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!

 

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

Tsarina: My Latest Favorite Style

I’ve got a bone to pick with Alli&Ali Designs Mainstore. It seems that every time I decide on a new favorite hairstyle, they come out with yet another new design that then becomes my new favorite style!

Tsarina is a perfect example of this phenomenon. In real life, my hair hangs about 6 inches below my shoulders; in SL, I prefer short styles. Nothing below my shoulders, but still feminine. Tsarina fulfills those requirements with 4 different styles.

The complete set sells for $L1500, but Tsarina Cool Light Brown is on sale this week for only $L50.

AA-Tsarina-Hair-All-Colors-pic.png

Snapshot_001.png

Tsarina: my new favorite style from Alli&Ali Designs Mainstore. And don’t forget to check out these areas as well:

Further Thoughts on Avatar Appearance

Sometimes it’s not what you do but what you don’t do that can make a big difference in how you look to other people.

Avatar Complexity

Take, for instance, your avatar complexity. This is a figure that’s determined by what you’re wearing: shape, skin, hair, clothes, attachments, etc. In short, everything that makes up who you are. This is a bare-bones description; for further details, see the SL Wiki page covering the subject.

Let’s put it this way: the more complex your avatar, the longer it will take for other folks to see you. You will always appear as your self on your own screen, but it will take you longer to appear properly to others on their screens.

You can’t go wrong by keeping your complexity value as low as possible.

Facelights

This is one of by biggest pet peeves. I admit it: I hate them. The idea behind a facelights is to highlight your facial features in dim ambient (natural) lighting, which sounds like a Clever Idea©, but is really a Bad Thing©.

In the first place, many sim designers put a lot of thought and effort in creating a particular atmosphere for their location. So why would you think that your appearance should override their design decisions? Because that’s exactly what your facelight is doing. By showing up with a glowing face, you’re destroying the ambience for everyone there.

Besides, unless you’re hosting a haunted house around Halloween, do you walk around in real life with a light shining in your face?

‘Nuff said.

HUDS, Collars, & Miscellaneous Items

Most of my own hairstyles come with a HUD (heads-up display) to control the color, size, brightness, etc. But once I’ve made my choice, I detach the HUD. This is true for just about every other attachment I wear. HUDs often have a heavy script weight, and adversely affect your complexity.

The same goes with other wearable objects. Again, for more details, see the Wiki page.

Scripts

While scripts don’t affect your complexity, they can contribute to how many resources you consume in any given sim. That’s why a lot of sims or parcels have billboards that display how many scripts you’re wearing. The higher the number, the more resources you’re consuming, which results on everything operating more slowly for everyone around you.

Simply put, keep your scripts to a minimum. It reduces lag. The rest of us will appreciate it, and you’ll be less likely to be ejected by the sim owner.

Finally

If I see you in a sim and your avatar complexity renders you as a solid color, you can be sure that I will Block and Derender you. If you’re going to be that unthinking or uncaring about other people, I want to have nothing to do with you.

Aisling's Signature" Love, Aisling

 

Tredanya, a New Style for the Modern Woman

Tredanya is Alli&Ali Designs Mainstore’s example of a style that I’d call an unbalanced bob. Bob, because it’s just that. Unbalanced, because one side is shorter than the other.

AA-Tredanya-Hair-All-Colors-pic.png

But whatever you want to call it, it’s an elegant look best worn with a nice dress. I like to wear it with my favorite red mini.

Tredanya-Front.png

 

Tredanya-Left.png

See? From this side, it’s a regular bob cut. But from the other side:

Tredanya-Right.png

But no matter what you call it, it’s an elegant, trendy look for any woman who’s dressing for a night of a dinner followed by dancing followed by who knows what?

It’s available at the Alli&Ali Designs Mainstore for $L1500, and that includes all the colors shown above, as well as the resize-recolor HUD.

As a reminder, here a couple more places where you can find Alli&Ali products:

Aisling's Signature" Love, Aisling

It’s Not Always About Hair!

Groups

I do other things in SL besides review hair styles. I also own a house which I share with a few friends. But because of SL’s property restrictions, the only way they were able to set their home locations to the house, I had to create a group and invite them all to it. Finally, I had to set the property’s group attribute to the group I had just created.

Creating a group costs $L100, and once you’ve created it, you have 48 hours to add new members. It’s crucial that you add at least one new member in that 48 hours, or else SL will delete the group and you’ll be out the $L100. Once you’ve done that, you can invite as many members as you like, whenever you like. You can also assign roles (with varying permissions) to the members; the default role is Everyone, which basically means they’re a member of the group, with no special privileges. As the group owner, you can change their abilities. You can also create new roles and assign them varying permissions.

For more details on groups, check out the Groups Overview page.

Land

When it comes to owning land, upgrading to a premium account is your best move. Not only do you get a free, customizable house, you also get an additional allowance of 512 square meters. This additional allowance, however, only entitles you to purchase the acreage at the going market rate. Previously, you had to pay an extra monthly fee in order to purchase the extra land.

Instead of 512 square meters, premium membership allows you a total of 1024 square meters. However, you’re not required to use the extra acreage; it’s there if you want to use it.

And Yes, Hair!

Rumbera 1

Okay, so it’s mostly about hair. While I haven’t received this week’s official notice, I can tell you that the newest selection from the Alli&Ali Designs Mainstore is Rumbera, and you can pick up your free copy at the front desk of the store. Since it’s free, it only comes in one color—fire red. But whoever complains about free goodies, right?

Besides, you know me well enough to know how much I love red!

Until next time,

Aisling's Signature" Love, Aisling