Meme Instructions: Share your avatar’s digits and/or answer the following questions about mesh bodies. If you decide to share your digits, feel free to add your image to the Digits Flickr Group.
Strawberry Singh’s Digits meme came earlier than expected this year but fortunately for me I’ve just finished getting into my fourth mesh body (not just demos either, full versions), so I’ve had a good chance to live in each for a while.
1. Do you now own a mesh body? If so, do you wear it all the time or just once in a while?
I thought it would be kind of cool to show my mesh body evolution (as opposed to revolution as for me the process has been very gradual) pictorially. When it comes to mesh body parts, pictures speak a thousands words. Regular readers of this blog also must know by now that I can’t possibly say something in a few hundred words and one picture, when I can say it in nearly nearly two thousand words and many pictures. 😉
My mesh head
I was an early adopter of mesh heads – back in 2013, but I still spent a long time deliberating over whether to make the move to the Logo Chloe mesh head. I am 100% confident I made the right call to go for, it, and I have worn it exclusively, ever since.
I could relate to similar worries to the ones expressed by others who have considered (and rejected) mesh heads: That I would lose my individuality, that my customisation options would be more limited, and that I’d end up looking vapid and doll-like.
All of these anxieties are loosely based in reality; but considering the alternative, I know I will never go back to a system avatar head. Fortunately for me (and possibly indicative of my unpopular tastes), I haven’t seen the Logo head adopted anywhere as much as I imagined it would be.
Those who have adopted the head (as I’ve seen on Flickr) make it look completely different from I do (I don’t wear much makeup at all so I’m already in the minority there), so I’m not at all worried about my individuality in this regard. Further, the Logo head is now no longer as new and innovative as it was when it first appeared, so most people looking into mesh heads today are looking at the new ones, such as what is now being offered by SLink and Lelutka. Lastly, I’ve been using the same head for so long (Logo was an early entrant into mesh heads), it’s now become a part of my signature look.
My mesh hands and feet
After trying on several appendage options, I settled on the SLink hands and feet, while retaining my system avi body. Today, if I’m not wearing a mesh body (which is rare), I’ll still use my SLink hands and feet. I have the fat pack of hands, but I mainly use Relax and Elegant. For feet, I mainly use their flat barefoot option, and here and there will change it up depending on the very few SLink compatible shoes I’ve purchased over the last year. Again, I’d never go back to system appendages.
Early forays into mesh bottoms
Shorty after making the move to mesh hands and feet, I picked up the CuteAzz from PhatAzz, which I wore only when nude or with swimwear. While impressed with the contours then – enough to wear this bottom/legs as Eve in Paradise Lost where I appeared nude for half the show – I never felt comfortable with the seam at my waist that would show up in certain poses, animations and lighting. Still, it was a good learning experience to try a mesh body part, which first introduced me to what appliers are, and how round and fleshy mesh can actually look. I have to admit I did stare at my ass for days after I first bought it.
My mesh body evolution
My first mesh body was from Wowmeh (top right corner in the image above). It was a vast improvement over the standard avatar (top left), but I never liked it as much as its fervent fans. My second mesh body, which I bought for comparison purposes was from SLink (pictured bottom left). This body was prettier and more detailed in my opinion, and the accompanying HUD allowed more options than the Wowmeh.
I remember then that many people considered the SLink to be flawed. I heard many Wowmeh fans complain that the labia was ‘crooked’ and that the bottom was too flat. Before it really had much of a chance to evolve, the Wowmeh was hit with a DMCA takedown, which rendered that option a non-starter. Still, the SLink body, despite all the relative bells and whistles – and the very exciting possibility of a couple of mesh heads to match – didn’t do it for me. So, I went through the arduous process of buying The Mesh Project Body (Deluxe) from The Shops (bottom right)
The TMP became my body of choice for about six months, and I’m now completely familiar with the HUD. Furthermore, I love the tone, texture and shape of this body. Having said that, I saw and continue to see, three major flaws that led me to look elsewhere:
- The developers are misguided in asking Second Lifers to adopt their frustrating Shopping HUD system.
- I foresee big limits to scale with regards to the TMP StyleMode HUD. The interface just about works for the dozens of clothing options I have, but I can’t imagine how a visual inventory system is going to work when the numbers get into the hundreds.
- Hundreds of clothing options for the TMP is hardly an imminent concern at the moment, considering how glacially slow The Shops are when it comes to releasing new clothing items for sale. After nearly six months of wearing this body, I was really starting to feel like I was recycling my looks again and again.
Many of my friends went with either SLink, TMP, and Belleza (which I’ve heard good things about, but have not yet tried). I considered going back to the SLink when I saw the heads – especially since one of them – Becky – was obviously named after me (hah!).
The big drawback for me however, was that in some lighting conditions (ALM), the body looked so shiny that one couldn’t be blamed for thinking it was covered in oil. From what I can tell, they’ve since addressed this issue in the latest update.
I have an RL friend that uses the SLink body and Emma head, so I had several opportunities to look over her shoulder while she customised her SLink options and HUD. I notice that the clothing options for the SLink are abundant. Sadly, most options don’t at all appeal to my taste, due to my sense that most of the creators making clothing for SLink bodies are targeting the sex worker market. On sum, my head and body combination felt like a good way forward, so I resisted going over to the SLink.
After the most recent update SLink released for the heads and the bodies, they remained a very compelling option. The TMP body, however, remained hard to beat for looks, so I waited.
My wait was rewarded. When I first heard Maitreya was developing a mesh body, I became very interested. My first thought was: Finally, here is a mesh body maker that has a huge history with Second Life (which suggests they’re not going to try to reinvent the wheel – like TMP), and a great back catalog of clothes and shoes that totally suits my style (unlike SLink or Belleza).
I was anxious about making the move after having invested so much time and money into the TMP. I’ve never been a one-or-the-other person though, so I felt confident that my investment in TMP was not wasted, that I’d probably continue to use the body and the many high quality outfits I purchased from them, and still enjoy using a new mesh body from Maitreya. The benefit would be opening up two collections to draw from. Talk about double your fun!
2. What is your preferred mesh body available on the market right now?
I picked up the Maitreya Lara Mesh Body, and just a couple of weeks ago updated it to V3. With the new HUD, and considering all of my experience with mesh bodies to date, I can unequivocally say that The Maitreya Lara is hands down the body to beat at the moment.
I have never felt so at ease with the customisation options, Maitreya’s clothes and shoes are glamorous and elegantly sexy, and retrofitting the body into my mesh wardrobe has so far been a breeze. Best of all, and this is always a concern for me, the body’s default skin tones and my mesh head matched almost seamlessly.
I couldn’t be happier with how things ended up. I now wear this body all the time, and am in the process of retrofitting all my outfits, a process I delayed because of my general sense of unease with the TMP HUD limitations.
3. Have you changed your shape since you started wearing the body?
- increased my torso muscle from 34 to 41
- decreased my breast size from 57 to 46
- increased my hand size from 27 to 40
- increased my torso length from 43 to 58
- increased my love handles from 30 to 32
- increased my belly size from 0 to 4
- increased my hip length from 57 to 58
These changes have been gradual and mainly to look more realistic and fit better into standard sizing.
4. How do you feel about mesh bodies in general?
I love them and wouldn’t easily go back. Same with mesh heads. There is no substitute for mesh if you want to look your very best in Second Life, nude or clothed, no matter what your size and shape is.
5. What is one thing you would request from designers when it comes to mesh bodies?
This is a toughie. I am so pleased with my Maitreya that I find it hard to imagine what else I’d like, apart from more clothes – which I know will come. At the moment, my main area of concern is my head. Logo hasn’t released anything for ages now, which makes me think that they’ve lost interest in updating their head. This will prove an issue in the future, if I can’t find appliers to match my different skin tones as they evolve throughout the seasons. I know I can always manually do it, like the old days, but it’s never quite right is it? Anyway, this is a good reminder to ping the folks at Logo for an update at least.