Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: I Test Drive the Free Onupup Male Mesh Full-Body Avatar

I have spent quite a bit of time writing about free and inexpensive female mesh avatar heads and bodies, so today I decided I would blog about a male mesh body for a change. And that is a free, full-body (i.e. head and body) male mesh avatar with the unusual name of Onupup, which has been available from the SL Marketplace for at least the last couple of years.

Here is what the Onupup male body looks like, right out of the box, with no adjustments to the default shape at all (as well as a look at the alpha sections on the HUD). The black underwear is separate and included in the package.

Now, this body comes with the skin you see here, but you can turn on the ability to use Bakes on Mesh skins with this body by selecting each of the three sections (upper body, lower body, and head, and going through this four-step process for each section:

  1. Right click on the body part in your Inventory, and select Edit from the menu.
  2. In the edit window, click on the Texture tab, then click on the actual Texture itself.
  3. Underneath the texture display, click on the Bake button.
  4. Select the correct baked texture from the drop-down menu (e.g. BAKED_UPPER for the upper body).

After this, you will be able to use Bakes on Mesh skins on the Onupup body. Here I used a set of BoM male skins I picked up from a new store called DNA, which very quickly disappeared from the grid (but not before I blogged about them). Fortunately, I made sure that all my male alts picked up this set of skins for future use! I’m quite sure you can find male Bakes on Mesh skins fairly easily nowadays, anyway.

Now, I have to admit that this is a very quirky mesh body. For example, when you set him up, his mouth hangs open, and you have to find the Mouth Close Pose gesture in your package and play it, to close his mouth (?!??). Likewise, you will probably also have to type /10 menu in local chat to pull up a blue menu and click on a button to relax this avatar’s hands so that they will work with Bento hand AOs. (Like I said, quirky.)

I found I had to fiddle with the head and body sliders a lot to get a somewhat acceptable shape for the Onupup avatar; in particular the upper arm musculature looks “wrong” to me, no matter what I do to the sliders:

Another quirk is that you need to remember to add the fingernails and toenails as separate attachments! (And to remove said toenails when alphaing out the feet, as you will have to rely on unrigged shoes and boots for this avatar.)

Another problem area is the head, in particular the eye sockets, which appear to be set a little too high for classic, system eyes. You will find that many of the newer system eyes will look absolutely terrible on this head, so I used an old set of eyes from Exodi (another store that has left the grid), which did not have an eyelash “shadow” on the top part of the eyeball, a little trick that eye designers often use to make the eyes look more realistic, and which completely fails on this particular mesh head.

From some angles the mesh head looks wrong to me, even after multiple adjustments (again, the upper eyelid area is a problem). Here you can clearly see that the holes for the system eyes are set too high on this head (you might be able to get around this by using adjustable mesh eyes, but I did not test that out).

Here is the Onupup avatar, all dressed! This entire outfit is from the Freebie Megastore in London City, and it is called the Casual Male Starter pack:

I found I had to pretty much alpha out the entire body underneath these clothes and shoes to get it to work properly, however. You can do a keyword search on the SL Marketplace for “Onupup” to find a growing collection clothing designed specifically for this body over the past two years.

If I had found this free male mesh body two years ago, when it was first released, I might have been happy enough with it. But today, right now, I do think that there are better-looking options for male mesh avatars out there that are inexpensive (for example, the wonderful, fully-featured dollarbie Classic male mesh body from Meshbody, paired with the various male Bento heads offered as limited-time group gifts by Akeruka over the past couple of years). Both the Akeruka heads and Classic bodies support Bakes on Mesh, and they work well together.

The complete lineup of freebie male full-body mesh avatars from the Gift Room at the Altamura store (which you can get if you join the Altamura group for L$100) are also a higher-quality, better-looking male body than Onupup, although they have limitations, too (you can’t change the skin on them or use Bakes on Mesh skins).

In summary, I think that the Onupup body is not bad, particularly if you are flat broke, but it has a few problem areas that need to be ironed out. The creator, Onupup Resident, says in a notecard included in the package:

This comes completely free, use it, if you like it, be my crowd-founder, patreon, donator, funder so I can continue making more things, even 10L would encourage me to do more. Any thing I will make will always be free. If you don’t have money or simply you don’t want to give money, you don’t have to, you can still happily use it.

You might want to get it from the SL Marketplace and put it through its paces yourself and, if you like it, throw a few Linden dollars Onupup’s way. I’m sure he’d appreciate it!

Pulling Together a Male Avatar Look Using the Free Catwa Freya Head: The Joys and Perils of a “Unisex” Head

You might remember that I was able to pull together a male look in my first blogpost about the Freya unisex gift head, using one of the Bakes on Mesh male skins from Digital Nude Art (DNA):

But like many others, I was curious to see if I could use a combination of the freebie Catwa Freya unisex Bento head with the Classic male mesh body from Meshbody, applying a Catwa skin applier from one of the many quality men’s skin stores on the grid (since no male skin was included with the Freya head, just female skins). Let me share what I learned with you.

So I ventured out to Birth, but I found that both of the skins I preferred looked terrible on the Freya head. It would appear most of the Birth skins are meant to work best on specific, more masculine models of Catwa male heads.

I then went over to Stray Dog, and tried on demos of dozens of skins, with mixed results, before settling on the one you see here:

Now, you might think that I needed the collar to hide the neck seam between the Catwa Freya head and the Classic body, but I was actually able to get a close match between the Stray Dog skin applier I used on the Catwa head and the skin tone of the Classic body.

This is Stray Dog skin tone 5, which matches up almost exactly with the Classic body’s skin tone 11, and the included neck fades in the Classic package make it look almost completely seamless! There are even step-by-step instructions on how to apply the appropriate neck fade to the Catwa head. It works well.

No, I needed the collar to hide this rather ugly side view of the neck:

No matter how much I fiddled with the neck sliders, I simply could not avoid a neck that was noticeably thinner at the top than at the bottom. Increasing the neck width or the neck length made the problem even worse.

Another problem was the quite noticeable bulge where the Catwa head meets the Classic body at the front (see the red arrow). It’s a much larger bulge than can be explained away by a man’s Adam’s apple. The best course of action was to cover up the area completely.

So while yes, you can select Male or Female on the included Master HUD for the Freya head to work with both male and female bodies (see the red arrow in the image below), you should be forewarned that the neck area can still look a little weird on male avatars.

So you need to keep in mind that the Freya head, while “unisex” in name, might not work very well with many store-bought male skins that would look okay on a Bento mesh head with more masculine features. So demo, demo, demo before you buy!

I used the eyebrow shaper that came with the Stray Dog skin applier package, and for my starter male shape I used the free, full-perms gift shape from the NoYourOtherLeft sim, one of the three spots where you can pick up the Catwa Freya gift head (just look for a large box opposite the row of kiosks). I made the jaw more angular and square, and the ears a little bigger; the rest I left unchanged. (I noticed in particular that it wasn’t advisable to make too many changes to the nose shape.)

Here is the overall final look for my avatar, which I am quite pleased with:

This avatar is wearing:

Mesh Head: Freya unisex Bento mesh head (free group gift from Catwa; the Catwa group is free to join; more details here)

Mesh Body: Classic male mesh body (L$1 group gift from Meshbody; The Shops! group is free to join; more details here)

Skin Applier for Head: Surman by Stray Dog (L$590 per skin tone)

Hair: the Chris hairstyle in ash blonde is a gift from Alli&Ali Hair (this freebie comes from the free hair wall at The Free Dove; I tinted it a darker brown here)

Collar: Nina unisex choke by RxK (available for free from the main floor of the freebie store at Ajuda SL Brasil; comes with a HUD with four colour choices and two metal choices)

All the clothing is specifically designed for Classic mesh bodies (remember to look for The Mesh Project or TMP on the packaging before you buy):

Shirt: Pepe shirt (free gift from KingalStores, available at The Free Dove)

Jeans: Stone jeans (free gift from Dreams, available from the men’s section on the third floor of the excellent freebie store at Ajuda SL Brasil)

Sneakers: Jumpov sneakers by VERSOV (free group gift; the VERSOV group is free to join; these sneakers come with a HUD that allows you to change the colour of every single part of the shoe)

Animation Override: Tuty’s Daily sLIFE Free Bento AO (free from the Tuty animations store)

TOTAL COST FOR THIS AVATAR LOOK: L$591 (L$590 for the Stray Dog skin applier, and L$1 for the Classic mesh body)

Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: NEWCLOVER

If you’re looking for the latest in hipster clothing for your trendy male avatar, have I got a deal for you! The back half of the NEWCLOVER store is all marked down to zero! That’s right, everything is free!

Newclover 1 18 Oct 2018.png

Now, the sign says the sale is only until Oct. 17th, but I was still able to pick everything up for free today, so you might want to hurry down, just in case it all ends soon. If you join the NEWCLOVER group for free (there’s a sign at the entrance), you can also pick up a nice free group gift, packed full of men’s clothing.

Here’s one hipster look I was able to put together. Everything except the sneakers is from NEWCLOVER:

Newclover 2 18 Oct 2018.png

This avatar is wearing:

Bento mesh head: Keiji head by Akeruka (no longer available for free). If you haven’t yet joined the Akrueka group (called [AK] Heads News & Support) for L$150, you should really consider it. If you had joined the Akeruka mesh heads group a year and a half ago, you would have picked up no less than six fully-adjustable Bento mesh heads (three female and three male), all for a single group join fee of L$150. That works out to only L$25 per Bento mesh head, a truly outstanding deal!

Bento mesh body: The free Altamura Robert avatar from the Freebie Megastore at London City (see here for more details). One advantage of this body is that you can remove the head to use another mesh head with it (as I did here).

Hat: Fedora hat in black from NEWCLOVER

Coat and sweater: Neo coat in black check from NEWCLOVER

Pants: Neo slacks in black from NEWCLOVER

Sneakers: I’m pretty sure I picked this pair up from the men’s section at the excellent freebie store on the Ajuda SL Brasil sim; I’m not sure if they are still available, though.

Total cost of this avatar: L$150 (the group join fee for Akeruka)

UPDATED! Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: Free EXMACHINA Male Full-Body Avatar

UPDATE March 13th: EXMACHINA has completely redone their store, and the new demo version 5.03 of the Davide mesh body has a large logo attached to the head, making it unusable. Also, the free tanning beds to change the skintone of this body are no longer available. Sorry!

PLEASE NOTE: For a current, up-to-date list of free and inexpensive options for male mesh avatar heads and bodies, please see this blogpost

There are three options for male avatars who are looking for a free/inexpensive mesh head and body, all from Altamura:

  • The two versions of the free Altamura Max avatars at the freebie stores at UniHispana Crea and Ajuda SL Brasil (see here for more details). Note that you cannot remove the head to replace it with another mesh head.
  • The free Altamura Robert avatar from the Freebie Megastore at London City (see here for more details). One advantage of this body is that you can remove the head to use another mesh head with it (like the recent freebie mesh head from Akeruka).
  • The free Altamura Tommy avatar at the Altamura mainstore (you do need to join the Altamura group for L$50 to get this freebie; see here for more details). Again, you cannot remove the head to replace it with another mesh head.

Well, EXMACHINA has just released version 4 of their full-body Davide male mesh avatar, and you can pick up a free demo version at their store. You do have to join the EXMACHINA group for free to use the vendor.

One drawback is that the included shape that comes with it is NO modify, which is a real pain in the ass. However, there are a couple of ways around this limitation. You can click on the Giorgio and Andrew skin and shape panels located on the wall to the right of the demo version vendor, and buy those for L$0 (you must be in the EXMACHINA group). While you cannot use the skin appliers with the free demo version of the EXMACHINA mesh body, you can use the modifiable shapes. Also, there is a L$10 Diego shape available on the SL Marketplace which you can use with this body, and you can modify it as you like. I bought the Diego shape and used it for the pictures below.

Here’s what my avatar looks like with the slightly adjusted Diego shape (I had to play around with the eyes, mouth, nose, torso muscles and arm length a bit):

Exmachina 1 16 Sept 2018Exmachina 2 16 Sept 2018

The avatar comes with the mesh eyes you see here. It also comes in two versions: nude, or with the blue bathing suit you see here. It’s actually quite a nice-looking avatar! Please note that you cannot change the skin colour (remember, this is a demo, not the full version).

The hair is Minato by Argrace, a free group gift (the group is free to join). The AO I used is the Daily sLife free Bento male AO (available free from Tuty’s). The total cost of this avatar is FREE! You can’t beat that!

Another serious limitation with the free EXMACHINA body is that it does not come with alpha sections on the HUD (in fact, there’s no HUD at all!). So, basically, you’re going to have problems getting clothing and shoes to fit, unless they are designed for this body. Note that there are a few clothes for sale, designed to fit the EXMACHINA mesh body without the need for alphas, so you can try those. I did spend another L$250 on a muscle shirt and a pair of jeans, both of which fit this mesh body perfectly!

UPDATE Oct. 19th: I paid a second visit to the EXMACHINA store and discovered a few changes. The panel to get the freebie version of the Davide body is now at this SLURL, located in the Freebies section.

And the default skin tone is quite pale, as you can see (this is the slightly modified free Giorgio shape):

Pale Exmachina 19 Oct 2018.png

BUT, there are now two tanning chairs just outside the store, where you can “tan” your freebie avatar to any shade you desire! (Here’s the SLURL.) The longer you sit, the deeper the tan!

Tanning Chairs 19 Oct 2018.png

Here’s the same avatar, after using the tanning chair for about 15 minutes:

Tanned Exmachina 19 Oct 2018.png

I tested it out, and it appears that the tan you get is permanent on the freebie Davide avatar, even if you sign out and sign in again. In other words, you can’t “untan” him. However, if you make a mistake and get too dark a tan for your liking, you can always pick up another freebie version of the avatar and start over.

The ability to pick your own skin tone sets the Davide mesh avatar body by EXMACHINA apart from the other freebie male mesh avatar bodies. It’s a great option if you just want a good-looking avatar for the beach, or you can dress him up in clothing sold at the same sim, designed for the Davide body.