They say that the eyes are the windows to the soul. A realistic pair of eyes can make a big difference in how lifelike your avatar can look. For example, I actually went out and bought the eyes from the styling credits, after seeing this stunning Second Life avatar portrait!
Many people, even after they upgrade from a classic, system avatar to a mesh body, opt to keep the system eyes. Others choose to use the mesh eyes that come bundled with the Bento mesh head they have purchased (Catwa, The Genus Project, Akeruka, etc.). In many cases, those mesh eyes now support Bakes on Mesh, which means that you can wear system/Bakes on Mesh textures on your mesh eyes.
Today, we are going to look at places to pick up free mesh eyes and system eyes that will work well with Bakes on Mesh-compatible mesh eyes!
Ajuda SL Brasil
First, teleport to the Ajuda SL Brasil, home to the biggest and best freebie store on the grid, and pick up two sets of mesh eyes, which can be found opposite the Altamura Valentina mesh body:
Now, I must admit that I am not a fan of mesh eyes unless they already come bundled with a specific brand of mesh head; if they are standalone mesh eyes, I have often found that you have to go through an aggravating adjustment process until they look right in any given mesh head. Also, you will have to hunt down an eyes-only alpha when using these mesh eyes to replace your system eyes (if you were lucky enough to pick up the recent free group gift of the Freya unisex Bento mesh head from Catwa, there is an eyes-only alpha in the “CATWA BOM Skin A Makeup Alpha Pack” box, which you need to unpack in order to use).
In the bag on the floor at Ajuda SL Brasil are these beautiful Yuitza mesh eyes in a light brown colour:
And here are the Dossier realistic mesh eyes, which come with a HUD with six colour options:
Free Eyes from Shopping Events
One place where you can often pick up free eyes is at regular shopping events. For example, at the Gift Boardwalk for Second Life’s 17th Birthday (SL17B) celebrations, you can pick up a set of six dark-coloured eyes from ND/MD:
Here is one of the six colours, which come in both system/Bakes on Mesh eyes, mesh eyes, and an Omega applier:
And just look at these absolutely gorgeous Sahara eyes by Avi-Glam, which come in two shades of light brown and are available at their booth here at the SL17B Shop and Hop event. They come in both classic system and mesh versions (Catwa, Genus, LeLutka, and Omega).
The Second Life Marketplace
Another place to get free mesh eyes is the SL Marketplace. For example, you can pick up this Sunrise set of mesh eyes in eight different colours from Eyden & Yves for zero Lindens (see image, right).
There’s also a free wearable demo of the Vermeer mesh and system eyes in amethyst purple, which come in four different iris sizes (the mesh eyes are HUD driven).
Eyes from the Second Life Starter Avatars
One of the places which people constantly overlook when searching for free eyes are the set of starter avatars which Linden Lab provides to Second Life users! Please note that, in order to use these eyes, you will first need to select and load the starter avatar (remember to save your current avatar look before you do this!).
If you are using the Firestorm SL viewer, just select Choose an avatar from the Avatar menu in the upper left-hand corner of your screen:
Then just click on the button under each avatar to load it up and wear it.
I recommend just setting aside ten minutes in a quiet, in-world spot, and going through and loading up all the starter avatars at least once; that way you will be able to see what they look like, take notes on what components (hair, clothing, shoes, accessories, etc.) which you might be able to reuse, and all the system eyes will be available, each located in a folder with the starter avatar’s name under the Clothing folder in your SL inventory window (see image, right):
Once you have done that, you can elect to use only the system eyes from that starter avatar folder with whatever avatar look you are building, either as is, or as a texture for Bakes on Mesh eyes (as I have done here with the BoM eyes which come with the Cat Calm mesh head this avatar is wearing, from the Genesis Lab store).
Here are pictures of what some of these eyes look like (listed with the name of the Second Life starter avatar they were taken from).
I find I turn to the beautiful dark brown Bitsy eyes often, especially when styling a Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) avatar!
Aren’t these eyes gorgeous??
So, as you can see, you already have a great selection of realistic eyes to choose from, already in your Second Life inventory! Hopefully these pictures will help you choose the perfect pair of peepers for your avatar!