Thursday, April 07, 2011

Ruthed Clouds...

Fixing Avatar Appearance Issues

Sometimes, when you log in, you will find yourself as a cloud, or ruthed. Or it may be that if you change clothes, they do not appear on you. This occurs as a result of a lack of communication between your computer and the SL severs.

A brief explanation. When you wear (non prim) clothing, the clothing textures are sent from SL server to your computer. There, the viewer layers the clothing textures onto your skin textures (a process known as baking) and then send the resultant textures back to the SL servers. The servers then send these textures to other avatars that might be in the region. If any one of these things don't work properly, the result is commonly called a bake fail; bake fails are what can leave your avatar looking like a cloud, or ruthed, or your clothing not visually changing when you change outfit.

NOTE: Bake fails occur on all SL viewers, not only Phoenix. In fact there are multiple SL JIRAs on this issue, like this one; this also documents cases where you seem fine but all other avatars remain grey.

In broad terms, bake fails occur when there is a communication problem. So solutions range from trying to force your avatar textures to bake again, to investigating and solving the cause of the communications issue.

NOTE: the RenderUnloadedAvatar debug setting is at best a band-aid solution; it will force your viewer to render an avatar using incomplete, possibly incorrect information, and works only for your viewer, not others. (Think about the name of the setting: render unloaded avatar. Meaning… draw the avatar even though it is not yet fully loaded by the viewer. So… it will be shown, partially, maybe nearly completely. Maybe not. Thus it is a “band aid” solution, not a fix.)

So in order to ensure that your avatar is really fixed please ensure that you have this disabled. Open the Advanced Menu (Ctrl-Alt-D if it not visible) and select Debug Settings. Type in RenderUnloadedAvatar and set to FALSE.

Here are steps that may help fix you. Please do these one at a time, in order, exactly as described, stopping as soon as one fixes you.
You Look Fine to Yourself, but Others See You Wearing Yesterday's Clothes

Right click your own avatar (skin, not worn prims) and select Textures. If all textures shown appear fine, then your avatar is perfect and the problem is not yours, but either the SIM or others around you. You can suggest that they change their active group.

If instead the Textures show some as missing or “broken”, then try these steps:
Change your active group
If that fails, Rebake (Ctrl-Alt-R) a few times
If that fails, go into Edit → Appearance (and try to edit anything and save the difference); exit Appearance.

If these all fail, then something is inhibiting your baked textures from being sent to the SL servers. The first thing to examine is your bandwidth; if it is too high for your connection then you may have issues; similarly, it might also be too low. Please see this page for details on determining the optimum bandwidth.

If this does not help, reset your router (if you use one) and/or your cable modem. If that doesn't help, some other program on your computer may be interfering with your viewer's connection to SL, like a firewall or anti-virus. Try disabling them, temporarily, to see if things improve. If they do, you have isolated the problem.
If your Avatar is Partly or Totally Transparent, or parts of your avatar are rendered black

Please ensure that your video card drivers are fully up to date.
If you have more than one monitor, and run Phoenix on any but the primary, try moving the Phoenix window to the primary monitor.
Go to Edit → Preferences → Graphics and tick “Custom” on the right hand side of the window. At the bottom of the window, disable “Hardware Skinning” and click “Ok”. You may have to relog for this change to kick in.
If these don't help or are not applicable, then read on…

You See Yourself as a Cloud, or Ruthed, or Are Unable to Edit Your Appearance

NOTE: If you have RLV enabled, please disable it and relog before attempting anything which entails wearing or removing clothing or attachments.

Change your active group.

Rebake (Ctrl-Alt-R) - a few times.

Go into Edit → Appearance (and try to edit anything and save the difference); exit Appearance. (If you cannot edit appearance, then continue with the steps below.)

Replace your hair base with a different one, if it lets you. If that works, you can then replace it with your usual one.

Check your bandwidth, as described above; you should also see whether resetting your modem and/or router clears the problem.

If you use Norton Anti Virus - or any of the Norton suite of utilities, try disabling them, then relogging. Norton has been known to inhibit textures from loading.

Make sure your inventory is fully loaded by manually clearing your cache. See here for instructions on how to do that.

Make a new temporary folder, and put into it a copy of your shape, skin, hair base, eyes. Then right click on the folder name and Replace Outfit (not Wear, that will not work).

Go to Advanced (Ctrl-Alt-D to activate) → Character → Character Tests → Test Male/Female
(this will turn you into a ruthed/noobie avi, and you'll have to rewear all your normal skin, clothes and attachments)
Rebake - and again - and again. If that works, replace your normal avatar in this order: Hair base, eyes, shape, skin, hair, shirt, pants, shoes, etc.

If this too fails, you will need to try the Craig or Katie avatars. For this, please join one of the Phoenix in-world support groups and request it. The groups are listed here; or you may contact one of support team directly.

Finally, if that too fails, download and install SL Viewer 2 (yes, that!). Log in on it, remove everything you can, wear the a hair base, eyes, skin, rebake. Logout, then log back in on Phoenix. If you're still having issues, toggle HTTP Get a few times, rebaking between each.

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