Sometime in the past month, somebody alerted me to a free mesh full-body (i.e. head and body) female avatar on the SL Marketplace, called the Viva Full Featured Mesh Avatar (Level 3):
The creator writes in the product description:
I had originally set the price at L$3,500 and you’ll see why when you look at the Master HUD, but Viva really needs to develop a solid user base and it needs creators to make skins, clothing and other items for her.
Because the market is almost exclusively dominated by a couple of brands, it’s almost impossible for someone new to establish any sort of presence. So . . . for the time being, I am giving away the avatar free. Sometime down the road, I will need to charge. Right now, the Level 3 package is available at no charge.
Trying to launch a brand new female mesh body against the “Big Three” (Maitreya Lara, Belleza Venus/Isis/Freya, and Slink Physique/Hourglass), which is rapidly becoming a “Big Four” with Meshbody Legacy also becoming popular among designers, is a truly daunting prospect.
Throw in the monkey-wrench of Meshbody releasing their fully-featured Classic female mesh avatar body as a high-quality dollarbie. Add in eBody, Altamura, LucyBody, and countless other female mesh body creators offering various kinds of giveaways in an effort to steal even a small part of the leaders’ marketshare, and you can see how hard it is for any newcomer to gain any traction.
I bought the Viva mesh body from the SL Marketplace (link up top), and I was pleasantly surprised to see a neatly-organized series of file folders in my Received Files inventory section. No need to unpack anything at all!
So, I started trying things out. Thankfully, there’s a link to a Quick Start Guide on their website, so I started there (they even helpfully included a pose stand!). Everything seems to be controlled using one Master HUD, which takes up a lot of on-screen real estate, but can be easily minimized to a single button.
If you are already familiar with topics like skin appliers and Bakes on Mesh, what you have already learned from using other mesh bodies pretty much applies here too. One interesting feature of the Viva mesh body that I have not seen in other products is that you can you can actually add designs to your fingernails and toenails, in addition to changing their basic colour:
The Viva mesh body (with Bento hands) and Bakes-on-Mesh-compatible Bento mesh head both adjust well with the body appearance sliders, and take most Bakes on Mesh skins well (I did have a few problems with some Bakes on Mesh skins from Amara Beauty around the mouth area, so your mileage may vary).
Here, I used one of the BoM skins included with the recent Akeruka Limited head, with good results after a bit of tweaking with the face and body sliders and the eyebrow shaper:
This strapless dress came with the package, and you can even tint it using the Master HUD, using the instructions in the Quick Start Guide! I paired the dress with my trusty wardrobe staple, the free Sonnet heels from Hilly Haalan; the feet appear to be Slink-compatible, although the included foot height made the base of the feet turn white, so I had to set it aside and just adjust the shoe heights by hand.
The Master HUD includes a full component of alpha selections, which is good, because you are quite obviously not going to find a lot of clothing to fit this mesh body exactly! But, if you are prepared to invest some time and patience learning about all the features this full-body mesh avatar has to offer, I think you’ll find it compares quite favourably with other free and inexpensive options out there on the marketplace (and yes, even those that charge thousands of Linden dollars!).
For more information about the Viva mesh body, you can check out their website, including some user forums and a creator’s kit and resources. So, if you’re feeling creative, perhaps you might want to design and create some clothing for this body?