Sansar Avatar Clothing: Are We Going to See a Repeat of What Happened in Second Life, With Designers Having to Create Separate Versions for Multiple Brands of Mesh Avatar Bodies?

This red ballgown by Nicky Ree Designs is all system layer clothing with a flexiprim skirt, worn on a classic, system avatar with a Catwa Bento mesh head and Slink hands. Bakes on Mesh now allows you to wear this outfit on a fully mesh avatar like Maitreya Lara.

In the early, pre-mesh days of Second Life (before 2011), avatar clothing designers had it pretty easy. All clothing for the classic, system avatars was applied on overlapping layers, with extra prims for features like sleeves and collars and flexiprims to simulate flowing clothing like skirts and cloaks. It was simple, everybody knew how to use it, and best of all, it worked with any combination of avatar body sliders: fat, thin, muscular, short, tall…

When mesh clothing started to make an appearance, around 2011, it was still mostly designed for classic, system avatars. With the addition of an alpha which removed the parts of your body covered by the outfit, it still worked well. Clothing creators pretty much adhered to the agreed-upon five “standard sizes” for classic avatars, which meant that if your avatar was one of these five sizes (i.e. adjusted to fit a specific predefined set of body slider numbers), your clothing pretty much fit you perfectly. A more complicated system, but still fairly easy to understand and use.

However, with the advent of mesh avatar bodies, avatar fashion designers faced a much more daunting task. Clothing makers now had to learn how to rig their outfits for an ever-growing, seemingly endless number of mesh bodies. Even worse, clothing rigged for a specific mesh body might not work with a different mesh body!

Strawberry Singh used to run an annual mesh body parts survey, and the results of the 2018 survey showed the most popular options at that time:

Women’s Mesh Bodies

  • Maitreya Lara
  • Belleza Freya, Isis, and Venus
  • Slink Physique and Hourglass
  • Abar eBody Classic and Curvy
  • Tonic Fine and Curvy
  • Altamura
  • Kemono
  • V-Tech for Maitreya
  • Ocacin Standard and Voluptuous

Men’s Mesh Bodies

  • Belleza Jake
  • Singature Gianni and Geralt
  • Slink Physique
  • EXMACHINA Davide
  • Altamura

That’s a whopping 15 options for women and 6 for men! Most avatar fashion designers decided to deal with this situation by restricting the mesh bodies that they would design for.

In most cases, for women’s clothing, this has meant rigging for only six of the most popular mesh bodies:

  • Maitreya Lara
  • Belleza Freya
  • Belleza Isis
  • Belleza Venus
  • Slink Physique
  • Slink Hourglass

(An increasing number of designers are now also creating clothing to fit the new Legacy avatar by The Mesh Project, in come cases dropping one of the “top Six” mesh bodies listed above to incorporate it.)

Obviously, this situation in Second Life is far from ideal, either for creators or consumers. Newer mesh body creators like Altamura must feel like they’re bashing their head against a brick wall trying to get designers to create clothing specifically for their bodies.

Linden Lab wants to avoid this nightmare in Sansar, by eventually releasing a completely adjustable human(oid) avatar on which all Marvelous-Designer-created clothing will fit. However, at a recent in-world Product Meetup, it was revealed that Marvelous Designer clothing is limited in how much it can be adjusted. For example, while it can be easily scaled (resized), it will not be possible to make just the sleeves of shirts or just the legs of pants longer, for example.

At the moment, we are all in an uncomfortable interim situation with human avatars in Sansar, waiting for the full body deformation capabilities that Linden Lab tells us is coming within the next 4-6 months.

In the meantime, we are already beginning to see some Sansar avatar fashion designers start to make multiple versions of clothing for different popular custom avatars (which are non-adjustable/static), like this Harley Quinn outfit from Daisy Winthorpe:

In addition to a version for the new Avatar 2.0 female body, Daisy has released versions for Fabeeo Breen’s Daphne custom avatar and Cora’s line of Alina custom avatars:

Frankly, until Linden Lab releases the final version of its human avatars with full body deformation features, I am reluctant to buy any clothing from the Sansar Store. There is also going to be a trial-and-error period where we figure out what works and what doesn’t with these upcoming avatars. Hopefully, incorporating Marvelous Designer clothing will still prove to be a satisfactory solution for most people.

Linden Lab is working hard to try and save avatar clothing designers from the problems that have occurred in Second Life with multiple competing brands of mesh bodies. However, it might still happen that we will see the same problems happen all over again in Sansar. Only time will tell. Let’s keep our fingers crossed and hope for the best.

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Sansar Tutorial: Clothing Creation Using Marvelous Designer

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Lacie, a Linden Lab employee, has made the following tutorial video series and posted it to YouTube and to the Fashion channel on the official Sansar Discord server. In it, she takes the viewer step-by-step through the process of making a shirt in Marvelous Designer 8, texturing it, and then importing it into Sansar to wear on your avatar.

This sort of tutorial is very useful for people (like me), who one day want to become virtual fashion designers in Sansar. I had created twenty articles of clothing for male and female avatars using a previous version of Marvelous Designer last winter, but I haven’t touched the software since February 2017, so this tutorial series is a welcome refresher for me of some nearly-forgotten skills. It’s also perfect for the absolute beginner!

Here’s Part 1, which covers the creation of the clothing in Marvelous Designer (please note that the sound on these videos is really faint, so you will have to turn your speaker volume up to its maximum to be able to hear Lacie’s voiceover, or use headphones):

Part 2 goes over how to texture your clothing:

And finally, Part 3 covers how to export your garment from Marvelous Designer to Sansar:

Thank you, Lacie!

Learning How to Use Modular Patterns in Marvelous Designer to Create Avatar Clothing for Sansar

Two very experienced Marvelous Designer users named MD-Angel and Vintorix are sharing their avatar clothing creation expertise with us on the discussions in the Fashion channel of the official Sansar Discord server. This information is much appreciated by newbie users of MD, like me!

One thing that I did not know until today, is that MD has modular pattern pieces stored in a library, which you can use as a starting point for your own garments. I was playing around with these today, just to see what I could make. The first thing I tried was a men’s dress shirt. Here is what my men’s white (untextured) dress shirt looked like on the first try. It still needs a lot of work to look better, but it’s a very promising start! It would have taken me HOURS of working my way up the learning curve to try and build such a nice-looking buttoned shirt collar on my own.

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The second garment I tried to make was an oversize women’s V-neck T-shirt, and it turned out so well that I am placing it for sale on the Sansar Store! Here’s what it looks like on Vanity Fair (see picture, below, taken in my own experience, Ryan’s Garden). Here’s a link to the T-shirt listed for sale on the Sansar Store. I’ve priced it at S$5, like my other clothing in the Store (except for a few freebies). I don’t think it’s fair to charge too much money for items made while I am still learning how to use the Marvelous Designer software properly. I also want people to buy my clothes, so I am deliberately keeping my prices affordable! I get such a thrill whenever I make s sale, and whenever I see someone wearing a piece of clothing that I made 🙂

RSVF Oversize Women's Grey V-Neck T-Shirt 2 7 Jan 2018

I would like to thank, from the bottom of my heart, the very talented and experienced Marvelous Designer creators like MD-Angel and Vintorix, who are freely sharing these valuable tips and techniques with us! These people are working hard, for no pay, to provide truly helpful advice for the entire fledgling fashion designer community in Sansar, so please be sure to thank them when you meet them in-world or on the Discord channels!

Forbes Article on the Fashion Market in Sansar

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Photo by Igor Ovsyannykov on Unsplash

Yesterday, Forbes magazine published an article about the new Fashion Market in Sansar, titled New Business Opportunity in VR Fashion. Here’s a quote from that article:

Earlier this week a new virtual reality platform was announced that will be making waves in the virtual fashion market. Users will be able to take clothing that they have made in graphics software and sell them in a new marketplace for people to put on their avatars. What that means is people will be able to dress their characters inside certain computer games and environments with fashions that they buy in this new marketplace.

The Opportunity

The world leading Social VR platform, Sansar, is launching a fashion market for user-created avatar clothing. In this platform, users will be able to adjust their clothing as well and customize its design. This means that they can adjust the fit of the clothing by, pulling shirts over the shoulder, rolling up sleeves, popping collars, and more. This new market will make it easy for individuals to sell their creations to people that can use them in games and virtual environments like Second Life. The virtual clothing and accessory market is already fairly large and this will only add to it.

The Software

The market will be integrated with Marvelous Designer, created by CLO Virtual Fashion Inc. This software is used by many mainstream games companies like Capcom, EA, and Bungie as well as independent designers. Items created here can be exported directly to the Sanar fashion market. Fashion designers, filmmakers, and game makers are already using Marvelous Designer to make unique clothing in virtual environments. Now this integration will make it easy to get these creations, along with the creations of hobbyists and other individuals, into an online market where they can be sold. In addition, to help get things started Sansar will be offering a 60-day free trial of Marvelous Designer for people that sign up for an account.

The article then talks about Second Life, erroneously calling it a “VR environment” and a “VR game”. The article also makes it sound like the clothing you create in Marvelous Designer can be used in Second Life, which is technically true, but you do need to do a fair bit of work in Blender, Maya, or 3DS Max or another program with the output from MD first (there is no direct-export feature like you have with Sansar).

Anyway, it’s great to see an article like this in the mainstream business press about the fashion market in Sansar! I’ve noticed a couple of other articles too:

Linden Lab’s Sansar VR World Adds Fashion Market For User-Created Avatar Clothes (Upload VR)

Linden Lab’s Sansar VR world adds fashion market for user-created avatar clothes (Venture Beat)