There seems to be a lot of confusion surrounding mesh bodies. I get questions regarding mesh bodies on a daily basis. I am going to try and clear up some of that confusion today and maybe help some people who are new to the market on deciding on a mesh body.
In this post, I will not be reviewing mesh bodies or comparing them and coming to a conclusion on which you should buy. There are many mesh body reviews out there if that is what you’re interested in. I will list some reviews at the end of the article. In the end, though, you are the only one who is qualified to decide which body is right for you and how you style your avatar. Obviously, I do have my preferences (flip through my blog posts credits and that will become obvious), but this post is not intended to present those preferences to you. It is intended to help you decide what you want, not what I want you to want. 🙂
On to the show, bloggettes!
Why even bother with a mesh body? Do I even need a mesh body?
Mesh bodies have a much higher polygon count and can hold higher resolution textures. What does this mean? This means it looks better than the system or default body. The edges are smoother and the textures (skins and texture/system clothing) look much better, when made well. So, it stands to reason, that if you tend to bare a lot of skin, you might want one. If you tend to wear a lot of mesh clothing that fully covers your body, buying a mesh body would be moot. Take into consideration the way you generally style your avatar. I wear my mesh body *all* the time. However, I tend to wear very few clothes—lots of lingerie and cutie fairy outfits (apparently, fairies are very provocative :P). I even wear my body with dresses because I love the knees, elbows and shoulders on them.
You may also have general questions about how the bodies work.
May I keep my shape?
Yes! The bodies are fitted mesh. While rigged mesh (like most of the sized clothing you purchase) only works with certain sliders, fitted mesh works with all of the normal body sliders like muscle and fat. So, you can edit your shape and it affects the shape of the body. However (and more difficult to explain until you’ve tried some demos), the mesh bodies do have their own shape to them. I suppose it has something to do with the way the mesh sits on the basic structure of the body. The shape of this mesh cannot be altered. So, the breasts have a certain shape as does the stance of the thighs on different ones. This will affect the way clothing fits on each of them and you may realize that you like the shape of some mesh better than others when trying them out.
However, if you purchase a body with a head (or a mesh head alone), you can *not* change the face of it. Because of this, many mesh bodies come headless, which sounds a little weird, but it is brilliant. You keep your default head so you can keep your individual face and still utilize the benefits of a mesh body. There are some lovely mesh heads out there, though. And if you aren’t too attached to your face, you may want to look into those as well.
Can I wear my old clothes with a mesh body?
This can be a complicated question to answer.
System/Texture Clothing. – Remember years ago when all clothing was texture clothing, the clothing that is painted on the avatar? These will not work at all with the mesh body. These adhere to and paint against the default body. So, when you put on your alpha for the mesh body and your default body disappears, so will this clothing. However, you can wear texture clothing. I like to wear some texture lingerie periodically. This can only be done if the merchant/designer who makes the clothing sells an applier for the specific mesh body you have, or maybe an Omega applier (we’ll talk about this later).
An applier is a HUD that you attach and click on (simple as that) that allows you to apply a texture to your mesh body (or other mesh part like hands/feet/boobies/head/etc). The mesh bodies have different invisible layers that are offset from the body and the HUD will apply a texture to this layers so it can be seen. This is also how you get the skin on your body (except the skin isn’t offset).
Rigged Mesh Clothing – This is probably most of the clothing in your inventory. It is the mesh clothing that generally comes in 5 standard sizes. The alphas that come with this clothing only affect the default/system body and do not affect the mesh body. Because of this mesh bodies come with an alpha HUD. This HUD allows you to make different ‘slices’ of the mesh body invisible. Each body’s HUD is different and offers different slicing. I am able to wear most of my rigged mesh with a mesh body without clipping (or with very little, as I’m pretty particular about this). However, because it is rigged, you will still have to adjust your shape to fit inside the rigged mesh, just like you used to.
Fitted Mesh Clothing – Some designers make fitted mesh clothing specifically for different bodies (Blueberry for example). There is not a great proliferation of this, though. I explained fitted mesh earlier, in regards to the bodies. When the fitted mesh is made for specific bodies there are generally no issues. What is great about this is that you can have a non-standard shape and still be wearing mesh; you don’t have to adjust your shape to fit inside of it.
There is also some fitted mesh out there that is not made for specific bodies. This is hit or miss. DEMO. Always DEMO to mitigate your disappointment. Remember when I said earlier that the body mesh has its own shape to it (the shape of the breasts or the stance of the hips/thighs)? It is because of this that layering fitted mesh over it can be difficult. When fitted mesh is created for a body , it is created with this same shape, so they move together perfectly. When fitted mesh isn’t, some difficulty can arise. However, the alpha HUD is sometimes enough to work around this. Just try things out and tinker a little bit.
It may seem overwhelming at first, but in a couple weeks, it will feel like tinkering with your default avatar. Just keep at it!
What is an Omega applier?
An Omega applier is an applier that works on *most* mesh bodies. However, it does *not* work on The Mesh Project’s or SLink’s body. In order to use it, you must purchase a relay. There is even a way to turn certain specific appliers (a Lola applier, for instance) into an Omega applier. This requires a bit of script swapping, and may not always work. You can read more about how to use Omega appliers and how to switch around appliers on their website.
What mesh bodies are most popular, and how do I choose?
There are a few characteristics that I find important and that you may want to consider when shopping for a mesh body. The importance of these characteristics will, obviously, depend on you and what you value most. You should demo and find out what is most important to you.
Price (obviously) – Prices on the mesh bodies range from 900L to 5000L. Depending on your budget this may be a deciding factor for you in your decision.
Shape – The shape of the mesh, not your body shape but how the shape is different or similar to the standard body and how it is affected by the sliders. If you remember earlier, I said that the stance of the thighs may change? The Mesh Project’s (TMP) body can often be difficult to put into shorts or pants because of the stance of their hips. However, I never have a problem putting the SLink body into shorts or pants. The closer the mesh is to the default body, the easier it will be to fit into rigged mesh/ standard sizing. This is because that mesh was created for the default body. However, this also means you may be losing some interesting/beautiful shape to the mesh which is part of the reason for a body in the first place—its differentiation from the default body. TMP may be more difficult to dress than SLink for instance, but I find the shape of TMP’s mesh to be much more appealing.
Much of this is going to be personal preference. You may prefer a more slender avatar, in which case you may prefer the SLink body to TMP. Or maybe you prefer the shape of one’s breasts over another one. There are other things to consider, though. If you primarily intend to wear applier clothing, the ease of fitted mesh may not be that important to you but Omega appliers may be very important.
Alpha HUD – If you plan to wear a lot of fitted mesh clothing, then this is extremely important. The more ‘cuts’ or sections in the alpha HUD the better because it provides you with greater versatility. Try out the HUDs with mesh clothing you already own, and don’t be afraid to adjust your shape to avoid any clipping (the mesh body poking through your clothing). On some bodies the front and the back have been the same alpha cut or both legs are the same one. Play around with them. See what you like and what you don’t like.
Here is a collage of the alpha HUDs of the six different mesh bodies that I own:
Top Row: Banned DEA, Belleza Venus, Kitties Lair Lena
Bottom Row: Maitreya Lara, SLink Physique, The Mesh Project Deluxe
Availability of Skins – If you love, love, love the skin you wear and refuse to change skins, this is critical. Does your skin creator make appliers so that the body can match seamlessly? If not, are the tones supplied by the mesh body you want close enough along with a neck blender to work for you? DEMO DEMO DEMO. Maybe you aren’t that attached to your skin. Do some of your favorite creators make appliers? Look around or look on the Skin Addiction blog to see a listing of available skin appliers for different mesh bodies.
By the way, if you aren’t a member of the Skin Addiction group. You should be. Join. I’m not kidding. They are the best group of the most helpful people I know. Anything related to shopping in SL and they’ll try to help as much as they can.
SLink Compabibility – Do you already own SLink hands and feet? Did you buy a gazillion-and-one shoes for those feet? If you want to keep wearing the shoes you already purchased, this will be important for you. Some of the bodies will work with the SLink feet and others will not. Make sure you know whether or not before buying, if this is important to you.
Omega Compatibility – Can the body be used with Omega appliers? A body being compatible with Omega appliers broadens the availability of texture clothing and skins for you.
Ease of Use – If you plan on using the body a lot, you may be really annoyed if you hate the HUD it comes with or you can’t figure out how to navigate the HUD. On the other hand, if you intend to use the body a lot, a difficult HUD could be something to which you’ll become accustomed and you’ll take the time in exchange for other features you appreciate. Know yourself. You didn’t realize the search for a mesh body was going to be so self-reflective, did you?
Ease of Shopping – Honestly, I only mention this at all because The Shops (where you purchase the TMP body) has a strange purchasing system involving a HUD. Many people seem to find this system very difficult to navigate. I wrote a tutorial on it here, if you want to go through and purchase it. Some people simply prefer to avoid The Shops altogether, but it is one of my favorite bodies. It is really beautiful.
I made a small chart comparing some of the features for the six mesh bodies I own:
You may be interested in some reviews of mesh bodies. Here are a few I have gathered:
On The Mesh Body Addicts blog in the panel to the right.
Alaskametro compares a few different bodies here.
Here is also a line up of a bunch of different bodies by Meghindo, it is phenomenal. It is an older photo and, therefore, does not include Maitreya’s Lara. Here is an incomplete listing of a bunch of different bodies and other mesh parts too! There are a lot here, so try not to be overwhelmed.
That about sums it up! Now go, lil bloglings! Go and DEMO until your heart is content and your body is mesh.
Have a mesh body already? Need help dressing it? Here is a tutorial on the Mesh Body Addict’s blog to guide you!
If you have any further questions, don’t be afraid to comment below or ask me in world; I’m a friendly soul.