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Maxwell Graf

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  1. Cathy, just for the record, the ability for mesh clothing to fit using deformation methods has been in cloud party since the beginning. They added it from the start. Making clothing work over there is ridiculously easy and pain-free, as are the other building tools. Not having to do separate LOD's or physics models, for example, make architecture really enjoyable. Interestingly, they just added a suite of facial/head sliders also, to further individualize your looks. They also mention plans for adding even more sliders and avi features, like poseable fingers and facial expression morphing, which will be interesting.
  2. Additionally, it would be extremely useful if we could use materials on terrain. It seems kindof crazy that we cant.
  3. "...They say materials are fair. ‘Tis a truth, I can bear them witness. And good to have—’tis so, I cannot reprove it. And useful, but for SL. By my troth, it is no addition to their function—nor no great argument of the lack of it, for we will be horribly in love with them." -Shakespeare, from Much ado about nothing (kinda) After having experimented with the materials viewers - both the beta and the latest release clients - I wanted to post some thoughts and offer a few considerations. First, they add to the capabilities of designers in here, which is not a bad thing. Obviously, the fashion industry will be at the forefront and pushing it forward into the spotlight of mass-adoption by the residents and other markets. This is one of the wonderful consequences of such a dominant element in SL. You will most likely see it first on some article of clothing well ahead of ever seeing it on a house, chair or plant. Yes, they will improve the look of things, or at least make things look different than they do now, much like sculpties and mesh did in their time. We will look back sometime in the future from an SL which looks perhaps vastly different than it does now. Things will be bumpier and shinier, if not more realistic. To be clear (and this is critical to understand): Normal and Specular mapping was implemented as a way to render low polygon objects inside an environment in such a way that they appear to have much more surface detail than they actually do, in order to enhance the visual while maintaining and encouraging the efficiency of the models. One of the ways I would like to see materials improved deals with the lack of ability to adjust them once uploaded. Specular mapping has a variety of very cool ways in which it can be adjusted, particularly in regards to how it can also work with transparency. Normal maps do not adjust at all, though. Once applied, they are on or off. This is problematic. In the process of creating material maps, one of the key aspects is understanding and being able to see how they will work within a particular rendering engine under varying conditions. Granted, a specific amount of resulting quality can be expected when created properly. When uploaded and applied to a model in an environment, however, the results can often be different than expected. Different rendering engines produce very different results. The results you see in your normal map creation application look very different once uploaded and applied in world. What will work in one will often not work as well in another and must be adjusted and tweaked. In fact, the final results may often depend on that ability to tweak inside the environment. While working inside both Bluemars, which used the CryEngine, and now Cloud Party, which uses OpenGL, the specific look of materials on items I made often came about precisely because I spent time messing with the settings, not something I could have predetermined. This problem facilitates the need to make adjustments, the ability to increase or decrease the level of the specular AND/OR normal map effect in order to get the desired result. When trying to create something like suede or velvet this is much more of a problem, as opposed to something much less subtle like leather or glass. On or off is not really ideal in terms of workflow for the creator, as it would require considerable uploading, editing and re-uploading of items in order to produce the desired result. Messing with things is not only critically important, its a fun part of the creative process, now removed. Another aspect which concerns me is the fact that normal maps applied by themselves provide almost no noticeable difference in appearance. It seems to only have an effect when both normal and specular maps are both applied. This produces a result which makes everything look shiny or wet, which is not a good thing in all cases. This may be a result of the inability to adjust the normal map once applied, as stated above, though it appears to be systemic rather than feature-specific. Is this a limitation of the rendering engine? Considering that the application of materials has a potential effect on the download calculation of the object (land impact/prim count) the need for both normal and specular when specular is not desired seems to add to the resulting calculation even more than it has to. I hope that these concerns will be addressed at some point in the future, they are really important to the use of this feature in an effective manner.
  4. Personally, I have, as indicated by suggesting the deformer and starting the funding project for it, been a proponent of one size fits all, which is what it is supposed to do. When implemented properly, this works. Ive seen it work really well. In several platforms. How it will work in SL is up to Karl and the LL devs, though I have the fullest confidence in the project, which is why I went to Karl with the idea. If you see the man, thank him, SL would be a flat world without him. That being said, I have also been a very strong opponent of standard sizing from the very beginning, for a variety of reasons. Before I list them, I would like to say that I understand the desire for it, the reason for it, the use of it and the momentum it has gained. People want mesh clothing, want to design mesh clothing, want to sell mesh clothing and in leiu of any additional options went with standard sizing as a means to those ends. However, in the rush to develop, wear and monetize mesh clothing, implementing standard sizing is and has been an imperfect method at best and duct-tape marketing at worst. I would like to put forth the following propositions: • Bottom line: Standard sizing does not provide a solution. It does not fix the problem. It is a work-around that has actually introduced a variety of new problems in the process. • Standard sizing is a MARKETING TOOL, and a brilliant one. It has worked very well for the companies that introduced it in order to sell you mesh clothing, and continues to provide the only current method for mesh fashion to be designed, sold and worn. Prior to the introduction of standard sizing, there was no way to do so without horrible results. A group of designers got together, decided what the standards were going to be and began selling items before anyone else with what seemed to be a viable alternative to not having any mesh clothing. Consider that in the process of doing so several things have taken place; THey now sell more mesh clothing than just about anyone else, and by being the creators of the standard, they place themselves firmly at the front margin of the market. From a strategic and logistical standpoint, it is a brilliant move, and I imagine that they and any other businesses in SL that are using those standards are more than willing to go to great lengths to tell you how important it is that we use that system in order to have mesh clothing that works and fits you. By doing so, they have profited considerably. Consider also that by proposing the parametric deformer, I have no personal gain in this. While my name might have been mentioned in the funding of the idea, and be on the mesh jira that originally suggested the idea, I have not monetized on this, and will not do so. I have nothing vested in this except a desire to see mesh clothing work. My sales are not based on it. If it is introduced, then we may all be able to benefit by it. It is an actual SOLUTION to the problem, not a way for me to sell something before or in greater volume than anyone else. • What are the standards? Who got to decide them? Why and by what authority? Again, from a marketing perspective, standard sizing is extremely effective. It has helped them considerably to sell you clothing. However, how often has the system of standards NOT worked for you personally? I have spoken to so many people who have an inventory full of mesh clothing that does not work as they wish, even with the standard sizing. I have a good number of mesh items that I also will not wear because it simply does not fit, standard or no. (it should be noted, also, that mens standard sizing is even more limited than that of the womens market). The majority of it STILL does not work as it should, and as a result I wear about 5% of what I bought. This is because, again, standard sizing does not actually FIX the problem. • The standard sizing process introduces media- and market-driven standards of acceptance, body-consciousness and ideals of beauty into our second lives. This is actually my biggest regret about the use of standard sizing. I believe that SL has been for the most part (that is to say, in most practical situations) a world free of the majority of the social stigmas which exist in society. Up until now, this has been a very magic place for most of us, a place where being black, white, male, female, gay, straight, thin, fat, rebublican, democrat, foreign or domestic, coal or solar powered did not really exist as part of the world most of the time. Those things often tend to be at the front of social awareness of others in our first lives. For me and many of us I believe a big part of what makes SL special is that those things don't generally come into play. I don't give a ____ about those things, I care about how you are in SL. I know only the you that you present to me, based on your actions and your character. Why would anything else really matter? They don't in SL, and that is a big part of what makes this amazing. And then, standard sizing was introduced. With this single step, women across SL are now being forced to identify with a body consciousness that could only be established by the same profession and with the same intention as those in RL who have done so - the fashion industry. Now, you must choose the size they label you with, or be forced to go into an edit-mode slider diet in order to conform to the shape that they think you should have in order to "be beautiful." What's next, a Lane Bryant store in SL? How would that make you feel? Has trying on mesh clothing made you, as a woman, conscious of your body not fitting it? Have you had to suffer some snarky size-0 sales clerk looking down her nose at you while exlaiming,"oh, we dont have YOUR size here." Coming soon, the mens big and tall event! Yay! This is a tragedy, and a travesty. Much like in RL, standard sizing is a marketing tool designed to allow businesses and marketing firms to establish themselves as the ideal. Just wear this, you can be beautiful, but only if your breasts are this and your waist is that. They are the mattel of SL, and want you all to be the ideal Barbie. This is how marketing works, and so far, lacking any other method to market to you, SL is buying into it. Even the name "standard sizing" is brilliant, because, as it suggests, it has now become the standard. We are all buying into it, to our great detriment. I don't know a woman in SL or RL who wants to change her shape to fit into a pair of jeans. Yet they are doing so in increasing numbers. From the many whom I have spoken of about this, however, they are not happy about it anymore than they are about not fitting into size ___ jeans in RL. Its just easier to adjust the sliders here. • Just like in RL, there are conflicting sets of "standard" sizing out there. A few brilliant individuals decided that the original set of standards wasnt good enough, so they introduced their own standards. Now a plethora of standards exist, none of which solves the problem of mesh clothing not fitting you, all of them which allow the companies who introduce them to SELL YOU MESH CLOTHING. • The alpha layer: Just make yourself invisible so you can wear, see and be seen in our clothing. I think this pretty much sums it up. _____________________________________ Now, here is what the parametric deformer project was originally intended to do: • Fit you, not make you fit it. Keep your shape, and your identity. • Eliminate the need to do rigging and weight adjustment • Prevent the need to do multiple sizes • Prevent the need to create or use alpha layers underneath it. Whether or not any or all of those goals are accomplished remains to be seen, but it CAN and DOES work that way in places like blue mars, WoW, Aeon, Guild Wars and a number of other game environments. It is actually somewhat common. I am sure that in saying all this that there will be some who agree and some who are very upset that I have done so. It is not intended to hurt anyone, but it is intended to try and look at the larger picture in regards to mesh clothing. I suggest that we consider our use of standard sizing. Be unique. I think we all shold consider pushing harder to have the deformer established, and let LL know that we want this still. If we continue to adopt standard sizing as the means to solve the problem, they will be more than happy to let us provide it as the solution, rather than working with Karl to deveolop one which actually works. I will be designing clothing, when the time comes, based on the standard SL avi.
  5. I thought that I would reply to your comments, as it seems that you may be a bit confused about mesh, its use, its implications on SL and the people that use it, though I can only offer my opinion on the topic and may be incorrect. I will try to make as few assumptions as possible in doing so. Firsty, your comment that mesh was introduced to placate a group of elitist technophiles; While this may seem an adequate description from the outset, of both the reason behind mesh introduction and those who wanted to use it, let us consider a couple of facts: • The same argument was said re. the introduction of sculpties, which is now a popular building tool in SL, as opposed to being limited in use by a specific, isolated group of individuals with the desire to keep the technology to themselves. It is now common, and from the outset was proliferated by a large number of tools and tutorials and in world classes to help people adopt and use it. • Considering that previous building tools (i.e.- primitives and sculpted primitives) are proprietary to Second Life, while the rest of the world outside of SL has used polygon mesh modelling techiques since about 1970, one would be forced to conclude that an element of elitism is being established not by mesh creators but by those relying on the proprietary building methods which remain isolated within Second Life, not the other way around. The numbers would argue against your statement. • Granted, there is a certain amount of technical advancement one has to surmount in order to use mesh building methods, in many ways they are easier to work with than sculpted prims, since the limitations and specific aspects of working with sculpted prims limit what you are capable of doing to them and how you can create with them; Having a limited and fixed geometry and texture placement, sculpted prims are largely inefficient as a building method, since any linkset containing more than one of them still forces the rendering and processing of all the goemetry and texturing inside the prims which you never see. The largest obstacles in using polygon modelling are learning the interface of the software you choose and learning the best way to optimize the geometry and texturing for SL, both aspects which can be assisted by the huge amount of tutorials online and user base which has existed for years outside of SL. In this regard, its easier to learn than sculpted primitives ever was. Its just different, so it can be easy to assume that it is much harder. The "hoi paloy" segment of the outside-SL population using mesh polygon modelling is many times larger than the "elite" mesh creators in SL. • Unfortunately, the problems associated with mesh in the early stage it's now in here have prevented a lot of people from using it. Mesh clothing doesnt fit you, something that we have been trying to address for months, and which finally holds promise for change with the recent funding to create a fix for it. Client stability has been difficult, bugs are rampant and theres a lot of issues with computers being able to handle it, which has been compounded by the fact that downloading a client cabable of viewing mesh is an option for the user, verses the forced downloads we all had to take when sculpted prims were introduced; back then, when you logged in, it downloaded for you. Boom - we could all see sculpted prims. Not so with mesh, and until it is made better and easier to use, it wont be adopted by most people. This is a primary difference, and one which forces mesh to be better if it is going to survive as a building method here. In conclusion, please consider that mesh has a way to go yet but is what the rest of the world outside SL uses in order to create 3D content. It is not designed for an elite segment of the population, its designed to open up creation of content in ways which have already been established as standard outside of SL so more people can create with it as an OPTION. Prims arent going away, sculpted prims arent going away. It is merely another tool in the toolbox. While a certain segment of the population will excel in the use of them and as a result may see more sales, that is a choice that the consumer will make, and the result of the effort of the creator to adapt and embrace the new tool. Thats not elitism, thats capitalism and it exists in SL because competetive markets are how this works. Because someone makes the effort to learn a new tool thats more common outside of SL than within it doesnt make them an elitist, it makes them a competetive businessperson, and if they sell a few more items than someone who doesnt make mesh, then it is a reward for the extra effort they have put forth, and may actually pay back some of that money they spent on studio max or maya in order to do it, though thats certainly not a requirement either, blender is free and very capable. Does it make someone an elitist because they want additional or new methods to create with, or does it make someone an elistist if they prefer to use only a proprietary building method which exists only within SL? Does that elitism extend only to the difficulty of the tool itself or does the proportion of those using it define the status? I think trying to place a label on either segment of the population is wrong. There is room for both, especially when the tools used are optional.
  6. It was deleted, if i understand the guidelines correctly (having gone over them a little too late, doh) because he who shall not be named that is possibly going to work on the fix that shall not be mentioned, was mentioned. I used his RL name. Ah well.
  7. To clarify, while I may be the one who posted the Jira, this certainly isnt my solution. I couldnt tell you how to implement a parametric deformer any more than I could tell you how to tune a carburetor in a ferrari twelve cylinder engine. The solution I mention is one that has been provided before in a wide variety of other games and platforms, most notably Eve Online, Guild Wars and Aeon in addition to the forementioned Bluemars. I have spoken to a number of game developers outside of SL and have spoken to several former and current Lindens on the subject. This is not some unreachable technical achievement. It is very doable, and with a modicum of effort. The challenge is more logistical than technical. It is a matter of getting them to choose to do it, and when. The term parametric deformer is a very loose description of a set of solutions which could be accomplished in a variety of ways. It is not specific to this or that game engine or platform. From the developers I have spoken to, it is somewhat common practice outside of SL in dealing with the types of technical problems currently present with rigged mesh attachments here. There are a wide variety of ways in which it could be implemented and if the development cycle in bluemars was any indicator (it took them about a week once they decided to do it, according to the devs I spoke to there) it could be readily achieved. The number of votes/watches on the jira, while seemingly small, can also be considered as a percentage of the larger population who did not vote but are concerned and affected by this. It is not a fixed number, nor indicative of the total of people who want and would benefit from these changes. For every person that voted there are more who have not but would still agree. Looking at the blogs, forums, plurks, FB, etc. it is apparent that these issues are a concern to many and are affecting a larger percentage of the population than voted on the jira. This is not just about mesh clothing fitting you, either. The scope of the current problems with rigged mesh attachments is much larger, as illustrated by the image below: All of the issues listed above were present in bluemars and all of them were fixed with the introduction of a parametric deformation and layering heirarchy. This can and should be done, and it should be a priority, as much as fixing a listed crash bug.
  8. The JIRA i submitted (CTS-693) has been moved to the shining project HERE and is viewable again. During the meeting today, the question was raised about it, again. The answer is that they are reviewing it and (pick response/s of your choice below): • would like to see this happen and will consider it, etc. • it is not a priority at the moment, stability is the primary focus right now, etc. • these things usually take a lot of time and effort, it may be a lot of work, much more than you realize, etc. • its being looked at but we have not committed to it, etc. • this is something that we may consider doing at some future time, but not now, etc. All of the answers above have been given at one point or another, which means that the almost 500 of us or so that considered this a major priority basically have little or no more information on if this will be implemented than we did before i posted the JIRA. In other words, it looks like we will be facing 4-6 months of struggling with the issues that a parametric deformer would solve even in the best case scenario, which is exactly what happened in bluemars with it, as Daniel can remember well. However, once it was decided to develop a deformation system and layers, it took 2 devs about a week to come up with the solution, since it is pretty standard and has been applied for the same problems in a variety of other environments, for example bluemars, eve onine, guild wars and several others. This can be done with a modicum of effort. The hard part is getting them to commit to it. Without it, I personally see mesh clothing as a pretty limited set of experiments, not a viable market to engage in, unless you like to torture yourself with hours of extra work, additional uploads and just love getting angry customer complaints. Up to you. If you are NOT happy about this, write a Linden and ask them to change it. They will look into it.
  9. Yeah. What he said. I thought that she was asking about the proxy, since it was pertaining to mesh. You misunderstood me correctly the first time. You are correct sir. :matte-motes-nerdy:
  10. A bounding box is the physical shape (that you run into or that other physical shapes encounter) for a given object. It defines the physical shape of an object, though it may be much different in size and shape than the objects visual appearance. All prim types have them (prim, sculpty, mesh). • With regular primitives it is defined by a shape almost identical to the size and shape of the prim • With sculpted prims, it is a box shape but the visual appearance of the item may be much smaller within the edges of that box that the physical shape. You can scale sculpts to fit closer to the limits of the bounding box edges, however, to limit this, though with odd shapes this becomes much more difficult. In some apps this function is called "maximize." • With mesh prims, however, you have many more choices in how you define the physical shape, instead of just a box. Generally a very simple, rough outline of the shape will do, and it can be based on the lowest level of detail shape you import. This can be specified on import of your mesh item into SL, though you can get much more reliable results by defining a specific shape in your modelling program, as with the different LOD's. Once specified, your physical shape is what you will bump into, stand or sit on, etc.
  11. If you are new to mesh, don't have a polygon modeling app or are confused by trying to learn the intricacies of something like blender/3DS/Maya, MeshMixer is an excellent FREE app to get you started and familiarize yourself with what's involved. If you already know mesh, this is a great tool to have in your toolbox. Does a variety of functions very quickly and it works fast, primarily as a voxel sculpting tool. It imports obj, exports obj and collada dae. It will generate the UV maps for items created within it, not sure about imported items. You can also save items in the drawer on the side of the UI, to use again. Added this to the wiki list of mesh programs. MeshMixer
  12. Just completed putting a basic tutorial on the wiki for rigging avatars/items to the SL skeleton in maya. Its not advanced, but it will get you started with a working, rigged item you can wear. Rigging a Mesh in Maya
  13. Once you get the rigged skeleton into maya with the default avatar obj. (or any mesh object) There are a couple of very simple steps to get your going: 1. Make sure you are in the animation panel, and have the animation shelf selected. 2. Position your mesh obj. so that it is as close to your avatar skeleton as possible, scaling where needed. If you are importing the default mesh shape, the zero point should place it exactly where it needs to be over the skeleton. 3. Select your mesh obj. or avatar mesh obj. 4. Select your skeleton from the center hip joint (this is the main or "parent" joint for the entire skeleton, and defines the zero position for any animation) Once selected, the entire skeleton should show as selected. 5. Go to the SKIN menu at the top of the maya interface. Select MENU > SOFT BINDING (rigid bind will not work with SL) The options box for Soft Bind is where you will go later on as you learn to adjust weights and rigging properties. 6. Once you have selected SOFT BIND your avatar skeleton and the mesh avatar should both show as selected, with the skeleton bones showing a variety of colors. 7. While both are still selected, EXPORT them as collada DAE file. You will need to have the collada plugin installed and running for this to work. Make sure that your UV mapping and any adjustments to the UV map have been done PRIOR to skinning the object to the skeleton. 8. Open SL and import, then rez the item on the ground. At this point, most likely it is very small, unless you accounted for the scaling from maya to SL. 9. Import your texture for the mesh, place it on the item, and take it back into inventory. 10. Wear the item by choosing it in your inventory, or selecting add to your current outfit. This is only the most basic steps to get your started, but should allow you to have a working, rigged item to wear on your avatar. You will most likely need to wear an alpha underneath the item so that it will not show through. You may also create a custom alpha texture to apply to the various alpha segments that you check if you edit the alpha clothing item while worn. Good luck!
  14. Recently added this JIRA request for a parametric deformer for rigged mesh items. Please take a moment to read and vote. Thank you! https://jira.secondlife.com/browse/CTS-693
  15. Firstly, let me say thank you for the compliments of my work, Drongle. I certainly have absolutely no issue with you using it as an example in making what is, I think, a very valid point. While I dont want to recreate the sim using mesh, you do point out what a lot of us are concerned about; That is, if I wanted to redo it with mesh, it would end up being considerably limited. The $L and prim counts would be prohibitive. I, for one, am looking forward to the challenges and opportunities that mesh presents, although Im already going to need therapy from trying to figure out some of those challenges. I do feel that, as the dust settles, it will become simply another tool in the toolbox for creators to choose from rather than a replacement for anything that currently exists. I cant wait to see what people do with it, but I dont see a future where SL is a mesh world, with older content passing out of use. I am also saddened by the growing limitations of mesh, which seem to be making it less viable as a build alternative as we get nearer to release. I'd like to add my personal desire to see some form of parametric deformer for worn mesh items, as this would serve the greater purpose of making it much more usable, much more sellable, adopted by a greater portion of existing designers and much more (pardon the pun) flexible. It would also negate the need for rigging, which seems to be one of the more difficult aspects of making something to wear for many people. Ideally, worn mesh items should be developed with adoptability and usability in mind, considering the existing market for worn items. This is, of course, only my opinion, but I voice it after having experience the exact same issue with worn items in bluemars. The parametric deformer they created in response to the problem was a very viable solution, one which made clothing and worn item design much more accessable and marketable to a wider segment of the population there. It would have the same effect, solve the same problems, here. Thanks again for using Rustica as an example here. Its nice to be mentioned among such esteemed company.
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