BOM (Bakes On Mesh): What It Is and Why You Want It

You’ve probably seen advertisements for BOM, or Bakes on Mesh, products. It’s becoming more and more popular with heads, bodies, and even some other avatar parts. This post will dig into what BOM actually is, how it impacts you, and why you want to give it a shot.

What is Bakes on Mesh?

BOM is Linden Lab’s newest avatar customization feature. Before digging too far in, let’s cover why it’s called Bakes on Mesh. “Baked” textures are multiple textures that have been combined into one. Previously this could only happen on system avatars (ones that weren’t using mesh). “Mesh” refers to imported 3D objects (ones that are not native to the grid). While mesh is used for all sorts of objects, we’re going to be talking about avatar parts here. Heads and bodies are the most popular mesh parts, but things like tails, ears, and even adult bits can be mesh too. Bakes on Mesh, at it’s most basic, means textures are combined into one and applied to mesh.

In this image you’ll notice that the visual quality doesn’t suffer between BOM and applier.

 

So what’s the difference?

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Mesh Crash Course: Troubleshooting Issues

Note: While the images are from 2017 products, the content has been reviewed and is up to date as of July 2020.

Need more mesh help or info? Check out our full Mesh Crash Course.

Sometimes things just don’t go as expected when using mesh heads and bodies in Second Life. Here are some of the most common issues:

  1. Skin, makeup or tattoos don’t apply
  2. Skin, makeup or tattoos appear distorted
  3. Eyelashes are clumpy
  4. Skin, makeup, or tattoos are shiny
  5. Makeup or tattoos are faded
  6. Old body parts show through the new mesh body parts
  7. And many, many more…

While all of these things can be very frustrating, thankfully they are usually an easy fix!

Appliers

Some of the most common problems come from trying to use appliers. If you’re not familiar with them make sure to check out our in depth post on how appliers work.

If you’re finding that skin, makeup, or tattoos aren’t showing up at all it can be a few different things. First you’ll want to make sure you’re using the correct appliers. A Catwa applier, for example, won’t apply to a Lelutka head. If you’re using Omega appliers (the “universal” applier) make sure you also have your Omega System Relay Kits on. You may have to click the relays to activate them. For more information on ensuring you have the right applier and how to use appliers please check out Appliers: How Do They Work?

Read moreMesh Crash Course: Troubleshooting Issues

Mesh Crash Course: Selecting Hands & Feet

Need more mesh help or info? Check out our full Mesh Crash Course. Mesh hands and feet are a popular option for users with all types of avatars. For somebody who goes full mesh it’s a no brainer. Many system avatars also enjoy mesh hands or feet for various reasons including bento hand capability and …

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Mesh Crash Course: Selecting A Body

Note: While the images are from 2017 products, the content has been reviewed and is up to date as of July 2020.
Need more mesh help or info? Check out our full Mesh Crash Course.

Mesh bodies have become extremely popular in Second Life. They offer more realistic curves and higher levels of modification than the classic system avatar bodies. With so many mesh bodies to chose from you may need a hand narrowing it down. Not to worry! Today’s post covers what to look for when researching and demoing potential mesh body purchases.

Main Considerations

As always you must remember that what is right for others may not be right for you. It comes down to your own needs and preferences. There are a few things to consider when demoing (yes, you should be using demos) and narrowing the options for your personal taste.

Proportions

Some people love fairly realistic avatar bodies. Others love giant booties and chests. Some love small, petite bodies, and still others want to be child sized or feral animals. All of these are possible but work best with different bodies. While many bodies allow for a level of customization there is only so far you can go. Altering shapes too drastically can result in issues with clipping and jagged edges. You’ll want to ensure the body you select will support your own vision. Keep in mind you may have to get separate products (such as third party breasts) for some of the more extreme looks.

For the initial browsing of what body types you may like I highly recommend Mesh Body Addicts. You can browse by gender and quickly get an idea of what style you may prefer. If you’re looking for a child or very petite body you may not find what you’re looking for there. ToddleeDoo is a very popular brand for toddler avatars and UTILIZATOR‘s Kemono is a well loved petite body that works well for anime avatars or petite humans/furries. Sking is a popular brand for those who want huge chests and booties.

Read moreMesh Crash Course: Selecting A Body

Mesh Crash Course: Selecting A Head

Note: While the images are from 2017 products, the content has been reviewed and is up to date as of July 2020.
Need more mesh help or info? Check out our full Mesh Crash Course.

Mesh heads are extremely popular due to their smooth, seamless look in comparison to system heads. Whether you’re looking for your first mesh head or your fifth there are a few basics that can help ensure you pick the perfect one for you.

Main Considerations

Of course what is right for others may not be right for you. It always comes down to your own needs and preferences. There are a few things to consider when demoing (yes, you should be using demos) and narrowing down the options for your personal taste.

Bento vs Static?

One of your biggest choices is if you’d like a bento or static head. I won’t get in too deep as we’ve already covered this, however it’s still important to touch on. The main difference between bento and static heads is the shape customization. Bento heads respond to the shape sliders so you can get various looks with the same head. Static heads don’t respond to the sliders and always have the same shape even if you alter sliders. Bento heads can work with bento animations, even from third party creators. Static heads are more limited and will not change with bento animations, but instead rely on the HUDs from their developer.

Alpha Options

Many people like to use different eyes, ears, or teeth instead of the standards that may come with a purchase. If you’re one of those people (or may be in the future) you’ll want to ensure your head will allow for it. If the head comes with those components you’ll want to make sure they are either equipped separately or can be hidden. Otherwise you will likely run into clipping issues and a weird mix of double features.

If you’re not sure why anyone would want to use something aside from the standards take a peek at this list. I’d hate for you to pick a head that didn’t let you hide ears than decide you wanted to be an elf in a few weeks!

Read moreMesh Crash Course: Selecting A Head

Bento Heads vs Standard Mesh – What’s Right For You?

Note: While the images in this blog post are from 2017, the content has been reviewed and updated for 2020.
This post is currently in the process of being updated. Please bear in mind the info presented may be out of date. A more in depth version is coming soon!

While the standard system heads can look nice, many people opt for mesh heads instead. With mesh you have many options, not only based on creator and style, but also in what type of head to get. Both standard and bento mesh heads have their uses. Read on to learn which is more suited to your own personal needs.

Catwa: Vampire Annie (Standard Mesh)

Standard Mesh Heads

Standard mesh heads are a bit out of date now that bento has been out for a while. What you see is what you get in terms of shape. You can alter the appearance with different skins, but the base itself will not change. Think of using skins like painting a sculpture. The final product will look different depending on the colors and shapes you use but the sculpture itself remains unchanged under the paint. For more information about how much of an impact shapes and skins have on your look check out our informational post.

Standard doesn’t necessarily mean static. While some standard mesh heads don’t move at all, many have movement options. The movement ranges from basic blinking to more in depth expression HUDs allowing for smiling, sticking tongues out, and more. Standard mesh heads won’t move with bento AOs or poses, however. They’ll only move with whatever HUDs are made for that specific head.

Bento Heads

Catwa: Lona (Bento Mesh)

Bento mesh heads are a godsend for people who want to switch up their appearance on a regular basis. With bento mesh you can adjust your facial shape with the appearance sliders. This allows for an entirely different base shape as often as you’d like. Combined with the use of skins you can get many different looks with just one purchase. For more information about how much of an impact shapes and skins have on your look check out our informational post.

As with standard heads, bento heads do not have to remain static. Many have in depth animations so you can express your mood through your face. Different brands have different animations so make sure to look into them before purchasing. Now that bento has been out for a while, bento animations are widely available. Companies like Vista can animate your bento face as part of their AOs.

Making The Choice

Read moreBento Heads vs Standard Mesh – What’s Right For You?

Yes, You SHOULD Be Using Demos!

Note: While the images are from 2017 products, the content has been reviewed and is up to date as of July 2020.

If you’re a regular to the blog you know I’m a firm proponent of demoing products before purchase. I’ve had people ask if and why demos in Second Life are really important. People have also told me that they don’t want to spend the extra time demoing a product they already know they’ll like. Demos are very important, even if you’re absolutely in love with the item! Today I’ll cover what to look for when demoing so you can learn why you should never skip the demo step if it’s available.

What’s A Demo?

Demos are inexpensive (usually free or 1 linden dollar) versions of products made for you to test out before making a final purchase. Think of demos as trying on new clothes or shoes before you buy them. You wouldn’t want to make a big purchase just to find that the jacket doesn’t fit and can’t be returned, would you? In addition to being inexpensive, demos also tend to have something missing or added so you don’t use it instead of the final product. This may be weird/missing textures, extra shapes, or even a timed product that can’t be used after a period of time passes. You wouldn’t want to wear a demo out to the party you’re heading to later. The entire point of the demo is to ensure the product is what you need before making the purchase.

A female Second Life avatar wearing a lot of Demos.

Read moreYes, You SHOULD Be Using Demos!

Appliers: How Do They Work?

Note: While the images are from 2017 products, the content has been reviewed and is up to date as of July 2020.

Need more mesh help or info? Check out our full Mesh Crash Course.

Appliers are one of the most commonly used items for mesh bodies. I see a lot of users asking questions about Second Life appliers or being confused as to what appliers can offer them. Today I’ll go over what they are, how to use them, and why you may want them.

Second Life Appliers: The Basics

Think of appliers like classic avatar clothing for mesh avatars (excluding BOM – more on that in this post). The applier itself is an object (usually a HUD) that applies a texture to mesh body parts. Some of the more common textures are skins, clothes, and makeup. Tattoos, beards, and scars are also textures that can be used via applier, as well as anything else you would want on your mesh body. To understand appliers you first must know about layers.

Layers

Layers allow multiple textures to be worn at once. Lower layers are hidden by higher layers. You’ll find the skin almost always applies automatically to the lowest layer. Most commonly you’ll have three other layers to select from when using non skin appliers.

Think of your real body and clothing for a moment. Your skin is one layer, any tattoos you may have are on a layer above it, your underwear is another layer above, and your regular clothing is the layer on top. Your tattoos hide what’s on the skin under them. Underwear hides any tattoos under it and your pants hide your underwear. It’s exactly the same on your avatar. Here is a breakdown of the most common layers:

  1. SkinA female Second Life avatar with red hair and using an applier skin looks off camera.
    • Skin appliers almost always automatically apply to this layer.
      • As such layers usually aren’t even listed as an option for users.
    • Covers the body parts as the lowest layer.
      • Anything else applied will be seen on top of the skin.
  2. Tattoo
    • This is applied directly over the skin, but under the Underwear and Clothing layers.
      • This means it’ll show on top of the skin but anything on the Underwear or Clothing layers will cover it up.
    • Popular for not only tattoos but also makeup, beards, scars, blood, bruises, and anything else that would be visible over the skin but covered by clothing.
  3. Underwear
    • Applied over the Tattoo layer but under the Clothing layer.
      • Just like in real life this will cover your skin and anything that’s directly on your skin via the Tattoo layer.
    • This doesn’t only have to be used for bras, boxers, and panties.
      • Want to wear a long sleeved shirt under a crop top? Apply the long sleeved shirt on the Underwear layer and the crop top on the Clothing layer.
  4. Clothing
    • The Clothing layer is the top layer.
      • As such it will cover anything on other layers since they are below it.
    • Want to get creative? Use Tattoos as decoration on clothes!
      • Instead of placing a Tattoo on the Tattoo layer, consider placing it on the Clothing layer with the shirt or pants on the Underwear layer.
      • This will show the Tattoo over the clothing and it may look like a neat design. Then again it may not. Play around!

With the basic knowledge of how layers work you’re able to experiment and play with different ideas. Give the tattoo on clothing and the layered shirts a shot!

What’s That Have To Do With Appliers?

Read moreAppliers: How Do They Work?

Bento Hands vs Static Mesh – What’s Right For You?

Note: Bento hands now come standard with most bodies. I’ve reviewed this post to ensure it is still accurate for 2020, however your body most likely already has bento hands included.

Maitreya's original nonbento hand.
Static Maitreya (2017)

Static Mesh Hands

We’re all used to the static mesh hands by now.  They can look nice, however they are stuck in a neutral position. Originally static hands came standard with the body you purchase, but they are almost entirely phased out on modern avatars. Some static hands come with a HUD to allow the user to change various details on the hands. This may include things like skin tone, nail style and color, or tattoos/markings such as freckles. Until recently Second Life hands were little more than an extension of the body.

Read moreBento Hands vs Static Mesh – What’s Right For You?