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.

 

 

 

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.