will let people set a baseline for which avatars will render and which will appear as ‘jelly babies,’ as Nalates Urriah termed them.

So if your avatar has a 100K+ render weight, and I have my preferences set to less than that, I will only see you as a colored blob.

Probably NOT the look most of us are going for. 😛

Limits
avatarattachpoints
Image Source: virtualneko.com

There have also been a few changes regarding limits in SL that you may or may not have heard about.

Originally, you could only wear one item for each layer (shirt, pants, etc.).

Then the option to ‘add’ items was added, allowing you to wear up to 5 items on each layer, with a total limit of 60 layers.

Additionally, you could attach a number of items to your avatar, but could only attach so many to any one attachment point.

Currently, according to the wiki, you can now wear 60 layers total, but the 5 item limit per layer has been removed.

You can also wear up to 38 avatar attachments (including HUDs), but you can now wear all 38 on one attachment point (if you wish).

I’m not sure why you would need to wear 60 layers of anything or put 38 attachments all on one point, but there you go. 🙂

(Note – you must always wear a shape, skin, eyes, and hairbase; however, only one of each is allowed.)

Takeaways

As I said, I am trying to be more conscious of my render cost.

One of my ‘to-do’ items is to go back through my inventory and get rid of really high render cost items that I don’t really need/use.

Or at least box them up. 😀

(Sadly, some 40-50K+ shoes may be getting binned.  But then I have an excuse to go shoe shopping, right?!)

As I acquire new items (and/or use them in LOTD posts), I am trying to keep track of which designers have low render weight items.

I’ve even seen a few designers putting the render cost on their vendor ads, which I love.

That way I can know the render cost BEFORE I purchase the item rather than after.

And now that I’m wearing sooo much mesh, it’s nice to know that I no longer have to worry about where everything attaches.

I’ve run into issues with that before, since so many mesh items are/were made to attach to the right hand.

Making outfits could get complicated. 🙂

I didn’t like mesh much at first, but it has grown on me.

Indeed, it’s getting harder to find non-mesh items these days.

Be an informed consumer, but as always – caveat emptor!