If you are thinking about trying a mesh body for the very first time, this post is for you. Let’s start with some basic guidance for those who are wondering where to begin.
First let me say something about… CHANGE. It is not an easy thing. Quite a few guys are initially reluctant to give up the look they have had for years. I know I was. Even if you know that your look is dated, it feels like “you.” I liked my old appearance. I thought I was sexy and attractive. Mesh was a scary unknown. Let me tell you from experience: when you upgrade to mesh, you are not going to look the same. You will look better… but you will look different. My advice: just embrace the change. Give it a go. It does not have to be permanent. You can always go back. Your old system body will always be there as long as you don’t delete your old skin and shape. But although you can go back, after a couple of weeks, I predict you will not want to. I look back at my old appearance now, and I think, “OMG, what was I thinking? Why did I ever think this was attractive?” The look I used to think was so sexy now looks awkward and primitive to me. My new look is the one that feels like “me,” now.
There is a little bit of a learning curve, but honestly, it is no different from the learning curve you faced when you first started in SL. It is worth it in the end. Trust me.
So if you are brave enough to take the plunge, let’s begin. Let’s start with the six absolute basics:
- mesh body
- mesh head
- skin (for your mesh head)
- skin (for your mesh body)
- mesh hair
- mesh clothes
Because there can be so much variation mixing and matching these six elements, you can personalize your avatar to be quite unique.
- Mesh Bodies 101 – The first thing you need is a mesh body. What is a mesh body, anyway? Why should you care about mesh bodies? Which mesh body should you buy? This introduction answers your most basic questions. (Note that this blog focuses exclusively on the “Jake” body from Belleza.)
In addition to a mesh body, you will need:
- Mesh Head: Although a mesh head is not strictly necessary (you can wear a mesh body with your existing system head), it is VERY difficult to find a skin that matches both. To save yourself the frustration and embarrassment of a mismatched head, with a glaring neck seam, I recommend that you just take the plunge and get a mesh head. You should probably buy the skin first, to make sure you get the correct head that matches the face you want.
- Skin: You can’t — or, well, you shouldn’t — wear your old system skin with a mesh body… and especially not with a mesh head. Although it is technically possible if you use the new “bakes on mesh” function, it will probably look horrible. Old fashioned system skins are just not intended for mesh bodies and heads; in most cases the artwork is not detailed enough, especially for faces, fingers and toes, and doesn’t take advantage of the more natural, updated shapes possible with mesh. It is much, much less of a headache to simply get a new skin that is made to work with mesh bodies and heads. The best, most masculine “regular guy” skins are from Birth. Skins from Stray Dog are also very good quality, although some may find them a little less masculine.
- For your skin you will need TWO parts: one for your mesh head, and the matching part for your mesh body.
- When you go to the skin store, you will mainly see faces. These are the skins for your mesh head. I refer to them as “face skins.” The face is the most important part of your personality, so select whichever one feels most like who you want to be. Most face skins are intended for one particular model of mesh head. If you look at the poster, it will tell you which one: it will say something like “Catwa Daniel”, “Lelutka Paxton”, etc. If you already bought a mesh head, be sure to choose a face skin that is designed for the head you have. If you haven’t bought a mesh head yet, pick whichever face skin you like best, then go get the head for which that skin is made.
- After you have chosen a face skin, before you leave the store, be sure to purchase the matching body skin that goes with your particular brand of mesh body. Make sure it’s the same skin tone as the face skin you selected.
- Hair: You may be able to wear your existing hair with your mesh body and head… IF, and only IF, your hair is 100% mesh. Be sure to check. Most older hair is made of “sculpties” and you must never, EVER wear any sculpties while wearing your mesh body—it sends your complexity sky high, which means that other people won’t even see you, they will just see a “jelly doll”. Newer mesh hair is preferable because it is specifically made to work with mesh heads. Good, manly men’s hair is not easy to find, but I found options I liked at Dura, Exile, Vango, Stealthic, no.match and Wasabi.
- Mesh Clothes: Once you have a mesh body, a mesh head, a good skin, and hair, you’re ready for this blog! Dive right in to the posts and let’s see what we can find for you, dude!