Has mesh taken our focus from artistic expression to turning a fast buck?
By the flickering glow of firelight, the gigantic footfalls of prim-booted feet crunch in the dirt lining the floor of the cave. So loud, so clunky, until finally our stalwart adventurer stumbles over his huge prims resembling boots, into the first of many chambers of treasure he is to discover on his virtual archaeological expedition.
His eyes grow wide with wonder when he makes the miraculous discovery that is to save us all from the use of prims where prims just don’t work … the sculpty.
But this adventurer is greedy, always wanting more, sleeker, more realistic. And still, he is not satisfied; his curiosity and need for more keeps him traversing on. These sculpty boots are amazingly realistic until you see the bubbles of prims when you zoom too far out and so, he keeps searching for that perfect replacement.
Finally, reaching what must be the deepest tomb in this massive cave of discovery, he pushes the cold stone door open. It scrapes ominously along the cavern floor, grinding until -thumpf- it touches the wall behind, leaving an opening for our adventurer to enter, and discover.
And what to his wandering eye doth appear but the shimmering delights of … mesh!
Mesh is truly amazing, it gives us such realistic opportunities and in building can save a lot of prims. But it does limit the playing field when it comes to our content creators. Being able to do the 3D modeling it takes to create mesh is no simple or cheap task.
To combat that, there are many who are buying templates on sites like TurboSquid and others, buying products there and bringing them into Second Life as their own. Problem is, they’ve created a situation in intellectual property rights, and in the process, helped to give Second Life such a bad name that TurboSquid, and other sites like them, now mention Second Life by name followed by “any other virtual world” as illegal platforms into which to take items purchased from their services or designers.
Then there are the free mesh items that are available on the Internet if you know where to look. These pieces now liter the listings in Marketplace, in quadruplicate, by Avatars claiming the work as theirs, all seeking to turn a quick buck.
Many creators now-a-days, rely on purchasing the templates available on Marketplace, not knowing for sure if it was actually made by or just bought by, that Avatar, but they take it and make their own product. Copies of the same outfit crop up in stores all over and the uniqueness, the art of it all, seems to be fading into yester-year.
So where has the art gone? Is it now just a commercial market with creativity and uniqueness gone forever? Nicky Ree, Son!a Luxury Fashion by Sonia28 Jie, GizzA Creations by Giz Seorn and UTOPIA by saby Clary are just a few whose quality and beauty give me pause and wonder and I still buy their prim-wear designs! Stunningly unique and creative with amazingly hand drawn textures, these creators took what we had to work with and raised the bar beyond what was thought possible to create realism out of nothing and stunning attire to adorn the top models in the SL universe. Still to this day even though mesh is “all the rave,” the fashion and modeling industries still rely heavily on these magnificent artisans, saving the mesh-wear mostly for everyday or knockin-around clothing.
There are some creators compensating for the public’s craving for mesh and their own creativity and need for artistic expression by using mesh templates as they did with sculpty pieces they’d buy. These templates, not full outfits but just pieces of, are used as “part” of a complete outfit, not the outfit as a whole. A mesh top is finished off with a clothing layer bottom and a beautiful free flowing flexi-prim skirt – perhaps some custom jeweled adornments – and voila, the artist has taken something they didn’t make (the mesh) that had inspired a creative thought in them, and turned it into something truly unique, artistic and theirs all while continuing to show off their amazing abilities and providing an even greater level of quality attire and accessories for us to use to adorn our lovely pixels.
So … the next time you’re out shopping, in-world or on Marketplace, take a good hard look at the art of the item you are considering – especially in clothing. Is this just another version of the mesh dress you saw at the last store? Or … is it a free flowing, intricately drawn and well pieced together piece that shows the creator’s obvious talent and imagination, leaving you certain you are buying a truly custom-designed work of art – a true high fashion original seen on the best runway’s in Second Life?
Please, dear readers; don’t forsake the prims for mesh. The models on the runways are not and they get paid to know how to shop and adorn themselves “to the 9’s.” What is it they know, that the rest of us do not? The Prim’s day has not passed and our artists have so much more to give.
Always strive to be unique, to be a Sax Fifth Avenue customer, not another department store “off the hangar” shopper. This is Second Life, the place of dreams and limitless skies, why do here what you can do in the real world? Our creators make our experiences in this magnificent world possible, without them, we have a serious problem.
So think ahead to the future … support the creative spirit, not just the economic machine. For all things there is a place, for us, there must be true creative spirit. It is Second Life’s founding principle, let’s get back to basics.