Mesh Crash Course: Selecting A Head

Regeneration Informational, Series Mesh Crash Course: Selecting A Head
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Informational Series

Mesh Crash Course: Selecting A Head

Posted By Asia Ristow

Mesh heads are extremely popular due to their smooth, seamless look in comparison to system heads. Whether you’re looking for your first mesh head or your fifth there are a few basics that can help ensure you pick the perfect one for you.

Main Considerations

Of course what is right for others may not be right for you. It always comes down to your own needs and preferences. There are a few things to consider when demoing (yes, you should be using demos) and narrowing down the options for your personal taste.

Bento vs Static?

One of your biggest choices is if you’d like a bento or static head. I won’t get in too deep as we’ve already covered this, however it’s still important to touch on. The main difference between bento and static heads is the shape customization. Bento heads respond to the shape sliders so you can get various looks with the same head. Static heads don’t respond to the sliders and always have the same shape even if you alter sliders.

Alpha Options

Many people like to use different eyes, ears, or teeth instead of the standards that may come with a purchase. If you’re one of those people (or may be in the future) you’ll want to ensure your head will allow for it. If the head comes with those components you’ll want to make sure they are either equipped separately or can be hidden. Otherwise you will likely run into clipping issues and a weird mix of double features.

If you’re not sure why anyone would want to use something aside from the standards take a peek at this list. I’d hate for you to pick a head that didn’t let you hide ears than decide you wanted to be an elf in a few weeks!

  1. Eyes
    • Third party eyes generally offer more options with colors, iris shapes, sci-fi or monster styles, etc.
  2. Ears
    • Third party ears can offer more realistic human ears or entirely different fantasy ears.
      • Elves are one of the more popular options, however furries, humans, merfolk, and more can benefit from specialized ears.
  3. Teeth
    • Third party teeth offer more shape and accessory options.
      • Vampires are an obvious one, but you can also get teeth with braces, grills, and gemstones.

Compatibility

Whether you’re just purchasing a new head or you’re redoing your entire avatar you’ll need to make sure your purchase is compatible with the other products you’ll be using.

Appliers

Skins, tattoos, makeup, beards, and all other head textures are put on via objects called appliers. You’ll want to make sure your head is compatible with the appliers you want to use. Skins are especially important. You’ll want to make sure whatever skin you’ll be using is compatible with your head as well as your body. Please note that system skins won’t show on your Mesh head and applier skins won’t show up on non mesh avatar parts.

Not all appliers work with all mesh. You have to make sure you know what appliers will work with your head. Some brands have their own appliers, such as Catwa and LeLutka. Designers can make appliers specifically for these heads and they won’t work on other heads. The most common applier is Omega. Many heads are Omega compatible and can use any Omega appliers with the help of a third party relay. For more info on Omega and how to use it check out the Popular Applier Types section of our Appliers post.

Body

There are so many heads and so many bodies out there and no set standard for how they should fit together. This applies whether you’re using a mesh body or a system body. If your head doesn’t match your body it’ll look really silly! Make sure that whatever head you purchase blends into the body around the neck area. Some heads (and some bodies) have settings in the HUD to make it easier to make sure they fit together.

Some heads are made for specific bodies. This is most commonly found in brands that make both products such as Slink, Belleza, and TMP. There are always exceptions to this rule though, such as LeLutka heads and Maitreya‘s Lara body. When heads and bodies are made to match you have a clean fit and HUD options that match one another. Included skins, shine options, etc. will usually play nice with products that are made to be used together.

Hair

If you have a hairstyle that you’ll definitely be using you’ll want to ensure it works with the head. Keep an eye out for any parts of the head peeking through the hairline or hair clipping through the face. If you’re trying out a bento head you may be able to adjust the shape to work with the specific hair you’d like. Some hair can be modified to fit the head, though that varies brand by brand and even hair by hair.

Some designers make hair specifically for their heads. LeLutka creates hair and mesh heads, however if you’re using a bento head you can alter the shape enough that the hair won’t fit perfectly. Always make sure demo any products before buying, especially ones as important as your body parts.

Other Things To Consider

While the previous points are arguably the most important you want to make sure you know what you’re getting before you get it. Here are a few other things to look into when searching for the perfect mesh head.

In HUD Customization

Many heads, though not all, have extensive HUDs that give you a ton of different options. These options range from tinting (altering colors of applied textures) to included makeup or skins to texture shininess. Make sure to explore all areas of the HUD so you know exactly what you’re getting. Many heads have lots of options. It may seem overwhelming at first, but learning every little part of your potential new head prevents accidentally passing up on a really cool feature you may have otherwise missed.

What’s Included?

Different heads come with different parts. Make sure to know what you’re getting so you don’t have any unhappy surprises! Common objects to look for are eyes, teeth, and hair. Some heads will have them included in the base head and some will have them separately. In the HUD keep an eye out for things like skins, makeup, lashes, animations, etc. Some heads (especially bento) come with at least one shape so you have a base look to start with. Informational notecards will help you get started with your new look as well. Make sure to check out everything that comes with your head so you know all your options.

Addons

Some brands offer add on packages to increase the value of the head beyond the initial purchase. Catwa is a great example of one of those brands. They provide products such as a facial animations, other types of teeth, different eyes, bubblegum you can chew and blow bubbles with, and more all sold separately. LeLutka also offers addons for their heads, one of which was a set of free animations given as a gift at a previous event. Check into what perks different brands offer so you aren’t missing out on a fun new option!


Pics & Credits

Ears – Swallow: Elf Ears HD

Left HUD – LeLutka: HUD Simone 2.7
Right HUD – Catwa: HUD Master v1.06
Head – LeLutka: Simone
Body – Maitreya: Lara
Shape – Regeneration: Vanessa
Skin – 7 Deadly s{K}ins: Lake
Hair – TRUTH Scout
Eyes – Catwa: Mesh Eyes
Eye Shadow – Arte: Myst Eyeshadow
Lipstick – SongBird: Lacquer Lips
Shirt/Jacket – ALT by Truth: Mischief Layered Jacket
Jeans – MODA: Paige Jeans
Shoes – MODA: Lourdes Platforms
Poses/Setting – Juxtapose: The Stairwell Pose Prop
Location – Comhar Photo Studio

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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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