Meshes: a Revolution?



So here it is, meshes have struck the grid with the new official viewer 3.0 (must have to experience mesh)! I guess most people who are reading fashion feeds already know about it while a lot of residents just have no idea what it is. Is mesh all new? No! Actualy, your avatar is already a mesh. What is new is that content creators are now able to use meshes to build more detailed items and better reacting to physics items in 3D extern softwares like Maya and import them in Second Life. It is basically what is used in any software to create the world. In the past, the limitations in Second Life were such that prims, sculpted prims were used to get around them. For more detailed and better explanations, please read this article By Siddean Munroe of SLink or the Second Life Wiki. You can find free meshes jeans at SLink if you are up to testing by the way.

Meshes 2

One of the best assets of meshes is now your clothes will follow the moves of your body. In the above pictures, you can see the poncho is spreading with the arms while with prims, the arms would go out of it. One of the rules while wearing ponchos was “use soft poses with arms alongside the body”. Another great asset you can see here is that we finally get wide pants to look great as they are made in one piece and not anymore made of several prims which are not always fitting together that great (the knees are a major issue as soon as you bend them a little).

For sure, meshes are offering a whole new set of possibilites to creations in Second Life and I am happy to have new toys to play with. This being said, let’s have a look at some issues with them.

Meshes 3

All the mesh clothes I am wearing in these pictures are from JANE. Janie Marlowe has blown the grid by releasing a whole collection made of meshes. Nonetheless are the clothes of great quality, they are also very affordable so if you want to have a try at it, I recommand having a look at them. There are also free demos for each piece so you don’t have to go broke. The following issues I will point at have nothing to do with Janie Marlowe’s work so there is no need to start a drama here. It is about mesh limitations.

First thing: Meshes which are “rigged” to the avatar cannot be edited in any way. This means they cannot be moved, resized, modified to fit your avatar shape. (from the wiki: Rigged meshes allow you to represent your avatar skeleton as a mesh that conforms to your joints and motions. This means that you can wear a rigged model that changes the length and orientation of your avatar’s limbs and animates accordingly.) The mesh is made outside of Second Life according to a skeleton which is not your avatar shape, probably not even the creator’s shape.

In the above picture, you can clearly see that the dress is going out of the poncho. With sculpties, you could just resize or move the prim a bit so it stays up the dress at all times or almost. Here, with meshes, you cannot move them at all. It reduces styling possibilities. People might argue the poncho was not made to be worn above the dress but at the same time, that is what styling is “putting together clothes and accessories which were not meant as a set in the beginning in a fashionably way”.

Now, I can also use photoshop magic and go aroung the problem but that is cheating and certainly not what it will look like in SL.

Meshes 3 2

Second thing: I had to change my shape. My orginal avatar is rather SL petite. Though creators are trying to provide us with several options, it is hard to find one that fits great for some people. I am wearing the small version and some clothes still look too big.

To use meshes, you have to use alphas which conceal your avatar shape so it does not goes out of the mesh. You can compare it to wearing sculpted prims. This means that the shape of the pants is not your avatar legs. If the creator likes a big gap between your legs, there will be a gap, even if your normally a bit curvy avatar has plain legs. If you like big boobs or on the contrary a flat chest, you will have to count on the creator’s will to make several versions or not, as that means a lot more work for them. By the way, Janie Marlowe is asking for feedback about fitting issues. So feel free to help.

Meshes 4

One of the first thing I have liked about Second Life was the ability to customize my avatar in ways no other game had offered me in the past. My shape is mine, it does not look like a clone. It is not that this shape is the best of them all but it is the way I like it. Most of the time, I was able to modify clothes to make them fit to my avatar. One of my fears with the meshes limits is we will slowly move to a shape standardization to be able to wear a maximum of clothes from different stores and frankly, I am not too eager to look like some skinny models out there.

Meshes such as it is now, is a bit too limited and would require more flexibility to be a revolution. Some residents are already coming up with ideas to make it better. You can vote on this Jira to help improve the project.

Meshes are what prims and sculpted prims were to UV layers in the past: a nice adition to make your avatar look better. The way they are made at the moment is limiting their use and old build ways still have their place in Second Life.

Finally, this is what you will look like while wearing meshes for everyone who is not using the last 3.0 viewer version. Seeing how people have resisted the transition to version 2.0 viewer and a lot are still running on old viewers, think about it twice before moving around with mesh clothes or avatars. To me, if Linden Labs does not force everyone to use the new viewer or a compatible 3rd party viewer, this will be the last and main limitiation to the use of meshes. Seeing the numerous crashes and the lag I have using official viewer, this won’t be the case before long.

Meshes in old viewer_001


Skin: Curio :GP: Petal Frex [Dark] Airhead-Daze 1
Eyes: FASHISM ‘Sunrise’ Eyes – Light Lagoon (M)
Hair: [LeLutka]-MOSS hair – StrawberryBlonde
Shoes: Ingenue :: Paquerette :: Chocolate & Robin
Bracelet: Zaara : Vyomini chained bracelet *turquoise*
Poses: ADORKable

Pic 1 and 2:
Poncho: JANE – poncho.toasty.chocolate
Blouse and frills: {mon tissu} Gathered Frills Blouse ~ Teal (not mesh)
Pants: JANE – wide leg pant.zooey.truffle

Pic 3 and 4:
Dress: JANE – sack dress.tweet.marine
Tights: So Many Styles (very old group gift)

Pic 5 and 6:
Hoodie: JANE – zipper hoodie.spectrum.blush
Pants: JANE – jeans.classic fit.indigo

Have fun with meshes,

15 thoughts on “Meshes: a Revolution?

    • Thank you very much Berry 🙂 I hope I haven’t written too many stupid things now… It is more about the way I see it and my concerns than the way it actualy is. I hope it is going to evolve further for the best.

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    • Thank you Noelle but remember it is the beginning of meshes in SL so there are a lot of improvement to come. Designers are aware of the limitations and I am confident they will come with great creations.

  3. lmao i was planning to do a mesh post when i find a suitable viewer for my PC. but now i’ll just link to you post, because it explains all i wanted to say and some more! ty for sharing all that!

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  6. Great post! Very informative and thank you for going through all the trouble of taking these pics. At this moment, I do not have the patience for mesh. It is such a drain on my system. I love the concept of mesh and it is amazing to look at. But, I also feel that it will take quite some time before mesh becomes a wardrobe staple, like sculpts. First of all, like you so eloquently explained, many people are going to be resistant to viewer 3, like I am. I really do like SL viewers of any version(I am die hard Phoenix user). I LOVE Kirsten’s for shadows, but mesh is just pulls too much weight on it. Plus,not to mention, there are still many people who have computers that are not powerful enough to run Viewer 3.0 or Kirstens S21 9. Until most avi’s are using mesh compatible viewers on the grid, it really is pointless to invest many lindens into a mesh wardrobe. I mean, except for me and maybe a couple of other people, no one else will be able to see what I was wearing. The others would just see a huge distorted blob as per your above pic.
    I am not going to even get into not being able to modify mesh. Granted, I am sure there will be solutions to many of these issues in time as well. Once again, I should also mention that this isn’t a fault of the designers. It is just the limits of what mesh can do at the moment. I really give a lot of credit to all the designers, who put so much time and effort into learning how to create this medium and then using this skill to create such beautifully rendered mesh designs. Mesh is definitely something to look forward to in the future, but I agree that it will take some time for the rest of SL to catch-up with this technology. Sorry, for taking up so much space….
    Thanks again for taking the time to create such beautiful pics and write such an informative piece ^^

    • Feel free to comment as long as you like Lila 🙂

      I am taking the pictures with Kirstens, viewer 2.X or 3.x is unusable for me for pictures. And even Kirstens has become very laggy. I can only take pics with shadows on my sim. Anywhere else is awful.

      I like mesh but indeed, the viewers require too much resources. I am never too happy about new things in SL as it always means more problems, more crashes, less photography.

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