#SL Mesh and the Button Problem

Poking Through

I think most of us know about the problem of getting mesh clothes to fit well. Qarl Fizz succinctly described the problem in STORM-1716 when he wrote, “…when wearing mesh clothing in second life – modifying the body shape of the avatar causes the clothing to no longer fit. Making the avatar fatter causes it to protrude beyond clothing; making it thinner causes the clothing to hang in space away from the avatar.”

I caught this image as I was rezzing. The texture on the mesh top had not yet rezzed. The glitch layer did.

The Mesh Deformer Project (MDP) is developing a plan to fix how mesh clothes fit and then write the programming code to implement the fix.

Standard Avatar Sizes

We aren’t sure how long it will take to get the MDP completed and adopted by Linden Lab… or even if they will adopt the MDP. All the users and all the Lindens want a MDP to be adopted. But it has to work with past, present, and future aspects of Second Life. So, adoption is not a certainty.

So, some content creators came up with the idea of making standard avatar sizes to fit in Standard Mesh Clothes. They created a Standard Sizing Package. At least it is free. It is a solution, but not one I like. Essentially it means the clothes shape us and we conform to them. I don’t want a bubble butt or GG breasts.

I’m waiting for the MDP to complete before buying a load of mesh clothes. I have been anticipating MDP will solve most of my clothing fit problems and shape issues.

What About the Buttons?

I did not think of the buttons. I just did not think past the mesh deformer. Elie Spot, Owner of Mon Tissu a cute shop in Lula and with a Market Place store (click for her MP to see some mesh items), contacted me and asked about the idea of Standard Clothes Sizes after MDP arrives… O.O

My brain was doing ‘what are you talking about?’ questions. She was talking about the buttons.

Standard Second Life Clothes Sizes

It took a bit but she got the idea across. The Standard Avatar Size idea requires everyone to conform their shape to a set of standard shapes. I can’t see that working, at least not without a lot of problems. Nor do I see people being willing to change their shape. I’ve put effort into my shape over the years and I like it. I’m not willing to change it.

Standard Clothes Sizes are different. In RL clothes are made in different sizes, S, M, and L. We figure out what fits us and buy that. There are problems with that idea in a virtual world.

With the MDP we expect the mesh will be deformed to fit us. So, your GG’s will fit in the same top as my C’s. Well, that is probably going to happen, but that only deals with the mesh fit. Have you considered what that does to the texture? Think buttons.

My Fake Buttons

My Fake Buttons

We tend to draw buttons into the texture rather than spend polygons on tiny button objects. When we do that we run into a button problem when trying to make the same blouse fit GG’s and A’s. It doesn’t work well. The deformer will deform the mesh to cover the GG’s. But, the deformer will not rebuild the texture. It will simply deform (stretch) the texture too. The result being the round buttons on my blouse for C’s turn into vertical ovals on someone with A’s and horizontal ovals, if not a thin line, on someone with GG’s.

Obviously I’m using breast sizes because it is humorous and the world has a fixation on them. But, breasts are not the only place where this stretching problem manifests. Think of a tall thin avatar (green circle) verses a short fat avatar (orange circle). The textures are going to warp and stretch no matter how perfect the mesh clothing fits the avatar. And Pok-a-Dots will never be round…

Thus comes the need for clothes sizes. Even with the MDP we will have a need for clothes sizes.

Multiple Textures and One Mesh to Rule Them All

I suspect we will see several solutions to the size problems. I am expecting clothes design to evolve into using a single mesh, which the deformer fits to our shape, based on the Ruth/default avatar and a number of textures that will come in various sizes to compensate for avatar shapes stretching things.

I think sizing the texture will be the easiest workflow for most content creators. However, smart and creative content creators may find better ways. We will probably see several creators providing different solutions. I expect 1 or 2 solutions to win out and become the best practice for Second Life mesh clothes. Time will tell if I got this right.

6 thoughts on “#SL Mesh and the Button Problem

  1. A very interesting question. I wonder if making the buttons prims (sculpties?) would be possible?
    I do not know enough about mesh and if you can link other prims to a mesh clothing object, but separate prims I could at least modify.

    • Sculpties have a very high polygon count for a small button. When sculpties and mesh are linked, the sculpty moves out of the 1 Prim Land Impact into the new accounting, if I understand things correctly. So, the sculpty solution would not be a good idea.

      One could make mesh buttons. I am betting most creators will use multiple textures rather than spend the polygons on buttons.

  2. I don’t understand the problem. This has been the situation with clothes in SL up to now. So what is the fuss?

  3. Mesh deformers to make mesh clothing fit different figure shapes have been around in the world of Poser for several years. These problems are known. But SL makes it harder to deal with because the Mesh structures are so simple. It’s a 10-year-old figure design. Modern Poser figures have huge numbers of polygons and some fancy rigging to minimise the mesh stretching which can be so obvious in SL. They also have rather better UV-mapping.

    Consider how the AV mesh is mapped so that the arms have a different scale to the torso itself, and then consider the unavoidable stretch over the top of the shoulders.

    The AV is a flawed design.

    • We hear at various times about the Lab changing to Avatar 2.0. It just is not a high priority for them.

      The avatar’s UV map could certainly use a lot of work. However, a big issue for the Lab is: changing the UV Map will break all the clothing in SL. That is a major obstacle.

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