– The full development history of the M series of anime heads –

Alright, a lot of people have been asking me what the M3 thing stands for in the M3 head, and its kind of a simple answer but theres a whole back story to how it all came to this,  so as the 4th generation of the M series of anime heads is just around the hill, heres a little history lesson for those of you that are interested in reading this wall of text.

Okay so a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away….
It was an interesting time around 2009 when the SL anime community was slowly dieing. The only good anime head available at the time, was created by a person that no longer played second life, and the head was no longer for sale.

heads

I say good because there were nothing better on SL to compare it to at the time…

I wanted to be an anime person on SL too for a while now and since these heads were no longer for sale, i couldn’t get one for myself, lucky for me i already had some 3D modeling experience and just figured out how to create sculpted prims, witch was what we had at the time before mesh was introduced to SL, (you can find out more about sculpted prims in this article )i just learned how to make sculpts, so i made myself an anime head!

firsthead
Fun fact: My head was the first one to have a nose, which was somehow revolutionary at the time.
Another fun fact: While i never made my head for sale, later on i have made a sailormoon avatar that uses a variation of that head, you can still find it on a discount in my store on the second floor.

So moving on, one day i met a girl named Miyu, who saw my anime head and she commissioned me to create an anime head for her dragon girl avatar, i called it Miyu head.

miyu

– The Miyu anime head –

There was still the anime head shortage problem on SL and since no one else was stepping up to fill that niche, i made a commercial version of the Miyu anime head witch was the very first M series head, the original M1 or simply Miyu anime head, and this is what the the M stands for.

m1

Fun fact: The Miyu anime head came in 3 skin tones and had 3 corresponding skins for the linden avatar. These 3 tones are a standard to the M series heads and are still used today by the M series heads,  Avatar 2.0 and Kemono. The three M1 linden skins can be used to match the M3 heads to your linden avatar. You can still find the M1 anime head pack on discount on the second floor of my ingame store.

 

– The M2 anime head –

A number of more advanced anime heads with multiple face expressions were created since then by wave of new, anime inspired content creators from japan, and the anime community was getting back on its feet.
But all these new anime heads had a few common and rather big problems, all the anime heads at the time were no mod for whatever reason and people couldnt adjust the size of the head or tint the skin color, and skins they came with were just fucking terrible. In addition, the face expressions on those heads were separate, pre made images, that had to be loaded onto the head, and the texture loading times were terrible back then, so you spent minutes having to stare at a grey or blurry head between each expression you wanted to load. Not only did this limit how many face expressions a head can have, this also limited most heads to just a single eye color and skin tone, and you had to buy a whole new head if you wanted to have another eye color. Not to mention that some of the heads were really half assed and looked like this.

head

And so it was up to me to step in and think of a way to solve these problems and save the day once more. And so the M2 anime head was made.

m2

While other anime heads offered you a few premade face expressions and a single eye color, the M2 head allowed you to make your own expression and change them in real time without having to load anything, with a thing that i called the expression mixer HUD at the time.

m2hud

The sculpt map was made in a way that would concentrate most of the UV space on the face and not waste it on blank spaces with no detail (witch was another big problem with anime heads at the time that i forgot to mention), this allowed me to put all the face expression components on a single page and change between them using texture offsets. The eyes were on a separate sculpted prim layer overlayed on top of the head, so you could have any eye color or even style you want and control eyes separately from the face, or tint the skin color without tinting the eyes. All this eliminated the need to create a million different images for each expression, skin tone and eye color.
m2expressions

Finally, i was really digging the relationship between the furry avatar creators and their modding community. They provided people all the necessary material needed to further personalize their avatars, and people modded the shit out of them, creating some really amazing things. So i have included all the textures full perm myself.

It was a dawn of a new era for SL, the advanced lighting model was introduced and together with the new M2 heads, SL was looking better than ever.
shadows

– Other experiments –

As time went by, i experimented with sculpt mapping and new head shapes, and a bunch of random heads were made in the process.

m1spinoffs

I kept pushing the limits of what can be done using sculpt mapping, Trying to put as much detail into it as i could with the limitations of the time. One of these heads that i was the most proud of, was the Venus head that came with the MGA2 Venus, Nightmare and S4 avatars that can still be found on discount on the second floor of my store. I managed to concentrate enough of the sculpted prim geometry on the face to give it real lips and a well defined nose and chin, witch was also a first for anime heads since mouths and noses were just drawn on the texture.

venusheads

But my experiments didn’t stop there and eventually even figured out a way fix what was disappointing me the most and have a real mouth on and anime head, instead of one thats just drawn on the texture, witch was before thought as impossible to do with sculpted prims.

venusmouth

This would have been revolutionary at the time but there was one final limit that i simply couldnt push any further. the head looked really chewed up, and rumours were spreading that LL is going to implement 3D model uploading capabilities to SL, so was pointless to go with this any further.

 

– Other M2 series heads –

While most of my sculpted prim experiments were M1 style heads that could only blink and had no face expressions, a few of them did get the full M2 system implementation. These were the M2 male head, the M2 chibi head, as well as the Etna, BRS and Melissa avatars with their own M2 heads.

chibibrsmaleetnamellissa

 

– The M3 before the M3 –

As time progressed, the limitations of the M2 anime head kept piling up, The shape was too blobby, the expressions were kinda meh, i also wanted my head to have all the fancy effects like blush and tears and other things that other heads had, and so it was time for me to shift gears once again and take it a bit further. I began sketching things up and planing out all the features and HUD layout.

new head stuffhud explonation

m3

But things didnt go well for my scripter at the time, he had his RL to take care off, work ate up all his time and he wasnt able to continue scripting for SL. The other guy i wanted to commission who boasted about how pro he is at scripting has also bailed on me when he took a look at my design documents. On top of that, mesh import was officialy announced by LL and open beta was soon to start, so this head wouldnt be a true next step in the end and more like a last step for the days of sculpted prims, so i made the decision to scrap it and start over in mesh, witch i didnt regret doing because mesh would finally allow me to do all these things i couldnt do with sculpted prims.

Fun fact: While the original M3 head was scrapped, the effort put into it didnt go to waste, the head was outsourced to .::U & A::. and was a part of the Noko hybrid mesh and sculpted prim avatar that can probably still be found in their store.

 

– The advent of mesh and the M3 prototype for Rikugou –

This was it, the true next level for second life anime avatars and a new era for SL. No more limitations, mesh opened so many new possibilities, finally anime heads could have a real mouth that could open, and real eyes that arent just drawn on the face. I got to work on my very first experimental mesh anime head witch i called the M3 prototype witch was later made into a part of the Rikugou avatar. Teaming up with my new friend Kourtnee who is now responsible for the scripting side of things (none of this would be possible without her after this point).

initializing

Not so fun fact: Originally, the M3 prototype was supposed to have blink. But this could not be done at the time because of a glitch that SL had with rigged meshes and alphas, making the invisible eyelids kill the eye textures behind them.

expressions

 

– The M3 Mesh Anime Head –

The M3 prototype was just an experiment and kind of like a proof of concept. Applying what i learned from my M3 Prototype experiment, i got back to my scrapped M3 head project, and all my dreams finally became a reality.

m3mesh

After its initial release, many changes, improvements and new features got added over the year till the head/system got perfected and i could begin work on my other anime head projects that utilize the M3 system

m3 changelog

 

– M3 Kemono –

One of these projects were the Kemono avatar witch uses the M3 system for its head and will have a big ass blog post of its own about its development history.

kemhead

 

– M3 Venus –

This also made me remember one of my other old experiments that didnt really go anywhere due to technical limitations of the time, the sculpted Venus head with a mouth. Now that mesh is a thing and i have the best scripters at my side, This time i could really do it!

venussculpt
Although its not as satisfying now as it would have been if i had managed to pull it off using sculpts, this is one thing i miss about sculpted prims, the challenge of doing the impossible.

– future plans –

This whole blog post is a bit of a time capsule because i wrote all of this up in like 2 or 3 years ago before bento was a thing, i was just too lazy to finish gathering all the screenshots for it. I was already thinking about M4 heads but my goal plans for the M3 series were not over yet, i wanted to make a male M3 head and a Chibi M3 head.

This is the original text:
“The M series doesnt end with the venus head, just like with the previews M2 heads, im also planing on making 2 different male heads and a chibi head.
Once all that is done, depending on what kind of new technologies will be implemented into sl in the future, i already have a bunch of ideas for an M4 head.”

And those new technologies turned out to be bento

So yeah, that is all, hope this wall of text wasnt too boring to read.

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15 Responses to – The full development history of the M series of anime heads –

  1. Alyssa Brightstar says:

    wow.. that one long history ^^

  2. Someone says:

    Read it all. Very interesting read, thank you :D Also thank you for being amazing and making better things than everyone else and being the amazing person you are. You have spent a lot of time and effort on this. <3

  3. Animeuser says:

    Interesting reading really. The history of anime heads in second life!

  4. Praxithea says:

    Haven’t been on SL as long as most people have, so I never got to see how thngs shifted with regards to the Anime community so this is a really nice insight to the past! but I can safely say the reason I actually picked up the game to begin with was because I saw the M3 head on an off chance search via google at anime inspired games, I just had to try it, and I was not dissapointed! Keep up the great work with your content Uti, really looking forward to how you shape the future of the SL anime Community and am looking forward to throwing my lindens at you when that Chibi head comes about.

    Much Love <3

  5. Zazi says:

    That was a delight to read and see where it all started up till now.
    I look forward to where you’ll take things :3

  6. Anii says:

    love reading about the history of stuff, id always just assumed M stood for mesh, now I know otherwise.

    one thing I didn’t understand is why there are a bunch of mesh hybrid avatars, U&A for example (but I have seen multiple other older avi’s) having a rigged mesh body but using sculpt head, is this down to the mesh limitations/bugs at the time, maybe easier or something else ?

    anyways m4:I had dropped hours into trying to make the “other” bento anime head look good and found it near impossible to not have derpy eyes so abandoned it and waiting on m4 instead

    • Gear says:

      You can’t rig sculpts, so the only way to do a full body replacement was to use a prim with a glitched texture that alphaed out the default body and replace it, piece by piece. But it was a relatively simple thing to slap an invisiprim over someone’s head and put a sculpted and scripted head on.

      • Venompapa says:

        I think Anii meant something else, more like the Blue Galaxian feline avatar which had rigged mesh body but sculpted mesh head, but there the creator’s reason was she didnt want animate the mesh head in the way as we has the current M3 heads animated, instead of swapping between premade face pieces by alpha she was used the script swapping the sculptmaps around. This is the point where i wish we could use damn shape keys from blender for animating or build custom shapes for heads since bento has one huge problem, if you need change the bone positions for your rigged head some shape sliders will wont work on it anymore as excepted (stupid LL…).

      • Gear says:

        Ah yes, you’re right. I had gotten my wires crossed between the modern use of ‘hybrid’ when people are trying to justify insane prices for heads vs older uses of ‘hybrid.’

        I think you might have the right of it. Transparency states require timing an alignment on top of all the extra scripting… and I still like to pretend that somebody probably didn’t want to lob around all the extra render weight transparencies cause.

  7. ShionFate says:

    This is honestly really inspiring and amazing to see
    I jumped into SL about the time Kemono was still very new and I still use it today, along with the amazing Venus head, and im really excited to read up on the Dev of Kemono and how M4 might affect the Kemono head/body!

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