UPDATED! Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: Free Mesh Heads and Skins from Genesis Lab, and the Free eBody Classic and Curvy Mesh Bodies with Bakes on Mesh Support

One of the Second Life vloggers I follow is Cat Pink SL, whose videos are in Spanish, but have English subtitles, so it’s pretty easy to follow along. She covers hunts, events, and freebies, and in a couple of recent YouTube videos, she talks about the free versions of the eBody Classic and Curvy female mesh avatar bodies (which now support Bakes on Mesh), and the free mesh heads, skins, and cosmetics from Genesis Lab:

I had talked about the three free Genesis Lab static (non-Bento) female mesh avatar heads before here (scroll down to the Genesis Lab section), so I am not going to repeat all that information here. But what I did not know is that the Genesis Lab group is once again free to join; there is a small black panel on the Group Gifts wall in the store (SLURL) you can click on to join the store group:

So I decided to experiment a little with one of my alts, using the Kenna head from Genesis Lab (still my personal favourite static mesh head, which comes with a HUD with lots and lots of options), paired with the eBody Classic mesh avatar body. As you can see from these pictures, she turned out looking really good!

I did have one problem: the Genesis Lab Cream skin I applied to the BoM eBody avatar did not work on the feet! However, this is not a serious problem when wearing a long ballgown such as this, and you can get around it in other outfits by using boots which replace the eBody feet completely (they are a separate attachment, along with the hands). I am not sure if this was a problem with the eBody mesh, the eBody BoM relay HUD, or the skin appliers I used (I tried several from the Genesis Lab group gifts, all with the same result). It’s a weird bug.


UPDATE Jan. 20th, 2020: I have now found the cause of the strange white patches on the feet of the eBody mesh avatar. It was the result of a classic, system shoebase I applied to the foot. You can get around this problem by removing any shoebase that causes this, and using the avatar hover height instead when wearing high heels. You can ignore my complaining later on in this blogpost about not being able to wear certain types of shoes; any Slink-compatible shoes should now work!


This avatar is wearing:

Mesh Head: Kenna by Genesis Lab (includes the mesh eyes shown here; free group gift; group is free to join)

Mesh Body: eBody Classic from the eBody Shop (pay the vendor in the store L$1 and it will automatically be refunded; these mesh bodies do not have Bento hands, and they only have “thick” alpha selections on the included HUD, which means you have to be somewhat careful what you wear with them)

Skin Applier: Cream skin by Genesis Lab (part of the Lakki skin package from Genesis Lab; free group gift; requires the eBody Bakes on Mesh relay HUD which you can get from the eBody store, just pay the vendor L$1 and it will automatically be refunded)

Gown: Holly gown by JUMO (a recent Advent gift which comes in a size specifically for eBody Classic mesh avatars)

Shoes: black flats by Garbaggio (part of a free sample pack of Slink-compatible shoes from Garbaggio, available on the SL Marketplace; eBody mesh bodies have Slink-compatible feet)

Hair: Bella by Alli & Ali, an elegant updo with a colour-changeable comb in the back (a freebie I picked up at a recent virtual conference; it pays to check conference sims in Second Life for any freebies provided for presenters and attendees to outfit and style their avatars!)

Animation Override: Chubby Girl AO by [ImpEle] (free from the SL Marketplace). This is a nice, simple, calm, free AO with no crazy movements. (Note the freebie versions of the eBody do not come with Bento hands, so you don’t have to worry about animating them.)

TOTAL COST FOR THIS AVATAR: FREE! (All you need is L$1 to pay the vendors in the eBody store to get the eBody Classic mesh body and the eBody Bakes on Mesh relay HUD, which is automatically refunded.)

Note that I do not know how long you will be able to join the Genesis Lab group for free (they used to charge for it), so if you are interested in picking up their free group gifts, I recommend you don’t wait to do so.


UPDATE 6:20 p.m.: You know what? I am actually going to do something that I’ve never done before on this blog: I am going to NOT recommend (un-recommend?) a freebie. And that is the latest freebie version of the eBody Classic and Curvy mesh avatar bodies. They are dreadful. The problem with the feet not taking Bakes on Mesh skins is bad enough, but it gets even worse.

I went over to The Free Dove freebie store, and picked up a few outfits that said they came in versions designed specifically for eBody, like this minidress from Hilly Haalan, and even the eBody stuff doesn’t fit properly!

Look:

The previous version had slightly more workable “thick” alpha sections than this new one, especially in the chest/bust area and the back, and it’s a absolute pain in the butt to find something—anything—that works with them, short of a gunnysack where you can alpha out your whole body (and I’m not even sure about that anymore, either!). I also tried adjusting the body sliders to get rid of the skin breaking through, but to no avail.

The brutal truth is that even the Holly gown I showed you up top had some problems with certain poses in my freebie AO, where some skin would break through at the sides of the gown, a problem that the included alpha sections on the freebie eBody Classic mesh body can’t fix.

Perhaps the paid-for eBody version (with the full complement of smaller alpha sections) would fix the problem, but I don’t think that even that would fix such issues as I found with the Hilly Haalan minidress above. I am discovering to my dismay that many “eBody” versions of garments simply don’t work as advertised, particularly for the freebie version (here’s their HUD showing you the alpha sections; the top part is all greyed out and cannot be used):

(Note: I do have an alt with a paid-for version of the eBody Classic avatar, and I might just go back and try all these dresses from The Free Dove on again with that body, to see if they work out any better.)


UPDATE Jan. 11th, 2020: I tested the Hilly Haalan minidress I mentioned above on my paid-for full version of the eBody Classic mesh body, and it fits perfectly, without any issues! So something is up with the latest freebie version.


The best I could come up with was this outfit, consisting of the Faythe dress by GeMyles, paired with the Lita Lolita shoes in ochre, which include the socks and allowed me to completely alpha out the feet:

There was only one other pair of free shoes I found at The Free Dove that I could wear with this mesh body, the Paper Sparrow Alice heels which also came with socks (worn here with a free red minidress from eBody, which I had picked up in December as an Advent gift at the eBento event):

Here’s a better look at them in a place that’s not all black-on-black:

So, after over an hour on unpacking and trying on garments and tossing them aside in frustration, I found exactly two mesh dresses and two pair of shoes that I could wear with the freebie eBody Classic mesh body (and one of those dresses was already in my inventory). Every other dress specifically designed for eBody that I picked up at The Free Dove would not work properly with the “thick” alpha sections.

Nope, sorry, pass. Consider the freebie eBody Classsic and Curvy as demos only, not for actual wear.

However, if you are looking for a nice static (non-Bento) mesh head, I can certainly still recommend the free group gifts at Genesis Lab, especially if you are down to your last Linden dollar!

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UPDATED! Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: Come Visit the Freak Show!

Today I discovered a really exceptionally well-done sim in Second Life called Freak Show, complete with all kinds of wonderful details and dozens of circus freaks of every kind and description (please see this Encyclopedia Britannica article for some historical background on freak shows).

Freak Show has the biggest collection of freaks (avatars, animesh, and static mesh) that I’ve ever seen in Second Life—which, if you stop and think about it, is quite an achievement 😉 Please do NOT derender avatars or set “view friends only” in your SL viewer, as the circus freaks will be derendered as well! There are some really inventive ones here to see.

I was stopped in my tracks by a two-headed conjoined twins avatar, and I actually had to pull out my handy free What Is She Wearing HUD? to scan her to see what parts made up the avatar! (A very handy tool, and highly recommended whenever you discreetly want to see what another avatar is wearing.)

I was wondering who sold mesh avatar attachments that would give your avatar two heads! It turns out she is all one mesh component. (You can pick up an updated version of her here on the SL Marketplace if you’re interested. It even comes with an add-on AO for the second head!)

Here’s a picture of the owner, Uri Jefferson, who (appropriately enough) is a six-armed circus freak himself!

I decided to dress up for the occasion. This is one of the ten Halloween costume hunt prizes from Brii Underground Wear, the Mary Salem outfit, which comes complete with the gown, wrap, and jewelry—even a matching top hat! Find pumpkin #2 and it’s yours for only L$6:

This avatar is wearing:

  • Mesh head: Cleo Bento mesh head by Akeruka (a former L$1 group gift; the Akeruka group costs L$150 to join)
  • Mesh body: Juliet mesh body by Altamura (a former Valentine’s Day group gift; Omega-compatible; more details here; the Altamura group costs L$50 to join)
  • Omega skin applier: (included as part of a package of body skin appliers that comes with the Cleo mesh head; you can pick up the Omega applier kit for Altamura mesh bodies for only L$99 at the Omega Solutions store at this exact SLURL)
  • Hair: Hurrah hair by Ade (a free gift from the recently concluded 2019 Hair Fair)
  • Outfit (Except Shoes): Mary Salem outfit (L$6 Halloween hunt prize from the pumpkin hunt at Brii Underground Wear)
  • Shoes (Not Shown): black flats (part of a free sample pack of Slink-compatible shoes from Garbaggio, available on the SL Marketplace; Altamura mesh bodies have Slink-compatible feet)
  • Animation Override: Chubby Girl AO by [ImpEle] (free from the SL Marketplace). This is a nice, simple, calm, free AO with no crazy movements. 

TOTAL COST OF THIS AVATAR: Only L$306!

See you at the Freak Show! Here’s the SLURL.

UPDATE Oct. 31st: Draxtor Despres has released a video profiling the Freak Show!

UPDATED: How You Can Get a Grant of US$1,000-25,000 for Your Avatar Project

Since I asked Facebook to delete all my data and I quit the social network at the end of 2018, I have been spending much more time on Reddit and Twitter. On Twitter, I have ruthlessly cut the number of people I’m following, focusing in on people in virtual reality and virtual worlds.

Twitter is where I found this Forbes article, which reported:

Virtual Beings Grants announced at Virtual Beings summit.

The grants range from $1,000 – $25,000 and are obtainable by any group building a virtual being. Virtual beings include digital humans, virtual influencers, virtual assistants, creative AIs, avatars, and tools for virtual beings. There are four grant categories: games, enterprise, social, and education. Applications are open through September 17th and winners will be announced October 15th.

If you are interested and want to find out more, you can visit the grants information page. This initiative is spearheaded by the first-ever Virtual Beings Summit, a recent conference held in San Francisco meant to encourage virtual beings projects. They say:

Virtual Beings Is A New Space. To Believe Today That A Virtual Being Might Be At The Heart Of Every Part Of Our Lives Is A Big, Crazy Leap Of Faith. We Invite Those Crazy Enough To Believe To Sign Up Here!

Hmmm, I wonder if I should apply for a grant to support my work informing Second Life users about how to style their avatar for as few Linden dollars as possible? *sigh* Probably not.

By the way, here’s my latest Second Life avatar styling accomplishment:

This avatar is wearing:

Mesh Head: Leila Bento mesh head by Altamura (free group gift from last Christmas)

Mesh Body: Lara Bento mesh body by Maitreya

Skin Applier: Diana by Clef de Peau (free group gift from last Christmas)

Kimono and Shoes: Tsuru women’s kimono outfit by Secrets of Gaia (free hunt gift in the current Medieval Fantasy Hunt XIX)

Choker: Daphne choker from Beloved Jewelry (free; a hunt gift from last year)

Hair: Haruka hair by aa*Hair (free gift from the 2018 Hair Fair)

Animation Override: Chubby Girl AO by [ImpEle] (free from the SL Marketplace). This is a nice, simple, calm, free AO with no crazy movements. To show off the sleeves on this wonderful kimono, I added the Shoulder Overrider by Ethik Nacon, which you can use to adjust the shoulder position of any pose or AO.

TOTAL COST OF THIS AVATAR: L$3,198 (L$2,075 for the Maitreya Lara body, L$299 for the Shoulder Overrider, L$50 to join the Altamura Design/Mesh Avatars group, and L$99 for the Altamura Omega System Kit available at this exact SLURL.)


UPDATE July 29th: I just discovered this VentureBeat article reporting on the various presentations at the Virtual Beings Summit.

Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: Elegance in Green

*sigh*

I am not having a good day. While trying to clear some space on my hard drive, I accidentally deleted the contents of the Downloads folder on my home computer. Fortunately, I was able to salvage an important document I was working on, but all the screen captures I made for this blog over the past two years are gone. I feel like such an idiot. And to compound the stupidity, I went and bought a rather expensive undelete program that didn’t really recover anything I had lost. All the image files it “recovered” were corrupted and unusable. So that was CDN$100 down the drain. Remember, kids: backups, backups, BACKUPS.

Anyways, to make myself feel a little better, I decided to spend some time on one of my favourite hobbies: pulling together an elegant Second Life avatar look for next to nothing.

This avatar is wearing:

  • Mesh Head and Body: Juliet by Altamura (former Valentine’s Day group gift; Omega compatible with the separate Omega system kit)
  • Omega Skin Applier: Ritual by 7 Deadly S[k]ins (a box of Omega skin appliers was the June group gift)
  • Hair: No_Key by no.match (previous group gift)
  • Mesh Eyes: Vanity Eyes in sage green by MILA (free gift at the current round of the Vanity Event)
  • Jewelry: Ophira by Lazuri (free, from the Free Dove at this exact SLURL)
  • Gown: Snow dress in green by Kaithleen’s (former St. Patrick’s Day hunt gift)
  • Shoes (not shown): Sonnet pumps from Hilly Haalan (free group gift; group is free to join; they come with a 20-colour HUD to match just about any outfit)
  • Animation Override: Chubby Girl AO by [ImpEle] (free from the SL Marketplace). This is a nice, simple, calm, free AO with no crazy movements.

MY TOTAL COST FOR THIS AVATAR: L$149 (I paid L$50 to join the Altamura group, and L$99 for the Omega system kit for Altamura available at this exact SLURL. I had joined the 7 Deadly S[k]ins group during one of their free group join periods in the past.)

All pictures taken at Frank’s Jazz Club.