Mesh & Sizing

Here’s a little basic info about mesh clothing, sizing and alpha layers.

Topics covered:
1. What is mesh?
2. I can’t see mesh clearly, or at all!
3. Unrigged vs. Rigged
4. Sizing
5. Fitting mesh clothing
6. Alpha layers & Glitch layers

1. What is mesh?

Mesh objects are created using 3D modelling software such as Blender, Maya, 3ds Max, etc. They allow for more detail, efficiency (when used correctly) and unlike sculpted attachments, rigged mesh can move with your avatar.

2. I can’t see mesh clearly, or at all!

In order to be able to view mesh, you’ll need a mesh-enabled viewer, such a the official LL viewer and even most 3rd Party Viewers. If your computer can run that, then you shouldn’t have a problem viewing mesh after changing some settings. The easiest way is to go to your advanced graphics settings under preferences, and make sure that both basic shaders and hardware skinning are checked.

If you can’t see mesh clearly, you can tweak your settings to improve the quality of the mesh. Under the Advanced menu (cntrl+alt+d to show), click on Debug Settings, and type in “RenderVolumeLODFactor”. Depending on the viewer you are using, you may be able to access this setting from the slider on the bottom right of your screen.

3. Unrigged vs. Rigged

Mesh is worn as an attachment, and can be rigged or unrigged. Unrigged mesh works the same way as sculpted attachments. They can be re-sized (with or without a script, depending on the permissions), and should be worn at the appropriate attachment points where you can also move and rotate them.

Rigged mesh on the other hand, can be worn at any attachment point, and will snap to your avatar in the designated place. It will also move along with your avatar’s movements, much like a second skin over your avatar. Currently, it is also affected by *some* of the sliders when editing your avatar’s appearance, but cannot be re-sized or repositioned, and for that reason even when a mesh fits your shape well, you may need to hide some of your parts that could poke through the mesh with certain animations with an Alpha layer. You will also need to wear the mesh that fits your size or at least comes closest to it.

4. Sizing:

Because you can’t re-size rigged mesh, and since you can’t edit the mesh with all the sliders in the edit appearance mode, a group of designers developed the Standard Sizing system as a guideline to the variations in shapes, to give a chance for most people to wear mesh. The Standard Sizing Package which contains modifiable shapes can be found on the marketplace for free.

Some designers will provide even more variations in their sizes (to fit curvier shapes for example).

Even when a mesh comes close to your size, it may be difficult to find a perfect fit unless the mesh was tailored to your specific shape. A lot of people will find that they need to tweak their size a bit to fit into the mesh that is closest to their shape. Some meshes will fit differently, and that is all dependent on the individual designers and how they’ve made their mesh. Because of the huge variations in shapes, it’s always a good idea to try on a DEMO before you make a purchase.

There are also 2 alternatives that enable mesh to respond to more appearance sliders. The first project is the deformer mesh, which is still being tested and it’s unknown if it will be implemented. The other method has already been used by some stores, although different sizes are still provided so as not to break the mesh with extreme numbers in the appearance sliders, and it still is not a perfect solution.

5. Fitting mesh clothing

So, how can you find the right mesh for you? Be sure to pick up a DEMO of your purchase first. Wear the alpha layer that comes with the mesh clothing, and find the mesh size that best fits your shape (e.g. S, M, L). Sometimes alpha layers may also need some editing (more on that below), you may also need to tweak some of the sliders in the edit appearance mode. Usually, the sliders you want to change are the ones affecting body fat (as opposed to the avatar’s skeleton, listed below)

List of sliders that do not affect the mesh (change these to fit into your mesh)
Head: All sliders except for (Head Size)
Body: Body Fat
Torso: Torso Muscles – All breast sliders – Love Handles – Belly Size
Legs: Leg Muscles – Butt Size – Saddle Bags – Knee Angle – Foot Size

List of the sliders that will alter the mesh:

Head: Head Size –
Body: Height – Body Thickness
Torso: Neck Thickness – Neck Length – Shoulders – Arm Length – Hand Size – Torso Length
Legs: Leg Length – Hip Width – Hip Length

6. Alpha layers & Glitch layers

Alpha layers will hide some of the extra parts of your shape that poke through your mesh clothing. Even a well fitting mesh may show some of your skin in certain animations. Alpha layers may also differ with some shapes, and even when a mesh fits you properly, you may find that the alpha layer needs some editing. Some designers will provide a modifiable alpha layer, or even full perm alpha texture which you can take out of SL and edit yourself. Making an alpha layer is easy and you should have no problems finding an online tutorial. If you’re having problems with an alpha layer, just contact us and we’ll help you out!

Glitch layers, which are basically system layer clothing meant to cover up or camouflage any parts of your shape that may poke through the mesh, are less common with mesh clothing.

Both glitch layers and alpha layers may work as a substitute for underwear/clothing layers which you can wear under your mesh to avoid finding out that your avatar appears naked for others who can’t view mesh.

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