Updated: 23rd March 2021
Although these pages are mainly focused on providing assistance for GA.EG Bento & Lelutka Evolution heads, a lot of what is written is relevant to all body/head combos. If I am contacted and asked for advice and/or assistance with mesh heads, I tend to direct people to either GA.EG Bento or Lelutka Evolution. Like all head brands, they each are different and therefore have their own pros and cons when comparing them. I just find the overall package of these heads are at a higher standard than other brands. By this I don't just mean how the head looks. I am also referring to the overall performance, quality of the mesh, rendering costs and script count/MB usage as well as HUD friendly. By this last one, I don't just mean functionality, I also take into account how easy is it to use the HUD, is it compact yet still readable, whats its script and texture resource load etc. If the GA.EG head path is taken I tend to recommend a one stop, one shop solution. The GA.EG product line from the head to the body skin packs to cosmetic addons is a brilliant and cost effective product line. For guys I would also add the Magnificent product line. Thanks Elle & Gael, for the link on the GA.EG Website. Click here for the GA.EG in world store.
If you want to bypass all the help on this page you can Click HERE for 3rd Party Skin Brands and HERE for Cosmetics, Eyes, Ears, Hairbases, Nails & Tattoos. If however, your here seeking advice then I advice that you do read this page to the end.
Mesh Bodies & Heads
I cover the process I went through upgrading from Classic Avatar to a Mesh Avatar on my Updating to Mesh Body & Heads page. It goes in-depth at the process so although its written from a perspective of a female, its also relevant to males. I also cover some cost examples at the bottom of that page.
I have stripped this down since most people should be familiar now with Omega. For those who aren’t, in essence, its a universal applier system that allows you to use a single applier across a large variety of bodies/heads that support Omega via a relay. For more info I suggest you head over to the Omega Solutions website.
Purchasing the various Omega System kits can be done at stores via affiliated vendors. For example the GA.EG one is available at the GA.EG in world store. You can also purchase the kits for any body/head direct from the Omega Solutions Marketplace or at discounted prices from the Omega Solutions in-world store.
Due to the relative newness and nature of BoM Layers along with the extensive details I ended up writing. I decided it was best to create a dedicate page covering BoM Layers. Click this LINK to read those pages
As you will have discovered there are many 3rd party skins to choose from, this can often lead to a feeling of been overwhelmed by the sheer volume of offerings. The process of selection can be time consuming and frustrating, therefore I suggest before you even start you have a clear picture in your mind as to the generic look your after.
The simplest option in most cases is to avoid 3rd party skins and use the default skin that comes with the head and simply buy the relevant body skin pack. Often you will get multiple tones this way, its certainly the case with GA.EG body skin packs. There are 3 female packs (Mia, Kirsten & Divine) and 2 male packs (Handsome & Hugo) – valid based on January 2021.
If you decide to go with a 3rd party skin. Personally, I recommend you buy both the head and body skins tones from the same vendor, not just a head or body skin. This generally resolves any neck line issues. If you don’t do this and mix the tones then expect to see a more defined neck line. If you do mix your probably going to need to use the head’s HUD and adjust tint for example both GA.EG Bento and Lel Evo heads have tint options. This process of tinting is very much a trial and error approach to find the closest RGB values to get a match. It’s going to take considerable time and lots of patience. For heads that do not allow tint adjustment your going to have to use a neck fix or blender or simply wear a collar.
Before BoM, I would buy in my case the specific Maitreya body applier and an Omega applier for my heads for the same skin tone from the same brand. Now that I have converted to BoM, I only purchase skins that include BoM layers. I won’t even consider purchasing a skin if it doesn’t include BoM layers simply because I will never use skin appliers every again.
Some skin brands sell combined body/head tone sets while others sell body tones as one pack and head tones separately. Just make sure you DEMO any 3rd party skin before purchasing. If your going the BoM path, I suggest you read my dedicated page as per the link above.
As stated above, GA.EG sells body skins for all their head products, it is by far the cheapest option when it comes to using GA.EG heads. The skin tones are actually nice when comparing them with 3rd party skins. In fact I use the GA.EG skins now whenever I am using a GA.EG head for either my MAIN or my ALT accounts. The only time I purchase a 3rd party skin is when looking for specific fantasy skins for example a Drow or Dryad etc.
As to what 3rd party skins I find works the best, obviously ones modeled on GA.EG heads, then I would say ones modeled on Logo, Catwa & Lelutka [Origins Line – NOT Evolution] or Generic. Skins modeled on other heads tend to have issues with the nose and lips, sometimes eyes. On my skins page I do name some skins from various vendors that I found work really well on GA.EG Bento heads.
Finally, for female heads, there are two heads in the GA.EG package, one will be suffixed with [SL Neck] and the other with [Maitreya Neck]. If your using the Maitreya body v5.3 or above you use the [SL Neck] head. In the Maitreya HUD, under the Skin/base tab, you will want to use Neck Size Type 1 [0 or 5] values. Just zoom your camera in and see which is best. If your using an older Maitreya body then you would use the [Maitreya Neck] head. Once again set the Neck Size that matches best, you will likely find its Type 2 [0 or 5]. You may find for other bodies like Belleza that has not seen an update to use this new SL Neck standard which is based on Ruth that the Maitreya Neck head may be a closer match.
Online GA.EG Smart HUD documentation is located HERE.
Lelutka Evolution (Classic) Heads
The simplest solution for these heads is obviously Glam Affair skins, especially if your also using a Maitreya body. In saying that, unlike GA.EG heads were you are going to have to experiment. These heads are fairly popular when it comes to 3rd party skin creators. Any of the 3rd party creators I have listed on the 3rd party skins page will likely sell skins modeled on a Lel Evo head.
Online Lel Evo HUD documentation is located HERE.
Lelutka Evolution X Heads
This is a new line of heads that also offers HD skin, it can be toggled into Classic mode so you can use it with normal BoM skins made for the Evo line. It should be noted that if your in X mode then you have to use Evo X skins cause the mapping is different.
Neck Line & WindLight
When working with your avatar you should use a windlight setting that does not cast shadows on your skin or other environmental artifacts, here are a few that are optimized for skin.
- Nam’s Optimal Skin 1
- Nam’s Optimal Skin 2
- Nam’s Optimal Skin and Prim
- [AnaLu] AvatarOptimal
- AnaLutetia – AvatarOpt (Black Dragon)
- AnaLutetia – AvatarOpt2 (Black Dragon)
In terms of neck line issues, if your using a good quality skin and its the same tone from the same brand it’s unlikely you will see one. If you are having an issue then your likely doing something wrong. I find these steps often resolve the issue when I help others.
- Are you using matching body/head appliers/BoM layers? Yes or No, If NO then resolve this before going any further. (Alternatively use the Head’s HUD tint options or a neck fix/blender and live with your decision to use different tones and/or brands. If this is the case there is no point continuing).
- Do you have neck fix toggled “ON” in one of your HUD’s, don’t assume you don’t, its best to check. Zoom in close to your head/neck and toggle making sure it is toggled “Off”.
- Do you have a neck fix/blender object attached. Yes or No, If Yes then detach it.
- Have you set the correct Neck Size values, for example Type 1 [0 or 5] vs Type 2 [0 or 5].
- Is it a Fat value issue between Shape/Body/Head? Check the NC that came with the head to see if they say to set certain values. If not then set them all to matching values then adjust till it looks correct.
- Check your neck size against your body, adjust till its in proportion, shouldn’t be an issue if Neck Size is Type 1.
- Skin quality, some brands have more knowledge and skills than others when it comes to creating textures. Purchase a skin from a brand that create better quality skins. Quantity of available options may not translate to quality.
- Body/head combos, some just don’t work as well as others. This one tends to be more an issue with older bodies/heads as most newer bodies/heads now use a common SL Neck line (Ruth) standard. Example; If say your using a Lelutka Evolution or Catwa HD Pro head and your body has not been updated to support the new standard there will be a minor neck size difference were the body/head meet. Some Head vendors like GA.EG provide two heads at present in the package to support the older and newer neck line standards. See point 4 above.
- Has this recently started to happen? Sometimes things go a bit wonky in SL. Re-apply your skin, if BoM, detach/attach a layer to force the baking service to bake the layers again. If it is still an issue, try re-logging. If nothing seams to work, unpack a fresh copy of your body or head.
- Finally, I know I mention BoM in previous steps. If your not using BoM then consider moving to BoM for both body/head as this effectively allows system layers on Mesh (Skin/Tattoo/Universal/Clothing/Alpha.Masks) were the baking service bakes these as a single UUID. If you still see a persistent issue with BoM then its probably a texture difference or once again your using the wrong Neck Size Type 1 or 2 setting.