KatsBits.com has a written tutorial on baking normal maps from mesh geometry in Blender 2.74. See: Bake Normal Maps From Meshes. It is a long tutorial and explains how to avoid some of the common mistakes.
Gaia Clary is starting the AVA Mesh Project. The goal is stated as: We want to provide a Standard Mesh alternative for the SL Avatar that can be used as starter kit for any mesh project that creators can think of. We plan to make Avastar capable to handle this Standard Mesh as seamless as possible.
I’m not sure what this project would do for me. I get the idea of standardization is appealing. But, making fitted mesh for the classic avatar body is always going to be a pain because of the disparity from the classic avatar using morphs and our mesh having to use bone weights.
Then we change to the new Mesh Bodies; Slink, Maitreya, and etc. I see no way to get these brand makers to change to a standard body. But, to make clothes fit these bodies we need their mesh and its weighting. If we try to standardize for all those bodies we come up with a compromise. So, there will always be the possibility to have a better product if we use a model specifically for a specific body…
So, I’m going to wait and see what comes from the project.
With the new mesh bodies and body parts merchants are releasing more and more Development Kits. If you are an AvaStar user you have probably tried to use one or more of those kits with AvaStar. Some work, some don’t.
Now Gaia Clary of Machinimatrix, the source of AvaStar, is building a compatibility chart/list. If your Development Kit is compatible with AvaStar, jump over to Machimatrix and add it to the list. That is likely to help your sales of kits or kit related products.
Gaia Clary has a new version of AvaStar out. How binding works has changed. Seems lots of people didn’t get that an item had to be rotated and scaled before attempting to bind the item to the armature. Release Notes So, Gaia has adapted AvaStar to provide more help.
Many of us in Second Life™ use Blender as our creative tool. Few of us have taken a college course on using Blender, so Blender tutorials are popular. But, it takes a bit of time for the tutorials to catch up with Blender’s latest updates. So, I was happy to come across a rich source of Blender Cycles Materials tutorials. See: Reynante Martinez.
Plus there are a number of handy tips on using Blender. They can make life with Blender nicer.
The main page about Blender Materials is here: Cycles Material Studies. Not all these materials can be used in Second Life. But, it is some pretty impressive materials.