If All You Want is a Head…

Omega Systems Appliers

If All You Want is a Head

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.

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!

 

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.

Nellie: A Long, Free-Flowing Style

The latest offering from Alli&Ali Designs Mainstore is Nellie, pictured above. It’s a long style that looks slightly wind-blown, and which can be worn in one of six different configurations. And like all of Alli&Ali’s newer designs, it has a very low display weight.

 

 

 

Sadly, my pictures don’t do Nellie justice; I’ve taken a horrid cold, and don’t feel like doing much of anything. I wanted to let you know about the style before I was too late.

I promise my next product review will be much better.

Until then,

 

Something New: Life Under the Waves

Well, boys and girls, I finally did it! I took my own advice on how to become a mermaid, and did just that! So rather than mere theory, I’m going to give you a step-by-step account of how I did it.

First Stop

My first stop was, of course, the Safe Waters Foundation. There, I grabbed a free diving suit and headed on over to the freebies pool.

SWF-Freebies.png

This is an excellent place for finding many of your start-up items as you begin your transformation to your undersea life. I would strongly urge you to check out the high-quality items donated by some of SL’s finest designers.

Next Stop

Next, I swam on over to Haven of Mermaids. You’d have to look long and hard to find a better “one-stop-shopping” mall for your merfolk needs. Billed as “Home and Haven for the Merfolk of Second Life.  A magical underwater world, with a community that welcomes Merfolk of all the tribes, and aquatic beings of all species.  Home to Deep Seas Mer Outfitters.” It’s a great place to start expanding on your basic freebie skins & tails.

Haven-of-Mermaids-1.png

Haven-2.png

Finally, I was ready to get serious about just how I wanted to present myself to the various Mer communities. And that meant SHOPPING!

Oh, I did I forget to mention one of the best things about becoming a mermaid? It gives you an excuse to do some serious shopping. Even if you’re content with freebies, obtaining them in the first place means shopping!

A Word About Mesh

Mesh avatars—and therefore, mesh accessories for them—are difficult and time-consuming to make…which explains why everything relating to mesh is expensive. The same is true of mesh mermaid avatars and accessories. So for that reason alone I recommend that you use a classic avatar as your mermaid or merman representation.

And while you can find lots of quality classic avatars, my own choice was for the Mermaid Collection Mesh Emotion Blue, which set me back the whopping cost of one single $Linden ($L1). This set contains a classic avatar which has been specifically designed to fit most mermaid outfits.

emotion-blue.png

Back to Haven of Mermaids

This was my most expensive stop. But when you’re designing your appearance, do you really want to skimp on the details? Neither do I!

So I bought two items: DS (Deep Seas) Green Mermaid Skin, and Deep Seas Traditional Tail, also in green.

The traditional tails come with a Deep Seas Merfolk Animation Overrider (AO), which, while a basic AO, contains all the animations you need to get you started. Best of all, you can edit the AO to include whatever additional animations you like.

And the results speak for themselves

mer-1.png

Of course, this is the way I dress when I visit areas that frown upon nudity. The next photo is probably NSFW, but here’s the deal: I’m a mermaid—I have no need of clothes. Besides, if men—mermen or otherwise—can display their bare chests, why not women, too? After all, I live in a State (New York) where courts have ruled it’s perfectly legal.

So before we go any further, chase the kiddies away from your computer.

Ready? Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Topless-Mer.png

This is me in my Sunday finest—well, actually—my week-long finest!

Other Times, Other Places

Read about all things mermaid at: http://cynthiamermaid.blogspot.com/

Please visit our web page at: http://www.goldmermaid.com/SWF/index.htm
Please visit our blog at: http://www.digitalmermaids.blogspot.com

Great site for SL help (and features SWF!!) http://virtualoutworlding.blogspot.com/2014/06/2014-people-promo-fancis-deep-serving.html

And that’s it for today! Next: further resources for your undersea life.

Aisling's Signature" Love, Aisling

Merfolk (Mermaids and Mermen)

Or, Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Being a Mermaid or Merman Before You Even Knew You Wanted to Know It

Remember when I told you that in SL, you can be anything you want to be? Ever imagine living a life under the sea? Be honest—wasn’t that every little girl’s dream? Well, now you can become one for only $10 Lindens. Or, if you prefer, absolutely free.

Safe Waters Foundation

Head on over to the Safe Waters Foundation Headquarters (SWF). When you get there, turn around to see this:

SWF-1.png

The arrows won’t be there; I added them for clarity. The shorter one points to the SWF group joiner. There is no cost to join.

The longer arrow points to the door you need to pass through to get to the goodies:

SWF-2.png

Again, I added the arrows for clarity. They point to the Pearl, which you have to touch to receive the free outfit.

Unfortunately, if you’re using a mesh avatar like mine, it’s not that easy. All of these options are designed for classic (non-mesh) avatars (avis). And because mesh avis are complex and expensive, it follows that mesh accessories for mesh avis are also expensive.

Fear Not!

mer 1

The item shown above can be found on the SL Marketplace for only $L1! It comes with a standard body that you can use to replace your mesh body, so everything will work peachy-keen!

mer-2.png

This is my friend Jenny in that very same outfit.

Safe Waters Foundation Redux

You can find out more about the Safe Waters Foundation at its website, which also contains an events calendar as well as a long list of mer-related sites in Second Life.

Or you can check out their Digital Mermaids blog on Blogspot. The blog also has minutes of the most recent weekly meeting.

Now if you will excuse me, I have an octopus’s garden to explore!

Aisling's Signature" Love, Aisling