Mesh in SL, Part 2: Hair

February 29, 2012

Last week we started our series about Mesh in SL with a look at clothing. Today we’ll talk about hair.

Once Upon a Time, Hair Was Ugly

Some of us may remember the old days, when the original “mesh” hair in SL was ugly. You could tint it, wave it, make it high or low in front or back, long, short, with or without bangs, but it was, well, just ugly. You can still use the old SL mesh hair via “Edit Appearance,” but why? Today’s mesh hair is far better in quality and appearance.

Plain Short Brown Old Mesh HairLong Blonde Old Mesh HairShort Green Old Mesh HairSpiky Pink Old Mesh Hair

Until It Wasn’t

Enter prim hair, which gave creators more options to play with, from texturing to shaping to movement, thanks to flexiprims and sculpts.

Prim HairFlexi-prim HairSculpty Hair

Then We Got Mesh

Now we can add mesh to the creator’s toolbox along with prim hair – the Lab say those tools aren’t going away. This mesh capability brings some new benefits, including more efficient rendering, quality and reduced lag. During the creation process, mesh objects can be coloured, textured, shiny, transparent, and even scripted. Rigged meshes are made to be worn on the avatar. This is especially good for long hair – it can be ‘fitted’ to the avatar to rest ON the body and not go through it.

Alice Project Sohee Mesh HairWasabi Pills Kamiko Mesh HairTruth Maggie Mesh with Flexi HairLelutka Wither Mesh Hair

There are drawbacks to mesh hair. If the creator’s permissions allowed, prim hair could be edited to fit better on an avatar’s head; mesh hair cannot be edited or altered. There are some things that can be done, however, to get around this limitation. The hair can be scripted to make some adjustments, like colour changes. An alpha layer can be supplied with the hair to visually alter an avatar’s head shape in order to fit the mesh hair. Creators can also create various sizes of hair to aid in better fitting.

Some clever designers combine mesh with flexiprims to add a sense of movement to the hair, or use sculpts for a more defined shape.

“Add” vs. “Wear”

We suggest you keep in mind that if you are already wearing alpha layer items for clothing such as shoes or boots, you will want to “add”, rather than “wear”, your hair alpha layer. Fortunately, we can wear multiple items on the same layer with the later viewers, so this should not be a problem.

Shops We Visited:

(Note: This is not a complete list of shops offering mesh hair products – just a few that we visited.)
Alice Project
Exile
Koko
LeLutka
Magika
Truth
Wasabi Pills

Share your experiences with mesh hair – we’re curious to know how you like it!

Next week: Mesh Avatars and Art

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