If you are familiar with mesh bodies, than this post probably won’t be very interesting to you, but for anybody who’s been reluctant about meshing-up or anybody who’s still quite new to Second Life, I hope it will be informative. Those of you that wanted to know more about the TMP male mesh body are particularly in luck, because this happens to be the main subject of this post. For the rest of you, I’ll try to keep it mildly entertaining. There’s nudity and oh, the mesh body discussed is FREE!
After I made it through the SL boot camp I soon discovered how to edit my shape and started having a lot of fun moving those sliders about, attempting to create something pleasing to the eye. Oh, and I did manage to get a nice tallywacker on day two, cause ain’t nobody got time for being a Ken doll.
But you know how it goes, things always look fine till you are confronted with a much better version of them. I started wondering why some of the bodies looked so damn smooth. I mean, they could be bears, cubs, otters, seals – that last one probably isn’t officially acknowledged as a term to refer to a hairy man – but their “lines” were so smooth even Nigel Lythgoe would be all of a flutter. They didn’t have those jagged edges around the joints and curves I was seeing on my own avi. Buying a nicer skin improved things, but it still didn’t smooth me out. I wondered for some days if perhaps I simply hadn’t figured out yet how to achieve that smooth finish and if there was a special trick to creating your shape that was eluding me. This notion quickly got dispelled when someone introduced me to mesh bodies. It turned out that the only way to get that smooth look was by covering up your so called system body with a sharper mesh body. Shortly thereafter I discovered the FREE male mesh body from The Mesh Project, a.k.a. TMP.
TMP named their store The Shops and as long as I have known it, the place has always been an austere white box high in the sky. It’s important to accept the shopping hud you are offered when you arrive at The Shops, because you will need it as soon as you want to get anything at this place, including the free body. At this point you also receive the styling hud, which you will use later for choosing a skin tone and for styling any TMP clothing you may decide to get. With this we have arrived at the rather big negative side about this free body. If you have been wearing system applier clothes, meaning anything that is “painted” on your skin, you can kiss those goodbye. You need to wear mesh clothes with this body and as most of you will already know, when you are wearing a mesh sweater for example, you usually need to wear an alpha layer which blanks out the parts of your body that are covered by this sweater and prevents skin from poking trough the fabric. These alpha layers don’t work on mesh bodies, instead mesh bodies come with a hud that allows you to hide parts of the body. Sadly, and probably understandably, this is something you don’t get with the free body. As a matter of fact, you only get it with the most expensive version of the TMP body. Oh and if you like tattoos, forget about it! The situation isn’t completely hopeless though and I will show you some clothing options later on, but I wanted to mention this before I got you all excited about the look of this body, to prevent the whole “NOW a warning?” situation from Death Becomes Her.
The first thing you need to do is hide your system body. The package with the free TMP body includes three alphas. There is one that will hide your body, hands and feet, which I will be using now and there is another one that also covers your head in case you want to use a mesh head with this body. The third alpha even hides your system eyes, so there is nothing left of you. This one you would use if you chose to wear mesh eyes as well. Simply right-click and “add” the Body/Hands/Feet alpha and you will become a floating head, which can be an interesting look.
Next you right-click the Body, Feet and Hands and add them. It is important to add these items and not “wear” them, because often when you click the wear button for one of them, you will knock off another one. You could be there for ages! At this point you may notice that the shape you liked for your system body will not work very well with this mesh body and even if it doesn’t look weird, it might not be to your liking. Don’t worry though, you can use the shape editor exactly as you did with your system body. The mesh body will react differently to your input, but you will still have plenty of customisation capability. I advise you make a copy of the shape you have been using before you start working on it, that way you can easily return to your former self.
The body will be a greyish white at first and there will be a pink banner circling around it. This is where the styling hud comes in. As mentioned before, you will have received this hud together with the shopping hud. Simply right-click and add “StyleMode” to make it appear in the right bottom corner of your screen. It will be a button that says “Click to begin”, which then opens up as three icons at the bottom of your screen. Next you intuitively click on the icon that shows the body to open up a larger section of the hud. In that screen you will click on “STYLES” to finally get where you need to be. You can now click on the circle that says “Skintone”, to get an overview of 36 dots representing the available skin tones. Chose one that is closest to the skin tone of your head by clicking the dot. Next you will be given the option to chose a skin style, but as this is the free body, you will only have one style available, which is a kind of athletic swimmers body. You click that image to apply the skin to your body.
Next you will be fixing your neck. Make sure your body fat is at 0% because otherwise you’ll have a gap. This would probably kill you in real life, but if you want realism go sweat at some community gym and leave me alone! If the neck of the mesh body isn’t flush with your system neck, you need to click on “MODIFY” and then on “Retrofit” and you will see that it will snap into place rather satisfyingly.
It’s starting to look good but we’re not quite there yet. Go look in the TMP folder in your inventory again and you will see that there is an object named “Optional Retrofit Neckfaders”. Right-click-add this, accept the automatic unpacking and detach again. Then go look for the folder with the neck faders and perhaps you can drag it into the TMP folder to keep your inventory nice and tidy, you messy little so and so. Yes I’m talking to you! If you want to claim back some of your screen space, you can click the StyleMode button in the bottom right corner of your screen again to minimise the hud. Look for the neck fader that matches the number of the skin tone you are using and right-click-add it. Give it a second to appear and you will notice that the sharp neck seam has been nicely faded in.
After that, if you wish to be anatomically correct, you can look around for a freebie penis but so far I haven’t seen any of those that didn’t look ever so slightly diseased. If you are more particular about your bits and bobs you will want to go to a store like Aeros, which is where I got my “Magnus” penis (oh, is he Swedish?) which will set you back 1500 L$. The skin I am using, of which now of course only the face is visible, is Rufus in the Highlands tone by Birth (1000 L$). In the next picture I’m wearing the free group gift hair “Minato” from Argrace which comes in a generous 34 shades. I’d say the complete package is looking pretty damn fine for 2500 L$.
Now for some clothing options. TMP generously supplies you with a pair of basic boxer shorts and as soon as you put these on you will see them appear as an icon in the StyleMode hud. Just as with the body, you click on this icon, then click on “STYLES” and next you will see options for the fabric and button. You’ll also find that there are a lot of underwear and swimwear creators making items for the TMP body which you will be able to wear without any of your skin poking through. Some examples of these are Noche, 4BIDDEN, Dufaux and Mat Kungler Atelier to name but(t) a few.
You can also head back to The Shops for some retail therapy. TMP’s own range of clothes is rather limited and somewhat pricey, but it has built-in alphas which means the clothing will automatically hide the part of your body it covers so you can even wear these items with the free body. You get the mesh clothing for free but they charge you for the texturing. This means that you will for example pay for each individual colour of jeans you would like to get. For some items, like their studded sneakers, you can pay separately for various parts of the shoes, giving you the option to mix and match. Once you have purchased a texture it will be added to your StyleMode hud so you can apply it to your clothing. Let’s look at some TMP outfits and prices.
Keep in mind that if most of your body is going to be covered up with an outfit, you don’t really need the mesh body at that moment. Just because you have one in your inventory, it doesn’t mean you need to wear it at all times. A popular option is to combine the system body with the much appreciated mesh hands and feet from Slink instead of going for a full mesh body. You saw earlier that the TMP body comes with separate mesh hands and feet too, but these were not designed to wear without the mesh body. However, if you are going to be wearing long sleeves and trousers, you can try using the alphas of gloves and shoes to hide your system hands and feet and use the TMP hands and feet that way. Below are some examples of that and none of the clothes shown here are from TMP.
In conclusion, the free TMP male mesh body is ideal for anybody who plans to spend a lot of their time in Second Life on nude beaches or hanging about the house in their underwear. The body has not yet been updated to work with the bento skeleton so your hands will not move and there is also no clear indication that it will be updated very soon. Having said that, anybody who likes to carry some junk in da trunk will enjoy this body’s nice round butt and while the TMP clothing line is expensive, it does look good and the last pictures clearly show that you also can get some good use out of the hands and feet if the rest of you is mostly covered up.