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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

An Introduction to Mesh Clothing...Jaded Exonar Reporting...

 If you are a new fan of mesh clothing, you may have received the dreaded I.M, ‘You do know you’re naked, right?’. No! Well, to some, I’m afraid we are!

“My first mesh dress was beautiful. I had chosen the size, ensured it fitted perfectly to my shape, and walked confidently into a party in a PG zone. I can’t recall how many messages I was sent, but they began to ping only seconds after my ‘glamorous’ entrance. One kindonlooker even sent me a screenshot – I hang my head with pure embarrassment to admit that I was indeed, not only naked, but waving a huge coloured ball around in my hand like a drunken party crasher! “ Rhiana (Who would prefer to be mentioned by her first name only) laughs as she shares this with me, immaculately dressed in a mesh business suit, I might add!
The truth is, despite this happening some time ago, it is still a concern to many in SL. There are no requirements regarding the modesty layers, if any, to be included with mesh items, so it is up to us to guard against it! There are a few ways to do this. First, we need to know why this is happening to us!

Why am I naked?
Well, different viewers have different levels of features on offer. Some have the ability to see mesh, and others simply do not. I’ve created a fairly comprehensive list of mesh enabled viewers here, along with some useful features.
Another thing to remember is that some viewers will not view the alpha layers either! So perhaps adding a layer of underwear to your outfit is advisable!

Do I fit my mesh clothing?
That’s right. Not,‘Does my mesh clothing fit me’. There are often ‘standard’ sizes that designers may use, and will often provide a detailed sizing guide if needed. Most mesh outfits come with anywhere from 3 to 6 or 7 sizes. Sometimes they're simply XS, S, M, L, XL while some go further and have multiple sizes along with different body types. But, at the end of the day, we will often need to alter our shapes a little to get the perfect fit we are after! This is one of the main issues preventing some of us from trying many new creations -Understandable, as I for one am very fond of my shape, and try to avoid any clothes that demand more than the smallest alterations!
We should always have (and wear!) the alpha layers included with mesh outfits. When buying, it’s always a great idea to try the demo version – Does the alpha fit closely to the cut of the item? If not, the moment you begin walking, sitting, or dancing, you’ll see your skin making a cheeky bid for freedom!

So what is mesh?
From the Second Life Wiki: "Mesh is the capability to bring 3D models, known as meshes, created in third-party tools into Second Life."
These mesh models can be applied to prims and form the basis for highly detailed and complex objects such as vehicles, plants, terrain features, etc. They can also be applied to the avatar as clothing or body parts ("rigged mesh"). When rigged mesh is used as body parts, you can create almost anything conceivable that can move with the "skeleton" of your avatar. Rigged mesh changes your avatar shape (length of "bones") to conform to the mesh sizes rather than letting the Second Life sliders control it.
You can see the introduction to mesh from Second Life’s channel here,

So, rigged mesh, or unrigged mesh?
We need to know the difference before we buy anything! Basically, we can get mesh items in two ways, as mentioned above – Rigged or unrigged.
Rigged mesh is fused to our avatars. The main benefit is that it will move with us; so we can sit, walk, dance, run etc and see your clothes bend naturally, or your boots flex realistically at the knee or ankle. However, it is not adjustable –You cannot move, resize, or retexture rigged mesh in any way. At least, not yet!
Unrigged mesh is not fused to us. They can be edited in the same way as a traditional outfit or attachment. This does mean, of course, that our dress will not bend, our jeans will not stretch, and out boots will not flex. However, when unrigged mesh is used, we can see a huge improvement in alignment problems, and rezzing issues!

Is mesh clothing for you?

I hope so! If you haven’t already tried it, I urge you to try a demo or two! It really is exciting to see what a difference can be seen in texture quality and movement – And with mesh now mainstreaming, there’s no denying, it’s here to stay.


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