# Mesh/Bento Beginner

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I went through the same issues you're facing when I came back to SL, and experienced them all over again just switching to a new mesh head. I'd be happy to help if you want to talk to someone inworld - you can add me as a friend.

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@Aristotle Smit ...yeah we do forget the jargon is meaningless to those not into the 3D modeling tech. Sorry.

We say 'bake' to mean automated compositing. Compositing is about taking images and combining them. Like drawing on sheets of clear acetate film and staking them to make one drawing. In SL this 'bake' takes the skin image, tattoo image, underwear image, and clothes layer image and composites them into a single image. The clothes go on top and cover the underwear which covers the tat which covers the skin.

Mesh is bit more difficult to explain. First I'll try to clear up the SL jargon part. Everything in SL is mesh... EVERYTHING. This is true of all 3D worlds, models and imaging. To see this for yourself in the viewer press Ctrl-Shift-R and again to exit wireframe view. So, that is the mesh meant by mesh. But, Mesh in SL means something sort of different. We aren't careful about misusing the word. You have to know we do it just to confuse you... 😎

The tech of 3D models and worlds is based on lists of vertices. Three vertices make a polygon. If you look closely at your avatar in wireframe mode you see it is made from a collection of triangles or polygons. the computer colors the area inside the vertices or the surface of the polygon so it appears solid. Unless we tell it not to, which we call wireframe mode, which means draw the lines not the surfaces. The lines look like a mesh and thus the name.

When SL was designed the Internet was slow. Rather than download lists of vertices they built the lists into the viewer. Cubes, cones, cylinders, etc. They called these primitives and we shortened that to PRIMS.

The avatar is a set of about 7,000 polygons. Its list of vertices is built into the viewer. This is the avatar we call Classic. We say mesh-avatar to denote using mesh parts to replace the Classic avatar.

As tech advanced things got to where we can now load vertices lists without an excessive performance hit. A Mesh thing in SL is a prim with an uploaded vertices list that is NOT built into the viewer. Someone makes the list in a modeling program and uploads it. Everyone else downloads it to see it. It is still a prim as everything in SL except the avatar is a prim. But we call it a mesh just as the built-in mesh cube is just called a cube. Rather than say prim cube or prim mesh... So Mesh in SL means a Primitive with a user made vertices list... There used to be prim clothes and shoes. Be glad you missed out on that. For that reason we denote things as mesh clothes.

When mesh clothing is put on an avatar it has to move with the avatar. Somewhere in the build process someone has to tell the computer how each vertex in the list moves. This is called 'rigging' in the 3D modeling world and SL. Technically it is a process of telling the system that a particular vertex moves 0 to 100% with a certain bone. When done well a sleeve bends well at the elbow. The thing is Slink and Maitreya are made by different people. They used different numbers of vertices for their bodies and assigned different percents of movement to each vertex. These percents are called weights. To get clothes to fit closely the clothes designer has to use nearly the same weights for their vertices. Thus clothes are made for specific brands of bodies.

The "fitted" part denotes that the item is rigged to the bones affected by the shape sliders. There are two sets of bones... but this is already too techy. The fitted just demotes which of the two and means... if you are fat my clothes will still fit as they are adjustable.

The Bento part came when we added more bones for fingers, wings, extra legs, into the face... For your purposes Bento means it will work with your wiggly fingers and allow animators to animate the face with infinite expressions. That is something we couldn't do before Bento.

Designers - those making clothes make clothes for various body brands. A number of designers make well fitting clothes for for a number of bodies. Some do a better job than others. Which is why everyone will tell you TRY THE DEMO. I buy from a large number of designers for my Slink body. As long as you TRY before you BUY you don't have to worry about which designer you buy from. You will likely develop a preference.

To get more history and details look here: http://blog.nalates.net/2017/04/10/second-life-mesh-vs-classic-bodies/

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2 hours ago, Aristotle Smit said:

Do those four makes sense? They're an oversimplification I'm sure but am I on the right lines?

Aristotle: Your original post here prompted me to spend a couple of days writing a detailed blog post explaining everything I could about how to put together a mesh avatar, from explaining terminology that you might not have encountered before, to choosing a mesh head and body and wearing/using them. The follow-up post (which I'll be working on over the next week or so) will be about actually dressing that mesh avatar, including clothing, hair, accessories, etc.

I don't usually promote my own blog posts here, but Linden Lab have featured this one on their SL Blogger Network, and linked to it on all their social media accounts, so I think it's safe to give a link here. Hopefully it might explain things for you: Noob Dude: A Style 101 for the Second Life Male Avatar – Part 2 – How to Get Dressed (Mesh Head & Mesh Body)

Edited by Skell Dagger
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3 hours ago, Aristotle Smit said:

Wow! Thanks Marianne. It just shows how confusing it all is. I could have sworn I'd bought a Mesh body (even though I didn't know exactly what one of those is).

I'm getting clearer in my mind. It's interesting that I do have Mesh clothes but not a mesh body. I had to wear an alpha layer because skin was showing through the clothes. I assumed that was the classic avatar which (I think) we all still have.

Thanks to Natales and her excellent blog page, I now see what the icons and boxes mean in the inventory.

I have a metaphor that might help.

I used to be pretty heavily into film photography. With a film camera, when you bought a more sophisticated camera (interchangeable lenses, etc.) you bought into a system made by one company. Any lenses, automatic flashes, etc. had to be made to work with that system - Nikon, Pentax, etc.

As far as I can tell, your Tellaq body is a mesh body; unfortunately for you it's the Fujica X-mount of bodies - i.e. nobody but the original maker makes anything to work with it.

If you want to get fancy with your avatar you should look into the various popular "systems" for bodies and heads (bodies and heads being comparatively independent of each other.) Bear in mind that the more popular a body/head is the more stuff will be made for it. One difference between Second Life avatars and cameras, though, is most clothing makers will give you copies of the same piece of clothing for multiple body systems as one purchase instead of having to buy each version independently. That will help if you decide to change systems or use more than one.

Edited by Theresa Tennyson
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12 hours ago, Theresa Tennyson said:

I have a metaphor that might help.

I used to be pretty heavily into film photography. With a film camera, when you bought a more sophisticated camera (interchangeable lenses, etc.) you bought into a system made by one company. Any lenses, automatic flashes, etc. had to be made to work with that system - Nikon, Pentax, etc.

As far as I can tell, your Tellaq body is a mesh body; unfortunately for you it's the Fujica X-mount of bodies - i.e. nobody but the original maker makes anything to work with it.

If you want to get fancy with your avatar you should look into the various popular "systems" for bodies and heads (bodies and heads being comparatively independent of each other.) Bear in mind that the more popular a body/head is the more stuff will be made for it. One difference between Second Life avatars and cameras, though, is most clothing makers will give you copies of the same piece of clothing for multiple body systems as one purchase instead of having to buy each version independently. That will help if you decide to change systems or use more than one.

The bolded: No, I looked it up inworld and on the Marketplace. The Tellaq store has an avatar or a bot avatar model. It is 100% not a mesh avatar as we name them. It is an old system avatar. Even if @Aristotle Smitscreenshot of his open inventory is in a folder from Tellaq labeled "Mesh". I can not use any kinder words than "misleading" and "confusing" about this.

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16 hours ago, Aristotle Smit said:

The first two replies to my question (by TDD and Natales) were helpful when I first read them, but my understanding was very poor.

I'm finding that, as my knowledge grows, they make more sense. For example, I've just noticed that Natales did explain BOM and SSB. It's just that they didn't make sense when I first read them. This time round, they made much more sense. I've a long way to go but I'm getting there with your help, everyone.

Looking at SL history, is this summary about right? :-

1. There's the classic avatar, then there's Mesh, then onion skins and then Bento . . . and nothing will fit very well if you're not careful?

2. Classic clothes looked like they were painted on (true - that always bothered me) whereas mesh clothes look like clothes.

3. "Fitted Mesh" is a later, improved mesh body?

4. Mesh products are created by many residents but it's best to stick to one seller if you want everything to fit?

Do those four makes sense? They're an oversimplification I'm sure but am I on the right lines?

Thanks 🙂

1: Yes, you have it, only BOM comes after Bento and let you use layers. Why will you still use layers? See next.

2: I use layers for things like hairbases, makeup, tattoos, freckles, all things that look good as a part of the skin. I also use layers for "modesty clothing" like underwear. The benefit of this, is that since it is baked in on the meshbody, it will fit under all kind of clothes.

3: Rigged mesh is all mesh that move when you use the sliders under avatar appearance. Like, you adjust the shoulder width and your jacket follow. "Bento" is also rigged, but includes the new bones. I can not explain it better.

I will not say fitted, but rigged.

Rigged mesh is made for specific mesh bodies and heads. Rigged for brand (insert name here) will follow that body much tighter than standard sizes. Your Hoorenbek clothing comes in standard sizes and it works well for you. As long as you stay so much clothed as your pictures show, you only have to care about how it fits around neck and wrists. You use an alpha layer to hide the body. As long as it fits and you like it, you can wear it. That is what demos are for.

We want specific rigged when we use tight clothes where we can not hide bodyparts, because it would show ugly, empty places on the body. Like with lingerie and swimwear. Or the cleavage for a dress, it does not look good if the dress floats several inches from the boobs. You want tight, but not so tight that it cuts in the body. Same goes when you throw off the shirt and long pants, and use a set of swimming trunks. You do not want the waist to float around you like a barrel, or cut into you.

4: Yes, mesh body parts is created by many residents. And other residents can apply for "creator kits" so they can make things for it. This is why you see a lot of small labels on vendors. The description will also say: "Made for body X, body Y and body Z".

If you invest in a mesh body, you shop for the label. BUT you still try a demo first. The rigging can vary. I only buy clothes after I demo them. Well, I have a few "trusted" stores where I have bought a lot and everything has been a perfect fit.

What mesh body should you select? Think over how it looks, can you get it to look "right" with the sliders? How much will you pay? And, how much content is made for it? Skell tells you the main bodies in his blog, so I will not repeat them. You can also do a marketplace search for the body name, and see how much results you find under Apparel and Body Components. Do this before you buy.

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15 hours ago, Skell Dagger said:

Aristotle: Your original post here prompted me to spend a couple of days writing a detailed blog post explaining everything I could about how to put together a mesh avatar, from explaining terminology that you might not have encountered before, to choosing a mesh head and body and wearing/using them. The follow-up post (which I'll be working on over the next week or so) will be about actually dressing that mesh avatar, including clothing, hair, accessories, etc.

I don't usually promote my own blog posts here, but Linden Lab have featured this one on their SL Blogger Network, and linked to it on all their social media accounts, so I think it's safe to give a link here. Hopefully it might explain things for you: Noob Dude: A Style 101 for the Second Life Male Avatar – Part 2 – How to Get Dressed (Mesh Head & Mesh Body)

Skell, thank you for doing this!  I pass out your blog link to just about everyone new/ newly returned who's having their brain explode due to mesh (went through that myself lol) and your new entry, as well as its follow-up will be FANTASTIC for folks 🙂

Edited by Ajay McDowwll
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• 4 weeks later...

Hello Skell,

Apologies for not replying sooner. I just wanted to say thanks for going to the trouble of compiling this extraordinarily comprehensive and understandable post. It's helping me a lot and I know it will be helping others.

When I first posted my question, I thought I might get a reply or two but the discussion has been quite extensive and I'm reassured that it wasn't just me who was confused. I'm also delighted that it prompted so many interesting and helpful comments. Thanks to everyone.

Aristotle x
(RL: Brian Smith, Stamford, UK.)

On 5/20/2020 at 11:55 PM, Skell Dagger said:

Aristotle: Your original post here prompted me to spend a couple of days writing a detailed blog post explaining everything I could about how to put together a mesh avatar, from explaining terminology that you might not have encountered before, to choosing a mesh head and body and wearing/using them. The follow-up post (which I'll be working on over the next week or so) will be about actually dressing that mesh avatar, including clothing, hair, accessories, etc.

I don't usually promote my own blog posts here, but Linden Lab have featured this one on their SL Blogger Network, and linked to it on all their social media accounts, so I think it's safe to give a link here. Hopefully it might explain things for you: Noob Dude: A Style 101 for the Second Life Male Avatar – Part 2 – How to Get Dressed (Mesh Head & Mesh Body)

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4 hours ago, Aristotle Smit said:

Apologies for not replying sooner. I just wanted to say thanks for going to the trouble of compiling this extraordinarily comprehensive and understandable post. It's helping me a lot and I know it will be helping others.

You're welcome! And thank you for the inspiration to write that post

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On 6/15/2020 at 10:05 PM, Skell Dagger said:

You're welcome! And thank you for the inspiration to write that post

One more thing. It's great to see male-focussed content. Understandably, most is female orientated so it's great to have help directed at men.

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