The State of Mesh Clothing in Second Life

I think my blog Readers are pretty intelligent people.  I think many come here for accurate information, resources and maybe an honest opinion or two on different topics.   Most, who have been following me during this time, know my opinion on mesh clothing in Second Life (SL).  I really don't like it...even after two years and many improvements by some creators...I still am of the same opinion I was a couple of years ago. 

Personally, I still like "layered and flexible" clothing and hair, while appreciating the skill that went into making the items.  That is not to say, that mesh clothing doesn't also require a complex set of  different skills.  Mesh is static for the most part and only moves with the AV as well as it has been weight painted and rigged by the original creator.  Some even skip the weight painting for a less than stellar product.  Flexible prims has it's own issues like going thru the AV itself, but flexible prims provides more realistic fabric movement with skirts, hair, and other accessories making our world seem more realistic and less like static cartoon or gaming characters you will see in other venues. 

I am sure it will offend some of you but, every time I see someone wear mesh hair I just have to cringe...all the mesh hair I have ever seen worn looks the same just in different just sits there unmoving.  If two people wear the same hair, it seems like their facial features blend into a single looking AV.   Flexible hair has movement...when you walk, dance, or, your AO changes position...mesh hair just lays there like a lump.  To me, mesh hair has no sense of style, fashion elegance, or much room to allow for individualism.   I have yet to see anyone wear mesh hair that doesn't make them look like Jessica Rabbit from the movie "Who Framed Roger Rabbit".  If you have to wear an alpha layer with the hair, as many require, you often will not see part of the person's head...this happens even with a mesh enabled viewer. 

One of the huge trends lately in the offering of "cookie cutter" mesh fashion or clothing kits.  In and of themselves, some of the kits are not bad to work with, as long as you know there are limitations, while others are just plain horrible seemingly mass produced and cheaply sold without a care for the work.  If the base design is crappy mesh, no matter what you do to it as an after market creator, it will still be crappy mesh.  Most kits will include a full perms mesh item, an alpha layer and/or texture (many reviews and personal conversations I have had say most alphas are awful), UV map guidelines to help you create your clothing, and sometimes other odds and ins.

The kits are usually offered to after-market clothing creators full permissions, who must deal with steep prices, ridiculous user licenses and creative limits due to how the mesh was created.  There are even mesh clothing kit creators, who seem to think their items are God's gift to SL Residents.  Lord help you if you dare to criticize their work, which oftentimes is not up to very exacting standards either.   Utterly ridiculous in my opinion.

Another huge problem I have with mesh clothing is the so called "standard mesh sizing".  It is just another term for "off the rack" clothing like RL so we all seem to look the same.  And like RL, I don't see much in the way of it being anything more than another arbitrary "standard" we have to conform to.  We are not all tall, or short...thin or voluptuous...curvy or non-curvy, yet we must conform if we want to wear mesh.  We really didn't have that kind of problem with "layered and flexible clothing".  LOL...if you hadn't guessed by now, I am a non-conformist in many ways.
Look for this Logo for Standard Sizing in Mesh Clothing
I know many people wonder about the "standard sizing".  So, I did a little research on the web and found a good article that might be of interest on Darien Caldwell's blog, who provides some insight into the subject with some background and the AV body measurements being used for the standard sizing.

To be honest, my non-conformist ways hate the idea of having to alter my shape to fit someone else's idea of a clothing standard.  I don't want to look like every other female out there, which seems to be what is happening.   I also am not enamored of having to wear alpha layers either to make body conform to the clothes.  To often, all you see with alphas is partial body skin. Hates that when it happens.  It is one of the biggest reasons I don't wear many mesh items at this time.

And, something else you should be aware of, even with the standard sizing, not all creators nor all clothing elements can or will adhere to the standard sizing.  It is why you will find clothing deviate sizes from one one creator to the next.  Also, since curvyness doesn't seem to be part of the standard package,  If you are interested in experimenting with the "standard sizing" shapes, you can find a set of the "free" standard sizing package" on SL Marketplace at the following link.

I think we have a long way to go still with mesh clothing.  As more and more people learn to make mesh, I think you will start to see some competition  along with major improvements and changes...more creativity... in what is on offer.  And, it will take time.  I have started the challenge of learning Blender.  Learning 3D modeling is a challenge and depending on the software used, can be quite expensive for an SL hobbyist.  So, I will keep my eye on things and offer up my opinion in another 6 months.


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