On Switching to a Mesh Head

This post is well overdue because I switched from the standard Second Life system head to a mesh head on 19 January, and within a few days I had adjusted it to my liking and was wearing it out in public.

I could never go back!

But gosh I ummed and ahhed about whether I should switch to a mesh head for weeks and weeks. People told me not to change. “Mesh heads cause lag”… “You look great already”, “People with mesh heads all look the same”. There was some truth in these statements. So I will tackle them one by one:

  • Lag – yes everything that has to be loaded in world contributes to lag. By the same argument taken in reverse we could all walk around in textureless cube prims and it would be less laggy in busy places. But I want to look and feel good in my avatar so I want to look as lifelike as possible. De-render me or set a suitable complexity limit in your viewer if you don’t want to see me.
  • You look great already – Well I looked OK from a distance and with some hairstyles. But I was never that happy with how I looked close up and from some angles. And also the main thing for me was not having facial expressions. I had pretty much the same expression in every photo of me. The only time it would change was when certain furniture poses (mostly sex poses) took control over the face. But the system head “enjoyment” expressions looked pretty comical to me.
  • On all looking the same – Some models of mesh head are very popular and some people do not edit the face shape that comes with it. The one I chose was slightly less well known and I spent some time adjusting my face shape until it felt like me. Also the skin I already had came with an applier for my new head so I was able to keep my skin, which itself is a less than common one. I’m pretty sure I don’t look like a lot of other people.

I wanted to do this post for a while but needed some comparable shots of old me and new me to do a side by side comparison. Last night i set up this simple photo studio from Strawberry Singh and took off my mesh head to take these some old me shots:

Old Me 1

Old Me 1 (pre-mesh head, see link in description)

Old Me 2

Old Me 2 (pre-mesh head, see link in description)

Now, in fairness to old me these are not that flattering although the front-on one is better than the 3/4 angle one. This was always my main problem with the old head. I was never happy with how I looked in profile.

I should also point out that I didn’t adjust the hair here, which is set up for my new head. With hindsight I should have made a copy and adjusted it back how it was for these shots. My fringe is too low here. The other thing is I normally wore a blonde version of this hair with my old head, but I wanted to only change the head here to make the comparison fairer. There are plenty of more flattering pics of Old Me on Flickr such as this one and this one.

So onto New Me…

New Me 1

New Me 1

 

New Me 2

New Me 2

Well for a start I can smile now! I love my new face so much, it’s much softer and – obviously more expressive. For those who don’t know mesh heads come with a HUD that lets you control your facial expressions (at least the Catwa and LAQ ones do). Or you can set general moods and it just cycles through expressions that indicate that mood.

My mesh head is CATWA Head Lona (mp link)

Yes it’s quite expensive, but it’s the kind of thing you might only buy once. I tried four of their demos including the popular Catya which is also lovely, but this felt more like me. You have to start with the Bento shape that comes with it, which unfortunately also sets your whole body shape – so I made a note of all my old body shape slider settings and then typed them all back in, then finally adjusted my head shape starting from the new Bento defaults until I had what I wanted.

My skin is Solii :Nude: in (E) Chocolate (mp link) by Stix. As mentioned above I had the same skin before. It includes an Omega applier for Catwa heads.

General thoughts

I have picked up on some snobbery about mesh heads. A friend of mine got told meanly she “looked like a crappy noob” because she doesn’t have a mesh head (she is not a noob). I once got told I could not apply for a job as a dancer because I did not have one.

I think they do generally look better than system heads but it is possible to look totally great with a system head too with some adjustment and the right makeup and hair. There’s no need to be an asshole about it. Some people don’t want to spend $5000L on a mesh head or just don’t care that much and that’s totally fair enough. I’m a bit vain I suppose and just want to look my best. And this new head makes me happy and feels more like me. And the other thing is that I am really into Second Life photography (I take too many selfies) so that is a factor too.

But in no way do I subscribe to this idea that everyone has to go down this route. And yes when a sim is laggy or someone has a bad connection sometimes I appear to be headless while it loads. I guess I will just have to deal with that. *sticks out her tongue*

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