low-memory Bento animation script WITHOUT a HUD

EDIT: Much of what I do here can also be done using the gestures system. This is for people that want these things without that system. To make this really useful I would want to add a randomizer.

I’m seeing a whole lot of bento stuff now which is great. But I am also seeing a lot of bloated HUDs that you have to wear all the time or your bento parts ‘splay’ or fail to animate or just get downright funky…

I fixed this for myself in my Bento tail. I noticed that everytime I took it off and on again, it broke – which included moments of login, complete outfit changes, and sometimes teleports or ‘those weird lag moments in SL’, or when I sat on furniture that reset animations…

BentoTailScript
So I wrote this (and will explain it below):


integer LISTEN_CHANNEL=43; // channel to listen on
string currentAnim = "SwingCenterMedium"; // Put the default you want on rezzing here. Or set to "" to have the script randomize it
string lastAnimState = "";

integer choice = 0; // Leave this value alone.
integer memoryLimit = 18888; // Cap the script to this memory usage. Dummy value replaced by test.

clearAnims()
{
    integer i = 0;
    for(i=0;i<llGetInventoryNumber(INVENTORY_ANIMATION);i++)
    {
        llStopAnimation(llGetInventoryName(INVENTORY_ANIMATION, i));
    }
    testMemory(FALSE); // rerun to avoid stack heap errors.
}

randomAnim()
{
    integer number = llGetInventoryNumber(INVENTORY_ANIMATION);
    float rand = llFrand(number);
    choice = (integer)rand;
}

testMemory(integer verbose)
{
    llScriptProfiler(PROFILE_SCRIPT_MEMORY);
    integer usedMemory = llGetUsedMemory();
    memoryLimit = usedMemory + 1500; // a tiny buffer to please my sanity.
    llSetMemoryLimit(memoryLimit);
    
    if (verbose) {
        llOwnerSay("Limited Memory " + (string)llGetMemoryLimit() +
                   "\nUsed Memory " + (string)usedMemory +
                   "\nFree Memory " + (string)llGetFreeMemory());
        llOwnerSay("AnimationController script used at most " + (string)llGetSPMaxMemory() + " bytes of memory during Test.");
    }
    llScriptProfiler(PROFILE_NONE);
}

default
{
    state_entry()
    {
        // The value here is pointless because we change it in testMemory below.
        // But not running this sets it to a maxed value.
        llSetMemoryLimit(memoryLimit);
        if (currentAnim == "")
        {
            randomAnim();
            currentAnim = llGetInventoryName(INVENTORY_ANIMATION, choice);
        }
        llRequestPermissions(llGetOwner(),PERMISSION_TRIGGER_ANIMATION);
        lastAnimState = llGetAnimation( llGetOwner() );
        llListen(LISTEN_CHANNEL,"",llGetOwner(),"");
        testMemory(FALSE);
    }

    run_time_permissions(integer parm)
    {
        if(parm == PERMISSION_TRIGGER_ANIMATION)
        {
            clearAnims();
            llStartAnimation(currentAnim);
            llSetTimerEvent(2.048); // occasional test to see if something stopped it.
        }
    }
    timer() {
        string curAnimState = llGetAnimation( llGetOwner() );
        // It mostly likely freezes from a script in a state change shutting off all animations
        if ( currentAnim != "" && curAnimState != lastAnimState ) {
            clearAnims();
            llStartAnimation(currentAnim); 
        }
        lastAnimState = curAnimState;
    }
    on_rez(integer st)
    {
        currentAnim = "";
        lastAnimState = "";
        choice = 0;
        llResetScript();
    }

    attach(key id)
    {
        clearAnims();
    }
    listen(integer channel, string name, key id, string msg)
    {
        if (msg == "list")
        {
            string response = "\n\nYou have these tail animations:\n+-----------------------------------------+\n";
            integer i = 0;
            for(i=0;i<llGetInventoryNumber(INVENTORY_ANIMATION);i++)
                response += (string)i + ": " + llGetInventoryName(INVENTORY_ANIMATION, i) + "\n";
            llOwnerSay(response + "-----------------------------------------+\n");
        }
        else if (msg == "current")
        {
            list anims = llGetAnimationList(llGetOwner());
            string response = "\n\nYou have these current animations:\n+-----------------------------------------+\n";
            integer i = 0;
            for (i=0;i number)
                {
                    llOwnerSay("Choice invalid. Please use between 0 and " + (string)number);
                    return;
                }
            }
            clearAnims();
            currentAnim = llGetInventoryName(INVENTORY_ANIMATION, choice);
            llOwnerSay("Choice: " + (string)choice + " Anim: " + currentAnim);
            llStartAnimation(currentAnim);   
        }
    }
}


How this works is that it finds all the animations in the same prim as itself, runs one of them by default, and using “/43” I get access to some chat commands to change them.

Most importantly though, it polls me everytime I change ‘animation state’ and makes sure my tail animation is running. Second most important… it clears out animations it has control of that might be running still…

See:
clearAnims();
repeated in the code. That’s a function that goes through that same list of animations, and stops them all. Right after I run that, I play my current animation.

Another key thing this does that all your fancy HUDs are not doing for you… is keep it’s memory under control. See:
llSetMemoryLimit(memoryLimit);
This sets the ‘memory allocation’ (what you see when you use something that checks your scripts) to be honest. The script runs a test when it starts to determine how much it should allocate, and then uses a tiny bit over that amount. This does not actually change how much it uses… It is just getting it to report honestly – that will make you look better on script checkers, and it will also let you actually know what you are using. Without this test, SL defaults to divisions of 64… As coded above… it is reporting using about 12kbs.

To get all my bento tail animations… I bought a couple of different tails (I was having a lot of trouble finding one I liked)… and when I didn’t like one, I would copy out its animations to my inventory:
BentoHandScriptsInInventory.png
And then I just edited the tail I did want, dumped them all in there, along with this script. I then picked my favorite and made it the defaul with this line:
string currentAnim = "Cheeky"; // Put the default you want on rezzing here. Or set to "" to have the script randomize it
That is the only part of this script you will have to change. If you make it blank:
string currentAnim = “”;
It will just use the first animation it finds (it looks in alphabetical order) as the default (good if you want to include a no-mod copy of this script in a product).

So to change this script for hands, all I did was change the chat channel and default animation. Then I made one copy for each hand. I put one in a right bento hand, the other in a left bento hand (SelinA mesh body, which is copy/mod perms)

Left hand:
integer LISTEN_CHANNEL=47; // channel to listen on
string currentAnim = "gunl"; // Put the default you want on rezzing here. Or set to "" to have the script randomize it
string lastAnimState = "";

Right hand:
integer LISTEN_CHANNEL=46; // channel to listen on
string currentAnim = "relaxr"; // Put the default you want on rezzing here. Or set to "" to have the script randomize it

And here you can see I just put that and the proper animations into the hand in question:

SelinAHands.png

SelinA Bento Hands – This is SelinA Tina, which is very large in the bosom. There are SelinA bodies all the way from flat chested to this size. And normal or curvy figure. All Copy/Mod.

And now I have the animations I want, without a bloated HUD that has other features I don’t always need:

PussycatDancing - 720p and wide

OK that video’s a little unrelated. But you can see my tail moving about back there. 🙂

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Second Life Mesh Avatar Bosom Comparison

Your avatar’s bosom is a very personal thing. Somewhere that gets a lot of attention and has a lot of self-identity wrapped around feeling naturally you. Only makes sense that getting a mesh body that looks “right” here can be very important.

This is also the area where the different mesh bodies seem to have the greatest amount of variation between brands. I have discarded more choices over how they conveyed this part of the anatomy than any other area. If it doesn’t look ‘right’, if it doesn’t move ‘right’ with avatar physics, it just isn’t me.

I’ve taken comparison screenshots of the bosoms of the Second Life fit-mesh avatars I own from the front and side, at the sizes of 30, 50, 75, and 100 in both ‘breast size’ and ‘buoyancy’.

I think it helps illustrate how different bodies perform.

This may help some in making choices between different mesh bodies.

Here you can see which of them ‘break’ at the larger extreme, as well as just how large each can get. I find that all but Belleza and The Mesh Project (TMP) break in the side view at much of these size ranges. And only those two brands plus Banned can handle size 30. While only those first two brands plus SalinA can handle size 100 (though SalinA at size 100 is comic-bookish, it still holds together the shape of its proper ‘design theory’).

All but the TMP one use an old freebie texture I used to give out, that is, well, too low quality to even be a freebie in today’s SL. TMP doesn’t allow people to make appliers for it unless they get on a very select approved list – no Omega system… so I had to use one of their appliers. It may look better, but that should be a massive red flag as it means you cannot use most skins you might want to use.

I’ve done the cheap texture for three reasons:

  • First in that I fully own it so I could hand it out to all my alts and anyone else who wants it for testing – letting me get a uniform look across all but TMP.
  • Second this texture doesn’t have anything in it to enhance the look of the bosom, so you can compare the the shape of the mesh itself, and not the tricks we all use to make it look better.
  • Third because it is not as ‘nice looking’ I’m hoping to avoid some of the common issues with SL Men who… have a very notable inability to control their own behavior upon seeing visuals of women… (as I noted recently in a post on my flickr, since rejoining SL Nudism, my mute list has been steadily gaining more and more male entries). Comments to this article from people who lack self-control will be moderated.

I’m putting this below a ‘fold’ so that people need to click in as the content is even more ‘in your face’ that the visuals in many of my other posts.

See below for some thumbnails, click them for the full sized images on flickr (because my blog’s stylesheet forces all images to no wider than 650 pixels).
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How to NOT buy bad stuff in SL

Everybody knows they should demo things before buying them… but how many people know what to even look for when demoing.

Sure there is the obvious “do I like it”, “does it fit my avatar”, “does it match my theme”, “is it Copy/Mod or is this store’s owner a jerk?”

But there are three much more important tests that most people don’t know about – even though we all know about what happens when the results of these tests are bad… Most of us just don’t know how to find out before we’ve shelled out our precious loot for the latest fad…

So… Here is what you should really be looking for, how to look for it, and why you need to look for it.


The three steps in the try things out that way too many people never do…

  • Check out its script burden – very important.
  • Check out its avatar draw weight – the most important.
  • Zoom way the heck back and see what it looks like – situationally important.

Script Burden and Avatar Draw Weight will determine whether or not the item contributes to slowing down your SL, maybe randomly crashing you or others, and so on… ie: client-side appearance of lag that is actually your video card freaking out…

Zooming back will tell you how well they optimized stuff. It relates to what happens at a distance far enough to trigger a new ‘LOD’ (level of detail)…


 

So here are some screenshots and advice to show how to check and set all of these:

Script Burden:

Script Burden is my term for two things, Script Memory and Script Time. As users of SL we can only see Script Memory Allocation, and not the actual memory, nor the script time. We “CAN” use the LSL scripting language to find… script time allocation, but not the actual time…

Allocation is like making a reservation at a restaurant that only seats people at tables of 4. If you have 5 people, that is 2 tables, if you have 7 people, that is 2 tables… If you tell the restaurant you expect 5 people, it allocates two tables, and then only 2 of you show up… you still allocated 2 tables… but only used 2 seats…

Script time allocation… that’s like google maps telling it will take 23 minutes to drive there… Even if once you hit the road, it actually only took 19 minutes… you still allocated ’23 minutes’ of your life to expecting to be sitting in traffic… and the restaurant won’t serve you until 23 minutes have passed because that is when you made your reservation…

So its all about guessing here, when we can only see one leg of the elephant…

This is why you will often hear people say checking scripts is useless. Because its guesswork. But an educated guess is still better than just ignoring all evidence…

Checking the script memory allocation of things is STILL VALUABLE. The allocation tends to be a good estimate for how much resources something is going to eat up. If it is high it tends to indicate something that will slow you and everyone in the same sim, and any other sims on the same server, as you down. Yes, each sim in SL shares a server with 4 other sims – you have no idea where they are, but some jerk on one of them could be running a 700mb scripted hair piece from 2009 and totally killing your SL… That jerk might even be you… so here is how to find out if it is you so you can get some control back to your experience… (you can’t do anything about that other person except link them to this blog and pretend you’re being friendly and didn’t notice that giant flashing lag beast over their heads) 😛

Here is a screenshot showing where to find your script cost:

ScriptCount

So: World -> About Land -> Script Info -> My Avatar

Older items tend to be very bad about this. Many older items have been repackaged as freebies… so always check this if you get a freebie…

Yeah, my AO is a minor beast… Its the biggest thing I use, by a large amount. But a few years ago it would have been seen as small. Things are getting better in SL… Basically if your total here is ‘under 3 to 5mb somewhere’ you are “probably” not the problem. I say probably because we haven’t checked the other issues yet… 🙂

(My AO is reasonable, BUT consider that it limits what else I can also wear… especially if I had an older system… or if a friend of mine did, and many do… and I don’t want to be crashing my friends while I’m trying to chat them up…)

No-Mod hair is the most common cause of high script issues – because from 2009 to 2011 there was a popular ‘resize’ system going around the hair shops that required putting an individual script into every single strand of the hair… The linden’s added a new linkset script system in 2010 or so, I made it a freebie, as have others – and since 2011 versions of the linkset system have spread, each working a different way, but all finally low on script memory. However every now and then there is someone still using the old method.

Avatar Draw Weight:

This is the most important test you can run. Its a big performance issue, and a generally unknown factor.

While most people today know about scripts, almost nobody knows about this one. And many who do confuse it with the old system (ARC) that it replaced. The old system… was broken and gave meaningless data. The new system, is accurate and pretty much paints a red sign over the head of all the people around you who probably just aren’t quite aware of the impact of what they’re wearing and why they and/or people around them are feeling so much lag in SL. Keep that in mind… most people don’t know the causes of this stuff. So once you do, lay off the blame game, and just try to help people find solutions.

AvatarDrawWeight

Advanced -> Performance Tools -> Show Draw Weight for Avatars -> Look over your head for a colored number.

And note the 72,604 number over my head there – that is just high enough to start causing lag. People are often way over this. If you bust past 100,000 to 200,000 or so – you can start causing random people around you, or yourself, to crash… I’ve seen people over 400,000; sadly not uncommon.

Ever wonder why you’re happily hanging out somewhere, and then SL just up and dies on you? Now you know… Something with a very high Draw Weight just got noticed by your graphics card.

I saw “Something” and not “someone” on purpose… This issue is even WORSE with rezzed things like houses and furniture… Anyone who’s been happily walking about and hit upon a new scene made in mesh or sculpty and suddenly notices their computer starts crawling or the fan kicks on… that’s bad Draw Weight items around you… Its VERY COMMON in the Gatcha scene… and I see it a LOT in some fancy shops and clubs that are burdening down their build with ‘cute but badly made’ items…

You can’t do anything about it if somebody at a venue you like has rezzed all the bad stuff… except try to tell them and hope they’re not one of those weird folks that freaks out anytime somebody talks to them… BUT you can control it on your own stuff…

I don’t tend to wear that hair anymore as a result… It was about 30,000 or so of the number you saw up there…

So… you just bought some fancy new mesh kitchen and want to know this for it… how do you tell? Well… you actually CAN wear your kitchen in SL… 🙂 So that is one way – wear it, and then check your scripts and draw weight.

Another way is to go into wireframe mode and look at all the lines… This one is guesswork. If the lines are “all up in my business like some crazy cat lady” – so thick you can’t see Jack from Jill… or rather, so thick that you CAN see Jack… if the lines in wireframe are so thick the object almost looks solid… that’s your nightmare object right there. The wireframe test can be done in the store, before you buy it… But its a bit of a guess. I HAVE seen a low wire item that was laggy, and a densely wired item that was low lag… and these were both mesh bodies by the way…

Here is where you can find wireframe mode, with obligatory cat lady in your business:

Wireframe

Develop -> Rendering -> Wireframe

So this is a hint of where to start looking, not the final proof… MOST of the time the more solid the object in this view, the more laggy it is being… but not always. I wish I knew how to tell what kinds of shapes in wireframes were bad… I’ve seen that very point discussed on a Poser forum back in 2000 or so… the shapes of these polygons matters, but what shape is good… Not sure…

And yeah – my tail there is pretty solid. Its the only mesh tail like it I know of… it IS laggy, but it is true animated. There are another few mesh tails that animate by changing transparencies on different parts of the mesh – they are even MORE laggy…

Notice my hair is also pretty solid: but, it is actually a LOW lag hair from booN (booN also makes some cornrows I LOVE on my human alt – best looking hair in SL, but they ARE very laggy, so I had to pack them up and no longer use them… /cry). Shoutout here: booN has the best looking hair in SL in my opinion, half of it is very laggy, the other half is very well optimized. I don’t know why because its not about is it new or old… But the shop has many styles and I highly recommend them. Just test before buying.

See the pink heart inside of me… that’s from the nipples… I wish this modeler made those mod so I could remove that thing – the nipple set is low lag, but it’d be about half the lag it does have if it didn’t have to render a high detail mesh heart inside your body…

But the highest render cost in this entire screenshot? My eyes. Maybe you didn’t notice that they’re basically solid… If I could replace those eyes I could probably double the number of other things I wear. FATE Mesh eyes did get a script reducing update about a year or more ago, but the mesh itself is still too high detail.

Zooming back test, renderVolumeLOD, and correcting popular bad advice.

The last test for seeing the quality of something is to zoom yourself way the heck back, and see what happens. How far back can you go before the item breaks apart visually, turns into a triangle, or some other weird thing happens…

And is this distance too short for you, personally, and how you plan to use the item. For example… does it really matter if that new mesh toilet you bought breaks up into a giant single triangle 90m away, if its going into a bathroom in your little skybox on a small plot somewhere? Probably not…

But if the same thing happened to your hair at only 90m away… then you’re going to end up looking bald to a lot of people. And a few months back I bought some beautiful hair for an alt and had this happen at only 5m away because I forgot to zoom back before hitting buy… /cry+delete…

So this one is “PARTIALLY” a subjective preferences and “how you use it” test… But its one many people don’t know to do because they’re not aware of how mesh is both made and ‘rendered’ (drawn on your screen).

Advanced -> Show Debug Settings -> rendervolumeLODFactor

AdvanceMenuShowDebug

rendervolumeLODFactor

To run this test it is first IMPORTANT to set your “renderVolumeLOD” to 2 (or lower):

Notice the 4 in that image. That’s an old screenshot. Many people, self included, used to recommend 4. I actually used to recommend 9… I don’t know why… It was BAD ADVICE.

Remember that at 4 or higher you have disabled SL’s optimization code… so SL will lag a LOT more at 4 than at a lower setting. You want it at the default (1.00 – official viewer), 2, or at most 3…

A common hack to getting the “Avatar Draw Weight” to be low is to optimize an item by turning it into a triangle at ‘far away LODs’… and then telling people to ‘break’ their LOD setting (rendervolumeLOD) by setting it to 4, so that they never see this… but that breaking actually comes at a VERY HIGH cost… and is one of the biggest reasons users of SL on ‘normal computers’ and not ‘suped up gaming machines’ think its laggy…

Ideally you should have your ‘renderVolumeLOD’ debug setting at either default or 2. NEVER the commonly recommended 4, because at 4 you have disabled SL’s optimization code… slowing down your experience and creating… client side lag…

But once you drop to 2, and zoom back, you quickly learn how badly some stuff is made…

And you want to do this BEFORE testing items so that you can wear them, zoom back, and see if they “break”. If they do – its a badly optimized item. Buy something else.

So… renderVolumeLOD now set at 2, it it time to take your camera up to something silly – camera distance 512m (DO NOT do this normally – you “ping” everything in your camera distance, the farther it is, the laggier your SL, and everyone in your range that you need to ‘ping’ and get an update from also takes a hit. Normally I keep my camera between 64m and 128m – 64m is ideal for avoiding having to see that your neighbors put a building with improper texture repeats on top of a beach that has fullbright trees… AND without using support pillars… 🙂 ).

You might notice that I also have advanced lighting off. I usually have it on – but it has no impact on this test. You don’t need it on or off for testing this kind of thing.

Here I am close up, everything looks good:

CloseUpCamLOD

Just a little bit back, my coffee machine has vanished. I am fine with this because it is usually in my skybox in a small kitchen that’s only about 2m wide by 3m long. Out here it’d be an issue, so I may need to rethink using it here:

MediumCamLOD

A bit more back, the platform has deformed:

FarCamLOD

This kind of is a problem… and as soon as I find a replacement, this platform might need to go… Because honestly that is not that far back.

What is going on here is improper optimization done in order to cause these items to have a lower ‘Land Impact’ cost. This also happens with worn items – but I just didn’t remember any worn things, that I still own, that break so easily – I tend to not buy them, or delete them once I find them (like the alt’s hair I mentioned above)…

Notice that the trees, the art canvas, the table behind me, and the campfire below all never broke. They are all actually LOWER land impact than the platform that DID break… Why?

Because the ‘hack’ to break things at distance LOD is just that – its a hack done instead of doing proper optimization. It is a sign that the 3D modeler is likely a hobbyist who has learned from other hobbyists and has never had to model for a paycheck at something like a gaming company – where having low polygon good LOD models is vital for a video a game to work online…

The stuff that didn’t break – much of it, like that art canvas from Dysfunctional (same shop as the trees – Dysfunctional tends to be quite functional 🙂 ) is actually 1LI items… but they are very well optimized by people who were either professionals, or just hobbyists turned SL merchants that learned from the right training advice (because often hobbyists are way better than professionals… Hobbyists tend to be either very bad or very good, professionals work to standards and end up ‘in the middle’ in most fields… in my opinion)…

The table that didn’t break is made by the same person that made the platform that did break – so just because a builder gets one item wrong, don’t discard their entire brand. Test every item individually unless you start to find a very consistent bad pattern – this platform builder’s stuff is usually on my list of good examples – here is just an exception.

Now remember to turn your camera distance back down after doing this test…


So… I hope the above manages to be useful in informing people on what to test for before making that purchase.

Getting these things under control will greatly improve your SL experience – particularly if you not on a top-end computer.

 

Yes I have called out two or three brands that I like in this. I’m not getting anything from them, I just like them, this is my blog, and I’m going to say my piece on it. 😛

 

Footnote on LOD:

Some may wonder where I got the idea that a high LOD is bad. If you think about how LOD works, how your graphics card renders detail, and how optimization works it ought to be obvious. You can see it in any video game really – settings to lower the detail in order to improve performance because the more you tax your system, the harder it gets on that system.

But here is a quote, from a meeting the Lindens had with the Firestorm team some time back. What they say in this, is something you will see said in any real-time 3D graphics platform. This advice is not at all new:

Here is a quote, from a meetings with the Lindens, that covers why a high LOD is bad:

http://modemworld.me/2014/05/20/may-17th-firestorm-meeting-audio-and-transcript/

12:02 JL: If you turn-up your LOD, you’re going to see things really nice … it’s also more complex because your video card is rendering more things … So if you want to take really nice pictures in SL, crank up your LOD; but it’s going to have an effect on the performance of your viewer.

12:55 JL: So what a lot of content creators do – and if you’re one of the content creators that do this, yes I’m pointing at you … is they want their stuff to look really good, so they’ll have their LOD cranked up really high …. and then they’re making their necklace or their shoes … and it looks really great to them, it looks really perfect and they package it up and they send it out. And people who don’t have their LOD cranked up, get that item and it looks like crap. And then the content creators says, “Oh, it’s because you have your LOD down too low; turn up your LOD and it’ll look fine.”

13:40 JL: Let me tell you something. If you’re that content creator, if you’re that person, you are doing it wrong. You make your content at a low LOD, and you make it look good at a low LOD level, and it is guaranteed to look good at a higher level … That’s the way to do it, because that’s how you make sure it looks good for everybody. not be making it to settings most people can’t use … you make your content based on a low LOD level, and that makes sure it’s going to look good on a low LOD level and on a high LOD level.

JL: Don’t tell people to turn their LOD up … it’s not good for them … because they forget they’ve turned it up and then they have really bad performance because they go to a region full of all kinds of prims and avatars with mesh and all these things, and their viewer performance is just utterly crap And they come to us and say, “Firestorm is a piece of crap. I just ran Singularity in the same situation and Singularity runs really well in the same situation!” But it’s not the same situation, because the LOD isn’t turned-up on Singularity …

JL: And that’s very common. People will compare one viewer with another viewer, not realising that they’ve changed a setting in one viewer that they haven’t in the other, and that setting has a huge impact on performance … Just leave the LOD alone in the viewer.

15:36 EM: The ideal setting for most people is between 2 and 4, which is why our LOD slider only goes to 4.

15;44 TS: And in fact, LOD is restricted in the viewer, there is an upper bound above which, no matter how high you set it, won’t make any difference anyway. My fuzzy memory tells me that number is four, but i could easily be wrong. i haven’t looked at that chunk of code in quite some time.

16:03 JL: If you want to do pictures, go into Preferences and crank-up your LOD. But when you’re done taking pictures, bring it back down again. Or just jiggle the graphics slider, because the LOD is affected by what setting you have in the performance slider. So if you choose low, it’ll have a lower LOD, and if you choose Ultra it will have the highest LOD that we would possibly recommend. But for content creators, drop your LOD when you make your content, make it look good on a low LOD and you’re going to be putting out a really good product.

16:57 TS: Which is why the defaults are good choice, because they’ve been tweaked pretty well … for most systems.

17:38 JS: Just generally speaking, we have had arguments, big arguments, internally on the team on what we should make default LODs. We try to follow along with Linden Lab, although seldom do we agree with Linden Lab’s defaults. We’ve spent a lot of time trying to choose what we feel are the safest LOD levels for each quality setting on the slider.

16:13 TS: Linden Lab has a lot more tolerance for low frame rates than we do and what our users tend to do.

So they say from 2 to 4. The default is actually 1.00 (official viewer). Why did I pick 2? Well, a bit of intuition really… I’ve been trying to get it lower and lower over time and trying to find the point where lowering it isn’t helping me anymore, but is instead breaking too many things. I think that is 2 to 2.5 maybe… Now if you’re obsessed about min/maxing what your system can deliver out of SL, you can play around with this and try to find a sweet spot in there that is better than where I’m at.

Most quality mesh still holds up at 2… so I’d rather not go any higher, because I want to maximize every last piece of performance gain I can get…

4 though… at 4 NOTHING breaks no matter how far I go out. That’s a pretty good indication that the optimization is no longer in play… So 4, 4 is too high. And at 2 – yes, you will see a performance gain.

 


See also this more recent article for added information:

https://catnapkitty.wordpress.com/2015/12/09/avatar-draw-weight-transparency-flipping-second-life-render-speed-tricks/
– You should test with all of that in mind when doing the tests here.


 

 

ps: Just because a person is exploring nudity in SL, does not mean its appropriate to toss your random weird freak sex fantasies at them…

Lets back these claims of fitmesh body preference with sales figures.

This is a comment I left on somebody else’s blog:

I’d like to challenge some of these big-brand fitmesh makers to release one thing individually by the body. Not sell a pack that includes every body type, but make it a different purchase for each of the top 6 things: maitreya, isis, freya, venus, tmp, slink.
– then share some percentage data on popularity back with bloggers so availability becomes more reflective of what customers want. But even if you don’t share your figures, I suggest trying the test.

Same item, but sold individually by the body. Lets find out where popularity really lies.

According to the ‘blogosphere’, none of the fitmesh makers should be putting out clothes for slink or TMP anymore, if they’ve given up on Venus. Venus is STILL more popular than TMP or Slink, and Slink is almost unused by the community.

But is that reflective of actual customer interests or just what people who read a blog click on? And is Maitreya really this far in the lead (41%) (if you count Belleza separately. combined Belleza is at 40% – and the two flip places daily), or not? Or more so?

My freebie for Freya and Isis, is flipped from the info on some blogs.
I have
Isis shape: 66 sales, 248 views
Freya shape: 128 sales, 489 views
Blogs are getting more clicks for Isis, but I’m delivering more for Freya.
Belleza_Frontside

Could this be reflective of just my, very small, audience and maybe those people having more trouble making shapes with Freya than with Isis (out of the box I find Freya unappealing, but when I started messing with shapes I found her easier to shape than Isis, flipping my initial preference).
– And I have no data for any other fitmesh body because I’m just doing a specialty freebie that was aimed at a narrow target audience.

I don’t expect merchants to post their numbers, but I’d love to see something like:
“I get 2 sales for Freya for every 1 for Isis.”
Or:
“I get x% for Maitreya, y% for Belleza Isis, z% for Belleza Freya, a% for TMP, b% for Slink, and I still have c% for Venus.”

It is odd that for me it maps perfect to a 2:1 ratio – which may be reflective of the nature of freebies. When people have to put actual money on the line, impulse buys vanish and preferences comes out.

So this can’t be a free or cheap item that you use to test with. It has to be something pricey enough to kill off impulse buys and kill off ‘vote-stuffing’ (which is what I suspect is happening on blogs, for all of the choices).

I suspect that even merchants who don’t want to release even percentage data about their sales would benefit greatly from doing this test – and it might notably change where they put their focus. I’m not sure it will change it to my favor, but if it benefits the community, then it benefits the community.

Belleza_Backside

Belleza V3 Mesh Body Review

So it is time for me to finally do my own take on the Belleza avatar again. Just shy of a year ago I said I’d come back to it some day, then said that again in Nov of 2014. So… time to get this done.

Last time I did a combo comparison review and as the bodies within it got updated, different parts of the review became obsolete. So this time I will go down the list of what interests me and review each individually.

There is already a well known review out there for this version of Belleza:
http://meshbodyaddicts.com/mesh-body-reviews/womens-bodies/belleza-venus/

So this review will be my take on things and will try to call out some different aspects. Multiple opinions are always handy. The body in its current version has now been out for some time. Two updates since my last review, which pushed it from a body I filed in the “not for me” bin to a body that is so much my default I have packed up all of my items that do not work for it and put them into my “OLD and no longer used” section… For everything BUT my furry look, my choice is now Belleza. That said I will try to review some other bodies that I or friends use and why they are choices. And of course there are some new furry things to look at, including the first (that I know) fitmesh furry, the Solarian.

Now, on to Belleza V3, a very wonderful choice of fitmesh body:


Here you can see the body from the front:
Belleza Frontal View
and the back:
Belleza Backside View
I chose a pose that would show how avatar physics with a good gravity and mass dial setting would effect the bosom. In editing your physics file, you should dial these two up in relation to the dial used for ‘breast size’. The above screenshots are, by the way, using a breast size of 100. That is as big as it can possibly get for Belleza – which I feel is important to show because at this setting several competing bodies ‘break down’, break apart, or otherwise distort. Belleza can safely go up and still look more or less natural. I am also using 100 in buoyancy – which on the base default avatar will cause polygon-triangles to pop through your avatar with this breast size and level of mass + gravity. On Belleza though it actually looks beautiful. Note that I have found myself able to dial down to as low as 15 breast size and still get a nice look when ALSO lowering buoyancy, mass, and gravity.

In other words while most mesh bodies have less range of dial settings than the default avatar, Belleza actually looks good across a larger range than the default avatar.

See here:
https://catnapkitty.wordpress.com/2016/04/26/mesh-avatar-bosom-comparison/
For a graphic example of how Belleza does the breast better than almost any other choice – across the full range of the SL dials.


The basic Belleza package comes with:

  • 3 bodies (Freya for curves, Isis for Slim, Venus for older pre-update compatibility)/
  • 2 HUDs (Body and Wardrobe)
  • A fullperms alpha (it is just the torso and legs checked as hidden).
  • 2 shapes (Freya and Isis) that are highly distorted. I recommend not using them even as a guide. If you want some shapes I would recommend, I have two freebies out for Belleza shapes: for Freya Body and for Isis Body.
  • 1 Slink applier – for applying the HUD skins to slink hands/feet.
  • A bunch of notecards with some useful instructions.

Belleza is a Copy/No-Mod/No-Trans humanoid fitmesh body with all but the head included.

All non-head shape dials except for foot size are responsive (will change the avatar appearance). As a result I keep my foot size at 50 just to have a ‘neutral value’ in there – but it does not seem to matter what dial you use.

Torso Muscle is only responsive up to 50. Beyond that has no effect… I find that below 50 it looks too thin on this body’s remaining ‘frame’.


Once loaded in, Belleza is fairly lightweight:
Draw Weight:
freya – 9532
venus – 10012
isis – 10110

Script Usage:
Body – 384kb
HUD – 192kb
– The HUD is lightweight enough that you can likely safely leave it on much of the time. But I personally take mine off when not in use as I always try to minimize my active scripts.

However, on loading the body you will notice some unusual moments. The body will load as one mass of distorted stuff and then pop into position. On initial load this might take as much as a minute to complete. If you go into edit and manage to select your body your system might freeze up for a moment, and then become very slow to respond. The body has a LOT of polygons going on – most of them are hidden unless you start using applier clothes, tattoos, and variant bosom settings.
Too Many Polygons


The HUDs of these things are often what make or break them. In the past I’ve dismissed a few bodies out of hand for being lacking here.

The Belleza HUD has a very healthy selection of Alpha Cuts:
Belleza HUD Alpha Tab
It is not perfect – I would like the knee cut split into 2 or 3 cuts, and for front and back limbs to be asynchronous. However cuts are limited by the limit to the number of faces a mesh can have. Anytime you go over that you have to slice the body into multiple linked pieces. And anytime you do that you start driving up the risk of matching errors, gaps appearing due to SL rendering problems, and driving performance down…
Given all of that… I’d still like the knee a little more detailed, but I can live with the front and back of limbs being connected.

The Nightmare of Auto-Hide:
The Belleza Alpha system also has an auto-hide feature clothing makers can use. This is my biggest complaint about the body: Using auto-hide to hide one cut appears to unhide anything previously hidden. So… you put on a blouse and it hides the nippled and maybe a bit of shoulder pop-through. Then you wear some pants and suddenly your nipples are popping through your top. So you take off and put on the blouse to re-hide and… suddenly your legs and butt are popping out of those pants…
Imagine: you manually set it all up perfect and save that config either to one of the Save Slots on the HUD or to a copy of your body… Do you thing that day, log out… and log in again some later day and… SL randomly picks which clothing to wear first and which second… and your alphas all unhide again… this time without even having changed clothes…

This is so frustrating… I feel users need to start putting pressure on Belleza to patch it, and on clothing makers to suspend using this feature unless they also include an ability to delete that script or otherwise do whatever it takes to turn it off for those clothes.

Moving on, the “Skin” tab of the HUD
Belleza HUD Skin Tab
You will be in here a lot if you ever use the Nipples option… because auto-hide will mess with it. Including turning it on sometimes on avatars that… didn’t have it on before dressing into any of current outfits…

I should note there that I am a big fan of the nipple layer options because this allows you to hide a LOT of defects in skins… Quite a few skin makers seem to have trouble with stretch and centering, even when the skin is worn on the default body…

The Breast Options…
This could be a neat feature but really isn’t. The Perky and Push-up would be handy for special kinds of outfits. But even makers of those kinds of outfits are not using it… whereas one clothing maker is now using Perky for everything as if it was a proper default…
– All these really end up doing is being responsible for about half of the lag you might experience with Belleza… for a feature you are rarely going to be able to take advantage of as clothing makers are not supporting it.

Skin Effects…
This will end up looking either amazing or seriously weird. The results are due to how you have your windlight and advanced lighting set up. Play around with this a bit with advanced lighting on and off – to make sure that most of the time you look OK to those around you. When you get this to just the right amount of shine it will make some skins look amazing. If you are really lucky you will find a skin from a maker that is actually setting the materials for you in your skin when its applied to Belleza. Note that if you use a system head like I do, in order to not be a member of a clone-army, the materials dials on your body might end up clashing with the lack of them on your skin. So adjust with care and best results “most of the time”.

Layers:
Belleza HUD Layers Tab
I will admit to not using this, at all, save for one attempt at a faun avatar where I needed a tattoo layer for fur. I cannot provide the best review of this tab. What I can say is that with materials all set in there – that faun’s fur could be made to look pretty impressive if I were to go back to it and work on it.

Note that Masking Mode is the handy item here. This flips alphas to ‘masking’ – which simply sets them as ‘on/off’. If you rez a prim and apply a transparent texture to it, then go play with Masking Mode, you will see how this can be handy. If you just need a transparency on or off, and don’t need it ‘halfway transparent’ – ALWAYS use this. Masking Mode reduces your lag:
Alpha Mask to reduce lag
(Image post on how I cut the render cost of an item down to 1/3 of original by switching to masking).

The Wardrobe HUD is meant to work with this Layers Tab, and provide a space to make a series of presets that you can then easily wear and remove – for fans of applier based clothing.

And I think the Wardrobe HUD is the real value here:
Belleza Wardrobe HUD
You can save 20 tops, 20 bottoms, and 10 “outfits” per copy of the HUD you set aside. That has got to be very handy to applier clothing / applier tattoo fans.

Hands and Feet tab:
Belleza HUD Hands & Feet
You WILL run into the problem from time to time that some people do not support Belleza or have made Belleza Limited skins that lack hands/feet because in the old version of Belleza the hands and feet had a unique UV map. Now their UV map is even closer to the default avatar than Slink is – BUT if you just put a default avatar skin there, you will end up with painted on nails slightly near your mesh nails. So… designers still need to make an actual Belleza skin. If you are a skin maker… just paint the whole end of the hands area to the tone of your nearby skin, and you can use that texture for all 3 of Belleza, Slink, and Maitreya (Save for Maitreya’s nipple flaw of not being properly centered)…

So, there are 16 hand presets. Several of them are ‘grips’ for holding things. A few more are special gestures. But the first seven of them are ‘casual / normal’ poses for the hands to be resting in – meaning you can get some good “set it and go” avatar variety just randomly clicking into those first seven for each hand.

There are also 4 feet presets. Don’t be the “person who has never seen a female body” that runs around barefoot with the foot in the heels position… Try doing that for 3+ hours on your man-feet and then look at your avatar again…

My only complaint here is that I can set fingernail length, but not toenail length. I’m a Neko – I want pointy toenails for claws. 🙂

Note the “SlinkFit Options” – this is handy if you need to use SLink feet or hands for something like shoes, or… sometimes your arms will not fit inside a sleeve unless you check this. Especially longer sleeves that were designed to partly cover the wrist and are older and made sized to slink… this means this problem can even occur on clothing made for Belleza, if it is older clothing…
– If stuff doesn’t fit, see what happens when you check these dials. The only problem is that checking these dials turns off the belleza hands and feet. They says Slink on them, and yep… they only work with slink hands and feet. Don’t complain about that… because if they had worked with the Belleza Parts… your avatar would have to have had double the number of hands/feet with half of them always hidden… think of the lag…

(Now if you do want something to complain about… complain about the fact that on Isis and Freya the arms are not where they are on the defalt avatar, so older rigged mesh clothing often cannot be made to fit even when using the alpha HUD… /sigh).

Info Tab:
Belleza HUD Info Tab
This is basically the marketing tab. But those Blog and Help links… they can be handy for getting to support info.


Using Slink:
As noted above you can use slink hands and feet with the Belleza body.
To do so you MUST set leg muscles to 50 for the feet, and Torso muscled to 31 for the hands. This is DIFFERENT than the old version of the body which required 50 for both.

Personally I find 31 in the torso to be too thin for the way the rest of the body is built.

Omega:
Belleza is Omega ready. This means you need to go to Omega and buy the Belleza ‘Activator’. You wear the ‘Activator HUD’ and click on it, and the copy of your Belleza body you are currently wearing (if any) will forever after remember that it can use Omega appliers (unless for some wild and random reason you reset its scripts). Everytime you make a new copy of your Belleza body, it will forget about being activated and you will have to re-activate it.

This can be very handy as many skin makers are still not up to date on putting out Belleza appliers. Omega Appliers will work just fine, unless the skin maker didn’t color out the nails…


Clothing Support:
There is a slowly growing body of clothing for Belleza Freya and Isis. Venus was the older version. There is quite a bit of Venus clothing out there, but several makers have stopped adding more.

Support for Belleza clothing still lags behind both Maitreya and Slink. This despite Belleza being in the number one position in popularity.

This is likely in large part due to Belleza being a closed system for mesh. You have to apply for a kit, unlike bodies such as the Solarian which includes a full dropbox download kit link in the notecard that comes with that body. Belleza is not taking any more applications for people to make mesh clothing for them. Belleza is vetting mesh makers, and that means you are unlikely to see support for the body grow beyond its current limits before some other body takes over the spotlight.

Right Now Belleza is just hovering over the line as the most popular mesh body. But it jockeys in this position with the much cheaper Maitreya. Demo them both, try adjusting the sliders a bit on both, and wear physics files on both – before deciding.

Note that if you break it down and count each Belleza body as separate, popularity for it sinks to number 2 or 3 by a solid margin. I suspect, though its an opinion, that most users of Belleza pick one of the three bodies and mostly stick with it – dusting off the others only when they must. If you’re the exception to this then remember that most is not saying you don’t exist. Its saying most.


Customer Support
There IS a free-to-join Belleza group ( Belleza- Mesh Creators Group ), but I recommend NOT joining it because of a bug Linden Lab has been sitting on since January of 2015…

Ever since CHUI was added to SL, avatar profile images of people in your groups get loaded into memory… and STAY THERE… So if a big group pops into chat, and all its members start loading in… your video card could decide to set aside 1 to 2gb’s of video ram for nothing other than profile images… which because of how they are set, are set to top priority over… inworld graphics…

So… if your video card has less than say… a whole freaking lot of ram… you will start noticing ‘texture thrashing’ – something I wrote about in SL maybe 2 or 3 years ago as a problem for Mac users that we all thought long ago fixed. Its back.

But you only see if if you end up in a chatty group with more than a thousand or so members… Guess what the Belleza group is…
– Yep, very chatty, and a whole lot of people.

So join it when you need it, then quickly leave and relog (relogging is the ONLY way to clear out those avatar profiles that are eating your graphics card).

There is also a pay to join group, but it is just for official news and store gifts.

Note to Firestorm Users: the ability to turn off avatar profile images in chat… doesn’t fix this. Apparently they are still loaded into memory, you just don’t have to suffer seeing other people’s sense of style. Linden Lab needs to fix this… but as we all know they are busy on a shiny elsewhere.


Ranking
Pros:

  • Belleza is fairly lightweight in terms of lag concerns.
  • The alpha cuts offer some very nice customization.
  • With work in the shape dials, you can get a very well proportioned and attractive look out of Belleza.
  • I find the bosom curve on Belleza to be much better than any other option.
  • Belleza has the widest range of usable bosom sizes (15-100) before the mesh deforms, though this also depends on what you set for Bouyancy, Cleavage, Mass, and Gravity.
  • The bodies in one purchase means a lot of variety.
  • The overall body is just very pleasing to look at… This is of course very subjective.
  • The amount of thigh gap seems natural. This is actually a big problem with some competition.
  • Belleza takes very well to Avatar Physics. You can create very smooth flows of motion that simulate weight in motion in ways that look natural. I simply cannot do this on Maitreya and while many other bodies get decent results, Belleza does it best. It seems Belleza went in for the ‘middle’ of a curve of possibles, while Maitreya is on the two edges, and others are off center but on the curve.

Cons:

  • The three breast shape options are basically of no use other than for adding a small amount of lag. But this is due to lack of support from clothing makers, not the body itself.
  • Its no-Mod. And no, not every body is no-Mod… The Solarian and the bodies from Lena as well as a few others (Fusion I believe) are all Mod. You could easily clean up a LOT of issues with the body if it was mod. For example anyone who does not use applier clothing could cut their lag down to a third of current if they could remove those layers… (for this reason I have begun recommending Lena to some of my “SL Nudist” friends). You could also make it fit furry avatars better if it was mod, by changing how it handled alpha masking in order to create your own custom ‘alpha cuts’ by baking them right onto the skin of your furry – useful for attaching furry legs. And of course… if it was mod, you could remove that annoying auto-hide script…
  • The cut choices are not ideal for matching with furry digitigrade legs. This is why I want the knee cut split up. It would also be nice to have a cut in the hands and feet that is right at the end of the wrist and end of the ankle… for adding furry paws and claws.
  • If you have a pose that raises your arms straight up, the shoulder ‘breaks shape’ – but this is actually true of the default body as well, and is actually less severe on Belleza.
  • The torso muscle dial stops working at 50, and the slink fit requires this dial at 31 rather than the old version’s 50.
  • The arms are slightly out of position with where they are on the default body – meaning many long sleeve shirts and arm warmers of older rigged mesh cannot be made to fit.
  • The genital area is just a crease. Some of the competition have actual modeled anatomy here (sometimes for both front and back). “Adult Content” users will find this of most import. For others it only matters in closeups. Some competition (TMP for example) though has nothing but a smooth flat surface here, and at least the crevace on Belleza is properly located.
  • Closed developer system: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/17g52fcoo-8AhCa-ked39YMY1hNNYgBVZoOhIRbxxvkY/closedform – they are not allowing any more people to develop mesh clothing for the body. This frankly, is a serious negative.
    Compare it to the Solarian that I reviewed just after this review – the entire developer kit is included in the purchase for everyone for that body.

ps:
In the images above I am wearing:
*booN CIZ626 hair black/chocolate/purple – Chocolate modded with Red color.
http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/SAIKIN/129/125/699

Elysium – Devine II skin – deep dark
http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Stylora%20Island/131/96/23
– Elysium once had a decent range of dark skins, but most of them have been pulled from sale. Devine II is still out there, and some of the others appear now and again on Marketplace or in events. If they do, pay attention to applier support before buying… Devine II has Omega, none of them are directly Belleza.

Kinzart Cat Mau Orange – just the ears, modded with Red color.
http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Okarthel/130/153/58
Furry makers make better Neko parts than Neko makers… but you have to know how to slice up your furry and use the parts you need. I normally also use a furry tail, the “Jerboa Tail” but I took it off in the back shots to show off the Belleza avatar.

FATE eyes
– The most laggy thing I have, the scripts got a lot lighter weight in version 3, but the avatar render cost is still high.
As such I replaced them after this review with eyes from the brand By Snow

ON*SU Starter Apartment
I’m standing by the closet of this home, only sold on Marketplace:
https://marketplace.secondlife.com/p/ONSU-Starter-ApartmentTexture-Change/6010111

The Pose Stand is my own freebie, but the pose is not in that freebie, and was from “Ran Peccable” / “taisaya AO”:
http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Meet/251/102/22

And of course the Belleza Mesh Body:
http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Belleza/127/74/26

New fullperms Freebies out: Belleza Freya and Isis Proportionaate Shapes and Physics Kits

I know its been a year since I’ve updated my blog and I’ve still yet to get around to doing new reviews of mesh bodies…

However that said, I’ve put out two new freebies:

One for Belleza Freya:
https://marketplace.secondlife.com/p/FREE-Belleza-Freya-Proportionate-Shapes-And-Physics-Kit/7691358

And one for Belleza Isis:
https://marketplace.secondlife.com/p/FREE-Belleza-Isis-Proportionate-Shapes-And-Physics-Kit/7691737

Please go get a copy, and hand it out to people as desired.

ProportionsKitBellezaFreyaProportionsKitBellezaIsis

This kits include, as pasted from the notecard included with the kit:

*********
3 Shapes for Belleza Freya or 3 Shapes for Belleza Isis
– They vary in bosom size, and with each of those I’ve also adjusted the butt, saddle bags, and some muscle.

1 “Zion Kitty Multi-Posing Stand”
– This will give you some handy poses for editing yourself or worn attachments.

5 Props to wear on “Avatar Center”
– These will let you see your proportions, handy if you change these shapes or make your own proportionate shapes. As long as you stretch these uniformly, they can be used to tell if an adult avatar is proportionate regardless of how tall or short it is. They will work regardless of the gender of the avatar.

3 Physics Files
One for normal clothing, one for more firm clothing that holds body motion in place, and one for nude, bikini, and the like unconstrained motion. These will need adjustment to your personal preferences, but should be useful for getting started.

*********
Finally there is a long winded notecard with the instructions above (in more detail) and a list of what shape dials can be modified without losing proportions.
*********

Some tips from that notecard:
*************
When adjusting your own shape, these are the shape dials you can mess with without messing up the proportions this kit helps with:

All dials from:
Eyes
Ears
Nose
Mouth

These individual dials:

Hover
Forehead Angle
Brow Size
Upper Cheeks
Lower Cheeks
Cheek Bones

Chin Angle – somewhat… it will slightly change your head size. But minor tweaks are OK.
Jaw Shape
Chin Depth
Jaw Angle – Same issue as Chin Angle
Jaw Jut
Jowls
Chin Cleft
Upper Chin Cleft
Chin-Neck – Same issue as Chin Angle

Torso Muscle – this will slightly effect the way we test body width, but it is safe to ignore that impact.

Neck Thickness
Breast Size
Breast Buoyancy
Breast Cleavage
Love Handles
Belly Size
Leg Muscles – Won’t effect my “tests” by extreme values “in isolation” are not proportional.
Hip Width – Won’t effect my “tests” by extreme values “in isolation” are not proportional.
Butt Size
Saddle Bags – Won’t effect my “tests” by extreme values “in isolation” are not proportional.
Knee Angle

Foot Size – this dial doesn’t work on the Belleza Body. The Belleza Body’s foot is about 1/4th of a toe too big for these shapes, perfect for an avatar about 1-3″ inches taller, and too small for any shape over that height. But at the height of this kit’s shapes, any issues are so small you won’t notice them unless purposefully testing them like I did for making this kit. I didn’t even know this until I prepared this notecard… In other words, don’t worry about it. 🙂

Any “male specific” dials are safe to adjust.

If you adjust any other dials, you will need to use the props or a healthy pile of rulers to retest your proportions. 🙂

**************
You have my permission to give the contents of this kit out, include it in things, use it as a base for your own shapes (free or commercially sold) and so on. No need to ask. I want to help as many people as possible get their shape proportionate and yet also customized to their self-identity, so I’m all for seeing the items in this spread around.

So not only do you have my blessing to hand this out, but I’m hoping you do so.

**************
And so yeah… I’m a BIG fan of mesh bodies. It might be obvious that a year after my last review, I’ve now since settled on the Belleza Mesh avatar, specifically the Freya body, but both bodies are very high quality. The shapes will more or less work on most bodies – and the included props should help you fix any lingering issues.

Why does this kit have so much more “loot” than my kit for standard sizes? Because that was made in 2011 and this is made in 2015, and I’ve learned a few tricks to make measuring proportions easier. 🙂

OLD & OUTDATED: Mesh Bodies: TheMeshProject vs Belleza with a little on Slink Physique

Update 3: (September 13th, 2015) Well I finally did do a new review of Belleza:
Belleza V3 Mesh Body Review

The Reviews below no longer apply to any current avatars other than TMP. But in the time since I have found TMP has a number of issues with joint bending, and still exists in a closed off system. So… I am changing the text to be somewhat difficult – please look at my current review(s) listed above.

Kind of baffled because this remains my most popular blog entry… despite applying to nothing current in SL. If you’re on this page, you really should click that link above for Belleza V3 and tell whoever sent you here to change their links…


UPDATE 2: (July 12th, 2015) Obviously the review below is severely out of date with regards to Belleza and Slink… Belleza just recently had a new update fixing almost every issue it has had in the past. Its going to be interesting re-reviewing that one because so much changed. But a half year gap meant it fell way behind in popularity against other entries, and so a new review is going to have to look at things all over again. Slink also got an update, that made it quite good. Its not a body shape I enjoy, but the quality is now there. And… I looked back at the Lena Lush / Perky bodies again and found that ‘Lena Lush’ at least is almost unique in a certain niche area: large bosom avatars that have normal bodies… so it too needs an actual review now…

UPDATE: An Update to Belleza came out around midnight SL time, Nov 6, 2014 (or right at the end of Nov 5). It fixes some major issues, but adds a new major issue. See the revised Belleza Section. I will also come back and re-review Belleza in the near future.

Mesh Bodies are taking off in some corners of Second Life and I’ve recently been thinking of joining in on this.
There are surprisingly few reviews on the subject.

The only one comparing them that I could find was here: The Mesh Body Reviews – Belleza vs Mesh Project vs Wowmeh (naked) – Updated

– Which is pretty good, and I suggest reading that before or in addition to my points. My plan is just to cover the concerns I still had after reading that review.

While there are more than three entries in this field; Belleza, TheMeshProject, Slink Physique, and Lena Perky are the only ones that have a ‘normal’ shape. Fusion has one that comes close (called Androgynous for some reason) – but it still has bulky limbs and a bosom with nipples that have a very strange look to my eyes (they look almost like a torus).

Lena Perky was quickly off my list because its alpha system is simply not sufficient – too large of sections for most clothes wearing. In addition if you have an AO with an animation that raises your arms above the shoulder, the bend point for the Lena Perky is the same as the default avatar
– both of which are anatomically flawed.

Slink, Belleza, and TheMeshProject do not have this shoulder issue. Each is a little different and I’m not sure who has the best anatomy.

My main concerns in a mesh body are how well will it fit my wardrobe, and my preferences in skins.

Alpha Cuts:

For the wardrobe we need to know how good the alphas are and how well the body parts line up with the default avatar, as your wardrobe will be worn by that default avatar even as it goes invisible. Here are the alphas for Belleza, TheMeshProject, and Lena Perky:
And here is Slink’s system:

The Belleza has the best arm and leg cuts – significantly so. The TMP is second, but has the best chest cuts.

The upper neck cuts of the TMP are very specific which allows for a mutitude of tops to be worn… You can cut out by left or right, front or back – all individually. It means a LOT of clicking around setting up outfits, but also that you can get pretty good cuts… This is by far the best alpha-cut system of the choices I have seen.

The Belleza has a flaw in linking front, back, right, and left cuts. If you have an asymmetrical outfit this is a fatal flaw. Even if not many outfits have different cuts in front and back and Belleza cannot handle this common situation.

All of these amazing cuts are wasted from so simple a requirement being missed.

Hopefully that will be addressed someday – but I suspect it would require a whole new ‘cut up’ of the ‘faces / sides’ of the object and be a major undertaking.

The Slink one just doesn’t have enough cuts, period. Its not as limited as Lena’s was – but it comes close. It is in bad need of an update to this.

Clothing Fit

When it comes to fitting the body into your clothing… TheMeshProject falls down severely… In a flaw that is so bad it is shocking this made it out of even early testing: Notice the white there – that is the TMP body’s arms. Notice where it is not – inside the main body. This means most clothing with sleeves will suffer pop-through, and if your alpha cut doesn’t line up perfectly, you will have an odd spot somewhere.

Thus the initial image in this blog article – my arms poking out.

Here is the effect on a glove that is a perfect tight fit to my alt’s normal arms:
Normal, then TMP, then TMP with the closest Alpha Cut available.

Belleza does a better job fitting into the default avatar’s dimensions: If TMP did that, the contest would be over…

Notice how absurdly large my hands are in that Belleza image. This is another benefit of Belleza and TheMeshProject over every other competitor. Both use fitted mesh for the hands – so your hand size dial works on them. This does NOT work if you use the optional ‘Slink Fit’ version of Belleza.

TheMeshProject goes a step further though, the foot size dial also works, as its feet are also fitted mesh: And here you can see that a dial setting of 50 is close to ‘Slink Size’. But Slink Size may actually be too big for proper human proportions on an avatar under 6-feet or maybe even under 6’6″… My normal foot size dial was 16. Your foot should be “the same size as the length of your forearm”.

Unfortunately while you can get as big as Slink feet, The Mesh Project feet still float too high above the Slink ones to be able to wear rigged mesh shoes (unrigged however might work) made for Slink.

Belleza feet CANNOT be resized, but also come a lot closer to slink: The brown ‘blotch’ on the left foot there is my slink foot, resting just inside the Belleza one.

This almost means “some” of your slink shoes might work.

Belleza CAN be used with an optional ‘for slink’ body letting you wear your slink hands and feet… but this body requires an absurdly high “torso and leg muscle slider setting of 50″… 50 on the Belleza does not look as ‘muscle bound’ as it does on the default SL body or on other mesh bodies – so try it before you freak out over it.

Even once you set your torso muscle to 50, the hands join wrong. The left hand has a gap and floats a distance away from the body, and the right hand is overlapped by the body:

Right:
BellezaRightSlinkHand
Left:
BellezaLeftSlinkHand

Mesh to Body join – neck seams

If you make it past all the above concerns, your next issue is the join between the avatar and your default Second Life head (unless your avatar is Irish, in which case you can buy one of the heads from Slink or TMP that have distinctively north-west-European facial bone structure – and will then look identical in shape to anyone else using the same head).

The Mesh Project can fit perfectly to the default avatar’s head if in styling you use the ‘retrofit’ option. I have no idea what the other option does as this one works so I used it and moved on. They then have a tattoo layer to blend one of their 36 skin tones to yours. Unfortunately my avatar, using Angel Rock’s Botswana Seal (choice inspired by my slight Nigerian heritage), exists in the ‘zone of pigments’ between their tone 30, 35, and 36. But most non-African skin tones and a few African ones are covered. – You might not see it, but I find the face slighter darker than the body tone here. However the blend is very well done and should work for most people.

Belleza now mostly fits on the neck:
Front:
BellezaNeckFront
And back:
BellezaNeckBack
– I need to play with the shape dials and see if that minor seam can be fixed. This is however, workable whereas before it was so bad the item went into my “oh well” list of purchases.

With the neck fit, Belleza will get featured in an upcoming blog post by me, because the body shape… is amazing. And now I want to show that, while also discussing its remaining issues.

On my alt that bought the full version of Belleza, I used the Omega system to apply her skin to the Belleza. Pre-update this exposed massive problems. After a recent update – it is much better, but exposes that the Belleza mesh might not be colored pure #ffffff (white), or might have some shine, bump, or other attributes. I plan to review Belleza again and examine this. That said – if you got Belleza and trashed it for the bad neck, get the update. The neck is much improved now. I for some reason took my screenshots with a built in skin for contrast, so you’ll have to wait till I can show you this.

On TMP, no matter what I do to mess with the shape dials, I cannot mess up the join. It remains perfect.
On Belleza it is slightly off in the back, but good in the front.

I did not check this closely on Slink. It seems to match up at the neck, but it uses an attachment for the blend rather than a tattoo layer which is just… peculiar. The attachment comes in a pack of several for different body fats starting at 5 and moving up in units of 5 – not consistent with the standard sizing clothes system, which means more alpha cuts will need to be used to hide parts of the body made too fat as a result…

The Bosom Shape

The next issue, and the issue that cut Slink out of the running for me, is how each of these models the bosom. Slink deforms under the bosom, and this can get quite severe:
This is the bosom at 100. The deformation there is easy to see by 53, and starts at 16… it starts before the bosom even starts forming… Notice how the under-bosom shadow is moving out from the body.

Belleza is much better:
At 100 there is visible deformation, but nowhere near as bad as Slink. This starts at a dial of 55, but is not easy to see until 71.

Belleza is the ONLY one of these three to include a nipple option that adds more shape and texture detail – a major plus for belleza as skin designers often make this part of the body to look good on the ‘flat’ default avatar, meaning it will often have baked in ‘bump / shadow’ that looks less appealing on a mesh body.

TheMeshProject does the best job here, in my opinion. Here it is at size 100, just to show an extreme:
From 30-100, I was able to get usable results. Here you can see a ‘break-away’ is only just starting to happen – and the shadow is still where it belongs. At my normal 48, it looks perfect.

Skins:

Appliers are now out there for TheMeshProject and Slink.

Most of what you will find is for Slink – I think its been out longest and I think a lot of merchants assume its the one to support. My concerns above make me feel this might be jumping on the bandwagon too soon. The Slink body needs more corrections than the other two…

TheMeshProject’s website, ‘themeshproject.org’ will list out a huge list of merchants supporting it. If you start going to those shops you will quickly find that many of them in fact don’t even have a single item for it. Some of them… don’t even exist. They must have left SL or something.

In fact I had exactly one successful result in the skin category: Sinful Curves. And if you search for ‘themeshproject’ or ‘tmp’ on SL’s marketplace – most of the results as of this blog posting also point to that store. That store btw, does have very good skins… But none get as dark as I desire to go.

A much better way to find “the mesh project” items is the flickr group: https://www.flickr.com/groups/themeshproject/
– because this appears to list actual things. And will lead you to merchants with more things. Once I found this group I was finding MeshProject items everywhere. But still none go as dark in skin tone as I desire to go.

I get my skins from Angel Rock and that shop has been very hesitant about supporting mesh products. Appliers have only just begun to show up for them. Which is frustrating because they are the only shop in SL that seems to make African and Asian skin tones that really look of those ethnicities, but not by using the ‘cheap photo pasted into the UV map’ trick some low-end skin shops use. The skins at Angel Rock are super high quality (and they do have some Latina and Caucasian skins as well BTW).

As for Belleza, the neck issue above means any attempt to blend one of their existing skins to your own is likely to have issues.

Using an applier means going to the Omega system and buying a device that will ‘toggle’ your Belleza to be “Omega ready” – after that any Omega applier will work on the torso and legs, but NOT the hands or feet. So Omega is really only good if you use the Slink-fit version of Belleza.

Omega also works Lena Perky if you get that, and for EvE – which I plan to review soon.

Belleza might have appliers for it soon, the developer kit is now FREE to buy in their shop, for anyone. No need to get approved. Get it, and you can updates your stuff. BUT… the UV map for Belleza feet and hands is radically different from the SL avatar, so you will need to make all new photoshop files for this…

On the other hand my favorite skin designer does have appliers for lolas and phat azz… so I can get my skin onto a Belleza… BUT… Not onto the hands or feet.

To get a skin onto the hands or feet with Belleza you need a Belleza specific applier, or to use the Slink hands / feet and set your torso muscles to 50…

Concluding thought:

Sadly I feel all of these need work. Each of them gets some things right and other things wrong. The errors are not matters of style and preference but go to the heart of usability.

Belleza has critical issues with the alpha system and slink hands.
Slink has too few alphas and a highly deformed bosom.
TheMeshProject has arms that cannot fit inside clothing.

My opinion now is that the Belleza is the most ‘ready for market’. Its issues are the easiest to work around. That is a change as of 11/6/2014. TheMeshProject having a locked developer system means a LOT of skin designers have yet to be approved to make skins for it – and the arms issue is MAJOR for anyone who… wears tops with sleeves… which is most everyone.

If Belleza fixes the seam with the slink hands… and addresses my alpha map concerns, the contest would be over. But if themeshproject opens up applier design and fixes the arms – I would call it for them. Slink… would need to fix its bosom and adjust the alpha system in the chest area.

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