All About Alex – Introducing Genesis Labs Latest Male Mesh Head!

Absolute Alex

Hello Kitty-readers! I’ve not written a long, rambling blog-post in ages but get ready, because there’s one coming up right now.  I wanted to share some thoughts on the latest must-have item that has got the grid trembling with excitement, the GENESIS LABS ALEX MESH HEAD.

Mesh heads aren’t anything new and it’s to be expected that since mesh bodies have cemented themselves firmly in our virtual environment that mesh heads should do the same, but there are some fundamental differences. The main one is that most mesh heads are very limited with regards to customization options and it’s for these reasons that they’re not something I’m very keen on. However, I do expect that we will see mesh-heads take off in a massive way when the designers start to build them with gusto and the skin makers start to fully embrace them.

But just because Kitty doesn’t wear a mesh head it doesn’t mean that Jez can’t wear one.  Even though Jez isn’t my avatar (nor is he my alt, I don’t actually have one believe it or not!) I do make the decisions about how he looks, mainly because if he were to dress himself he would look like Uncle Knobby at your ugly cousin’s wedding! (You know what I mean: gravy down his shirt, socks that don’t match and lots of velour.  I shudder at the very thought! ) For that reason alone I refuse to be seen in Second Life with a train-wreck on my arm. I don’t have many standards but that one this Kitty is sticking to!

Because this mesh-head looked interesting I decided to treat him to it. This is as much an experiment in learning about mesh heads for me as it is about a change of appearance for him, so off I trotted to the COSMOPOLITAN SALES ROOM and picked up a demo with beloved in tow. We zoomed back home and began the process. Now, first of all,  I want to say that demoing this product isn’t easy because of the way the demo is packaged out of the box; when you wear it there’s a huge opaque band that sits on the head and it is very difficult to get an accurate ‘feel’ for the head because of it.  I can’t say I was especially impressed by it, but I understand why it is there.  There’s a genuine requirement for demo objects to have layers of security built into them.  I know there are some rotten types out there who think nothing of ripping off content creators and performing some sort of magical jiggery pokery that turns the demo into the actual product, thus stealing precious, hard-earned cash from the creator.

That sucks, I wouldn’t do it and I wouldn’t associate myself with anyone who did it either, but I do take issue with things that I cannot demo properly. To recap, at today’s exchange rate L$2500 is about £7.05 and to be honest that’s money that I really cannot afford to throw away in Second Life, so I need the demo to be an accurate representation of the product that I’m considering purchasing.

Needless to say, the experience that the demo was providing was putting me off.  What also put me off was the enclosed notecard which seemed tailored towards the range of existing GENESIS LABS female heads, rather than this male one. (It was also obviously translated but not so badly that I couldn’t get the gist of it.) Already this initial demo was leaving me feeling there was considerable room for improvement with the whole demo package and I wondered if that would be reflected in the actual ‘Alex’ Mesh Head itself, which Jez was eager to purchase regardless…

So we took the plunge. It’s straightforward enough if you’ve worn mesh products before (which I do, frequently) to understand what needs to be done, starting with an alpha-layer that covers your head (and eyes) because you’ll be replacing everything up top.

The head fitted well against  THE SHOPS DELUXE MALE MESH BODY that Jez wears (looks amazing but don’t get me started on their whole shopping ‘experience’ or I’ll never finish!) but immediately I started to realise the shortcomings of such an item.

For a start, you are considerably limited to the changes you can make to your appearance; you can change the length of the head, and the size of it, and the depth to some degree, but that’s it.  Everything else is static, so you can’t change the shape of your nose or mouth which means that you’re going to see lots of alternate versions of you walking around the grid. There are ways you can change your look though,  or example, Jez is a member of the IKON update group which meant he’d picked up the recent June group gift of a pair of rather fabulous eyes. (They’re from the stunning ‘Odyssey’ range in ‘Clarity’) Because these are mesh eyes he can wear them with the head, so that’s something that we can do to make our look slightly different to all others. (Note: The ‘Alex’ HUD does include a rather comprehensive selection of eyes to choose from though, in case you don’t already have mesh eyes in your inventory.)

The rest of your appearance changes are dependent upon the HUD then, which is very straightforward to use. The novelty of Alex is that there are a multitude of facial tattoo options (beautifully documented HERE by Mokatana) that you can select from and these look quite good suggesting that he had a great time during amateur hour at the local tattoo parlour! You can also go for a Hangover-esque tribal style around the eye area should you so wish.  There are scars and moles that you can select from too and all of these can be used to add character to your face and they do so really well (at least until you encounter someone in-world who is sporting exactly the same options as you).

Alex’s brow game is strong and they’re styled well.  You can opt for solid brows or the urban types with the Vanilla Ice shaved bits (which never looked good in 1990 let alone 2015) but I digress; the point is there has been some thought that has gone into the physical production of Alex and on the whole it works really well resulting in a very attractive visage indeed.

But here’s where it starts to fall apart for me. I don’t like the fact that Jez can’t change his expression.  I get fed-up with our avatar inability to smile in-world. Of course, I know that you can make facial expressions in-world but they’re hardly attractive and more novelty than anything else. I always think that I end up looking gormless when I smile, so to my mind a strength of any mesh head should be facial expressions but nope, ‘Alex’ just comes with the one look, which is glum. To be fair being a moody chuff suits him but I would have absolutely killed for a selection of expressions to play about with.

The other thing I don’t like is he has no eyelashes. I know it may seem a trivial point but I think it’s important; people have eyelashes so to my mind ‘Alex’ needs some too! I hate to see avatars without eyelashes; lashes frame the eyes and make such a difference to your appearance which can look incredibly flat without them. Besides, ‘Alex’ is pretty flat from the side anyway, unless you’ve managed to change the depth of his face with your slider settings but even then it does feel like he’s been hit in the chops with an iron skillet!  Because he’s a mesh and 3D I want to see depth and dimension so anything that can provide that is worth adding to the package.  Those minor criticisms aside, he still looks better in profile than many regular avatars you see on the grid, so he has that going for him I guess.

Facial hair is another area that offers HUD options for you to try, and I appreciate the fact that the basic shades of black, brown, blonde and red are accommodated here. The facial hair appearance is actually really well done; it looks the part and I’ve no complaints regarding it at all, in fact the hairbases that are included are really lovely and Jez can wear them pretty confidently on their own, as the main picture shows, and with regards to the facial hair and embellishments you can tell that these parts of the appearance were well considered before application and the quality of creation does shine through when these elements of design are taken into account.

The skin tone Jez is wearing Alex in is 3, and that matched relatively well with tone 16 from the Style Mode HUD for his THE SHOPS body.  The addition of a tattoo also helps hide any discrepancies in tone, and we found Jez an absolute beauty at the latest round of ANYBODY from WHITE WIDOW called ‘Tombstone’ (more on that label later!)

Oh, another quick point, ALEX comes with really dinky little ears as part of the package which Jez opted to change for his AITUI favourites (Ear system Gen. 4 Pierced)  which  were pretty easy to skin match courtesy of the epic AITUI HUD. These ears are pretty awesome actually with tons of options, not least the little tattoos that you can wear on them and if you go for the facial tattoo options in Alex they match quite well indeed!

Despite some of my more negative points there’s no denying Alex’s credentials; this is indeed a quality mesh head, but for me it doesn’t offer enough in the package to warrant the L$2500 price-tag.  Personally speaking for that price I want to see more functions and feature options and clear, concise instructional notecards.  My hope is that further releases are going to build upon the solid foundations that Alex offers. Don’t forget that there aren’t any appliers out there yet for him, so you have to mix it up a bit if you want to wear him with your existing skin or mesh body.  I was dreading this task but we actually found this to be quite successful, which I think the photograph proves.

To sum up then I think both Jez and I agreed that Alex has a LOT to offer and it’s always exciting when something as special as this mesh head is launched in-world, but I’d caution against getting swept up in the tide of enthusiasm just yet. If you can afford to splash out then go for it and enjoy, but if you’re hesitant I would say hang on to your Lindens and wait for the GENESIS LABS team to build upon Alex’s very solid foundations. It’s a great product, but it’s not a fantastic product yet although it definitely has tonnes of potential.

Jez wears: 

Mesh head: Genesis Labs Alex @ The Cosmopolitan Sales Room

Mesh Body: ‘Deluxe’ Male Mesh Body by The Shops

Eyes:  Odyssey Eyes in ‘Clarity’ (June Group Gift) by IKON

Tattoo: ‘Tombstone’ by WHITE WIDOW @ ANYBODY

Clothing: Denim Shorts by  PUMPKIN @ The Mens Dept 

Pose: Poses from the ‘Willie’ range by POSEOLOGY

I’m ALL ABOUT ANTHONY…

mesh body_cut I make no bones about my love for TMD- The Mens Dept. It’s entirely possible that I look forward to it more than FAMESHED or even COLLABOR88 ( and that’s saying something!) especially when you consider I’m not a male avatar! But the fact is that each month it sells some bloody glorious stuff, it really does.

I’ll be honest, the fact that it’s expanding in size fills me with both hope and dread; hope because I think this means that male avatars are finally being seen as just as important as female, especially when it comes to fashion, but dread because I’m worried that the standard of the showcase will slip. I’ve got to be honest here and say a couple of the brands included this month were a little bit, hmm how can I put this? ‘Not up to the usual standard’, shall we say, BUT hopefully they’ll use the opportunity of being part of such an auspicious event to improve their products and prove that they’re worthy of inclusion. The one thing you have to say about TMD is each month it’s an absolute roaring success. It’s always jammed to the rafters and filled with some utterly gorgeous avatars too..not that I go looking or anything, ahem! Now that little intro  is out of the way let me tell you about what Jez and I fell in love with when we visited today. A MESH BODY FOR MEN. GAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!

Now, when you consider we’ve just had the release of the SLink Physique and there’s a number of other female mesh bodies on the market it had to be that the fully-fledged male equivalent was just around the corner, and it seems that it’s been launched at TMD.And you know what? I really, REALLY like him. Take a look. That shot at the top of the page isn’t touched up in any way, shape or form, I’ve merely trimmed the picture for the blog. Is your jaw still on the floor? Are your pants ever-so-slightly damp? I know mine ruddy well are!  LOOK!!

mesh body_005

Isn’t he an absolute dish? His name is ‘Anthony’. He’s a SIGNATURE MESH AVATAR creation, and comes complete with body, shape, four skin tones and Alpha Hud.  

The product itself is straightforward to fit- there are alphas for full body and one for the head, meaning you can use your own chops should you want to. However, this will prove tricky due to skin tone matching; there are just four shades to select from and unless you plan on wearing polo necks you’re going to see seams UNTIL we start getting appliers for this product. (Skin creators are going to be an incredibly busy bunch in the next few months aren’t they? APPLIER ALL THE THINGS!!)

Fortunately ‘Anthony’ has a very lovely face. In fact, he is incredibly handsome. There’s something a little, hmm, Nordic or even Baltic about his face, and I’m not complaining about that in any way, shape or form. In profile he is a sensation, with his nommable lips and thick, shapely brows making him an extremely attractive guy. I love his nose. He looks good bald, but he’s a real treat when worn with some rather surprising hair choices; for some reason I decided to try some Dura hair on him, not for a moment thinking it would work…and just LOOK AT HIM! He’s a sensation isn’t he?! OOF!!! The skin tones, whichever one you opt for, are each pretty darn lovely featuring great shading, blemish details and tone. He’s a very realistic guy. I always thought that Jez looked great in his REDGRAVE skin before, but now there’s just no comparison and I don’t think there’s any going back, he looks way too good in this!   Of course, this being a mesh body means he has decent feet and hands. I’ve always held a special loathing for the bog-standard male avatars hands and even though SLink produced some amazing male add-ons Jez ain’t my avatar so I didn’t fork out for them, and subsequently whenever I’ve photographed him I’ve tried to do it in such a way as to hide his shovel-like claws.

For some reason, and I’m sure I’ve not been the only one to notice it, whenever Jez posed his hands would occasionally look really ‘off’. It wasn’t something I ever really noticed replicated by the female avatars, but I often saw it with Jez and ruddy hated it.

I don’t need to worry about it now, because he has nice hands and they work beautifully with the rest of the mesh. In fact, his body is rather ruddy delightful. (I predict this torso will be one of the most photographed in SL over the next few weeks!)

You know, upon reflection It’s just ever so slightly possible that I’m a wee bit more impressed by this than I am the SLink physique  mesh body, even though it’s not something I’ll ever wear, and I’ll tell you why that is. I wasn’t convinced that a male mesh body would be as successful as a female. For some reason my kitty-fried brain just didn’t think it could be achieved; I knew Siddean Munro would nail her mesh body creation, but when it came to the boys I had no expectations really, so it’s great to be so pleasantly surprised. I guess I was a little narrow-minded in my expectations, but I’m so chuffed that they’ve been surpassed!  It’s not perfect though, of course it’s not. There’s room for improvement. I’d like to be able to change my eyes for a start, and I’d also like to see eyelashes. I’d like the ear shape/detail to be slightly improved, picky puss that I am. But these are relatively minor quibbles on my part (and perhaps something I can change anyway, I just don’t know it yet) but as I keep saying to myself, it’s ‘early days’. I mean, look how bad mesh clothes were in the beginning against where we are now. Who’d have thought it eh?

Incidentally Jez is wearing ‘Anthony’ against his usual shape, and that’s something that I really like about this mesh, it fit onto his frame without any alterations needing to be made and looked good from the get go. The HUD is also exceptionally easy to use and works a treat, no problems there at all.  In fact, the only problem that I did encounter with fitting was a serious case of bug-eye, but that was swiftly addressed by using the sliders.

I can’t wait to see how my peers are going to style ‘Anthony’ on their blogs, and I have a really good feeling about him. In fact, this Kitty is about to go and test him out in the bath..you know..for science or something. Oh, and a final point. This mesh avatar is just L$300 at THE MENS DEPT. Which is so cheap as to be scandalous, so what are you waiting for? I’m guessing the price reflects that he is a ‘Lite’ version, whatever that means, but even so it’s an absolute gift at that price. Go and try him out!! (Also check out the SIGNATURE MESH AVATARS Flickr and Facebook pages, where you can leave comments to help with product development, something I always love to see!)

Congratulations to Brox and all the team behind this epic creation, now you must excuse me as I’m being called from the bathroom..apparently the water is warm, the champagne has been poured and I’m being missed….LUCKY KITTY!!

mesh body Jez

Jez wears: 

Gearing up for SLink Physique..

Get ready for an uber grid meltdown of gargantuan proportions on Wednesday peeps. In fact,  I think Plurk and the entire blogosphere will explode too, and there’s a very exciting reason behind it.

On Wednesday we finally get to see the long-awaited SLINK mesh body, and quite frankly I’m REALLY buzzing about the prospect!

 My Second Life, and I’m sure this applies to many others, has become infinitely better as a result of the amazing mesh hands and feet created by Siddean Munro. If you’ve been reading this blog for a long time you’ll know I’ve always had issues with my wrists in Second Life; I’ve always hated them and they’ve been a particular bug-bear of mine.  They look so unpleasant in photographs, but the introduction of the Slink hands has made all the difference. No more do I despair at ugly, angry wrist bones jutting out at unfortunate angles when I’m posing for shots for the blog.  The hands in fact are  really beautiful wee things and have created a cottage industry for enthusiastic manicure and pedicure creators across the grid. Not only that, but the detailing on them, and the positioning of the fingers upon the  hands has always really struck me as incredibly well thought out; whatever pose you choose they add a realism to your look that you just don’t get from the regular avatar.

 Of course, the fact that skin makers could release appliers for the hands and feet made them even more essential purchases, and  consequently I think I have appliers now for the majority of the skins in my inventory.  Depending on where you shop appliers can cost a small fortune, but they are so worth it. Wearing your exact skin tone across your entire frame courtesy of those magical appliers is such a simple, yet essential pleasure.  In recent months we’ve seen tattoo layers become available for hands and feet too, again enhancing our individual looks even further.  In fact, when you stand back and think about it the revenue generated by these add-ons must be outrageous!  It’s made of win for everyone concerned;  for SLink for providing the technology, in the first place, and for the  and the skin makers, manicurists and pedicurists  who have been canny enough to include appliers in their range.  And don’t forget the shoe-makers and the jewellery creators and..and…GAH! The whole industry that has sprung up around these virtual appendages is absolutely immense,  I don’t begrudge any of them single Linden either.  The work that must have gone on behind the scenes to make all this achievable must have been terrific. And  let’s not forget that there are now  dedicated shopping areas where you can purchase every kind of add-on that your heart desires too.

 Seems to me so far it’s all been a roaring success, and when Wednesday comes I can see no reason at all for Siddean not to have applied her same high standards of creativity to the mesh body, or should that be bodies (ooh, the very thought!)  that she’ll be releasing.  Let’s face it her work has always been bob-on, and this is why I am so eager to see what she has been busily engaged upon for the past few months.  I’m sure if you’re reading this then you are too.  So what benefit will a mesh body bring?

 Truth be told, and don’t laugh, I don’t really know! As it stands I love the shape that I wear,  so why will I want to change to anything else? I guess it’s curiosity that’s got the better of this Kitty.  I want to see the way that the body blends in to the existing Slink Add-ons. I’m interested in the bewbs too, isn’t everyone? One of the reasons that I haven’t worn my Lola’s so much recently is because I just can’t size them to the scale that I want. I don’t necessarily want a huge, heaving bosom in Second Life, but I do want definition and shape beyond that which is already built in to the shape of the avatar.  I’m hopeful that we’ll see some of that.

 Speaking of shape, I’m keen to see if curves will be catered for.  I’m hopeful that they will, in fact they have to be a selling point.  I  want to see beautiful, shapely bums and hearty, wholesome thighs.  I want to see clothes fit even better too and I admit I have no clue at all how the existing mesh marvels that I have in my wardrobe will fit, but I’m confident that this will be something that has been addressed.  Also, how will they be sold? Will we get torsos to which you add whichever feet and hand style that you like, or will there be all-in-one versions too? There are huge benefits to both. 

 Most importantly though we need the skin makers to get behind this release and create appliers that will work across the entire body.  Think of the possibilities for tattoos and decoration and relish the prospect of seeing some truly innovative and stylish avatars on the grid in the coming months.

 Wednesday can’t come soon enough for me, and I’m sure that Siddean won’t let us down.  As soon as I get my hands on anything resembling one of her releases, I’ll let you know what I think! GAH, I can’t wait!

Image

Picture above from Siddean’s blog, SLinkstyle. OMFG HOW AWESOME IS THIS?!

 Are you excited about the new mesh bodies that are starting to appear on the grid? What are your thoughts on this new mesh venture; do you think you’ll invest in one, or more? Let us know in the comments below!