Wednesday, September 23, 2009

First draft

(I'm working on a draft of a notecard to urge people to join my group, and so, as I did before, I post it here...)

Hi. I'm Melissa Yeuxdoux, a Second Life resident. I delight in the ability to remake myself here, and in particular in the availability of prim breasts.

What are those, you ask?

One of the things you can do in Second Life is build things. Objects in Second Life are created from one or more "prims", primitive objects of various shapes (box, ellipse, sphere, cone, torus, etc.) and sizes that can be attached to one another and painted with "textures" (square images that are stretched around objects and glued on--figuring out how to draw them so that they look right when stretched is one of the difficulties of building in SL).

Aside from things, Second Life contains people, or rather avatars. Second Life has two basic avatars, one for (human) men and one for (human) women, each adjustable in certain respects, but only within limits. If you've read The Making of Second Life, Hamlet Au's history of Second Life, you know that Linden Lab did this to avoid an "arms race" of height, muscularity, and other body parameters. That choice arguably succeeded, but it has meant that those who wish to go past these limits have to do so by means of attachments built up from prims and sneaky tricks played with the avatar shape, and so doing has major drawbacks.

That said, the unfailingly creative builders of SL have done amazing things to work around the limitations of the avatar shape, and one of those things is the creation of prim breasts.

In this context, one obvious limitation of the SL avatar is size, but that is not the only one:
  • When you have a spare moment (and have saved your shape!), try adjusting your appearance by running the "breast size" slider up to or near the maximum. Save it, then pan around looking at yourself. Surprise! You have Bizarro World breasts, with corners!
  • Remember about the painted-on textures? For the most part, SL clothing is just textures. Basically, in SL we all walk around like models with trompe l'oeil body paint--but your oeil can't be totally tromped that way. Real clothing jumps across concavities; SL clothes look like they're vacuum sealed to your body, and that sealing distorts the most exquisite T-shirt artwork and text into junk. Real clothes have stress wrinkles; SL clothing at best has painted on shading to suggest them.
  • No jiggle.
  • No nipples, either.
So, someone came up with the idea of prim breasts, attaching to the chest. Since there's only one attachment per attachment point, if you wish your breasts clothed, the clothes must either be simply a texture applied to them or the portion of the top that fits over them must be built in from the start.

Since that first creation, prim breasts have advanced considerably, in shape thanks to the use of "sculpted" prims, in options and user interface, and in clothing options. Prim breast makers have always made some tops, but that divides their attention, and they've not been able to make many.

Recently, some clothiers have taken to creating tops (or outfits including such tops) intended for one or more prim breast makers' work--though often their work leans towards the, shall we say, revealing end of the spectrum, and one is still largely cut off from the vast cornucopia of SL fashion.

So, one ends up having to adapt textures from mainstream outfits, typically retrieved via a screen capture or snapshot, or stick with solid colors that don't have details of weave or shading. (Some do amazing work clothing themselves thus; the lovely and talented Mesha Sewell leaps to mind.) I think that the former is "fair use" if you don't sell it, but as they say, IANAL--and how many out there are put off from prim breasts by the thought of not being able to go to Nicky Ree, or the Crystal Queendom, or RFyre, or any of the other amazing clothing stores in SL, and buy and wear what one wishes, at least not without a lot of work? I think very many indeed.

So, all of you who currently use prim breasts, or who would use them if only they didn't mean forever looking longingly through the windows of SL clothing stores, unable to wear the clothing therein, please join my (now somewhat misnamed, with the added hoped-for membership!) group, "Prim Breast Users". I hope that there will be enough of us to perhaps convince mainstream clothiers to farm out the adaptation of their work to us to those who have proved their skills in working with clothing for prim breasts, and convince animators to come up with prim breast-safe animations and poses.

1 comment:

Maggie Bluxome said...

I support this!

By the way, after our talk about Prim Breasts the other day, I started writing a blog entry about our thoughts. My time is limited and it's current state is Draft...hoping to find the time to edit and add.

Thanks for your work on this Melissa. :)