Before I start this post, I’d just like to point out that this is old news. I’m not adding anything new here but the reason I am writing this is that many friends and acquaintances haven’t been aware of the current direction that mesh deformers are taking, so this article is a convenient place to direct people to. It seeks to be a fairly short and easily-digested article, which links to further reading.
Mesh has been around for a while now, and I think most people have decided where they are with it. At one end of the spectrum we have people who pretty much won’t wear any rigged mesh unless it just happens to fit them “as is” and at the other end of the spectrum we have people willing to have a different version of their shape for almost every outfit they own. And I’m not exaggerating here; two of my closest friends fall into those two extremes.
It’s clear that the Standard Sizes are far from perfect. They were a reasonable workaround to the problem of Rigged Mesh being uneditable, but they are not a solution. Many people (myself included) have been extremely reluctant to alter their natural shape, feeling that the whole point of Second Life is to be who we want to be and that clothes should fit to us and not us to the clothes.
One of the first people to propose a solution was Karl Stiefvater (Qarl Fizz) who proposed the Mesh Deformer project (also known as the Parametric Deformer), which was successfully Crowd Funded and which Karl put a lot of work into. I think it’s fair to say that a lot of people know about this project and of those, a majority are wondering why it hasn’t made it into the Official Viewer yet.
However, it was by no means the only solution and Redpoly Inventor proposed rigging garments to the “collision bones” of the avatar skeleton, which is what evolved into “Liquid Mesh”. The shortcomings of this in its current state is that really there aren’t enough “collision bones” to do a proper job and because it is not officially supported by Linden Lab, it was an unofficial solution and hence prone to breakage in the future.
However, on 20-Nov-2013, Linden Lab posted an entry on their blog entitled Making Mesh Garments Fit Better outlining how they intend to officially adopt the “Liquid Mesh” approach and develop it further, adding additional custom bones in order to overcome the shortcomings of the current approach.
Where does this leave Karl’s Mesh Deformer? Well, parked up and thrown away essentially although one could argue that perhaps it spurred Linden Lab into action and Karl has said that he thinks that what LL is proposing is the technically simpler solution (although is correspondingly more complex for content creators). You can read more on an article that Inara Pey wrote, which includes an analysis of it all and also quotes Karl’s response to the news. If you don’t follow her blog then I would really recommend it as it is always very well written and very in-depth.
It will be interesting to see how quickly Linden Lab progress this. It’s way overdue, and the sooner we get an official (and effective) solution to the issue of garment deformation the better.
(Links are sorted newest to oldest)
SL projects update week 50 (2): Fitted mesh, deformer, viewer code contributions
Inara Pey (12-Dec-2013)
Fitted mesh: “LL’s assessment here is mostly good” – Qarl
Inara Pey (24-Nov-2013)
Lab looks to make mesh garments fit better with the Fitted Mesh project viewer
Inara Pey (20-Nov-2013)
Making Mesh Garments Fit Better
The announcement by Linden Lab (20-Nov-2013)
Liquid Mesh: looking from all sides
An analysis of Liquid Mesh by Inara Pey (26-Aug-2013)
Further links are available at the end of each of Inara’s posts.
Other articles by me on mesh
How few changes you need to make to your shape to be compatible with
a Standard Size (15-Nov-2013)
It’s starting to Mesh
A short update on how Mesh was working (or not) for me (07-Apr-2013)
Mesh deformer: interview with Qarl Fizz
A reblog of one of Inara’s posts, with further comment by me. (22-Jun-2012)
Oh what a Mesh!
My experiences of Mesh after it had been around for a good few months (16-Jun-2012)
Unencumbered by the trappings of real life
Immersionism vs Augmentism, and how Mesh affects it (22-Apr-2012)
My first, somewhat naive post on the subject (27-Sep-2011)