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zoelamb

Question about heads / faces

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Hello lovely people,

I have been using an avatar with an inbuilt head for some time and have just switched to using a Maitreya Lara body, which does not come with a head. And this has thrown me back into beginner territory.... :)

I have been told that I just need a *skin* in order to choose a nice new face. So... I reset my body to a standard SL 'classic' female body and then added the Maitreya Lara body and alpha. So far so good... I have the nice new body and the standard SL head with its face poking out the top. I have one of the Maitreya *shapes* worn.

I then went to stores 'LAQ' and 'Catwa'. Ignoring their (great) 3D mesh heads... When I try some of the *skins* on sale the new face gets applied but looks all distorted. But in some cases you get a *shape* with the skin and this fixes it. But this shape seems to override the whole body's shape as well as fixing the face.

I am going round in circles not really understanding shapes, skins and heads! *cries*

In short I have three questions:

  1. Do I need to buy a base Catwa or LAQ (or some other) *head* in order to apply their skins to it? Or should they work with the default avatar head underneath (i.e. without masking it off)
  2. What about shapes? Can I keep my own body shape and then use a 3rd party skin (for the face) or will I always have to use the shape that comes with the skin?
  3. Can you have a shape for just the head and a shape for the body or can you only wear one shape overall?

If anyone can help me untangle this I will be very grateful!

 

Thank you! 

Katy xx

 

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You don't need to buy a head. Lots of people (like me) wear their mesh body with a classic head.

As for skins, you can either pick a skin tone in the Maitreya HUD to match your head (not always successful), or buy a skin package that contains both a classic skin and either a Maitreya applier or an Omega applier. To use an Omega applier you must first have the Omega relay ("system kit") for Maitreya, available here or cheaper in Omega's inworld shop if you join their group.

You can use any shape (only one) with a mesh body, and both your classic body and your mesh body will respond to most shape adjustments you make.

:)

Edited by angeoco

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If the shapes are modify, you can change the body numbers over to the shape that came with the skin for the face.

There are less sliders for the body than the face so it will be easier to change those numbers than the ones for the face.

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For my adult avatar I use the Maitreya Lara body with a normal, modifiable shape that I purchased on Marketplace ages ago. I didn't need to buy a new skin since I was able to get my normal skin to match quite easily (I just use my regular skin, and the closest matching shade from the skins that came with the Lara body).

Edited by Sadvhi

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Just saying ... the built-in skins on the Maitreya body come from Glam Affair. You might find offers for a system skin or an applier for a head of your choice at an event.

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3 hours ago, zoelamb said:

In short I have three questions:

  1. Do I need to buy a base Catwa or LAQ (or some other) *head* in order to apply their skins to it? Or should they work with the default avatar head underneath (i.e. without masking it off)
  2. What about shapes? Can I keep my own body shape and then use a 3rd party skin (for the face) or will I always have to use the shape that comes with the skin?
  3. Can you have a shape for just the head and a shape for the body or can you only wear one shape overall?

If anyone can help me untangle this I will be very grateful!

Skins and shapes are two different things so you can definitely keep your shape with a different skin.

- shape : when you go into Edit Appearance, you're editing your shape. Then this new appearance is saved as a shape for everything that is editable there (head, avatar, torso, legs, nose, chin, etc...).

- skins : if you wear a mesh attachment (head, feet, body, hands, etc...) you need something to apply a skin in it (i.e. : applier). So if you want your avatar to have the same skin from toes to head, you need to look for a skin with applier. Then both your mesh attachment and your LL avatar will have the same skin. But if you've no mesh attachment and go just with LL avatar, you don't need appliers.

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First off, no, you cannot use two shapes.

You are also not "forced" to use either shape. Build your own! It does take some time, but it is fun and expresses your individuality :) I would pick your favorite one of the two and start the work from there (assuming they are mod of course). You could also be content with "correcting" the distortions of the first shape, but this might take some time finding the right sliders too.

As for mesh head, they are not necessary, but I am so happy with mine! It's a world of difference really. I would at least try demos for the heads, see if you can't find one up to your tastes. You will see at least as much difference as you did switching bodies, plus, generally, bento heads are animated, which makes your avatar look a little more lifelike. Also, a mesh head lessens the occurence of distortion as they probably have over 2000 times the amount of polygons, which makes them much more malleable (?) before arriving at a critical point where they look distorted. Make sure it is a bento head though, as older heads will not adjust to your shape sliders. Also, as you try most heads, you will go "Ewwwww this looks so weird!" but take the time to adjust the shape, wear it for some time (an hour or so) so your eye gets used to it, give it time to sink in. I remember trying a head lately, a few weeks ago, my first thought was "omg I look like a hamster with it." but after adjusting the shape and taking the time to let it sink in, I found it quite pleasing and a friend I was with was charmed. I didn't buy it though, but it's just an example. :)

The problem with Omega is that (most of the time) your skin won't be developed for the body you have. It's just ported over by the omega system. This means that sometimes, some body parts may slightly be off, nipples are a prime example. I've seen a developer of rigged nipple jewelry for Maitreya, and many people in the reviews are like "it doesn't fit right, don't buy". I buy the jewelry in question, which fits just fine. It's just the matter of the skin not properly developed for the body and the nipple jewelry being centered on the shape's nipple, not the skin's nipple. Rigs apply to the shape of the body, not its skin. So if the skin is not correct with the shape, things like this happen. Buying a skin specifically developed for your body eliminates the chances of small errors like the nipple being off the shape.

About skins, as was mentioned, the default Maitreya skins use Glam Affair skins, I'm sure you can find a matching system skin at the Glam Affair shop for your non-mesh head. Of course if you decide to buy a mesh head, you need to buy the matching skin for the designated mesh head.

You can also buy a skin from a third party developer. You probably won't need Omega for that, just make sure your skin is both compatible with Maitreya and offers a system skin if you decide to go for system head. Otherwise, if you're indeed considering a mesh head, make sure they are both compatible with Maitreya and your mesh head. The easiest route for this then is to just buy the applier for your head at Glam Affair to match with the default skin Maitreya offers. I have been using it for a while and it looks perfect!

A thing to consider: If you decide to stay with your system head, and buy skins for it, and later decide to buy a mesh head, you will very likely need to buy a new skin at that moment.

Edited by Mei Avril
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6 hours ago, angeoco said:

You don't need to buy a head. Lots of people (like me) wear their mesh body with a classic head.

As for skins, you can either pick a skin tone in the Maitreya HUD to match your head (not always successful), or buy a skin package that contains both a classic skin and either a Maitreya applier or an Omega applier. To use an Omega applier you must first have the Omega relay ("system kit") for Maitreya, available here or cheaper in Omega's inworld shop if you join their group.

You can use any shape (only one) with a mesh body, and both your classic body and your mesh body will respond to most shape adjustments you make.

:)

OK thanks - this answers my key question. Someone earlier told me (in a store) that I have to buy their head in order to use their skins. But they are like $5000!

I have the Omega relay on my HUD so I guess I'm pretty much good to go right?

Can you recommend a vendor of skin packages like the ones you describe? The ones I am adding seem to not be mapped to the standard SL head properly. Like the eyes are out of place etc.

 

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3 hours ago, Mei Avril said:

First off, no, you cannot use two shapes.

You are also not "forced" to use either shape. Build your own! It does take some time, but it is fun and expresses your individuality :) I would pick your favorite one of the two and start the work from there (assuming they are mod of course). You could also be content with "correcting" the distortions of the first shape, but this might take some time finding the right sliders too.

As for mesh head, they are not necessary, but I am so happy with mine! It's a world of difference really. I would at least try demos for the heads, see if you can't find one up to your tastes. You will see at least as much difference as you did switching bodies, plus, generally, bento heads are animated, which makes your avatar look a little more lifelike. Also, a mesh head lessens the occurence of distortion as they probably have over 2000 times the amount of polygons, which makes them much more malleable (?) before arriving at a critical point where they look distorted. Make sure it is a bento head though, as older heads will not adjust to your shape sliders. Also, as you try most heads, you will go "Ewwwww this looks so weird!" but take the time to adjust the shape, wear it for some time (an hour or so) so your eye gets used to it, give it time to sink in. I remember trying a head lately, a few weeks ago, my first thought was "omg I look like a hamster with it." but after adjusting the shape and taking the time to let it sink in, I found it quite pleasing and a friend I was with was charmed. I didn't buy it though, but it's just an example. :)

The problem with Omega is that (most of the time) your skin won't be developed for the body you have. It's just ported over by the omega system. This means that sometimes, some body parts may slightly be off, nipples are a prime example. I've seen a developer of rigged nipple jewelry for Maitreya, and many people in the reviews are like "it doesn't fit right, don't buy". I buy the jewelry in question, which fits just fine. It's just the matter of the skin not properly developed for the body and the nipple jewelry being centered on the shape's nipple, not the skin's nipple. Rigs apply to the shape of the body, not its skin. So if the skin is not correct with the shape, things like this happen. Buying a skin specifically developed for your body eliminates the chances of small errors like the nipple being off the shape.

About skins, as was mentioned, the default Maitreya skins use Glam Affair skins, I'm sure you can find a matching system skin at the Glam Affair shop for your non-mesh head. Of course if you decide to buy a mesh head, you need to buy the matching skin for the designated mesh head.

You can also buy a skin from a third party developer. You probably won't need Omega for that, just make sure your skin is both compatible with Maitreya and offers a system skin if you decide to go for system head. Otherwise, if you're indeed considering a mesh head, make sure they are both compatible with Maitreya and your mesh head. The easiest route for this then is to just buy the applier for your head at Glam Affair to match with the default skin Maitreya offers. I have been using it for a while and it looks perfect!

A thing to consider: If you decide to stay with your system head, and buy skins for it, and later decide to buy a mesh head, you will very likely need to buy a new skin at that moment.

Thank you so much, that is super helpful. Yes the animated bento heads do look very good. I might still consider it. 

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23 minutes ago, zoelamb said:

I have the Omega relay on my HUD so I guess I'm pretty much good to go right?

The Omega relay is a separate purchase, only available from Omega. It's only needed if you will be using Omega appliers (for skin, tattoos, makeup, clothes, etc.).

23 minutes ago, zoelamb said:

Can you recommend a vendor of skin packages like the ones you describe? The ones I am adding seem to not be mapped to the standard SL head properly. Like the eyes are out of place etc.

There are lots of suppliers. My usual skins are good-quality freebies from WoW and 7 Deadly Skins.

Edited by angeoco

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19 minutes ago, zoelamb said:

Thanks all, you are so friendly and helpful. I will go and check out the Glam Affair skins first.

Hmm I tried their store but they all look corrupted and distorted on my head. Something is wrong. Probably my brain lol

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9 minutes ago, angeoco said:

The Omega relay is a separate purchase, only available from Omega. It's only needed if you will be using Omega appliers (for skin, tattoos, makeup, clothes, etc.).

There are lots of suppliers. My usual skins are good-quality freebies from WoW and 7 Deadly Skins.

Thanks. I wil try those. None of the stores seem to have anyone there to help which is a bit frustrating. Not newbie friendly...

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1 minute ago, zoelamb said:

Thanks. I wil try those. None of the stores seem to have anyone there to help which is a bit frustrating. Not newbie friendly...

Where should the people come from, who hang around 24/7 in a store, waiting for someone who might be a newbie?

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5 minutes ago, zoelamb said:

Hmm I tried their store but they all look corrupted and distorted on my head. Something is wrong. Probably my brain lol

Are you sure you use ordinary skins? I can't understand what you do. Glam affair has not sold ordinary skins for system heads in a long, long time.

I wonder if you buy demos for shapes made for mesh heads. The topography for mesh heads is so different from system heads. A shape worn under a mesh head, look deformed because it is meant to be hidden. A demo skin will not deform your face. I mean, it will no chage the chin bigger or smaller, the nosem the form of the eyes and mouth. It will paint a new skin over your face, not change the bones

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1 hour ago, Marianne Little said:

 Glam affair has not sold ordinary skins for system heads in a long, long time.

 

They still sell quite a few regular system skins. I was just at their store yesterday picking up some more demos and I have lots of other Glam Affair demos from when I got my Maitreya body a few months back.

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1 minute ago, LittleMe Jewell said:

They still sell quite a few regular system skins. I was just at their store yesterday picking up some more demos and I have lots of other Glam Affair demos from when I got my Maitreya body a few months back.

You are right. I logged in and went there. I bought some demo packs and tried them on, this pack where the demos lie on the shelf. I could no see any deforming of the shape. This is the largest vendor, hard to miss. I am really not sure what's happening here....

demo skin_002.png

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7 hours ago, Mei Avril said:

The problem with Omega is that (most of the time) your skin won't be developed for the body you have. It's just ported over by the omega system. This means that sometimes, some body parts may slightly be off, nipples are a prime example.

The latest Lumae skins are really good for this.

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2 hours ago, Marianne Little said:

You are right. I logged in and went there. I bought some demo packs and tried them on, this pack where the demos lie on the shelf. I could no see any deforming of the shape. This is the largest vendor, hard to miss. I am really not sure what's happening here....

Yeah, I never had any issues with any of the demos that I tried.  The skin prices are very reasonable, and since Maitreya comes with the matching appliers, it is a good deal if you like any of the skins.

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Long reply coming up...

I'm confused by the following in your original post:

20 hours ago, zoelamb said:

When I try some of the *skins* on sale the new face gets applied but looks all distorted. But in some cases you get a *shape* with the skin and this fixes it.

If you wear a system skin it should not distort on your face. Yes, it will look different from the picture on the skin advert, because you're not wearing the same shape as the person who took the ad pic, but it should not look distorted. 'Distorted' means that it looks out of place, like the eyebrows are halfway to your hairline or the lips are sliding across your cheek, etc.

So, to clarify: do you actually mean to say "When I wear this skin I don't look like the person in the advert image unless I also wear the included shape?"

Here's an old example from my system head days. On the left is a skin on my usual shape back then, and on the right is the same skin on the shape that was included with it. I look completely different on the right - to the point of not feeling like I was myself - and so, while I wouldn't say it was distorted, it was 'distorted' from my original look:

18653675433_d0e933e81b_b.jpg

So, if you do mean to say "When I wear this skin I don't look like the person in the advert image unless I also wear the included shape?", then that is correct, and it's one reason why some skin designers also include a shape: for the people who want to look exactly like their ad image. However, most people are very fond of their own personal shape, and so it can take them some time to find a skin that they really like and that looks great on their shape.

Example: when I still used a system head I used to love Tableau Vivant's skins and wore them a lot, but I couldn't wear Clef de Peau skins because the mouth shape on those never really looked good with the slider settings I had for Skell's mouth. Then, within about a month of each other, Tableau Vivant changed the way they did their mouths, and they looked awful on Skell, but Clef de Peau also changed their mouths and their new skins looked great on Skell. Just a small thing like that can make all the difference. But in neither case would I say the mouths were distorted; they just didn't look as good to me on Skell's face.

The first two of your questions can really only be answered with "it depends", because there are a lot of variables.

20 hours ago, zoelamb said:

Do I need to buy a base Catwa or LAQ (or some other) *head* in order to apply their skins to it? Or should they work with the default avatar head underneath (i.e. without masking it off)

Since the move to mesh heads, you will find multiple types of skin in SL, and this has made things very confusing, especially for newbies. These skin types include:

  • System skins designed to cover the system avatar from head to toe.
  • System skins designed to be used with a mesh head only. These will cover the avatar's body properly, but the head will have no texture and be completely white. Since you'll be using a mesh head, you also need a matching applier skin for the head.
  • System skins designed to be used with a mesh body only. These are the opposite of the ones for mesh heads: the body is white and only the head is textured. (These are incredibly rare, but they do exist). Since you'll be using a mesh body, you also need a matching applier skin for the body.
  • Applier body skins designed to work with a specific mesh body.
  • Applier head skins designed to work with a specific mesh head.
  • Omega applier body skins designed to work with any mesh body (so long as you have the Omega relay for that mesh body).
  • Omega applier head skins designed to work with any head head (so long as you have the Omega relay for that mesh head).

The first three (the system skins) will all have the classic skin icon when viewed in your inventory. These are the four basic icons, as they appear in the official Linden Lab viewer:

basics_ll.jpg

And this is what they look like in the Firestorm viewer:

basics_fs.jpg

Applier skins (including Omega ones) will have a 'box' icon, like any other object.

So, to answer your first question, you need to find a system skin like No. 1 on that list, and the skin designer also needs to have a body applier in the same skintone for the Maitreya body OR an Omega applier (for which you'll need to purchase the Maitreya Omega relay).

Note: Do be aware that many designers have stopped making full system skins, and that - since they moved to creating applier-only skins - they might have made subtle changes in how their skins look. Therefore a new body applier skin might not match fully with a very old system skin. You should always try demos anyway, but pay especial attention to the join at the neck when you're demoing body appliers against a system skin on the head.

20 hours ago, zoelamb said:

What about shapes? Can I keep my own body shape and then use a 3rd party skin (for the face) or will I always have to use the shape that comes with the skin?

To answer your second question properly, you need to understand that there are also differences between shapes. While there is only one actual type of shape, you will find shapes that are designed to be worn by anyone not using a Bento mesh head, and then there are shapes designed to be worn specifically with certain Bento mesh heads.

Bento (if you've not heard of it) is the name of a relatively recent addition of many more bones to the avatar skeleton. This has allowed (among other things) creators of mesh heads to rig their heads so that they can be fully modified by using the standard shape sliders.

This has allowed for much greater customisation, as - prior to this - anyone wearing a non-Bento mesh head could only use a couple of sliders to stretch and resize their head, and their only form of customisation was that of applying different skins and/or makeup; the underlying head itself remained the same shape. Now, they can also customise almost every part of their mesh head (assuming it's a Bento one), and that's why Bento mesh heads have taken off in such a big way.

HOWEVER. Most (not all) Bento mesh heads require a specific 'base shape' underneath them. Because of the way they're rigged to these extra bones, if you put a bento mesh head on over the top of a shape that looks 'normal' when wearing a system skin, something like this might happen:

catwaguide05.jpg

Yeah. Not pretty! :D So you need to wear the 'base shape' that is included with the Bento mesh head, in order for it to look 'normal' -

catwaguide06.jpg

(Images taken from my Catwa beginner's guide for male avatars, so yes, I know the head and body skins don't match!)

You then make your shape customisations from that point. If you were to take off your Bento mesh head and the alpha that masks off your system head, you'd see that your system head while wearing the Bento-specific shape does indeed look rather distorted.

In short: if you're trying on a shape that states somewhere on the ad (or in the description on Marketplace) that it's made for a specific Bento head (eg: "for Catwa Catya") then it will not look good with a system head.

If you want to look exactly like the person in the skin advert, wear the shape that comes with the skin (if it has one). If you want to make your own individual look, use your own shape with the skin. Yes, they will all look a little different on your own shape, especially if your shape deviates more than a certain percentage from the conventional standards of beauty (from which SL suffers from as much as RL does). For example, if you have a very tiny mouth or very wide-set eyes then you may struggle to find a skin that sits well on your face: the lip textures might go outside your mouth and the skin textures may stretch between your eyes in that example. This may cause the 'distortion' that you mention in your original post.

For the second part of your question -

20 hours ago, zoelamb said:

Can I keep my own body shape and then use a 3rd party skin (for the face) or will I always have to use the shape that comes with the skin?

- others have provided answers, but I'll go into a bit more detail:

If you like your current body shape, but want to have a face that looks like the advert, then that's easy to do, assuming the skin comes with a shape that is modifiable.

  • While wearing your old shape, edit your appearance and write down all of the body slider settings.
  • Wear the new shape that came with your skin, and copy all of your original body slider settings across to the new shape, then save it.

You now have the new face shape on top of your old body shape.

20 hours ago, zoelamb said:

Can you have a shape for just the head and a shape for the body or can you only wear one shape overall?

You can only wear one shape, but - as shown in my previous answer - as long as that shape is modifiable, you can edit it to look like however you want it to.

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13 hours ago, zoelamb said:

Thanks. I wil try those. None of the stores seem to have anyone there to help which is a bit frustrating. Not newbie friendly...

I hope all the above is not totally frying your brain! It's actually quite simple once we get our heads around the new concepts. Here is a skin you might like: Debbie from WoW: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Restful Pleasure/114/218/26. (Run to the big shop at the end of the road, the room at the right, it's on the far side of the pillar in the middle). The tan version costs 35 lindens but all the other skins in the shop seem to be about 1000 :o

Edited by angeoco

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@zoelamb - The group 7 Deadly s{K}ins, (location http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Valyria/221/74/24) is free to join this weekend and there will be a Halloween hunt starting tomorrow or Monday where group members can pick up lots of free skins.  

WoW Skins, (location http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Restful Pleasure/65/140/22), mentioned by angeoco, is currently down to L$50 to join.  If you join and go to the main store entrance, right under the picture of the current monthly gift is a box containing tons of the old group gifts.  You can then grab a demo of the various body applier tones and try them all on.

And definitely try out the Glam Affair skins (location http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Beauty Avatar couture/128/128/2), since those tone appliers are already in your Maitreya HUD.

One final note - some of the ad boards are not always real good about being clear as to what is included.  For a regular skin for your head, the item should say Classic or System or have this symbol:
image.png.dc9bd08b1b7865193b6bfa4893c05344.png

However, many times, if you right click and Edit the item that is for sale, and then look at the Object tab of the Edit window you will see the contents and be able to see if there are any items in it with the skin icon that Skell showed above.  Usually, the body applier is not included unless it is a special of some sort.

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18 hours ago, Syo Emerald said:

Where should the people come from, who hang around 24/7 in a store, waiting for someone who might be a newbie?

OK I see your point but they are running a business and they could at least try to be helpful. Some sort of help sign or notecard would go a long way. e.g. "How to use our products for those of you who tediously haven't been here for 5 years."

Generally finding SL a very steep learning curve and it feels like you're very much left to work it out for yourself. Apart from on this forum where most people are very helpful.

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18 hours ago, Marianne Little said:

Are you sure you use ordinary skins? I can't understand what you do. Glam affair has not sold ordinary skins for system heads in a long, long time.

I wonder if you buy demos for shapes made for mesh heads. The topography for mesh heads is so different from system heads. A shape worn under a mesh head, look deformed because it is meant to be hidden. A demo skin will not deform your face. I mean, it will no chage the chin bigger or smaller, the nosem the form of the eyes and mouth. It will paint a new skin over your face, not change the bones

I went to their store and tried some demos. I have no idea what type they were. How can I tell a skin is for a system head or not? The little icon looked like a person and it had a 'wear' option. It was not an applier skin like clothing or tattoos. The shape itself was fine but it looked like the skin was basically not positioned properly on it. The eyes did not line up with my actual eyes and things like that. 

Probably the wrong type of skin I guess.

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16 hours ago, Marianne Little said:

You are right. I logged in and went there. I bought some demo packs and tried them on, this pack where the demos lie on the shelf. I could no see any deforming of the shape. This is the largest vendor, hard to miss. I am really not sure what's happening here....

demo skin_002.png

I tried those exact ones! So are they for classic heads? (where does it say?)

The shape was not deformed it's just that the skin was not mapped right. I just checked and think the problem might be that I am using a body shape that changes the head shape. I just noticed this now, I hope I haven't wasted everyone's time :/  /me hides

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