Second Life Liquid Mesh Continued…

Strawberry Singh published an article asking questions about Liquid Mesh. Several people are answering and some are asking more questions. See: Hucci Akita Boots & Questions regarding “Liquid Mesh”. In many cases the questions come from ambiguous terms used in the discussion.

Strawberry made a video to demonstrate what she was seeing and asking about.

The boots are gorgeous.

They are ‘Liquid Mesh.’ The precise technical language is to say the boots are rigged to the collision bones. For most SL users that is meaningless jargon. 

Redpoly is the first person I know to use this method to rig clothes. So, for a time it was Redpoly rigging. If you are Redgrave, putting Redpoly’s brand name on your stuff is not smart marketing. Liquid Mesh is somewhat brand neutral. It is a smart marketing technique. Now it is a fairly well known term for mesh clothing that adapts to your shape, as is Molten Mesh.

Is there a correct term for this type of rigging? No. You can be technically precise and communicate poorly. Or you can ignore technical precision and communicate something people will understand. I’ll stick with using Liquid, Molten, or whatever Mesh term conveys a meaning people can understand and remember. Plus Google can find the term Liquid Mesh for us because it is very Second Life™ specific.

There is no other technique I know of that is in Second Life that adapts a mesh to your shape. There is the Mesh Deformer, but it is currently not in SL. So, anything that adapts to your shape is using collision bone rigging.

I haven’t tried it, but I think Avastar allows you to easily rig to the collision bones. That may explain why it is becoming so popular.

Materials Ready

The boots are not using materials. They appear to be using a nicely painted diffuse texture and no specular map.

But are they Materials Ready? That probably depends on what one means by materials ready. I am sure the term has a specific meaning for strawberry. But, that is not a technically precise term that eliminates ambiguity.

I wrote about people building for ALM-E and ALM-D: Advanced Lighting Model  - Enabled/Disabled. See: More on Second Life Mesh.

Technically any mesh object in SL is Materials Ready, meaning you can use materials on any mesh item, clothes, furniture, buildings, rocks… anything. So, the boots are Materials Ready in that respect.

If the boots are Mod-OK and the merchant included the UVMaps with the product, then the customer could add materials to the boots. I would consider that more Materials Ready.

Rather than describe a product made using materials as Materials Ready, I would say something along the line: Uses SL Materials – For use with ALM enabled viewers. I think that, while wordy, describes what is meant. Those that have even a rudimentary understanding of what the SL Materials will understand it. I expect a more creative person to come up with nice marketing term that describes this as well as Liquid Mesh describes rigging to collision bones.

Will Liquid Mesh Break?

I have been so misquoted… The factual answer is we do not know.

The haters say the Lab is mean and will deliberately break Liquid Mesh items to spite users. I think that shows the haters are out of touch with reality.

Strawberry believes the Lab will never break Liquid Mesh items. Like most belief systems there is little proof either way. We base beliefs on our personal experience and available information. So, Strawberry is entitled to believe as she decides.

Is there any factual information on which to decide? No. We do know that SL users want the skeleton that the avatar is based on redone. If the Lab decides to redo the avatar, the skeleton and most likely the collision bone system will change.

7 thoughts on “Second Life Liquid Mesh Continued…

  1. >>Here is my problem with the LL will never break this line of thinking. What seems to happen is a designer exploits something in SL for a purpose other than intended. We all go ohhhh and ahhh and buy in without much thought. Sometimes LL knows about these things and sometimes not. Either way they have meetings and such and eventually say we want to do XYZ, and then they start hearing a million reasons why they can’t because it will break this content and that. That either slows down or kills what they want to do. In this case, it could slow down or kill work on much needed changes to the avatar.

    Invsiprims. Never officially supported, been used for most of SL existence, kept saying it would break eventually and would not be fixed, everyone said it wouldn’t happen because they are prevasive and used in a lot of content. Guess what. Broken post materials with ALM enabled. Guess what also. Not going to be fixed. If invsiprims weren’t going to get this exception, why would liquid mesh?

    >>The word from the last tpv meeting was don’t design using the collision bones. That might mean any number of things, but the uproar around the removal of temp textures should be teaching us that these things can be broken.

    Temp textures is completely different, it was been opening considered a violation of TOS for over a year. LL just choice to do nothing about it since the effect was minor and as we found out later, they were planing on a server change that would end up breaking it.

  2. Thanks for pulling out my comment. I did go buy these boots. Yes I am a guy, and yes I dress like a girl from time to time. But guys don’t get nice boots like this. : )

    I very much agree that we don’t know what will happen with this method of deforming mesh. I do now that the open nature of SL makes it hard for designers and developers to not want to jump onto a workaround when they find it. That is part of what makes SL awesome. But sometimes one can get the sense that people implement some of these things, knowing full well that LL isn’t on board with the idea. Almost saying thumbing their noses at the lab just to make a point.

    That hurts consumers in the long run, not the lab.

  3. I think Linden Lab has had a great track record of not breaking our hacks and workarounds without providing some kind of alternative in the past. That of course doesn’t mean any streak won’t be broken unintentionally, but I agree, I can’t see Linden Lab just destroying rigging to collision bones for the hell of it. Unless unbeknownst to us its having a very negative impact on something their end, but they haven’t said that.

    On Linden Lab breaking things like invisiprims; keep in mind they broke their own content too. Some of the default avatars they provide relied heavily on invisiprims for things like boots. So even Linden Lab uses hacks (granted they slipped in via contests for default avatars), and sometimes break their own content. I doubt they were being mean-spirited towards us anymore than themselves.

  4. People use “loopholes” like Liquid Mesh because the short term effect is far grater than the long term concern. The short term effect is that it usually satisfies a big need and when people have a need statisfied, they dont want to think about the future concern. Who can blame them ?

  5. I have seen one case of truly animated mesh.

    A tail for sale at Spare Parts. I have a mesh tail that animates by rapidly changing transparencies across what is actually a giant blob stapled to my avatar’s butt…
    (yeah that sounds smexy…)

    But the tail at Spare Parts… its not doing that. The mesh item there is actually seeming to move. I have yet to buy it so I don’t know if its just using something obvious like being 5271 individual prims linked together and scripted to move in sync…

    Or is it flexi mesh, and if so – working, but no longer able to make new ones?

    Your prior article on liquid mesh led me to believe you felt LLs was getting ready to pull the plug on it ‘any day now’… and I put my foot in my mouth over at the NWN blog with a statement that I backed off of, but which amounted to a ‘buyer be very beware with hacked features’.
    (someone pointed out to me that even the fact that AO’s work is through the use of an unsupported tweak to LSL.)

    Some pointed out that they could not change the collision mesh without also changing the avatar skeleton. I’m not sure about that – its been too many years since I used to work in Poser, Vue, Hexagon, and Carrara – and animation was never my strong point. So I’m literally unsure, not doubtful, but ignorant on the topic. :)

    If they could change one in isolation of the other, I could see them doing so. But then wonder why they would want to. I think a more viable future is that someday we might see additional ‘default avatars’ beyond just Ruth and Ruth-with-package-slider. Rather than take away Ruth, they might add in Jane on a toggle in the appearance editor…

    Oh on the branding of standard sizes, deformer ready, etc… I laugh when I see products sold with a deformer copy… because there is no deformer one can use inworld (that I know of), and we have no idea if they won’t ‘break how this work’ by the time it goes live in 2037… (/rolleyes).

    On Standard Sizes… I’ve noticed more and more brands are claiming standard sizes, using the standard sizes logo, but not fitting a standard sizes shape…
    - The Standard Sizes people are unlikely to ever file a suit or something to enforce their standard… so this system may break down over time, especially if whoever is putting out the off-standard templates gains popularity over the people who follow the “rules”.

    Its getting to the point where I’m starting to end up with a copy of my shape in every outfit folder, slightly adjusted… usually what they drop is body fat, belly, muscle, and breast size – the last of these making sense as a tight top can squeeze you in… but the others get annoying. The worst offenders mess with leg muscle, saddlebags, and butt size… but then claim to still be a “standard size.” And none of them tell you what the numbers they do use are…

  6. Invisprims could work just fine, including with “ALM” and materials: they in fact do work fine in the Cool VL Viewer and Singularity (and now in Marine’s RLV too), and LL’s own viewer is only a couple of changes short of having them working; why LL never fixed their viewer code is a mystery…

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