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Myra Wildmist

Why is a head mesh and a body mesh needed for avatars?

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I'm looking a little at mesh avatar design. One thing I don't completely understand: Why is a separate mesh needed for the head of realistic avatars?

Thanks

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Mesh as implemented does not support any sort of facial expression. If you do a single-mesh avatar, the face is as immobile as a porcelain mask. With a seperate mesh for the head, you could, perhaps, more easily script texture changes to at least create some illusion of facial expression and eye movement.

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My view on this is that it will be best to separate the head and body meshes because it will make swapping heads in and out easier for those who wish to customize or animate their avatars. This will be especially important for "furry" or other non-human avatars, since the primary difference is the head on such avatars. Likewise, not having hair integral to the head mesh is also desirable by most residents since they want to be able to customize the hairstyle on one's head.

The only problem is that the joint between the head and neck may be visible if not fitted well, but I doubt most people would notice or care.

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Obsidian Stormwind wrote:

 Likewise, not having hair integral to the head mesh is also desirable by most residents since they want to be able to customize the hairstyle on one's head.

I did my mesh avatar bald, and regular SL hair works fine with it.  Another reason for a "headless" avatar is to use the facial animations of the standard avatar - at least until LL gives us more bones to animate meshes with.   You just need the body designer to match the geometry and skin textures at the neck so it makes a smooth joint.

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Technically we have all the bones we need to do facial animations, the two eyes and the mSkull bone are all unnecessary for most avatars (though the lack of eye motion may bother some), meaning you have three bones for controlling facial muscles and the jaw.  This allows you to fully form all the basic phonemes for speech, as well as some basic emotions.  This means you don't necessarily need a separate head mesh.  However the classic way of doing the head separate of the body works as the others mentioned.  It's easier for texture swapping, easier for replacing with other states of the head (beat up with a swollen eye, or a cartoon goose bump, bed head, etc.).

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