Many newer heads and appliers these days are touting their “HD Makeup” but a lot of users have no idea what that means! And why would you if you’ve never really seen how it works, right? I thought I would try to explain that today so you can go forth and HD with knowledge! And science! OK not much science, but it sounded cool.
Anyway. In order to understand the difference between traditional makeup and HD makeup you need to understand what a UV is. I won’t bore you with confusing technical jargon, you just need to know that the UV determines how a mesh is textured. It tells you, for example, which area of the texture is for the eyes, the mouth, the ears, etc.
Here is a standard head UV template (courtesy of Robin Wood). As you can see, the lip and eye area are relatively small in comparison to the full size of the texture.
Keep in mind, all textures have a maximize upload size set by Linden Labs. Currently the max is 1024×1024. The majority of textures uploaded for use in heads and bodies is the maximum allowed size. For this reason, HD is NOT relative to texture size, because everyone is already uploading at max texture size.
Here is my avatar using a lipstick I made with the standard UV
Not bad, right?
Now, here is the Lelutka Evolution HD lip UV. Compare it to the standard UV above. The mouth area takes up a significantly larger portion of the overall texture. So even though the texture’s size is the same as the standard UV above, the total area the HD lips use is much larger. That means waaaaay more pixels to add more detail with!
Here is me in a recent HD lipstick I made with the Lelutka HD UV:
What do you think, can you see the difference?
Now, you might be wondering “So why can’t I just have HD on my current head?” well UV’s don’t really work that way. You can’t swap a non HD lipstick area with an HD one. Actually, I take that back… you could but it won’t look right and it won’t be pretty and we can’t have that can we?
This is also why HD cannot be Bakes on Mesh or vice versa. BOM can only use the standard UVs, it cannot use the custom UVs used in HD appliers. Some makeup creators offer a makeup that includes options for HD and BOM, but the BOM makeup version is not the same as the HD version. It’s a lower quality version of the HD makeup, shrunk down to fit the standard UV. If you can’t use the HD makeup, that’s a good alternative, but quality wise the HD version will always look better than the BOM version.
That’s why you must have a head that supports HD makeup in order to use the HD appliers. Otherwise, the textures will not line up properly because the head cannot properly use custom UVs for HD makeup.
For Lelutka Evolution heads HD eyes and lips are built right in (and HD beards for the gents!). As of the 2.5 update released in November there are also HD brows!
Genus also include HD makeup in their heads.
For Catwa you can get an add on HD lip area with the newest version of the bento heads. If you don’t have it just snag a redelivery of your head. Catwa also released their line of “HD Pro” heads with more HD layers.
Hope that helps explain HD a little better, now go forth and HD yourself!