Lady of the Towers

My first mesh clothing is now up for sale! More soon to follow.

This medieval styled rigged mesh dress moves with the body. In the demo package you can try on the three dress sizes and the two alpha sizes to determine if one will fit your avatar as you prefer.

There are two kinds of mesh clothing: rigged and un-rigged.

The rigged dress will move with avatar customization sliders for bone length and width (shoulders, hips, tallness, arm and leg length), but not with morph sliders that control things like breast size, belly size, butt size, love handles, and general muscularity settings. That is why three different sized dresses are provided so that you can find one that should come close to your avatar. The alphas hide any parts that might poke through.

Un-rigged mesh is much easier to fit to your avatar than sculpties or prim attachments made of multiple pieces. The un-rigged shoes are designed for a shoe size setting of 0. Unlike prim or sculpty shoes, they are one piece each, so you can make them wider or more narrow, shorter or longer, by only making one adjustment! There are no parts to the shoes that you must adjust individually!

In general you will find that most mesh clothing will have a lower prim equivalent than would be needed to make it out of sculpties, flex prims, and normal prims, and will cause less lag for yourself and those around you.

Lady of the Towers

I have completed another mesh outfit for women. It is a medieval styled dress with a pair of heeled slippers.

The dress is one piece of mesh, and it was much, much easier to rig and weight paint than multiple mesh outfits. I have taken a lesson from that!

The shoes are also one piece of mesh, made of two submeshes. They are not rigged and attach to the right and left foot as regular shoes do. They make use of the alpha layer of clothing instead of using an invisiprim.

For those interested, here is a series of pictures taken along the way to show some of my process, from Blender to ZBrush.

Rigged Mesh Ensemble for Men

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!

Weighted Mesh Ankle Boots

I continue to experiment and play around on the mesh beta sims on the test grid. I finished the ankle boots I made to go with the peasant tunic and dress. Here are some pictures.

I thought the boots would be simple, but weighting the mesh was tricky because the buckles were in an area of movement. It took a lot of fiddling to get it right. It is all a learning experience.

Next I will attempt a men’s role play outfit.

Still playing with weighted mesh clothing!

I completed the skirt for to go with the tunic I blogged about a few days ago. I tried linking the skirt to the tunic, and that works perfectly, so even though it is made up of two mesh pieces, it is only one piece in my inventory that I need to wear, taking up only one attachment point.

The two pieces together total 32 prims at the moment. The Lindens continue to tinker with prim equivalencies, so I hope it will be fewer prims when mesh comes to the main grid. When I first uploaded the tunic, it came in as only 6 prims, and then it jumped to 14.

It took a lot of fiddling to get the weighting just right. The weighting provides some control over how the mesh deforms with the joints. It works perfectly for most poses. I tried a couple of extreme poses where a bit of leg poked through, so I included glitch pants. It won’t be 100% perfect for all poses, but I would say it is about 95%. Because most of the avatar beneath is alpha’d out, it will fit anyone. I experimented by moving appearance sliders to the extremes, and it works.

My next attempt will be a pair of boots.

Playing with Weighted Mesh Clothing

I have been playing with mesh in the open beta test of mesh import on the Second Life test grid for the past three weeks.

Here is a peasant tunic I have been working on. It is one piece, and it is the equivalent to 6 prims. I want to play now with a mesh underskirt to see if that will work well for me, or if I will use a flex prim underskirt as I have before under sculpties. I also want to make boots, and perhaps an apron to go with it.

I had used ZBrush exclusively to make sculpties and came to love the ability of that program to handle fine detail and texturing. However, ZBrush will not export to collada, so I had to export as an .obj and import that .obj into Blender, which will export to collada. ZBrush does not handle rigging and weighting well at this point, so getting my clothing mesh to move with the avatar and weighting that movement must be done in another program. Blender does that quite well. Blender also handles UV maps much better than ZBrush.

All of this meant that I had to learn Blender. I have been working at that and also figuring out my process, my workflow or pipeline. Here is a very rough outline of what I have arrived at.

1. Make basic mesh in Blender. This permits me to rough out a very low poly form with perfect quads. I can extrude, select edge loops, add edge loops to areas where I want more detail, and so on.

2. Export basic mesh as an .obj and then import that into ZBrush. There I can subdivide the model to get good density to sculpt detail into and shape the mesh. Once I have done so, I move down to the lowest subdivision level and export that as an .obj.

3. Take the shaped mesh back into Blender as an .obj import. I then mark the seams where I want the UV map to be cut to make islands that will make sense to me. I unwrap the mesh and check out the UV map to make sure it is good. I then export the mesh again as an .obj, usually adding “UV mapped” to the name to avoid confusion.

4. Weight your mesh in Blender. At this point you can export the mesh as collada and set that aside, ready to take into Second Life.

5. Import the .obj UV mapped mesh back into ZBrush, and using the UV Master plugin I hit the “copy UVs” button. I then load up the subdivided mesh model I was working on and take the geometry down to the lowest level. I then open up the UV Master plug in again and hit the “paste UVs” button. This works very well!

6. Now I can texture it in ZBrush using that program’s fantastic tools at the highest subdivision level. When done, make a texture map from your polypaint, clone it, flip it vertically, and export it out.

7. Go into the test grid and import your collada model as weighted mesh and your texture. Put them together, and voila!

Black Rose Council Woman

This ceremonial outfit was inspired by the idea of evil queen meets Gorean free woman on planet Vulcan. How is that for an inspirational mishmash? The result makes for a truly intimidating appearance for that high caste or wealthy, high and mighty woman. She is not to be trifled with!

It can be worn with or without hair, which is not included. There is in the package a hood on the new tattoo layer. However, this hood will be visible only to those using a Viewer 2 compatible viewer which supports the tattoo layer feature.

It includes platform shoes and comes in 8 colors: black, blue, brown, gold, green, purple, red and white.