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Texture Question Re Alpha Flickering


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Ok, SO, I made a skirt with Firestorm, and it looks really great. BTW I have made many skirts and always watch for alpha texturing issues. So, I log in with Phoenix and it's a flickering mess. Logged out and back in with Firestorm, no flicker. What's different? Is it a setting? My fear is that someone with Phoenix will buy the dress and be unhappy. Any ideas why one viewer has this issue but not the other? 

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In both Phoenix and Firestrom, there is an option under Graphics -- Rendering in Preferences.  Their wiki advises ...

 

  • Alpha Mask Rendering: These options control when alpha masking should be used in an attempt to mitigate the well known alpha sorting issue, in which prims behind other prims may appear to flicker in front. Please note that enabling this can have side effects of its own, such as objects not rendering at all. The two options are:
    • Render alpha masks when “lighting and shadows” is not enabled
    • Render alpha masks when “lighting and shadows” is enabled

My guess is that you have the option enabled in one viewer but not in the other one.

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You might want to post the information on the product pic itself, or where it is highly visible.  I strictly run Phoenix; I don't care what anyone says or their logic..I like it...am use to it...and will run it till they take it from. me.    Many still run Phoenix and you could end up with unhappy customers, especially if selling the product on Marketplace where you would be rated, which might effect future sales of the items. 

Then again, if a product is restricted to a single named viewer, I probably wouldn't buy the product either. I would be really mad if I bought something that was restricted to a single viewer and was not  informed before hand.

Is there anything you can do creative-wise to reduce the flicker in the type V1 viewers? Maybe sell/include two version types?  I know I have seen some designers do this in things I have purchased and is much appreciated.  I continue to patronize them because of this extra effort they have made.  Demonstrates to me they are cognizant of what they are creating, the limitations of the various viewers, conscious of the needs/wants of their customers, tells me they want my Lindens.

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Morgaine Christensen wrote:

You might want to post the information on the product pic itself, or where it is highly visible.  I strictly run Phoenix; I don't care what anyone says or their logic..I like it...am use to it...and will run it till they take it from. me.    Many still run Phoenix and you could end up with unhappy customers, especially if selling the product on Marketplace where you would be rated, which might effect future sales of the items. 

Then again, if a product is restricted to a single named viewer, I probably wouldn't buy the product either. I would be really mad if I bought something that was restricted to a single viewer and was not  informed before hand.

Is there anything you can do creative-wise to reduce the flicker in the type V1 viewers? Maybe sell/include two version types?  I know I have seen some designers do this in things I have purchased and is much appreciated.  I continue to patronize them because of this extra effort they have made.  Demonstrates to me they are cognizant of what they are creating, the limitations of the various viewers, conscious of the needs/wants of their customers, tells me they want my Lindens.

So in other words you're unwilling to compromise on your choice of viewer but at the same time demand that creators compromise by making multiple versions of their objects.

 

Anyway to stay on topic in v1 this option was known as Fast Alpha and should be in Advanced -> Rendering. Altho the v1 version isn't as good as the v2 and later version.

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I already decided to re-make the skirt. I'll not use Firestorm to build in the future until everyone is onboard with these newer viewers. This is the first time I used Firestorm to make a skirt. I am **trying** to get used to these new viewers and look what happened!  I would have seen this flicker with Phoenix, and I would have textured it differently and now I have to go back and spend X amount of hours fixing something I would have seen with Phoeinix.

Sorry if I don't know all these "details" about these viewers, but I've gotten very comfortable with Phoenix. 

I asked a friend yesterday who was using Phoenix if she thought the skirt wasn't acceptable. She didn't see the issue and wanted a copy of the gown. But I'm going to look at it again anyways, and send her a revised copy.

I've never seen a warning about viewers for clothing, other than with Mesh. I've purchased many flickering skirts over the years. 

 

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Yes, I am unwilling to compromise my viewer choice.  It is the best for building in my opinion.  I think my opinions and thoughts on the subject may have been taken as more than thoughts and opinions. I don't demand that creators compromise by making multiple versions of their objects I am simply stating what I would do with a particular product if I were not informed upfront before purchase. It is better to recieve a multitude of thoughts and opinions about a subject when mulling over a problem  so you can proceed effectively when dealing with such a diverse population as we have in SL.

As stated in the original, ..." I know I have seen some designers do this in things I have purchased and is much appreciated.  I continue to patronize them because of this extra effort they have made.  Demonstrates to me they are cognizant of what they are creating, the limitations of the various viewers, conscious of the needs/wants of their customers, tells me they want my Lindens."   This statement was perhaps not a viewer solution, but it was a solution to the problem that was being asked, and an apparent solution being used by other designers.

And, as far as accomodating customers, isn't that what everyone does that creates and sells a product in SL?  I know I do my best to provide the best possible customer service and accomodate my customers.  Often, it is simply a matter of providing them with information they may not have been aware of...such as this looks best in viewer xxx, Or, you can adjust setting xxxx to take full advantage of this creation.   

I applaud the effort of the OP on asking and finding the information needed to solve her issue. She will have very satisfied customers.

 

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Morgaine Christensen, I wasn't aware of this setting but boy does it  make a difference in Dodge! I wish "somehow" we all knew about these things! For 2 years I've seen that dang flicker in things and never "knew" there was a setting! Dooh!

I try very hard to also have good customer service, and try to do the best I can do. Those who only buy here probably don't know how many hours and uploads designers spend on their items.

Thanks all for the responses.

I do think Phoniex is the best for builders. It just "makes sense." Firestorm, thou the UI is fantasic, isn't intuitive. Hard to find things. I suppose it will get easier for me, but like Linden's viewer, for me, it's a steep climb. I've been talking to a lot of noobs lately, as they are showing up in ballrooms not usually frequented by noobs because of the viewers "in your face" destination guilde, and boy they are so confused! I can't really help them because I can't figure that viewer out either! Anyways, another topic... 

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Faye Feldragonne wrote:

Morgaine Christensen, I wasn't aware of this setting but boy does it  make a difference in Dodge! I wish "somehow" we all knew about these things! For 2 years I've seen that dang flicker in things and never "knew" there was a setting! Dooh!

It's not a real fix. You'll see what I mean soon enough.

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Morgaine Christensen

Sorry if my post came off as a little confrontational, these viewer wars just piss me off for reasons completely unrelated to the UI.

I see our current viewer wars as being very similar to the browser wars of years past. At the end of the first browser war one browser, Internet Explorer, had gained 95% of the market, thus Microsoft saw no need to further improve upon it so they laid off the entire IE development team and didn't update it or add new features for almost 7 years. As a result the web has stagnated for over 10 years now and we're only now starting to recover from it in the last 2 years. To this day the vast majority of web sites don't take advantage of what modern browsers can do because IE 6 still has over 40% of the market.

I see this exact same scenario playing out right now with much of the grid not taking advantage of many of the things v2/v3 can do, and LL seems a little hesitant to add major new features that would break v1 compatibility because of it. If things continue on this negative trend for a few more years there won't be any point in LL even bothering to adding new features ever again.

 

Faye Feldragonne

I was going to show you a picture because I was too lazy to explain the techno babble but it seems most of the issues have been solved in v3 so I guess I have to now. Anyway the original fast alpha feature in v1 switched from doing alpha blending on all transparent faces to alpha testing on most. Alpha testing means a fragment is either fully opaque or fully transparent, there is no halfway, It's much faster and easier to render that way (hence the name), and "solves" the alpha sorting issue through some techno babble trickery. The down side is of course that you no longer have semi-transparent fragments (which are indirectly what cause the alpha sorting problem FYI).

Probably one of the biggest users of semi-transparent texels is hair. Just take a look at some of your hair, if many of them look chunky you'll see what the problem is, if it doesn't than Phoenix might have imported the much improved alpha masking code from v2. However not every viewer includes this code or has it enabled by default so YMMV.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hmm .. I don't see it as viewer wars as much as it is about preferences. I think the third party viewers and LL have it right: give us choices and let the users live with the consequences (and there are consequences to all viewers). The "wars" are started by people who consider voicing an opinion as a thing of contention. *shrugs and moves on*

As a vendor and creator, I think it's incumbent on me to consider the vast majority in my final product. As an example: I set up a scene that used a glow factor and it looked just yummy to me, in my viewer settings. Seven out of 10 of the people who visited my build were blinded by the glow that to me was only a gentle hint. Well, dang. Back to the drawing board. I want people to want my stuff, not be blinded by it, so I'll accomodate the majority in a lot of things. Including giving explicit instructions about how to unpack (for example), since some newbie might come by and not know all the tricks. (Caveat: for the most part, I build to suit me and my tastes, but there are some technical things to be considered that influence how I make it.)

And, ooooh .. first time I tried fast alpha I all but choked when I saw my hair. LOLOL ... turned it off as fast as I could. I'll live with the alpha conflicts and just change my camera angle (and try to avoid the issue in my builds .. it can be done).

Peace ..

[edited for typos]

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Pudenta Magic I didn't have the issues with fast alpha that you experienced (with hair). What I did realize after I posted this, was I yanked out all the gowns I'd bought before I made my own and studied their alpha flickering 98% had some form of flicker. My conclusion is that we're all fighting some form of this. I'm also paying closer attention on ballrooms floors to other gowns worn. My conclusion is I've done a good job keeping my textures from showing what I call "spindle legs." I agree that information is key to happy customers, but on that note, someone posted somewhere here that they hated the notecards designers included. One more note as far as viewers, if I'm just exploring and walking around, any viewer is fine, but when I'm building, extra steps and viewers that are not intuitive are discouraging. Also, the load time for the new viewers is terrible for me and I'm running a decent (upgraded) graphic card. Everyone stays "gray" for an hour with newer viewers, and clothing doesn't rez so I'm walking around naked. With Phoenix everything rezzes on queue. Most of us "buy" cars but don't have to be mechanics to drive them. The uber complexities of Second Life can't be listed here. Viewers are getting harder to "drive." It's also relevant to our individual understandings of what viewers can and can't do...again, driving SL should not require a mechanics license. For example of complex, I just got nicked for another month of land fees (1/2 region after I reduced it to 1/4) b/c I didn't understand the complexities of how "group donated land" can jack up your fees, even though I contacted LL prior to the payment due date for help to reduce my fees. That's another topic. Thanks for your note.

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