Bake on Mesh… again…

I just want to talk about Bake on Mesh again, and try to explain what it actually means, and what’s so great about it.

tl;dr: With properly done bake on mesh you can save all your appearance in a saved outfit without needing any huds or appliers. Watch this video:

You’ll notice how I can change appearance, including skin and makeup, without touching any HUD or applier.

So what is Bake on Mesh, or “BOM”? Simply put, Bake on Mesh means that mesh wearables can be textured by bake results from the bake server.

…ok, that’s mostly chinese to most of us. Let’s go over that in great, tiring detail.

The “Bake server” is a service that is part of the Second Life infrastructure. What it does is take all the textures from old-style “system layer” wearables, and bake them into one texture, and send that to anyone looking at the avatar wearing that specific combination of wearables. Before the “Bake server”, this process was done in the viewer, which meant that each user looking at someone wearing a certain combination of wearables would have to download all separate textures… which of course could fail, too, which meant you can’t see the other avatar properly. Hence, the bake server: to minimize traffic and make sure everybody sees the same result.

Now lets go forward in time to the arrival of mesh bodies: system wearables didn’t matter anymore, instead you’d use “appliers”, scripted objects that would send textures to your mesh body. Of course, your mesh body would have to have several layers of mesh surfaces, so you can wear a jacket over a tshirt over a tattoo over a skin… and the appliers would have to be scripted to send the right textures to the right layers. Also, to “hide” parts of your body that would otherwise stick out through your clothes the bodies need to be highly segmented, the more the better, and have a function to hide all those individual sections.

Obviously, that means mesh bodies are about four to five times as complex, mesh-wise, as they need to be to have “only” the shape.

Also, they need to have scripts, and not just one or two.

Now, fast-forward to september 2019: Bake on Mesh has arrived. Technically, it means that a mesh wearable will be textured with a special texture that tells the system “the bake result for the wearer of the object goes on here”. (of course there are several such placeholders, for upper body, lower body, eyes, etc etc).

This approach has several technical benefits:

  • The mesh bodies don’t need all those extra layers anymore, the bake server does the layering
  • The mesh bodies don’t need all those segments anymore, the bake server does the alpha masking
  • The mesh bodies don’t need all those scripts anymore
  • The users can just stick the skin, tattoos, makeup, and alpha masks in a saved outfit, and change without having to dig up a dozen appliers in the right order.

The one drawback is that due to the nature of how textures map on the avatar body you can’t use alpha layers to hide only one arm or one leg – unless you use the Slink Redux body, which comes with a neat little addon that makes it possible.

For creators that means they should get back to providing alphas for their clothes, and system layers for skins and tattoos.

If you’re worried about older stuff that does not come with alphas, they are not hard to make yourself, and you can do it just fine in gimp, which is free software and doesn’t cost a cent, if you don’t own a copy of photoshop. Siddean Munro from SLink has made some videos and tutorials about it, you can find those here:

Oh and finally, the obligatory style sheet and location detail…

First outfit:

Slink Physique Hourglass Mesh Body Bundle (Redux) V4.1.1
CATWA HEAD Lona v4.5
CATWA TEETH C Gems [Default]
.EscalateD. Ashara – Hair *busty
-Glam Affair – Denis – Polar – Red NN
Zoe Amadahy Eyes, Special 08
Arte – Verity Eyeshadow – luminous green
alaskametro<3 “Kiss of Death” lipstick – 06 Catwa BoM

REIGN.- Abbie Pumps (Slink-High)- Black

*PKC* Wicca Bento Lip Piercing – Catwa Lona
: CULT : SALEM COLLAR – hourglass [Peanut No.9]
EarthStones BDSM Leash Ring
Stockholm&Lima:RedStringOfFate (Rt)

Second outfit:
Slink Physique Hourglass Mesh Body Bundle (Redux) V4.1.1
Slink Dynamic – Addon Nails XXXL Ballerina L&R v1.0.1
CATWA HEAD Lona v4.5
alaskametro<3 “Unicorn Highlighter” blush
alaskametro<3 “Space Unicorn” lipstick 04 FIT C
alaskametro<3 “Space Unicorn” eyeshadow 02 FIT C
.Olive. the Twirl Hair // Streaks
.tsg. Jojo :: F tone :: Hourglass :: Toned Body :: Blonde Brow
Zoe Amadahy Eyes, Special 01

*OA-MEO* =Moira= Dress – SLINK HG
[Renegade] Felicity – Fatpack (Slink Hourglass)

Ahegao – Crystal Collar – Peanut No. 9
Cazimi: Parvati – Nose Ring (L)
EarthStones BDSM Leash Ring
Stockholm&Lima:RedStringOfFate (Rt)

Location: Our new Linden Home on Bellisseria

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