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what are the hair type differences?


AdaraKai
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Everything in SL is mesh... on a technical level. Press Ctrl-Shift-R to see the wirefrme view. Press again to return to rendered view.

In SL jargon we use the term mesh to mean an object for which we uploaded a list of vertices. Otherwise it is a Primitive (Prim), an object that has its list of vertices built into the viewer, i.e., cube, cone, sphere, etc. Sculpties are like mesh but, we use a texture to containt the list of vertices.

Hair can be made from any of these plus the avatar has built-in hair which almost no one uses.

Prim hair can be flexible. Some hair is a mix of basic types; prim, mesh - rigged or fitted.

Mesh hair is shaped in Blender or 3D Max or Maya or ... Mesh hair is like most attachments. It can be moved, rotated, and positioned on the avatar. It can also be sized, larger, smaller. We can't change the basic shape inside SL.

Rigged hair was the first mesh hair that moved with the avatar in a flexible way. Hair drapped over a shoulder does not pass through the shoulder when the head turns. But, it cannot be sized, rotated, or repositioined.

Fitted hair is like rigged but, it is 'rigged' to a set of bones that respond to the shape sliders. So, if hair drapes over a woman's breast, when the slider makes the breasts bigger, instread of the breast poking through the hair, as it would with Mesh or Rigged, the hair moves out with the breast.

Mesh, Rigged, and Fitted all have advantages and disadvantages. So, there is no "best". However, Fitted is the latest addition to our list of objects.

To know which is best... try the demo and see how it works. With hair I don't care much whether it is Rigged or Fitted. I care how it looks when I move and if it fits.

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Nalates is completely right...but since this is a confusing topic, I'll answer as well.  Maybe it will add to your understanding!

The original hair was "system hair".  It can be "styled", sort of, with the Appearance sliders.  It looks gag-me awful, though.

So...people started making hair out of prims.  Think of them as a wig.  You also wear a "hair base" with these wigs.  A hair base (also called a bald cap, baldy, bald head, or eyebrow shaper) is simply a system hair style with the sliders set to zero.  It makes you bald, so no system hair pokes out through your prim hair wig.

The first prim hair was also pretty ugly, especially long hair styles...because the hair didn't move.  But when flexible prims (flexiprims) came along, hair could be created that moved in the wind, or in response to your body movements.  This was great!  And it still is...my favorite hairstyles incorporate at least some flexiprims.  The only drawback was that, being an attachment, the hair would penetrate your avatar body.  Sometimes long hair would fall down, and vanish inside your breasts.

Then came Mesh.  Mesh objects are created in a 3D modeling program outside of SL.  Mesh modeling allows the creator to make very detailed, organic shapes, compared to traditional prims.  There are three types of Mesh hair.

  • Unrigged.  Unrigged mesh is not flexible...so it's really only suited to short hairstyles or updos.  Unrigged mesh does have one advantage, though...it can be edited, so you can re-size it if necessary.
  • Rigged.  "Rigged" is an animator's term.  It means that a model (in this case, your hair) is linked to the bones of your avatar skeleton and will bend and move with you.  This provides more realism, especially for longer hair styles.  However, it still looks a lot stiffer than good old flexiprim hair.  It does not blow in the wind at all.  Rigged mesh cannot be repositioned or re-sized at all.
  • Fitted Mesh (or a proprietary variant called "Liquid Mesh").  This type of mesh is also rigged.  But in addition to moving with your body movements, it is also linked to some special new avatar bones that lets the Appearance shape sliders affect the mesh hair...so if you change your shape, the hair will adjust to fit the new shape.

"Hair materials" - This could be referring to one of three different things.  

  • You might be buying an untextured mesh model.  This would be full permissions, and is sold to allow you to apply your own hair textures to the model.  You would usually not buy this, unless you are a creator and intend to texture and sell the hair as a complete product.
  • You might be buying hair textures, to apply to your own created hair or to some other hair for which you have the necessary permissions.
  • But most likely, the seller means that the hair textures make use of the new "materials" texture functions.  These provide much more realistic specular, bump, and reflection mapping.  Don't worry about the technical terms...just understand that it's now possible to make more realistic-looking textures for objects.
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