Bakes on Mesh ‘for Dummies’

A month ago I wrote a post called Get Baked – A Quick Beginners’ Guide to Using Bakes on Mesh. In the light of the questions I’ve seen since Bakes on Mesh (BOM) came to more residents’ attention, I’ve realised that I need to strip that post way back: right to the absolute basics, in fact. So here—in a loving pastiche of the ‘Dummies Guide’ books—is Bakes on Mesh for Dummies.

In writing this post I am by no means inferring that you’re a dummy if you don’t understand Bakes on Mesh. We’ve all seen those For Dummies books around, and many households own one or two (hell, I own a couple of them), so I figured it might be a fun way to cover the basics. Older SL residents will have an understanding of what system layers—the thing that BOM makes use of—are, but newer residents who came in once mesh was in full swing might have no clue what us old farts are on about ;-)

To that end, I’m going to cover some of the basic questions I’ve been seeing in the mesh head group that I’m a CSR for. Comments on my blog are normally closed automatically after 2 weeks, so if you have any basic questions—ones that are not specific to a particular mesh head or body brand—then send me (Skell Dagger) a notecard inworld and I’ll do my best to add them to this post.

BOM stands for ‘Bakes on Mesh’. This is a new (optional) avatar customisation feature recently added by Linden Lab (the owners and creators of Second Life). You’re going to start seeing a lot of items at events and in stores that are labelled as ‘BOM’, so now’s the time to look out for that if you want to try it out.

BOM is a special way of putting the system layers that you’re wearing on your underlying system/’classic’/starter avatar onto any third party mesh body parts that you’re wearing. The ‘bakes’ part of it comes from the fact that compositing multiple avatar textures into a single texture is called ‘baking’.

System layers are ‘painted on’ looking textures that are added to the basic avatar that we all have underneath our mesh body parts. If you take off your mesh head, your mesh body, and your alpha layers then what you have underneath it all is your system avatar.

System layers have special icons that look like clothing items or actual body parts. They look like this in the stock Linden Lab viewer:

And like this in the Firestorm viewer:

BOM works by putting special ‘bake’ textures onto your mesh body parts. There are two ways to do this (which we’ll get into shortly), but if you’ve seen people wandering around with brightly-coloured textures on their body that have lettering on them, you’re seeing BOM in action (but—because you’re not using an up-to-date viewer that has BOM capabilities—you’re not seeing those people correctly).

This is what a mesh body looks like—to someone not using a BOM viewer—when it’s textured with the BOM ‘bake’ textures. Note that Skell’s head and hands are not textured. There’s a reason for that, which—again—we’ll get into shortly:

And here are the main ‘bake’ textures, in a single block:

Now we’re getting into the nitty gritty of it. How BOM will work for you depends entirely on what the creators of your mesh head and body have done to support it. So you’ll need to check—either their social media, or their group notices, or their support options—as to what they have done. There are two possible basic options:

  • Native BOM support
  • BOM relay support

We’ll get into those next.

Native BOM is not an official term, but it’s one that I’ve coined to mean that the body or head is already set up to use Bakes on Mesh, and you don’t need anything additional—such as a relay HUD—to get it to work.

Scroll back up to the image of Skell with the weird textures all over him. He’s wearing a Catwa head (which does not have native BOM support; instead it requires a BOM relay – which is explained in the next section), the BOM version of a Signature body (which does have native BOM support), and the non-BOM versions of the Signature hands.

In short: any mesh body part that has native BOM support will be pre-textured with those special ‘bake’ textures. You don’t need to do anything with it; your underlying system layers will automatically be ‘baked’ onto your mesh body parts.

In the section above I explained that Skell’s Catwa head needs a BOM relay. BOM relays are how some creators have dealt with Bakes on Mesh. Pay attention to the next bit, because—if your mesh head and/or body need a BOM relay—it’s critical to understand how this specific type of relay works. I’m going to put it in bold text, just to make sure it sinks in ;-)

A BOM relay is literally just a skin applier that applies those BOM ‘bake’ textures to your mesh head and mesh body. That’s all it is. We’ll get into why this is so critical to understand a bit later in the post (if you want to know now, scroll down to the ‘Can I still use appliers with BOM?’ section). For now, I’m going to re-state it, as this is one thing many people are finding difficult to understand: a BOM relay is a skin applier, and the skin that it applies comprises nothing but those ‘bake’ textures. (It may also include an eye applier texture, so that your system eyes will bake onto your mesh eyes.)

Like any other skin applier, you simply add the BOM relay HUD, then click it to apply the textures. Some creators have issued separate HUDs, and some have included a button to activate BOM in their head and body’s HUDs. Check with the creator of your particular mesh body parts to see how they’ve handled it. (You may need to update or get a redelivery so that you can use any updated HUD options.)

Update (Feb 2020) – Many creators are now updating to include their ‘BOM relay’ in the form of a button on their mesh head or body’s HUD. If you’re not sure where to find it on your HUD, it tends to be on the same tab as the default skin options, so I’d suggest looking there first.

If your body and/or head have native BOM support then you need to wear a version of the body/head that doesn’t have native BOM support. Most creators who are offering these ‘native BOM’ bodies and heads also include a ‘non-BOM’ version in the same folder. Remember: native BOM is pre-textured with the ‘bake’ textures and you can’t remove those from that kind of mesh body or head.

If your body and/or head use a BOM relay then all you need to do is re-apply your original skin and eye appliers (and, of course, put your alpha layers back on). Remember: a BOM relay is literally just a skin applier (and possibly an eye applier), so—just as you change any other skin or eye appliers by applying new ones—that’s exactly how you ‘change out of’ BOM on mesh body parts that use a BOM relay.

BOM is entirely voluntary. If you’re not interested in using it then you don’t have to. It’s just another option that we have for customising our avatars.

The only thing that is recommended is updating to a BOM-capable viewer—whether you intend to use it or not— because otherwise you’re going to see a lot more ‘broken’ looking avatars around!

Leading on from the above, if people look weird (covered in bright textures with lettering on them) then you’re not using a BOM-capable viewer. Most of the major viewers now have BOM support, so it’s time to update!

Here we come back to the way that BOM is utilised on your mesh head and/or body: whether it’s native BOM support or a relay. And—as before—you need to check the documentation for your particular body part of choice, as I can only cover generic possibilities here. I’ll cover two of those possibilities (with brand examples) below:

  • Slink Redux body: the ‘redux’ version of Slink’s bodies are a single-layer, native BOM example. Whereas the ‘classic’ version of the body had four layers (nicknamed ‘onion skin’ layers, from the fact that they are literally four copies of the body, each closely layered on top of the other) – skin, tattoo, underwear, and clothing – the ‘redux’ version has just one layer: skin. And that skin is pre-textured with the BOM ‘bake’ textures. You cannot use any appliers whatsoever on the ‘redux’ bodies. You can read more about why Slink has taken this route here at their website.
  • Maitreya Lara body: Maitreya has opted to keep the ‘onion skin’ layers and is using a BOM relay. You can use any other appliers on top of this (as well as layering system stuff beneath), but you cannot use a skin applier. If you use a skin applier then—since the BOM relay is a skin applier in its own right—you will simply replace the BOM ‘bake’ textures on your body and BOM capability will stop. You can read more about why Maitreya has taken this route here at their website.

Mesh heads will work in the same way. If they have been reduced to a single layer, pre-textured native BOM version then you cannot use any appliers on them. You will only be able to use system layers. However, if they are making use of a BOM relay then you can use the BOM relay so that your underlying system skin bakes onto your head. You can then layer up to 59 other system layers onto your underlying system head (the total is 60, of which your system skin counts as 1) on top of that (yes, you can layer 59 lots of makeup if you really want to!) and then add up to 2 more (depending on your mesh head brand) non-skin appliers on your mesh head.

As explained above: skin appliers (which are only usable on a mesh body or head that does not natively support BOM and instead uses a BOM relay) will ‘block’ any underlying system textures. Think of your mesh head and body as a big window. BOM lets you see through the ‘glass’ to the underlying system textures. A skin applier acts like a thick coat of paint on that glass, blocking your view. Other appliers (makeup, tattoos, hairbases, etc) just add nice details on top of the system textures, but skin appliers are like blackout curtains and hide the system layers completely.

If your fingernails look bad then trust me: your toenails look a lot worse! You’re wearing an old system skin, created pre-mesh. These were mapped to go on the system avatar only, and the nail textures were invariably awful. This is especially so for the feet, since—on the original system avatar—those were solid ‘paddles’!

To fix this you need a tintable pair of nail-hiding gloves and socks. There are lots to be found on Marketplace—some free and some not—as well as in some skin creators’ stores. Just add them to your avatar, then edit them and tint them as close to your skintone as possible.

This one’s a doozie, and it’s actually pretty hilarious. That stuff is the original old ‘helmet head’ system hair that was all avatars had way back in the beginning. Bloody horrible, ain’t it? So why are you seeing it now? That’s all down to the ‘brow shaper’ you’re wearing under your mesh head, and here’s why:

What we now call the brow-shaper used to be called a ‘bald cap’ or ‘bald base’. Pre-mesh head we all used these not only to shape our system brows but also to remove the fugly system hair. If you edit your brow-shaper (assuming it’s modifiable) you’ll notice several tabs. The ‘style’ tab is the one you need to look at. This is where you can fix the fugly hair forever, by simply pulling the ‘volume’ slider to zero and saving the brow-shaper. (Your other option is to replace the hair texture in the box at the top of the tab with a transparent texture, of which you have one in your inventory’s Library > Textures folder. It’s best to do both, since just replacing the texture and leaving the volume slider at any value other than zero can cause alpha glitching with your mesh head.)

So why’s it happening? Well, when mesh heads became a thing, we all started wearing alpha layers that completely hid our system avatars, so we forgot all about that fugly system hair (it’s hidden by alphas, after all). Some creators got a little bit lax and stopped either replacing the hair texture with a full alpha one, or didn’t set that volume slider to zero, focusing instead on just changing the brow sliders. Now that we have to remove our alpha layers in order for BOM to work we’re suddenly seeing that ‘helmet head’ again. I’ve given you a simple fix up above, but you’re now seeing which creators forgot those other settings!

This one’s a simple fix: you just need to remove the alpha layers that you’re wearing to hide your system avatar beneath your mesh.

This is where things start to get a bit complicated. There could be several reasons behind this:

  • check that you’ve not tinted either your mesh head or body in the past (yes, tinting still works, even if you’re using BOM and system layers!) Look in the HUDs for both your head and body for a tinting option. If you see one, click it and—when prompted for RGB—enter 255,255,255 (that’s with commas and no spaces). Do this for both head and body, just to be sure.
  • make sure that both your head and body support BOM, either natively or via a BOM relay. If you only have BOM on your body (for example) then you’ll be wearing two different skins: your system skin ‘baked’ onto your mesh body, and your applier skin on your mesh head.
  • check that the system skin you’re using isn’t one that has only a head or body texture, with you expected to use appliers for the non-textured part. There are two sub-reasons why this type of skin exists:
    1. long before BOM was released some creators released body-only system skins. These were intended to be worn by those who wanted to keep their system avatar body but wear a mesh head (for which they would buy an additional head applier). The head texture would be either completely white or black or some other solid colour. The corresponding version for that is the head-only textured system skin, to be worn by those who wanted to keep their system head but wear a mesh body (for which they would buy an additional body applier). The body texture for that one would be either completely black or white or some other solid colour.
    2. the other reason is a new one where some creators are expecting people to use BOM on their body and appliers on their head, and it’s a bit beyond me as to why. I suspect that creators are still in the mindset of having one single set of body appliers while their head appliers are what they put out as new releases. Before mesh became a thing, we’d buy an entire skin (since system skins can’t be ‘split’ like mesh body and head appliers are). And—in the earliest days, before system tattoo layer makeup became a thing—single makeup skins would be sold. You’d buy a head-to-toe skin that came complete with one full set of makeup, and a different head-to-toe skin for another full set of makeup.
      • a small addition to reason 2 up there is that some creators are planning to use head tattoo layers to release their different head versions. That is: you buy a system skin that has a fully-textured body mapped to your mesh body of choice (e.g. Maitreya Lara) but with a plain (mostly blank) head in the same colour as your skintone. You then purchase a head system tattoo layer that is the equivalent of your Catwa/Lelutka/LAQ/etc head applier. This is then added on top of your system skin, and it’s quite an ingenious way of working: keeping both the familiar ‘separate head and body’ thing going while using the classic system skin.

If you’ve suddenly got two faces there’s probably only one reason for it: you’re wearing a mesh head that makes use of the BOM ‘relay’ option, you’ve taken off your alpha layers (as you’re supposed to in order to use BOM), but you’ve not actually clicked the BOM relay (or the BOM option on your head’s HUD). The fix for being two-faced (yes, I had to say it!) depends on what you’re trying to do:

  • If you want to use BOM: You need to actually click  that BOM relay or BOM HUD button (whichever your head creator is using). Remember my earlier point about BOM relays technically being just skin appliers? Well you wouldn’t expect a skin applier to apply without you actually clicking it, right? Same thing here :-)
  • If you’ve tried BOM and want to go back to not using it again: Just re-wear your alpha layers, and apply your original skin and eyes again.

BOM doesn’t mean that mesh clothing will go away. We’re still going to want 3D clothing and accessories, after all! What it will be is a great addition and/or replacement for applier clothing. Let’s say you have a pair of knee-high engineer boots, but you can’t find a single pair of mesh jeans that fit inside them, or any that stop at the top of the boots (unless they’re sold with the boots). You can simply use system layer jeans, which will just look like skintight pants tucked into those boots. (Granted, for some bodies that will mean your pants are painted up to and into your buttcrack (!) or you end up with serious cameltoe, but some bodies are already including special ‘smoothing’ layers to mitigate that.)

Why do I say that it’s a great replacement for appliers? System layers don’t suffer from the same ‘alpha-glitching’ issue that applier layers do. If you’ve ever tried to put a tattoo on your body’s tattoo layer and then some lacy lingerie or anything else with an alpha layer (partial transparency) onto your body’s underwear or clothing layer then you’ll know what I mean by ‘alpha-glitching’. It’s where the two partially-transparent layers clash against each other and—because Second Life uses the OpenGL system—the ‘z-buffer’ issue that OpenGL suffers from is unavoidable unless you change the blending on one of those layers to ‘mask’ (which causes its own issues with some textures, making them look blocky and horrible).

Or maybe you have a long, feathery hairstyle that always seems to remove part of your applier top underneath it. That’s an alpha ‘halo’ around the mesh (needed to get those feathery textures!) glitching with the semi-transparent areas of your top. (And the top doesn’t even need to be showing any of the transparent areas; if the texture applied to it has any transparency—even on an unseen section—it will throw out that annoying glitch.) ‘Alpha halo’ hair can also remove slices of eye makeup and brows if it hangs over those areas of your face.

With system layers you can pile on the partially-transparent stuff and never worry about the alpha glitch again. A tattoo together with lacy lingerie and then a strappy top with ragged holes torn into it? An absolute flickering (or partially non-existent) nightmare with appliers, but a perfect, complete breeze with system layers and BOM.

I’ve seen this question crop up a lot, especially from longtime residents who remember what system skins used to look like. And yes—if you wear old system stuff—it’s very likely that it won’t look as good as your applier stuff. BUT creators are already bringing out gorgeous system skins that map perfectly and look wonderful when baked onto mesh body parts. They’re using the techniques that they’ve learned for mesh heads and bodies and are applying those techniques to creating new system items. I’ve seen stunning skins and beautiful makeup, all on system layers baked to mesh body parts.

Do be alert, though. Some creators are selling old system skins as ‘BOM skins’. Always always always try a demo, and—in the case of a skin—look closely at the hands and feet. If you’re seeing distorted nail textures on your mesh then the creator is packaging old system skins up as new BOM skins.

If you want to use BOM for your skin and other layers such as makeup or tattoos or clothing, but you don’t want your system eyes to show on your mesh eyes (in other words, you want to go back to using your favourite eye appliers) there’s a simple fix: wear an eye-only alpha layer. Many mesh head creators are issuing these to their customers (Catwa, for example, includes an alpha pack with each Bento mesh head) but you can also pick up a freebie from here on Marketplace. Just add it to your avatar and re-apply your eye appliers.

If you look like something out a horror movie, with your mesh eyes either red or black (or not even visible at all, even though you know you’re wearing them!) then you’re clearly wearing an eye alpha so that you can use applier eyes, as per the above tip. However, in order for those appliers to actually show  you’ll need to apply them again. Dig out that HUD, click to apply your eyes, and the red (or black) will go away, and those of you with invisible eyes will be able to see again ;-)

And that’s it for this post, my sartorial darlings. I hope it proves useful and has answered some of the more basic questions that you might have. It’s taken me several cups of tea and the better part of an entire morning to get this written up, and I know I’ve probably not covered every eventuality. I’m happy to come back to this post and add further questions and answers to it, but only if they are generic Bakes on Mesh questions. If you have a query such as “How do I get BOM to work on XYZ head brand?” then that’s not a generic question: it’s brand-specific and you’ll need to ask in that brand’s support group or check with the creator/their customer support representatives.


Get Baked – A Quick Beginners’ Guide to Using Bakes on Mesh

Update: Need a simple guide to the absolute basics? Check out my Bakes on Mesh ‘for Dummies’ guide.

The long-awaited Bakes on Mesh has just finally been released into the main Linden Lab viewer, and a lot of people are asking a lot of questions about it. Mesh head and body groups are being inundated with queries about it, and—as a CSR for a major mesh head brand myself—I decided to spend the weekend testing it out.

Before I get started, please note the date of this post: 1st September 2019. Bakes on Mesh has only just been released, support for it (in the form of new system layer clothing, skins, makeup etc) is still very very sparse indeed, and I fully expect a lot more support to be forthcoming. Also, this post will be written primarily with male avatars in mind, as my blog is about menswear and style for men in Second Life, but these basics should cover any questions you ladies might have, too. (Although please bear in mind that I’m new to this, too, and what I’ve written below is only what I’ve discovered this weekend while using it, and summarised as best I can.)

This post will be peppered with various links, so I’ll summarise them all at the end.

Update: Since linking to this post on the official forums, some of the below words have been amended after correction by those more experienced than myself in the matter. Since I believe in visible corrections, rather than just erasing what is wrong and ‘covering it up’, I’ve just struck through my own words and added the revision, with attribution and a link to the post wherein the corrections were made.

Before you begin

First you need to determine if your mesh head and/or body natively support Bakes on Mesh (BoM). To do this, redeliver the items, or check the creators’ group notices and/or other social media such as blogs, Facebook, and Flickr. (Please don’t ask in the support groups, as they’re all getting inundated with questions about BoM! The creator will let you know when an update is ready.)

Some creators are updating their existing products and including additional BoM-compatible versions. Other creators are using scripting to add a BoM layer to their existing products. Others will not be backdating their current products, but instead offering BoM-compatibility going forward in new products.

However, in ALL CASES—as long as they have Omega support—you can still use BoM on any creator’s products right now, without waiting for updates! More on that in a bit.

If your head or body’s creator has installed native BoM support into their items then—when you wear them using a viewer that does not support BoM— you will look something like Skell does below:

This is how to tell if your mesh body and/or head natively support BoM, but you MUST check this in a non-BoM viewer. This is also how everyone else who is not using a BoM viewer will see you!

If you don’t see that, then you’re going to need the workaround that I mentioned a little while ago, and that is in the form of a new Omega HUD, which can be purchased here on Marketplace for L$125. It’s unisex and works for both male and female avatars.

You will also need the Omega relay or installer for your current mesh body parts. Go to the Omega Systems Marketplace store (or their inworld store) and search for the brand. If yours is an installer, you’ll need to click it once to install Omega compatibility into your mesh body part. If it’s a relay, you’ll need to wear it any time you want to use an Omega applier (in the case of this post, you’ll only need to wear a relay initially, while setting up BoM).

Next, you will—of course—need a BoM-compatible viewer. At the time of writing this post Firestorm doesn’t yet have it (although the beta branch does) so I used the stock Linden viewer (and boy, was I reminded why I never normally use that one…)

OK, ready to go ahead?

Quick checklist before we begin:

  • your mesh head and body are natively BoM-compatible, OR
  • you have (and are wearing) the Omega BoM HUD, plus the relevant Omega installer/relay HUDs for your mesh head and body, AND
  • you’re using a BoM-compatible viewer

Let’s get started :-)

First up, are you seeing red? Take off your body- and head-hiding alpha layers. You don’t need them with BoM.

Not my most fashionable look, I’ll admit…

If your mesh head and/or body offer native BoM support then your underlying system layers will already have baked onto those mesh body parts. Whatever system skin you’re wearing will now show up on your mesh avatar. Now is the time when you realise that—for all this time—you’ve been hiding some ancient monstrosity under your mesh! To get rid of that all you need to do is change your system skin. Simple as that.

Used below: Signature ‘Gianni’ body and Catwa ‘Daniel’ head. The ‘Baked Skin’ HUD is the Omega BoM HUD. This is a quick tour through some of my old system skins (yes, I kept a lot of my old ones, and I had some really odd and wonderful ones. I left the first bake to show in the video, so you can see how long it takes to bake down onto the mesh, but after that I skipped the actual bake and just showed the skins once baked.

System skin testing

If nothing has changed, because your mesh head and body don’t offer native BoM support then you need to add the Omega BoM HUD that you’ve puchased. Make sure that you’re also wearing the Omega relays for your mesh head and body (or have installed Omega into them). Click the Omega BoM HUD, and—after a second or so—your underlying system skin will bake onto your mesh body parts. (Keep that Omega BoM HUD on for a while as you dig through your system layers and try them on; sometimes you might need to give it another click to rebake everything again.)

Yeah, I’ll let you laugh. Just this once :p

And that’s the basics. You’re now using BoM! Be aware, though—as mentioned before—anyone not using a BoM-compatible viewer will see you with those strange coloured text blocks all over you. SL is going to look very weird for a bit (at least until all viewers have BoM compatibility and everyone has switched to those viewers), but then it looked weird for a while after Bento (‘melting faces’ for those not using Bento viewers), and after mesh was introduced (big blocky shapes for those not using mesh viewers).

So what next?

Now the fun starts. Those of us who are SL packrats will be unpacking our old system skins, hairbases, tattoos, and makeup and trying it all on. Not all of it will work, and a lot of it will look (un)surprisingly awful. Old system textures—no matter what size they were uploaded in—always ended up at 512px, and mesh avatars are capable of 1024px. That delicate tattoo that you used to love may well look disappointingly blurry.

Revision from Theresa Tennyson: “Skins, tattoos, etc. that had their textures uploaded at 1024×1024 will display at full resolution on mesh bodies (and currently on the system body, for that matter.) A skin is just like an applier – it’s a texture delivery system. The reason they used to display at 512 x 512 was that was the maximum resolution of the bakes provided by the baking service; however, that’s now been changed to 1024 x 1024.”

You might find that skins from one particular creator work better than those from another creator. For me, the ones that looked consistently good—about 90% of the time—were my old Tableau Vivant skins.

However, be aware that—because these are old system skins and weren’t created specifically for mesh topography—there may be small imperfections. Nipples might not sit in the correct location, or—as below—you may see little patches of odd colour:

Those of us who don’t have system layers to dig through, keep an eye on your favourite creators. Many of them—such as makeup creators, in particular—have been adding BoM layers in their products for a while now.

Some little details you need to know

Old system skins were designed and mapped to the original, pre-mesh avatar. That avatar had clunky fingers, and… well… paddles for feet. Those finger and toe textures are not going to map prettily onto your mesh hands and feet.

What I expect will happen for future system skins is that either creators will map them correctly for mesh bodies (but they might need to be body-specific in that case, or they might be like Omega body appliers are now) or they will include hand and feet appliers.

But what can you do about older skins? Those of us who are ancient enough to remember when prim nails came about might have a tintable nail-hiding system glove that we can use. And—as I just searched on Marketplace—someone has already created a new one! So pick up this fingernail cover layer if you want to use old system skins. Just add the glove layer, edit it, and tint it as close to your skintone as you can. (There’s also a sock layer from the same creator here.)

Guess what I’m doing below? I’ve layered my favourite old system tattoo hairbase (with those long Midge Ure-style sideburns) together with my Stealthic applier hairbase. So glad to have those sidies back!

Layering and how it works

This is more for the newer residents of SL: the ones who never used system layers. Something very important that you need to know is that depending on which layers they are, system layers sometimes stack in the order they were added.

Some layers stack as their names suggest: tattoo will always go beneath underwear; underwear will always go beneath clothing.

Revision from Theresa Tennyson: “Tattoos, etc. do stack in the order they’re worn in, but if you go to “Edit My Appearance” and click on a tattoo, etc. in the list of the items you’re wearing arrows will appear – clicking on those arrows will move that item up or down in the stack, and when you save what you’re wearing as an outfit that order will be remembered.”

(Y’know, I’ve spent 12 years in SL and every day is still a lesson to me. I had no idea about moving stacked layers like that…)

However, in the case of makeup—for example—the layers will stack in the order you added them. If you’re going to wear three different eyeshadows then you’ll get an entirely different look if you add them in 1, 2, 3 order than you would if you add them in 3, 2, 1 order.

But, oh… you can stack. Boy, can you stack. See this below? EIGHT sets of makeup. And not an alpha glitch in sight.

And—as mentioned on that image—if I changed my head to a different one, the bake would immediately go onto that (assuming I’d already got BoM sorted out on it, either natively or via the Omega BoM HUD). No more re-applying! And no more trying to remember which applier HUD you used, because you’ll still be wearing the layers!

Here’s a quick video showing those eight system tattoo makeup layers going on one by one:

OK, Skell, this is fucking AMAZEBALLS. Surely there’s got to be some cons to weigh against those pros?

Yeah, there are some.

  • You’re going to look ridiculous to others not using a BoM-compatible viewer, until all viewers have caught up. Give it about a year.
  • Your inventory will—I’m afraid to say—probably explode. You know that 30-colour applier HUD you’ve got for XYZ thing? For BoM that will turn into 30 separate items. So a 30-shade lipstick HUD will become 30 individual lipstick tattoos. Get organising and filing that inventory now
  • You may or may not be able to use appliers and other things such as materials/specular shine on your mesh body/head. This depends on the body part’s creator. BoM as it stands right now does not have materials support at all (although Linden Lab have it on their radar as a possbility for the future). Some mesh body parts will keep an ‘onion skin’ layer for adding shine, some may not change the ‘onion skins’ at all, and some will remove all but the single base BoM layer (therefore you won’t be able to add any shine whatsoever). Revision from Theresa Tennyson: “Materials don’t need to go on a “layer” – they can go directly onto the base mesh. It’s possible to have the visible “diffuse” texture of a mesh face set by BOM and the specular and normal maps set by appliers on the same face.”
  • Some of your favourite stuff will not update. Many creators have a huge back catalogue of items, and it would be a hell of a lot of work to expect them to update it all to include BoM layers.
  • If your mesh body updates to remove alpha cuts from its HUD, you’ll need to use alpha layers (which will hopefully be included with your clothing) to mask sections of your mesh body beneath mesh clothing. While there will no doubt be some ready-made sets of alpha layers available on Marketplace (from years ago) not all of them will work for more specific use cases.

And finally…

As someone who works in support inworld for a major mesh brand, I have one small plea: Please don’t ask continually in creators’ support groups for “when will your products be updated to BoM?” As mentioned, updating to BoM involves more than a simple flick of a switch. Linden Lab had it in the works for well over a year (closer to two, in fact), and then released it very suddenly: one weeks’ notice, and BOOM – it was live on the grid and in the viewer. In our support group we are literally being asked every ten minutes or so when BoM updates will be coming. Your favourite creator will let you know when their updates are ready. And you can, of course, already use BoM on all Omega-supported products using the method outlined above. No need to wait for updates!

Have some pretties, with eight makeup layers. Link summary will be at the bottom of the post.

Link summary