Friday, May 27, 2011

I’m So Attached!

Clothing layers are all well and good…but they are all pretty much skin tight. Real clothes bunch and billow and stick out from the body. Enter…attachments!

Your avatar has a total of 30 “attachment points”…places where things can be attached. There are also eight “HUD attach points” on your screen, used for displaying the controls of various sorts of “Heads Up Displays”, or HUDs. Until recently, you could only have one thing attached to any given point. So, for example, if you were wearing a wedding ring or pretty false fingernails, and someone gave you a drink, they would vanish back into your inventory as soon as you held the drink.

With the current viewer, you can wear as many attachments on a single point as you want, as long as your total number of attachments doesn’t exceed 38. To add an attachment to a spot already occupied, select “Add” instead of “Wear”.

Attachments add a lot of realism. They’re used in clothing to make sleeves, cuffs, bell bottoms, poofy skirts, hair, shoes, collars, and sometimes even complete clothing items like a bulky jacket. They are used for jewelry of all sorts, and for accessories like handbags, glasses, scarves, belts, and hats.
Items intended to be attached to your avatar have a pre-set default attach point. So, if you are putting shoes on, selecting “Wear” will put the left one on your left foot, and the right one on your right foot. Items with no pre-set attach point will default to your right hand (which is why you wound up wearing that box on your hand. Don’t feel bad, the default used to be the skull!)

You can change the attach point of an object. Choose “Attach To…” instead of “Wear” or “Add”. You will have to edit the position of the object to get it where it should go. The next time you wear this object, it will remember where it was attached.

Creators generally use their own avatars to adjust the position of attachments. If your avatar is very different in size or shape, you will need to edit the attachment to fit properly. Standing on a pose stand will lock you in position, making it much easier to do this sort of editing.

Some avatars are almost nothing BUT attachments. Nonhuman avatars, such as furries, tinies, robots, and animals hide the human avatar shape completely.
Me, As a Horse.  Avatar courtesy of Water Horse.  Note the HUDS to control it, and all the parts in the inventory window!

There are some limitations to SL attachments. For one thing, sometimes the point they are attached to will move differently than the place they appear to be worn. So, as your avatar changes pose, the attachment will appear to slide about the body. For me, brooches are the worst offenders, but tight chokers and belts also need careful adjustment to get the best compromise of size and position.

Attached items are “phantom”. That is, your avatar (and others) pass through them. This is generally a good thing, or the men of Caledon would never be able to get past their ladies’ voluminous skirts. However, especially with long, flexible things like skirts or hair, it can seem as if they are poking into and through your avatar. Aside from editing to minimize this, there’s not much that can be done about it at our current level of viewer development.

More and more attachments are being created with re-sizing scripts. I find these highly annoying, and prefer to manually edit my attachments. In addition, you must create a safety copy of the item, then delete the scripts in the copy you normally wear, to keep from creating lag for everyone else.

Attachments are handy for research. Say you see a person wearing a stunning dress, and you want to know where she got it. I always like to be asked this, and willingly supply the information. But some people like to feel they are exclusive, and won’t tell you. Or they may be too busy doing something else to respond. Right click an attachment part of the dress, like the skirt. Select More/Inspect. Note the creator of the object, then look up their profile in Search. Most often, the store where they sell that dress will be in their Picks, or sometimes in their Classified tab.

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