My New Mayreal® Bento Head

WARNING:

Before we get started, let me remind you that any time you’re going to make modifications to your avatar, you should first make a backup copy in case because you will mess up. As your mother used to say, “You’ll thank me for this later.” Oh, and while my experience is limited to the Maitreya® Lara mesh body and the Mayreal® Nadia bento head, the principles should apply to other brands and models.

I spent the better part of an hour playing around with my new Mayreal head. I made lots of mistakes and had to restore from my backup several times. The instructions are pretty clear and thorough, but I’m not good at learning by reading; I have to be shown how to do things. Failing that, I blunder around learning by trial and error.

Here’s what I started with:

Original head from classic avatar

After fiddling around with it for about an hour, this is what I got:

Intermediate modifications

I didn’t like the looks of the lips: they look as if they had just had collagen pumped into them. On the plus side, though, it’s a softer, more realistic look, and that’s what I was going for.

After another 30 minutes of fiddling around with details and I was happy. In the end, it took a combination of the controls that came with the head, plus playing around with the sliders available when you use the SL controls to edit your appearance.

This is how I look now:

My current appearance

It’s a softer, more realistic appearance. Oh, I still need to do some more fine-tuning, but you get the idea. Every facial detail is individually crafted, from the skin tone to the blusher on my cheeks to my mascara and eyelash length.

I’ve added freckles and thinned the lips. I wanted to add a beauty mark, but it wasn’t compatible with the freckles: it’s either one or the other.

One last thing I need to do is match the head skin color to the body skin color, and then I’ll be all set.

Summing Up

If you’re looking for the most realistic-looking avatar, check out the possibilities of combining a decent mesh body with a quality bento head.

 

 

 

And Now for Something Completely Different…

Let’s talk about…heads. I’ve written previously about mesh bodies, and now it’s time for something even more interesting: mesh heads. Specifically, Mayreal brand mesh heads.

The thing about my own mesh body—Maitreya Lara—is that it uses the original head that came with my classic avatar shape. I believe most mesh bodies work this way. But I wanted my head and face to have the adaptability and flexibility as my body. I asked around, and based on the advice I got, I decided to go with the Mayreal Nadia mesh head. My main reason? It looked like it was everything I wanted. Plus it was about $L3,000 less than the next brand.

Mayreal Nadia Mesh Head

Maximum Realism on Your Face

A good movie or book depends on its ability to suspend your sense of disbelief. Second Life is no different: the more realistic your avatar appears, the easier t is to immerse yourself in that world. Here are just a few of the facial animations available with the Nadia head:

 

 

 

Using the Head

Unpacking the box the head came in was a simple matter of wearing it: doing so created a new folder in my inventory with all of the components of the head. All 60+ elements if you count the instruction cards. But don’t worry—you won’t use everything all at once. Once you wear the head, everything else is related to your appearance, allowing you to customize your appearance right down to the the length of your eyelashes and the size of the beauty mark above your lip! Oh, right: you can decide on the lipstick color and glossiness, too.

Anyway, that’s just an introduction to mesh heads. Next, I’ll show you my new appearance and explain just how I got there.

Bye for now!

 

Scarlett: The Name Of One Of My Favorite Colors

Scarlett, from Ali & Alli. She’s almost as pretty as me!

A new release in the Alli&Ali Designs Mainstore. Scarlett comes in 10 separate color packs at $L250 each, and the whole set for $L1200.

BUT! (And there’s always a but!) Group members get half price refunded when wearing the title and buying the hairstyle from our “Action Wall,” so you can actually get the entire set for $L600! This is something new and will continue for the future: we offer this for all our new releases in the week they come out.

You can find the included green single color as a gift this week in the Mainstore, below the hairstyles voting board.

It’s also available as a gift in Black Pink at the front desk, or in Fire for $L50, under the Special Offers board, located to the right of the front desk.

I really, really like Scarlett!

 

Any way you look at it, it’s a winner!

 

Thick, luxuriant curls always turn me on!

So you see? You really have no excuse for not adding Scarlett to your inventory! And if you do manage to come up with an excuse, I’ll just quote what Rhett said to Scarlett at the end of Gone With The Wind: “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn!”

Scarlett, now from Alli&Ali Designs Mainstore.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Switching From a Classic to a Mesh Body

More and more folks in Second Life are switching their Classic avatar bodies for newer mesh bodies. It’s an excellent choice, as the new bodies look and move more realistically than the older ones. But the new ones come with drawbacks of their own., probably the greatest of which is their expense.

One of the most popular mesh kits is Lara, from Maitreya. The body kit will run you $L2750, which as of this writing is about $12.50 in US dollars. That’s before buying any clothes, but fortunately, Maitreya has a free dress kit and three pairs of shoes to go with it. In addition, the body itself comes with matching bra and panties.

When I (Aisling) switched from a classic avatar to Lara, I budgeted $L5,000 for the body, a new wardrobe, and a few other incidentals, such as a new Animation Override (AO).

But not everyone is in a position to spend that much money, much less all at once. So I’m going to show you a way you can save on expenses ahead of making the change.

Enter The Free Dove

And I mean to enter it both literally and figuratively. THE FREE DOVE FASHION  (www.thefreedove.com) is SL’s oldest (13+ years) and most popular site for free, high-quality fashions for men and women. It features clothes and accessories for both classic and mesh avatars, and their inventory is constantly changing.

How do they do this? Palomma Casanova, the owner and operator of The Free Dove, invites SL’s top designers to provide free samples of their works. This accomplishes two things: it allows you, the customer, to acquire a decent wardrobe while giving the designers free publicity for their goods and services. And to be fair, when I’m in the market for new clothes, I always check out the vendors who have kindly provided me with the free goods before I check anywhere else.

Meet Heather Wilkenson

Heather is a new account I created to show you what all this means. Right now she’s wearing a classic-style body, which I plan to upgrade to a mesh (Lara) sometime in the next few weeks. She’s wearing an outfit from The Free Dove; specifically, (SP) Winter Day -caramel-. This is an outfit specifically designed for classic bodies. But she’s also acquired several mesh outfits in anticipation of the upgrade since they might not be available by then.

More importantly, a few of the outfits she likes are for both classic and mesh avatars. So she can wear them now, and still be able to wear them after she switches to Lara (or any other mesh avatar).

Summing Up

Like everything else in SL, going with a mesh avatar or staying with a classic shape is a purely personal choice, which depends on many factors—primarily your budget. But I hope I’ve given you some options to explore while you decide.

Oh, You Poor Dears!

Sometimes I find myself feeling sorry for men in Second Life. And to be honest, in real life, too. You’re far too restricted in what’s acceptable for you to wear and how to look.

In the song “My Conviction,” from the musical “Hair,” a character sings this:

“I would just like to say that it is my conviction
That longer hair and other flamboyant affectations
Of appearance are nothing more
Than the male’s emergence from his drab camouflage
Into the gaudy plumage
Which is the birthright of his sex.

There is a peculiar notion that elegant plumage
And fine feathers are not proper for the male
When actually
That is the way things are
In most species.”
–Galt Mac Dermot / Gerome Ragni / James Rado

Fortunately for you guys, the crew at Alli&Ali Designs Mainstore have got your backs!

Andrew is a new style for men, but to be honest, I like it as a unisexual style—it looks just as good on me as it does on the model in the picture above. And I’m sure that a few of my dyke girlfriends will like it, too!

 

 

And you’ll love the price: $L250 for all 16 colors. And as they say on television, “But wait! There’s more!”

You can get it in Sand Blonde for free at the front desk, and in Coffee for free at the voting booth.

Okay, guys: never let it be said that I con’t keep my eyes open for you!

 

How to Change Appearances in Public…

… Without Getting Naked

If you have a place of your own in SL—rent, own, or otherwise—this isn’t a problem, since you can teleport (TP) back home in order to be shielded from prying eyes. And if you’re buying clothes, the shop you’re in probably has dressing rooms you can use.

But if you can’t afford a place of your own, changing outfits in public without getting naked can be a challenge. Of course, you can always TP to an adult-rated area that allows nudity and change there.

But what if you don’t frequent adult areas? Let’s face it: despite rumors to the contrary, not everyone in SL is there for sex. I know, I know…it’s hard to believe—but it’s true.

Let’s Hear It For Outfits!

Regardless of the viewer you use—the official SL viewer, or Firestorm—there is a folder in your Inventory called Outfits or My Outfits. If you’ve ever wondered what it’s for, I’m going to explain it right now.

Once you’re achieved an appearance for your avatar that you like, you can save every detail that goes into making it: shape, skin, eyes, makeup, tattoos,  hair, eyes, clothing—in short, everything that goes into making up your avatar.

In the SL viewer, right-click on your avatar, then select Edit My Outfit—> Save As—> (give it a unique name)—> OK.

in Firestorm, right-click, them select-–> Appearance—> Edit Outfit—> Save As  (give it a unique name)—> OK.

What you’ve done is create a new folder under the Outfits folder in your inventory. Inside that folder are links to every item that makes up that outfit. When you want to change your appearance, all you have to to is open your Inventory, Open the My Outfits folder, then right-click on the particular outfit you want to wear and select Replace Current Outfit.

Your current appearance will be replaced with the new one you’ve chosen. Best of all, even though you may appear naked briefly on your monitor, no one else will see you that way: it will be as if you merely changed your appearance in the blink of an eye.

Voilà! Problem solved!

ASTRID: A Shorter Style

Yesterday I talked briefly about long hair. Today Alli&Ali Designs Mainstore has a new short style for you.

Unlike my real life, where my hair hangs below my boobs, in SL I prefer shorter styles. And Astrid is my latest favorite. It’s short, sweet, and to the point.

With its incredibly low display weight (it comes in at a mere 963!), it not only loads quickly but also contributes only negligibly to any possible lag.

 

The complete set, with all 8 subsets, sells for $L1500 which, if you can’t decide on a single color, is the way to go.

Subsets containing each individual color group go for $L250–still a bargain so far as I’m concerned.

And a single color–Dark Hazel–is yours for only $L50.

Astrid, for those of us who prefer a shorter style, on sale now at Alli&Ali Designs Mainstore.

And don’t forget you can also buy A&A’s products in the SL Marketplace.