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Help Modernizing Male Avatar


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I've been gone from SL for a number of years, but I've kept *just* informed enough to understand that avatars have gone full mesh. I've spent the last few hours trying to figure it all out and I'm physically getting a headache, being so very overwhelmed. I don't know if this is the proper place to make such a request, but I essentially need a (very patient) walkthrough of the process, or someone willing to take the time to guide me to the places I'll need to buy from. I don't need more than one "look". I prefer to have a signature appearance and leave it at that, at least until SL advances yet again. I understand Signature offers the easiest option for clothing compatibility, but I also don't want to look like everyone else. Am I hopeless?

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Posted (edited)

Nope, not at all hopeless.  Since you said you want to stick with your signature look, you can post a picture of your avatar in your usual outfit and someone might be able to suggest skins, heads, bodies, and clothes.

Before you drop money on big ticket purchases, pick up all the demos you can get your hands on and try them out.

Edited by TrophySpouse
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There is a great series of tutorials that explain the process with mesh avatars and related items which can be found at:

Noob Dude: A Style 101 for the Second Life Male Avatar – Virtual Bloke

I would suggest starting with taking a look at some of those, and if nothing else, you'll get familiar with some of the terms in use (though there's a lot of great information there).

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Thank you, TrophySpouse. I should clarify that I don't currently *have* a signature look, after doing a very lousy job of trying to cheaply update to mesh (I won't be making that mistake again). In general, I'm looking for a caucasian skin tone, with a long goatee, and buzzed (not bald) head.

Moira, thank you so much. I'll give that a read and see if I can make heads or tails of it.

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Posted (edited)

Here is a start with skins. This store also sell beards and hairbases:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/gac_akina/with/50216573893/

Pay attention to what head it's made for. Pick up a demo and go to the head store, then use the skin demo with the demo head.

Shaping the face is often difficult if you have not done it before. Always wear the included shape for the head. If the skin folder contains a shape named:

"*BENTO SHAPE INCLUDED* (Lelutka Skyler)"

You must wear it to get the face. Then you can look at the body, and if you dislike it, change to another shape that has the desired body look. (Forget how the face looks, just look at the body) Note down the numbers for height, body width, torso, legs etc. in Appearance mode, then change to the shape with the face you want. Go into Appearance mode and change the numbers you just wrote down, until you are satisfied.

Edited by Marianne Little
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Not at all hopeless, and you're off to a good start with the Signature Gianni body; lots of people use it including myself and its very well supported for clothes. (Don't be tempted by Geralt though, it never caught on and doesn't have much clothing).

You won't look like everyone else either, because your look will also depend on your choice of head and skin, and there are plenty of combinations there. I strongly suggest going Bakes on Mesh; if you set that up (just a click of a button in the hud, and take off the body alpha) you'll modify your appearance just the same as you did before mesh existed, except it looks much better. So you'll just wear system skin and tattoo layers with no need to mess around with appliers. For clothing you can use either the system alpha mask or the body hud.

@Skell Dagger has a great blog with loads of useful information and I see Moira has already linked you to his starter tutorial.

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Posted (edited)

For male avatars. I would most likely pick up a LeLutka Head (3990L). As for body, it would be a pick between Gianni (4000L) or Legacy (5000L). Legacy is newer and more defined Arm/Shoulder/Pecs which are very noticable for Beach and Regular shirts/tanks. There is also Belleza Body (3000L) but haven't really been following that body.

Since Signature Gianni is older, you will have more dedicated clothes that named for it but honestly you still need to almost always alpha the body. At this point I think getting the newer body for 1000L more might be worth it

Will say that female avatar is a lot more easier than male avatar, we have like 50x more stores, the hair is rigged for our head/body, clothes usually dont require alpha and just fit on the body. My experience with male avatar seem that nothing is really made properly for them at 2x-3x the cost with hardly any sales and requires you to resize/edit everything.

Female we have 50L Friday, 60L Weekends, 75L Saturday, 60L Kawaii Event every week which cover almost everything for avatars (expect mesh head/body). Sometime a few male stuff. I think there a weekly male event too just I tried for a few weeks and they are usually just tattoo/beards or the same re-textureed Mesh that sold on marketplace and every store

Edited by Sleeper Dreamscape
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Firstly, thank you all for being so wonderful and helpful. I've read and looked into every bit of advice given here, plus I've been reading over some of Skell's information and it's well organized, but it still feels like a lot to take in. BOM does sound like the easiest transition from old style, but I had a few shirts with appliers before I left, so it wouldn't be a leap to get into ones for skin. Also, I'm going to ask this here because you've all seen the qualities in-world first-hand:  How does the visual quality of BOM compare to appliers? It seems an applier would be better designed for 3D viewing than something made for system layers. (Let's face it, old system layers were great for their time, but are absolutely awful by comparison now.)

Sleeper, that sounds exactly how SL's always been. 😅  Fashion has always leaned in favor of feminine style. Regardless, I greatly appreciate the insight into the options. That's going to help loads toward my decision. I think you're probably right and the extra $1000L will be worth the investment, banking on SL to get on board and make more clothes for it.

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Trying to use the old system layers on BOM mesh body parts often doesn't work out very well, but if you use a BOM skin that has been created more recently, there is no loss of quality at all and it has some advantages. With appliers you always have to figure out on which layer you can apply something without knocking off something else. Say you want a tattoo, freckles and chest hair. That can work with appliers, but with BOM layers it's easier. You just add all the layers to your outfit and then you can easily change the order so they appear how you want them to (hair over tattoo over freckles for example).

I'm going to shamelessly plug my blog here: www.billybeaverhausen.com

Don't expect A to Z advice on how to put together a male avatar, but I do put together different looks all the time, so maybe it's good for some inspiration. Don't visit it if you're easily offended by the bit of NSFW nudity or have some (latent) homophobic tendencies (hey, pobody's nerfect!)

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   For the head, Lelutka has a few options (at least in their Evo line, not sure about Evo X at the moment), and Catwa has an HDPro male head as well. Either works, and is up to your aesthetical preferences (as well as support - make sure to check that the head has a skin you'll want to go with it; HDPro does use the same UV maps for the male and female heads, so if you should want makeup and such, anything Catwa HDPro will work). 

   For the body, I'd argue that Signature Gianni is really the best alternative. Belleza hasn't updated their bodies in ages and only support BoM via third party jerry rigging, and Legacy is about as advisable as knocking yourself unconscious with a meat tenderiser to cure a headache.

   For the base avatar, the body + head + skin combination, along with a shape (either making one yourself or buying one), will be the basics. Then you can build on top of that with anything from hair, tattoos, body hair, clothing, accessories, etc. 

   I'd also echo the advise of checking Skell's blog on the subject, as he has written some absolutely excellent posts on the subject.

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2 minutes ago, Orwar said:

For the body, I'd argue that Signature Gianni is really the best alternative.

My favorite skin before I left was Signature. It was unparalleled in quality IMO. So, part of me really wants to stick with the group I'm familiar with. 

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2 hours ago, Ashe Darkfold said:

My favorite skin before I left was Signature. It was unparalleled in quality IMO. So, part of me really wants to stick with the group I'm familiar with. 

You can certainly try your old Signature skins with the Gianni body demo to see how they would look together.  The fingers and toes may look funky on mesh digits because the old UV maps being made for blocky hands & flipper feet.  Fortunately there are BoM fixes available on the marketplace for that.

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Posted (edited)

I absolutely relate to this topic.  After being out for 10 years & being back a month, I am still struggling with rebuilding my look.

I found @Chic Aeon 5 part series on creating a new avatar very helpful; while female focused, the freebie tips were great (& I scored the free Genus head because of the series today).  

For me, being patience has been helped.  It took me a bit of time to find my look when I was first in SL all of those years ago, I am applying that patience and using the forum knowledge, blogs (Thanks @Skell Dagger) to help me muddle through.

Great luck!

Edited by Claire Richelieu
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Posted (edited)

I'm still struggling. I honestly thought I'd finally wrapped my head around it all, bought the Gianni body and Skyler head, thinking that was all I needed. When adding the Skyler head left me with just floating eyes and a mouth, I assumed Skyler must be a skin for the Gianni head. No. Bought the Gianni head and can't get that to work, either. So, fine. I go and get a demo skin that's supposed to work with Lelutka heads, except I still can't get it to be anything other than floating eyes and mouth. All of this then leaving me with this: If Skyler isn't a skin, WTF is it? Sorry, but my frustration is starting to get the better of me.

Update:  Avatar resolved. I still have some tweaking left to do, but this is what has come from the patience and information supplied by everyone (if the image cooperates): 

  y4mLJ9ygmKf7ZciUHivx-2fNUm6na95tIhr8FaUo

Edited by Ashe Darkfold
Out of new posts for today.
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Posted (edited)

I had this happen to me today when I was wrestling with a demo bento head from Genus.  For me, it was an alpha layer issue.  I had removed it but the viewer wasn't showing it as removed.  I went through my currently wearing list, verified it was off, logged out, logged back in & it was correct & my head was back.

With the updates, paying attention to the icons next to the item name is essential.  For me, the head is an icon square shape like any object, the same with my body (Maitreya). Skins are the full body icon (half light/half dark).  Most alphas are the shirt icon.

Hope this helps 

Edited by Claire Richelieu
Because I can't type on my darn phone
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8 hours ago, Ashe Darkfold said:

I'm still struggling. I honestly thought I'd finally wrapped my head around it all, bought the Gianni body and Skyler head, thinking that was all I needed. When adding the Skyler head left me with just floating eyes and a mouth, I assumed Skyler must be a skin for the Gianni head. No. Bought the Gianni head and can't get that to work, either. So, fine. I go and get a demo skin that's supposed to work with Lelutka heads, except I still can't get it to be anything other than floating eyes and mouth. All of this then leaving me with this: If Skyler isn't a skin, WTF is it? Sorry, but my frustration is starting to get the better of me.

Update:  Avatar resolved. I still have some tweaking left to do, but this is what has come from the patience and information supplied by everyone (if the image cooperates): 

  y4mLJ9ygmKf7ZciUHivx-2fNUm6na95tIhr8FaUo

Looking good so far!

Also Skyler is not a skin, it's a mesh head head (and a MUCH better one than the Gianni head). If it's anything like another of the Lelutka heads that I own, it does come with a handful of skin options included in the pack (they may only be head skins, to wear over the top of another skin). Skyler is part of the new Lelutka range which is intended to be BOM only, I don't think you can wear applier skins with it at all. And they really are one of the best brands out there.

If you're just floating eyes and mouth (or showing your skin as bright, plain red) when you wear the Skyler head, that means you're wearing a system-layer alpha on either your head only, or your entire body. You need to remove that.

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For a few more hair base options, you might try Orthodox. They have a bunch of free BoM hairbases, or did anyway. They come in basic black as well as a white, tintable base. It'll give you more options for a buzzed or even short style of hair. (FYI girls, they work for us too.)

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Although I think there are already so many "tutorial" type of blog posts out their, reading this is giving me inspiration to maybe start a series (I do several series within my blog) that goes a bit more into detail about putting together the looks. Working title: Getting your sh*t together.

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On 5/28/2021 at 1:14 AM, Ashe Darkfold said:

Thank you, TrophySpouse. I should clarify that I don't currently *have* a signature look, after doing a very lousy job of trying to cheaply update to mesh (I won't be making that mistake again). In general, I'm looking for a caucasian skin tone, with a long goatee, and buzzed (not bald) head.

Moira, thank you so much. I'll give that a read and see if I can make heads or tails of it.

I have to say, this stuff is just way too daunting. And I personally don't like playing dress-up and don't buy clothes and hate all this stuff.

So out of sheer desperation to have something to fit my 30L sneakers which I buy like twice a year, I got Slink feet. The feet look the most awful on the system avatar, as well as the hands, so I thought the outlay for those feet which I recall as under 500L, was justifiable. Then of course the avatar hands look even more awful. So I bought Slink hands and feet just to be able to put on rings. To be sure, this puts you into this daunting exercise of trying to match shades of skin and use alternative HUDS and all that other nonsense, but it's a partial solution.

I refuse to replace my head. There is no 18th Brumaire in the works. No.

If I absolutely have to dress up for a ball or something I will put on either a Dinkie, a deer avatar, or possibly one of those avatars you can select out of the library, provided by the Lindens. Many of these look like zombies, drug addicts, or hopeless losers, but if the lighting is dark at your event -- and it often is -- it should do.

The great thing about Dinkies is that they have a zillion outfits because the makers don't have to worry about sizing, they are all one size. And the cost is 75L or 99L or less often.

To be sure, various 30L and 60L shirts I might buy here and there  or perhaps a whopping 199L at some event with a name like "Man Gulag" or "CamSim4Evah"   -- nothing is worth more -- don't fit without an alpha as your skin from a system avatar pokes out. So then you have to rummage through all the alphas provided over the years in freebies or the library (which forces you to wear that library avatar, save it, and the find the alpha to use it, which is super annoying). 

So "Alec" or whatever's alpha can work on things so you don't look stupid. Often none of this works, and you are left with a hole in your chest.

I don't care if I have a hole in my chest but once when I was interviewed on Designing Worlds they said, hey, you have a hole in your chest.

So for those occasions, I have a) a capacious Russian scarf b) some chain mail c) a glowing orb in my hand that people can look at instead of the hole in my chest.

 

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19 hours ago, Ashe Darkfold said:

I'm still struggling. I honestly thought I'd finally wrapped my head around it all, bought the Gianni body and Skyler head, thinking that was all I needed. When adding the Skyler head left me with just floating eyes and a mouth, I assumed Skyler must be a skin for the Gianni head. No. Bought the Gianni head and can't get that to work, either. So, fine. I go and get a demo skin that's supposed to work with Lelutka heads, except I still can't get it to be anything other than floating eyes and mouth. All of this then leaving me with this: If Skyler isn't a skin, WTF is it? Sorry, but my frustration is starting to get the better of me.

Update:  Avatar resolved. I still have some tweaking left to do, but this is what has come from the patience and information supplied by everyone (if the image cooperates): 

  y4mLJ9ygmKf7ZciUHivx-2fNUm6na95tIhr8FaUo

You look great Ashe!  Very impressive in a short time.  I gave up on my head but I am determined to get it all sorted... sometime.

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2 hours ago, Prokofy Neva said:

I have to say, (A lot of stuff about how I don't use mesh and here's why..)

Your answer has literally nothing to do with the help he's looking for. We get it, you don't like mesh. To each their own, but sheesh dude..

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Roxy Couturier said:

Your answer has literally nothing to do with the help he's looking for. We get it, you don't like mesh. To each their own, but sheesh dude..

No, it has everything to do with help. I don't "hate" mesh; I have enormous amounts of mesh items in inventory, mainly buildings and furniture.

I simply want to encourage a fellow sufferer to feel that he doesn't *have* to go and spend tens and even hundreds of real US dollars simply to look "normal". That a world where you have to do that, and where the array of default library avatars are so repulsive to people that they won't be caught dead in them, this has to be done. You have to speak up. 

Edited by Prokofy Neva
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1 hour ago, Prokofy Neva said:

No, it has everything to do with help. I don't "hate" mesh; I have enormous amounts of mesh items in inventory, mainly buildings and furniture.

I simply want to encourage a fellow sufferer to feel that he doesn't *have* to go and spend tens and even hundreds of real US dollars simply to look "normal". That a world where you have to do that, and where the array of default library avatars are so repulsive to people that they won't be caught dead in them, this has to be done. You have to speak up. 

I know you hate context, but in the context of this thread, most people would understand when I say 'mesh' I mean mesh body parts. You understand that too, but pedants gotta be pedantic amirite? By the time you posted, if you had read the thread, he had already made the purchase of a human adult body and head, which made your 'just buy a dinkie' advice rather absurd.

Why do you bother spending tens, even hundreds of dollars, in buying mesh buildings and furniture when items made of prims will do? You know why. It looks better. In the context of SL, it looks more modern (Pedant counter rant: Yes even though it's not a model of a modern building a mesh medieval cottage looks more SL modern than a prim one. Added because i know an argument over what is literally said rather than accepting the nuance of context is just the hill you love to die on.) Well the same goes for reasons to buy modern mesh heads and bodies. They simply look better and that's the goal.

News alert, people use SL for other things than you do. Or did you miss that nuance of context too?

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1 hour ago, Roxy Couturier said:

he had already made the purchase of a human adult body and head

Indeed, and I'm already progressing beyond that. It may take a bit for me to understand something, but I hit the ground running once I do. 🙂

y4mi76SYfHzlI8P0MEMWO_wh_cgnjDcA-byBOfQZ

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