Mesh Crash Course: Selecting Hands & Feet

Need more mesh help or info? Check out our full Mesh Crash Course.

Mesh hands and feet are a popular option for users with all types of avatars. For somebody who goes full mesh it’s a no brainer. Many system avatars also enjoy mesh hands or feet for various reasons including bento hand capability and a larger selection of shoes. If you have a mesh body it may have come with hands and feet already and generally those are the ones that will work the best for the body. That doesn’t mean you can’t mix and match with other brands if you so desire!

Main Considerations

As always you must remember that what is right for others may not be right for you. It 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 the options for your personal taste.

Bento vs Standard Hands

As we already have a whole post devoted to this topic I’ll keep this section brief. Bento hands allow for individual finger movements and standard hands can only stay in one shape. Many people prefer bento so they can make peace signs, hold cigarettes, wiggle their fingers, and more. If these options aren’t important to you the standard mesh hands are also an option. Please note that while there are plenty of accessories for standard mesh hands the options for bento hands are increasing every day.

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Mesh Crash Course: Selecting A Body

Need more mesh help or info? Check out our full Mesh Crash Course.

Mesh bodies have become extremely popular in Second Life. They offer more realistic curves and higher levels of modification than the classic system avatar bodies. With so many mesh bodies to chose from you may need a hand narrowing it down. Not to worry! Today’s post covers what to look for when researching and demoing potential mesh body purchases.

Main Considerations

As always you must remember that what is right for others may not be right for you. It 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 the options for your personal taste.

Proportions

Some people love fairly realistic avatar bodies. Others love giant booties and chests. Some love small, petite bodies, and still others want to be child sized or feral animals. All of these are possible but work best with different bodies. While many bodies allow for a level of customization there is only so far you can go. Altering shapes too drastically can result in issues with clipping and jagged edges. You’ll want to ensure the body you select will support your own vision. Keep in mind you may have to get separate products (such as third party breasts) for some of the more extreme looks.

For the initial browsing of what body types you may like I highly recommend Mesh Body Addicts. You can browse by gender and quickly get an idea of what style you may prefer. If you’re looking for a child or very petite body you may not find what you’re looking for there. ToddleeDoo is a very popular brand for toddler avatars and UTILIZATOR‘s Kemono is a well loved petite body that works well for anime avatars or petite humans/furries.

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Mesh Crash Course: Selecting A Head

Need more mesh help or info? Check out our full Mesh Crash Course.

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!

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Zane: My Basic Male

I’ve had quite a few people ask about my male avatar, Zane, and how I made his base look. I wanted something that looked nice and was easy to customize. With a little research and a lot of demos he became the handsome man he is today. This post is just a quick explanation of the products used for his base look.

Slink

When I made Zane the most commonly used body type for men was Slink‘s Physique. The popularity of the body makes it easier to find compatible products which can be a bit annoying for male avatars. Slink’s body is Omega compatible which makes finding skins, tattoos, and applier clothing a breeze. The alpha layers make it easy to wear various mesh clothing too. For a more in depth review of the Slink Physique Body for men check out the Mesh Body Addicts Review.

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Organizing Your Second Life Inventory

As you explore Second Life you’re bound to pick up some items along the way. Okay, who am I kidding, you’re gonna have WAY more than some. You’ll find that your inventory fills up super quick, especially if you’re visiting events or freebie areas. Second Life inventory management is something that everybody can benefit from. Whether you’ve been playing a week or a decade I can help you get that inventory under control.

Your Concerns

I know that there is at least one of you reading this with a mental dialogue of reasons why you can’t organize your inventory. I’ve made this list just for you.

  1. “But Asia! I have SO many things! It’s impossible to organize this mess!”
    • I promise you it’s not impossible. It’s not even hard.
  2. “But Asia, it’s gonna take forever!”
    • If you want to do it all at once it’ll get done fast but feel very time consuming.
    • If you do it little by little it gets done over time and doesn’t feel like it takes much work at all!
  3. “But Asiaaaaaaa! I’m afraid I’ll stop halfway through and everything will be so confusing!”
    • Actually if you organize your inventory the way I do it is not confusing at all. All your old stuff will be (almost) exactly where you left it until it’s sorted.
  4. “But Asia I actually don’t need to organize. I can just use the search bar to find what I need.”
    • That’s wonderful when you know the name of what you want. What if you’re just looking for shoes to go with your new outfit but aren’t sure what matches right? Do you know the name of every pair of shoes you have? If not you can benefit from a little organization!

The Totally Not Overwhelming Step By Step Overview

I know, I know. This has a LOT of information. You don’t have to apply every little thing, simply take these ideas and tailor your organization to your needs. Here is the basic overview with link to each section for more info.

  1. Start fresh.
  2. Create folders for your stuff.
  3. Sort your stuff.
  4. Trash or box what you don’t need.
  5. Enjoy the perks of having an organized inventory!

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Bento Heads vs Standard Mesh – What’s Right For You?

While the standard system heads can look nice, many people opt for mesh heads instead. With mesh you have many options, not only based on creator and style, but also in what type of head to get. Both standard and bento mesh heads have their uses. Read on to learn which is more suited to your own personal needs.

Catwa: Vampire Annie (Standard Mesh)

Standard Mesh Heads

Standard mesh heads are great for people who don’t often have the desire to change their base look. What you see is what you get in terms of shape. You can alter the appearance with different skins, but the base itself will not change. Think of using skins like painting a sculpture. The final product will look different depending on the colors and shapes you use but the sculpture itself remains unchanged under the paint. For more information about how much of an impact shapes and skins have on your look check out our informational post.

Standard doesn’t necessarily mean static. While some standard mesh heads don’t move at all, many have movement options. The movement ranges from basic blinking to more in depth expression HUDs allowing for smiling, sticking tongues out, and more.

Bento Heads

Catwa: Lona (Bento Mesh)

Bento mesh heads are a godsend for people who want to switch up their appearance on a regular basis. With bento mesh you can adjust your facial shape with the appearance sliders. This allows for an entirely different base shape as often as you’d like. Combined with the use of skins you can get many different looks with just one purchase. For more information about how much of an impact shapes and skins have on your look check out our informational post.

As with standard heads, bento heads do not have to remain static. Many have in depth animations so you can express your mood through your face. Different brands have different animations so make sure to look into them before purchasing.

Making The Choice

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Maitreya Bento Hands – Lara 4.0 Is Live!

Last night Maitreya released Lara 4.0, the much anticipated bento update for the popular body. Most of my groups, even the ones not related to Maitreya, were filled with excited chatter about the new Maitreya bento hands. So many people tried to get to the store upon release that the sim had to be closed to the public for at least a few hours. The sim is open again, however it’s bustling with activity so you may have trouble getting in. No need to fear, if you already have Lara you don’t have to go to the sim to get your update!

Getting Your New Body

If you already own Lara you’ll most likely already have your update waiting for you when you log in. If this isn’t the case simply remove and reattach your current Lara body. This should trigger a redelivery. If this doesn’t work go to the Maitreya Store and use the redelivery terminal. Please bear in mind that this is a new update and things may be a little slow the first few days.

If you don’t own Lara you’ll have to purchase her. You can do this by visiting the store in world. Make sure to demo if you haven’t already, she’s a big and important purchase! At the time of this post she cost $L2750 and includes the body, classic and bento hands, feet, 5 shapes, and two bra/panty sets.

Maitreya Lara 4.0 Updates

Let’s start with the officially announced updates, shall we? Straight from Maitreya’s Update Card:

  • The hands are now rigged to the bento skeleton, allowing for finger movement. The classic hands are also still included in the package.
  • There are 14 hand poses added to the HUD (Skins & Options page), which can be used in combination with all your model poses and AOs.
  • There are 2 new nail shapes added: Stiletto nails and Almond nails, and the option for no nails (if you want to wear Maitreya compatible mesh nails made by other stores).
  • The skin textures have been adjusted to fit the new bento hands.

Digging Deeper

This update is primarily about the hands with small adjustments to the included skins and the HUD to further benefit the new Maitreya bento hands. As with the other bento hands the Maitreya hands are compatible with third party bento poses and AOs. Maitreya’s hands do not come with default idle animations.

Maitreya Bento Hands

Keep reading for more in depth information, comparisons with other bento hands, and more pictures!

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Yes, You SHOULD Be Using Demos!

If you’re a regular to the blog you know I’m a firm proponent of demoing products before purchase. I’ve had people ask if and why demos in Second Life are really important. People have also told me that they don’t want to spend the extra time demoing a product they already know they’ll like. Demos are very important, even if you’re absolutely in love with the item! Today I’ll cover what to look for when demoing so you can learn why you should never skip the demo step if it’s available.

What’s A Demo?

Demos are inexpensive (usually free or 1 linden dollar) versions of products made for you to test out before making a final purchase. Think of demos as trying on new clothes or shoes before you buy them. You wouldn’t want to make a big purchase just to find that the jacket doesn’t fit and can’t be returned, would you? In addition to being inexpensive, demos also tend to have something missing or added so you don’t use it instead of the final product. This may be weird/missing textures, extra shapes, or even a timed product that can’t be used after a period of time passes. You wouldn’t want to wear a demo out to the party you’re heading to later. The entire point of the demo is to ensure the product is what you need before making the purchase.

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Appliers: How Do They Work?

Need more mesh help or info? Check out our full Mesh Crash Course.

Appliers are one of the most commonly used items for mesh bodies. I see a lot of users asking questions about Second Life appliers or being confused as to what appliers can offer them. Today I’ll go over what they are, how to use them, and why you may want them.

Second Life Appliers: The Basics

Think of appliers like classic avatar clothing for mesh avatars. The applier itself is an object (usually a HUD) that applies a texture to mesh body parts. Some of the more common textures are skins, clothes, and makeup. Tattoos, beards, and scars are also textures that can be used via applier, as well as anything else you would want on your mesh body. To understand appliers you first must know about layers.

Layers

Layers allow multiple textures to be worn at once. Lower layers are hidden by higher layers. You’ll find the skin almost always applies automatically to the lowest layer. Most commonly you’ll have three other layers to select from when using non skin appliers.

Think of your real body and clothing for a moment. Your skin is one layer, any tattoos you may have are on a layer above it, your underwear is another layer above, and your regular clothing is the layer on top. Your tattoos hide what’s on the skin under them. Underwear hides any tattoos under it and your pants hide your underwear. It’s exactly the same on your avatar. Here is a breakdown of the most common layers:

  1. Skin
    • Skin appliers almost always automatically apply to this layer.
      • As such layers usually aren’t even listed as an option for users.
    • Covers the body parts as the lowest layer.
      • Anything else applied will be seen on top of the skin.
  2. Tattoo
    • This is applied directly over the skin, but under the Underwear and Clothing layers.
      • This means it’ll show on top of the skin but anything on the Underwear or Clothing layers will cover it up.
    • Popular for not only tattoos but also makeup, beards, scars, blood, bruises, and anything else that would be visible over the skin but covered by clothing.
  3. Underwear
    • Applied over the Tattoo layer but under the Clothing layer.
      • Just like in real life this will cover your skin and anything that’s directly on your skin via the Tattoo layer.
    • This doesn’t only have to be used for bras, boxers, and panties.
      • Want to wear a long sleeved shirt under a crop top? Apply the long sleeved shirt on the Underwear layer and the crop top on the Clothing layer.
  4. Clothing
    • The Clothing layer is the top layer.
      • As such it will cover anything on other layers since they are below it.
    • Want to get creative? Use Tattoos as decoration on clothes!
      • Instead of placing a Tattoo on the Tattoo layer, consider placing it on the Clothing layer with the shirt or pants on the Underwear layer.
      • This will show the Tattoo over the clothing and it may look like a neat design. Then again it may not. Play around!

With the basic knowledge of how layers work you’re able to experiment and play with different ideas. Give the tattoo on clothing and the layered shirts a shot!

What’s That Have To Do With Appliers?

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Slink Dynamic Hands Are Finally Here!

Known for their high quality mesh body parts, Slink has been respected for a long time by many players. Their mesh feet have dominated the market and spawned thousands of shoes created specifically for use with them by various brands. Today the highly anticipated Slink bento hands, known as Slink Dynamic Hands, hit the market. Read on to learn all about them and for a comparison to Vista’s Bento Prohands.

Slink Dynamic Hands

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