Linden Lab have done something really good with this latest update, and there are a few things I want to talk about to try and answer some of the questions and concerns I have seen around the SL social sphere over the last few days.
Bakes on Mesh – what is it?
Bakes on Mesh is a project viewer currently available here: SL Project Viewer, Bakes on Mesh
The project will allow us to set our mesh bodies, hands, heads and feet to display the textures that are worn on the SL avatar’s system layers. This means skins, tattoos, underwear, clothing, and alpha layers can all be used on a mesh avatar that has been set up for Bakes on Mesh.
The project is still in development, and I imagine it will be for a little while, but LL has surprised us with fast releases of feature updates before, so Slink is getting ready for it now.
There’s been a bit of confusion and misinformation spreading around about this project. In general people seem to be very excited about it, and those who truly understand what it means for our avatars are *really* excited about it!
Some dot points below, to hopefully answer some questions, as far as I know it!
- System skin layers, tattoo layers, clothing layers and alpha layers all work. The mesh needs to be flagged by it’s creator, and properly setup for alpha layers to work as intended.
- Hands and feet alone will not be possible without some changes on LL’s end. There is no way to hide the hands and feet by themselves, and make the system legs appear. The way the flagging works makes the entire lower body and upper body disappear when a flagged mesh is worn.
- You do not need a full body alpha to wear a Bakes on Mesh flagged mesh. If the flag is present when you wear the mesh, the body section it is flagged for disappears. eg: if you have a lower body mesh, the entire SL avvie lower body will disappear when you turn on the Bakes on Mesh flag.
- There is still a need for appliers for nailpolishes, specular maps and normal maps.
- Multiple layers in a body mesh or head mesh are no longer necessary with a couple of cavats:
- The old symmetrical arms and feet have come back to haunt us. That means those of us who have been offering asymmetrical tattoos for the last x years have to find a workaround that allows people to still have that function. For now, that means appliers.
- stockings do not wrap around toes, therefore a separate stocking layer will be required – again this means appliers.
- Heads should be the simplest thing to adapt to. We can wear 62 layers, which should be more then enough for you to wear many layers of freckles, moles, eyebrows, lipstick, tattoos, hairbases etc.
- You organise what goes on top of what through your outfit editor, not through applier layers.
- Alpha layers means that we no longer need to split our mesh bodies up into multiple little pieces with 8 material faces, and try to read the minds of mesh clothing creators to make a set of alpha cuts that doesn’t leave bits of bodies sticking out where they shouldn’t. The alpha is back in the hands of the clothing creator, and should be made alongside the clothing, and worn as you would wear any alpha layer. Provided the body is setup properly, this will just.. work.
- Mesh clothing creators no longer need to mess about with auto alpha scripts! (yay)
- Outfit creation is a lot easier
- Changing mesh body parts is also a lot easier provided both bodies are setup for bakes on mesh. The body takes whatever you’re wearing on your system body and you’re done! No more digging around for your favourite skin and makeup appliers every time you wish to change heads.
- You should not need a special HUD to activate this feature. This is a free update that LL are doing for us, and creators need to setup their mesh body parts to take advantage of it.
- This should cut down a lot on extra polygons, textures that glitch and take up a bunch of system resources and script usage in mesh body parts as the parts that handle appliers and alpha cuts are all taken care of in this project.
- In the meantime – keep your appliers, as they will continue to work on your current body parts, but you should expect to be keeping system layers for the future as well.
- Mesh clothing creators should look into making alpha layers if they don’t already (some do, but due to differences between the system body geometry and mesh body geometry, some alterations may need to be made)
- Skinners, makeup artists and clothing creators who make clothing for appliers should look into putting their creations onto system layers if they don’t already.
- If a mesh head or body part doesn’t conform to the system avatar UV – that’s ok. Skinmakers who have made head textures could make a version specifically to fit that head, if necessary.
We are so, so excited about this update – we need to talk to the people at Linden Lab about a few little changes that won’t affect the end user, but could make a big impact on those of us who create these things for you, but as it is now, it’s so much fun to play with and think about and plan for! We have some great plans going forward to use this feature to it’s fullest advantage, and hopefully make the lives of our creators, and our customers (and ourselves!) very much easier.
Feel free to contact me (Siddean) if you have any questions and I’ll try to answer as much as I am able!