The State of AvaStar 1.1

There is some Second Life™ news regarding AvaSta™, which has been changing almost weekly. Not big changes, but changes. People have also been figuring out Fitted Mesh. Gaia Clary the mover and shaker of AvaStar is in that group of figuring out what works for Fitted Mesh and getting Blender to work with it.

For Fitted Mesh many things are a bit confusing. Whether we use 3DS, Maya, Blender, Blender & AvaStar, or some other modeling tool most people are NOT getting the result they expect. Gaia has tried to clear up some of the confusion with a blog post. See: The state of Avastar-1.1.

Her first point is that contrary to popular belief AvaStar 1.1 has not been released nor is it complete. There are test versions available for those that purchased AvaStar 1.0. The keyword there is ‘TEST.’

What is not obvious from the preceding paragraph is that documentation for AvaStar is for version 1.0. The test versions are out to allow people to provide feedback and are mostly undocumented. The feedback is used to make changes. So, with almost weekly updates the documentation for the new versions would quickly be out of date. The result is Gaia has chosen not to spend much time on documentation… yet.

On change notes… this is another place where documenting changes takes time away from implementing changes and work on AvaStar. So, the change notes are pretty sketchy too. But, at some point version 1.1 will be released and change logs, release notes, and documentation will be caught up.

Also she points out that many of the tutorial-videos are out of date, especially for tinies and giants. AvaStar and Second Life™ are changing quickly. There is no simple easy way to update the videos at the same rate. New ones are planned. I suppose we will see those after AvaStar 1.1 is mostly complete.

The SL Avatar

The avatar model provided by Linden Lab in the SL Wiki does NOT work with Blender. (Please notice the PERIOD.)

There is a fix in Blender 2.70 related to the problem, but the avatar file provided in the SL Wiki will still be broken. The December 2013 files currently in the wiki are not going to work. They need to be updated to fix a problem with the model in those files. Until that fix is provided, the only working model for Fitted Mesh is one you figure out and make or the free model provided by AvaStar. See Gaia’s Fitted Mesh Survival Kit.

The Hold Up

AvaStar 1.1 is still in Beta/RC because we do not see in Blender/AvaStar what we see in Second Life. Things look different and behave differently. That problem is being worked on.

The State of Things Fitted

Lots of people are working to make Fitted Mesh clothes. There are lots of efforts to explain how to make Fitted Mesh and many complaining about how hard it is. I suppose that is to be expected when people are starting out from a broken starting model.

The technology at some levels is being developed and figured out. This means lots of people have incomplete information. Others are passing along information that is simply wrong. Others have it right but explain it in confusing ways. Even the language is not settled. Plus there are nuanced uses of modeling terms.  I’ve seen the meaning of weighting and skinning debated in groups in SL. Did you know there are different meanings for those?

It seems skinning has mostly to do with how we parent things to an armature/skeleton. Weighting has to do with how we adjust our skinning of a mesh/lattice parented to an armature/skeleton. So, I guess I could say weighting is a subset of skinning as skeletons are a subset of armatures.

With nuanced meanings and ambiguous language things will remain confusing.

I’ll say that for now the take-away is that Fitted Mesh is a work in progress and not an easily explained skill/process. It is probably too early for novices to be jumping in. If they have patience, it will be educational, but probably frustrating.

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