Updated June 26th 16:30 BST: The discussion on this alternative continues on the SLU Forum thread (recommended reading for anyone interested, as a lot is explained succinctly and clearly). Darien Caldwell has summarised the technical aspects of both solutions (and in not having a deformation capability) in terms of who is the greatest impacted – consumers, creators and / or coders. Similarly, in answering a question posed by Innula Zenovka on the relative advantages / disadvantages to the two ideas (RedPoly’s and the deformer), Adeon Writer commented:
“This trick was created to address major problems with clothing, but it is a patch. And you can see the areas where it’s not patched: this only makes mesh follow a few more sliders, while the rest (especially the face) do nothing.
“Qarl makes mesh work with ALL sliders, even future ones that don’t exist yet. It is the correct solution to the problem, this is a quick workaround.
“Qarl gives the ability to make entire new human meshes fully removed from the system shape that still work with all sliders and avatar physics,
“That is not possible with this.”
This would seem to be a clear-cut differentiator that would suggest that if matters come down to a choice of one approach or the other, continuing with the deformer may well be the preferred course of action. Obviously, nothing further has been said on the matter by LL, but further updates will be posted as they become available.
Nalates Urriah brings news of a potential alternative to the mesh parametric deformer that has been under development by Qarl Fizz, and which has been reported upon extensively by Nalates, myself and others.
I’ll leave the in-depth technical explanation and quotes to Nalates – she broke the story, after all. However, to try to summarise:
- The idea is the rather than weighting mesh clothes against the avatar “skeletal frame”, the clothes are weighted against the “collision volumes” – these are (I gather) used to detect when your avatar collides with a physical object in-world, and thus are designed to morph when you adjust your avatar’s shape
- The approach isn’t perfect and has a number of limitations (female clothing won’t stretch with breast size changes, for example); extreme sizes cause issues (as they do with the deformer); weight painting during the construction of mesh clothing can be somewhat more problematical
- Alpha masks will still be required in certain situations (but then, alphas were never going away anyway).
The developer of the approach, RedPoly Inventor has released a demo version of the approach using a dress, which can obtained from his store. There is also a demo video on YouTube:
RedPoly is the first to admit the approach is not perfect, but has also proposed an additional idea of developing a further set of avatar “bones”, which he calls “cbones” that would allow this approach to work a lot better. According to Nalates’ report on the mesh meeting where this all came out, RedPoly believes the development of such a new system would be relatively simple.
Interestingly, according to AshaSekayi Ra, commenting in an SLU Forum discussion on this development, the idea of using the collision volumes was first raised in the mesh beta last year and that Prep Linden requested samples of clothes rigged to the avatar’s collision volumes, but it is unclear what happened with any tests LL may have carried out.
Right now, this doesn’t mean the end of the deformer, nor does it mean all mesh clothing issues are solved. It does, however, open-up new avenues of exploration and certainly new topics for discussion on the matter.
Reading Nalates’ report, it would appear that the idea has taken LL themselves a little by surprise, despite the fact it may well have been previously discussed, and their reaction is potentially best described as cautious.
As it stands, mesh designers such as AshaSekayi Ra and Ellie Spot will doubtless be looking at the idea, as will those with expertise in the avatar design, as well (one would hope) LL themselves. As Nalates states, there will be further news emerging on this as tests are conducted and feedback given.
With thanks to Nalates Urriah.