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LuEllen Weymann

Do I need to have a mesh body?

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Here's the deal.

Mesh is an object...an attachment, just like hair or shoes.  A mesh body is an attachment that covers your entire body (except, in most cases, the head...and you can get mesh heads, too.)

In fact, you can get mesh attachments for your head, your hands, your feet, your breasts, and your bum.  You can "replace" your standard avatar body piecemeal with such add-ons, or you can go whole hog and get a mesh body.  In some cases, people do a little of both.  For example, I have mesh hands and feet from SLink, and a mesh body from Maitreya.  The mesh body comes with its own hands and feet, but allows you the option to use the SLink ones if you prefer.

Many creators offer mesh bodies and attachments.  Some popular ones are SLink, Maitreya, The Mesh Project, and Bellezza.

Any attachment can be scripted to change its texture in response to a menu or a HUD controller.  For example, some shoes and dresses come with a color change HUD.  In order to match skin tones with standard avatar skins, lots of mesh body parts allow the use of "appliers."  An applier is a little HUD that you wear, which "applies" a skin and/or a clothing texture to the mesh body part.  For example, I might buy a dress that has an "applier" for the popular Lolas Tango mesh breast attachments.  By using it, the dress texture is placed on the breasts, so they don't appear to poke out of the outfit nude.  Or I can buy an applier from my skin vendor (Laqroki) that applies my classic skin tone to my mesh body, giving a perfect match to the skin of my neck and head.

Makeup:  In the old days, the only way to change your makeup was to buy a different skin, and skins were (and still are) sold in "packs" providing a range of makeup looks.  For those wishing more customization, makeup on tattoo layers is also available, and can be worn "over" a classic avatar skin.  Neither of these works with a mesh head, though, because the mesh head is an attachment.  Skin layers and tattoo layers only affect the classic avatar body, not attachments.  And so, creators are now making makeup appliers for mesh heads, too. 

It's all very confusing, I know.  The key is to look on the advertising for logos of the products that something is compatible with.  If it says it "works with classic avatars", it does just that.  If it carries the SLink or TMP or AT (Maitreya) logos, it works with those mesh products.  If you are uncertain, and the product offers a demo version, try the demo to see if it works with what you have.

Do you "need" a mesh body?  Heck, no!  I love my SLink hands and feet, they look much prettier than the clubs that are part of the classic avatar body.  But unless you are spending a lot of your time nude or nearly so, you don't need a mesh body.  People have to look very closely to tell the difference between a mesh body and a classic avatar body.  I also prefer the classic avatar head to the various mesh heads out there.  Mesh heads may have a smoother, more realistic look to them, but they don't have the facial morphs of the classic head (smile, frown, etc.) and to my eye they look like china dolls rather than people.

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Here's the deal.

Mesh is an object...an attachment, just like hair or shoes.  A mesh body is an attachment that covers your entire body (except, in most cases, the head...and you can get mesh heads, too.)

In fact, you can get mesh attachments for your head, your hands, your feet, your breasts, and your bum.  You can "replace" your standard avatar body piecemeal with such add-ons, or you can go whole hog and get a mesh body.  In some cases, people do a little of both.  For example, I have mesh hands and feet from SLink, and a mesh body from Maitreya.  The mesh body comes with its own hands and feet, but allows you the option to use the SLink ones if you prefer.

Many creators offer mesh bodies and attachments.  Some popular ones are SLink, Maitreya, The Mesh Project, and Bellezza.

Any attachment can be scripted to change its texture in response to a menu or a HUD controller.  For example, some shoes and dresses come with a color change HUD.  In order to match skin tones with standard avatar skins, lots of mesh body parts allow the use of "appliers."  An applier is a little HUD that you wear, which "applies" a skin and/or a clothing texture to the mesh body part.  For example, I might buy a dress that has an "applier" for the popular Lolas Tango mesh breast attachments.  By using it, the dress texture is placed on the breasts, so they don't appear to poke out of the outfit nude.  Or I can buy an applier from my skin vendor (Laqroki) that applies my classic skin tone to my mesh body, giving a perfect match to the skin of my neck and head.

Makeup:  In the old days, the only way to change your makeup was to buy a different skin, and skins were (and still are) sold in "packs" providing a range of makeup looks.  For those wishing more customization, makeup on tattoo layers is also available, and can be worn "over" a classic avatar skin.  Neither of these works with a mesh head, though, because the mesh head is an attachment.  Skin layers and tattoo layers only affect the classic avatar body, not attachments.  And so, creators are now making makeup appliers for mesh heads, too. 

It's all very confusing, I know.  The key is to look on the advertising for logos of the products that something is compatible with.  If it says it "works with classic avatars", it does just that.  If it carries the SLink or TMP or AT (Maitreya) logos, it works with those mesh products.  If you are uncertain, and the product offers a demo version, try the demo to see if it works with what you have.

Do you "need" a mesh body?  Heck, no!  I love my SLink hands and feet, they look much prettier than the clubs that are part of the classic avatar body.  But unless you are spending a lot of your time nude or nearly so, you don't need a mesh body.  People have to look very closely to tell the difference between a mesh body and a classic avatar body.  I also prefer the classic avatar head to the various mesh heads out there.  Mesh heads may have a smoother, more realistic look to them, but they don't have the facial morphs of the classic head (smile, frown, etc.) and to my eye they look like china dolls rather than people.

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To answer,

Mesh bodys, and there are many out there, are not "needed."

I have several, such as SMB, Slink, Toddleedoo, and Tweeneedoo.

Mesh bodies, depending on the body come with skins that you can select directly from a hud that comes with it.

You can also buy skins to apply to the bodies as well.

In order to wear a skintight clothing item with a mesh body, the item must come in an applier form. "Slink applier for Slink. Toddleedoo applier for Toddleedoo. etc.." On the other hand their is an Omega hud 99L, which many creators use that you can buy directly for your mesh body in the case that you use one, that allows you to use practically any Omega applier on that body. Slink, Maitreya, and Toddleedoo versions can be found.

In order for you to wear clothing and not own a Mesh body, it is best to make sure they come with general Linden Lab avatar parts. (These are the ones that have the different icons next to it.)

You can not use an applier for a Mesh body on the original avatar.

There is a lot of clothes out there and many shops that carry clothes to fit almost every body such as Crazy Kitty, and ADN.

Admittingly most shoes are made to fit Slink or TMP(The  Mesh Project) feet. In many cases you can find a skin store that has appliers to match your feet to a Linden avatar. One place for example is The Sugar Garden.

 

Overall my best tip, read info carefully on the description and or image of the product. Also when you go to buy things, some things you click to buy and it will show you all the items that come in the folder/box. You can look at this for an official idea of what appliers and parts you will get with it.

Also, don't be afraid to talk to the creators, and read around the stores, most are openly glad to help you!

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> Is mesh the same as slink?

No. Mesh is a wide category of items, that are made with programs like blender, outside of Second Life. Slink is a store/brand which sells mesh items, especially body parts.

> Do I need to have a mesh body before I can use mesh skin?

There is no such thing as a mesh skin. There is just skin and then there are mesh objects. You can use all skins with the standart avatar.

> And then do I need the body and skin before I can wear mesh (or slink) clothes?

No. You do not need a mesh body to wear mesh clothes or the feet from slink. Those are aswell attachments that can also be used with standart avatars. Always test with a demo version first, of course.

> I'm just a customer who wants to buy stuff but it has not been explained very well to the user.

Thats because its all user generated content, which was nothing to do with the general instructions on how to use SL. Its optional and therefore its up to the user to inform themselves on products. Just like there is no instructions given for other specific content.

 

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You mostly gotten good information. But, there are couple of points where the answers may confuse you and everyone seems to have skipped the basics. I'll cover the basic concepts and explain how we use terms in SL. Hopefully, you'll have less confusion.

First, everything in SL is mesh. Press the keys: Ctrl-Shift-R to see it. That is a toggle, so press it again to return to normal view. So, people in SL obviously are using terms in ways unique to SL. Avoid letting that confuse you.

There are different types of avatars in SL. There are the new starter avatars, which have what we call mesh bodies or we just call them mesh avatars. There are also the older avatars which we call classic avatars. The classic avatar skeleton and skin are the base avatar for both types. When using a new mesh body the skin of the classic avatar is hidden behind it and poke through is hidden using alpha layers.

Clothes and skin made for the classic avatar apply a texture/image to the mesh surface that makes up the skin of the classic avatar, which we usually just refer to as the system (original) skin. We call these clothes and skins classic, system clothes or skin. You can think of the images as being like decals stuck on the mesh that makes up the classic body.  These are the clothes we make with ONLY GIMP or Photoshop.

If you use GIMP or Photoshop you are likely familiar with layers. In the classic avatar the skin is the bottom layer. On top of that we composite the tattoo, undershirt, shirt, and jacket layers. We can also wear ‘attachments’ on top of all those layers.

Over the classic avatar body and those ‘system’ layers the new style mesh avatar places a new mesh surface, which is an attachment. The two surfaces are so close to the same position we generally hide the surface used for the classic avatar with Alpha Layers, so the classic skin won't show when it pokes through the surface of the new style mesh avatar’s surface - which it will as the avatar moves. It’s a basic limitation of modeling and animating in all 3D worlds that surfaces conflict. It is just the state of the technology we have. Note, this hiding also hides the system clothes applied to the classic skin.

The viewer always applies system skin, tats, shirt, etc. to the system or classic avatar’s surface. This is why when you wear a new style mesh avatar and make changes to system clothes you see no change. The change happened on the classic avatar skin/surface, which is HIDDEN UNDER the new style mesh skin/surface.

Special skins and clothes are needed for use with the newer style mesh avatars. With mesh clothes another mesh surface is placed over both the classic and new style mesh skins. A rigged mesh top should fit over both skins. A rigged mesh jacket will be another surface that fits over all the surfaces below/inside it.

We use 'Appliers' (a HUD that usually comes with a skin or other attachment) to place textures/images on the new surface that makes up the mesh avatar skin or clothing. We must composite the skin and clothes we want to put on the new style avatar skin ourselves. But, it is intended that we use new style mesh clothes with the new style mesh avatar body. So, in general we only place skin on the new mesh skin.

Unfortunately, skins made for the classic avatar generally won't work with the new mesh avatar skin. The skin makers are modifying classic skins they made to work with Appliers they build, which put the skins on the new mesh avatars.

Mesh clothes can be used with the new mesh avatars and classic avatars. System clothes can only be used with the system/classic avatar.

If all this seem unnecessarily complicated... you're sort of right and the thinking is understandable. But, the necessity for it comes from the Lab's habit of making all new things as backward compatible as possible. Classic avatars came first. We are now in a transition to newer things. We expect these complications to be removed in the coming SL2.

 

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Just wanted to say I really appreciate all the answers in this thread. They really helped someone like me returning to SL after many years and rather baffled by the technology changes.

I have a few more questions: I hear some people say that mesh bodies (and especially heads) are limited because you cannot change their shape (or that changes to your shape do not show on them). Any truth to that? Others say that the mesh body parts, like breasts or buttocks, can be modified extensively and one woman even demonstrated to  me how she can "grow her breasts," lol.   What's actually going on here? Do mesh bodies rely on the classic system "shape" to get the form? Will editing my appearance/shape change a mesh body or head or am I stuck with its default shape?

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