They do provide some alpha masks for the mesh clothes that come with the new avatars. I suppose those are for use with the regular/system avatar when wearing the dress. But, the Alicia dress really doesn’t fit my avatar.
The dress Alicia wears does not work with my avatar for any breast size much larger than TINY. Nor will it work with 0-size breasts. So, my thinking is these clothes are not going to be for mix and match on different avatar bodies. The sliders do NOT change the clothes and std. avatar body in unison. The dress changes faster than the avatar body. Of course this is the problem that makes so many people unhappy with Fitted mesh.
We still have to find clothes that fit our shape and if we use extreme shapes, extreme meaning slider settings near the end of a range, we are pretty much out of luck.
I do think that I can export my shape to Blender, model a dress to it, import both the dress and my shape to SL and then have a dress that fits very well and they will follow the shape sliders in unison. But, I don’t change shape that often, so that is kinda pointless for me. But we may see avatar bodies built to the standard sizes. Then all the standard size clothing would work near perfectly with them for any shape.
We’ll see what develops. But, these new avatars and with AvaStar nearing a final release version we may see Fitted Mesh acceptance increase. And these avatars give people better ideas of what can be done. I can hope…
Everyone will have opinions on what is to come from how these new avatars are built. I see it creating lots of chaos as creatives are free to explore possibilities and different ways of doing things. It is a free market at its best. But, for consumers it will mean some discomfort as they try to figure what is what and whether this or that is better. Very much like real life.
In this chaos some will want to make guidelines to focus what people make. Other will write White Papers on what they think is the best way to do things. We will be free to follow those, learn from them, and advance to newer and better things.
The fascists in the crowd will want strong rules enforced with an iron rod to make YOUR life better. Things would only be able to be sold if they conform and innovation would pretty much end until the rules could be changed. Stay away from this later group of people as they are; mental, poorly educated, way too self-centered, and dangerous.
With the new Avastar and a better Collada exporter in Blender 2.70 now adapted to SL we will see designers moving ahead faster. I am exploring a mix of weighting between the older mbones (movement) and newer cbones (collision – now also used for sizing). I’ve found it much easier to explorer combinations of weights on those groups using Avastar because it provides a means to find the vertices with more than 4 assigned weight groups and adjust them. That ability is inherent in Blender, but Avastar gives me a tool to select those with 5 or more weight groups automatically. I don’t know how to do that in plain Blender. If you do, please leave a comment.
As time goes on we will get better clothes that fit better. We will see the cloth saving, skin revealing designs so popular in SL coming to mesh. As skin makers move toward the idea of skin in appliers we should see some amazing outfits.
Consider. If we combine skin and clothes into a single mesh, we can reduce the polygon count and build in perfect fit that can be adjusted to any shape. The skin and clothes will be the same mesh and will thus change shape as a single item and fit even at extreme settings. How good that looks at the extremes will still be a problem, so we are likely to still see things made in sizes. But I suspect we would get down to only two or three basic sizes. I think two is the least and most desirable.
Clothes can be one material and the skin another material in the same mesh. Appliers can use the appropriate material-second of the mesh. So, any clothes maker could use the basic avatar body and mesh layout as the basis for their clothes. The clothes could be a complete custom creation and the creator would integrate them with the basic copy of the standard body.
With a new mesh body nearly duplicating the standard body we could have the current warehouse of system clothes made from textures adapted to the new bodies and clothes. All those creative types need do is get the new avatar template and move/adjust their texture to fit it.
Also, with these new avatar bodies we can build UVMaps that allow asymmetric skins. The left and right arms and feet will no longer have to be mirror images. Each arm and foot can be unique.
I do not consider myself all that creative. But, I am seeing lots of possibilities. I suspect the really talented are far ahead of me. They probably see more possibilities than I do. So, I expect neat things to come.
There are still problems. There always will be. That is just part of technological advancement. People are working on solving them. Not being able to use layers on mesh objects is probably the greatest pain-point and complication in the path.
But, looking ahead I now wonder if there is some long term plan in place at the Lab. Did they develop a pathway to a better avatar?
If we are soon making avatar bodies as a common practice and consumers are using them, then adding alternate skeletons, I’m thinking custom bones and object bones for animation of things in general as well as avatar, may be on the plan. Enough people have asked for such an addition. We were seeing it in Cloud Party. We can expect it in new virtual worlds… At some point the Lab will have to do something like this to remain competitive. I imagine this would be some part of a long range plan. Time will tell as it will also show how well Fitted Mesh does or don’t work and how far we go with new ideas.