Saturday, April 28, 2007

Sculpted prims and (oh, geez, here she goes again...) prim breasts

OK... Anyone who's interested in building things in SL should go and check out Torley Linden's announcement of the coming of "sculpted prims."

What's a sculpted prim, you ask? I'm glad you asked that. It's one whose shape is determined by a "texture." Rather than being used to describe colors, the (R, G, B) values of the "texture" are interpreted as (X, Y, Z) displacements from a center point to a matching point on the surface of the prim. The idea is that you generate an arbitrary "genus 0" 3-D shape (i.e. one without any holes in it—it can have dents, but no holes, at least in the first version) with the program of your choice and then use something to convert it into the "texture" that the SL code interprets to generate that shape on the grid. A converter exists for Maya; more will follow for other programs ("hopefully exporters for
3ds Max, Blender, and ZBrush will be available soon").

Sculpted prims will greatly expand the available shapes for building. I'm expecting a great improvement in non-human avatars, and for that matter, the possibility of a fairly good-looking built human avatar—maybe I can finally be a giantess! XCite will have a field day with this, I'm sure, but of course (here it comes) the thing of most immediate interest to me is prim breasts.

Sculpted prims mean that a prim breast can be a single prim. This in turn implies that they can be "clothed" by being painted with a texture, just as basic clothing in SL is painted on. Right now, tops for prim breasts have to be built to match; a top that works with one maker's breasts can't be used with another. (They also have a detectable thickness, which shows up in some cases.) Textures, on the other hand, have a chance to be used in common, if a convention about orientation is established.

"Gee, you're bringing back the problem of straps," you say. Yes, I am, but I think the tradeoff is worth it. The big problem of prim breasts is that their wearers are essentially cut off from the enormous treasure of exquisite fashion developed by mainstream houses of haute couture. The ideal solution would be one that makes those tops immediately usable, but barring implementation of Prop 125 we won't get that. Next best is one that makes it so trivial to accommodate prim breast wearers that clothing manufacturers consider the effort worth it for the income gained. If prim breasts can be clothed by painting, and the same texture will work no matter whose prim breast one wears, then perhaps clothiers will consider it worth adding right and left textures for prim breasts to their products.

(OTOH, they may see that as something that simplifies the theft of their IP for minimal gain... sigh. But at least it makes it more feasible for someone to set up shop making tops for prim breasts than the current situation, which chops up an admittedly non-mainstream market into even smaller pieces.)

I note that some like the effect of bulging from too-small tops. Given an operation that composes two sculpted prim control textures (adding the corresponding displacements, along with normalization to avoid overflow), I think one could accomplish this. Along with a top you'd need a sculpted prim control texture that is (0, 0, 0) wherever the top is, and then nonzero where the top isn't, with values designed to give a realistic bulge effect. It would be nice if the composition could be done on the fly, but as long as it's possible, one could get the effect at the expense of growing one's inventory.

Sorry for going on at length... again... but sculpted prims open so many possibilities, and it's hard not to think about them. I hope that prim breast makers will consider getting together and seeing whether I'm just blowing smoke, or whether life can be made better for their customers.


Véronique Lalonde said...

I have to admit, I have never understood why anyone would want prim breasts or huge breasts of any kind, but then I don't have a desire for a huge avatar either. Sorry, hun. :) I must be dull! I even have my breasts set rather small by SL standards, not at all small for RL, but small compared to your average Post Sixx Grrrl.

But if it makes you happy, go for it! Chacun à son goût, as they say.

Anonymous said...

I also do not understand why one would enjoy having overly large prim breasts. My only guess at it is the wearer would like them and the attention they'd get in rl but doesn't wanna suffer the backaches associated (at least somewhere down the road). I keep mine smaller than my rl counterpart and do not indend on changing that. I must be dull as well. But outside of the fairer sex, I can't see why this is something a person would do it. Our avs can already be fairly large in that respect (prob large c or d) and also a "perfect" version of our rl counterparts.
Where in rl can you wake up, and not have to fiddle with our hair, makeup or decide our outfit for the day

I hate to say it but your best bet is not for clothe makers to add this (cause they're already too paranoid at theft in a unsecured system and they prob don't see a market) but to have some new stores come out that would either make them for customers or offer them seperately. You seem to know why it doesn't work, why don't you start one yourself?