Preview: “Trish” underwired lingerie-style dress (Spring 2013)

I’ve been working on some pieces for this spring season (and, as usual, am hopelessly behind!) I wanted to go with more feminine fabrics and colours; something softer than the dark jewel-toned clothing I’ve been making in the past.

Sketches for Spring 2013 fashion line

Above: Sketchbook showing some rough ideas. Also in the background, the all-important tools!

My process

  1. I usually start sketching with a black fine-liner. Though I’ve been trained at an art school, I’m not much of a figurative illustrator, so I tend to sketch the rough shape and let the on-computer process dictate the final look and feel.
  2. Then I work on the computer – in my case, I’m doing everything on an old black MacBook (shown above) using Adobe Photoshop CS3 and a Bamboo Wacom tablet (also shown.) To preview stuff, I use the SL Clothing Previewer – vital for saving L$ on upload fees if you don’t own high-end 3d software (which I don’t.)
  3. Even after uploading to Second Life, there’s adjustments to be made! The flat shading in SLCP isn’t what we generally see inSL, and the colour definitely shifts from what I see in Photoshop.

Preview: “Trish” underwired dress

Preview: Trish underwire lingerie dress for Second Life

Above: “Trish” dress, the top left illustration shown on the sketchbook page above. It’ll be available soon!
Also worn: “Persephone” mirror-sole platform shoes in midnight,  “Kadence” hair by Truth

For this underwired corset-style lingerie dress (named “Trish” after an acquaintance in RL,) I ended up adding a lace panel option once I got working on the computer. Often stuff evolves as I’m working on it; the crossed straps were added based on the separate corset top design.

Spring colours

Spring 2013 colour palette


I always try to work within a unified colour palette, even if I don’t release much from season to season. The above colours combine some of my favourite soft neutrals and feminine tones with the saturated hot primaries that I secretly love… even if I’d never wear them in RL.

A note on mesh

I wasn’t sure if I should write a separate blog post detailing my feelings on using rigged mesh clothing for my Spring 2013 line. Based on talking to newer Second Life avatars and some of my oldbie friends (sorry I called you that!) it seems it’s a very polarizing topic. For any Second Life creator whose strength lies in texturing, not 3d modelling, it’s a technology for which we must weight the pros and cons.

As a consumer, I went “wheee!” when I learned about rigged mesh, and tried a bunch of demos. Not a single one fit me the way I’d like… I was crushed to learn that the mesh will not distort with the underlying avatar’s mesh, but instead is forced into a set “size” upon upload. I’ve bought a few items and sucked it up, modified my shape a little or worn an alpha layer, and been ultimately disappointed with the entire experience.

As a texture artist, the idea of having more control over the UV map and fabric drapery was thrilling. But, again, there’s no distortion to “fit” avatars automatically. As I’m a far better texturer than 3d modeller, I toyed with the idea of purchasing prefab meshes (or hiring an artist to help me produce said meshes.) I felt there were too many drawbacks:

  • There’s a still a chance that the Deformer Project will still go ahead, meaning that new 3d mesh uploads WILL fit your avatar automatically. Which I desperately want, but will render any prefab or existing content second-rate in comparison… so why bother working with rigged mesh right now?
  • Many people are already using prefab rigged meshes, so a lot of the rigged mesh clothing looks similar. If I purchase said prefab meshes, I’d like to export & modify them to make them my own (while I’d never consider myself a 3d artist, I do have experience with modifying meshes)… something their terms of use generally does not allow.
  • Many of the demo prefab rigged meshes I’ve tried have poor UV mapping. (Before I joined Second Life, I did a lot of skinning for The Sims and The Sims 2. I’m sure that’s not unique. However,  I gained a lot of experience in working with 3d models, UV maps, and textures in that time… I’ve re-mapped a lot of Sim objects and meshes to fix patterns and seams, and I’m still very picky about UV mapping.)
  • The Standard Size project is a good attempt to unify rigged mesh content, and provide consumers with a guide to purchasing mesh clothing in Second Life. However, I find the sizes are just too small! (According to the standard sizes, my avatar would be about a medium.) In an ideal virtual universe, our clothes would fit us… we wouldn’t change to fit our clothes! Which is why I’d want to see the Deformer Project succeed. The Standard Sizes are good, but the Deformer Project is ideal.
  • I’m a control freak and want to learn to properly rig my own 3d content, so that I own the rights from sketch to vertex to pixel to final product.

Once I analyzed my feelings about rigged mesh clothing, and decided to wait it out and see if the Deformer Project happens, I felt enormous relief. I could continue to work with technology and methods I am familiar with, and perfect my 3d skills on the side without feeling pressure to release it to the general public. “Trish”, the underwired dress shown above, utilizes the system skirt. Sigh all you want, at least the skirt will actually fit you with a skirt shape. You can keep your proportions, even if you’re a plus size or a petite avatar.

As always, I’ll clearly label anything so you’ll know which products use the system layers, which use sculpted add-ons, mesh non-rigged add-on, and (eventually I hope) deformable mesh.

Now that you’ve heard my opinion on the entire rigged mesh can-o-worms, what’s your take?

How do you feel about rigged mesh clothing in Second Life?

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