Getting the most out of your mesh attachments: viewer settings & tips

If you’ve never optimized your Second Life viewer settings, or if you’ve got a slow internet connection or older computer, you may find it difficult to work with mesh add-ons. For example, it might seem that you simply can’t make a seamless colour match between your mesh hands, feet, etc., and your skin.

Sometimes there’s an easy fix to solve your frustration!

Issue: mesh add-ons look chunky or there’s a gap at the seam

You will want to ensure you have a high level of mesh detail for objects and avatars. Also, increasing your viewer level of detail (LOD) will add detail back into sculpted and mesh items.

Add more object detail on the official Second Life viewer:
Open the Preferences panel (CTRL* + P). Click the Graphics tab and the Advanced button. Slide the Mesh Detail for Objects and Avatars to High.

The Debug Settings dialog on the Second Life viewer
The Debug Settings dialog on the Second Life viewer

Increase LOD on the official Second Life viewer:
Get the Advanced menu up (ALT + SHIFT + CTRL* + D). Then click Show Debug Settings. Type RenderVolumeLODFactor in the dropdown menu. Change the value to 4.0000.

Add more object detail and LOD on Firestorm:
Load your Preferences (CTRL* + P). On the Graphics tab, move the slider for Objects & Sculpts LOD to 4, and Avatars to 1.

Issue: the applier/utility HUD is not responding.

First, make sure you’re not on land that has scripts disabled. (Look for the no scripts icon in the top bar of your Second Life viewer – it looks something like this: Icon: no scripts) If you’re sure the land/sim supports scripts, you might need to reset your HUD.

Unfortunately, most applier HUDs do not let you reset the scripts inside. But, depending on the scripts, detaching and reattaching the HUD can reboot things for you. You can also try to drag the HUD to the ground and then collect it back into your inventory (careful, many of them are completely transparent on all sides but the front!) This will reset things for you.

Issue: skintones simply don’t match, no matter what

Photo: Basic Shaders & mesh add-ons in Second Life

You might have a strange Windlight setting enabled. More likely, you’re missing basic shaders. These lighting shaders will help blend seams between your Second Life avatar and mesh add-ons.

Enable basic shaders on the official Second Life viewer:
Open the Preferences panel (CTRL* + P). Click the Graphics tab and the Advanced button. Make sure Basic shaders is checked.

Enable basic shaders on Firestorm:
Open Preferences (CTRL* + P) and go to the Graphics tab. Make sure Basic shaders is checked.

Issue: colours don’t match the vendor/HUD

Photo: Windlight and HUDs in Second Life

If you do have basic shaders enabled, but the colours still look wrong, you might have a goofy Windlight setting enabled. Some of them add quite a lot of blue or purple to the ambient lighting, or make everything appear washed out or very dark. (Every HUD is automatically set to full bright, so it isn’t affected by Windlight settings, hence the discrepancy.) Strawberry Singh has compiled a nice list of Windlight settings (complete with installation instructions) that render avatars beautifully.

Issue: add-on textures don’t rez and stay solid grey

Apparently this is a common issue – though the HUD is initialized and responding, clicking a button to change textures just loads a blank grey texture instead. Sometimes Second Life’s asset server (that which mightily holds the texture files and serves them forth) can just be slow and non-responsive. (It especially likes to stop responding when I’m working on something, and uploading hundreds of textures, on the weekend. But I digress.) Sometimes this issue is client side (i.e. on your end,) and can be fixed easily!

Cam onto the object.

Photo: camming onto a mesh add-on

Hold down your ALT key and click on the item that’s missing the texture. Zoom in real close, hold down ALT, and click directly on the item if it’s tiny like fingernails or jewellery. ALT + clicking on things gives them priority for texture loading. This trick can also be useful if you’re shopping at a lag-filled Fair and want to find something specific.

For what it’s worth, I’ve been able to get a grey textured Slink manicure or pedicure to rez every single time this way.

Using Firestorm? Change your texture download preferences.

If your settings are currently set to use HTTP downloading, try changing them to the opposite, and vice verse.
Preferences (CTRL* + P) > Graphics > Rendering tab > Texture Rendering > Check Use HTTP for receiving textures

Modify your bandwidth

More bandwidth isn’t always better. If your internet connection can’t keep up, it might be dropping data… including Second Life textures. You might want to dial it down if you find your Second Life connection is very laggy.

Tip: Check your lag meter (top right of your viewer.) If you keep running into the red, you’ve got a problem.

Modify your bandwidth on the official viewer:
Load your Preferences (CTRL* + P), and click on the Setup tab. Under Network, drag the bandwidth slider down to a reasonable number. Mine’s set to 800 kbps.

Modify your bandwidth on Firestorm:
Preferences (CTRL* + P), click the Network and Cache tab. Drag the Maximum bandwidth slider down to a reasonable number.

It can also help to check to see if there are any bandwidth-hogging services running in the background on your computer. (I’m looking at YOU, Adobe Updater!) Second Life runs best when it’s given lots of resources.

Clear your caches

The cache settings on Second Life viewer
Solve all your Second Life problems with this one weird trick.

Clear your cache on the official viewer:
Preferences (CTRL* + P), Advanced tab. Click the Clear Cache button. You’ll need to relog, and it can take a little while for your inventory to load again.

Clear your cache on Firestorm:
Preferences (CTRL* + P), Network & Cache tab. Click all three buttons: Clear Inventory Cache, Clear Cache, and Clear Browser Cache.

This is how we’d get things to finally rez for us back in the virtual fashion modelling days. It was common practice to clear cache, quit, reboot, and relog before every fashion show.

Try visiting a very quiet sim for changing and using appliers

I welcome you to visit my little boutique skybox/office to try changing there. (You can also unpack boxes; it auto-returns after 5 minutes.) My office is located on a sim that is primarily residential with lots of open water and low lag. Sometimes, teleporting to another sim helps fix rezzing issues.


*Command key on Mac.

On a final note

I don’t consider myself an expert in Second Life, seeing as I barely login anymore! I hope this helps you with a starting point for troubleshooting, though. Do you have any helpful tips or tricks for working with mesh add-ons and appliers? Let me know in the comments!

4 thoughts on “Getting the most out of your mesh attachments: viewer settings & tips

  1. am at my wits end am kinda new to s/l I just got a mesh body and like her look am so lost on how to use the omega system kit how do I know ? and how do I use it and the hud on my maitreya hud I don’t understand appliers and how to use them I need a step by step if someone can help me

  2. Hi Sweet, don’t panic! There are some good tutorials out there for mesh bodies. has some good resources.

    To use a HUD, right click it in your Inventory and “Add” or “Wear” it. It will attach to your screen and only you can see it.

    – Use the HUD that comes with Maitreya to turn your applier clothing layers ON or OFF (via the Layers tab)
    – Use the same HUD to show/hide parts of your avatar to better fit MESH clothing (via the Alpha tab)
    – Use the Omega relay (by “wearing” it, it’s a HUD) any time you want to use Omega applier clothing… and…
    – Use the individual Omega appliers from your favourite creator to apply the clothing. Touch the button for pants, shirt, etc. If all goes well, a blue box will ask you which layer to use!

    If you get the blue box when using an Omega applier HUD, but Lara still stays undressed, check the Layers in your Maitreya HUD. Make sure they’re on.

  3. I’m having issues with eyeshadow applied on my lelutka head the lipsticks work just fine but the eye shadows look like they need to be moved up. I tried all the graphics ideas you wrote but still no luck.

  4. Hiya Shannon, the tips in this article are for appliers that aren’t rezzing. It sounds like the texture used for your eyeshadow isn’t really optimized for Lelutka.

    Here’s some troubleshooting:

    – If you’re using an Omega makeup applier, use the Lelutka one instead. All my makeup has a separate Lelutka applier, either in the same set (older makeups) or as an add-on purchase (newer). Get a redelivery if you’re missing it.

    – If you are using the Lelutka applier, it might just not fit your particular skin. I test on Stella and Simone heads and my makeup is optimized for my own skin line. I offer free testers to check before buying because it’s impossible to fit every brand out there perfectly…

    – If you’re using another creator’s makeup (i.e. it’s not an alaskametro<3 product), you can ask the creator for assistance - maybe they have an update or fix.

    I hope that helps!

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