Approaching Nirvana – Auto Alpha from Maitreya

As promised in my previous post, this is a more detailed description / ‘how to’ on setting up the automatic alpha system from Maitreya on your Lara mesh body.  Maitreya call their system “AutoHide”,  so I’ll call it that from now on.

Now – I am already aware that Daria is discussing Auto Hide on her excellent blog over at mesh body addicts, so please go and check that too – I think more than one take on these things is a great approach, and Daria is providing some great resources relating to mesh bodies in general, so it is well worth checking out.

I will focus a bit more on managing the method of applying the alpha – some mechanics and scripting suggestions.

What is Auto Hide?

Maitreya have provided a script that sends alpha information to the Lara body, bypassing the HUD, or the need to manually set each alpha slice using the HUD. If your mesh or prim clothing item is modifiable, you can add the script right in the clothing itself.

With the script available, and after providing a configuration notecard (which I will describe shortly), your clothing item is now able to tell the body which alpha slices to turn on. The alpha information is sent as soon as the item is attached to your body, so it is very fast.

If your clothing item is non-mod – meaning you cannot change it or add scripts to it (and this is more common) then you can add the script to a separate prim that you can wear – either as a part of your outfit, or as a HUD on your viewer – either works fine.

You could be quite creative with the outfit approach – for example, by adding a prim flower, a jewellery item, a bow or some other object that both adds to the outfit, and has permissions to allow you to add the script.

The kit Maitreya have provided is available to clothing makers, so we can expect (I hope!) clothes from many makers to come with an AutoHide scripted addition that accepts a notecard, and would hopefully come with an existing notecard to help you with any modifications you wanted to make on your own.

Maitreya have already provided a number of clothing items with AutoHide built-in, available now by using redelivery if you already owned them, or for purchase in-store with the script already included.

An AutoHide Configuration

Lets look at that notecard holding the configuration.  It does seem a little unwieldy having to use a notecard, and I have already had to consider how to manage these in my inventory.  Here are the issues I have encountered so far.

  • The notecard needs to be stored somewhere if you ever want to alter the alpha settings, otherwise you need to start from scratch because the AutoHide script eats the notecard you add to the clothing or prim. Fortunately the notecard can have any name you like, so naming your notecards the same as your outfit name and keeping them all in one folder is an acceptable solution.
  • Setting the notecard information is painful. It gets easier with practice, but really – its a pain. Maitreya have addressed this with some great and imaginative helpers – there is an applier in the AutoHide kit that will write the names of all the alpha segments right on your body, helping you identify them against the lines in the notecard. And the notecard includes descriptive words for each alpha section, to help you work things out. My wish list includes a button on the Maitreya HUD that will dump an alpha configuration to chat, so we can copy that and paste it into a notecard. Let us hope this is in development right now.

ok,  this is what the configuration looks like – I made this one for my  *LpD* – *Angela* Dress.   As you would expect, most of the alpha segments can be left turned off (skin is visible) which is represented by a ‘0’ in the note card.  The ‘1’s’ in each case are segments of alpha to be made transparent.

11111000 Belly (BE)
00000000 Upper Back (U.BACK)
00000000 Chest (CH)
00000000 Left Breast (LB)
00000000 Right Breast (RB)
00000000 Arm Left (ARM) (written backwards)
00000000 Arm Right (ARM)
111000 Lower Back (L.BACK)
011111 Groin (GR)
11111111 Bum (BUM)
00000000 Upper Left Leg (UL-A) – outer front
00000000 Upper Left Leg (UL-B) – inner front
00000001 Upper Left Leg (UL-C) – inner back
00000001 Upper Left Leg (UL-D) – outer back
00000000 Upper Right Leg (UR-A) – outer front
00000000 Upper Right Leg (UR-B)- inner front
00000001 Upper Right Leg (UR-C) – inner back
00000001 Upper Right Leg (UR-D) – outer back
00000000 Lower Left Leg (LL-A) – outer front
00000000 Lower Left Leg (LL-B) – inner front
00000000 Lower Left Leg (LL-C) – inner back
00000000 Lower Left Leg (LL-D) – outer back
00000000 Lower Right Leg (LR-A) – outer front
00000000 Lower Right Leg (LR-B) – inner front
00000000 Lower Right Leg (LR-C) – inner back
00000000 Lower Right Leg (LR-D) – outer back
00 left nipple (LN)
00 right nipple (RN)
0 neck

The above configuration will ‘turn on’  (make transparent) the elements represented by 1’s.  I wanted to let you see how that relates to the actual pattern of segments on the body, so in the picture below I have reversed the configuration so that it only shows the parts that will become transparent in the final version.  Please note, this was for information only – you do not need to ever do this. Keep in mind that this is only the rear-view ;p  the other half of the configuration is hidden here, however I show that later.AutoHide -

In this picture I have applied the alpha pattern, and you can see the relationship of the HUD slice to the section of the body with its name shown using the applier from the AutoHide kit. I have drawn some red lines to point out the connection between HUD slices and body segments, although of course you are familiar with these from setting them every time you change outfits.

AutoHide -

Adding the Configuration to the Clothing item, Prim or HUD.

This step is quite straight forward, and is performed as follows (minor building skills are required).

  • Edit the item to which you want to add the AutoHide – this can be your full perm clothing item, a prim accessory or a HUD. To edit the item, Rez it on the ground and then right click and choose ‘Edit’  from the pie menu.
  • In the edit window, you will see the top quarter is occupied by options such as move or stretch.  You can ignore these. Just below that there is a row of tabs, “General, Object, Features, Texture, Content”.  Click on Content – this is where scripts and other contents can be added to the object. (see the left side of the image below).
  • From your inventory, you need to drag the AutoHide script supplied by Maitreya, and the AutoHide configuration notecard that you have created, over into the Content tab of your object. The script is called “Maitreya AutoHide BodyFaces V2.03″ and you should add it to the object first, and only then add the notecard.
  • Within a few seconds you will see the configuration notecard disappear from the Content tab, and you will receive a chat message from your object telling you that it has completed reading the configuration.
  • You can now take (right click on the object and ‘take’) your object back into your inventory.
  • Rinse and repeat!  I found it can take a few tries to get it right.  If you are like me you will make the odd mistake, or just miscalculate which parts to hide. When you have edited your notecard, you can rez your object, open Content, and just drag a new notecard into it – everything else stays as it was. Just be careful – because your object (if it is copy permission) will be duplicated and cause confusion!  I am deleting the objects in my inventory just before taking them back, so there is only ever one for a particular item of clothing at a time, but whatever system you use, you need to be able to identify which object has the correct notecard in it.

I have shown a picture below – this is what the process will look like on Firestorm.

Dragging the configuration card to the HUD contents

AutoHide - Script and config

A word on AutoHide using a  HUD

I felt that with so many items of clothing not having edit permission, I wanted to come up with an approach to easily loading my AutoHide settings. I could have just made an invisible prim and attached it somewhere, however I worried that it might end up staying there..  if I forget to detach it it will become a useless scripted attachment. It is useless because the alpha information is only sent once, and only when you attach the object. So leaving a prim sitting on your shoulder for no benefit is pointless, and at worst adds a script to your avie.

So I decided to use a simple HUD with no controls on it. The issue still existed though – if each time I wear an outfit, I wear a HUD,  will I end up with all these little AutoHide HUDS on my viewer screen – and again, they would serve no function because they have already done their work.

So I wrote a tiny script – it is trivial – to just wait a couple of seconds after the HUD attaches, and then politely detaches itself back to my inventory.  Also,  just so that I can be sure I am loading the correct HUD, for example when wearing an outfit,  I have set the HUD to display its name. Since I name my AutoHide HUDs the same as my clothing, that lets me check that the correct HUD is loading.

I have let the duration of the “falling off” time be variable – it is easy to edit that, and I have also let the colour of the text be set easily in the top of the script.

I made my HUD quite small – in the picture below you can see it loading as a red rectangle about half way down the left side of my viewer. I have labeled it for you to make it easier to see.  It only lasts 2 seconds – I gave one to Fiona to try out and it took her a few tries to see it, as its quite quick to unload.

Wear the HUD with the AutoHide script

AutoHide -

So – finally,  I can wear the dress and its AutoHide and it will automatically set my alpha segments as I have configured them.

AutoHide -

Final Word!

AutoHide is the missing piece in the mesh body jigsaw in my opinion – it brings to mesh body wearers the same ability to wear an alpha layer tailored to an outfit that we have enjoyed in classic avatars since the introduction of mesh clothing.

However, like the process for editing those older alpha layers, the AutoHide alpha settings require a very manual process to create them. The editor of choice for creating an alpha segment pattern is of course, the alpha editor provided in the body HUD.

Lets hope that the next few updates from Maitreya deliver that editor to us with an “AutoHide Export” button that writes the AutoHide configuration out to chat, where we can copy it and paste it into a notecard.  But that tiny niggle aside, I think Maitreya have delivered us a huge new capability, and set we Lara wearers ahead of the current pack of mesh body wearers.

Thanks Maitreya!


Whims xx

PS – Anyone interested in my little Hud fall off script (or a HUD with that installed) please just contact me in-world, I’ll be happy to pass one along.

Grand opening!

Oh what a lovely party we had! Owl and Daallee at The living room had organized it so nicely! Lazarus Doghouse was playing and lots of people were mingling around admiring Whims beautiful pictures and my love was glowing and beaming to everyone. I am so happy for her to get this opportunity to show off all the marvelous pictures she does and that I know contains so much loving efforts and creative joy. Me myself I snooped around and took pictures of the fancy guests, here is a selection of my snaps of the event:

My love looking happy at her big party

My love looking happy at her big party

Owl, our beautiful host

Owl, our beautiful host

Daallee, the other beautiful host!

Daallee, the other beautiful host!

Lazarus Doghouse, entertaining us in his own relaxed way:)

Lazarus Doghouse, entertaining us in his own relaxed way:)

Oh yes, we had a celebrity visit too! Simon Linden honoured us with a visit and I managed to capture him and my darling at the same picture, not very good one perhaps, but I guess I was a bit star struck…

Whims and Simon Linden

Whims and Simon Linden

It was quite the crowd showing up and I must confess my heart was bursting with pride for Whims!

The crowd

The crowd

Our dear friend CK chatting up some handsome guy:)

Our dear friend CK chatting up some handsome guy:)

Elliot, one of Whims secret admirers...

Elliot, one of Whims secret admirers…

Now what you really should do is that you go visit the lovely gallery and you set your light according to Whims thorough instructions about wind light settings found in an instructive vendor) (I was being naughty here, not following them at all) and you have a good look at her fantastic art! They are all for sale if you want to decorate your homes and/or save them.

Lots of LUUUURVE/Fiona

Whimsically naked

Exciting day!

Today is the grand opening of Whims’ show at The living room, a wonderful venue that opened not long ago and run by our friends Owl and Daallee at the Lagrange sim.

Psst, don’t tell her, but she’s already been written about here: Whimsically naked at the Living room

Please come have a look at the pictures here.

If you want to join us for the opening party you need to hurry up, it starts at noon SL time and we will listen to the lovely music of Lazarus Doghouse while we mingle and admire Whims’ beautiful art.

Lots or luuuurve/Fiona