Pick Your Parts

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Informational Series

Pick Your Parts

Posted By Asia Ristow

How you build your basic avatar depends on what you want the outcome to be. Selecting body parts can be a challenging yet rewarding experience! You’ll need the list you made in Part 1 so you know what type of items to buy.


This is part 3 of the 5 part series Making A New You.


Your Basic Avatar – Now In Mesh!

Mesh is the term used to describe 3D objects in Second Life. When using a Mesh avatar you make the base model invisible with an item called an alpha. The game does provide default Mesh avatars that you can build off of, though they are very basic. If you want higher quality you can purchase a body, head, hands, and feet to use instead of the default avatar. Since the defaults are already made for you I’ll assume you’re not reading this guide for those and focus on the other options.

The two most noticeable parts of a Mesh avatar, the body and head, are generally sold separately. Many creators produce workarounds so their products play well with with others, but some do not. You’ll want to ensure all the pieces you get are compatible before making your purchases. You do this by first getting demos. Demos are free or very low cost versions of the product so you can to test it out before buying. You can try multiple demos at the same time to make sure they all look nice and function well together.

Make sure you do some research before purchasing any parts of a Mesh avatar. I highly recommend Mesh Body Addicts  for a comparison on Mesh bodies and heads. They’re an impeccable source for learning about pros and cons, compatibility, and other details of Mesh body parts. For now here are some of the more popular parts:

 

  1. Body
    • Slink
      • Offers both male and female bodies
      • Feet sold separately
        • Very popular and have many shoes of all types specifically made for them
        • Unless you purchase the Deluxe Pack you have to purchase each pose (flat, high heels, etc.) separately.
        • Can be mixed and matched with some other bodies
      • Hands sold separately
        • Can be mixed and matches with some other bodies
    • Maitreya
      • Two female bodies to choose from
        • Designed to work seamlessly with Lelutka’s Simone bento head. (Not sure what bento is? Check out my post on Project Bento for an introduction.)
        • Supports Slink hands and feet.
    • Belleza
      • Three female bodies to choose from
        • Supports Slink hands and feet
        • Many users with curvier and larger avatars love how their bodies fill out at plus sizes.
  2. Head
    • Catwa
      • Offers both bento and non bento heads.
      • Personally I find the facial animations to be the most attractive of the current heads.
    • Lelutka
      • Offers both bento and non bento heads.
      • Offers my personal favorite bento head, Simone 2.0.
  3. Bento Hands
    • VISTA ANIMATIONS
      • The most widely used bento hands on the market.
        • The company specializes in animations, and they have some specifically for the bento hands. More on animations in Part 5!
      • Compatible with Slink, Maitreya, Belleza, and other bodies.

Please note that I do not personally recommend TheMeshProject (TMP) avatars. They are very expensive and do not play well with others. TMP products and variety are limited as anything on the basic avatar must be approved by them. Some people love them, and you may too, I have just seen too many people (myself included!) regretting their TMP purchase.

Flawless Skin

Skins are textures that go over the base mesh parts. Many mesh bodies and heads come with skin packs. For the average user those are perfectly suitable for everyday use, however there are other options to choose from as well. When looking for skins make sure they have appliers for the body, head, hands, and feet you use.

  1. WoW Skins
    • Long history of high quality skins
    • Focuses primarily on women, but there are options for men
  2. 7Deadly s{K}ins
    • Specializes in realistic skins
    • Large selection for both men and women

Heavenly Hair

Bad hair can ruin your look in game just as easily as in real life. Cheap looking locks can detract from your rockin’ bod and gorgeous face. You’ll want to try on any hair via the demo before you purchase it. Heads vary greatly and you should be sure you don’t have any scalp peeking out before you make your selection final. A hairstyle can completely change how your avatar’s personality comes across. Plus, trying on different styles is so much fun! Need a place to start? Test out some of my favorite stores in world:

  1. TRUTH
    • Has a long history of high quality hair
    • Huge variation of styles and colors, has something for everyone!
  2. eXxEsS
    • I just recently stumbled upon this store, however I love the styles!
  3.  Amacci
    • High quality hair with a good variation of styles.

Furries

Mixing a human and an animal produces an anthropomorphic (also called furry) avatar. While not as popular as humans, furries and their culture have a large home in Second Life. Humans have to worry about getting a nice body and head, but furries have to add in tails, paws, and more pronounced facial features.  For this reason many furry avatars come packaged as a set instead of the mix and match options humans tend to see.

There are multitudes of prepackaged furry avatars of various quality for purchase. While these can be used right out of the box, taking this base and building on it is how most furries make themselves unique. For many furries clothing isn’t needed, though it is definitely an option. Some will purchase an avatar and then replace the body with a Slink body for more control over the body size and shape. Some will purchase multiple avatars and mix and match various pieces to make themselves stand out. You can decide what’s best for you based on what is available and what you have in mind. Check out these popular furry avatar sellers for ideas:

  1. Luskwood
  2. Raawr

While humanoids dominate Second Life, there are plenty of other avatars, too! I’ve seen Dragons, Cars, even the Kool-Aid Man! For more atypical avatars like this you’ll generally get the whole avatar in one package. I recommend checking the Second Life Marketplace to find specialized content such as those. In Part 4 we’ll learn how to accessorize and dress your avatar.

What basic parts do you use for your basic avatar? Do you have other recommendations for users?

A basic avatar from Second Life reads a book
Head – LeLutka: Simone 2.0
Hair – TRUTH: Aviva (Black&Whites)
Shape – Regeneration: Asia
Skin – Glam Affair: Artic, Europa, or Asia
Eyes – Damien Fate: FATEeyes
Body – Maitreya: Lara
Bra/Panties – Maitreya: Lara Bra & Panties
Background – Image Essentials

 


Updates

1/07/2017:
Added 7Deadly s{K}ins to skin section.

1/18/2017:
Updated to reflect that Vista is no longer the only seller of bento hands.
Added Amacci to Hair section.

 

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Written by Asia Ristow

Asia has been enjoying Second Life for over a decade. She loves helping people learn how to express themselves through their avatars.

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