Slink is excited to announce that our Second Level has been reached in our Grow with Slink instagram promotion. You can find all of the information at the post for this promotion here. Congratulations to all that have won this level, and now moving onto the next, the previous name submissions are all included in the draws, so if you already input your name and did not win this round, you still have the potential to win in Level Three.
If you already own our Slink Physique Bundles following can still help others win, so follow for friends, let friends know it is happening etc.
If you have any questions please IM Slink Resident in world.
Did you know that Slink Physique Original and Hourglass bodies have had a tiny breast option since early 2018? Indeed they have! She is called Petite, and Slink launched her at Skin Fair, March 2018.
This augment comes in both Slink Classic and Slink Redux versions, to suit whichever body you personally prefer, and she’s been available all along in the Slink Mainstore! You just wear with the matching body, and the Petite behaves as if it was always part of the base body!
Today at the new Itty Bitty Titty Committee event, I have released the Gala Wrap top and her sister, the Catriona skirt in complementing colours!
Gala comes in all fitting options for Slink female bodies – Physique Original and Hourglass, Original and Hourglass Petite, and 12 pretty, understated, Fall colours.
Catriona comes in Physique Original and Hourglass fitting, and 12 colours to go with Gala.
I also have some of my recent releases for Physique up at the IBTC event stall – all available in petite fittings of course, and new shiny vendors to show off how pretty they are! 🙂
Hop on over to the IBTC event and see what other lovelies you can find! Gala and Catriona will be available in the Slink Mainstore from the 21st of August. 🙂
I loved this set so much I decided to release it in solid colours! These can be mixed and matched with each other, or with the stripy set, or with a pair of skimpy denim shorty-shorts! Now available at Slink and on the Slink Marketplace store.
A figure hugging, bodycon, highwaisted skirt and a cheeky peek-a-boo crop top, in 12 cute summery colours, and the pack of all is just 2.5x the price of a single colour! Compatible with Slink Physique Original and Hourglass, and their Petites! Get yours now at Slink.
Our cute as a button Skylar has been celebrating the 17th birthday of her favourite hangout, Second Life, for the last 2 weeks! Somewhere in the wee hours of last night, she stumbled home and caught a few zzz’s. Skylar, with her high-waisted, comfy jersey skirt, and eyebrow-raising peekaboo crop-top has now made an appearance in the Slink Mainstore, freshened up with brand new textures, new material maps, and 4 new colours, as well as the option to pick up a single colour, if that’s what you want. You can get all 12 super cute stripes, for our usual 2.5x the single price!
While you are there, check out Leila! She is right next door to Skylar and is definitely one you don’t want to miss!
Do I need to say more? I mean, I am going to say more. Holy WOW this set is sexy! Definitely the most slinky thing I have ever released at Slink, which is saying something. Leila comes in 8 beautiful metal options and for when you want to get close to someone special, there is a Naughty option right on the HUD! You can rez your HUD nearby to give someone else access to the Naughty bits.
The colours are available for separate purchase, or you can pick up the pack for 2.5x the single price! Well worth it 🙂
In the previous article, I talked about some of the history of creating in Second Life and the challenges we faced as creators and as customers in hiding the avatar body to prevent clipping of our skin through the clothing. Or even just hiding the body to wear a cute dragon avatar! In this article I will talk about the current state of things. Starting with…
Bakes on Mesh
In March or so of 2018, Linden Lab made the announcement that they would be implementing this new feature called “Bakes on Mesh“. Bakes on Mesh would take whatever textures were baked into the hidden, base SL avatar, and display it to whatever worn mesh items had the “Bake” flag applied to them.
A peek into our working folders
When Bakes on Mesh was announced, we at the Slink workshop had already started, and were several months into, our “More Alpha Cuts” project. Our scripts were groaning under the weight of what we had already, and adding the many requested new alpha cuts was a very daunting task, but nevertheless, we had started to break up our body and HUD into more pieces and faces, and explore what was required for the new setup.
Of course, being early adopters, and always keen to keep up with new technology, we jumped on Bakes on Mesh as soon as the project viewer became available. I read everything I could find about it. I explored all of the available options in the new viewer. I experimented, and became actively involved in development, since I was one of a few creators I knew about at the time who were using the project viewer and developing for it. I logged a number of bugs through the SL Jira. I even found a nasty little bug that caused LL to take the project viewer offline while they fixed it!
I blogged about Bakes on Mesh in April of 2018, because I felt that this was something that we couldn’t just throw out there. It needed time for SL residents to adopt and accept so I wanted to start that process as early as I could. And I knew it would really be a game changer, so I wanted to do my part in preparing SL residents for the adjustment.
An early BOM test wearing my beloved Tuli skin on my mesh head!
Bakes on Mesh has been a creative boon on a number of fronts. I strongly believe that when Linden Lab gave us the ability to upload and wear mesh items, Bakes on Mesh should perhaps have happened at the same time. It would have pushed the mesh implementation project back a few months, but it would have answered a lot of questions that never needed to be asked.
Anyhoo I digress. I settled into that project viewer like it was my new home and used it exclusively for the almost year and a half or so that it took for the Bakes on Mesh project to go from initial announcement to release.
SL has had the ability to change the way textures with alpha channels display on prim faces for some years now, and we had written into Slink’s code to always set the skin layer to mode “none”, as alpha channels on skin textures can cause some strange lighting glitches to happen. So one day I was messing about with my BOM prototype body, with the skin layer set to the alpha mode “none” as always, when it occurred to me that if a skin layer could bake to the avatar, and a shirt layer could bake to the avatar, maybe an alpha layer could bake to the avatar.
An example of how alpha masking with a mask cutoff looks while editing.
We no longer used alpha layers to hide our bodies for Bakes on Mesh enabled bodies, as that is done by BOM magic 🙂 So I put on a random alpha layer that I had floating about in my inventory and… nothing happened, other than disappointment. But then I thought “wait a minute, what if I set the alpha mode to Alpha Masking instead of None” (one of the other options available in the alpha mode mode menu) To my absolute delight, my body disappeared exactly where the alpha layer said it should, with a nice sharp edge, and no lighting glitches!
I experimented some more and worked out that changing the “Mask Cutoff” value could also make the edge of the alpha’ed section move, provided the texture was blurry! I made a new alpha layer that was a big old blurry semi transparent gradient from waist to ankles and found that I could change the alpha’ed section from *most of the legs* right up to *none of the legs* with one single alpha layer, just by changing that mask cutoff value!
This was my big aha moment. I excitedly showed it to my scripter (my very patient husband Caine), archived everything we had been working on up to that point, and started a new project called “No Alpha Cuts”
How one alpha layer can change depending on the Mask Cutoff Value
As it turns out, Bakes on Mesh has almost completely eliminated the need for HUD controlled alpha zones. There is an important exception which I will go into in a moment.
Alpha Mask/Alpha Layers
With Bakes on Mesh, we are back to using our brilliant, reliable, low avatar rendering cost, easy to create, inexpensive avatar alpha layers. All you do is wear them and your mesh body will disappear wherever the texture says it should, the same way your SL avatar body would prior to mesh implementation, prior to alpha zone HUDs and all that extra complexity.
An important change that has come along with Bakes on Mesh is the ability to wear up to 60 system layers of whatever kind you want. We are no longer limited to 5 tattoo layers, 5 alpha layers etc. We can wear any number of any kind of layer that we like. This means that if you have an alpha layer for your jeans, one for your shoes, one for your gloves, one for your shirt, one for your scalp, one for your hands, you can wear all of them at once, and they will combine in rendering on your avatar into one big, beautiful alpha layer!
Editing an alpha layer
Creating Alpha Layers
Alpha layers are also very easy to create. Everyone in SL has the tools to create a basic alpha layer, just like everyone has the tools to create a basic shirt or a basic pair of pants. All you do is right click on any folder in your inventory, select “New Clothes”, mouse on down to “New Alpha Mask” and click it! Give it a name and voila, a new alpha layer is born! You can now wear it, edit it and add your own texture to it.
I have created a couple of tutorials on how to create a texture suitable to be used as an alpha layer in Photoshop and G.I.M.P.
I will add to these tutorials with a step by step in blog format in the future.
*important caveat with GIMP alpha creation – If your erase brush is drawing with colour instead of making the pixels transparent – select “Layer – Transparency — Add Alpha Channel and it should work properly.*
Now onto that important exception that I mentioned earlier. Before mesh bodies were even a thing we could imagine, we had the SL avatar. The SL avatar has a UV template that is… less than ideal. It has a great face and head layout, good torso and legs, terrible arms, hands and feet. For some reason, known only to the original creators of the SL avatar, the arms and feet are 2 islands in one, laid upon each other so that whatever is on one is automatically baked into the other. This was something we at Slink wanted to address with the Slink Physique body system, pre Bakes on Mesh, so we wrote the missing asymmetry into our bodies and 3rd party applier scripts. With Slink Physique, you could create a tattoo applier that would send different textures to the left and right arms and/or feet, and they would display properly. You could also make your arms and feet invisible, left and right, independent of the other side.
With Bakes on Mesh, unfortunately we would have to take a step backwards by going back to that forced symmetry from the SL avatar, so we thought very long and hard about what to do to keep the asymmetry that our customers have enjoyed and came up with our Asymmetry Harness.
Join me in the next installment where I go into the last remaining bastion of HUD controlled alpha cuts for the Slink Physique and Redux body systems 🙂
This is a long post, grab yourself a cup of whatever you like to drink, and settle in for a read! 🙂
The storied history of hiding the avatar in Second Life
Many moons ago, back in the olden days, we used to trudge uphill in the snow baref… wait, no, wrong story!
Back in the day when we only had the default SL avatar body, we worked around the fact that we couldn’t hide the avatar body with a variety of methods. First, we would just build bigger than the avatar body, and adjusted sliders and shoe bases to accomodate. The first real method of hiding the actual body that I remember was the Invisiprim, which used a little script that rendered the prim invisible, and any part of the avatar body it was worn on, also invisible.
Slink Sydney Overknee Boots with invisiprims
The invisiprim could be a series of primitive shapes, cubes, cylinders etc, or a custom shape made in a 3d program which used a little R,G,B (red, green, blue) texture we called “sculpty”, or Sculpted Texture, to form the shape in 3d space when applied to a prim inworld. You can still find many sculpties, and invisiprims, in older shoe designs for example. They appear like big invisible blobs around your object when you select the item in edit mode. Some time ago, invisiprims were rendered obsolete, and they no longer work.
The nature of invisiprims was to obscure anything behind them that had an alpha channel, which is a property of a texture that makes it transparent or semi transparent.
Linden Lab introduced the Alpha Layer around 2012, which freed creators and consumers up from invisiprims in a big, substantial way. Now we could just wear a layer, instead of making big blobby prims to hide our avatar feet for shoes, or even our entire avatars for new bodies, animal avatars, tech avatars etc!
Alpha layers entirely replaced invisiprims with a much simpler to create and use system that could hide parts or all of the default avatar body with ease and didn’t cause transparent textures behind the avatar to disappear. They were especially useful once we had the ability to wear more than one.
An example of an alpha texture in Second Life. The checkerboard part is transparent
Creators got busy making alpha layers for their mesh clothing. Alpha layers could be painted onto a template in a painter program like Photoshop, and made to fit exactly with the clothing, so that no part of the avatar clipped outside, and the body was visible only where it was meant to be. It was a great solution. Rarely would you find a mesh outfit without a complementary alpha layer.
A year or 2 after the implementation of alpha layers, Linden Lab gave us the ability to create and wear fully functional mesh items that animated along with our avatar skeletons, and responded along with our appearance sliders! Game changer right? Yes and no. With this update, came complete mesh replacements for the SL avatar body, since we could finally change shapes with the avatar appearance sliders, however, the ability to just wear an alpha layer and have your body disappear was gone, along with the ability to just wear a skin, tattoo, makeup, etc.
So we creators had to come up with a solution. That solution was HUD controlled, scripted alpha cuts.
An early HUD for the Slink Physique Mesh body. It has undergone a number of changes since this version
HUD Controlled Alpha Cuts
HUD controlled alpha cuts gave us the ability to turn on and off parts of our new, pretty mesh bodies, but with some significant drawbacks:
Each alpha cut area must be designated in the 3d program by the creator of the body, and must by design, follow the geometry of the body.
To be at all functional, the body must be cut into many many zones or “faces”.
SL creators are hard limited by the platform to 8 “faces” per single mesh.
8 is obviously not enough zones to properly cater to all the varieties of clothing available in SL, so we had to break the bodies up into many, many pieces, each with 8 individual zones.
At final count, the Slink bodies were in 27 pieces, with 8 faces each, multiplied by 4, since we also wanted to provide layer options for tattoos, underwear and clothing.
Each layer had to respond to the HUD the same way so when you turned off part of your arm, the corresponding part of your tattoo would also turn off, and not come on again until you enabled it again on your HUD
To make any sense to the person scripting the body, the faces must never change in order. Otherwise when you think you are turning off your arm, you may be turning off your leg! This can lead to hours of pointless bug hunting. Ask me how I know 🙂
27 pieces, 8 faces each, multiplied by 4, needing to respond to the same HUD commands, quickly, without glitches if you turned on and off your layers separately is a mammoth, complicated and time consuming scripting task, not to mention managing the pieces to ensure no gaps, seams, texture mismatches or errors in face assignment in the 3d program.
We had to provide a solution to 3rd party creators so they could script their clothing to automatically turn off bits and pieces of your body when you wore it. More scripting!
The scripting of the alpha zones alone constituted more than half of the required scripting for the entire body.
By the time all was said and done, the layers of mesh, body pieces, faces, textures and scripts added up to a substantial avatar rendering cost JUST for the body alone. And then you start adding clothing and hairstyles, shoes and jewellery and.. well you see where this is going.
The most recent Slink alpha HUD with so so many cuts!
AND even all of that still wasn’t enough. Every week I would receive requests for more alpha cuts. Cuts down the front and back of the legs. Cuts down the sides of the legs. More cuts for different shirt necklines. Cuts for open front jackets, low back dresses. Jeans with lacing up the sides, teeny weeny bikinis. I could seriously see a future where I did nothing else but manage alpha cuts for the rest of my SL life.
And then came …Bakes on Mesh…
Join me in the next article where I talk about Bakes on Mesh and how we now handle hiding our avatar bits!
Slink has 2 new releases at our SL17b booth this go around, perfect for summer drinks in the shade with friends! All responsible social butterflies do it online these days, and this cute, slightly sexy little outfit is a perfect fit.
Everything Redux has been updated today! Slink Physique (Original, Hourglass and Male, and the Bundles), the Slink male and femalefeet, the Slink male and femalehands and the Slink Visage heads.
There are a couple of important features added to this update. In particular:
A new neck fitting option has been added to the female Redux bodies and heads so that they can be seamless with the SL default avatar when your body fat slider is set to 0.
The Redux male body and heads have also been adjusted to be seamless with the SL default avatar at body fat size 0.
These things have the added advantage of being seamless with other brands mesh bodies and heads.
I have added a new ALPHA button to the Physique Utilities HUDs for Redux, which will send you a big megapack of alpha layers for every possible need!
I have added a number of chat commands that you can use to turn on and off bits and pieces without having to wear the HUD and clicky the buttons!
/15 fingernails on (or off) to enable or disable the fingernails
/15 toenails on (or off) to enable or disable the toenails
/15 stretch on (or off) to enable or disable the shirt stretch (female bodies only)
/15 nipples on (or off) to enable or disable the nipples (female bodies only)
/15 crotch on (or off) to enable or disable the smooth panty or smooth crotch
/15 butt on (or off) to enable or disable the smooth bottom section
I have reworked all of the skins that we include with Redux for men and women. There are more skintones with new faces, more options for fingertip and toetip corrective tattoos for non-slink skins, there are PG patches, eyebrows, and for men, beards, body hair and hairbases!
We have also fixed a few bugs along the way,
And completely rearranged how the body parts unpack to make it easier to understand what to use when and how:
Previously you would receive a number of folders, or click on several buttons on the unpacker HUD to receive your items however, that proved to be unwieldy and difficult to maintain, so I have simplified it right down to it’s essence.
Now when you wear the initial Slink unpacker HUD, it will send you one single folder with 2 unpackers inside it, plus a notecard detailing Classic and Redux so you can make an informed decision as to which body you need to unpack. Then simply wear the one you need. If you are wearing the Redux unpacker, you will be sent one single folder, and the essential items are right at the top of the folder ready for you to just wear! If you hit “decline” on the folder, you can just click the unpacker and it will send you another one!!
If you are a Redux bundle wearer, all of the individual body, hands and feet are included (in their own unpackers right at the bottom of the folder) along with your bundle item, but you do not need to unpack them unless you want to mix and match with other bodies. Just wear your bundle item, and it’s HUD and you’re good to go!
There is also a small update for those of you who still use the Classic body parts – we have made a change to a couple of the internal scripts. You may update if you wish, but it’s not essential!
We want to expand our online presence to now include Instagram, as we know that many of the Second Life movers and shakers are all about Social Media and this way, we get to share our stories with you. We look forward to expanding our Slink.SL Instagram with motivational views, with content from our users and whatever we feel will add a little bit more positivity to a Slink follower’s day. We want to see our followers grow and to ensure we are paying attention down here in Slink land, we wanted to give ourselves some goals. When we reach 100 followers (Level 1.) we will give away 10 Slink Physique Body Bundles to 10 individual followers, that have followed and commented with their Second Life username. When we reach 500 followers (Level 2.) we will give away 20 Slink Physique Body Bundles to 20 individual followers and when we reach 1000 followers (Level 3.) we will give away 30 Slink Physique Body Bundles. That is 60 Slink Physique Body Bundles to win, and each winner will get to choose Body Bundle they want to receive from our collection…Physique Original, Physique Hourglass or Physique Male.
As we reach each goal we will use all Second Life usernames and followers combined up until that point to pick the winners, so if you do not win at level 1 you can still win 2 or 3. You must still be following when winners drawn. Winners will be random and selected by Slink Resident.
We look forward to growing with you, and this will be the first of many Slink in Second Life promotional endeavors.
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