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Wednesday, May 14, 2014


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Pussycat Catnap

Templates were around as a common thing for at least 2 years before mesh.

In 2011 before Mesh hit, almost EVERYTHING coming out was from a template.

Back then, all the templates were essentially using the same mesh: the default avatar. At least now they're using all sorts of different meshes.

But we shouldn't kid ourselves that originality has gone down. If anything its gone up. There are and always have been a lot of 'paint by numbers' merchants in SL. Some of them are quite good at it - but people making truly original stuff is no less common now that it was before. It might even be more common now as there is an added avenue through which a person with 'original design' skills can express.

Pussycat Catnap

I don't say "paint by numbers" above to insult. I say it because that is the "worst" accusation you could toss as a person who 'colors in a template'.

And is that really that bad? When what you get in the end result is so nice.

Its long been a staple in 3D work that you hire one team to make your models and another to texture them - because these are very different skills.

That's all that the templating system has caused in mesh. Its teams indirectly working together - using their skills where they each do best.

Quality goes UP because of this.

Few are the people who can get a modeler and a texturer together into a permanent partnership like you see in such rare brands as coldlogic. By having a template system, texturer A can partner with modeler B without the two needing to work out all the project together details...

And each has to compete with others in their same skill set for the attention of each other and us consumers.

(I happen to like the models and textures at coldlogic, but imagine if I liked one, but not the other: I'd be screwed. But with a template - if I like the model but hate the texture, I buy it from a different texturer. If I have a favorite texturer, but hate half the models she's used, I might like the other half. win/win/win for all three parties (and actually a 4th win in there for LLs).

Pussycat Catnap

One issue that does legitimately occur with a lot of templated mesh is sizing mislabeling.

You note Meli Imako above. That is a template maker that does not and never has used standard sizes. That maker has a set of sizes in each template - but what size those are in an SL shape varies with each item, and has never been standard sizes.

However many users of those templates in putting a product together mislabel them as standard sized - causing notable brand and buyer confusion: a lot of people now think standard sizes might not work even if you have the right shape... because they tried on an outfit that is not actually standard sized.

The template makers are not really in error here. None of that maker's products ship with the standard size logo. Texture makers are causing the error by adding "back in" logos they think are missing that were never supposed to be there to begin with...

When you have a product made by two people working wholly independent of each other - while it can create lots more opportunity for variety, it can also cause breakdowns like this in communication over what the product actually is.


Does Second Life have a middle class? Is it shrinking or growing?


I recently went to an event and of 26 items at the event, five — roughly 1/5 of the content — were a re-texture of one of the same two Meli Imako dresses. Only one of those creators had done anything more than slapped a texture onto the mesh faces; in other words, only one had put some work into the texturing, adding shading and highlights to make it fit the garment. This, I think, is why people end up so frustrated with templates: we see the exact same badly-done dress in a thousand iterations, with a thousand badly-done textures, from a thousand Johnny-come-lately stores, and it makes it very difficult to actually find new and creative content.

That said, I don't look down on people who work with templates. There are some people who take a template and add their own creative elements to it — perhaps they do truly custom texturing to make a garment really come alive; perhaps they use custom scripts on a piece of template decor; perhaps they use their own poses and animations in a piece of template furniture. There's nothing wrong with that. Not everyone is a brilliant mesh creator, and that's fine...some people are brilliant texture artists, but can't do mesh. Similarly, some people are brilliant mesh creators but make terrible textures.

The snobbery surrounding the "100% Original Content" movement saddens me. It, more than anything else, creates barriers to market entry for new creators. It stifles innovation and developments such as the use of kits for mesh body parts; developments which have been huge for the SL community. It discourages one talented artist skilled in one kind of content creation from working with another talented artist skilled in a different kind of content creation, because ultimately, only one person can sell an item, and the item isn't "100% original" to that person. It ultimately may even encourage intellectual property infringement, as some creators incapable of creating all the components on their own and forbidden from using other developers' help may look for sources outside SL.

Account Deleted

Meli Imako is one of the most honest sellers in SL!

When mesh first came out she was one of the very few who offered affordable kits while the rest sold at insane prices taken advantage of older residence ignorance of blender having worked years with system tools and flexi prims.

She never has been for cheating or drama whoring like half the so called big brands act like nor has she cheated anyone.
other folks steal designs from online sites and charge 10k for a so called limited template that's only limited by as many as they can hawk in a short period of time.

She is very poor example to put in the spotlight
if anyone should be to blame then blaming it all on linden lab forcing all the sellers into one room on the marketplace while eroding the inworld economy and destroying the land business.

If you had been around years ago you would have her alt was a mentor who must have spent 60 to 70 hours a week helping new residents for years!
My question is she gave her dues what about the complainers and late comers to the game whats your excuse? huh

Tracy RedAngel

Let's be really clear: just because something is "original mesh" does NOT mean it's good simply by it's virtue of being original.
I've tried demos and even bought (regrettably) some original items that have turned out to be DISMAL. Some "original" creators have terrible customer service. Do they deserve more business than a designer who uses quality templates, does lovely texturing and provides exemplary customer service? Absolutely not.
The notion that template clothes take anything away from original content is in my opinion, ridiculous. If you work hard, create quality work, and provide excellent customer service you will do well. There is plenty of business to go around.
If you're an original content creator and your having trouble selling your goods, don't blame templates. You would be better off paying attention to your own product quality, marketing, and customer service.

Events like Collabor88 and Fameshed sell exclusively original product and you're lucky if you can even get into those events until 3 days in. Those creators are not hurting for business.

The downside for designers who use templates is if something is badly modeled or rigged and they receive customer complaints, there's not much they can do about, if anything at all. Templates also cost money, so designers who use template clothes have to put a lot of initial investment into their clothing business.
Meli Imako's templates are inexpensive, but there are other template makers and many of those can be very costly some as much as 10,000L (especially if they have very limited licenses).

I buy plenty of original content, and I absolutely appreciate all the hard work and talent that goes into some of my favorite brands. But if something is really nicely made all-around I'll absolutely buy it as well.


There is no designer named Meli Imako. There is a team of underpayed chinese 3d workers. No one could ever produce that much alone. You really have no clue, do you.


The group behind the avatar meli imako is known among original sl content creators to make almost exact copies of their work, and sell them for half price full perm. Killing rheir business that way.


There's a place for templates in SL, no doubt, but it's probably a slightly different place than fully original content. Perhaps with the prevalence of templates the market for original mesh is more highly appreciated. As an original content creator the fact that there are so few people doing it from scratch is a plus for me.

Also, the two different approaches likely appeal to two different markets. There are plenty of SL consumers who wouldn't recognize a template and just want something pretty and reasonably priced. And then there are other shoppers who are completely in the know and can spot a template a mile away. They are more likely to pay a few extra lindens for good quality, original content that will give them some exclusivity. I don't think one takes away from the other. In some ways, they compliment each other. And I agree that if you work hard, are persistent, and have a decent product, you can do well, templates or not.

Valentina E.



Oh and an aside, I've stopped participating in events that allow the designers to use templates. Nothing against the wonderful people behind these events or the designers who participate, but I think differentiating between the two does help a designer find their niche.

Account Deleted

@ Tankgirl
You wrote
"There is no designer named Meli Imako. There is a team of underpayed chinese 3d workers. No one could ever produce that much alone. You really have no clue, do you."

What you think & what you know hon are 2 different things! She has alts & business partners that work with her but she is as real as your ignorance.
jealousy & ignorance go hand & hand so what does her being chinese have to do with anything? other then your true raciest self coming out.

You Wrote
"The group behind the avatar meli imako is known among original sl content creators to make almost exact copies of their work, and sell them for half price full perm. Killing rheir business that way."

If you ever watched any good SL creators most have help videos that show the work they do with simple dress being done in 2 to 5 hours easy.

2 Hours in Marvelous designer to create
2 hours to export & rig in maya
1 hour to texture & render in mentalray & vray

5 hours to make a nice dress and she releases new clothing every few days? thats plenty of time and then some.

Really you should learn how to build that way when someone runs their pie hole about your work and all the time put in you can fully appreciate the time & effort people put into their work.
i would suggest learning texturing first its a real art so i hear



CronoCloud Creeggan



There's nothing inherently wrong with using templates....the problem is when the same ones are used by a large amount of people, then we get a glut of sameness and lookalikes. I am also of the opinion that Templates need to be credited in the interest of transparency and honesty to one's customers. Use templates all you want, but for goodness sake, credit them. Then at least customers know the right person to make suggestions to, if the rigging needs work or something.


Only in Sl this would be a topic of discussion.
Such greed, such despair to make a income!

Tracy RedAngel

Valentina's clothes are sublime, I can attest to that! (Sorry, don't mean to go all fan-girly)
She's got some beautiful new items at Fameshed...so go there!

Pussycat Catnap

"Perhaps with the prevalence of templates the market for original mesh is more highly appreciated"

I am a consumer. Not a maker. This debate for me is just a maker of what looks nice and works nice.

I'm not a fan of Imako's work because its not standard sizes - it looks nice but doesn't work nice.

But of the places I shop, two of the three places I most heavily frequent for fashion are template makers. They have better textures than most of the 'original mesh' people.
- The stuff I get from them looks nice, and works nice.

There are quite a few 'original only' makers that I've gone to and thought - "I wish they sold this as templates so someone with texturing skills could improve it, the mesh is nice, but the texturing is all wrong."

And sometimes the reverse happens, I go into an original mesh place and see wonderful texturing, but demo the item and its poorly rigged or doesn't fit (Imako's stuff is well rigged, but has unknown non-standard fits). And in these places I feel like the artist should stop making mesh and just get good templates.

Events that only will allow original mesh sound kind of snobbish, and so me as a consumer a disservice by setting up an unfair competition that locks me out of seeing what is often the best product.


Why do I rarely see people mentioning the actual quality of items on SL?

The average SL user doesn't know what is 'good work', and generally follows trends, and what is covered in blogs. Most bloggers just blog what is popular and what the Big Designers send to them.

Why don't I see any of the 'experts', including Iris Ophelia, mention *fundamental* issues of quality? I don't ever see anyone talking about topology, or the amount of texture data being used.

These are very very basic things, and yet few people on SL pay any attention to them. And then people bitch about lag. While wearing a thousands and thousands of useless polygons, and excessively large and numerous textures.

And yet I never see any suggestions to use Ctrl-Shift-R, or to inspect the Texture Info Basis.

You have failed, bloggers and 'experts', over and over. And you help to drive SL into the ground, and make it a ghetto of creativity.


"2 Hours in Marvelous designer to create
2 hours to export & rig in maya
1 hour to texture & render in mentalray & vray

--> Result: fucking trash.

*Highpoly gargabe with HORRIBLE topology
*Sloppy rigging, and boring
*Boring textures with little personality and no love.

Shitty workflow by amateurs, for amateurs.

And yet, these are THE BIG DESIGNERS of SL.

The community will continue cannibalizing itself until the really talented people finally all disappear...

Tracy RedAngel

The average new user can barely figure out how to use an AO, let alone know anything about modeling, rigging, or poly count. Why would they? Most of Second Life's demographic does not have much gaming experience, so you're just barking up the wrong tree expecting them to care about the aforementioned mechanics.
The average user wants something that looks good, they don't really beyond that. For good or naught, it is what it is.

Account Deleted

@ VP

"--> Result: fucking trash.

*Highpoly gargabe with HORRIBLE topology
*Sloppy rigging, and boring
*Boring textures with little personality and no love.

Shitty workflow by amateurs, for amateurs.

And yet, these are THE BIG DESIGNERS of SL.

The community will continue cannibalizing itself until the really talented people finally all disappear..."

Since everyone is not you the simple truth of the matter is everyone's work flow will be different with speed and tricks so just being a broken record what others tell you is not always best.

Well that's great since you know so much you must be a fine builder how about putting your money were your dick holster is and show us all a few fine examples of your work!

I logged in to search for a VP Resident but was none to be found?

Your marketplace store link will do just fine really you already got a sale from me as long as under 2500L

I am retired but envy someone one with your skills i think we all look forward to being impressed by your work.


"The average new user can barely figure out how to use an AO, let alone know anything about modeling, rigging, or poly count. Why would they? "

You are absolutely correct! I didn't know anything about how video games were put together when I started using SL, and the only reason that I learned was because I started making stuff in SL.

I don't really expect the average user to know much about efficiency or what makes a mesh good.

I DO expect bloggers and 'experts' to help educate people, and to help 'mod down' sloppy work and overly inefficient content, while making some effort to push well-made, resource-friendly stuff. That's their job.


Oops! I should have also included "content creators" in that list. More than anyone, they should be the ones that know what is good and what is bad.

I understand that most "content creators" want to spend their time feeling creative, but most of them don't actually involve themselves in the craft. They learn a few things from Youtube videos, made by other SLers, and go from there.

Video game art is a pretty big thing these days; there are a lot of other, and better, sources for education.

Part of that is simply a cultural problem -- we don't have a very sophisticated culture about content. People just want stuff to look good, as they always have.


"Well that's great since you know so much you must be a fine builder how about putting your money were your dick holster is and show us all a few fine examples of your work!"

Sorry for the harsh tone of that post -- I may or may not have had a drink or two before I made that.

Still, that is basically how I feel. However, I'll decline from associating my SL identity with this post, since I am probably insulting people, and I really don't need to create more hurdles for myself.

I'm not saying my stuff is the greatest, but some of it is pretty darn good for SL.

Again, I don't expect SLers to be experts, but it's really not that hard to see what's good and what's bad:

* Go into wireframe mode and look at the mesh, check out what kind of topology it has. More polygons is bad, less polygons is good. A clean-looking topology/edgeflow is good. A crinkly-looking mess of triangles is bad.

* Select the mesh and use Ctrl-Alt-Shift-T to get the Texture Info Basis for it. Count up the textures and figure out how many megabytes a person has to download and process to render the mesh. More is bad, less is good.

* Compare different meshes to one another. Consider that each user has to take on the load of everything rezzed around them, and also that SL has 512MB of ram to work with.

* I don't often do this myself, but you can also open the statistic meter and watch your FPS.

I don't expect the average user to be an actual expert on the craftsmanship of meshes, but I don't think that it's sooo difficult to see, either...

Tracy RedAngel

I agree, there is a detrimental cost with allowing people to upload huge texture files and ridiculous high poly objects (I have a hair piece that is beautiful...but it makes me lose about 15 fps, which on my poor old iMac is crippling). These things aren't so much an issue on my husband's gaming PC because it's newer and can handle quite a bit. I can set the graphics on ultra, draw distance to 600 and still get over 60 fps.
That's the thing, if I only used that PC, I probably wouldn't think much about it.
I think if you try to compare Second Life to other gaming platforms, you're bound to feel frustrated. Gaming assets are built for efficiency, and tested. All of those assets are put in the game by the studio.
That's never going to happen with Second Life. Second Life is really just one great big hack job (I don't mean that as a negative because some of those hacks are rather ingenious). It really is. All the mesh feet, standard sizing, alpha masks, these are all hacks the residents came up with to cover up that damn hideous and outdated default avatar.
Poor SL, the ol' girl has so much paint, spackle and duct tape holding everything together it seems like the slightest poke will topple everything down.


"Second Life is really just one great big hack job"

Yup, I agree with you, Tracy -- SL is an old system, which was never really perfect to begin with.

"I think if you try to compare Second Life to other gaming platforms, you're bound to feel frustrated. Gaming assets are built for efficiency, and tested."

But that's just more reason to make efficient content, and to encourage everyone be more mindful and more tasteful. There are some people on SL who build for efficiency, and spend lots of time testing and revising.

Not everyone has a good gaming computer; as others have mentioned, a lot of SLers aren't really gamers, and some are older people who don't care to buy a top-of-the-line machine. And now, we're seeing a push to get SL running well on tablets.

And why can't SL be as good as 'real' video game? Sure, as you alluded to, some of the underlying technology is outdated. The avatar really does need to be replaced. But that in no way excuses the bad craftsmanship of so much of this content, and doesn't excuse this general, ignorant blogger-driven culture of what is good and bad work.

Why is it that these so-called "content creators" can make a *good living* making & selling trash? If they are being paid like professionals, and treated like experts, then you should expect something closer to professional-level work from them.

But, the reality is that many these people don't often put that much work into into their craft or the creations, and pump out tons of stuff on a constant, push it out at big sales events, with the help of an army of bloggers. People who do take the time to make high quality items simply can't compete with that.

CronoCloud Creeggan

Part of the problem, VP, is that is a lot of pressure for content makers to keep making new items as fast as they can because new content is one marketing technique that works in SL.

Content makers discovered years ago, that new stuff kept their name "out there". That if they didn't release often they became "Designer who?". It's often assumed that a designer who isn't releasing has either "quit" or pulled back from SL.

And, templates has made it worse by allowing every Art-School-Girl-of-Doom with competent texture skills and her pet KittyCat to have their own fashion line with tons of new releases.

In many ways the SL fashion "industry" is the way it is, because standard marketing tools don't work in SL or Designers aren't willing to try them. So it's Event Clique after new event Clique and Fairs upon Fairs with designers being pressured to keep up. "Oh hai, you want to have stuffs at our Meshy Bishes event? It has to be new stuffage nao."

There are fashion bloggers among us who don't like some of what's going on, but what can we do? It's not like the old days when there were a few big blogs..now everyone and their KittyCat is a blogger so designers can have entire stables of "official bloggers"

Tracy RedAngel

Yup, it's more about the quantity of stuff. It's like everyday is Black Friday or Boxing Day in SL.
I don't really understand some of the trends in SL, but maybe because I'm getting too old, I don't know. I don't see the appeal of wearing shirts and hats that say 'Cunt' on them, but I've seen plenty of people running around wearing them O.o.

Tracy RedAngel

You know, the worst part is that the designers who put out the most terrible craptastic stuff also seem to have the largest egos and horrible attitudes. But they have their tight little circles of fans who will probably not think to tell them "the textures on this hair are really streaky and the rigging is bad"

Pussycat Catnap

"Part of that is simply a cultural problem -- we don't have a very sophisticated culture about content. People just want stuff to look good, as they always have."

Its very hard to write a critique of someone's work over their 'technical details' - image size, polygon count, where the rig bends, and so on...

Without making them feel you're attacking their artistry.

And even if you think you've done that critique right, people will very often read it personally.

Back in the day, NCI and other places had a lot of inworld classes on building in SL. I gather they still do.

But the topics have gotten a LOT more complex now. And people who turn out very pretty work, that sells well, may not WANT to publicly realize they are lacking in a vital skill.

No one ever wants to raise their hand and say "I am the problem with all of this, its me that is causing the lag."

So we need to find ways to educate people without making them feel like they're the one in the room being forced to wear the 'dunce' hat.

The skills needed now ARE a lot more technical... and so we need to find ways to convey to people that... yes you should look for advice, you do need help, this is not something to be ashamed or even shy about... just get yourself a "technical buddy" and go to town on working out how to make your stuff more "game ready".

A LOT of our 3D modelers also come from the Daz/Renderosity world. Where making a round golf ball that uses 50-billion polygons is just fine, and a good thing... because its work for fine art or artistic animation.

In the world of gaming through, you are forever striving to recreate a open faberge egg on 1 polygon, in full 3-dimensional detail, and animated in real time.

You goals are opposite.

There is some great stuff now showing up in SL - artistically speaking.

But we need to find friendlier ways to get everybody back in class for some technical training.

Carl Metropolitan

Pussycat Catnap spoke of the classes that used to exist on creating clothing in SL. Many of those classes, do still exist at a variety of places (Caledon Oxbridge) among them.

But most help areas in SL are working to incorporate the new mesh content, too. Oxbridge already has an "Intro to Mesh" class, and I'm currently developing a class for Oxbridge on "Designing With Full Perm Mesh Objects & Clothing". If anyone has any suggestions for what such a class should include I'd appreciate them.


I'm sure Meli is raking it in but combined with this mad rush on Marketplace, it's crushing the economy. Everyone and their mother has a Marketplace store, prices go down as it becomes more competitive... meanwhile, in-world, stores die in droves because they can no longer make tier because in-world business is crushed. It's bad. Meli is probably a nice girl, but her business model is a blight on the SL economy.

David Cartier

Maybe it would help everyone if the templates were more limited editions; fewer sold to designers - at higher prices that could be passed on.


i think that some people are raging over nothing much really

yes is heaps of stuff made with mesh templates at the mo. but if go back to when texturing skills were not very good for the most. like skins and lining up your seams was the reserve of only a few skilled people. Then 2 people who best remain nameless made a avatar texture template. Woosh!!! bunches and bunches of people could make clothes and skins. And end up developing a whole bunch of extra things that weren't in those texture templates

is the same for mesh. As people get skilled with the templates then will be woosh!!! again. New stuff will come pouring out again


also about cheap. Is the High St and the Main St. Lots people shop main street for everyday things and are happy with that. Will always be a High Street tho for when need/want to frock up



the RL reality is that I can make more RL money mowing lawns on the Linden Realms than many many people in RL countries get for mowing real lawns

if RL people in RL countries can make more RL money making actual virtual things for more money than mowing RL lawns then good on them

Kerryth Tarantal

About crediting mesh "templates," then why not require furniture makers to credit every pose they use that they didn't create? What about the sculpts and meshes and textures they bought? Credits, please. And anybody who uses a script they didn't write - what about those credits? And skin makers - shouldn't they credit their templates and their photo sources? Not to mention the shape maker. Sound effects? Did you record the waterfall yourself? The bird songs? And textures! If the designer didn't personally produce every pixel, where's the credit? Does color shifting a downloaded image or running it through Filter Forge make it original? Does every original mesh modeler also produce every pixel of texture? I doubt it.

Why single out one type of building resource for favored status? Good quality work will always speak for itself, and snob value cannot protect the mediocre for long.


or maybe sl needs to find a way for people to be able to earn money on game instead of everyone competing to be a designer to make money..


The game is dieing and its not because the lack of creativity that is coming into the game. it is the lack of people that are not willing or cannot afford to buy lindens anymore. too many people are trying to compete to make money in game rather than using as much irl money..this is also why in-world stores are going out of business and people have to sell or abandon their land. LL needs to design something that people can earn money in game besides fishing and worm farming lol

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