My Digits 2015 – A Mesh Body (R)evolution

My Digits 2015

Meme Instructions: Share your avatar’s digits and/or answer the following questions about mesh bodies. If you decide to share your digits, feel free to add your image to the Digits Flickr Group.

Strawberry Singh’s Digits meme came earlier than expected this year but fortunately for me I’ve just finished getting into my fourth mesh body (not just demos either, full versions), so I’ve had a good chance to live in each for a while.

1. Do you now own a mesh body? If so, do you wear it all the time or just once in a while?

I thought it would be kind of cool to show my mesh body evolution (as opposed to revolution as for me the process has been very gradual) pictorially. When it comes to mesh body parts, pictures speak a thousands words. Regular readers of this blog also must know by now that I can’t possibly say something in a few hundred words and one picture, when I can say it in nearly nearly two thousand words and many pictures. 😉

My mesh head

My Logo Mesh Head 2015

My Logo Mesh Head 2015

I was an early adopter of mesh heads – back in 2013, but I still spent a long time deliberating over whether to make the move to the Logo Chloe mesh head. I am 100% confident I made the right call to go for, it, and I have worn it exclusively, ever since.

I could relate to similar worries to the ones expressed by others who have considered (and rejected) mesh heads: That I would lose my individuality, that my customisation options would be more limited, and that I’d end up looking vapid and doll-like.

All of these anxieties are loosely based in reality; but considering the alternative, I know I will never go back to a system avatar head. Fortunately for me (and possibly indicative of my unpopular tastes), I haven’t seen the Logo head adopted anywhere as much as I imagined it would be.

Those who have adopted the head (as I’ve seen on Flickr) make it look completely different from I do (I don’t wear much makeup at all so I’m already in the minority there), so I’m not at all worried about my individuality in this regard. Further, the Logo head is now no longer as new and innovative as it was when it first appeared, so most people looking into mesh heads today are looking at the new ones, such as what is now being offered by SLink and Lelutka. Lastly, I’ve been using the same head for so long (Logo was an early entrant into mesh heads), it’s now become a part of my signature look.

My mesh hands and feet

After trying on several appendage options, I settled on the SLink hands and feet, while retaining my system avi body. Today, if I’m not wearing a mesh body (which is rare), I’ll still use my SLink hands and feet. I have the fat pack of hands, but I mainly use Relax and Elegant. For feet, I mainly use their flat barefoot option, and here and there will change it up depending on the very few SLink compatible shoes I’ve purchased over the last year. Again, I’d never go back to system appendages.

Early forays into mesh bottoms

Shorty after making the move to mesh hands and feet, I picked up the CuteAzz from PhatAzz, which I wore only when nude or with swimwear. While impressed with the contours then – enough to wear this bottom/legs as Eve in Paradise Lost where I appeared nude for half the show – I never felt comfortable with the seam at my waist that would show up in certain poses, animations and lighting. Still, it was a good learning experience to try a mesh body part, which first introduced me to what appliers are, and how round and fleshy mesh can actually look. I have to admit I did stare at my ass for days after I first bought it.

My mesh body evolution

Mesh Body Comparison Collage 2014 My first mesh body was from Wowmeh (top right corner in the image above). It was a vast improvement over the standard avatar (top left), but I never liked it as much as its fervent fans. My second mesh body, which I bought for comparison purposes was from SLink (pictured bottom left). This body was prettier and more detailed in my opinion, and the accompanying HUD allowed more options than the Wowmeh.

I remember then that many people considered the SLink to be flawed. I heard many Wowmeh fans complain that the labia was ‘crooked’ and that the bottom was too flat. Before it really had much of a chance to evolve, the Wowmeh was hit with a DMCA takedown, which rendered that option a non-starter. Still, the SLink body, despite all the relative bells and whistles – and the very exciting possibility of a couple of mesh heads to match – didn’t do it for me. So, I went through the arduous process of buying The Mesh Project Body (Deluxe) from The Shops (bottom right)

The TMP became my body of choice for about six months, and I’m now completely familiar with the HUD. Furthermore, I love the tone, texture and shape of this body. Having said that, I saw and continue to see, three major flaws that led me to look elsewhere:

  1. The developers are misguided in asking Second Lifers to adopt their frustrating Shopping HUD system.
  2. I foresee big limits to scale with regards to the TMP StyleMode HUD. The interface just about works for the dozens of clothing options I have, but I can’t imagine how a visual inventory system is going to work when the numbers get into the hundreds.
  3. Hundreds of clothing options for the TMP is hardly an imminent concern at the moment, considering how glacially slow The Shops are when it comes to releasing new clothing items for sale. After nearly six months of wearing this body, I was really starting to feel like I was recycling my looks again and again.

Many of my friends went with either SLink, TMP, and Belleza (which I’ve heard good things about, but have not yet tried). I considered going back to the SLink when I saw the heads – especially since one of them – Becky – was obviously named after me (hah!).

The big drawback for me however, was that in some lighting conditions (ALM), the body looked so shiny that one couldn’t be blamed for thinking it was covered in oil. From what I can tell, they’ve since addressed this issue in the latest update.

I have an RL friend that uses the SLink body and Emma head, so I had several opportunities to look over her shoulder while she customised her SLink options and HUD. I notice that the clothing options for the SLink are abundant. Sadly, most options don’t at all appeal to my taste, due to my sense that most of the creators making clothing for SLink bodies are targeting the sex worker market. On sum, my head and body combination felt like a good way forward, so I resisted going over to the SLink.

After the most recent update SLink released for the heads and the bodies, they remained a very compelling option. The TMP body, however, remained hard to beat for looks, so I waited.

My wait was rewarded. When I first heard Maitreya was developing a mesh body, I became very interested. My first thought was: Finally, here is a mesh body maker that has a huge history with Second Life (which suggests they’re not going to try to reinvent the wheel – like TMP), and a great back catalog of clothes and shoes that totally suits my style (unlike SLink or Belleza).

Mesh Body Comparison Maitreya Lara 2015

My body of choice – Maitreya Lara

I was anxious about making the move after having invested so much time and money into the TMP. I’ve never been a one-or-the-other person though, so I felt confident that my investment in TMP was not wasted, that I’d probably continue to use the body and the many high quality outfits I purchased from them, and still enjoy using a new mesh body from Maitreya. The benefit would be opening up two collections to draw from. Talk about double your fun!

2. What is your preferred mesh body available on the market right now?

I picked up the Maitreya Lara Mesh Body, and just a couple of weeks ago updated it to V3. With the new HUD, and considering all of my experience with mesh bodies to date, I can unequivocally say that The Maitreya Lara is hands down the body to beat at the moment.

I have never felt so at ease with the customisation options, Maitreya’s clothes and shoes are glamorous and elegantly sexy, and retrofitting the body into my mesh wardrobe has so far been a breeze. Best of all, and this is always a concern for me, the body’s default skin tones and my mesh head matched almost seamlessly.

I couldn’t be happier with how things ended up. I now wear this body all the time, and am in the process of retrofitting all my outfits, a process I delayed because of my general sense of unease with the TMP HUD limitations.

3. Have you changed your shape since you started wearing the body?

Yes, I’ve

  • increased my torso muscle from 34 to 41
  • decreased my breast size from 57 to 46
  • increased my hand size from 27 to 40
  • increased my torso length from 43 to 58
  • increased my love handles from 30 to 32
  • increased my belly size from 0 to 4
  • increased my hip length from 57 to 58

These changes have been gradual and mainly to look more realistic and fit better into standard sizing.

4. How do you feel about mesh bodies in general?

I love them and wouldn’t easily go back. Same with mesh heads. There is no substitute for mesh if you want to look your very best in Second Life, nude or clothed, no matter what your size and shape is.

5. What is one thing you would request from designers when it comes to mesh bodies?

This is a toughie. I am so pleased with my Maitreya that I find it hard to imagine what else I’d like, apart from more clothes – which I know will come. At the moment, my main area of concern is my head. Logo hasn’t released anything for ages now, which makes me think that they’ve lost interest in updating their head. This will prove an issue in the future, if I can’t find appliers to match my different skin tones as they evolve throughout the seasons. I know I can always manually do it, like the old days, but it’s never quite right is it? Anyway, this is a good reminder to ping the folks at Logo for an update at least.

By | 2017-03-19T20:57:20+00:00 April 14th, 2015|Must Read, Second Life|22 Comments

About the Author:

Canary Beck has been an active Second Life resident since 2007. She is an SL blogger, artist, creator, merchant, sim owner, researcher, filmmaker and performing artist. Offline she works as a London-based internet marketing consultant and business owner.

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  17. pattytisane May 24, 2015 at 7:31 am

    helloBecky.. sorry for my english first.. I have the LOGO head since ages too, and regret also they dont give the opportunity to change skins…. I wear it from time to time, for some snpshots for my flickr.. but not having updating it is a pity.. for the mesh body, seeing the prices.. I still wait, even if the good reviews everywhere of the Maitreya one make me wondering … lol . Thank you for your advices, ,so usefull, hugs tc

    • Becky May 24, 2015 at 9:34 am

      Your welcome Patty, and no worries about the English 🙂 It’s true, LOGO skin options are only limited to 6. I’ve managed to get by with only using 2, but then I’m the type that doesn’t really change one’s look from one day to the next. People who do a lot of photography however, must change their skins like they change their shoes, so I can imagine that’d feel somewhat limiting. Still, as you say, it’s entirely possible to use a mesh head for some things, while using your system head for others.

      And yes, the Maitreya mesh body really is all that. I couldn’t recommend it more highly!

  18. […] I start, let me address what might be perceived as a personal bias. I’ve worn mesh heads since 2013. Over two years later, I’m still not finding my individuality slipping away. I still feel […]

  19. zzpearlbottom April 15, 2015 at 9:20 am

    If i may, i wonder what you feel about the fact that none of the brands you spoke about, don’t allow to mod the parts by edit.
    It is for me a terrible mistake and the reason why i use KL Lena brand instead of any you mention.
    And i do doubt that you never rezzed a prim in world and edit it, that one should be able to do with any mesh, you can do with almost all hairs of all brands, so why creators refuse to give us, the users, the choice to not rely on huds and edit the bodies at our choice?
    If most knew that by editing a mesh body and deleting not needed layers from a copy of it, one can reduce the draw weight and that Linden Lab soon will allow a user to cap that draw weight, making most avatars to become impostors if one wishes so, much more would wish to be able to edit their mesh parts as a reg prim, cause no matter what you wear, All want to be seen when in world.

    • Becky April 15, 2015 at 9:32 am

      I suppose the reason this issue has not yet bothered me is because I’m able to perform all of the adaptations I find necessary with the sliders in the Appearance menus. I can’t speak for mesh body creators – but I’d suspect it’s probably an issue of development cost, ignorance, or perhaps both.

      As for draw weight capping – if and when that happens – I suspect users will edit those settings on the fly, like we currently do with draw distance and other graphic settings.

      For example, if I go to a place where my typical 256 draw distance doesn’t serve the best visual experience, I’ll up the draw distance accordingly, and take the performance hit in exchange for the better view.

      I foresee most people doing the same with avatar render weight – if I’m at a party and most of the avis are rendered as imposters, then I’ll just increase my cap accordingly until the view improves. If I couldn’t change the cap on the fly, I’d not enable it, it’s as simple as that really.

      • zzpearlbottom April 15, 2015 at 9:55 am

        Yes i must concur with you, I have set my graphics to have the avatar impostors box unchecked so i can see all them no matter the time they take to render. I just wish most would adapt mesh as it really eases the render weight if well done. Now that at least the big mehes bodies creators are offering a chance or deleting scripts via hud, perhaps in the future they will follow the example of KL (and i do hope more that are doing full mod mesh bodies or attachments) and allow users to have even more options to improve their draw weight if they care (and at least the sailing community cares and its aware:))

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