Though I’ve been away from Second Life for about 3-4 years, I still keep up with a number of blogs. So I knew about the whole SL Bento project going on while I was gone… I just didn’t know exactly what it meant. This turned out to be one of the most exciting parts of returning to SL.
So, if you go to the join SL page, you will see a number of Bento avatars you can choose from to start with. And if you think these look like this:
…You just might be surprised at how far avatar technology in SL has come. I was.
So what exactly is Bento and why is it amazing? I’ll let the somewhat cheesy SL video explain the magic of what they’ve done here. Then I’ll show you how it’s transformed my own avatar.
The Bento Effect
The incredible thing about Bento is that the sliders within SL can change the mesh shape you’re wearing. So, you have the power to sculpt your own mesh within SL once you buy a Bento piece.
Not only that, but the Bento pieces are also skinnable. This means you can place layers of images over top of them — skin color/styles, makeup, tatoos, whatever you like. This makes for some incredible individuality.
Back when mesh heads were first introduced, I picked one up. It was far better than the default style play-doh face avatars you got out of the box. It came with a HUD that allowed for minor facial expressions and some other options. But for the most part, the mesh was static. And if someone bought the same head as you… you had the same face. Nothing you could about that.
But it still did a LOT to improve your avatar.
Based on the time stamps of my screenshots, it looks like I updated to mesh in December of 2012. It was one of the earlier heads, I think, and the top of the line for the time. I really loved it!
When I returned last weekend, however, the only thing on my mind was that I needed an avatar update something fierce. I’d only heard about Bento. I didn’t know anything about it beyond the fact that it’s what people were using now.
So, I did a bunch of research. I learned that there are several brands of Bento heads and fit mesh bodies to choose from. I also learned that everyone demos everything now days, so I demoed lots of different styles.
In the end I chose this:
Here I Have (Brand Names in Italics)
- Head: CATWA Tala
- Body: Maitreya Mesh Body – Lara V4.1
- Skin: theSkinnery Iris Sorbet & Sorbet Skin for Maitreya Body
- Hair: Lamb Peach – Ombre Pack
- Eyes: theSkinnery Palermo Eyes
Clothes Are (Full body in top picture)
- Maitreya Mesh Leggings
- Maitreya Moccasin Boots
- Neve (Cold Logic) Pull-over Lively
And let me tell you, this wasn’t cheap. I’m pretty well broke in SL now. The head itself cost more than the land I bought! XD
It’s still quite worth it, though. It’s hard to show unless you see it in person, but the face cycles through a bunch of subtle expressions on its own.
But the thing is, adding new skins/tones and shaping the face with the sliders, you can use the exact same head to make a completely different look.
For example, in Strawberry Singh’s video here, she takes a long time showing all the different things you can do with this head. Her version of it looks like a very different person, even though we both started out with the same base.
I was super excited to dive into the world of Bento in Second Life. There’s so much to learn!
But then, I made a discovery that really put Bento into perspective for me. Something that made me absolutely delighted and has refueled my excitement for Second Life. I’ll talk about that tomorrow!