I appreciate Siddean and her contributions to the Second Life community. I believe her bodies have always been and are the technological leaders in the field. There is no technically better body.
I am saddened by the closing and to learn of the stresses in Siddean’s life. I wish her and her’s the best.
While I have not been paying a lot of attention to other bodies, I have from time to time looked at them and played with demos. The leader in the field is unquestionably Maitreya. I have Maitreya demos. I do not like the body because of how the shoulders are made and how the joints animate. Both are deal breakers for me.
So, now I will be looking at alternatives. While I had been thinking of a change to Cinn & Chai they are part of the Slink empire that is closing. That idea is out. But I am glad I purchased Cinn & Chai during the recent sale.
I suppose I may do reviews of the various bodies as I look at them. But there is no rush. The Slink bodies will continue to work for years to come. And there is a huge inventory of clothes for the Slink bodies. While few designers are designing for Slink these days, and the number is likely to decrease, there are numerous designers designing for Slink and lots of clothes for Slink. I know I bought over 150 new dresses and other clothes in 2022. So, no need for immediate change.
Years ago (2012) I wrote a tutorial on installing Blender and setting up for making clothes in Second Life ™. It is titled: Second Life Mesh Clothes Blender 2.6 Setup 2012 Tutorial. It has all the gory details a person with OCD would need. A couple of years later I wrote: Fitted Mesh Base Avatar Files, about which mesh models to use for making clothes. The articles have good information but we have learned and advanced since then. So, we can simplify things.
This article will hopefully take some of the pain out of your entry into clothes making for Second Life.
There are two ways to install Blender™. You can install it as one does any Windows program using the provided install program. This is simple and quick. If you are just curious and in the process of exploring, this is your option.
However, if you are serious and committed to making clothes then there is a better option.
Blender is in what I consider rapid development and updates often. Some of the updates make changes in the core parts of Blender. These changes force third-party add-on makers to update their add-ons. If you are dependent on an add-on you’ll run into times when a Blender update will break your model and/or your add-ons and you are left waiting for a third-party update.
The fashion industry in Second Life™ is massive and profitable. Ten years ago, I was writing tutorials for making SL clothes. Since then, I made the stuff I wanted and just coasted along. Then playing with friends inside SL I stopped making mesh anything.
There are a couple of things I now want to make. So, I started updating Blender, renewing, and updating AvaStar™. I find Blender has changed… a bunch, AvaStar has changed… some, I assume MayaStar has too – but I don’t use Maya.
There are also now more tools for making clothing for 3D models. So, I need to get my skills and knowledge updated and may as well add an update to the blog.
Here is what I am finding; (starting with a video)
Pretty neat stuff. Not all of it is specifically for clothes or Second Life, but some of those tools have possible uses for those of us playing in and modeling for SL.
The Cadillac of clothing design tools is Marvelous Designer (MD). Design is done in MD and then transferred to Blender where the design is tweaked and rigged to the various brands of bodies. For me, the big drawback is the cost of MD. Slink people in Discord talk about some clean-up work needed for things made with MD.
The ubiquitous tool for 3D modeling by Second Life people is Blender (free – donation appreciated – All previous Blender versions are here). To adapt Blender specifically to SL modeling the standard addon is AvaStar. While not required, AvaStar simplifies the process and handles gotchas that are a pain to learn about and remember to deal with. Well worth the money. (See AvaLab.org.)
AvaStar solves the initial problem of where to find the Classic avatar body made by SL. Way back when I went through ‘how to find the SL avatar model’ and which was the best source. It is tedious figuring it out. But, that work has been done and the result is in AvaStar, which includes the SL Classic avatar model. Or you can go through my old posts in the category: Clothes Skins Etc. (234 articles as of 5/2022)
Blender and AvaStar are the basic tools for SL developers, at least for me. My other considerations for this update are;
Recommended for Blender 3 and up. Slink Dev Kits recommend Blender 2.93. From what I can tell whether you can use various things with the latest Blender or have to use the specified version depends on what you are doing. Meaning the only way to know which version of Blender or addon to use is determined by experiment.
I am passing on this as the only use I have for MD is for making SL clothes. The cost will eat up all my profits as I don’t make or sell that much in SL.
There is a free demo and the manual is online. Recommended for Blender 2.93 & 3.1.
Installing the addon in Blender 3.1.2 resulted in a series of errors with the demo. Using 2.93.1 the install was not reporting errors but I couldn’t get it working and the warning ‘written for 3.00’ popped up. So, I downloaded Blender 3.00. But I still got errors when installing. I emailed the author and asked about the demo.
About 36 hours later I got an answer. Basically, use 2.93.0. So, I installed 2.93.0. That was a bit tricky. The portable version does not unzip/install the same as other versions. The unzipped folder is misnamed, IMO. Not a difficult fix but it does not sort into the list of Blender folders the way I expected. With the misnaming, I also ran into problems with AvaStar, which may or may not have been folder name-related. Whatever…
This is a clothes modeling tool. A set of videos is here.
I’ve got my AvaStar and Blender updates installed. Now I am relearning Blender… stuff is moved around and several things work differently. In general, things are more intuitive. But it is still a challenge to find and figure out how to do things that were muscle memory ingrained. (sigh)
I plan to write more later to get into my experience with Slink’s new Cinnamon & Chai Dev Kit.
Penny Patton has a new written EEP tutorial out about how to use the Enhanced Environment Project, the Windlight update, on your land. She uses the Black Dragon viewer in her tutorial for the source of the illustrations. Most viewers have the exact same panels for setting up the environment. So, the only problem for Firestorm and other viewer users is getting the initial About Land panel open. About Land allows you to edit the parcel’s environment settings. Otherwise, you are editing your personal view of the environment.
At ground level in Firestorm, you can right-click the ground and select About Land. You can then edit the environment at the parcel or region level. Easy.
In Firestorm, the World->Region Details or Alt+R and then the Environment tab opens the same environment panel but, for Estate Managers until you right-click the ground you are editing your personal settings. And if you click on anything else you snap out of the parcel environment edit mode.
Also, if you teleport up to a high altitude you will likely lose the link to the parcel and can’t edit the environment.
In week 13 there was a third-party viewer UG meeting. A significant part of the meeting was spent discussing the EEP – Enhanced Environment Project (EEP).
The EEP Viewer is in RC and has been for several days. It is the big push in the viewer pipeline. Vir Linen thinks the Love Me Render viewer is the likely next candidate to be promoted. But, EEP should be ready to release in 2 to 3 weeks… Firestorm thinks they will be 2 to 3 weeks behind that. I think 5 or 6 weeks behind, but I’ll be happy to be wrong.
EEP Editing Problems – 4/2019
As soon as EEP releases the Lab will move on to EEP2. Some of the things people want in EEP are being put into EEP2 to allow EEP to release sooner.
EEP is causing the current black stars and changes in the appearance of some Windlight (WL) environments. So, lots of complaining going on. I’ve turned off ‘Use Region Default’ on my Firestorm viewer. You do that in Preferences->Firestorm->Windlight->Automatically change environments… (uncheck). I can still control whether WL is using the region-default WL or not with the Photo Tools controls. Continue reading →
There is an ongoing quest, for those of us texturing clothes and things in Second Life™, to upload better quality images. So, here is some new information on making better textures or aka diffuse layers. See Compression Depression.
Beq Janus, is one of the people working with the Firestorm team and has tweaked the mesh uploader and other parts of the viewer, been involved in tracking down bugs, and figuring out workarounds for various problems. Now she is on about a discovery made with the help of Whirly Fizzle, all starting with one of Hamlet Au’s New World Notes posts about Frenchbloke Vanmoer… who?
Whoever, down in the Debug Settings it is said there is some magic. Unfortunately, it isn’t there, often as is the case with magic. The magic appears surprising to some as they do not understand the trick and think the wand, hand waving, and abracadabras actually do something magical.
However, there is a lesson to be learned and another step in the quest for better SL image uploads.
Land impact calculation for Animesh has a bug that will be fixed with server rolls coming as soon as next week. This means if you have Animesh characters on your land, you could have potential land impact increases that cause an oveflow and force things to autoreturn. The specifics are discussed in the forum post below: Animesh Release Delayed.
Uploading Mesh – Beq Janus has an article on her blog explaining some of the esoteric aspects of understanding mesh uploading to Second Life™. See: Shedding light on Mesh uploading.
🐼 718 🐼 Blueprint Event Uber Event
Beq is working on the Firestorm Viewer’s mesh upload panel. So, now is a good time to be providing her feedback and ideas you think would make the uploaded easier to use or understand.
The article also defines some of the terms in use in the uploader that you may have misunderstood. Some of those ‘the word means… Y but here we are using it to mean X’ type of things. Continue reading →