Friday, February 28, 2020

Adventures in Mesh Bodies, Part IV: Lara, meet Cheyenne. Chey, Lara.

Here I am Wearing Lara 5.0 and a Beautiful Mesh Outfit by SF. It's Called Josephine, in Bronzed
Here the Lara 5.0 HUD Shows. Note the Alpha Areas. Lara is Invisible There So I Don't Poke Through the Dress
Here's What the Outfit Looks Like When Alpha Isn't Set. Not Pretty!

This is What Happens When my Animation Overrider Changes My Stand. I Stick Out Again

And so I took the plunge and bought Maitreya's Lara 4.1. I had no idea Lara 5.0 would soon be released and would undo every one of the outfits I was about to make, so I went to work.

My Body Parts Poke Through my Clothing

It was slow going. My shape is fairly muscular and pokes out of mesh clothing in odd places. I used the large size (and XL on the rare occasions when on was available), and I STILL poked through my couture, even after I compromised my dignity by dialing down my breast size and muscles.

I discovered the Lara HUD gave me considerable latitude in making the offending parts of my body invisible. When my arms showed through the sleeves of garments, I set them to alpha. Ditto other body parts, depending upon the outfit--upper legs, lower legs, pelvis, chest, breasts, back, nipples, areolae.... Eventually all visible boo-boos would be taken care of.

There were more problems, however. Whenever my AO shifted my position, entirely new parts of my body would protrude and have to be zapped. And sometimes, even when I had done all I couild do with Alpha, my legs would poke out of my dresses and skirts when I moved, sticking through the virtual cloth. I worked hard to control that, but aside from carefully testing all my stand and sit poses and replacing them with mesh-friendly ones, I had no idea how to control the problem. I still don't.

Perhaps if I were compliant and meekly wore the Maitreya shape, all would be good upon the land, but fuck that. I have no intention of being one more skinny-legged Second Life woman. I LIKE my shape and I have already compromised it enough.

HUD Problems

When I finished my first outfit, I was confronted with another problem. How could I preserve the HUD settings? As things stood, the next time I wore the outfit I would have to spend 15 minutes setting the alpha to ensure my body parts stayed inside my clothing.

I resolved this by putting a copy of the Lara 4.1 body, the hands and feet, and the HUD in the folder of the folders of the clothing I wore. Soon I had twenty outfits, twenty copies of Lara, twenty copies of her hands and feet, and twenty HUDS. Problem solved--for about a week.

Then I discovered there was a script that, when put inside a prim, would remember the Lara HUD settings and transmit them. I deleted the twenty outfits and began to make them again.

Then Lara 5.0 was released. Apparently it had been long awaited, but it broke all the outfits I had created. Happily, though, the hands and feet were now integrated and I no longer had to worry about accidentally detaching them.

Thanking my lucky stars that 5.0 came when it did, I deleted my mesh outfits once again and started to build them again.

This time I think it will work.Things aren't 100%, though. I haven't solved the problem of protruding legs whenever I change my stance, and sometimes my foot shape isn't imported correctly from the save stick. But more or less, things seem to be working.

I'm keeping copies of the save stick that came with Lara 5.0 in a folder of their own. When I make an outfit I create a new save stick with the name of that outfit. It's a bit of a pain, as the save stick cannot be renamed without dragging it onto the ground, but it seems to work. I am now able to preserve the HUD settings without having dozens of copies of the body and HUD. When and if a new version of Lara is released, my outfits SHOULD be preserved. I hope so.

Next: In Search of a Skin for Lara

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Adventures in Mesh Bodies, Part III: Don't Let This Happen to You!

I've come to realize that no matter how carefully you dress your mesh body, you sometimes arrive before your outfit. Often it's laid out horizontally behind you, which you could easily see if Truth Hair had normal floors and not, for some unknown reason, flat black ones.

So yeah, even when I zoom in it's difficult to see. You'll just have to trust me that her outfit is hanging in space behind her.

Part of this poor woman's body has been alphaed so it doesn't poke through her outfit, but clearly her  chest hasn't. I can't speak for you, but I certainly don't want my breasts arriving before the sweater that should be covering them.

So yeah, maybe this mesh body business is not all it's supposed to be. 

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Adventures in Mesh Bodies, Part II: ADD, Don't Wear, Dammit!

Chey Once Again Manages to Detach Her Mesh Body

Okay, so call me a big dummy.

(GREEK CHORUS: "You big dummy!")

Back in the day, Avatar bodies had only a limited number of attachment points, and only one object could be attached to each. And so, we Second Life citizens would just click WEAR when we were dressing ourselves.

Now, of course, there are far more attachment points, and each can handle multiple attachments. If you have something attached to a point and attach something else using WEAR, the first object gets knocked off. If, however, you choose ADD, you can pile on the objects. And so, it's usually better to ADD than to WEAR, which, it occurs to me, is a statement few outside Second Life would even begin to understand.

When I first put on my Lara mesh body and began to make outfits, I would forget and hit WEAR. The results would be the disappearance of a hand, or my feet, or my entire body. Happily, I was usually (but not always) out of the view of others.

The Lara 5.0 body was released a week or so after I bought V. 4.1. This decreased the rate of my involuntary amputations, as the hands and feet, which must be individually worn in 4.1, are incorporated into 5.0.

I'm getting better at ADDING rather than WEARING, but occasionally I'll try to remove a bracelet or a pair of shoes and accidentally select the Lara body and detach it. When that happens, it's always a dammit moment.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Adventures in Mesh Bodies: Part I

I'm not a luddite. Really, I'm not. I'm just dilatory.

Being mostly out of the world for the past few years made it easy for me to avoid the issue of mesh, and especially mesh bodies and heads. But I'm hanging out in Second Life more again, and it's getting just stupid to not look seriously at a mesh avatar.

My system avatar has been great for 13 years, but let's be honest, system avatars bend in strange places, and the hands and ears and especially the feet are a mess.

The original avatar bone system didn't have a sufficient number of attachment points, which limited avatar motion and attachments. Now, thanks to Project Bento, there are many more bones and joints. This allows, among other things, sophisticated hand motions, but requires rigged mesh hands. These hands (and feet) typically come with mesh bodies, but can be worn separately.

Mesh bodies overlay the system shape, with the system avatar rendered invisible with alpha mask. Prim attachments are still visible, but system the system avatar and clothing like blouses and skirts don't show. The illustration above shows system icons for underpants, pants, shirt, and jacket. There are also icons for hair, socks, shoes, and, I believe, undershirt. Even when worn, none of these are visible when the mesh body is worn. Prim attachments, however, do, so hooray, at least, for that! The Amazed outfit, by the way, was a freebie, one of the first, if not THE first, outfit I picked up when I first logged onto Second Life.

I might never have gone for a mesh body, but the Lindens' devaluation of invisiprims wrecked my extensive collection of prim and sculpted shoes. My feet show in unattractive ways through most of my outfits. Only the outfits with boots are spared. This is no way to live, and so, mesh body.

I asked friends for recommendations, and it seemed Maitereya's Lara was the most popular body. Maitreya is a brand with longevity and I always liked their products, so after checking out the Lara demo I took myself to Maitreya the other night and bought the mesh body for $2750 L.

Sunday, February 16, 2020


Wanted: Philip Rosedale

Have you seen this man? If so, please immediately notify the author of this blog.

Help stop Philip Rosedale before he starts ANOTHER virtual world.

The first world he created needs his support!

Saturday, February 15, 2020


Old-School Sylfie's Shoes with Invisiprims. These Special Primitives Hid the Avatar Foot, Allowing Use of High Heels,  But Were Sometimes Not Entirely Invisible. 
They No Longer Work, and That Breaks Shoes That Use Them.

Sweetie: WTAF!?

Me: Nice use of the interrobang, there.

Sweetie: It is my favorite punctuation mark.

 Me: Mysterious and unusual, just like you.

Sweetie: (Blushes attractively)

Me: So, what does WTAF mean?

Sweetie: What. The. Actual. Fuck.

Me: To what or whom are you referring?

Sweetie: My shoes! They're broken!

Me: (Nods.) Yeah. All the old school shoes are broken.

Sweetie: WHAT???

Me: (Aside to readers: Sweetie hasn't been in world for a while now. She doesn't realize how much things have changed). Wow! Don't get to see the triple question mark much these days. Nice one!

Sweetie: You're telling me all my shoes are broken?

Me: Yeah. Except for the boots. Some of your boots should still work.

Sweetie: All my Sylfie's shoes?

Me: (Nods) Broken.

Sweetie: All two hundred pair?

Me: (Nods) Broken.

Sweetie: All my Maitreya shoes?

Me: (Nods) Broken.

Sweetie: This is unacceptable. Who's responsible?

Me: The Lindens. They broke them.

Sweetie: Broke them? But why?

Me: It had something to do with the rendering pipeline. I'm not sure just what a rendering pipeline is, so please don't push me on this.

Sweetie: I have Philip's private number. You can bet he's going to hear from me.

Me: Sweetie, Philip Rosedale has been gone from Second Life and Linden Lab for a long time now. Someone else is in charge now.

Sweetie: Who?

Me: Ebbe Altberg.

Sweetie: That's an avatar name. An avatar is in charge of the corporation now? About time!

Me: No, hon, that's his real name.

Sweetie: But what about Philip? Did he go off to create a better virtual world of something?

Me: As a matter of fact...

Sweetie: What's it called?

Me: High Fidelity. It's supposed to be a next generation virtual world.

Sweetie: Let's go there. Now. Maybe the shoes will work.

Me: (Shaking head). Sorry, we can't. Philip is taking High Fidelity corporate.

Sweetie: That makes no sense. Isn't it already a corporation?

Me: Yes, of course. What I mean is he's marketing High Fidelity only to corporate users.

Sweetie: Unbelievable. He sold us out!

Me: He says that's the way for virtual reality to move forward, but basically, yes. He sold us out.

Sweetie: How about good old Ebbe? He won't sell us out, will he?

Me: I'm afraid Linden Lab has developed an entirely new virtual world.

Sweetie: The bastard! What's it called?

Me: I keep forgetting. Thinking... thinking... It's such a forgettable name... Sansar!

Sweetie: Will my shoes work there?

Me: I doubt it. I think it's primarily a platform to manipulate you into you into buying new shoes.

Sweetie: Not happening. How about Open Sim worlds?

Me: It might come to that--but our shoes wouldn't go with us.

Sweetie: Wah! So what are we to do?

Me: (Cues ominous music) There's only one other option.

Sweetie: Stay in world?

Me: Yes. Stay in world.

Sweetie: But that will mean... that will mean...

Me: Yes. Mesh.