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Steve Oval
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I am returning to SL after a long absence. I have reverted to a stock free avi as I think everything I have is old and laggy. I don't understand mesh at all and quite frankly I'm not at all interested in understanding it. I would just like to get something that works, looks good enough, has reasonable animations and does not cause too much lag. I have no real idea as to budget but am open to all suggestions.  I have tried looking in shops and via search in-world but due to my lack of knowledge and understanding I find it impossible. I would greatly appreciate any information, referrals, links, whatever I may need to find what I'm looking for with the minimum need to understand all the ins and outs of it all. Just a click and wear sort of approach.

Thanks Steve.

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Welcome back, Steve. 

Your old system layer clothes will still work on either a standard body or most mesh bodies (those that are BOM enabled). Prim, sculpt and flexi pieces aren't used much now.

What was the last year you were in SL, so we have an idea of how much you need to catch up and what you're working with in your inventory?

The website "Virtual Bloke - Queer Eye from the pixel guy" is good for explaining avatars and clothing from system layers to mesh. Ignore the parts about using appliers on mesh bodies, because those are not used much now except for hair, clothing and makeup. Boston Blaisedale and the Second Life channels on YouTube are good for explaining mesh avatars too.

You can use one of the starter avatars for sure, but only the Senra Blake one is made for its own line of free mesh clothing. If you want to get used to using a mesh body and head, this is a good one to start with.

If you're happy using a system avatar instead, it shouldn't cause lag, unless you're also using flexi or sculpted attachments such as hair, shoes and jewelry. With a system avatar you can wear Standard size mesh clothing that comes with alpha layers to hide your body under the mesh clothes. Sometimes you can use other sizes of mesh clothing too, but only when you can hide your system body under them with alpha layers. Gabriel has a section of older free mesh clothing for men, if you want to try those.

The worst looking parts for system avatars are the feet and hands. (The breasts are not good on the female avatars either.) If you use a system avatar with pants and shoes, you'll look ok for the most part. Or just wear one of the starter avatars and don't worry about changing clothes on it.

Animation comes from an AO (Animation Overrider). There are some free or cheap ones you can get inworld or on SL Marketplace. Someone else will have to suggest those for you, since I mostly use the ones from Body Language, which are pretty expensive.

Edited by Persephone Emerald
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Second Life University channel on YouTube has videos explaining men's mesh head and body usage...Listing of videos...The one shown is just the most recent with a.list of.others below it

 

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Thanks for the incredibly fast response. Was not expecting that.

LOVE the "Queer eye for the pixel guy" title....... Me to a T!

Will check out the 'Sense Blake' avi for sure and thanks Rowan for the video. Yet to watch it.

I'll go check these out now.

Thanks again and cheers.

Oh and btw all of my inventory would be at least 10 years old.

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The Virtual Bloke site has this post that suggests a simple male AO for $L 1.

Even though you said you don't want to bother with Mesh, I'm going to suggest the DNA male bodies available inworld for $L 1 / body and $L 1 / skin pack. I think these are the simplist mesh bodies to use as the head is part of the body and they don't use a HUD. They are also BOM enabled. (The Senra bodies in the Library of our Inventory also don't use a HUD and are BOM enabled.) The DNA bodies are on a region named Signature and fit Signature Gianni sized mesh clothing pretty well, but they aren't from the creator of the Signature mesh bodies.

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Thanks Persephone.  See already You are way over my head. I was mostly out of my depth 1/2 way down your last post. I'm about 1/2 way through the video that Rowan shared and learning lots. It's all a bit information overload atm. Really appreciate it though. That's the problem with looking in-world. The amount of assumed knowledge that I just don't have.

Certainly have enough to keep me busy for a day or 2 atm and will repost here once I have some questions.

 

 

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1 minute ago, Steve Oval said:

Just one quick question. What sort of budget for avi and a few outfits? 5K?, 10K?, 20K?, all of the above?

Also is there anyone in SL doing these sort of make overs as a business?

I don't know who might be doing makeovers as a business, but there is certainly a demand for this.

You biggest cost would be for a mesh body and head, then a skin (usually in 2 pieces for a mesh body and head), then whatever hair and clothing you like. The Legacy Male body normally costs $L 5000. The Belleza Jake body now costs about $L 2000. Signature bodies are somewhere between, but their Gianni body is the only one that has much clothing made for it. Lelutka EvoX mesh heads normally cost $L 4000, but EvoX compatible mesh heads from other creators are cheaper. Catwa and Genus also have male mesh heads that are not EvoX compatible and might also be in the $L 4000 or slightly less range. 

You'll probably have a hard time finding inexpensive male skins that are not made for specific mesh bodies and EvoX heads, unless you find older system skins on Marketplace.

If you want simplicity, I'd suggest avoiding the EvoX heads for now. EvoX is a new UV map for avatar heads that gives greater detail than the standard SLUV map, but when worn on a non EvoX head your face would be on the back of your head. 😆 

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18 minutes ago, Persephone Emerald said:

I don't know who might be doing makeovers as a business, but there is certainly a demand for this.

You can add me to that list and I seem to recall being told many years ago that it cost about 20-25KL for a decent mesh body.

So the biggest take away from this is that clothing is specific to mesh body type?

Thanks Rowan for the extra video links. I'll probably just have to dig in and learn to do it myself, starting with the cheap options till I learn more.

 

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34 minutes ago, Steve Oval said:

Just one quick question. What sort of budget for avi and a few outfits? 5K?, 10K?, 20K?, all of the above?

Also is there anyone in SL doing these sort of make overs as a business?

I used to do newbie/returnee makeovers for free (with them covering the costs of their new stuffs, of course), but I quit due to the significant time investment. It's almost impossible to take a person from a system avatar to mesh without a lot of education on everything from BOM to appliers to how to shop to how to find sales to working with HUDs and sliders and more, and it was all pretty exhausting, honestly.

I can't do a "click and wear" approach because my goal is to get the person not only into a brand new mesh avatar, but into being able to maintain their new look and update it as inspiration hits them while sticking to a reasonable budget. Plus, it's always fun to have them contact me days/weeks later and show me what creative shenanigans they've managed to get themselves into.

If you're interested in that, I can help, but fair warning - information overload doesn't even begin to describe what it's like these days. 😩 I returned in 2020 after a multi-year absence, and it took me a few months to teach myself all the ins and outs of creating a mesh avatar from scratch. My entireeeeee inventory needed a makeover!

Your best bet is to watch the videos posted above (especially on the body side - watch the videos on Jake, Legacy, Kario, and Gianni to get an idea of how the different male bodies work) and if you still have questions after that, feel free to poke me in this thread.

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Mesh bodies are cheaper now than they were when they first came out. My first mesh body was from The Mesh Project and was $L 10,000 ($40) I think. Most of the top brands now are between $L 2000 to $L 5000 ($ 8 to $20). A mesh head would be another $L 2000 to $L 4000 ($ 8 to $ 16). You might find a skin for around $L 1000 to $L 500 ($ 4 to $ 2), but I'm not sure as I get most of my skins when they're free or on sale.

And yes, mesh clothing is specific for different mesh bodies, but system layer clothing will work on any mesh body that is BOM (Bakes On Mesh) compatible, as well as on the original system avatars.

Edited by Persephone Emerald
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Male skins can be found for very cheap during weekly/weekend sales. Head skins are generally under 100L on sale, body skins up to about 350L or a slight bit more (depending on the store).

You can save money on that by purchasing a body (or head) that comes with a set of in-house or third-party skins.

It all depends on the type of avatar and the look you're going for. Some heads/bodies are easier to prep than others.

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Can't thank you enough Ayashe and Persephone. Yes I will try myself with the beginner stuff and full note taken of BOM. A lot to learn and I hope this thread helps others in a similar situation. I've done little more than stick my head in for a bit of a look in the last 10 years, after spending way too much time (and money) here in the preceding 4 years. My inventory would probably make a good SL museum.

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7 hours ago, Steve Oval said:

Thanks Persephone.  See already You are way over my head. I was mostly out of my depth 1/2 way down your last post. I'm about 1/2 way through the video that Rowan shared and learning lots. It's all a bit information overload atm. Really appreciate it though. That's the problem with looking in-world. The amount of assumed knowledge that I just don't have.

Certainly have enough to keep me busy for a day or 2 atm and will repost here once I have some questions.

 

 

Don't worry, if you have questions, dare to ask them. Helped someone out yesterday with a LOGO X head (fairly reasonable priced heads, but a bit quirky), who was running around for 3 months without the EVOX Bom features activated and wondered why she couldn't change the skin of the head. 

Below a male avatar I made, which costed me on the day of creation only 1 Linden. Only piece where I had to spend that linden was on the AO, the rest are gifts and freebies. At this moment, it will cost you about 2500 Lindens, only for the head (LOGO X Noel Head) and AO. Also as the Skin Fair is going on, check out Akeruka for a male head, as they are priced at 1950 Lindens during this event in their store, I posted their range of heads in this thread, 1st page: 

 

Male test_001.jpg

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It depends on the style and where you go in SL, but another blogger is Billy Beaverhausen.

I do not link him, since he has risky outfits with minimal clothing, like jockstraps, tanks and thongs. Often posing with another guy. (Not only underwear, but he has a lot of those posts ;) )

It is easy to find his blog when you search. He has a unique name.

He is of the more muscular type of avatar, not slim like Skell Dagger. Billy has a lot of mesh heads and bodies. He post a detailed list of what he is wearing.

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14 hours ago, Steve Oval said:

I am returning to SL after a long absence.

Welcome back. I was in the same boat back in late December, returning after about 10 years.

While I have relatively little to add to the excellent tips already provided, I will just say to give it all some time, watch the videos, take notes (helped me a lot), try things, and be patient getting back up to speed. The whole mesh body stuff and everything around the edges of it is a word salad of new and confusing names and terms (BOM, UV maps, materials, Bento, EvoX, rigging, PBR, EEP, alphas, etc., etc., etc.), and it's a bit overwhelming.  

I gradually dipped my toe in the water, then went wading, then went diving in. I don't have a total investment number, but I'd estimate that it was somewhere around L$20,000 or so on mesh body, mesh head, skins, hair layers, new clothing compatible with all of that, mesh hair, and so forth. Yes, there are ways (as others mentioned) to do it for a lot less. Just depends on the end result you want, how sophisticated or polished you want it to be, etc.

The regulars in the forums who already responded here are massively helpful, so as you run into things you don't get, you'll find this is a great place to ask. 

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1 hour ago, Wesley Spengler said:

Welcome back. I was in the same boat back in late December, returning after about 10 years.

While I have relatively little to add to the excellent tips already provided, I will just say to give it all some time, watch the videos, take notes (helped me a lot), try things, and be patient getting back up to speed. The whole mesh body stuff and everything around the edges of it is a word salad of new and confusing names and terms (BOM, UV maps, materials, Bento, EvoX, rigging, PBR, EEP, alphas, etc., etc., etc.), and it's a bit overwhelming.  

I gradually dipped my toe in the water, then went wading, then went diving in. I don't have a total investment number, but I'd estimate that it was somewhere around L$20,000 or so on mesh body, mesh head, skins, hair layers, new clothing compatible with all of that, mesh hair, and so forth. Yes, there are ways (as others mentioned) to do it for a lot less. Just depends on the end result you want, how sophisticated or polished you want it to be, etc.

The regulars in the forums who already responded here are massively helpful, so as you run into things you don't get, you'll find this is a great place to ask. 

That's why the first rule in SL is: Demo before you buy and No Demo is No Buy. Further, investigate some time into, especially, into the body because not every creator of outfits is creating/rigs for all brands/types of body, which can lead to having a body with a small range of opportunities. 

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23 hours ago, Steve Oval said:

I am returning to SL after a long absence. I have reverted to a stock free avi as I think everything I have is old and laggy. I don't understand mesh at all and quite frankly I'm not at all interested in understanding it. I would just like to get something that works, looks good enough, has reasonable animations and does not cause too much lag. I have no real idea as to budget but am open to all suggestions.  I have tried looking in shops and via search in-world but due to my lack of knowledge and understanding I find it impossible. I would greatly appreciate any information, referrals, links, whatever I may need to find what I'm looking for with the minimum need to understand all the ins and outs of it all. Just a click and wear sort of approach.

Thanks Steve.

I was in the same situation when I returned to SL in 2019 after being out for 10 years for the most part. I came back when BoM was not yet a thing on the main male or female bodies, and appliers confused the hell out of me. My avatar was not even mesh, but my friend bullied me until I got one lol. I blew through 400k L$ I had from selling off land in about 2 days. Then BoM came along and my avatar turned red and I had to scour the internet to figure out why. SL is complicated AF, and now we have so many new things to deal with, the latest being PBR. If you need any help, feel free to look me up. My 21st anniversary in SL is coming up in May, so if nothing else, I have pretty much seen it all (and wish I could forget some of it). Just make sure you DEMO EVERYTHING. A lot of creators can be a bit deceptive with their promo images and every shape reacts a bit differently anyway. If you need any clothing or other recommendations, let me know.

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Thanks Cristiano. Mighty generous of you. Been looking around a bit, sandboxes and the like. The dressing rooms in the beginners sims are pretty handy for messing with outfits etc but I might be more comfortable to just upgrade and get one of those free houses. Had a few offers of help in world  but yeah, demos of everything is a good point. I'll start at the dollar shops so not much point there. I've everything to learn so best start at the beginning.

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@Steve Oval In SL knowledge is freedom. SL has an infinite learning curve. But, as you will find out, you can choose to stop at any point on the curve. And there are different paths up the curve.

SL learning is very much like RL learning. It starts with what you THINK you want to do, or in RL to be. Then as you learn things change. So we go from our childhood idea of being an astronaut to something more financially secure, like a drug lord running a cartel... 🙃

However, the Linden made SL Viewer caters to the new and makes the learning curve as shallow as possible. So, you can start with the system avatars and experiment with them. One can grab one and go play in SL without learning much of anything about avatars. But people will know you are new. There are people that don't like new people, they ask SOOOO many question and know how to do so little... and there are those people that enjoy helping the new. May you only find the later.

I learned SL by a series of questions in the style of "How do I..." I would search the SL Forum, the SL blogosphere, and YouTube for answers. I did a lot of experimenting. While SL doesn't use the UNDO concept it does allow one to redo things. For me that has evolved into making my base (nude) body and using it for a starting point for all my other looks. I build a look and save it as an outfit. If I start tweaking on the outfit and mess it up, I just re-wear the outfit which restores my look and start tweaking again. So while you may not get back to your starting point by undoing things, you can just jump back to the starting point.

Don't spend all your time learning. Have fun. Ask questions as needed.

52688904899_8fb9ba9043_z.jpg

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15 hours ago, Steve Oval said:

Thanks Cristiano. Mighty generous of you. Been looking around a bit, sandboxes and the like. The dressing rooms in the beginners sims are pretty handy for messing with outfits etc but I might be more comfortable to just upgrade and get one of those free houses. Had a few offers of help in world  but yeah, demos of everything is a good point. I'll start at the dollar shops so not much point there. I've everything to learn so best start at the beginning.

One mistake I have seen some new users make is buying a head/body combination off of the marketplace, not realizing the body and head have no support from other creators. Definitely stick to the most popular brands. When you demo things, you can see what gets the most support.

For male bodies, it is Belleza Jake and Legacy (and Kario to a much lesser degree). Jake is a good staring point as it is half off (I think 1500L still). If you go Legacy, avoid Legacy Athletic and just get the regular Legacy. There is not that much difference between therm, but Legacy Athletic has some issues with certain types of clothing if it is not made specifically for Athletic, and it does not have as much support. Avoid Signature Gianni/Davis, as a lot of creators have dropped support for Gianni and Davis has never caught on.

Lelutka dominates in heads with EvoX, though there are a few alternate brands that support EvoX (Akeruka comes to mind). Most of the skins, hair bases and facial hair are for EvoX heads, so that gives you the most options. Lelutka just released a new male head with their latest tech, and they are updating all of their current heads in the next few months.Catwa used to be much more popular, but they lack support now and their HD heads did not catch on. Genus has some new 4k thing, but I was not impressed and again the content available is going to be limited compared to EvoX heads.

Hope that helps if you have not yet settled on a body/head. Demo them all - body, head, body skin, face skin, etc. It takes awhile to find the right combination. You may want to search the marketplace for shapes - they will give you a good starting point for an avatar, and they come the shape usually for Jake and Legacy, with a style card that lists what skins, hair, etc... they used. The body shape does not matter as much, that is easy to tweak, so find a face that you like if you don't want to make one from scratch.

Again, let me know if you need anything - I know this is A LOT.

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Posted (edited)

Sorry for my slow reply and thank you for taking the time to offer such sound advice Cristiano and Nalates..

"Find a face you like" sounds like the best advice ever. Will definitely follow advice re shapes, heads and skin.

I am not concentrating 100% on SL, main reason being I am back as a result of buying a new laptop after way too long a time. I have a ton of stuff to do downloading and updating music software, my main passion being music.

Interested in doing live music in SL once I get it sorted.

As to asking questions and knowledge base, I need to totally edit my profile, friends list and groups. Need to search knowledge base to find out how to do that.

No rush atm though.

I am totally impressed by the willingness of people to spend their time helping noobs and old members such as myself who have never taken the time to learn anything. I was always the download, click and play type and when trying to get my head around audio streaming for live music in the past, just gave up.

I have more time on my hands these days and a new laptop with top shelf music software to play with. Who knows. You may see me gigging in SL yet. Got to find my face first.

Regards and thanks

Steve.

PS:  One last thought. In RL I am retired and have played guitar most of my life, Jazz and Country. I am also into modern dance/electronic music. That's where most of the top shelf software is based. I may well want an alt. Something I never thought I would. One younger dance DJ type. One older Blues Country Jazz type. That could be a real challenge face wise.

Edited by Steve Oval
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How ypu progressing, steve ? What you using for an avvie ? You'll rememberer the marketplace ? Get a modern mesh 'roth' for a buck and sweets male skins for a buck and your home n dry :D

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17 minutes ago, Steve Oval said:

I have more time on my hands these days and a new laptop with top shelf music software to play with. Who knows. You may see me gigging in SL yet. Got to find my face first.

PS:  One last thought. In RL I am retired and have played guitar most of my life, Jazz and Country. I am also into modern dance/electronic music. That's where most of the top shelf software is based. I may well want an alt. Something I never thought I would. One younger dance DJ type. One older Blues Country Jazz type. That could be a real challenge face wise.

Yay, a musician! I used to tinker with music/audio and DAWs a long time ago (Sound Forge, Reason, Cubase, and Acid back in the day, Nuendo and Logic Pro in college, and finally settled into Ableton Live in more recent history), but I fell out of the hobby simply because I was too cheap to update Ableton and it was TIME, lol. Many versions behind, I tell you. It's not like I was making money from my stuff to justify the upgrades, either. Not to mention, Ableton Live's cheapest package these days is lacking so many good features, so that was out. I eventually decided to just move to Reaper, but then I got distracted by other hobbies (SL photography among them) and my slacking butt STILL hasn't started that journey yet.

I can't help much on the live streaming into SL thing since I never even considered trying that (or DJing in general), howeverrrr, if you're in need of help putting together your in-world musician personas, I gotchu there! Older avatars aren't too hard to pull off with the right head + skin + details combo. You wouldn't even need to use an alt if you didn't want to. I swap between entirely different looks all on the same account.

Promise, I won't make you look like Skrillex. Though we probably could, lol. 👀

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