I have previously made a role play peasant dress and boots for women. The dress was fairly simple, consisting of two pieces of mesh, and it was my first experiment with weighted or rigged mesh clothing, clothing prims that will move with your avatar.
For the past while I have been working on a more complex outfit for men, consisting of bracers, boots, pants, shirt, vest and belt. The vest, belt and boots also had smaller detailed parts making up buckles and straps. It was a learning experience which further honed my mesh sculpting skills.
Below is a composite picture showing progress from a sketch made in photoshop over a picture of my male model avatar, to base mesh, and the final detailed and textured product. I use Blender, ZBrush and Photoshop CS5.
This is a learning process for me, and I am so glad that they opened the mesh beta to everyone so that I can take advantage of this time to improve my mesh making skills before mesh hits the main grid.
The major thing that I learned from this ensemble is that it is very difficult to rig layered mesh clothing so that bits and pieces of the layers do not poke through as the model moves and deforms. In future I will try to make it as one or two pieces of mesh with details sculpted in rather than attached as separate pieces. The boots are separate, and I will make footwear separate so that I can sell them apart from the outfit.
The bracers are not rigged, as it was not necessary since they do not need to deform with any joint movement. The nice thing about the unrigged bracers is that although there are small pieces of submesh making up the buckles and straps, you can adjust their size all as one, so if you make it bigger to fit your avatar you do not then have to move the buckle parts.
Below are pictures in different poses so you can see how the clothing moves with the avatar. In most poses the movement is good. In some extreme poses, pieces of mesh will poke through.
Prim equivalencies keep changing while mesh is in beta. They have yet to arrive at the final formula. As it is, rezzed on the ground it is 110 prims for the whole outfit, which given the level of detail is not bad.
The outfit will adjust with bone length and position sliders, but not with morph sliders. What this means that if you make your avatar taller, your arms longer, your shoulders or hips wider, or your torso longer, the outfit will adjust and follow those sliders. Things that are morphs do not move with the bones of your avatar skeleton, like the sliders for breasts, belly size, butt size and muscularity. The outfit will not move to accommodate those sliders. To get around this, an alpha is provided that must be worn with the outfit to hide your avatar body so that it does not poke through.
The outfit will fit most avatars, but those with sliders set to extremes may need to make a copy of their shape and adjust it to the outfit and keep that shape in the folder with the outfit. I acknowledge that many people will not want to do this, but for some outfits, such as a hallowe’en costume or a dress they love, people may be willing to do this.
I plan to do another blog post soon with pictures to show mesh clothing with different avatar slider positions, so you can get some idea of how things will fit avatars of different sizes.
There are good things to come! Bring on the mesh!