Friday, March 9, 2012

Mesh, Part 2: The Controversy

I fell in love with mesh hair at first sight (or first wear). Done right, mesh hair has beautiful shape, fabulous textures and the added function of moving with the avatar, rather than poking through the shoulders. This is an example of rigged mesh. Creations that are rigged are designed to flex and bend as the avatar moves, so it works well for hair and clothing, adding to the clothing options in Second Life.

Dragon Mesh Hair from Wasabi Pills

Wasabi Pills's Dragon Mesh Hair (and other mesh styles) demonstrates how mesh hair wears and moves. See that curve in the hair? While the lower part of the wig stays still, the rest of the hair moves as the head moves. This eliminates the hair-through-the-body problem that comes with prim and flexi hair.

Cutting off half my butt isn't quite sexy.

That all sounds great, right? So, what's the problem? The problem is that rigged mesh can't be resized or moved. Designers often create mesh on their own shape, and as we all know, shapes in Second Life are as varied as they are in real life. In order to wear mesh clothing, people must either adjust their shape to fit the clothing or wear an alpha layer, often included with the mesh item, to keep part of their shape from showing through.

These pants from Amerie demonstrate how the inability to resize rigged mesh can cause problems. I have a bubble butt. It's not pancake flat. While Amerie's mesh pants would look great on a shape with a smaller rump, they don't work for me. So, I have two options here: change some sliders or write the jeans off as a loss. Since I'm a bit attached to the size of my posterior, these pants are a loss.

Thankfully, most mesh designers offer demos of their creations so you can see how the clothing will fit. Any purchase of a rigged mesh item should only be made following a successful demo fitting. If demos aren't tested, you could find that the mesh fails to fit your av or changes your shape in a way that is undesirable to you.

Improper sizing isn't the only issue with rigged mesh clothing. Many people fear that mesh's fixed sizes will force people into specific shapes defined by the industry rather than individuality. While many people are proud of their model shapes, those who prefer curves or weight or other less prominent shapes may find clothing options meager. The possibility of creators specializing in less mainstream shapes or devoting a section of their store to unique avatars exists, however there is no way to anticipate every shape in SL and meet the need for clothes that fit everyone.

This creature isn't going to find anything that fits.

Despite the issues with mesh, it does create clothing with perfectly baked textures and realistic shapes. Most mesh designers are including more than one size with their creations, helping to ease the fear of shape standardization. While mesh clothing won't be able to please everyone, it will add another dimension to Second Life clothing standards, allowing creators to bring beautiful designs to the grid in mesh form while layer and prim options remain for the less standard shapes.

How do you feel about mesh? Do you worry about the evolution of SL fashion requiring conformity or are you just going with the flow?

1 comment:

  1. Lovely :) I just wish Mesh Hair moved more naturally like flexy hair