Mesh body reviews

CZ the Opportunity to try the new slim male body from CZ Design

For far too long there’s been a dearth of genuinely slim out-of-the-box male bodies in Second Life. Sure, you can edit your Belleza Jake or your Meshbody Legacy (and even your Signature Gianni, if you’re dedicated enough and know the specific shape slider tricks needed) to be slimmer than they are when first worn, but that’s additional effort at the outset, and it can be a lot of work to get those bodies shaped to your liking. On some of them, certain muscular or bulky aspects are built into the mesh itself, and it’s not possible to override that, so slimmer guys in SL have just had to work harder and be satisfied with what they can get (or else be someone who is constantly tweaking their shape). And, for those who roleplay teenagers in SL, I’m sure the frustration has been immense. But now, there’s a solution: the CZ Slim male body from Cloud Zifer of CZ Design.

Released late last month at Men’s Closet, the CZ Slim is not only slender out of the box, but it also responds well to sliders. I’ve seen people manage to make it look more Jake-like with the muscle sliders, and my own shape preferences – tall and slender – have been easy to achieve. Best of all, though, has been the rapid uptake in support from other creators. Usually that’s a good indication that a new mesh body will do well, and CZ Slim fills a niche that has thus far been mostly neglected, outside of the furry and anime circles of SL.

Let’s delve into a little bit more detail.

The Basics

Cost: L$2,000

Where you can buy it: CZ Design inworld store

Is there a demo? Of course! Go to the CZ Design store (link above) and left-click the ad image, then select ‘get demo’ from the menu that pops up, and you’ll be sent the free demo

Does it have an alpha cuts HUD? No, see below.

The body is fully BoM (Bakes on Mesh), which means it does not come with an alpha cuts HUD, like you will probably be used to from other mesh bodies such as Legacy, Jake, and Gianni. This means you’ll need to use alpha layers to mask parts of your body when necessary, but there are absolutely tons of those available on Marketplace, ranging from free sets of random alphas, to the bigger paid-for sets of alphas. Since it can be tricky to actually find these packs without knowing the exact search terms to use, I’ve listed a few below:

There are other packs to be found inworld, such as the Illusioni L$1 alpha pack set at the Inithium Kario location (look for the ‘little things’ wall in the corner, behind one of the big demo bodies) and the two packs of tops and bottoms alphas (L$125 each) at Animosity. You’ll probably also have alpha layers in your inventory for other rigged clothing that you’ve purchased for other bodies, and those will work just as well on CZ Slim as they do on whatever bodies their accompanying mesh clothing was created for.

What’s the benefit of a BoM-only body? It’s low lag.

With a BoM-only body, you have far fewer ‘bits’ of yourself to lug around with you and render (or make other people render). Bodies with alpha cuts comprise tens (and more usually hundreds) of tiny linked pieces, each of which are sections that can be hidden by the alpha HUD. And these bodies also tend to have ‘onion layers’ which are basically copies of those multi-prim linked bodies, intended for additional underwear and clothing layers; a hangover from before BoM arrived and we had to use appliers on different layers. This comment on NWN (read the full comment here) from 0xc0ffea explains it more clearly:

Every rigged mesh (and one attachment can be several meshes), has to be animated individually every single frame. The only thing they share is the position of the bones after all the animations have been resolved.

This scales linearly, and is why SL grinds to a crawl in a crowd.

The more time each frame the CPU spends animating avatars, the less time it spends rezzing textures and the longer the GPU has to wait for the next frame to be drawn.

[…]

As far as mesh bodies goes .. yes they are bad. But not for the reasons commonly cited. A mesh in SL can only have 8 faces (a hang up from prim days). If you want a mesh body that uses a HUD to “alpha out” sections to prevent clipping, then you need a new mesh for every 8 sections. Count up how many sections your body has, divide by 8, then multiply that number by how many onion layers you have. Tada! That’s a lot of meshes that need to be independently animated each frame.

A BoM-only body has far fewer sections; usually only one, plus maybe two or four more for feet and hands if those are separate. CZ Slim is one of those bodies; feet and both fingernails and toenails are separate, but that’s it.

Which creators are supporting the CZ Slim body? More than you might think, for such a new body.

As always, I’m going to bash you (metaphorically!) around the head with the virtual bit of 4×2 that is ALWAYS TRY THE DEMO. I have already encountered at least one demo that says it’s rigged for CZ Slim, but it fits very poorly, with big shoulders and deltoids, and the backs of the sleeves gape away from the body’s arms, so please please always ensure that you demo clothing, especially that made for a new body.

That said, within the month that the body has been released, I’ve been keeping an eye out, and already the following creators have either released new items with a CZ Slim rig, or updated older items to include a CZ Slim rig. Unless otherwise stated, these items are either clothing or accessories (including footwear) –

  • Malediction
  • Traume
  • Toksik
  • Gloom (body skins)
  • Be.raon (body skins)
  • DAMN
  • CheerNo
  • CZ Design (of course!)
  • CryBunBun
  • Desir Boutique
  • Homme Wrecker
  • Varsity
  • Altgard
  • Lybra
  • Hysteria
  • MaleFic
  • Morfeu
  • Cinphul
  • Oni
  • Daebak
  • Wraith
  • Insomnation
  • Complex
  • Tivoli Inc (shapes)
  • Bad Owl (shapes)
  • Real Fake (shapes)
  • Olympian
  • Comatosed

And that’s just the ones I’ve personally spotted to date. That’s a very good take-up of creators within this short span of time.

In addition, you might find that other items fit the body well. I’ve had quite a bit of success with Legacy-rigged footwear (specifically boots) and if you’re a packrat like me and you still have older mesh clothing rigged to Standard Sizing (created before mesh bodies were a thing) then you’ll probably find that a lot of the XS-sized clothing will fit you really well (and, as an added bonus, since those were created before mesh bodies with alpha HUDs were a thing, they’ll always contain alpha layers!) There’s still a lot of Standard Sized clothing on the SL Marketplace, too.

See the coat that I’m wearing in the header image and the image on the left, below? That’s an older XS Standard Sizing coat from Native Urban. The pants are CZ Slim-rigged, by Malediction. And the boots are Legacy-rigged, by Phedora. On the right, below, is a BoM top by FakeIcon, the same CZ Slim-rigged pants by Malediction, and Legacy-rigged boots from ArchiveFaction.

If you’re looking at those two images and thinking, well that’s not particularly slim, Skell, that’s because I’ve edited my shape to be more to my liking (I’m lanky and leggy). This body is slim when you first put it on, so let’s go a bit deeper now, and look at what you get. First up…

What’s in the demo?

I will mention up front that the demo has a few very small differences from the full body, but these differences are miniscule and are not in the mesh itself. Rather, they’re in just one area: the nails. In the demo, the nails are attached to the hands and feet, whereas in the full version they are separate attachments. This is just something to be aware of if you’re demoing and wondering why your toenails are floating around above your shoes. They won’t do that in the full version, since you just don’t bother adding them in that version when you’re wearing shoes.

This is the contents of the demo:

Right away, you’ll notice a few very interesting things:

  • The body has different options for the feet, from flat, to medium, to high heeled, to sock. Thus far, I’ve only found flat shoes rigged for CZ Slim, and all of the female-rigged heels I’ve tried sadly don’t work, so I’m hoping that – for those of us boys who occasionally like to wear heels – creators start rigging for these feet, as they did the Maze Heeled Feet add-on for Belleza Jake (Raven Bell and Boys to the Bone, I’m looking at you!) In order to wear the heeled feet, you need to add the included foot alpha, which will hide the attached flat feet (and, of course, if you’re wearing the add-on toenails you need to detach those, too). UPDATE: The first pair of heels is now available, from Lavu for Sabbath Event, which runs 21st Nov to 12th Dec 2022).
  • The body has two neck fit options, one male and one female. This is heaven for the slender androgyne avatars who have previously been using a female body with a flat chest add-on. They can use a more masculine head on the male neck fit body, or a female head on the female neck fit body, or a unisex neck fit head (examples: Catwa’s Freya, Lilly, Pink, or Magy, or Lelutka’s River) with either the male or female neck fit bodies. This vastly opens up customisation options for those who love to straddle the line of ambiguity that androgyny offers. It’s also great for those who roleplay teens and younger within SL, as they often will use a female head for a softer and more youthful look.
  • BoM… nails?! Yep, the nails on this body have a blank texture until you add that BoM nail universal layer. If you want, you can then even tint that layer to be any colour you like. My hands are in my pockets in both of the above images, but I tinted mine to be just a little darker. You can also go completely goth black, if you want. The actual nails themselves are short, so I’m hoping that at least one of the mesh nail creators out there (Quirky? Veechi? L’Emporio? C’mon, guys!) will bring out some longer mesh nails as well.
  • Augments for butt, chest, shoulders, and spine. These are deformers that change the mesh somewhat. For example: the spine augment pulls in the lumbar area of the spine so that it more closely mimics the much more inwardly-curved spine on a female avatar, which in turn may help with wearing non-CZ Slim-rigged pants that dig in at the back. The shoulder augment pushes the shoulders forward, the butt augment increases the mesh size on the butt, and the chest augment pulls down the pecs.

What’s in the full version?

I was literally in the middle of taking the screenshots for this post when an update landed on me. The creator, Cloud Zifer, had told me earlier at the store that an update was imminent, to slightly change the weighting around the crotch and butt, and to make some changes to the hands. Cloud also assured me that this has not affected existing clothing already made for the body.

This is the contents of the full version. I’ve expanded the unpacked augments and feet folders so you can see their contents:

A few details about a couple of the items inside:

  • Feet (sock) – This is a foot add-on that doesn’t have separated toes – they’re all blended together in a ‘toe cap’ – and it’s intended for use with BoM sock layers, so you look as if you’re wearing actual socks rather than toe socks. If that doesn’t make sense, scroll down for an image of all the foot options.
  • Nipples – While the body does have slight nipples built into the mesh, there is also an add-on, in case you don’t like the nipples that come with your skin or you want something a little more 3D for wearing while shirtless. These, like pretty much everything else that comes with the body, are tintable to any shade that you want.

This is the body, with the shape that comes out of the box. I’ve merged the body shape with my usual head shape, and I did reduce the neck length just a tad. (You can merge your preferred head shape with this body shape either using my tutorial here, or the L$10 Dr Frank Shape Combiner, here on Marketplace.)

And here is the shape after I’d done some work on it to get it taller and a bit more leggy:

The body also includes an excellent quality tintable skin, if you don’t already have a body skin.

Lastly, a composite screenshot of all the foot options. Note that, with the high, medium, and low feet the toenails are attached to the feet, but for the default feet (the ones attached to the body) you need to add the toenails mesh add-on. And, of course, for the sock feet (which yeah, look pretty horrible with the skin texture on, but they’re intended for BoM socks, so you won’t see that underneath them!) you don’t add toenails, because toenails on top of socks is just… well, you do you, boo ;-)

How do I get a dev kit for this body?

If you want to create items for this body, contact Cloud Zifer inworld, giving your store name and a contact email address.

Anything else?

CZ Design has a Flickr group, so if you take any images using the store’s products, make sure to add them there.

Throughout this post I’m wearing the “Vertigo // Leblon Matte Ivory Slim” body skin by Be.raon. Head skin is “Zaro” by Stray Dog in tone 04, and I’m using the “Neck Blender (m) 12” by Izzie’s to ensure a seamless match at the neck. Head is “Skell” by Catwa. The underwear worn is included with the body (to change colour, right-click to edit it [or edit directly from inventory] and select ‘touch’ from the menu to bring up a further colour selection menu).

I’ll leave you with one more fashion shot. BoM leggings by Toksik, coat by Hotdog (I’m using the KJ rig, as it’s slender), and boots by Equal (these have no male fits, but believe it or not the Belleza GenX Curvy rig fits reasonably well, if you also wear the CZ Slim foot alpha!) and tattoo by Kaos Tattoo.

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2 thoughts on “CZ the Opportunity to try the new slim male body from CZ Design
  1. Thank you for this post, we are Non-Binary while we do enjoy our Maitreya body and appreciate the petite and flat chest add-ons there are some days when neither of those fit the feeling of the day. We would love to find out how to keep up with all the updates on this, also we absolutely love your style and hope you are having an awesome day. Thank you again.

    1. Thank you for the kind words, Zeta :-)

      For updates, I would suggest following Cloud Zifer’s social media, links to which can be found on his profile inworld. He is on Twitter, Facebook, and also Flickr. There is also a store group, which can be found in the Groups section of his profile.

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