Alexa Linden

Bakes on Mesh Feedback Thread

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Good morning everyone!

Bakes on Mesh is a new feature to allow system avatar baked textures to be shown on mesh attachments. Currently you will need a special project viewer to use it. Bakes on Mesh does not depend on simulator code, so it should work in all regions and all grids. 

 

What's a baked texture and why would I want it on Mesh?

If you use a standard system avatar, you can wear several texture layers to customize your skin and add tattoos and clothing layers. To save processing time and provide everyone on any system the same view of your appearance, those textures are "baked" by a server into a single combined texture. That's great, but until now if you want to use a custom mesh body part it would need its own texturing system to provide a similar ability to customize its appearance. In addition, you usually need to apply an "alpha" texture to the underlying standard avatar body part to hide it so that it doesn't interfere with your custom part.

With this new viewer feature, you can apply any system skins and other layers to your avatar (you don't need or want the alpha layer), and then tell the viewer to apply the resulting baked texture to your the mesh body part; the underlying system avatar part that would otherwise have gotten those textures is hidden for you automatically.

Basic Features 

  • Any face of a mesh object can be textured using one of the server baked textures. 
  • The corresponding region of the system avatar is hidden if an attached mesh is using a baked texture. 

Benefits 

  • Avoid the need for appliers -> easier customization workflow 
  • Avoid the need for onion avatars -> fewer meshes, fewer textures at display time 
  • Avoid the need to sell full-perm meshes. You can customize any mesh you have modify permissions for simply by setting the flags and equipping the appropriate wearables. 

Avatar wearables are baked into six different textures (BAKE_HEAD, BAKE_UPPER, BAKE_LOWER, BAKE_EYES, BAKE_SKIRT, BAKE_HAIR) by the baking service. You can now apply these textures to your avatar’s object attachments' diffuse texture. 

  1. Right click on the attachment, click edit and from the edit face menu select textures. 
  2. Click the diffuse texture icon to open up the texture picker. 
  3. The texture picker has an extra radio button mode called 'bake' for selecting server bakes. The 'bake' radio button mode has a dropdown for selecting BAKE_HEAD, BAKE_UPPER, BAKE_LOWER, BAKE_EYES, BAKE_SKIRT, BAKE_HAIR server bake textures. 

When an attachment is using a baked texture, the corresponding base mesh region of the system avatar is hidden. 

If a mesh face is set to show a baked texture but is not attached to an avatar, you will see a default baked texture. If you are using an older viewer without bakes on mesh support, then faces set to show baked textures will also display as the default baked texture, and base mesh regions will not be hidden. 

Known Issues 
Detaching a mesh object that’s using BAKED_HAIR, does not make the base hair region visible. You have to log back in or teleport again. This will be fixed in an upcoming release.  

There are inworld Content User Group Meetings we encourage you to attend to discuss your questions and give feedback.  For more information see Content User Group

 

Download the Viewer here

For more technical input, please file a Jira

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Does this mean you could use existing system tattoos, etc.? I know you said “System skins and other layers”. But, using a “texture picker” sounds like we need the original texture source file.

9 minutes ago, Alexa Linden said:

With this new viewer feature, you can apply any system skins and other layers to your avatar

 

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2 minutes ago, Love Zhaoying said:

Does this mean you could use existing system tattoos, etc.? I know you said “System skins and other layers”. But, using a “texture picker” sounds like we need the original texture source file.

Yes you could. The idea is that you're using the same textures that the system avatar would show, which include whatever tattoos or other items you're wearing. Then if you change your tattoos, your avatar would be rebaked, and the "bakes on mesh" object would update automatically. It's a new special setting in the texture picker that doesn't require you to know any texture IDs.

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If this feature isn't developed hand in hand with makers of the main onion skinned avatar bodies and once released, onion skinned avatars are aggressively punished using ARC and jelly dolls. Then all that will happen is onion skinned avatars will incorporate some of this functionality in combination with existing onion skinning. Perhaps even going as far as just releasing an additional "special" onion layer to be used on top of existing products, compounding the problem and giving us the worst of all worlds.

It is of special note that the avatar body and clothing industry in SL in general are paranoid to the point of insanity. Nothing is released modify and any requirement to do so will never gain any traction as vendors will simply write it off as unusable. 

Appliers exist for one reason only. They keep the actual texture that is being applied a secret. They would be used for this purpose even if the bodies were sold fully modify by the end user (which most aren't).

I hate to say it, but this feature is practically DOA if it isn't forced. Consumer demand alone will never be enough to change the SL fashion industries entrenched position.

 

Other that that, awesome! Please combine this beautiful carrot with a big stick.

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1 hour ago, CoffeeDujour said:

Appliers exist for one reason only. They keep the actual texture that is being applied a secret. They would be used for this purpose even if the bodies were sold fully modify by the end user (which most aren't).

To clarify, a "bakes on mesh" object does not need to be released with modify permissions. The content creator just sets the object to use baked textures *once* at the time of creation. After that, the object can be distributed no-modify, and without disclosing any texture information. Any faces set as "bakes on mesh" will update automatically to show baked textures. Baked textures combine the effects of any avatar wearables you currently have equipped, so this could include (no-mod) items supplied by the original creator, tattoos obtained from other sources, etc, all of which get combined by the baking service. The effect should be that the creator has to give away *less* information, and does not have to make items modifiable, while at the same time giving the purchaser more flexibility in the final appearance.

I know that it's a little non-obvious how all of this will work in practice. Would encourage everyone to jump in and give it a try with the project viewer.

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17 minutes ago, Vir Linden said:

To clarify, a "bakes on mesh" object does not need to be released with modify permissions. The content creator just sets the object to use baked textures *once* at the time of creation. After that, the object can be distributed no-modify, and without disclosing any texture information. Any faces set as "bakes on mesh" will update automatically to show baked textures. Baked textures combine the effects of any avatar wearables you currently have equipped, so this could include (no-mod) items supplied by the original creator, tattoos obtained from other sources, etc, all of which get combined by the baking service. The effect should be that the creator has to give away *less* information, and does not have to make items modifiable, while at the same time giving the purchaser more flexibility in the final appearance.

I know that it's a little non-obvious how all of this will work in practice. Would encourage everyone to jump in and give it a try with the project viewer.

Will there be a way to use a script to texture an object so that it can use baked textures instead of manually texturing? I understand that currently baked textures can only be used on objects that are worn and at this point in the process that's fine. However, most mesh avatars use an "applier" system that allows various textures to be sent to a no-mod mesh. If the "magic textures" that display bakes can be sent by a script most existing mesh avatars could be set up to use them by their end users with very little trouble at all. I've already been able to wear a mesh avatar that someone else set up for bakes-on-mesh and sent to me - it showed my own bakes automatically as soon as I wore it.

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Not expecting that to happen as (if my understanding is correct) this system depends on the use of linden skin, tattoo & clothing layer inventory as the 'applier'.

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12 minutes ago, CoffeeDujour said:

Not expecting that to happen as (if my understanding is correct) this system depends on the use of linden skin, tattoo & clothing layer inventory as the 'applier'.

What an applier actually does is send the UUID of a texture to a body part so that any viewer looking at that body will download the texture that UUID represents and use it to texture that body part.

Avatar bakes are specialized textures that have existed in Second Life since its beta days but when push comes to shove they're textures sent to viewers like any other. Right now the viewer will only apply those textures to the default avatar. What Bakes-On-Mesh does is allow a worn object to be "marked" so that the baked texture will be applied to another worn object instead of the default avatar body. If the "mark" consists of a texture with a UUID like any other texture than it should be able to be sent by an applier just like any other UUID. It's similar to how invisiprims were created by using the UUID's of specialized internal system textures.

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The only thing I foresee script wise is a PRIM_BAKE_TYPE constant added to SPP/SLPP* functions with face number input and an input with integer value for one of the types; BAKE_HEAD, BAKE_UPPER, BAKE_LOWER, BAKE_EYES, BAKE_SKIRT, BAKE_HAIR as well as a GLPP function with face number input that returns the integer value for BAKE_HEAD, BAKE_UPPER, BAKE_LOWER, BAKE_EYES, BAKE_SKIRT, BAKE_HAIR.

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If I understand it correctly, this will render mesh bodies obsolete and give system bodies back the ability to simply wear clothes and so on while achieving the same level of detail and quality of rendering. If I am understanding this correctly, I am very in favor of that.

 

 

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3 hours ago, OptimoMaximo said:

Unfortuntely, this is a feature i also asked for ALL meshes with support for materials, but LL screwed it again. If you were a Neanderthal like us and not an Erectus yet as you broadly demonstrate with your posts, you would know something about layering. The goal should have been to have ANY mesh have a layering system. 

Yeah, what’s up with that - they’re only giving us a single layer with this system (not skin AND tattoos for instance). Can’t wait to try it with my old system tattoo.

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Are the system bodies up to 1024x1024 in this test viewer, or limited to 512x512 still?

I'd guess the latter for now?

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1 hour ago, Callum Meriman said:

Are the system bodies up to 1024x1024 in this test viewer, or limited to 512x512 still?

1024x1024 support is coming. It requires a change to the baking service, separate from the viewer work for bakes on mesh, so for now you will still see baked textures at a max of 512x512 resolution.

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I'm really looking forward to this.

Right now. my RP sim members are restricted to using system bodies because of a technique I use. The member's clothing displays their member ID; I get there without having to make an individual texture for each member by using the tattoo layer for the clothing itself (it's latex) and a series of four undershirts, each with one digit of the ID. Thus, by uploading 40 textures, I got the ability to do 10,000 IDs. The uniform giver automates the entire process.

This doesn't work on mesh avatars because they can't composite multiple textures onto a single layer. I've been struggling to make my own mesh avatars to give out to my members so that nobody does without, but this may obviate the need for that.

I don't see this as being an issue for mesh body creators at all, as long as there's scripting support for setting a mesh face to use a baked texture. (There is, isn't there, Vir? If not, you're crippling things.) All they need to do is add a picker to their HUDs to let the user select a baked texture. Creators can continue as before, or they can use baked textures; many will probably stick to appliers, because of the total lack of support for materials in the baking process. (A really dumb decision, but that's water under the bridge now.)

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17 hours ago, CoffeeDujour said:

It is of special note that the avatar body and clothing industry in SL in general are paranoid to the point of insanity. Nothing is released modify and any requirement to do so will never gain any traction as vendors will simply write it off as unusable. 

Anyone will write it off as unusable, since this baking service simply trashes materials. With all the shimmer and other material properties already embedded into the onionskin avatars' HUDs, they will keep their system and send the bake services into oblivion. Useless feature and useless work on LL's side, if they're implementing this revived obsolescence.

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It's not at all unusable, for folks who have system layer clothing they want to use with a mesh avatar. It saves having to create appliers for it.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, OptimoMaximo said:

Anyone will write it off as unusable, since this baking service simply trashes materials. With all the shimmer and other material properties already embedded into the onionskin avatars' HUDs, they will keep their system and send the bake services into oblivion. Useless feature and useless work on LL's side, if they're implementing this revived obsolescence.

Unless you area bug, mermaid or the silver surver, when does Joe Average need shimmering skins or tattoos?

Edited by Fionalein
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11 minutes ago, Fionalein said:

Unless you area bug, mermaid or the silver surver, when does Joe Average need shimmering skins or tattoos?

In the average human avatar HUD, the specularity of the skin texture is controlled by this "shimmer" value. This will be rendered useless since the diffuse textures would be merged with clothing layers'. Now if you don't see a reason for materials on human avatars it's ok, but just take a look around in SL or flickr pictures, many use materials on the skin. Perhaps tattoos won't be a problem, but what will happen to other texture garments baked on top? And this is only the avatar rigged attachments side, when i stated in a post above that creators asked for a layering system, i was there the day they announced it and i asked for it myself. A more comprehensive layering system on mesh objects would have proven more useful in a broader range, including static meshes. I wouldn't go as far as normal maps blend options for these layers, that would be awesome but i realize it's asking really too much. Yet the Lab's reaction to a request is the bare minimum, least committing and cheapest of all the recycles they could do, which totally neglects a newer texturing feature in favor of a drag-back-to-2006 solution.

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Materials support for bakes on mesh has been discussed at the content creators meetings several times. The conclusion is that while this would be a handy feature, it would also turn bakes on mesh into a much larger project. The baking service would have to be modified to understand materials, and we would also have to add support for materials-related textures to the various types of wearables that the baking service works with. Including all that additional work would increase the development time for bakes on mesh substantially. So the plan is to first release bakes on mesh with support for bakes in their current form (diffuse textures only), and then consider materials support as a possible follow-on project. 

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1 hour ago, Tonya Souther said:

It's not at all unusable, for folks who have system layer clothing they want to use with a mesh avatar. It saves having to create appliers for it.

With appliers, if you wanted, you could make a leather top have its own material, with normal maps and specular maps too. With the bake service, instead, you no longer even have the option. Moreover, the mesh bodies have relaxed UVs to avoid the classic avatar's sides and shoulders texture stretch, reason why the same skin has different appliers for different bodies, since some key features locations like the belly button or the nipples have been moved off the default place by such UV map relaxation. This will make system clothing from the past useless on avatars other than the classic, those for mesh avatars will need a rework for each body anyway. It saves time in making the scripted applier's configuration, that's for sure, but it's killing the purpose of their own materials implementation.

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42 minutes ago, OptimoMaximo said:

With appliers, if you wanted, you could make a leather top have its own material, with normal maps and specular maps too. With the bake service, instead, you no longer even have the option. Moreover, the mesh bodies have relaxed UVs to avoid the classic avatar's sides and shoulders texture stretch, reason why the same skin has different appliers for different bodies, since some key features locations like the belly button or the nipples have been moved off the default place by such UV map relaxation. This will make system clothing from the past useless on avatars other than the classic, those for mesh avatars will need a rework for each body anyway. It saves time in making the scripted applier's configuration, that's for sure, but it's killing the purpose of their own materials implementation.

Realistically, anyone who cares about how their clothing looks won't use baked clothing on a mesh avatar  regardless of whether it has materials or not, because it would lack the thickness realism of even applier clothing on onion layers. For those limited purposes where texture clothing is the best solution the logical way to do things is to still use shells around the avatar because they can be given thickness. Those shells can use exactly the same appliers that they do now including materials, while the bakes-on-mesh system takes over for the skin/tattoo structure which can be given materials separately. What bakes on mesh will do is eliminate the need for a tattoo layer and the alpha cut system, meaning that a mesh avatar of essentially the same function as the current ones can be built using 8-16 faces instead of over eight hundred faces like now.

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Theresa Tennyson said:

What bakes on mesh will do is eliminate the need for a tattoo layer and the alpha cut system, meaning that a mesh avatar of essentially the same function as the current ones can be built using 8-16 faces instead of over eight hundred faces like now.

I doubt so, because almost no one will produce alphas for all the already released stuff. So the cuts will stay in place or the creators would almost instantly loose a market.

Edited by Fionalein

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There is a lot of misunderstanding so far. Materials used now will still be usable with Bakes-On. The Appliers will change to mostly providing the material settings.

The meeting was streamed by Medhue.

 

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