– M4 Update, ABC boobs and the M4 Dummy –

The first big update for the M4 head is out, this update includes the following changes.

Update Version 1.1

– M4 Head –
*Fixed – Blush textures added from HUD or Applier would reset to default
*Changed – Made the tongue texture look less bland looking
*New – Added support for asymmetrical skin textures
*New – Added an extra non bento rigged tongue mesh, more about that in the HUD portion of this changelog

– M4 Neck [Avatar 2] [Kemono] [LL/Normie] –
*Changed – Restructured the scripts to work with the updated appliers
*Changed – The necks now do some math to match the user adjusted specular texture density with the head

– M4 HUD –
*New – The skin [ADD] box now also functions as a master texture box, you can now specify what textures you want to add using commands.
*New – Load asymmetrical skin textures through the skin [ADD] box using head*UUID*UUID (Left*Right)
*New – Load neck texture through Skin [ADD] box using neck*UUID
*New – Load mouth texture through Skin [ADD] box using mouth*UUID
*New – Load blush texture through Skin [ADD] box using blush*UUID
*New – Load asymmetrical specular textures through Specular [ADD] box using UUID*UUID (Left*Right)
*New – Load asymmetrical normal textures through Normal [ADD] box using UUID*UUID (Left*Right)
*New – Display error messages if texture add commands & UUID are used incorrectly
*Changed – Replaced the pointless tongue hide feature with a selection between bento rigged and static tongues for situations like a third party AO HUDs making your tongue stick out through your teeth, and other tongue compatibility issues.

– M4 Applier –
/!\Important, skin creators need to update their appliers to 1.1 for them to work with necks for 1.1 and up/!\
*New – Added Asymmetrical texture support in form of a “Pick a side” menu after choosing a texture
*Changed – You will now be asked to pick which side of the head you want to apply the Head, Normal, Specular, and Eye textures.

That is all for this update,  the next big update will come after the chibi head is released, the update will include the restructuring of the face and other goodies, there may or may not be some small bug fix updates in between.

– ABC stuff –

ABC has also released an update making the M4 kemono neck compatible with her boobs, also a version of the bikini that works with the her flat chest because that was requested a lot.

– M4 dummy –

headdummy

Heres the rigging/animation dummy for the M4 anime head: http://www.mediafire.com/file/gtb9stiwe9agko0/M4+Dummy.zip
You can also find this in the downloads section.

that is all

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– Bento for Dummies –

To clear up all the confusion and misinformation about the appearance editor sliders, heres a list of sliders that work and slider that dont work.

– head –
head size ———– works
head streach —– works
head shape ——– works
egg head ———– works
head length ——- works
forehead angle — doesnt work
brow size ———- works
upper cheeks —– doesnt work
lower cheeks —– works
cheek bones —— doesnt work

7/10

– eyes –
eye size —————- works (but only verticaly)
eye opening ——— works
eye spacing ———- doesnt work
outer eye corner — doesnt work (HUD has a setting for it)
inner eye corner — doesnt work (HUD has a setting for it)
eye depth ————- doesnt work
upper eyelid fold — doesnt work
eyebags —————- work
puffy eyelids ——— work

4/9

– nose –
nose size ———– works
nose width ——– works
nostril width —– doesnt work
nostril division — doesnt work
nose thickness — works
upper bridge —– works
lower bridge —– works
bridge width —– works
nose tip angle — doesnt work
nose tip shape — works but effects the whole nose

7/10

– mouth –
lip width ———– doesnt work
lip fullness ——– works
lip thickness —— works
lip ratio ————- works
mouth position — doesnt work
mouth corner —- doesnt work
lip cleft ————– works
lip cleft depth —– works

5/8

– chin –
chin angl —- doesnt work
jaw shape — works (but adjusts chin shape instead)
chin depth — doesnt work
jaw angle —- works (but doesnt effect the whole jaw, does the same thing as chin-neck)
jaw jut ——– doesnt work
chin-neck —- works

3/6

I did not include sliders that are not supposed to do anything on bento heads, these would be eyelash length, both chin cleft sliders, eye pop and jowls, these sliders not supported by bento in general.

I also didnt include these useless face deforming sliders: face sheer, shift mouth and crooked nose.

 

Now lets talk about why these sliders dont work

 

I mentioned that there are technical limitations that are preventing the head from using all the sliders, but what are these technical limitations? after all the ASR head can use all its sliders…
An anime head is not a standard human face, therefore for an anime head to work with bento, it needs to have joint offsets for all the face bones (custom bone positions), and Bento uses bone scale and bone position to manipulate the face in the appearance editor. Now the problem is, due to the way the second life skeleton is set up, second life cannot tell the difference between an joint offset made by an appearance editor slider and an offset made by the creator, meaning your face shape will be overridden every time you log in or another person comes into the sim and looks at your face, therefore LL has disabled sliders from adjusting bone positions. Bone positions are used for things like mouth width, eye corner position, cheek bone position, etc so you are only left with scale adjustment for things like head shape, nose size, cheek size, lip size and so on.

If you are interested in more detail on what bones do what to change to appearance, check this out. https://avastar.guru/knowledge/slider-mapping/

So what magic does the ASR head use than? The way their heads work, they do not have joint offsets in the head itself, so no sliders get disabled, instead they uses a deformer animation trick to move joints to custom positions, same way the kemono deformer works to put the kemono’s shoulders, hips and feet in the right position. I have thought about it at one point but theres a bunch of drawbacks with that, like for example, sometimes the animation gets stopped and your face looks deformed to anyone who enters the sim after the animation has stopped, while you see yourself fine, and if you are a kemono user, you know this problem well, when your shoulders, just break and you end up with wide, detached, or dislocated feet, or the annoying shoulder pop that happens when you detach or attach something, or your shoulder width setting having no effect on your shoulders. This was a whole new can of worms that i didnt wanna open, but looks like i opened an even bigger can of worms, and now im begining to think that creating a bento anime head was a big mistake, with all the people who have never made a thing in their life and have no idea how SL even works, talking out of their ass like they know better than me…

 

Roadmap for the future development of the M4 heads

 

So next step is an update that is coming soon, fixing problems like the blush texture bug, restructuring the faces to allow asymmetrical textures and some other things.
After that im going to be working on the dummy model, once that is done i will resume work on the chibi head and once that is done, im going to try making a version of the M4 anime head that has a smaller face, the thing that bugs me the most about it right now is how massive the face looks with some hairs, people say the eyes is too big but its not just the eyes, the rest of the face bellow the eyes is too big, so theres gonna be 2 versions because the face does look really good with other hairs. I might also try to make some sort of an animation deformer based appearance editor aid for controlling eye, nose, shin and mouth position as well as mouth width, will see. And after all that is done, im finally going to resume work on the male head.

 

– The M4 Bento Anime Head –

The long awaited M4 Bento anime head is here! and now you can be one of the cool kids are riding the bento craze wave.

– What is bento and why does it matter? –

For those of you who still dont really know what all this bento hype is about, Bento is a new set of bones that LL has recently implemented into the game, such as face bones, wing bones, tail bones, finger bones and some other bones. These bones are used to animate specific body parts such as the fingers on your hands or the expression of your face, and is what this head uses to animate its face.

The main advantage of using bento bones for anime heads is that there is no more need to have a bunch of invisible meshes for every face expression, using just one mesh to do every expression instead. This in turn greatly reduces the render weight of your avatar, on top of that, anyone can now make expressions and face animations, so you are no longer limited to what is in the HUD.

The disadvantage is that since the head is rigged, it can no longer be positioned and face expressions are sadly somewhat limited due to the way bento bones work, meaning some expressions are just not possible to make without looking really weird or deforming your face

– Features –

• Full mod – Edit it, link stuff to it, rip or replace its textures, go crazy with it but make backups before you do!
• In depth customization with lots of options – Customize your head, choose its eye styles, colors, skin color, ear and nose types, add custom textures and specular maps. 2 types of ears, noses and eye shapes to choose from.
• Full facial control – Eyebrows, eyelids, Eyes and mouth can be controlled separately, mixing and matching different positions to create your own expression.
• Smooth animations and built in AO – eyes blink, look around, the mouth moves when you type or talk on voice chat, emotes as well as 3 different face AO styles.
• And more!

The head is also compatible with existing M3 eye, eyelash and blush textures.

 

– known bugs and limitations –

Due to technical limitations, the kemono, avatar 2.0 and LL necks dont join right and you will occasionally see seams from some camera angles.
changing the head’s default attachment position will mess up the facelight, right click and choose add to attach the head.
No rikugou compatibility mode yet (will be implemented later)
No asymmetrical skin support yet (will be implemented later)

If you find any other problems not mentioned here, please report them to us.

For texture mod creators we already got appliers too.

Next is the M4 Chibi Head which if all goes right should be released this month, if not than the next one.

That is all.

– M4 Head news –

Alright so i have finished working on the HUD for the M4 heads and all that’s left to do now is scripting everything and finishing the remaining animations and a few more textures.

huddemo3

This project was really frustrating, i decided to not half ass it and go all out with this one, making it join seamlessly with Avatar 2.0 and kemono necks, as well as LL neck so you can use this with your overpriced normie bodies as well, i also had to blend the kemono and av2 skin textures for seamless blending to be possible, and made a bunch of LL UV skins for normie bodies. I will need to make a special skin blending kit for skin creators to get their skins blend with the head easier. I also made 2 different nose shapes that you can choose from, one of them is your standard pointy anime nose, the other one is slightly more realistic doll style nose so people dont need to draw noses on top of noses that look weird from every other angle than front lol. Theres also 2 different eye and ear shapes, but i think i already mentioned all this stuff before. So needless to say, there was a lot of complicated fuckery i had to do to get all this to work, and some stuff had to be sacrificed for it all to work, like the 2 different eye shapes cannot be too different or the blink will not work with one of them, or the dreaded 8 face limit combined with alpha sorting issues forced me to ditch some ideas like makeup layers.

– Delays –

Now due to the whole hippo update nonsense and a huge roadblock i ran in with avastar/bento work has been delayed and while im still hopeful that i can meet my personal deadline of releasing the M4 anime head by the beginning of summer, im not sure i can meet that same deadline for the M4 Chibi and M4 Man heads.

For the Chibi head, it shares all the textures and HUD with the M4 anime head so everything is pretty much done but theres a problem with mesh hair compatibility, half of the hairs clip at the sides so im afraid i will have to redo its shape a bit, so im not sure when thats going to be done either. For the male head, it will have skins of its own and some of the features will be different from the female heads so i will need to slightly redo the HUD for it too, so im not sure when thats going to happen eitehr but the base skin for it is already done so all i will need to do is just a few different skin tone versions.

So thats it for now.

– WIP M4 anime heads and whats up with the update server? –

Okay so first of all, whats the deal with the update server?, as some of you noticed by now, the update cards do nothing, this is because the update service we use has collapsed and not much is clear with wtf is even going on https://hippo-technologies.info/2018/02/14/rackspace-service-issue/, there’s lots of speculations that the company “hippo technologies” is loosing money and bailing out on their web based services and making up lies about their web host “rackspace” having a catastropic server failure (that they do not mention themselves anywhere) as this predatory blog post from their main competitor “casper tech” mentions. https://blog.caspertech.co.uk/the-fall-of-an-empire/
All these assumptions come from a follow up post from Hippo tech https://hippo-technologies.info/2018/02/16/rackspace-cloud-infrastructure-failure/ 
This post gave me more questions than answers, not much meaningful information was given and they arent being very clear with things. Rackspace is working on rebuilding the database so they arent taking any action yet, so they will later when work is done? but than they are going to step away from those legacy services, so are they going to migrate all the data to their new services or whatever they are doing now? and what the fuck even are those legacy web services? are all their current services like vend and updates and all that shit considered legacy? if so what else does hippo tech even do now that is current and not legacy? do they still have any other web services that they could merge our data with, or will they at least let us migrate to another server before they step away?

So yeah these are the questions, so im going to wait around a little to see if any more information will come out of them, but im not keeping my fingers crossed and will look into better update service alternatives, I will come up with a way and post instructions on how to migrate to a new update service when i have that worked out.

– And now, for the anime heads –

So where am i now with this, i had a few bumps in the road and had to redo the main anime head 2 times but its pretty much final now. Both the Anime and Chibi heads are rigged and unwrapped, i just finished making a bunch of skin and other textures and created a bunch of necks and special textures for those necks to make the heads fit the kemono, av2 and the LL/normie bodies seamlessly, i will make a dev kit for custom skin creators to be able to blend their body skins with the head skin by using a method called baking in blender. The UV maps for both female heads will accept same textures, so there wont be any more confusion like when people used to buy an M3 anime head skin and wonder why it doesnt work on their M3 Venus head, or the other way around, one skin will fit both. Eye textures are still the same as M3 heads, so all the eyes you already have should work right away, Eyelashes will work for the most part too, some might look kinda funky on eye shape B though, but other than that, the texture is the same, and also the blush texture, if anyone ever bothered making mods for that.

The male head still needs textures but the base skin texture is finished, Also gonna make a neck that makes it work with the kuro body.

I ran into a dilemma with the Chibi head, will probably need to redo its shape a little, but the problem is that it doesnt work with half of my hairs, they clip at the sides, also its ear position makes hairs with very specific ear locations look weird, so some kind of a compromise will need to be made. Other than that, everything is pretty much done, now i just need to create a new HUD and all the face animations and hand it all over to Kourtnee for scripting.

Heres a bunch of random work in progress images.

nose2faceshapeschibi wipskinguyheadtest

That is all.

 

– M3 Head Dummies –

This was a little something requested for a very long time, so i thought id finally get off my lazy ass and do it, so here you go, the M3 head dummies.

m3heads

Oh yeah and each head is in a separate object layer, the Venus head is the non slim shape, also im not sure if this is the right version of the Venus head because i remember changing something at the back of the head.

– 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.

– wip – anime man head –

Another M4 bento anime head im working on, didnt post this earlier cuz i didnt have much to show yet. This is a little something i always wanted to make but didnt have enough time and motivation.

animeman

I All the anime guys on SL looked like dykes and kids with strap on beards or girly looking pretty boys, but no one has made an anime man head.

– WIP bento anime head(s) –

This is something i wanted to do since the M3, redoing the M2 chibi anime head in mesh.

Heres some pics of both the anime and the chibi head with eye/nose/ear sets A and B (you will be able to choose what kind of nose or eyes or ears you want to have from the HUD)

chibi headsanime heads

Also, heres a preview of the almost done normie head that i mentioned before.

lips

– Early WIP bento anime head –

So i dont have much to show yet but started working on a bento anime head

headwip

altnose

Still gotta decide on many things like the shape of the eyes and nose, maybe add the option to choose between a few different eyes and noses like you can with the ears, figuring out how to scale and position the head onto the SL avatar’s neck will be tricky too since the head is going to be rigged.

There is also another bento head in the works thats going to be released soon, it was just my bento experiment human head but it looked decent enough to be a product so im in the process of getting it omega applier compatible.