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fuema

Avatar body shaping for noobs?

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I'm new to SL and I tried looking up the answers to some of my questions but I couldn't understand them tbh and I've bought so many things and applicators to try and fix my issue. Also I apologize of this subject is in the wrong place. I read that only certain types of clothes work on certain avatars? Like mesh and layers. I bought a CATWA head and I know how to use everything head wise, but the clothes I buy don't look right on my avatars body. I'm using the classic avatar and her body is all box like compared to others on SL and I wondered if there is a way for me to fix it, like steps without having to change the skin I picked ( because the only body corrector I tried had mesh skin that came with it ) I want to know if there is a way to make the shape more round. And I noticed there are hands and feet to apply that some stores sell for more detail, would I need those too? I've even bought body types but they don't look right and I think I need something to edit the shape to make it smooth because no matter how much I edit my body shape it looks, off and noob like. I've link some pictures last picture is what I have in my inventory. Someone told me that the alpha files are to hide body parts ( they msg me this after seeing my atrocious avatar ) and I don't know how I'd use those, I don't want to hide all my body parts because that leaves nothing but a floating head. Also thank you, in advance, to everyone who replies in reply to my questions.

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Classic Avatar is from 2004, so 13 years old and quite boxy - worst are the feet, ugh.

The newer mesh bodies like Maitreya and Slink and so on are much newer, so look smoother. See meshbodyaddicts.com for some info on the various bodies. Some need hands, some don't.

Now as to why your clothing can't fit: Clothing is "rigged" to fit various avatar shapes. You have a classic body so you can't wear clothing rigged for Belleza (as you are there). You can only wear mesh Classic clothing, or texture clothing. Classic normally comes in XS, S, M, L, XL with sometimes an XXS. They need alpha layers, but those are made to mask out esaxtly, so only where the clothes are do you dissapear.

If you look at the description for those clothes you show in your screenshot you will see they are not for the classic body. You can see "(Belleza)", "(Maitreya)", "(Hourglass/Physique) [which are slink slink" at the end, that's the body it's for, and only for that body, If you got a Belleza body then you would be able to wear those clothes. But not on a classic.

With mesh body clothes you dont need to wear alpha layers, instead you use your bodies alpha-hud to hide slices of your body where it pokes out.

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Hi Fuema, welcome to Second Life.

Indeed, clothing and appearance are a difficult area for the new resident.  So many new functions have been added over the years that it can be a real minefield.  I'll try to explain some of the basics.

The Classic Avatar.  Your classic avatar is where you should start learning about appearance.  Don't worry about mesh bodies or heads just yet.  Yes, the avatar looks a bit blocky compared to some of the newer mesh bodies, but it can still look very nice, if you don't exaggerate your proportions too much.

The classic avatar's shape is controlled by the sliders in the Appearance/Edit My Shape menu.  I recommend you start with one of the free "Standard Mesh Sizing" shapes, and then only experiment with the facial adjustments, not the body.  These shapes are designed to be a good fit with the corresponding sizes of mesh clothing.

Once you are happy with your shape, go shopping for skins.  Get a lot of demos.  Not all skins look great with all shapes.  If you find one that is close to what you want, you can tweak your shape so that the skin and shape look their best together.  

The classic avatar can be dressed with "clothing layers".  This is the old-style clothing that appears in your inventory with the symbols of clothes...a jacket, a shirt, an undershirt, etc.  Clothing layers can look quite nice, but all of them are skin tight...they are textures painted onto the classic body, and only simulate a 3D look by using shading to indicate wrinkles, etc.  Some layers go "over" others...a jacket will appear on top of a shirt, etc.  You can also layer items of the SAME type, by using the ADD command instead of "Wear".  

Some layer type clothing will have some pieces made out of prims...cuffs, a skirt, a collar, etc.  These pieces provide some three dimensionality to layer type clothes.  Your avatar has over 30 "attachment points", including some that are on your screen for attaching HUDs.  Again, you can have more than one object attached to an attachment point by using the ADD command.

Now, let's add mesh clothing.  "Mesh" is simply an object that's been created in an external 3D modeling program, instead of using SL's built in building tools.  "Rigged mesh" is a mesh object that's been linked to the avatar's skeleton, so it will bend and move with you.  "Fitted mesh" makes use of some additional bones in the avatar skeleton so that when you adjust your avatar's shape, it will expand or contract as well, to give a better fit to more body shapes.  But it's seldom a perfect fit.  Bits of your body can poke through the mesh clothes, especially when you move.

So, we have "alpha layers", or "alpha masks".  An alpha mask is a special sort of clothing layer.  It makes part or all of your classic body invisible, so that it does not poke through your mesh clothing.  You may need to wear several alphas, for example for a top, your pants, and your shoes.  Again, do this by using the ADD command.

Finally, mesh bodies and heads.  These are just another sort of fitted mesh attachment.  You wear a full body alpha mask, to completely hide your classic avatar body.  Your mesh body can poke through clothes just like your classic body, so to control the mesh body's alpha, there are controls in the HUD that comes with the body.  Also, remember the old style clothing layers, that we began with?  Well, your mesh body is not affected by them, because it is an object, not a classic avatar.  So, clothing and skin makers provide "appliers" for mesh bodies.  An applier is just a little one-button HUD that applies a clothing or a skin texture to your mesh body.  For mesh heads, appliers are also used to change your makeup.

EDIT:  I should also mention that layer type clothing, being a painted-on texture, always fits perfectly, for any shape.  However, since mesh clothing is an object, it probably won't fit perfectly.  Your photos show an example of that.  This is why mesh clothing comes in a variety of sizes.  Choose the size that fits your shape best, and then the alpha mask that comes with the item will do the rest.  This is why there's still a place for layer clothes.  I prefer it for tight fitting items like lingerie or bikinis, and for uses where it must go underneath a mesh item.

Edited by Lindal Kidd
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The first reply post is the best one.

Beyond that, all I can suggest is to try one of the NEW Avatars that you can select from the ME menu (LL Viewer). At least with those one doesn't look so bad and it can make a great starting point for further customization later.

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Lindal did a good job of explaining.

A bit of history and tech. Once upon a time there was only the Classic or System avatar. The sliders in Appearance were designed for the Classic avatar. The Classic avatar uses a 3D modeling technique called Morphing. This process creates a base shape and the 'final' or 'target change' shape. The sliders adjust the percentage of base and final shape to get the shapes in between.

All 3D models like avatars are 'rigged' to the skeleton. This means each vertex in the body mesh is given mathematical relationship (rigged) to the bones of the skeleton. This is how we move the collection of vertices that make up the arm by moving just the arm bones. If we change the size of a bone, we change the position of the vertices 'rigged' to that bone.

So, bone size and morph shapes control the appearance of the Classic avatar.

The SL system has a problem. When editable mesh was introduced people started making mesh clothes and rigging them to the bones. The problem is the system does not allow designers to use morphing, only bone size. The result is we had to change the Classic avatar's morph settings to fit mesh clothes, because the morph settings had no effect on the mesh clothes. So, we can change the body to fit the clothes. From all this came what we call the Standard Sizes.

Lots of us thought the system sucked. Those that did started hacking a way to make mesh clothes change with the Classic avatar morph sliders. From those hacks came Liquid Mesh, just a name a designer used to brand a new type of mesh. It worked pretty well. Most importantly it showed a way to adapt the avatare so mesh clothes fit the avatar shape rather having to fit the avatar to the clothes. The result is Fitted Mesh.

With fitted mesh the sliders were adapted to change bone size in more complex ways as well as to adjust the morph percentage. So, sliders work with Classic and Mesh bodies now. But, a problem exists. The rate of change for mesh and morph is not the same, close but different. So, with 'rigged' mesh clothes we can change the Classic or Mesh avatar shape to fit the clothes. With Fitted mesh clothes they have to fit, because as we change avatar shape the clothing shape changes too. Mesh bodies use fitted mesh rigging and so do fitted mesh clothes. 

Clothes are made for Slink, Maitreya, whatever so that the rate of change for body and clothes are the same. Since Maitreya is different from Slink and they are different from Belleza and so on... we have the match body and clothes to get a good fit.

One only has to know things need to match to fit.

 

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You can also try a FREE mesh body.  eBody has two to choose from. The Curvy one doesn't have many clothes to fit it but the regular slimish one has quite a few. Someone probably said a few times ALWAYS TRY THE DEMO before buying clothes.

One of my alts has an eBody so I feature free things for it from time to time in my blog.   The old "classic" bodies were always ugly, so it isn't you.  The free eBody will NOT let you change the skin on the body, but it might still be good to get to practice a bit with mesh bodies in general. It is $1 and you need to join the eBody group. 

Glad your head is working well. That's ONE down :D.  If you can't get your skin to match your head perfectly (when using a free body it is really tricky) you can get close and then wear a collar style necklace to cover the seam. 

Then move on.  These days Maitreya is the clear winner for number of clothes available. 

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