This is the second installment featuring Second Life® creators discussing their work and the limitations that determine what is possible. Again, I thank the following designers for their generous gift of time and willingness to participate: Cyclic Gearz (CG), SySy Chapman (SS), Tyr Rozenblum (TR), Siddean Munro (SM), Anya Ohmai (AO), Shai Delacroix (SD).
Why can’t we apply an alpha to mesh body parts like a texture map?
For more information about this question, see this article at New World Notes.
CG: That’s a limitation within SL itself, a Jira was created, but LL have said it’s not feasible. (Link to the Jira https://jira.secondlife.com/browse/BUG-8100)
TR: What she said
SD: Yes you can. This is possible with our own creations only and crafting specific models for our own lines. I’m not sure I understand the point of making alpha maps for mesh bodies. Sorry.
If you claim that you’re doing standard sizing, do you really do it or do you just guess that it’s good enough?
SS: I do it.
TR: I do it, though sometimes with XS and Small I can’t figure out why I bother releasing both. So I just do it to save IMs. The shapes are just so close on most items (not all) that there is barely a difference.
SD: Yes, of course I do. Not much is left to guesswork in 3D to be honest. Its a lot of maths and precision counts for well fitting clothes. Yes, its a pain to distinguish to between the XXS-M. Large is just overkill anatomically speaking on some styles (Large isn’t even realistically large). But I still do it as it has become a standard and people are particularly sensitive about sizing.
Do you take mesh body parts into consideration when making your items? Like if a sleeve will go over a wrist or a pose will break an ankle? I just did some poses, and no matter how much I tweaked them, if I had my high feet on, the ankles broke. Just something about them that doesn’t cooperate.
TR: Yes, sort of. I try to pay attention mostly to Slink hands and feet. On occasion I’ll find breaks but I don’t think it’s often. I hope it’s not! Because I wear my own stuff and wear both those things. I think the only time problems come in for me personally are long skirts. I feel like I am fighting a losing battle with shoes or Slink (or any foot related stuff) when it comes to long robes, gowns and skirts.
SS: I take Slink hands and feet into account as much as i can. Indeed long skirts/gowns can be a problem, so offering a no feet (completely alpha’d out) option is i think best at this point.
SD: No. I base it on the classic Default Ruth/standard sizing. Everything I make is hand weighted from scratch and dependent on style. This way I know how and when it breaks so I can fix it because its an LL-issued asset.
Isn’t a recolor simply a matter of changing the hue a bit, a little tinting?
CG: Not if you make all your textures in the 3D program of your choosing. In a setting that emulates RL lighting, different colours react differently to light and shadow, and many 3D programs that creators use will emulate that when the textures are made. It is entirely dependent on the program used.
TR: Sometimes just adjusting in photoshop doesn’t do justice to a recolor. You lose shadow or lighting, things get dull. So usually if we are going to post some kind of limited texture, we go through the entire process from the start to finish. It just looks better.
SS: It’s NOT that easy as simply recoloring as the ladies said above. With certain patterns it’s a matter of completely retexturing.
SD: The color selection is what designer wanted it to be and the effort of rendering the right mix of patterns/hues can be compensated as well. Texture art is a whole department on its own.
Why can’t we tinker with our mesh clothes a bit, taking off the sleeves for example, or removing a belt that is part of the mesh?
CG: Originally I would have said this wasn’t possible, however there is a workaround, I would think. One could use a HUD to alpha out the parts of the mesh you would want to ‘remove’ and that would work visually, but realistically the mesh itself would still be there. With mesh itself, you would need multiple attachments for each removable part, which isn’t always workable, when you consider the complexity of some outfits, and the limitation of attachment points in regards to entire outfits.
TR: Actually, this is something we already do, with add ons, it’s usually HUD related. Taking of sleeves would probably not look right, if it was weighted with sleeves in mind, though, thats actually a good idea to consider going forward for people who want to wear jackets with certain tops. Good idea question person! You wouldn’t be able to wear them w/o the jacket because your arms would clip most likely. But it would help with layering mesh. We already are working on leggings that have both feet and no feet options so people can wear them with boots 🙂
SD: I already do this but still on a limited basis. Not all styles are the same as not all items are weighted the same.
Hair creators, what scares you away from masculine or male-oriented styles?
CG: I don’t make hair, but it seems to me that if you are running a business in SL, you would want to create things that sell more. Having made male items and sold none, I can easily see why people wouldn’t bother as much as they do with female/feminine styles which are more likely to sell.
TR: Not making hair, I can only speak from a fashion perspective, people follow what’s popular. They watch trends, it’s as important RL as SL. IF the shaggy casual “Masculine” look isn’t in, you probably aren’t going to be making money off the hours you put in. I feel weird even applying gender to it, like what IS masculine. Anyway that isn’t here nor there. Men are notoriously not as big of shoppers as women. I know people would disagree, but for the most part, they aren’t.
AO: I personally am not… a regular hair maker and probably only make hair once a year. With that in mind I choose to create hairstyles that I personally would like to wear/own in SL thus it being female oriented. At the same time I’ve tried creating male hairs before and they turn out rather feminine D: So I guess its not really fear in that case but personally i’m just not cut out/have the eye to make masculine hair haha. I do have to note that when creating short spiky styles, you end up with a lot more strands (quite similar ones in fact) than you would when creating a bulk of long luscious locks – so maybe that might be a deterring reason as well?
The most obvious reasons that more hairs have been created for females is really because the demographics for shoppers in SL is pretty female dominant. I don’t think we can argue that fact.