If you haven’t noticed by now, Linden Labs (LL) has filled Second Life with of TLAs: Three Letter Acronyms. I swear, they’re worse than the government. Then again, at least when we’re inside SL, they are the government.
One you’ll run into is “ALT,” “Alt,” or “alt.” This stands for “Alternate.” Sometimes members wish to create an alternate identity, perhaps to explore things their main character wouldn’t do. Think of it as a pen name for a writer. Authors sometimes wish to write outside of a genre they’ve been known for. Take Nora Charles, for a famous example. Ms. Charles also writes under the name J. D. Robb.
Maybe you’ve been in SL long enough to get bored. And maybe you have a lot of friends you care about. So keep your original account and continue to use it. But add a new account, so your new self can start an entirely new story. Use it when you get bored with your first account again.
For the rest of this week, Maitreya Main Store is having a 50% off sale for everything in the store! Now’s your chance to get the latest Maitreya Lara Body Kit for half of the normal price, as well as clothing, accessories, etc. Only until December 6!
You don’t need to buy a body. The Mayreal bento head kit comes with a body. I use a Maitreya Lara mesh body simply because it’s a more realistic look.
All Mayreal heads come with a perfectly serviceable body, as well as a decent selection of skins that have been designed to match the head.
If you’re like me and would like a broader range of skins and makeup to be available, then it’s definitely worth buying an Omega Solutions applier kit for the Mayreal head. And you’ll also want to grab the Omega generic router.
But there’s a secret: the applier kits cost $L149 on the SL Marketplace, but only cost $L99 in-world at the Omega Solutions store. Oddly enough, the generic router sells for $L1 in-world but is free in the Marketplace. Either, you’ll need them both.
Do you use another brand of Bento head? No worries—Omega is sure to have the kit you need.
Which Comes First?
The body or the head? I’ve discussed this with several people in SL and they all agree: if you can afford only one, go with the head first. This will give you time to save up your Lindens ($L) until you can afford the mesh body of your choice.
I chose the Mayreal head because of the low cost; a Catwa head, in comparison, will cost 4 figures in $L.
Still Not Sure?
Mayreal heads, like most other mesh products, can be difficult to fine-tune to get the exact look you want. If you’re interested in the Omega system, you can check it out before you buy anything on their web site.
DISCLAIMER:I receive no consideration for this review from either Mayreal or Omega Systems. I am reviewing the products merely because I use them and have found them to be decent products.
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:
After fiddling around with it for about an hour, this is what I got:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.