Pick Your Parts

This is part 3 of the 5 part series Making A New You.

How you build your basic avatar depends on what you want the outcome to be. Selecting body parts can be a challenging yet rewarding experience! You’ll need the list you made in Part 1 so you know what type of items to buy.

Your Basic Avatar – Now In Mesh! 

Mesh is the term used to describe 3D objects in Second Life. The game does provide default Mesh avatars that you can build off of, though they are very basic. If you want higher quality you can purchase mesh parts to use instead of the default avatar. Since the defaults are already made for you I’ll assume you’re not reading this guide for those and focus on the other options.

The two most noticeable parts of a Mesh avatar, the body and head, are almost always sold separately. You can get separate hands and feet too, though most bodies now come with them standard. Many creators produce workarounds so their products play well with with others, but some do not. You’ll want to ensure all the pieces you get are compatible before making your purchases. You do this by first getting demos. Demos are free or very low cost versions of the product so you can to test it out before buying. You can try multiple demos at the same time to make sure they all look nice and function well together. Always demo your parts before purchasing!

Make sure you do some research before clicking “buy” on any parts of a Mesh avatar, too. You want to make sure it does what you’d like it to do and that it’s a good fit for your style. For example, Bakes on Mesh (BOM) products work differently than regular Mesh when it comes to applying textures. For more info on BOM, see our post (coming soon)!

I dream of covering every product, but for now I’ll share with you some of the popular ones:

  1. Body
    • Slink
      • Offers both masculine and feminine bodies.
      • Hands and Feet sold separately.
        • Both were very popular previously and as such have many products of all types specifically made for them.
        • Can be mixed and matched with some other bodies.
    • Maitreya
      • Offers one of (if not the) most popular bodies – Lara.
        • Lara is a feminine body, however there are mods to flatten the chest.
          • This can be used for flat chested women or even for men, though more clothing options are available for feminine designs.
      • Comes with feet and bento hands.
    • Belleza
      • Offers masculine and feminine bodies.
        • Comes with feet and bento hands.
      • Many feminine users with curvier and larger avatars love how the Freya body fills out.
      • Many masculine users who prefer a less muscular look like the Jake body.
    • Signature
      • Offers masculine and feminine bodies
        • Comes with feet and bento hands
      • The men’s bodies have many products available as they’ve been popular for some time.
  2. Head
    • Catwa
      • Offers a wide selection of both bento and non bento heads.
      • As the pioneers of face animations on heads, Catwa has a large selection of animations and addons to choose from.
      • They are very popular and compatible with other parts/designers.
    • Lelutka
      • All bento heads, but split into Origins and Evolution.
        • Origins are their first bento line. The heads are applier based.
        • Evolution heads are their newest line. The heads are BOM based.
      • Very popular, well rounded products that have tons of support.
      • Creators continue to push boundaries and make high quality products.
    • VISTA ANIMATIONS
      • All bento heads.
      • Designed to work flawlessly with the company’s famous animations.
      • Not currently BOM compatible, but rumors say they may be working on it.
      • Not as popular as other heads, so finding products isn’t as easy as the other heads.
        • They are Omega compatible though, so it’s definitely not hard to find something!

There are many other heads and bodies out now. In the future I’d love to offer in depth reviews of all of them, however for now these are the most popular and well supported so you can make something you love fairly easily!

Flawless Skin

Skins are textures that go over the base mesh parts. Many mesh bodies and heads come with skin packs. For the average user those are perfectly suitable for everyday use, however there are other options to choose from as well. Skins can really change how you look! Most people look for a face skin they like, and then go with the body skin to match. Some people pick the body they love and then pick from the faces that match. However you do it is up to you! No matter how you look for skins, make sure they are compatible with the products you use.

  1. WoW Skins
    • A popular skin company for newer players.
      • They have an entire room dedicated to lucky boards and discount skins for group members.
    • Focuses primarily on feminine looks, but there are masculine options.
  2. 7Deadly s{K}ins
    • Many deals on skins if you’re a group member.
    • Large selection for both masculine and feminine styles.
  3. Session
    • Realistic skins for both masculine and feminine styles.
      • Multiple options for chubby/skin imperfections/etc.
    • Have high quality genitalia that can be purchased to match the tones as well.
  4. DeeTaleZ
    • Realistic feminine skins
      • So many options for alternative body looks.
        • Chubby, thin, sporty, and fitness, and pregnant are all body options.
        • Freckles, moles, veins, stretchmarks, body fat, cellulite, and more.

Heavenly Hair

Bad hair can ruin your look in game just as easily as in real life. Cheap looking locks can detract from your rockin’ bod and gorgeous face. You’ll want to try on any hair via the demo before you purchase it. Heads vary greatly and you should be sure you don’t have any scalp peeking out before you make your selection final. A hairstyle can completely change how your avatar’s personality comes across. Plus, trying on different styles is so much fun! Need a place to start? Test out some of my favorite stores in world:

  1. TRUTH
    • Has a long history of pushing the envelope for the highest quality hair.
    • Huge variation of styles and colors, though mostly for feminine looks.
    • This is honestly the company I always come back to. I wear TRUTH almost exclusively.
  2. Stealthic
    • High quality styles for both masculine and feminine looks.
    • Teamed up with Vista for a braid that swings when you walk.
      • It’s called Verge and is hopefully the birth of more realistic hair movement in SL.
  3.  Magika
    • Company has been creating hair for almost 15 years.
    • High quality hair with a good variation of styles.
    • Mostly for feminine looks.

If you’d like to peek at a few more options for your parts check out CAZIMI’s SL Stores FAQ!

Furries

Mixing a human and an animal produces an anthropomorphic (also called furry) avatar. Furries and their culture have a large home in Second Life. Humans have to worry about getting a nice body and head, but furries have to add in tails, paws, and more pronounced facial features.  For this reason many furry avatars came packaged as a set instead of the mix and match options humans tend to see. As time went on this has changed and many furries will mix and match, even with human bodies and then modifying them to fit their needs.

There are multitudes of prepackaged furry avatars of various quality for purchase. While these can be used right out of the box, taking this base and building on it is how most furries make themselves unique. For many furries clothing isn’t needed, though it is definitely an option. Some will purchase an avatar and then replace the body with another body for more control over the body size and shape. Some will purchase multiple avatars and mix and match various pieces to make themselves stand out. You can decide what’s best for you based on what is available and what you have in mind. Check out these popular furry avatar sellers for ideas:

  1. Luskwood
    • The original creators of prepackaged furry avatars.
    • Offers a large collection of cute avatars at an affordable price.
  2. Raawr
    • Prepackaged furry avatars in a different style than Luskwood.
    • Many offer bento options as well.
  3. Utilizator
    • Makers of the Kemono, a wildly popular cutesy style furry.
      • Kemono has lots of third party support so you can style it how you’d like!
    • The company focuses on anime styles and that’s reflected in their products.
  4. Kinzart Productions
    • Prepackaged furry avatars in a wide variety of styles.
    • Store also has other designers showcasing their avatars and accessories.

While humanoids dominate Second Life, there are plenty of other avatars, too! I’ve seen Dragons, Cars, even the Kool-Aid Man! For more atypical avatars like this you’ll generally get the whole avatar in one package. I recommend checking the Second Life Marketplace to find specialized content such as those. Feel free to browse my list of places to shop too! In Part 4 we’ll learn how to accessorize and dress your avatar.

What basic parts do you use for your basic avatar? Do you have other recommendations for users?

A Second Life avatar with red hair and a black dress sits on a fountain and reads a book.
Head – Lelutka: Nova
Body – Maitreya: Lara
Skin & Shape – Session: Niko
Hair – TRUTH: Kitten in Greyscale
Eye Shadow (BOM) – Izzie’s: Smokey Eyeshadow 3 (+undereye) dark
Eye Shadow (HD) – Top1Salon: Insta Eye Shadows
Lipstick – Top1Salon : HD Two-Faced Lipstick
Tattoos – Letis Tattoo: Cat Goddess
Choker – Virtual Disgrace: Tattoo Choker
Outfit – r2: Enyou (black)
Pose – Atelier Visconti: AV Fountain Nympha
Face Pose – Lelutka: Axis HUD Face
Location – Otter Lake
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