If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you’ll know I did an in-depth review of three mesh bodies called ‘The Mesh Body Reviews: Belleza vs Mesh Project vs Wowmeh‘ last year. I also did a follow-up review when Belleza brought out an update called ‘Belleza Body Update Review (Topless)‘. I found doing those reviews helped me to figure out which I liked best and why, as well as gaining a lot of feedback from readers and hopefully being a good source of information for other shoppers – thank you so much to those of you who took the time to discuss mesh bodies, I enjoyed reading your comments.
When the Maitreya Lara Mesh Body came out in December, I feigned disinterest. Well, I went over and picked up a demo, wore it around the house for a while, took a few snapshots to show Thom, etc. Of course, I wasn’t nearly as disinterested as I should have been, and here’s why:
1) I was happy with the Belleza body, had settled to it and wore it every day.
2) Many of my favourite SL clothing designers had brought out clothes fitted for the Belleza Venus and I was delighted.
3) I had copious outfit folders saved, all containing my Belleza Venus mesh body.
4) I already have two other bodies, aside from the Venus in my inventory, gathering dust.
5) I do not have endless lindens to play with.
6) I had just been and picked up the 3rd Belleza body update, which fixed the tattoo issue I had been experiencing.
So yes, all good reasons for NOT investing in another new body. But there was something niggling away in my brain – there’s something I like more about the Maitreya Lara mesh body, and that’s the thighs. I know, maybe not a big thing, but it means that with a slight push from a blog reader, yesterday, it didn’t take much to send me over the edge and gallumphing to Maitreya to purchase the body.
As in previous mesh body reviews, I will not hold back on critiquing aspects of the body or the experience. I’m not being paid or sponsored by any of the body makers and I have paid full price for each mesh body I have reviewed. I will attempt to be honest and thorough and hope it is of help. All pictures are raw snapshots taken with Nam’s optimal skin and prim windlight and with shadows off. You can click to see more detail.
The Belleza Venus Mesh Body costs 3995l$ and the Maitreya Lara Mesh Body cost 2750l$
Here we go…
I have deliberately used the same shape to show both bodies. I would recommend making a shape for each body, to suit you and it, but if I did that here, you’d not be able to see the differences so clearly. It’s also worth noting that I used my ‘naked’ shape, which is curvier generally than the shapes I use when clothed.
I’d like to point out a few things in the photo above, the first is that the neck blender on the Maitreya body is incorporated into the HUD, but in my opinion, it does not blur for a sufficient distance to make the blend look natural. With the Belleza, I am wearing their provided tattoo head and neck blender, which does a much more thorough job. Admittedly, as you can see, the skin used on the Maitreya is lighter than the Belleza, which is a closer match for my neck skin in any case, but the Glam Affair skins have a very different tones to my Pink Fuel Candydoll skin and so lighter worked out better for me.
Secondly, you can note how differently the boobs are shaped, how the nipples differ and – more subtly, how the placement of the belly button and shading around gives the Maitreya a flatter looking stomach in comparison to the Belleza (I like Belleza’s little tum, but that’s a personal choice). However, the nipples on the Maitreya are not changeable. You must use the colour nipples that come with the skin, which doesn’t compare so well to Belleza’s offering of 14 different nipple colours.
Well, obviously here the Maitreya butt is bigger than the Belleza, but that’s a lot to do with the camerawoman who simply took the pic too close (doh). It is a good position, however, from which to note that the Maitreya Lara body has more flesh on the inner thigh – and I like that. It looks more natural for a curvy or more ‘everyday’ shape than looking like you’ve had your inner thighs lipo’d off and the extra fat put into your buttocks (as I do usually).
On the downside for Maitreya, you can see that the Belleza Venus has a much more detailed skin and I love the spine and backs of the knees for that detail. I’ll be interested to see if other skin designers offer skins for these bodies. I would love to try some skin appliers from other creators for both. (My reasoning being that I love Belleza skins, but mostly in terms of the body – so far this has suited me fine, I can have the soft face of Pink Fuel and the detailed body of Belleza, whose faces seem just too ‘made up’ for Meri’s facial structure).
Again with the shoddy camera work! Sorry about that… hopefully you can still see that the Maitreya Lara boobs are more rounded and the nipples more central. I don’t know if this is a good thing or not, but I did note it, so I thought I’d share it. The shoulders are larger on the Lara, and I don’t mind that at all – it looks more natural I think, however, the Belleza detail wins out for me once again with arm definition.
The feet provided with the Maitreya Lara mesh body are very nice. Unsurprisingly, they don’t fit shoes made for Slink or rigged for Belleza, but the body does work with Slink hands and feet too. I’ve noticed some shoe designers are already offering Maitreya rigged shoes in their packages, along with Slink, Belleza, etc. They are changeable to one of three heights, via the provided HUD – flat, medium and high.
These are the hands provided with the Maitreya Lara mesh body and they are fine. I looked carefully all around until I could spot a seam on the back of the arm, just so that I could be sure I was showing the worst possible angle for you 🙂 However, honestly, they fit very well, as they should. They do, however, only seem to come with one hand pose and this can be a major downside for people used to the range of hand poses provided with Belleza.
These are the Slink XS hands worn with the Maitreya Lara body. The XS size is the one recommended by Maitreya for the best fit and no particular guidance is given on issues such as muscle or fat. Therefore I assume this is the best/worst that can be achieved. Again, of course, I cammed until I found the division, it wasn’t blatant or unacceptable from most points of view.
However, what did bug the crap out of me is that there were no appliers for Slink hands and feet to match with the Glam Affair skins included with the Maitreya Lara body. This meant that I had to go over to Glam Affair’s store and buy them, which you’d think would be easy enough – cept it wasn’t haha. Cus the skins in the HUD (shown some way down the page) are simply numbered… and the skins in Glam Affair have names. So that was fun. I spent a while trying on demos until I got a match, noted the name, went back to the Applier section and spent an additional 190l$ on Slink hand and feet appliers, so that I could match them to the Lara body. The Belleza Venus body came with appliers in the pack which match all skin tones included in the HUD for Slink hands and feet. Much simpler. Perhaps this is something Maitreya could consider for an update?
These are the Slink XS feet worn with the Maitreya Lara body. Again I had to cam so I was down looking slightly up to see the gap, I would imagine that most people looking down at your feet from a normal height would not be able to see a gap. Indeed, aside from the Slink body itself (which I don’t own and therefore haven’t reviewed, but I feel it’s a safe assumption that their own feet and hands would work flawlessly with their body) I think the Maitreya so far works best with Slink feet and hands. The Belleza feet and hands were reviewed (to death) in my previous two blogs on the subject. ‘The Mesh Body Reviews: Belleza vs Mesh Project vs Wowmeh‘ and ‘Belleza Body Update Review (Topless)‘, and the jist was that while the Slink feet fitted great, the requirement to have the torso muscle set to 50 in order to use the hands made it impractical for many women’s body shapes.
Ok, now we’re moving onto HUD central. The bain or blessing of any mesh body. Above you can see the hands tab of the Belleza Venus HUD. I’m showing this so that you can take on board the 16 hand poses available. I can’t see myself ever needing more! There are even a couple to assist you in swearing 🙂 There are 20 nail polish shades available and three nail lengths.
The Belleza Venus HUD offers other benefits above the Maitreya on the ‘Breasts’ tab. You can choose to have regular or push up boobs, and you can select from 14 different nipple colours.
The Belleza Venus Skin/clothing layer tab offers 7 skin shades from the Belleza range, plus another 16 skin presets… I use one of those and it’s fab. I found the clothing/tattoo layer off/on buttons a bit cumbersome, and when I’d worn stockings, for instance, if I said ‘off’ and then moved my feet to a different height via the ‘Feet’ tab, the stockings would reappear. Really quite annoying. However! I found a nifty (and free) gadget on marketplace that changed all that. So I’d like to give a public, big ‘THANK YOU’ to Corina Carlberg of Aggressione for creating that and gifting it to us. It simply removes the layers, until you’d like to place one again. Phew!
Finally the alpha hud for the Belleza Venus. It’s okay… I’d love to see a much more detailed alpha map so that more sections can be taken out, I’d like for it not to automatically blank out the opposite leg when you select a piece. I’d like more detail especially around the neckline, breasts, butt and legs. In fact all over. Just dice it up small 🙂
Now onto the Maitreya HUD. It has only two tabs. This ‘Skins & Options’ tab deals with skin, fingernail, toenail colours, nail length, neck blender, foot height (cripes they fit a lot in). I’d have liked to see more skin presets, although I appreciate, that’s the full range that Glam Affair offer. You can edit the skin tone, apparently… but I’ve not tried yet. I’ve a horrible habit of buggering things up and I didn’t want to get into a strop before writing this blog.
You can expect 19 nail polish colours with the Maitreya HUD, compared to 20 in the Belleza.
The alpha HUD… ahh. You know, you have to give credit where it’s due, and it’s due here. It’s pretty bloody good! You can take out small sections of breast, shoulder etc. So far, I’ve had no problems with pants either. This tab also deals with clothing and tattoo appliers and looks simple, although I’ve not played with that yet either.
Another HUD item of note for the Maitreya Lara is that it does come with a minimise function, however, this is still huge and needs to be much smaller when minimised.
I’ve popped this picture in to illustrate what I was talking about in my blog yesterday. I blogged some gorgeous skinny jeans for Blueberry, which I wore with my Belleza Venus body – and in my opinion, it made my thighs look bigger than normal and my lower legs smaller. These jeans (also Blueberry’s new Xale skinny jeans, fitted for the Maitreya Lara mesh body, as well as Slink, Belleza and 5 standard mesh sizes, available from Blueberry Mainstore and Blueberry Marketplace) too don’t exactly fit the legs of the Maitreya Lara, but they are much more like it. I can’t wait for clothes which actually fit exactly to the mesh avatar shape, then I can have my little dumpy legs on show, instead of being forced to be slimmer. Oh the irony, I’d love some jeans that made me slimmer in RL without cutting off my groinal circulation.
An item of note about undies for the bodies: Aside from free applier based undies for the Maitreya, you get a free mesh bra and panties set too. You simply pop them on, consult the included undies HUD and can choose from 16 main colours and 16 ribbon accent colours for each. They are also hideable, individually or completely. Pretty darn nifty!
Belleza also provided mesh underwear – white, nude and black bra and underpants (now wearable and removable independently from each other – hurrah for updates) and a separate bra and string panty in black for the push up boobs. These are pretty cute and sexy and I wear the string panties all the time. I don’t want that to sound grubby… but I can’t seem to help it.
And so the point of all this is???
Well, yet again I’m in the position of wanting a hybrid body. I want all the best bits of these bodies rolled into one and given to me with a bow on top (oh please God, let me not have to shell out for another new body – ever).
BELLEZA – Wins on hand pose choice, skin choice, neck blenders, nipple colour options, boob position function, Slink appliers and narrowly on nail polish. It also has much better body definition, although I can’t tell how much of that is skin based and how much is actual mesh shaping – nice effect anyway.
MAITREYA – Wins on alpha HUD, inner thigh flesh, shoulder size, mesh underwear choice with HUD, price, boob and nipple shape and better Slink hand and feet compatibility.
Sighs. I have the perfect mesh body, it’s just a shame it’s split between two separate folders.
Notes: If anyone is wondering why I didn’t do a four way review to include the Wowmeh and the TMP mesh bodies, the reason is that the Wowmeh is no longer for sale and the TMP system drove me to distraction and so I don’t wear it any longer.
For anyone interested in The Mesh Project men’s mesh body, I’m not intending to review it fully, unless there is a viable alternative (if you’re reading this thinking ‘But I am a designer with a wonderful men’s mesh body and she hasn’t mentioned it as a viable alternative, feel free to send it to Thomas Thaler in Secondlife and send Mericat Ireland a note – I’ll certainly blog it for you), but all the points raised for the women’s body stand, pretty much. It’s nice to look at, much better than the standard men’s avatar and great for naked enterprises. Thom picked up the free version for just that reason. Well, no he didn’t. I picked it up for him, cus I knew the bright whiteness and cacophany of HUDs at The Shops would throw him into a man turmoil from which he might only be able to recover by sinking too many beers. There seem to be several versions, but as far as I can see there are only two reasons for buying it – 1) For being naked, in which case the free version is fine or 2) to wear with clothes, in which case it’s a whopping 5k for the deluxe version – the only one to come with an alpha HUD. T’is pretty tho.