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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The State of Mesh Clothing in Second Life- Stareyes Galaxy Reporting…






     Mesh clothing has taken the grid by storm, since Linden Lab started allowing 
mesh uploads over a year ago. 

 As an apparent answer to their clothing woes, 
especially female shoppers have made it a necessity for designers to change 
over to mesh completely, or at least to open sections of mesh clothing in their 
stores. However, despite its seemingly great benefits, mesh does not completely 
solve all problems of traditional Second Life clothing.

 I wore my SLE Media Group tag to interview both customers and designers of mesh inworld.



Mesh clothing has taken the grid by storm, since Linden Lab started allowing 
mesh uploads over a year ago.  As an apparent answer to their clothing woes, 
especially female shoppers have made it a necessity for designers to change 
over to mesh completely, or at least to open sections of mesh clothing in their 
stores. However, despite its seemingly great benefits, mesh does not completely 
solve all problems of traditional Second Life clothing. I wore my SLE Media 
Group tag to interview both customers and designers of mesh inworld.

I met Luma Nurmi, a sprightly character with great fashion sense, to talk about 
her opinions on using mesh clothing.                  

SLE: "Generally, what is your view on mesh vs. sculpty prim clothes?"
Luma Nurmi: "Mesh is improving."

SLE: "Would you take "mesh" over "physics", or vice versa?"
Luma Nurmi: "A combination would be awesome."

SLE: "I know you have mesh female appendages. What is your opinion on how 
designers cope with those, when doing mesh clothes?"

Luma Nurmi:  "I don?t know anyone who makes mesh dresses that would work with 
mesh attachments."

SLE: "Interesting. How about furry appendages such as tails? And neko stuff?"
Luma Nurmi: "Furry items normally work ok, Right now I have neko ears and tail 
on!"

SLE: "Anything else that comes to mind on mesh?"
Luma Nurmi: "A friend said " Mesh is doing away with individual shapes, since 
the mesh clothing is all the same, with just size 
variations."                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          SLE:"Okay, thanks!"  

Another encounter happened with Amber at Gizza Creations. "I love mesh!" she 
said immediately when I asked her about her opinions on mesh.  She said she 
liked the realism of the textures and folds - mesh doesn't "look painted on" to 
her. She also said that she was willing to pay a bit of extra for mesh in terms 
of adjusting her shape to fit the mesh she wears. For Amber, it is important to 
stay on top of fashion trends, and she thinks mesh designers "are more fashion 
forward and keep up with real-life trends" although it is apparent that some 
designers have a better reputation than others, in this respect. Her perception 
about the traditional Second Life clothes design is that those designs are "out-
of-date".



I got an insightful male view on mesh from the DJ Graylon Ash, chatting with 
him at his club, Crystal Rose Ballroom. In his opinion, mesh is a waste of 
resources and just another ploy of Linden Lab to compensate for the declining 
user statistics. He continued, “It's a clumsy addition as well, too many 
limitations and poorly programmed”. He has little in his inventory as a result 
of this perception. He echoed Luma’s comment about mesh tending to make avatars 
have the same shapes. On other avatars, he has seen a lot of clothing that he 
thinks is attractive. Graylon thinks mesh clothing is reasonably priced and for 
instance short skirts and tops with cleavage look more realistic than with 
traditional clothing designs. 

I asked about his opinion on how mesh deals with avatar physics, to which he 
replied, “very poorly”.  He was not clear-cut about preferring one over the 
other, physics or mesh, as he doesn’t really think  physics is realistic, 
either. It would depend on the outfit I think. In his opinion, designers 
should combine features of both styles to create the best combinations.
Right now designers seem to be rushing out designs that look too mundane and as 
being cut from a cookie-cutter template.



Taking these views with me, I met with SL clothes designer and store owner 
Tyson Tomko together with his partner and designer Jyllie Tomko, at their 
recently opened store, Censored Creations.  They have only been doing this 
for two weeks after acquiring some templates for mesh design. Their friends 
encouraged Tyson and Jyllie to open Censored Creations after having seen 
their first designs. Tyson likes mesh because of its ability to show higher 
detail and quality, and he is really waiting for mesh to get to a new level 
when flexi mesh becomes available. He described the mesh design process as 
something that takes more time than the traditional style of designing clothes, 
but that the results pay off the expended effort.  

I asked Tyson and Jyllie about the customer perception of mesh making the 
avatar shapes standardized. Jyllie said that it is more difficult to design for 
bustier shapes, but that appliers can be implemented for mesh female 
appendages. Their model Twiggy chimed in that the whole idea of standardized 
shapes due to mesh forcing the avatars to adjust is a misconception. Tyson and 
Jyllie explained that it is possible to resize decent mesh if it is not 
rigged, to a certain extent, making it easier for avatars to retain their 
original shape.

For the future of Censored Creations, the goal of Tyson and Jyllie is to go 
outside the box, cater to a varied customer base, and even offer a service for 
customers to commission design clothing work, for a fee. 

A conclusion of my foray into the world of mesh design is that designers are 
clearly catering to fulfill a customer need, to look amazing in SL. An added 
degree of realism is possible, but with a price of requiring the avatars adjust 
their shape to fit the mesh clothes they are wearing. The future seems to be 
promising with the upcoming introduction of mesh designs that flex and can form 
around the avatar shapes. In the meantime, what I need to do to hide the 
imperfect mesh neckline is to use mesh hair.
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