3 December 2014 Edit: A press release has been issued by Belleza regarding the Belleza Venus Mesh body. It is subject to a DCMA which Belleza are actively defending. Read more about it here.
8 November 2014 Edit: The vast majority of the points made in this blog remain relevant and current, however, due to an update on the Belleza Venus Mesh Body as of the 6th November 2014, a follow up review is now available on that. I suggest you read this first and then go on to read the Belleza Body Update Review blog.
21st September 2014: Original Review of Mesh Bodies in Secondlife – Belleza Venus, The Mesh Project body and Wowmeh
Let me begin by saying that I realise these three mesh bodies are far from all the mesh bodies available in SL. I have, no doubt, not tried them all. In fact, I have only tried one aside from these three and I didn’t feel it was for me, so didn’t buy the full product – that was the Slink body.
Equally, I’m going to follow that up by acknowledging that any honest reviewing of any kind seems to be frowned upon by some creators and supporters. My aim here is not to disparage any product or vendor, but to lay out the pros and cons of my experience to assist others in their purchasing decisions. I’m sure that any creator would rather a well-informed customer purchased their product and got exactly what they expected to get for their lindens, rather than be on the receiving end of a ton of notecards.
Third of my precursors is that I should let you know I have purchased all these products and have not received any as a review copy. And finally, none of the pictures are glamorous (well, you can see that) or edited at all. Pure snapshots. You can click on each to see a full resolution image.
So, with all those things in mind, I shall bring on the full and frank photographs and comments on each!
The Belleza Mesh Body (released today, 21st September, cost 3995l$)
Having spent an hour or so with this body today, I can affirm that the Belleza one piece mesh body is the best part of the package. Of course, with the feet and hands being part of the body, it is essentially flawless. However, flawless in this instance does not mean to imply the system is without fault.
The main reason I was at the Belleza store at 9.30am with a freshly uploaded batch of lindens is that I believed it to be completely compatible with Slink hands and feet. The package, therefore, comes with two options. The one piece shown in the first photograph and the body for you to add your Slink hands and feet to.
The Slink hands fit reasonably well when you follow the instructions in the notecard and set your torso muscle to 50, as in the above photograph. However, for my shape, this is far too muscley in the arm area, as shown in the picture below.
I think 50 is too high bluntly. I normally have my torso muscle between 30 and 35. In addition, and I’m only mentioning it at this point because you can see the breasts most clearly in this picture, there is a cleavage option within the HUD which literally pushes your boobs together, rather than using the alternative shading method used by most. I was pleased with this idea until *dun dun dun* I attempted to use it under clothing (surely this is the only reason you would use it?) It simply does not work under mesh clothing at all, even if I put the breast size on 0, they stuck through a size M shirt (I’m normally an S or XS in mesh). I reverted to non-cleavage boobs and the top fitted instantly.
The fitting of the Slink feet onto the Belleza body was a real disappointment. I set the leg muscle to 50, as instructed and used the applier HUD given to match the feet to the skin in the HUD, but as you can see, it’s far from a flush fit. At this, I used the Slink size L feet too!
Now onto another major issue for me. The alpha HUD is not practical for clothes wearing. I noted the lack of a diagonal line across the breasts (no V-necks). No half line across the breasts (no balcony bras, corsets, low cut tops). A huge section around the collarbone which will make lining it up to most tops a pain. And perhaps most frustrating of all, very limited sections across the lower back, buttocks and top of the legs. Fitting jeans to mesh bodies can be a nightmare with the best of alpha options, and this is not it!
Also, when you click on one arm section, or one leg section, it automatically blanks out it’s opposite number on the other limb. What about one-sleeve tops, dresses with an asymmetrical hem? No chance.
My other minor complaints are that I think the legs are slightly oddly shaped around the knee (retaining a bit of water?) and the nipples look a bit plasticky.
From what I can find, there is no reset button either, so when you have been wearing something with various areas alpha’d out (which can be fiddly to select and deselect) you have to click on each one to make the area show again. I’m sure that would be a simple thing to remedy. EDIT: This point is mooted by the fact you can simply click on ‘arms’ ‘legs’ ‘torso’ etc. which alternates between making that area fully visible or fully invisible. Nifty! I simply hadn’t spent enough time playing with it.
Good things about the Belleza Mesh Body:
The skins included are lovely, as you would expect. I found one that basically matched my current skin without much of a problem and the only area where this is apparent is high up on the neck under my chin. When I sent my feedback to Belleza, I suggested perhaps a tattoo layer blender system for the HUD skins.
The undercarriage (you know where I mean) is a little more detailed than the other bodies on the included skins.
There are loads of hand positions in the HUD for the included hands! This is a huge bonus. The included feet are nice too. I have to admit, I love wearing it as a one piece. I wanted the Slink compatibility to make my HUGE collection of Slink shoes future proof, but I might have to get used to buying packs where they offer Slink/TMP/Belleza options in each pack. (So far I’ve found options at Hucci, JD and L.Warwick)
Finally, clothes seem to sit properly on the mesh. I’m sure you’re thinking ‘but of course they do!’ but if you read on, you’ll see this is not to be taken for granted.
The Wowmeh Mesh Body (Not currently for sale, purchased for under 1000l$)
The Wowmeh Mesh Body was brought out by its creator, who released it cheap and increased the price as the product improved, issuing updates to those people who had already bought it. I liked this attitude very much and so rushed to buy my Wowmeh when I caught on (I think I paid 900l$ but can’t swear to it, starting price was about 350l$) in the hopes it would continue to improve at a galloping rate. Due to a dispute, it has been removed from sale for the time being and I don’t know any more information than that at the moment.
However, its inclusion here is for a good reason, some things are very good about it!
The Wowmeh hands are what I would call adequate, they are bearable from a distance but the nails need work imho. The fit is good, of course, as they were made for purpose. As an aside, and as you can see in the above picture, I love the Wowmeh nipples. They are probably my favourite of all the mesh bodies.
The Wowmeh feet are a bit of a mess, bluntly and I wouldn’t wear them. However, this is worn with an applier for body, hands and feet from a decent skin maker, so who knows eh? Slink shoes of course do not fit Wowmeh feet.
As you can see, the Slink hands do not fit well with the Wowmeh body, but it’s not so dire that you cannot get away with it in the updated version I received most recently. A bracelet or two camouflages the lower area of concern.
The Wowmeh body with Slink feet isn’t too horrendous from a normal camming distance. If you cam in, you can see the glitches, even with a decent applier for each.
The Alpha HUD requires more detailed sections, fairly obviously, but the HUD itself is simple to operate. Other oddments of note are:
Boobs are rigged so ‘high’ (reach for the sky bish!) I tend to have to have gravity on max.
Skin shown is an applier, not provided with the body itself
Skins within the HUD were okay… but not amazing I thought, a bit dull. I guess more appliers would have become available if it had continued for sale.
Clothing and tattoo appliers are simple, you just add them as you get the HUD from the designer and choose what layer (skinny or loose) they apply to.
Good things about the Wowmeh Mesh Body:
Price, when it was available, was reasonable and realistic, as it was recognised to be a work in progress.
The HUD is neat and simple.
Fitted mesh clothes are more likely to work on this body than others I have tried.
Communications from the designer were good.
The back view is nice and the nipple texture, colours and shape is realistic.
The Mesh Project Mesh Body (Various different versions available from free to deluxe. This is the deluxe, currently for sale for 5000l$, I paid 2500l$)
The Mesh Project body comes with hands and feet, and the feet change height via HUD to five levels: Flat, Low, Medium, High and Ouch. Shoes made for TMP feet will have these categories and you change the foot height via the Style Me HUD. The Body also comes with hands in various poses in the package.
As you can see clearly in the above picture, no attempt has been made to rig the body to work with Slink hands and feet. I’ve not even had to do close ups of this one, they are just miles apart and therefore, unwearable.
The Mesh Project’s hands are perfectly adequate. However (and I hope this is just me and someone leaves me a comment enlightening me) I can’t seem to find a way to adjust nail polish colour, or to apply nail polish to the hands. The fit with the body is just about perfect.
The TMP feet are fine also, quite cute. As said previously, they adjust to different heights via the HUD. They fit perfectly to the body itself. I have no criticisms of the product, I am just very very sad that my lovely big collection of Slink shoes aren’t compatible with this body, essentially. End of. (Oh please don’t let that be end of, let the creator issue an update!!!)
By a country mile, this is the best of the alpha HUDs for mesh bodies. It allows me to adapt the body to wear almost anything. In a perfect world, I’d love to have even more choices around the chest, underarms and shoulders. I so would 🙂
So by now, you must be thinking, she has almost no criticisms of The Mesh Project’s Mesh body, surely this is the best mesh body out there?
I do sadly have some criticisms, so I shall make them here – with a heavy heart (and believe me, I’ve put off reviewing this body for this reason – I didn’t want to criticise it at all), before moving on to summarise the good points, as for the other bodies.
Clothes don’t sit correctly on the upper body. Arms usually poke out of sleeves all the way down the arm, which is a huge glaring error.
As previously mentioned, I can’t figure out how to use nail polishes on the hands or feet at all. None seem to be supplied.
Also previously mentioned, it’s absolutely not compatible with the Slink hands and feet, which have pretty much established themselves as the mesh hands and feet to buy in SL. That can’t be sensible from TMP’s point of view.
But perhaps worst of all is this… I had some issues with their Style Me HUD system incl. the TMP feet remaining stubbornly uncoloured (white) despite repeated button mashing, moving sims, unboxing new copies etc., etc. Customer Service was unbelievably bad. I have complained multiple times. By IM to their support avatar several times and on their Facebook page more than once and finally once via notecard to the creator – all over the course of weeks and have received absolutely NO assistance.
This may be viewed as an oversight, if it weren’t for the fact that their systems for purchasing an item are all overcomplicated (You have to visit this bizarre white unearthly place with posters floating around, wear a shopping HUD, click on other posters indicating category of purchase – like body, add-ons, clothes, shoes, bags, jewellery – in other areas, view the items all over your screen via the Shopping HUD – blocking out everything else. Then you find you can’t simply buy the items, you have to buy credit from a gold thing on the floor (not clearly indicated) in order to purchase anything. Also, you have to buy credit in multiples of 250l$. Then, once you have credited your account with funds, you can buy the items). And that is where the fun just begins!
Once you have bought an applier based item from ‘The Shops’ or ‘The Boutique’ the option appears in your Style Me HUD (yes another hud aside from your shopping HUD and your alpha HUD – I only have a 14″ laptop and so by now, I can’t see my avatar). The preview of the clothing, skin or tattoo item appears in a teeny tiny little window, however, so it’s sometimes hard to figure out what is what. It’s a lot of HUD for such a tiny preview.
Anything you buy in the way of tattoos, applier clothes, skins etc. from other creators comes in HUD form, as for many mesh body add-ons, but the result ends up in your Style Me HUD too. Have you ever tried to figure out which is the dark, medium and light version of a tattoo from a 2cm circle image? Well, it’s trial and error, I can tell you.
I don’t buy many applier based items, but I do buy mesh items, which you can also buy from TMP. So that must be simple, right? Well no, that’s not simple either. You use the same shopping based system as above, you get a blank white mesh item that you wear and buy the textures for. Any cheapskates thinking they can go around all dressed in white however, will be in for a rude shock. You get a whirly thing around the item until you buy and apply a relevant texture which – you guessed it – appears only in your Style Me HUD. Phew!
There is a very limited range of specialised mesh clothing, however, which was a disappointment. I’d have loved to splash out on a few nice pairs of jeans, some decent dresses, but there only seem to be basically one A-line skirt (they do different textures but it’s the same shape), some shorts and a few summer tops and a limited range of shoes. Additionally, the mesh items for sale are expensive – in my opinion – too expensive.
There are no quick shopping trips to this place, and no quick changes of outfit either. It’s a good job that I can usually get away with wearing ‘normal’ clothes with the TMP body.
Good things about The Mesh Project Mesh body:
It’s just very beautiful. I do like how it looks a lot. It somehow softens each body dimension in a way that makes you feel womanly and feminine. Thom also loves it (but he hasn’t seen the Belleza yet – he also loved Wowmeh’s nipples. Gosh I hope he doesn’t mind me quoting him on this!)
The boob shape is just lovely, they look the most natural of any of these bodies (and look so natural when you put modest body physics on too!)
The skins provided on the HUD are really nice and there are appliers out there for this body in many of the good skin stores in SL. (Skin shown is an applier and not provided with the body, but I assure you, they’re just as nice).
The hands and feet provided are nice and a seamless fit.
The butt is awesome! I know I haven’t really shown a full back view, but you will not be disappointed in that.
The mesh clothes I’ve purchased from ‘The Boutique’ specifically for The Mesh Project Mesh body fit beautifully and adapt to suit your body shape – including fat, butt, boobs, etc. Flawless. There are also some cute variations you can get for free, like different texture drop pockets for your denim shorts.
In summary, I’m not here to publicly choose my favourite of the three. I think all three have excellent features which are particular to that brand. Do I wish I could combine all the best bits? Oh yes, for sure. I’m very interested to see who will keep developing it, receiving feedback and providing existing customers with updates – and I, in turn, will keep you updated.
I hope my honesty has helped you with your decision on mesh bodies in SL. I’d like to say well done to all the creators who work had to innovate and give us what we want. I love my bodies!
I have, in case you were wondering, provided feedback directly to each of the brands and haven’t had a response yet (although in Belleza’s case, they won’t have had time – I’ll let you know if I hear anything).
Please let me have your comments and thoughts on your own experiences, I’d love to hear them.
Addendum: Since original publishing I have had a thank you for my feedback from Belleza, saying they appreciate it, so that’s very nice. I’ve also checked out, as per Luci’s comment, if Slink shoes do fit the Belleza one-piece mesh body feet and they don’t, I’m afraid. If they did, I guess it’d be daft to make a Slink compatible version.
Update! 23rd Sept – Those good folks at The Mesh Project sent a nice IM inworld saying thanks for the review and say they wish to get to the bottom of any issues with getting customer service. They asked for specifics which I’ve given, of course, and they also said very interestingly that some shoes made for Slink Medium feet (unrigged) might fit their provided feet. Ooh. I shall be trying that! I’m guessing the unrigged bit might be because they’d need moving up or down a little.