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How to Make Avatar Mesh Head and Body Match? (Confusion about appliers and unpacking)


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Hi.

So I'm VERY new at Second Life and virtually know absolutely nothing about it or anything about what I'm doing, so please bare with me as I try to explain my issues.

Since I'm a noob, I've been scoping out the freebie spots as a means to improve my avatar a bit and feeling out the game a bit before deciding if I would want to invest real money into this. I stumbled across a free head by Dream, and it's the Ciara Bento Head (https://marketplace.secondlife.com/p/Dream-Gift-Ciara-BENTO-Mesh-Head-BOM-stayathome/19279327), and I'd also found a new body, and it's the e-Body curvy version (https://marketplace.secondlife.com/p/ABAR-eBODY-CURVY-v86-BENTO-AVATAR/13193218). The main issue I'm having is trying to figure out how to match the skin tones of the head and the body. I wanted my avatar to be of a darker complexion, but I can't make the head that I'm dealing with match the e-body. Keep in mind that I'm dealing with the free versions of these products for right now. I was able to change the skin tone of the body through playing with the HUD menu (I barely know what that is or how it works), but that is the extent of my success. The Ciara Head still does not match whatsoever. I've read things about skin and head appliers but have absolutely NO head how they work, which ones I'd have to buy for the products I've mentioned already, or if free ones compatible with the head and body I have even exist so that I could try them out. I'm also very confused about how skins work and how they tie into the complexion of the head and body. Assuming I had the right appliers for the head and body (whatever that means), if I used a skin, would it automatically work and apply to the entire avatar because I had the correct appliers? I'm also confused at the process of 'unpacking' certain items and how that works, because sometimes whenever I try to unpack things in my inventory, it doesn't work. I'm just very confused and hope I'm explaining myself somewhat decently. 

Please bare with me. I'm slowly trying to learn this game and how it works and am still VERY confused and overwhelmed by the interface. I tried playing this game before some years ago and ultimately gave up because I was super lost, so it'd be nice to get things right this time around. I'd really appreciate a thorough explanation about this. And please try to explain things the best way that you know how, as I am new and am not familiar with much of the terminology that is used concerning this game or the avatars. REALLY dumb it down for me... like A LOT😂

Thanks so much. ♥️

 

Edited by Nanellia
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In THEORY if you have a mesh head and a mesh body that both will take OMEGA appliers then the skin "should" match. Unfortunately that isn't the case sometimes so TESTING before buying is very important.  If you want to stick  to free for now I suggest trying out the various all in one avatars (head and body come together) from altamura.   If you are making a female avatar there are several to choose from. You cannot apply other makers skins to these avatars but they look pretty good with the skins that come with.  Not sure about the darker tones but I think there is at least one that has darker skin tones.

 

Here is a blog post from Spring with one of the avatars. Also a link to the shop. Gifts WERE to the left from the door in their own room.

https://chicatphilsplace.blogspot.com/2020/03/2020-avatar-makeover-four-looks.html

 

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Can I suggest you to try different parts? The following is my personal view on the history that lead up to the Mesh confusion and the huge sea of heads and bodies people try to navigate with just parts of the map.

The main reason there are so many mesh body parts, is because Second Life did not update the avatars they started with in 2003. The clumpy bodies, the fingers, the blocky breasts and maybe the worst, the paddle feet. SL would not update their 2003 avatars since it would "break existing content".

So creators in SL decided to make better looking bodies, first parts like feet, boobs and hands. This soon became full avatar replacements, and to wear these your default body must be hidden with an alpha layer. It seems you have come so far :)

To your question about appliers: The default bodies used skins you clicked on in your inventory and "wear". All set and done. With the default body totally hidden, how do you wear skins? This is what appliers do. They are made by a creator who put the skin texture and a script in an applier. When you buy this and add it from your inventory, it show up on your screen like a poster with parts you can click. This applier can be made with just one alternative, or it can be detailed and offer many options, like freckles/no freckles, eyebrows different colors/no eyebrows. When you click the applier, the script "talks" to the mesh body parts. If these have the matching script, the mesh body part accept the texture and it is then applied over it.

If the script is not recognized by the body mesh, nothing happens. It is specific scripts for each part, this is why you see names like "Maitreya" "Catwa" and such. This was time-consuming for creators, who had to work with a lot of different bodies. It was also expensive for customers, who had to buy different appliers again and again.

The Omega appliers came as a way to simplify this. The Omega applier is like a "parent" that can talk to several "children", not just one. The mesh body creator have to include the Omega script, or offer it as an add-on relay. Designers can now offer Omega appliers that work on mesh body parts that are Omega compatible. This is what @Chic Aeondescribes.

I have just started to talk about mesh body parts, and this is going to be a book. People said: "What about tattoos?" "I want to wear makeup" and so the solution became onion layers on top of the bodies, commonly three on top of each other. They do not touch, but they are so close that they look like it is just one body. For heads, it is makeup slots.

You are trying to learn all that has happened in SL since 2013 at once. I think it is better to wear one of the avatars that comes with both head and body, until you have more experience and want to move on to more challenging stuff, like how to match body and head. You already got a good suggestion, I am adding this: https://ryanschultz.com/2020/06/21/second-life-steals-deals-and-freebies-the-free-bento-bakes-on-mesh-kalhene-ariadna-female-mesh-head-and-body-just-keep-getting-better-and-better/

With this, you can wear most Maitreya clothes and high/flat shoes, so you can read freebie blogs and get stuff made for Maitreya (and that's a lot).

The blog is a good source of previous bodies and heads, but many of these was limited to a short time. It still gives you a lot of insight in how this madness of mesh works. ;) Pick the category Second Life Steals, Deals and Freebies

 

 

Edited by Marianne Little
changed mother to "parent"
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@Nanellia The head from Dream is Bakes on Mesh only, which means that it uses the underlying system skin that you're wearing. This means that you will need to convert your e-body to Bakes on Mesh too. You can do this, even with the free e-body, by visiting the e-body store and picking up the Bakes on Mesh relay from there. It is free, however you will need L$1 to "purchase" it, the L$1 will be refunded to you.

http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Coral Island/222/160/2001

This is the area you're looking for:

1385590629_ebodystore_001.jpg.c74c7145fb24a035212829462ca021dd.jpg

Go to the middle mirror, the purple one, and click it;

1505202570_ebodystore_002.jpg.007f329f29bb327c9006a1cacfc7ea56.jpg

Once you've got the relay, find it in your inventory, right click it and "Add" it. Make sure you are also wearing your e-body as well, then click the purple relay button on your screen. If you are wearing the body alpha, your body will turn red (this is a good sign, it means it's worked). Take off that alpha, and it's all done, you will now be wearing the same skin on both your body and head.

Now, to change skins, with Bakes on Mesh, you can't use the body hud for this at all. You need to change the system skin that you're wearing underneath. If you're using the official SL viewer, skins look like this in your inventory:

skins.jpg.30cbbbe0fd00fcf4bcb0ec5b50b7281f.jpg

 Note the icon that looks like a head-and-shoulders person in two colours. These are system (or BOM) skins. The orange boxes are appliers; these are for applier-compatible bodies and heads. Neither your head nor your body is capable of using appliers (though the full paid version of the e-body can).

If you don't have any skins like this... well actually you do. All the starter avatars include one. You can access them from the top menu; "Me" then "Choose an avatar". Each one you pick will be automatically stored in the Clothing section of your inventory so you'll find them there, in a folder with the name of the avatar.

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The first huge post from me was mostly about appliers.

But the avatar I recommended, "Kalhene" is called a "BOM" avatar. You may ask, why are you doing this, Marianne? You just explained how appliers work, and now you start talking about BOM? Well, you wanted to know how appliers work. ;)And it is good to know the difference between appliers and BOM, and also the development from default avatar, to mesh avatar that uses appliers, to mesh avatar that uses BOM.

BOM stands for "Baked on mesh".

You remember how I said the default avatar had to be covered of an alpha and be invisible. The mesh avatars on Second Life was becoming more and more complex, with makeup slots, onion layers and huge HUD's to control it all. And Linden Lab decided to change the game again. BOM let your avatar default layers, like the skin, tattoos and cosmetics, show up on the mesh body parts. They are "baked" to a single combined texture. Forget onion layers. Forget makeup slots. Take OFF your alpha layers. In fact, the Kalhene body does not come with an alpha at all. But you must take off the alpha head and body layers, if you wear them from other mesh parts.

So with a total spin around, you now "Wear" your skin from the inventory, and it show up on the Kalhene avatar without clicking on appliers. You can then "Add" and "Take off" all layers with a tattoo symbol (Not a box symbol). That can be hairbases, makeup, freckles and other things you put on your skin. You can also add clothes with symbols like, shirt, jacket, pants and more. This is a good way to wear lingerie. You are always covered, because it is baked into your skin.

BOM let you have a better looking avatar with real feet, nails and no jagged edges. And it is easy to change its appearance. You switch to a new skin by wearing it, and you add/take off the other layers.

This Kalhene avatar has no onion layers. It has a rough set of alpha cuts that let you turn off parts of the avatar. You use it when clothes does not fit perfect, and you have to turn off the part of the body that clip through. It does take alpha layers, that is another way of hiding your body. You wear and take off them just like other layers.

Almost all full priced mesh parts are updated to let you choose between BOM and Appliers. This is a service for those who has spent thousands and thousands on their appliers, and does not want to trash them and start over. It is also possible to say: Yes please, I take both. You use a BOM skin as the canvas, take off the alphas, activate BOM on the mesh body part, and use both appliers and layers over it (If the body part let you use both).

But for now, you are using a free avatar and should get it set to look close enough to what you want. Go out and get familiar with SL, visit places, dance, make friends. Then you can read blogs like Seraphimsl, look at fashion blogs and youtube videos. You can decide to pay for a body and head to get another look. Or not, and continue to use what you have.

Edited by Marianne Little
changed a few words to clarify
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Along with all that good (and very confusing still I am sure) info :D  I want to reitterate that even when YOU do everything correctly and fully understand the process of appliers and relays and BOM versus non-BOM --- you can end up with the head and the body not matching -- EVEN when the skin is from the same creator.  It is extremely important that creators watch their brush strokes carefully along the neck seam between head and body --- and many do not or sometimes only on some skins.  

 

So in THAT  case there is nothing that you can do aside from finding a better skin or wearing a choker necklace.  So keep that in mind.  Personally I would go with the BOM versions of heads and bodies that you can find. This is the newest rendition of avatar making and will no doubt be the future. The learning curve on BOM is steep but once you understand it you will be fine. Then you don't have to learn about appliers and all that.  

 

Good luck and know that you are definitely NOT alone in your confusion :D.  

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Andddd...if all that didn't make them run off screaming I don't know what will!  😆   Some great help from all the folks here but seriously, go spend a week on YouTube, type in "second life-free avatar" or "second life BoM". Visuals can be a lot easier to take in than text.
To start you off, here's a video you might like to try to copy with your avatar. (as Matty said above, some things you need to pay L$1 for and it gets refunded immediatly, but you HAVE to pay it, so try to keep a couple with you when shopping. You can also ask someone to lend you 1 and give it back after you have the item.)
 

 

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While the Kalhene body is gone, the Lucybody Atenea is still going on the Midnight Mania (and still hitting target; I went to the store 2 days ago for something else and hit the board as I was passing, got it delivered again). The catch with this one is the BOM relay costs L$197 and as it's not omega-compatible, you really need to go BOM with it for it to be of any use. But still, a mesh body that fits Maitreya clothes and Slink shoes at under L$200 is still a bargain. And IMO the Lucybody is a much nicer shape than the Kalhene, which was far too skinny in the arms and upper body for my taste.

There is another free body here: https://marketplace.secondlife.com/p/VIVA-Full-Featured-Mesh-Avatar-Level-3-Currently-FREE/19422818 which I tried a couple of days ago. While it looks nice and has tons of features, it doesn't seem to fit any clothes at all. Hence why it's free, I guess.

 

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Thank you everyone for all of your advice and help! I appreciate it greatly, and it has helped me a lot so far. This is A LOT of information to take in, and I’m probably going to have to re-read this thread about 50 times before I fully process it all, but I really appreciate the amount of detail in the answering. Super helpful! ❤️

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17 hours ago, Vanity Fair said:

The Kalhene Ariadna free mesh body has been removed from the SL Marketplace due to a DMCA complaint filed with Linden Lab. Details here:

https://ryanschultz.com/2020/06/25/breaking-news-second-life-steals-deals-and-freebies-edition-the-free-kalhene-ariadna-mesh-body-has-been-removed-from-the-sl-marketplace/

Noooo, I am so unhappy now. It was too good for a freebie, so it was threatening the big brands. Disclaimer: I accuse no one. I do not know if the DMCA is legit or a way to remove competition. But it looks very much like that...

If you want to make content in SL that is free for everyone, be prepared. No one filed a DMCA against Genus before they put a free head out for all.... :(

Speaking about Genus... It's been a long time and I start to fear they are not coming back.

Sad, sad, sad.

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1 hour ago, Marianne Little said:

so it was threatening the big brands

Did it? I've never seen it on world. Besides I believe those freebie bodies never were a threat for any big brand, same with mesh heads. It's like saying freebie/gift clothes, shoes, accessories etc are a threat to big clothing brands. They (bodies) are usually made for people who wouldn't buy those big brand bodies anyway, or those endless alt challenges when people try to make a decent looking avatar only using freebies.

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20 minutes ago, steeljane42 said:

Did it? I've never seen it on world. Besides I believe those freebie bodies never were a threat for any big brand, same with mesh heads. It's like saying freebie/gift clothes, shoes, accessories etc are a threat to big clothing brands. They (bodies) are usually made for people who wouldn't buy those big brand bodies anyway, or those endless alt challenges when people try to make a decent looking avatar only using freebies.

Well, it was new, so that's why you haven't seen it. New as in June this year. All my alts have meshbodies, but if I made a new one, I would use this. It could use all Maitreya clothes and 2 kind of Maitreya shoes (Flat and high), and was full BoM with an alpha section of cuts.

Imagine a free body that can use all clothes from the most popular brand and almost all shoes, and free. Plus a Bento head, and can use BoM skins, tattoos and all other BoM things.

You will not see Marianne in another body than Maitreya Lara, but as I said... too tempting for an alt.

Edited by Marianne Little
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55 minutes ago, steeljane42 said:

Did it? I've never seen it on world. Besides I believe those freebie bodies never were a threat for any big brand, same with mesh heads. It's like saying freebie/gift clothes, shoes, accessories etc are a threat to big clothing brands. They (bodies) are usually made for people who wouldn't buy those big brand bodies anyway, or those endless alt challenges when people try to make a decent looking avatar only using freebies.

They are a threat, if they can wear clothing made for a big brand. If a free mesh body can wear Maitreya clothes, do you buy Maitreya body for your alt or grab the free body? And if the free ones are all wiped out, do you keep your alt non-mesh or save up for a big-brand body? Some people, at least, will save up.

I am half-expecting the Lucybody to get slapped with a DMCA too, for the same reason, though it has been around a long time (it's an upgrade of their previous Afrodite body and only free since earlier this year) and it's a sufficiently well-established business going back many years, that it can probably afford to fight a false allegation, whereas someone new like Kalhene almost certainly can't. Lucy's did cheap Slink-compatible feet long before whole mesh bodies were even a thing, and to my knowledge, Slink never went after them.  

But maybe they will be forced to stop offering it free at some point though. Or more likely, at some point there will be no-one left that's interested enough to hit that MM board, and it will just stop getting enough hits to deliver.

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3 hours ago, Marianne Little said:

Speaking about Genus... It's been a long time and I start to fear they are not coming back.

Court cases usually aren't settled fast, not to mention how COVID-19 is probably delaying other things. Let's just wait and see for now.

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I have a bad feeling about DMCA's. since the WowMeh body disappeared. This should perhaps be in it's own thread, but have any SL creators fought a DMCA and won? Any at all? I seem to remember one skin brand that came back, but it closed shortly after. Maybe the process was too painful, since anyone can file a DMCA anytime.

Maybe a brand that's on SL top ten sellers has the resources. A small brand like this body, what can they do?

Kalhene already had over 20 shapes made for it on the Marketplace, more than Lucybody Atenea. It was going to be the leading free body. I saw some videos of other free bodies. All the other free bodies have serious trouble finding clothes that fit them.

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2 hours ago, Maitimo said:

They are a threat, if they can wear clothing made for a big brand. If a free mesh body can wear Maitreya clothes, do you buy Maitreya body for your alt or grab the free body? And if the free ones are all wiped out, do you keep your alt non-mesh or save up for a big-brand body? Some people, at least, will save up.

They are not a threat. No idea about that DMCA'd body, but I saw Lucy one in world a few times. It's not great to say the least, same goes for those *join the group for 100L and get a mesh body/head* ones. Don't get me wrong, it's nice that people who can't afford to spend anything on SL have access to something better than classic default avis, but chances are those people wouldn't spend a single L$ on big brands' stuff anyway. And again, same idea as about freebie clothes. They are not a threat to big (and not so big) brands, just because someone can (and will) dress fully into freebies.

And I'm not an altoholic and not into those build-an-avi-for-free challenges, so I can't answer your question about what I'd grab for my 10th avi even in theory. This account (building/testing/pose fitting purposes; never leaves my region) has a maitreya body.

In the end freebies are freebies, compatible they are with something or not. Catwa also gave away a "full product" recently as a freebie, but I don't think it did hurt their business or business of other big mesh head brands with it. Same reason - it's not great, compared to non freebies, so entirely different target audience.

2 hours ago, Marianne Little said:

This should perhaps be in it's own thread, but have any SL creators fought a DMCA and won?

Belleza did. Venus body was taken down for 2.5 weeks by DMCA in 2014. I believe if claim is fake or unjustified, then it shouldn't take much longer to resolve, since there's no court involved. Which pretty much means (speculation, of course) that one against Genus is justified and is actually taken into the court, which can take forever.

Edited by steeljane42
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