On Monday, December 18th, Linden Lab announced the Sansar Fashion release, the last major release to the platform for 2017. The title of the release is reflects the fact that the major aspect of the release is focused on clothing and fashion design in Sansar. However, the release covers a lot more than this, with improvements to the uploader, the UI, audio and media, and a host of over changes. I’ve had a quick run through the update, and release notes and the following is offered as an overview of the principle updates.
The first thing users will notice with this update is that their avatars will need to be re-created – this is as a consequence of the fashion update, and the separating off of the clothing layers. This means facial sliders have to be re-set, but it also means users can experiment with removing /adding clothing.
- Within in the Avatar App – now called LookBook rather than My Looks -, locate an article of clothing already work and click on it to remove it. Click another item of clothing to wear it.
- Clothing is split between upper and lower body, and are limited to two layers apiece.
- Note that the avatar’s underwear is still baked in place, and cannot be removed.
- Hair can also be removed as well as styles changed.
Once your avatar is set to your satisfaction, save the changes via Done.
The core of the Fashion updates can be summarised as new clothing support for Sansar. Designers can create their own rigged clothing for use in Sansar / sale through the Sansar Store.
In addition, Sansar offers integrations with Marvelous Designer. This is software that allows designers to create virtual clothing “from basic shirts to intricately pleated dresses and rugged uniforms”. It is able to replicate fabric textures and physical properties, drape garments on physical forms as well as providing the creator with a range of editing tools. It is used by games manufacturers such as EA Games and film effects studios such as Weta Digital.
A new exporter capability in Marvelous Designer allows creators to export their designs directly from the software into Sansar with ease. One in Sansar, clothing can be adjusted on the avatar within the Avatar App (LookBook). You can learn more here, and via the video below. Note: cloth physics for clothing are not currently available in Sansar’s runtime mode.
Sansar creator resources for Marvelous Designer can be found here.
.FBX files for the Fashion update should have been made available, but none are referenced in the release notes, and I was unable to find any reference in the knowledge base outside of the .FBX files for accessories – which may or may not be suitable for clothing (male .fbx; female .fbx).
Creators and stylists can now create and sell hair styles for avatars. As noted above, avatars can also be bald.
With the Fashion release, wearable accessories are no longer limited to a 1m x 1m x 1m size, instead, they must be within the Axis Aligned Bounding Box (AABB). with the knowledge base article on accessories noting that for import:
Avatar accessories must be close to the avatar. The entire accessory must be within the Axis Aligned Bounding Box (AABB) of the avatar. The AABB’s area is as follows: 0.8m left and right, 0.6m front and back, and 2.2m tall from the feet of the avatar, and 0.05m below the avatar (to account for shoes)**
Note: **Minimum (-0.8m, -0.6m, -0.05m) and Maximum (0.8m, 0.6m, 2.2m).
The client atlas has been updated to include submitted events – which are now displayed on the right side, if there are any in the calendar. Each has a Visit button, which will load the experience.
The Web client now has a new Friends tab. This displays all experiences created by people on your Friends list. If they have created an experience exclusive for access by their friends, this is also where it will appear – it will not appear in the public (Home or All) listings of the Atlas.
There are a range of editing updates with the Fashion release – for details, please refer to the release notes. These include:
- A range of audio updates and improvements.
- A revised upload tool for 3D models and has been relocated to the Scene tool bar – see Importing items to Sansar for more.
- The ability to import custom heightmaps.
- New control options to help control an animations – see Working with animated objects.
- The ability to preview audio and video from within the scene editor.
- Updates to Reflective interfaces.
- New object APIs.
- It is now possible to enable memory limits for scripts which is now capped at 32MB per scene. See Sansar.Script.Memory for more information.
- Keyboard commands for scripts – subscribe to client “commands” with default keyboard bindings. See AgentPrivate.Client.SubscribeToCommand and the Command Example script in the client folder.
Edit Materials After Upload
This has proven to be a controversial change for some. It is now possible to add or edit materials after a model has been uploaded and placed in a scene.
- This applies only to in-scene objects (both a creator’s own items and those purchased from the store).
- Due to the lack of a permissions / licensing system, these changes cannot be saved back to inventory, and only persist as long as the object is in the scene / experience.
- This capability does not apply to clothing / accessories.
- Details on editing materials post-upload can be found in Material editing and shaders.
This Fashion release also sees the Desktop mode default avatar animation updated. Rather than just standing still, avatars will now occasionally turn and look over each shoulder, adding a small degree of naturalness to their actions as opposed to standing like planks.
Initial Access Controls
The Fashion release includes a first pass at experience access control, allowing experience creators to set their scenes for either public access, or limiting access to only the people on their Friends list.
Any experience set to “friends only” will not appear in the public Atlas. It will, however appear in a new tab – Friends, within the Web Atlas (see above) – for those able to access the experience.
Access controls will be expanded in future releases to include whitelists, ban lists, etc., and give more granular control to experience creators.
One of the annoyances of Sansar has been that windows and panels have all been of a fixed size. With the Fashion update, some in the Runtime and Edit modes have been made re-sizeable.
The release notes do not provide a list of those windows and panels that can be moved and resized, but I understand that as well as the People and Chat panels in Runtime mode, they also include.the inventory, scene object and properties panels in Edit mode.
I’m not a fashion designer, and don’t have Marvelous Designer, so cannot comment on these updates – although the promo video (accidentally released by MD at the end of last week before being hastily withdrawn!) is impressive. The ability to design clothes has been eagerly awaited and within hours of the release being made, items were starting to appear on the (slightly revamped) Sansar Store.
The changes to avatar attachment sizes have also been something people have been looking forward to, although the ability to edit the materials of an item when in-scene has been more contentious (and perhaps somewhat overly so, given the restrictions in place around it).
For me, seeing the first steps in experience access control, resizing UI panels, etc., were welcome updates, and the integration of the events calendar into the client Atlas is very neatly done. Stumbling on to the revised avatar standing animations was also a nice surprise.