Have a Parametric New Year!

The New Year brings with it news that the mesh parametric deformer project has reached an Alpha code release.

The news broke via a Metareality podscast, and follows-on from the previous weeks’ podcast in which Karl Stiefvatar (Qarl Fizz in SL, formerly Qarl Linden) was about to make an Alpha push of the code.

In discussing the release, Karl states, “I should specific immediately that it’s not done; but the heavy lifting part of it is – the tricky 3D math, the place to integrate into the render pipeline,etc, etc, is … So I’ve giving it to you now in this form so that you can give me feedback, because there are decisions that need to be made now that we should make together.”

You can read the background to the project via my conversation with Max Graf.

Karl has released a video demonstrating progress to date, which is available on his website and YouTube:

The video itself is both informative and impressive; demonstrating the deformer working on a standard avatar and on “mesh avatars” human & non-human  (so using it, you can now increase the body fat of a mesh avatar if you so wish). Additionally, the deformer works with the Linden-Lab implemented avatar physics as well – again including non-human avatar meshes.

The code does have a couple of additional caveats at present, one of which is that changes applied to an avatar are applied to all meshes attached to the avatar; this is fine where clothing is concerned; but as Karl points out, if you have something like a gun attached to your avatar, you don’t want it to resize as well; so he suggests boolean function may be required to determine which meshes are affected by the deformer – and this may additionally require input from Linden Lab.

Karl openly encourages LL and TPVs to incorporate the code in order to allow users such as clothing designers to experiment with it, as feedback is now the key.

Those wishing to add the code as it stands – and bearing in mind Karl’s warning that this is only an Alpha release can also find it on his website.

A JIRA (SH-1716) has been opened to deal with the deformer code itself, on which a number of baseline questions on the deformer are asked and answered by Karl himself (to reference frame for the project), and within which further questions and feedback is encouraged. Karl specifically asks that you use this JIRA, and not his website for feedback – and as an extension to this, it is suggested that the original parametric deformer JIRA is not used for feedback relating to the code.

SH-1716 already has interesting discussion-points within it, relating to preferred models on which to base the deformer, how to address the question of a boolean function to handle “rigid” attachments (such as the aforementioned gun) – and indeed whether any boolean is in fact required, or whether the matter can be handled via other means. Therefore anyone with a technical interest in the project would do well to give the JIRA a look, bearing in mind Oz’s pleas on the subject of wider discussion (although given the complexity of the subject, one would think that forcing a split in questions & feedback & wider issues could result in something of a fracturing of information on project).

Niran’s Viewer

Those really keen to see the deformer in action might want to download version 1.03 of Niran’s Viewer, which already incorporates the code, but note that NiranV regards this as an experimental release, and the code will likely be removed from the next release.