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TheWolvesGather

Avatar Terminology & Mesh Directions?

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Hi, All!
I signed up for Second Life not too long ago and am beyond confused and overwhelmed. Everyone in NCI has been incredibly friendly, but I have received far too much conflicting advice and spent tons of money buying things that they’ve advised me to (that I don’t even know how to use).

For starters, would you mind defining (in SUPER simple terms) what exactly all of these words mean:
- Alpha?
- Mesh?
- Bento?
- Appliers?
- Skins?
- Omega?
- Relay?
I have followed directions and USED some of these things, but have no understanding as to what they DO. A comparable situation would be teaching someone who knows nothing about fish how to set up an aquarium; you can tell them to connect the airline tubing to the air pump and then to the air stone, but they most likely will have no clue what each of those items actually DOES for the tank.

I started out with a custom avatar called Elleria (the Vampire). So far I have purchased a Maitreya mesh body (Lara) and a Catwa head (Cami). However, when I add those two items and then go to “Edit My Shape,” I am either unable to adjust all of the settings OR my body pops right out of my dress. I would also like my skin to be very pale, so other users recommended that I purchase:
Folder title: Omega System Kit - Catwa
- Omega System Relay HUD Catwa v1.7 (no modify) (no transfer)
- Omega System Relay HUD - Catwa v1.8E (no modify) (no transfer)
- Omega System Kit - Catwa v1.8E (no modify) (no transfer)
- Omega Catwa HUD Skins v2.17 (no modify) (no transfer)

Folder title: Omega System Kit - Maitreya
- Omega System Relay HUD for Maitreya v.07 (no transfer)
- [LNL] Omega System Kit - Maitreya v1.7 (no transfer)
- Omega System Kit - Maitreya (no modify) (no transfer)
- Omega System Kit - Maitreya AF
 

 Folder title: {Bambi} - Catwa Bento Cami Skin Appliers + Shape (CATWA)
- {Bambi} - Catwa Bento Cami Shape (CATWA) (no copy) (no modify)
- {Bambi} - Catwa Bento Skin Appliers + Shape (Catya Bento) (no modify) (no transfer)

I have NO clue what ANY of the above means or how to use it or why so many items are needed just to have a pale skin color, haha.

If anyone is able/willing to teach me the ins & outs of SL clothing, as well as help me make a character with a long face, large/round hazel eyes, a slender body, and pale skin, PLEASE let me know. I will even send pictures of my computer screen for reference and compensate you for your time messaging back and forth with me, if need be. I feel like giving up, but I was so excited to play this game. ?

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Welcome to SL!

- Alphas are invisibility cloaks that cover part of your body so that your skin will not poke through badly-fitting clothes. For standard bodies you wear alpha layers that match your clothes, or if you are wearing mesh body parts (as you are) you wear a full-body alpha to hide your standard body so it will not poke through your mesh body. Then with a mesh body you can set alpha sections in the mesh body HUD which make small sections of the body invisible so they do not poke through clothes. Phew.

- Mesh is a method of construction, of clothes, bodies, buildings... In clothes the main methods are texture/applier (painted-on clothes like underwear) and mesh (realistic clothes). In buildings and other objects it's mesh (made with 3D modelling software) and prim (made using the building-blocks provided by SL). Mesh bodies are coverings for standard bodies, that look much better, but are much more expensive and complicated.

- Bento is the name given to the new animation facilities recently added to avatar bodies. You don't really need to think about it except that any mesh body parts you buy should probably be Bento-enabled (your Maitreya body is, but your Catwa head does not seem to be).

- Appliers are a method of adding texture clothes/skins/etc. to mesh bodies.

- A skin is a painted body-covering that every avatar must wear. The other things that must be worn are shape, eyes, and hairbase (i.e. scalp cover, which has been redundant for years). However if you cover yourself with mesh body parts your standard body becomes hidden so you would also wear a mesh-body skin (or use one of the built-in skin tones supplied with the mesh body).

- Omega is a compatibility system to allow a texture to be applied to almost all brands of mesh bodies.

- An Omega relay (or "system kit") is a little script HUD which allows you to apply Omega appliers to a particular brand of mesh body. You need a Maitreya relay and a Catwa relay, both supplied by Omega.

You should be easily able to find a pale skin for your body and head. Whichever skin package you use should include either appliers for both Maitreya and Catwa, or an Omega applier. Alternatively, you can just use matching pale skin-tone settings in the HUDs for your mesh body and head.

A shape is just a collection of settings that define the shape of your body, that you can easily create yourself ("edit appearance") or buy in the usual sources.

Setting up your avatar to perfection is a lot of work, especially when we jump right into the deep end with mesh bodies and heads, but you have a top-quality set of mesh body parts so you can get it looking reasonable very quickly then keep working at it and asking questions and it should all eventually slot into place.

Edited by angeoco
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There can be some truely odd geek terminology here. Sometimes I wonder how someone who never logged in SL would read all that. "Alpha and Omega? Is this an occultist software?"

 

8 hours ago, TheWolvesGather said:

- Alpha?

Alpha is a transparency layer. Then and by extension, we say that something is alphaed when it is fully transparent. This also explains why you may read alpha twice. First, you need to make your avatar transparent so it doesn't poke through your meshbody. Then on your meshbody HUD, you'll also read Alpha on it, this option allows you to hide parts of your meshbody when needed.

8 hours ago, TheWolvesGather said:

- Mesh?

On SL, mesh has a specific meaning to differentiate it from prim. The main difference is that a mesh has a virtual skeleton which allows it to move and flex in different points. Mesh clothings can then move and flex along your avatar motions. A mesh item can have sculpted details (buttons, zip, strings, ruffles, etc...) that are not possible to achieve with one prim (prim skirts usually have dozen of prims).

9 hours ago, TheWolvesGather said:

- Bento?

Bento is an addon to the default avatar skeleton for meshes. This addon allows creators to make animations (via HUD) for meshes. Bento also allows any user to edit his head/nose/eyes/ears/chin with the default Edit Appearance on a Bento mesh head.

9 hours ago, TheWolvesGather said:

Appliers?

Applier means it. It applies a texture on your meshbody. Each meshbody has 4 layers to apply textures on : skin, tattoo, underwear and wear (top/pants).

9 hours ago, TheWolvesGather said:

- Skins?

There are different skins but if you want a skin to be applied on your meshbody, you'll need an applier.

9 hours ago, TheWolvesGather said:

- Omega?

Because doing 25 appliers, one for each meshbody would had turned off creators and confused consumers, someone had the idea to make an universal applier system. One applier for all. It's called Omega Solutions, you can read more here : http://slpoweredbyomega.com/

9 hours ago, TheWolvesGather said:

- Relay?

While Omega is an universal applier system, it is not native. You need to enable/activate it on a meshbody. Then it depends on the creator. Some allows Omega to install in the meshbody and some refuse. A relay means you'll have to wear/add the Omega Relay each time you want this meshbody to apply an Omega applier.

9 hours ago, TheWolvesGather said:

However, when I add those two items and then go to “Edit My Shape,” I am either unable to adjust all of the settings OR my body pops right out of my dress.

Yes, this is an example when you may need to alpha parts of your meshbody.

I don't see it in your questions however I believe you may want informations about it :

- Fitmesh :

There are two types of mesh clothings : rigged mesh and fitmesh. Rigged mesh clothings have a static shape and don't deform to follow your appearance (Edit Apperance doesn't affect them). While a fitmesh clothing will deform with your appearance, going bigger or slimer, thicker or thiner (Edit Appearance does affect them). If you want your own unique shape, it's better to look after fitmesh clothings for Maitreya Lara.

 

9 hours ago, TheWolvesGather said:

So far I have purchased a Maitreya mesh body (Lara) and a Catwa head (Cami). (...) I would also like my skin to be very pale, so other users recommended that I purchase:

You only need one kit for each :

- For Catwa : https://marketplace.secondlife.com/p/Omega-System-Kit-Maitreya/6709966

-For Maitreya : https://marketplace.secondlife.com/p/Omega-System-Kit-Maitreya/6709966

 

9 hours ago, TheWolvesGather said:

I have NO clue what ANY of the above means or how to use it or why so many items are needed just to have a pale skin color, haha.

Well, now that you know that a meshbody is worn/added over your default avatar -which is why the default avatar needs to be alphaed-, you can also see why you need appliers to apply a skin on these mesh replacements (the default skin can't work on a mesh).

I've a pale skin and I really had a hard time to find a really well done one. I may suggest you've a look at Soul or Pink Fuel but remember to DEMO the skins and check that it looks like what you're looking for.

 

9 hours ago, TheWolvesGather said:

If anyone is able/willing to teach me the ins & outs of SL clothing, as well as help me make a character with a long face, large/round hazel eyes, a slender body, and pale skin, PLEASE let me know. I will even send pictures of my computer screen for reference and compensate you for your time messaging back and forth with me, if need be. I feel like giving up, but I was so excited to play this game. ?

Have look in the forums here : https://community.secondlife.com/forums/topic/405992-how-does-your-avatar-look-today/?page=105 and there : https://community.secondlife.com/forums/topic/32549-the-vanity-thread/?page=342 If you see any avie that has a style you like, I would suggest to poke directly the poster, most love SL and love to share tips.

 

Oh and don't give up, we all want to see how your avie will finally look. ;) 

 

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Alpha is also used to explain when you turn a part of the mesh body invisible. Then we say you alpha out the parts of the body. You turn off parts of the body. The HUD has sections and one is named "alpha". Many clothing creators do this for you, they put a script in the clothes who turn the parts of the mesh body invisible when you wear the clothes. For older clothes, you must turn on/off this yourself.

We say "save alpha slots" they are on the same section of the HUD. This means that you make invisible the part for low-cut jeans and save this in a slot. Next time you change to these jeans or similar ones, you click this slot and activate the alphas in one click. I think there are 5 slots for Maitreya. The next can be lower parts of breasts, waist and hips and be used under dresses, the third over the hips and butt for shorts. But no need to stress with this before you see if you really need them.

For face shape, Catwa Cami is an older head who only respond to a few sliders. The head is explained here: https://strawberrysingh.com/2016/07/11/catwa-cami-basic-female-mesh-head/

So....you can not make eyes bigger and rounder. Maybe the blogger abowe here has a shape you like, you will see she has a rather long face. She also has many styling posts. Even if she use tan skins, if you see a look you like, the skin creator make more than one shade. They normally have pale, fair, sunkissed, tan, coffee.

There are quite a few videos about SL, like this one about the Maitreya body:

 

You can search youtube for videos and see if they help.

Edited by Marianne Little
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4 hours ago, TheWolvesGather said:

@angeoco, @Marianne Little, & @Morgan Rosenstar, these are the first detailed, comprehensible explanations that I have received thus far, and I cannot even begin to thank you all for taking the time out of your day to write them. Super excited to look into all this. :)

Glad I could help. You mention that you wear clothes and edit your body, and it pops out if the clothes. This is a sign that the dlothes vreator is not all that good.

The first rigget worn mesh only responded to bone sliders, not the soft parts of the body. That's why you can change hip width and normally the worn clothes will follow. Increase butt, love handles, muscle mass, and the clothes does not increase.

These clothes are sold with the wording "standard sizes". They are not optimal for Maitreya mesh body or most other mesh bodies.

Body makers like Maitreya, has released a creator kit that allow designers to rig their clothes to follow the soft sliders too, the worn clothes will move with the sliders for the soft parts.

But it took a long time before this kit was rleased and designers was trying to rig on their own, some better than others but still. The skill of rigging can vary, so even if clothes are sold with "Maitreya fit included" it does not have to fit that well.

Fitmesh is what I call mesh sizes that aim to fit all sizes of avatars, but who in reallity fit no one really good. It is a hit or miss.

Some designers go their own ways in sizing. Some include only one fit. Lucky for you, Maitreya is the most popular and easy to find clothes for.

You will look for clothes where a Maitreya fit is included, but still demo them.

Bento: Link to a blog post bc I run out of time: https://strawberrysingh.com/2017/04/06/maitreya-lara-mesh-body-bento-update/

You do not have a Bento head, but a pre-Bento head, before the technology, so all you read about editing and animating Bento heads don't work on your head.

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On 9/25/2017 at 1:28 PM, TheWolvesGather said:

Alpha

Alpha is a graphics term. It means an invisible layer that covers something. If I have a red square and put an alpha mask in the middle shaped like a triangle, I'll have a transparent triangle in the middle of the square without having to edit the red square.

In SL, an Alpha is a piece of system layer clothing that lets you hide parts of your SL shape's avatar. With mesh bodies, you need to wear a partial or even full mesh to "turn off" the SL body and show the mesh shape.

On 9/25/2017 at 1:28 PM, TheWolvesGather said:

Mesh

Mesh basically means a 3d model. A mesh avatar is a modeled object in the shape of a person, not unlike how a house builder would make an object in the shape of a house. Because they are modeled and more precise (they have more definition than SL avatars), mesh avatars tend to look better. You can also make mesh avatars in any shape or size. In the case of child avatars, the SL shape doesn't scale down properly or go far enough to make a child's figure, so many kids use mesh avatars so that they actually look like a child.

Mesh avatars come with an alpha hud that does the same thing, only for the mesh; it turns off parts of the mesh avatar so it doesn't show through clothing or accessories. But that only affect ts the mesh, just as the alpha system layer only affect ts your base SL shape.

The only other note here is with clothing. Mesh clothing refers to the same kind of thing (a modeled object in the shape of a piece of clothing). This is in contrast to system clothing, which is what SL originally had. This is just a texture layer worn over the naked SL shape that makes it look like you have clothing, but since it's just a texture, it is largely the same shape as your avatar, giving your clothes that painted on look. You can also attach prims to create the illusion of clothing, but they do not move with your avatar properly (like bending at the elbow.

On 9/25/2017 at 1:28 PM, TheWolvesGather said:

Bento

Bento is the name of a fairly recent update. Every avatar has a skeleton, which is an animation term for how a mesh (an object) moves and deforms. Bento just added more bones to that skeleton to make it easier to make non-human accessories and avatars, as well as to add more articulation to avatars.

If you're human, the biggest thing here is the new finger and face bones, which allows for more animation options. This affects mesh avatars because that means an avatar will or will not be able to move their hands or have better facial expressions. The mesh avatar I use is non-Bento, which means the hands are in a fixed position. A bento avatar could (but wouldn't always) mean that those hands could be animated.

On 9/25/2017 at 1:28 PM, TheWolvesGather said:

Skin

A skin is the texture of your body. There are two things here. You have your system layer skin, which is needed to make your avatar load, and the mesh texture. When you wear an alpha layer to hide your SL avatar, that also hides the skin you are wearing. If you have a special skin you'd like to display on your mesh avatar, you need a way to texture the mesh to display it.

That's what appliers are, of which Omega is one possible applier system. If you aren't a 3d modeler, this can get confusing. An applier is a kind of script that tells the body to change it's texture. Skin makers can sell their skins as an "applier" instead of as a skin layer so that people with XYZ mesh avatar can use that skin. Appliers are also a way of adding system layer clothing to an avatar, which is something some people are into, provided that the mesh avatar is build to support that. The most useful use here is underwear, so you don't show up naked by accident.

So with that all said, this is what your avatar looks like. You have your SL shape, which defines your height and your proportions. You then add an alpha layer to turn off part or all of that avatar so that you can keep those proportions but not show the skin. You then add your mesh avatar, which gives you a new appearance, based on the proportions of your shape. You are now a naked person. You may add an applier briefly to copy the desired texture to your naked mesh body. Your's now a naked person. Close the blinds. You can now get dressed, by adding clothing and using the body's alpha hud to turn off any parts of the mesh avatar that show through the clothes. That's about it.

It's worth noting that this looks complicated because SL is over a decade old and did not have mesh capabilities when it was made (that is to say, objects had to be made using shapes like cones and cubes). mesh makes better looking objects, is generally better optimized, and is not the industry standard for 3d graphics, but it took some shoehorning to make things work with how SL was originally made. People then took that a step further and starting making things like appliers to give the user more customization options.

Clear like mud, huh?

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