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Suspiria Finucane

These are not real people...

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Battlefield-4-11-610x343.jpg

 

While browsing graphics news today, I saw a trailer for Battlefield 4 and was awestruck by the avatars in the game. It really made me think about the quality of SL avatars.

 

I’ve been dreaming of high quality av’s like this for some time to use in SL but alas…

 

I do have a question for everyone however.

 

Do you think we will ever have this type of avatar in SL or is the SL avatar unique and what we have is what we have?

 

.

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the graphic of the day will always outshine the products we have available, because they are designed for sales. But to abswer you question, I think ots possible as computer processors get fast, internet bandwidths get bigger and graphics cards get......awesomer, but i dont know if LL will be dragged into that century, or will try to remain where it is now. I say that because they see profit is much more imortant than maintenance or customer service.

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I think eventually creators will make complete avatars to wear over the existing avatar. For example, that guy on the left, if someone made him you could just wear it over your current avatar and look just like that, minus all the copyright infringement issues. At first there would only be limited things that avatar could wear, but with enough time I think businesses could make avatars along with corresponding clothing and accessories. Much like the petites. They are an avatar that you wear over your existing avatar and there are many fashions and accessories made by different creators you can buy for them, aos work with them and stuff like that. Almost everything in SL is user created anyways. At first there would not be much diversity, but given enough time I think there would be more. Also, I am not sure how it works, but some sliders do affect mesh shapes, like the petites you can lengthen their arms torso legs and widen them and such, maybe if done right, enough of the facial sliders could be rigged so those would work also, but I am just guessing.

eta: or even if the sliders couldn't work, the avatar creator could make options, such as several different noses, eyes, cheeks, chins, lips, ears, etc so different combinations would make different faces so people could still be unique. 

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Charolotte Caxton wrote:

I think eventually creators will make complete avatars to wear over the existing avatar. For example, that guy on the left, if someone made him you could just wear it over your current avatar and look just like that, minus all the copyright infringement issues. At first there would only be limited things that avatar could wear, but with enough time I think businesses could make avatars along with corresponding clothing and accessories. Much like the petites. They are an avatar that you wear over your existing avatar and there are many fashions and accessories made by different creators you can buy for them, aos work with them and stuff like that. Almost everything in SL is user created anyways. At first there would not be much diversity, but given enough time I think there would be more. Also, I am not sure how it works, but some sliders do affect mesh shapes, like the petites you can lengthen their arms torso legs and widen them and such, maybe if done right, enough of the facial sliders could be rigged so those would work also, but I am just guessing.

eta: or even if the sliders couldn't work, the avatar creator could make options, such as several different noses, eyes, cheeks, chins, lips, ears, etc so different combinations would make different faces so people could still be unique. 

I agree

is the future for SL. like you say is going to take time but we already starting to see some things. like mesh feet mesh hands mesh breasts and even mesh heads now. will take a while for the creators/designers to work out some standards but in time they all going to be mix n match pretty much. with skins to match/blend

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Havent you heard about rigged mesh? It completly replaces normal SL avi,now you can make ANNY kind of avi if your modeling skills are up to the task and rigg it to move same as normal SL avi,no creepy attachments that have joints you can see!

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When it comes to shapes, this is already possible, however, what makes a character realistic is texture and reflections.
And that's, where the current SL-viewer technology seriously lacks in capabilities.
The lab is working on technology to improve the viewer in that department, the keyword here is: "Materials Processing".
Inara Pey has some articles about this on her blog:

http://modemworld.wordpress.com/2012/08/22/materials-processing-the-what-why-and-where/
http://modemworld.wordpress.com/2013/01/31/materials-processing-more-sneak-peeks/

This technology allows realistic reflections on textured surfaces, so skin could look like it does in the posted pic.
Since resources are limited, especially after the last big round of layoffs, I don't know, when this will go live in any form.

Another technology necessary is the Mesh Deformer, according to Inara, no resources have been assigned to that project
yet, so noone knows, when something comes out of that.


However, there are much more basic bugs to fix first: Translucent earth.

groundproblem.jpg

 Since when goes light through solid ground/brick walls, etc.
Shadows do work with Sun & Moon, but when it comes to local lights, the whole thing fails miserably.
A simple light block, that prevents light going through non-transparent solid walls should be easily to implement,
even in basic shaders without much additional CPU/GPU-load.

 

 

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I don't know if we'll ever have something so super awesome it makes me go..... :womansurprised:

well, more than I already do, because I'm easily amused, and amazed

But it would be pretty cool. I do know it's possible and we have the potential. That's probably because I remember when avs looked more like claymation though. It was the whole package, nto just the avmesh  in general.

So..I too hope...but I don't necessarily know with any amount of certainty.

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The community also needs to get over its fear of resolutions higher than 512. I am pretty sure the majority of us have computers that can display resolutions in the 1000's just fine, but it is still taught everywhere that textures need to be 512.

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Jadeclaw Denfu wrote:

 

 

This technology allows realistic reflections on textured surfaces, so skin could look like it does in the posted pic.

Since resources are limited, especially after the last big round of layoffs, I don't know, when this will go live in any form.

Yes and no. Materials will be a huge boon to visual presentation in SL but there's a few things to consider.

First, LL has stated that we will not be able to apply materials to the avatar mesh. So, unless you're using a custom mesh body you will not be able to look any closer to the videogame characters pictured.

Second, the standard SL avatar has a lot of other issues, generally in proportion, poorly made mesh and a broken appearance editor all of which make it difficult or impossible to create avatars that could look as good as those pictured. Again, forcing you to rely on a custom mesh body. Such a mesh body will also likely suffer proportion issues because few people understand how the basic avatar sliders are skewed towards bad proportions.

  Also, custom mesh bodies will always be limited to clothing items made specifically for them and a lack of personalization options such as skins, tattoos, shape customization, etcetera which standard avatars enjoy.

 It's possible LL will introduce a brand new avatar at some point, but they seem reluctant to do so and as a company still lack the necessary design experience to put together a good replacment.


Jadeclaw Denfu wrote:

However, there are much more basic bugs to fix first: Translucent earth.

 Since when goes light through solid ground/brick walls, etc.

Shadows do work with Sun & Moon, but when it comes to local lights, the whole thing fails miserably.

A simple light block, that prevents light going through non-transparent solid walls should be easily to implement,

even in basic shaders without much additional CPU/GPU-load.

Most of SL's basic problems don't go unfixed due to a lack of resources, but because LL doesn't see them as problems worth fixing.

SL has never had an art director or someone taking a "game designer" like role in crafting the user experience. LL desperately needs these things to make educated decisions on how to prioritize their resources.

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Guilliaume wrote:

The community also needs to get over its fear of resolutions higher than 512. I am pretty sure the majority of us have computers that can display resolutions in the 1000's just fine, but it is still taught everywhere that textures need to be 512.

Most videogame textures aren't larger than 512x512. Check out the assets for a game like Skyrim, the model of the sharpening stone at any forge. It uses two textures, one is 512x256 and the other is 256x256. 

I purchased a medieval tavern set of chairs, tables, food, etcetera. Looked fantastic, but entirely unusable. Everything used multiple 1024x1024 textures. It had a tip jar for the bar top. A drinking cup with a "tip jar" sign leaning against it and some coins inside.  It used about five 1024x1024 textures. Just that drinking cup. That's ridiculous and yet everything in the set was made like that. Even the shadow textures were 1024x1024 despite the fact that you could reduce those to 64x64 and not see any difference in quality.

 Using only a handful of these items reduced my framerate from 50+ to about 5fps. And my computer is fairly beastly.

 The community needs to better understand how texture map use affects performance and how to better decide what size texture to use. Large textures sparingly, for large surfaces where a lack of detail will be obvious, smaller textures on smaller objects like chairs, tables, cups, etcetera.

Linden Lab really needed to include texture use in Land Impact calculations, but they didn't. (And yet they included scripts, which are entirely unrelated from rendering costs.)

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There's also the issue of what the SL engine can handle. It's twelve+ years old, remember. It doesn't use the same modern texture compression of modern videogames.

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Suspiria Finucane wrote: Do you think we will ever have this type of avatar in SL or is the SL avatar unique and what we have is what we have?

Of course we will. Only problem is, by the time we do, cutting-edge videogames will have advanced far beyond that. And yes, there's probably a few technological things LL could do to close the gap... but I suspect SL is always going to lag (pun intended) due to its networked multi-player, on-demand world load nature.

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Also, custom mesh bodies will always be limited to clothing items made specifically for them and a lack of personalization options such as skins, tattoos, shape customization, etcetera which standard avatars enjoy.

Right. And that's one reason that a new standard avatar is such a formidable challenge.

Those guys in the first-post picture? I'm guessing they don't have to change clothes and skins a lot. Even if they do, I'm thinking those clothes aren't made by end-users of the game, and so there doesn't have to be any special facility built-in to that platform for end-users to make such clothes and skins -- to say nothing of an array of magical sliders that make them look more buff and intimidating, or less, on demand.

Second Life is now at the stage where an avatar of currently acceptable quality can only be made by full-mesh replacement, and where, in contrast, interchangeable user-generated avatar content can only be used on avatars that are obsolete by the standards of everything else on the platform.

This is not a stable situation.

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Check out games like Skyrim, Saints Row 3, Cityo f Heroes, Eve Online, APB, etcetera. Those games offer character customization and a plethora of clothing options, 

It's possible to create a base avatar mesh that looks good, can be compatible with a wide range of user created clothing options, and sliders to go from thin and lanky to buff and intimidating to overweight. The problems with the SL avatar stem almost entirely from a lack of design skill on the part of LL.

The SL avatar mesh suffers from seams that don't line up properly, bad vertex placement (some people have even improved the vertex placement noticeably for TPVs but LL won't add these changes to the main viewer despite the fact that they're big improvements which are entirely compatible with existing content) and a lack of basic common sense (see the mesh deformer trainwreck).

Again, they don't hire artists. They really need to.

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- SL lacks of the technology for surfaces, materials, lighting, avatars and so on  to keep up with this.

- Top hardware required for the full quality of the game.

- In a game there is a game designer, who will keep a scene playable by making sure the vertices and the textures ane within the limit. Not to mention that everything is predefined and on your hard disk and can be optimized for every scene.

- In SL there is no game designer - there aren't even many people with some understandment for the limits. Mesh for example doesnt cause lag, but if you make some mesh with an incredible complexity and add plenty of high res textures - congrats - you made it!

So SL will never keep up with any average game, thats for sure. But of course there is still alot of space for improvements.

 

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In addition to the previous comments, those avatars are probably pulled from a hard drive and the only streamed data necessary is what's needed to update their movements and locations. In SL nothing is local and everything has to be streamed off of servers through a motley selection of internet connections all over the world. Two words: Blue Mars, may it rest in peace.

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Admittedly, I never last more than five minutes in games qua games, so anything much beyond the splash screen is unknown to me.

And admittedly, a new standard avatar is where I think SL has to go, whatever the challenges involved.

Still, with SL, before we ever get anywhere on a new avatar, we'd have to scope the problem, and this is always hard. For example, dare we say we're only handling humanoid avatars? Or must the design accomodate every shape, scale, and skeleton of every animate critter and inanimate gizmo that could ever exist? (and all that would imply for animations)

(Also, slightly off the subject, but not really: What's to be the future of applied Mesh clothing? Although I can find very few Mesh articles fit to wear, I've already hit this point where I can wear a Mesh top, or a Mesh bottom, but never both, lest they fight it out for who gets to show at about waist level. How are people handling this? If the solution is to only ever wear combinations designed to be compatible--that is, basically, from the same designer if not the very same outfit--it doesn't seem like there's any future in interchangeable clothing items anyway. If these other platforms have solved this problem, how did they do it? Something equivalent to an alpha layer that masks applied mesh? or... ???)

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I agree, a new avatar mesh would  be ideal. Necessary, even, for SL to remain relevant going forward.

I'd set it up like this.

First, I'd consider it mandatory that the new avatar offer up more freedom in personalization than the current avatar allows, not less, but it should also be easier to personalize.

 To that end, I'd keep it simple. Focus on human(oid) avatars with a reworked mesh and appearance editor.

 The obvious difference would be the quality of the mesh. This doesn't necessarily mean more polygons, the emphasis would be on a better made avatar mesh. Seams would match up better for easier texture work, no pinched vertices causing ugly stretching and weird shading issues.

 The appearance editor would be entirely reworked. Easier to use while offering no less freedom. You'd still have "shapes" like we do now (obviously not compatible between old and new avatars) but proportion sliders would be better balanced. In the current avatar, a 6' tall woman needs to max out the arm length slider just to have proportionate arms, taller women are just out of luck and have to settle for short arms. I'd fix that, calibrating proportions so that even if you were at the extreme short/tall end you'd still be able to make a perfectly proportionate shape. There'd also be a "scale" slider, letting you adjust the size of your avatar, while maintaining proportions.

 I'd design rigged mesh around these sliders, so properly made rigged mesh would deform to fit any shape. So you could buy a mesh sweater and, if properly made, it would just work.

As for how to get around mesh clothing compatbility, I don't believe there's an easy answer. If someone makes a mesh shirt that clips very obviously through a particular pair of mesh pants, it seems the only solution is to avoid wearing those items together. That said, I'd provide well made library examples and content creation tutorials which pointed out issues like this to content creator and encourage compatibility where necessary.

Obviously, not all clothes will be compatible, but there's no reason most combinations shouldn't be workable.

 Normal maps would be a part of the new avatar. To increase your avatar's muscles only so much of it would involve bulking out the mesh, push the slider further and normal maps would take over to make you appear more muscular without deforming the mesh into a hideous mess.

You'd also be able to apply your own custom maps to the avatar to achieve a variety of effects.

 I'd sacrifice compatibility with old avatar layers like skins, tattoos and clothing. The new avatar would have separate textures for each arm and each eye. I'd also improve the system skin editor so that it was actually possible to create a good looking skin using only sliders. I know there'd be some unhappy skin makers, but there would still be a skin market as there's only so much you can do with sliders.

Heads would be separate from body shapes. So you could swap bodies without changing your head and vice-versa. I'd also redo expression morphs so basic facial expressions looked good.

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If an estate manger receives complaints about part of a sim "being laggy" and suspects that high res textures may be involved, what should she do to check this?   I know my way round parts of the Sim Statistics windows reasonably well, but I don't know much about textures or the various consoles that display texture info.

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Innula Zenovka wrote:

If an estate manger receives complaints about part of a sim "being laggy" and suspects that high res textures may be involved, what should she do to check this?   I know my way round parts of the Sim Statistics windows reasonably well, but I don't know much about textures or the various consoles that display texture info.

There are some third party viewers (Sorry, I'm not sure which ones offhand, but I'll ask around) which will actually tell you the size of texture maps used on rendered objects.

If it's a moddable object you own, you can always select individual faces and check yourself, the texture select window will tell you the size of the texture used even if it's not a texture in your own inventory. This does not work with other people's objects (unless you have mod rights) or no-mod objects (another reason to avoid no-mod items).

 Beyond that, LL has given us no tools to manage or monitor texture use in a sim. That's largly why it's such a problem. There is no resource cost associated with texture use and no way (other than the above suggestions) on monitoring the texture use of other people's objects and avatars.

 

I'm always saying SL needs an art director, this is one of the reasons why. To anyone who has worked with graphics, these things are obvious, yet LL is entirely ignorant of them.

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mew mew ma mew :matte-motes-bashful-cute:

 

You can already get full mesh avatars, as detailed as you like, or make it your self as detailed as you like.

 

The ones i have seen are all extreme body porportions, or odd critters like scary bunnies, strange looking dwarf girls, or my favorite, cute little hamsters that get you kicked out of sims because its ok to rape and murder but not to be a hamster,

 

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its ok to rape and murder but not to be a hamster,
 

Well, duh! I mean, if it's okay to rape and murder, it can't be okay to be a hamster. Imagine the carnage, and PETA's reaction.

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One way to go would be to introduce a 2nd more modern avi mesh to SL while leaving the old one in place. That way people wouldn't be all pissed... oh... nevermind. Change anything at all and people will be pissed. Nevermind. :)

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Even with these advances in face animation, which might bridge the uncanny valley, there's the problem of figuring out what expression the face should have. If doing it from text, the computers will have the same problems we do. They'll screw up the translation and we're right back at the bottom of the valley again. People have a hard enough time reading me, particularly when I'm in a satirical mood, imagine the fits I'll give an algorithm.

When the expressions are professionally choreographed (which would not be the case in a real-time situation) it might work, but in SL it would be a disaster.

We've got a long way to go.

ETA: Texting overtook voice as the preferred communications method for phones back in the summer of 2010 (or maybe it was 2011, either way calling them "phones" is now wrong). Some of that was because we like the added control that texting gives us, the easier etiquette and the ability to (although we don't often take advantage of it) consider what we say for a few seconds before saying it. The immediacy of real-time facial animation seems counter to some of the very reasons we like Second Life.

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