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Body-Head textures and lighting


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So, I was tweaking around with my Signature Gianni's HUD as I tried to solve the issue of colour mismatching between my neck and shoulders, and throat and chest.

Lately I've gone through tons of different mesh head demos, and skin appliers for them; and I've been so frustrated with that even if I got an applier which is outspokenly Signature compatible, and compatible with the head I was trying, I couldn't get it right. The neck usually was a little darker, and if I moved the skin tone to match it, the throat looked horribly wrong instead. By accident, I missclicked and missed the HUD I was working with and as my avatar made a movement of the head, I noticed the contrast briefly flashing. So I brought a light source to bob next to my neck, and noticed it looked better. Then I just went into preferences and turned the settings to Ultra, and I couldn't spot a seam or contrast.

Β 

So, great, I can just run SL in ultra and this infurtiatingly glaring little issue will be gone?

Β 

Unfortunately I can't run it in ultra when I'm in places with a lot of other people, and I realize other people won't perceive the 'perfection' that's on my screen if their settings are different.

How does one deal with this? I mean sure, I can use the Ultra settings and turn down the draw distance and other things I don't need, but surely this must be more widespread than just me. I'm especially curious since I've seen friends and others going about with no neck seams or shadowing contrasts, what's up with that?

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6 minutes ago, Orwar said:

So, great, I can just run SL in ultra and this infurtiatingly glaring little issue will be gone?

Sadly, because of the complexity of mesh heads and bodies, the higher your graphics settings are the better your results will be. For instance, if you run at Med or High you're simply not going to get the same quality as you would running at Ultra. (Incidentally, the Firestorm viewer allows you to set graphics between the main levels. I always run halfway between High and Ultra. I don't know if you're using that viewer, or if the main LL viewer now has that as an option, but it may be useful to know.)

9 minutes ago, Orwar said:

Unfortunately I can't run it in ultra when I'm in places with a lot of other people, and I realize other people won't perceive the 'perfection' that's on my screen if their settings are different.

If you don't mind not seeing everyone else around you (for example: at a busy event), you can enable the 'Show Friends Only' setting which will reduce the amount of rendering your computer will have to perform. As to your second point there: we can't control anything about how others see us, in reality. We may look fabulous with our Bento mesh head and our exquisitely-dressed mesh body, but if they're not using a Bento viewer we'll look to them like we're melting, and if they have Avatar Complexity set incredibly low because they're on older computers or a poor connection, we'll just look like coloured blobs. We can wear tiny lights that iron out our imperfections, but others may have disabled rendering of attached lights, etc etc.

I'm assuming that, from this point -

12 minutes ago, Orwar said:

I've been so frustrated with that even if I got an applier which is outspokenly Signature compatible, and compatible with the head I was trying

- you mean you picked up both body and head appliers in the same skintone from the same skin designer, to try on your Signature body and the mesh head you were matching? You need both body and head appliers to be from the same designer. Unless you're buying a mesh head that has appliers from a specific designer (eg: Catwa male heads have default skins from Clef de Peau and should match CdP's body appliers perfectly) then you won't be able to directly match one designer's body applier with the default skin options on a mesh head that comes from a different designer.

Assuming you did that, did you try the neck fade on the Signature body (and, depending on which head it was, the various neck fades or neck size options that come with the head)? Another thing you can try, if you're running with Advanced Lighting enabled, is to turn off Ambient Occlusion. This can sometimes reduce or lessen the lines or marks at the neck.

Finally, there are sadly some designers who don't realise their body and head skin appliers simply don't match. I had it happen a while ago with a very well-known male skin designer, and I was really surprised that they let it go out on sale like that. Usually I'll check to make sure they've not updated one or the other when I find this happening (sometimes I may have older skin appliers, then buy a new head applier without realising the designer has updated the body appliers) but in this case I had the latest of both.

If you've tried everything, and nothing fixes it, I'd suggest sending a notecard to the skin designer saying you'd love to buy their wares, but you can't seem to get rid of this issue. Include some snapshots and ask for their advice. They may be completely unaware that people running on slightly lower graphics settings are having that issue, and if they tell you that you must run in Ultra in order to see their product at its best... well, you know not to shop at that place ;)

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Even on High-Ultra (what I used too) there can definitely be an issue with skins and head appliers NOT matching even from the original creator. IF however this is happening on most skins you might want to also check that you have all your skin tinting set back to zero (that is white with no tints at all). It is easy to forget that you were trying to match something up (never really works) and left a tint on.

One thing you can do and this is harder for guys Β -- is get a collar (jewelry unless you are actually into the "collar" thing) and cover up the problem. A friend of mine has a Akeruka head which apparently has issues fitting with bodies other than Slink (this via Strawberry Singh's blog). So SOMETIMES there really is no fix for any of us == even on Ultra.

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Thanks for the quick and thorough response, Skell. You may just be my new superhero, haha.

3 minutes ago, Skell Dagger said:

I don't know if you're using that viewer, or if the main LL viewer now has that as an option, but it may be useful to know.)

I'm using Firestorm, and for now I've just made a setting which uses all the Ultra functions, but with a lower draw distance and particle count. A friend said she'd check how it looks from her end when she's home too, and if we can figure out what specific settings are messing with it.

7 minutes ago, Skell Dagger said:

If you don't mind not seeing everyone else around you (for example: at a busy event), you can enable the 'Show Friends Only' setting which will reduce the amount of rendering your computer will have to perform.

I do this on occasion, if I'm at a big party where I have more than a few friends and a whole lot of strangers. Unfortunately it doesn't go well when I'm hosting, haha.

9 minutes ago, Skell Dagger said:

We may look fabulous with our Bento mesh head and our exquisitely-dressed mesh body, but if they're not using a Bento viewer we'll look to them like we're melting, and if they have Avatar Complexity set incredibly low because they're on older computers or a poor connection, we'll just look like coloured blobs.

That's a good point, I suppose I hadn't really considered it quite so thoroughly.

10 minutes ago, Skell Dagger said:

- you mean you picked up both body and head appliers in the same skintone from the same skin designer, to try on your Signature body and the mesh head you were matching?

Yes, I've tried with a few different constalations. I'm still using a system head, because I'm having a hard time letting go of my tattoos since they are such an integral part of my avatar's appearance (one for a cropped hairbase, but then one for a shadow for my mohawk which it really needs 'lest it look ridiculous, one for my full, ginger beard, and one for a scar under my eye which is just a nod to the skin I used before I got this one - yeah, I know; I'm weird.)

But ever since I started using my mesh body more regularly (people seem to want me permanently topless these days), I've been trying to find a way to deal with the contrast issue. So in that, I have tried a few Catwa demos, as well as the Signature head demo, but it always was the same.

Some skins have come with a system skin (for the head) and an applier for the body - neck too dark, shoulders too bright, throat too bright, chest too dark.

So then I try one that has an applier for a Catwa head and a Signature body - same problem. Plus the gap between the two meshes tend to be a bit bigger.

And then I tried with Signature's Head + Body, with an all-Signature applier, and it was the same thing again.

6 minutes ago, Chic Aeon said:

One thing you can do and this is harder for guys Β -- is get a collar (jewelry unless you are actually into the "collar" thing) and cover up the problem.

I did a panicked attempt of hiding the contrast and seam by putting on a collar yesterday. My friends got worried for me, lol.

Β 

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6 minutes ago, Orwar said:

Thanks for the quick and thorough response, Skell. You may just be my new superhero, haha.

Heh. I always try to include as much as I can in my initial reply. Saves a lot of to-ing and fro-ing later ;)

7 minutes ago, Orwar said:

I do this on occasion, if I'm at a big party where I have more than a few friends and a whole lot of strangers. Unfortunately it doesn't go well when I'm hosting, haha.

While it's far from ideal your other option there is to either bring Avatar Complexity rendering down far enough to 'jellydoll' the worst culprits while keeping the ones under, say, 50k or 70k (or whatever you find your system can handle) rendered fully. Failing that, just ignore what you look like in that moment, since - as already discussed - everyone there will have different settings and won't see you as you see yourself anyway.

8 minutes ago, Orwar said:

I'm still using a system head, because I'm having a hard time letting go of my tattoos since they are such an integral part of my avatar's appearance (one for a cropped hairbase, but then one for a shadow for my mohawk which it really needs 'lest it look ridiculous, one for my full, ginger beard, and one for a scar under my eye which is just a nod to the skin I used before I got this one - yeah, I know; I'm weird.)

Most mesh heads come with a developer's kit that will allow you to recreate things like your scars etc. (For instance, Catwa's heads include the kit with every purchase; no need to buy it separately.) Depending on who the tattoos are by, they might now have applier versions available (and, if not, they may create them if asked nicely!) And there are a lot of really great hairbase and beard appliers out now, from full cropped hair to some gorgeous fades that work well with mohawks. Added to that, Bento beards are starting to come onto the market if you want something in mesh rather than just an applier (there's one out at the Man Cave event right now; it moves with your avatar's facial movements) so I think you'd be able to recreate 'you' pretty well.

12 minutes ago, Orwar said:

So then I try one that has an applier for a Catwa head and a Signature body - same problem. Plus the gap between the two meshes tend to be a bit bigger.

I know that Catwa's heads come with different neck fits, including a Signature one. Make sure you're using that. Sometimes mesh heads will contain notecards that state you must have certain body propertions, such as neck thickess and body fat etc at certain numbers, in order to achieve a perfect fit. I don't own the Signature body (I use Slink, and I also have Belleza's Jake body, which is still in beta but is a nice cross between both builds) but one designer you could try is Stray Dog. The designer, Gak Akina, has some truly fantastic skins, from Asian to Scandinavian and everything in between and he's just come out with his own Signature-only body applier that matches them. I've been all but living in his skins of late. These are just three of my many purchases:

594d6200b2525_straydog.jpg.7f37ac6800bc8156028847552f212c30.jpg

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52 minutes ago, Skell Dagger said:

Heh. I always try to include as much as I can in my initial reply. Saves a lot of to-ing and fro-ing later ;)

While it's far from ideal your other option there is to either bring Avatar Complexity rendering down far enough to 'jellydoll' the worst culprits while keeping the ones under, say, 50k or 70k (or whatever you find your system can handle) rendered fully. Failing that, just ignore what you look like in that moment, since - as already discussed - everyone there will have different settings and won't see you as you see yourself anyway.

Most mesh heads come with a developer's kit that will allow you to recreate things like your scars etc. (For instance, Catwa's heads include the kit with every purchase; no need to buy it separately.) Depending on who the tattoos are by, they might now have applier versions available (and, if not, they may create them if asked nicely!) And there are a lot of really great hairbase and beard appliers out now, from full cropped hair to some gorgeous fades that work well with mohawks. Added to that, Bento beards are starting to come onto the market if you want something in mesh rather than just an applier (there's one out at the Man Cave event right now; it moves with your avatar's facial movements) so I think you'd be able to recreate 'you' pretty well.

I know that Catwa's heads come with different neck fits, including a Signature one. Make sure you're using that. Sometimes mesh heads will contain notecards that state you must have certain body propertions, such as neck thickess and body fat etc at certain numbers, in order to achieve a perfect fit. I don't own the Signature body (I use Slink, and I also have Belleza's Jake body, which is still in beta but is a nice cross between both builds) but one designer you could try is Stray Dog. The designer, Gak Akina, has some truly fantastic skins, from Asian to Scandinavian and everything in between and he's just come out with his own Signature-only body applier that matches them. I've been all but living in his skins of late. These are just three of my many purchases:

594d6200b2525_straydog.jpg.7f37ac6800bc8156028847552f212c30.jpg

Β  Β That first one is looking a little bit Bowieish to me. I like it.

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8 minutes ago, LittleMe Jewell said:

LOL - so now we all need face/body lights again Β Β :D

Oh god, no xD I was just referring to what Orwar had mentioned in his original post:

2 hours ago, Orwar said:

So I brought a light source to bob next to my neck, and noticed it looked better.

Β 

3 minutes ago, Ivanova Shostakovich said:

Β  Β That first one is looking a little bit Bowieish to me. I like it.

A lot of people have said that to me, and it kind of does. I wore the shape intended for one skin applier with a completely different actual applier, and that was the result I got. If a skin applier comes with a specific shape, it's usually included so you can get the exact same look as the ad image. But, since I don't want to look like everyone else who wears that skin and shape combination, I try out different shapes that are meant to go with other skins. I've had some really interesting and unusual results with that.

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12 minutes ago, Skell Dagger said:

I was just referring to what Orwar had mentioned in his original post:

It was a chandelier in my study. I always thought face-lights was for telling scary stories at pajama parties. =o

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When you are looking for color match, a few things you have to do since different windlight settings can cause problems. Use either the CalWL or Nam's skin and prom. Turn off advanced lighting. Now, look at the back of the neck, not under the chin. Under the chin, you're going to have shadows. If they match at the back, that's the best you can do. Look at yourself from a normal distance as well since others aren't going to be zooming in close to check on a slight difference in tone.

You can only look good/perfect for yourself. You have no way of controlling how others see you.Β 

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