Avastar’s Shape Slider system seems to be working now  ( update 1-1-1054 )

Note: You are one of the impatient kind? Then step ahead to the last chapter (“What we have today”) and read that at least.

Note: This video only applies for Avastar update 1-1-1054 or newer

How it started

When Avastar was born almost 3 years ago, we also introduced the SL Shape Sliders. First these sliders where only used to modify the Avastar shapes themself. There was no way to influence your own custom meshes by using the sliders.
Note: This video is only a historical reference. Things where much more complicated 3 years ago.

How it evolved

Then about one year later we introduced a proof of concept for custom shape sliders which allowed to also influence your own custom meshes (garments or complete custom avatars).

However this slider system suffered from slight inconsistences and so it was no precise tool. And on top of this the initial custom sliders system was pretty hard to use, so not many ever noticed that this feature exists already since about 2 years.
Note: this video only applies for Avastar-1.0

Why it needed improvement

With the introduction of Fitted mesh in last december (2013) it became very apparent that the custom shape sliders must be reworked so that they become easier to use and more precise than what we had until then.

By then we also realised that we need some much improved workflows, because things started to become complicated again. So we worked on changing the user interface, cleaning up, and rearranging the orders of activities to make workflows actuallyflow again instead of stumbling.

Why improvements did not happen for so long:

we could provide the main functionality for the new Shape sliders within a couple of weeks by end of 2013. But we quickly realized that the system suffered from very unexpected distortions, especially regarding the male shape. We could solve most of the problems rather wquickly, and so we fixed the distortion of meshes after Uploading to SL. But for a very long time (12 weeks) it was completely unclear why the shape sliders in Avastar did not work exactly as they should work (i.e.: exactly the same as in SL)

Around 20-april 2014 we finally found the true cause of the problem. Actually the entire system calculated the slider influences exactly as intended, only it applied the results to the wrong data all the time.

What we have today (25-april 2014, Avastar-1-1-1054)

Avastar-1054 has got the last major fix for making the sliders operate again as intended. However looking at the past months i no longer dare to say “it is done”. Especially because Avastar now has a few very unexpected (but hopefully awesome) properties. So it may be possible that we need to adjust the workflows a bit to make your work happen more smoothly.
  • You can begin with any custom shape
  • Your initial shape will be mostly preserved
  • You can still optimize the weights for better slider support

You can begin with any custom shape.

Up till now you had to use the Default Avastar character as basis for your fitted Mesh work. If you did not do this, then your meshes would suffer from realy insane distortions.With the new system you can attach the sliders to any Avastar shape.

Your initial shape will be mostly preserved…

regardless of the cBone weights So if you have one ore more “standard shapes” in your mind which you want to support, then you no longer need to tweak the weights until the garment fits as close as possible to the avatar shape.With the new system you can simply load your “target shape” (your SL shape) then model your garment around that shape (as you are used from working with mBones). And finally just export. Actually cBones and mBones now are treated in the same way regarding their export. And that means also for fitted mesh:

“If you export your mesh with a specific shape slider configuration, then the System will minimize the distortions when you wear exactly the same shape in SL.”

So this allows you to create your garments and characters without even thinking about how the cBones influence your meshes.

You can still optimize the weights for better slider support

You still might want that your rigged mesh behaves nicely over a big range of slider values. If you want to optimize your weights to maximize the slider range, then Avastar still allows you to do that by interactive tweaking the cBone weights.

Full freedom preserved

So now you have all possibilities at your hand to create your fitted meshes. I would be very happy if you could test this system and give me some feedback about its usability and if you encounter any big issues with it. So far all my own tests gave me reasonable results. but i did not yet look on precision issues on vertex level. So maybe here are still a few surprises ahead.

I hope you enjoy the new system and can make your “mesh fit better”