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pixlie1488312667

Avatar obsessed

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I have become obsessed with tweaking my Avi and making it more realistic.

My question is what  shape or skin designer is your favorite and whom do you think has the most attractive and realistic Avatar componenets?

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I make my own shapes, because most sold shapes have unrealistic proportions or follow some fashion trend. For skin I chose natural looking ones, that allow me to add make-up on my own. And I look if the skin comes with appliers for slink. But thats just my type of preferences.

I had a skin form MyDear Skin for a long time and now have one from Izzie's.

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I probably spent a good year tweaking my shape until I got what I was happy with.  I would never buy a shape.  As for skin, I'm happy with my old LAQ.  As for being realistic, I prefer to be believeable.  Leave realistic to the real world. (^_^)y

 

 

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Thanks for the input everyone! And yes, I like to be believable and not too much like real life as well.  I just want an avi thats looks good, like skin that doesnt look like a cartoon!

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I've created my own shape (or, to satisfy the pedantic in an old argument, I adjusted a Linden-provided shape to suit my preferences). I normally wear a ploom skin, but I also like Curio, Pink Fuel, Yoon, My Ugly Dorothy and Jomo. I often personalise my skins with tattoos and make-up, especially eye make-up.

Regarding other components, I have a lot of eyes from 'By Snow', mostly for the stranger non-human ones. Redgrave and Mayfly make great realistic eyes.

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pixlie wrote:

Thanks for the input everyone! And yes, I like to be believable and not too much like real life as well.  I just want an avi thats looks good, like skin that doesnt look like a cartoon!

How should we know whats cartoonish for you and what not or how you define a good looking avatar?

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  • Animation Overriders (AOs) - You can start having a more realistic avatar by having a more realistic AO. Body language conveys so much even in a digital setting, and unfortunately AOs in SL are predominately over sexualized and too active, because apparently more activity and sexuality has somehow come to equal individuality. I have yet to meet a person in real life who obsessively sways their hips left and right or stands with their butt sticking out in a cartoony street-worker-esque attitude. Any AO title that begins with the word 'sexy' is probably filled to the brim with  trashy animations, and any AO that focuses on being cutesy is probably going to be so cutesy that it looks more appropriate on an ADHD teenager.
  • Tango and Phat Azz - I'm actually pro-tango/phat azz when they're APPROPRIATELY fitted. After a certain point breast sizes and fat butts become impossible to make nicely on the current avatar model. Breasts in particular become pretty blocky and nasty looking. Make sure your body is appropriately sized to tangos/phatazz, or that they're appropiately sized down to your body. Big H cup breasts have no business being on a tiny stick body; most people who have humongous cup sizes are also significantly overweight, so keep that in mind if realism is what you're attempting to achieve.
  • Shape Imperfections - These sliders often get no attention whatsoever, and that's a pity because they really go a long way to creating individuality: body fat, belly, saddle bags, love handles, the gravity side of the breast bouyancy slider, any slider that deals with offcentering a specific feature. (i.e. the nose. Sliding it crooked by going one or three integers to the left or right will not create a visual impact; however, it still adds that subtle something. Much like how human noses are never semetrical.)
  • Original Shapes - Don't buy market shapes. Just don't. Take the time to learn how the sliders work with each other. Find people who have good shapes and ask them for advice on how which sliders work together to achieve whatever look you're looking for, whether it be a heart shaped face or a nice apple bottom that doesn't leave your hips looking like you're riding an invisible pony. It takes a few hours to learn, but once it's a learned skill, creating shapes can be very fun and entertaining. My favorite pasttime in Second Life is recreating shapes and finding the matching skins of my favorite TV characters, or as creepy as it sounds, recreating myself, or my friends for their own use.
  • Skin shade - This has way more to do with realism than skin brand. There is a tendency to go with severely tanned skins in SL because certain features (breasts, booty, shiny body highlights) are easier to emphasize  on a darker canvas. Pale skins can often look a little featureless when placed under incorrect lighting, and for this reason, very few people go wandering the world with appropriately caucasian shades, even if it's their original intent to have a caucasian avatar. My favorite skins came from Essences, Pink Fuel, Red Grave, and Y&Ys.
  • Personalizing / Individuality - Pick a photo of whoever it is you're attempting to emulate, whether it be yourself or a random photo you've found on the internet--and do note, it's good practice to find in picture form what you're attempting to achieve in SL before you go messing with sliders--and focus first on getting the proportion of mouth, to nose, to eyes right in terms of size and width, and then go through them each individually using specific characteristics of each to determine how to get the closest shape. For instance. When recreating myself, the corner of my lips stop about at the where the center of my eyes are, and so I make sure I stretch my lip width to match where the mid-point of where my eyes are, no more no less. Afterward, the face shape can be adjusted to fit around these key defining characteristics. Then begin working on the body, while making note of whether the person is more triangular or oval shaped. Are their hips the same width as their shoulder, are they more top heavy, are they kinda around their arms, etc. etc. etc.
  • Avoid becoming a Fugly - Fugs in SL are rampant, and they all follow the same trend: overly sized hips to achieve an apple bottom (hip width is the WRONG slider to do this with; apple bottoms are achieved by adjusting love handles, leg muscles, butt roundness and saddle bags), and mixing a weird blend of ethnicities to achieve the weirdest facial trend: squinty, squinty Mongolian eyes, tiny noses, thick Mexican / African lips, and NO CHINS. Fugs seem to despise chins more than ever, making their width / height so tiny that their lips are often larger.
  • Height - Use a height meter when adjusting height.
  • Editing - Make sure you take off automatic posing and lighting for editing shapes in Firestorm. This is done through the preferences tab.
  • A Second Opinion - When you're shape-making, you become jaded to seeing your own shape and imperfections become less obvious. Asking a friend who walks around in a well proportioned avatar is always a good idea. Addressing forums with a picture of your avatar and asking for opinion is a good idea. Walking around in a different shape for a week or so and coming back to the one that you're tweaking is also a terrific way to spot things you need to work on. I am CONSTANTLY working on my own avatar and have been for the past two years. I still fidget with arm length, sadly, and most recently I realized that my belly button was a little further down than it should be. I had to play with torso length, hip length, and leg length until I could slide the belly button back up to a more appropriate location.

 

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That was actually one of the best, most helpful summaries I have seen to date. Thanks so much, Jaeden! I may give it a go myself now! After 6 1/2 years I remain reluctant to mess with shapes. When I have tried, I generally end up with a grotesque shape that sends me running from my monitor...lmao! The idea of using a picture is sheer brilliance! 

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Syo Emerald wrote:


pixlie wrote:

Thanks for the input everyone! And yes, I like to be believable and not too much like real life as well.  I just want an avi thats looks good, like skin that doesnt look like a cartoon!

How should we know whats cartoonish for you and what not or how you define a good looking avatar?

Good point.  Where avatar appearance is concerned it is truly an "eye of the beholder" thing.  I've mentioned previously on the forums that when I first began SL in 2007 it was extremely difficult to find a fair skin, with the majority of avatars looking like they had spent way too much time (for *my* preference) in a tanning booth.  I finally found a skin that I liked that wasn't too yellow or "Goth white" and wore it for the next three years.  During that time I regularly had people in SL (a few friends plus a lot of complete strangers) telling me that I needed to spend more time in the sun, including one person who dropped an unsoliticed freebie tanned skin on me and sent an IM saying, "This skin will look better until you can afford a good skin"!!!!!!!  I thought I looked good in my fair skin and didn't like the tanned skins; other people felt differently.

Staying just within human avatars, shapes are all over the board - from the people who prefer the more "realistic" sized down shapes, to people who prefer to stay with the taller shapes due to the whole issue of SL furnishings being oversized (which is yet another entire topic...lol), to people who apparently think the frowny faces are attractive, or the "pony rider" wide angle legged avatars, to the whole lola deal.  Then we get into non-human avatars.

The point being, what type of avatar people think looks attractive can vary drastically so, imo, the important thing is to be pleased with one's own appearance.  I'm sure there are some people who still think my avatar needs to spend more time in the sun, or not be as tall, or not have red hair, etc., etc. ;)

 

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No problem. :matte-motes-big-grin: I'm flattered I could help. Shapes really are my favorite SL hobby, and I'm all too pleased to help other people get into, as well.


@Czari - Oh lawdy. I feel your pain over fair skins. There really is a ridiculous bias for tanned skins, though I've sort of seen that pass away since windlight and such. Now most people just have a nice little in between with a peachy tannish shade. I have a particular favorite from Ys&Ys (the pale Virginia)  that I won't wear out in public areas where lighting is sure to be craptastic. It's one of those photo-op only skins, because the delicate features simply won't display properly unless it's the right environment.

Which brand of fair skin did you use?

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JaedenDelanaire wrote:

@Czari
- Oh lawdy. I feel your pain over fair skins. There really is a ridiculous bias for tanned skins, though I've sort of seen that pass away since windlight and such. Now most people just have a nice little in between with a peachy tannish shade. I have a particular favorite from Ys&Ys (the pale Virginia)  that I won't wear out in public areas where lighting is sure to be craptastic. It's one of those photo-op only skins, because the delicate features simply won't display properly unless it's the right environment.

Which brand of fair skin did you use?

Awww, thank you, Jaeden...that first year especially in SL was really annoying on the skin front having to fend off the "tanned skin" contingent.   What I never got about that whole thing was why total strangers felt they had to let me know they didn't like my skin...lol.  I would have never thought of IMing someone with a skin so tanned one could only see the whites of their eyes and warn them about the dangers of too much sun. *Chuckles*  I, too, have noticed that many skin designers now include fair skins (usually several different levels of "fair") in their skin lines now alone with skins having become more realistic looking over the years.

My first fair skin that I hunted high and low for in 2007 was a Gala Phoenix skin (same designer now owns Curio).  The skin I wear now is from Belleza.  I tweaked my own shape from a freebie skin I got in 2007 and the Gala Phoenix & Belleza skins, at least the particular ones I got, provide the look I want for my avatar.  I have tried a lot of demo skins from other designers and have yet to find others that look like I want on my shape.  On the other hand, there are a lot of skin designers I haven't tried yet.  When I see someone in a fair skin that I like I ask where it is from and invariably it's from a place I've never heard of.  I have a notecard of "skin stores to check out...someday." ;)

I didn't think about the lighting issue.  My Belleza skin came with a card that gave the Windlight settings for it to look its best which is the setting I use in SL about 99% of the time...BUT...I have no earthly idea how the rest of SL is seeing me.  Between the gazillion of Windlight settings, if someone is using low, medium, high, ultra-high settings for SL along with the various settings like Basic Shaders, etc., there is no way to ensure that *anyone* sees my avatar the way I see it.  I pretty much gave up on that a long time ago and as long as my avatar looks good to me, on my PC, with my settings...I'll go with that...lol.

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Czari Zenovka wrote:


Syo Emerald wrote:


pixlie wrote:

Thanks for the input everyone! And yes, I like to be believable and not too much like real life as well.  I just want an avi thats looks good, like skin that doesnt look like a cartoon!

How should we know whats cartoonish for you and what not or how you define a good looking avatar?

Good point.  Where avatar appearance is concerned it is truly an "eye of the beholder" thing.  I've mentioned previously on the forums that when I first began SL in 2007 it was extremely difficult to find a fair skin, with the majority of avatars looking like they had spent way too much time (for *my* preference) in a tanning booth.  I finally found a skin that I liked that wasn't too yellow or "Goth white" and wore it for the next three years.  During that time I regularly had people in SL (a few friends plus a lot of complete strangers) telling me that I needed to spend more time in the sun, including one person who dropped an unsoliticed freebie tanned skin on me and sent an IM saying, "This skin will look better until you can afford a good skin"!!!!!!!  I thought I looked good in my fair skin and didn't like the tanned skins; other people felt differently.

Staying just within human avatars, shapes are all over the board - from the people who prefer the more "realistic" sized down shapes, to people who prefer to stay with the taller shapes due to the whole issue of SL furnishings being oversized (which is yet another entire topic...lol), to people who apparently think the frowny faces are attractive, or the "pony rider" wide angle legged avatars, to the whole lola deal.  Then we get into non-human avatars.

The point being, what type of avatar people think looks attractive can vary drastically so, imo, the important thing is to be pleased with one's own appearance. 
I'm sure there are some people who still think my avatar needs to spend more time in the sun, or not be as tall, or not have red hair, etc., etc.
;)

 

 

Red hair and fair skin rules :matte-motes-big-grin:

 

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Even tho I've more or less become a full-time creature of sorts, I do have many RP alts that offer a full range of human shapes and features and tones.

I find the thing that irks me MOST is the lack of African skins. Now, don't get these confused with the 'Well I started making a white person and tinted it dark that's close, right?' skins, because those hurt my eyes.

I'm talking ones that actually take into account NOSE SHAPE and SHADING!! I think I've come across maybe three up-to-date skins that don't have a caucasian nose on a black skin. The Shops - old body co I think - have lovely dark tones, (however their separate skin/head thing makes for an ugly white neck line so I don't use their skins) that don't ignore the nose shape. I find it hard to make a decent looking black character who isn't overly muscled to the point of it looking painful, or ones with a decent body that then ignore the facial structure completely.


I've also seen so many people who don't have any idea what a body even looks like and I just want to drop modify shapes on them and run away. I never had an issue with the sliders because I was used to the Sims and various RPG games. :B

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If I can hazard a guess here:

Seeing what seriously underpowered hardware most residents are using in SL (particularly on the graphics side) I guess the finer nuances of skins and shapes are lost on many people anyway.

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Orca Flotta wrote:

If I can hazard a guess here:

Seeing what seriously underpowered hardware most residents are using in SL (particularly on the graphics side) I guess the finer nuances of skins and shapes are lost on many people anyway.

I think the low hardware crowd is more of a vocal minority than a major segment.

The most popular high visit blogs are all about SL fashion - and much of them are skin and hair choice articles. Followed by the latest mesh baggy pants, latest thing stuck in one's fish face mouth, and latest fish-face frown... :P

 

I find the comments above about pale skin curious, from where I look, there seem to be 1000 versions of Anglo-Saxon-female-whos-never-seen-the-sun-above-the-London-fog skin for every 1 anything else on the planet, let alone specific tones.

I guess perception and assumptions of normal play a big role there. What to me seems like one shade altered by degrees I often cannot perceive seems like something very different to others here.

When I returned in 2009 I wanted a skin that was at least as 'brown' as my real life tone, a somewhat Native American cast - but all I could find was tones ranging from British to Dutch... and the ones labeled 'super extra dark like burnt coffee coated dark chocolate and left on the grill for 24 hours' were basically as "dark" as the Queen of England... :) 

Took me a couple months to find any tonal variety.

Perception of the observer and such. I still notice that other than a small handful of skin makers - even when they cover darker skin tones they don't go darker than 'milk chocolate' or 'caramel', and almost never go into the red-brown cast of Native Americans / Mestizos.

 

On cartoony: what is or isn't realistic is objective. One's preferences for or against it is subjective.

But cartoonish is also somewhat objective and involves exagerated features for iconic effect (best to pull out Scott McCloud books for details on that though) - and pulling that off in the middle stages, where its not pure-iconic, requires understanding anatomy.

- Otherwise, you just have bad art. Which -IS- pretty common in SL shapes.

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I went on a skin hunt for about a week and  tried skin demos from over 25 different stores. I found my favorite one at Belleza. They have a section where you can get a single skin for about 600 lindens.

Forget about skins that are makeup fat packs. You can get tons of makeup tattoo layers from various stores for about 5-30L

It's best to invest in one good skin (In my case it was Belleza) with a pale makeup option & buy makeup layers. This way you can wear a combo of different makeup looks for less money. Unless you want the fat packs with makeup looks.


As far as shapes are concerned. Find a free shape that is modifiable. It seems that there is a limited about of shape templates because I noticed that I purchased one awhile ago & it was the same as a free one I found. So, it's better to search for a free shape & modify it to your liking. You also may need to modify it in order to fit into mesh clothes.


so, overall I recommend Belleza, my favorite skin there is Elle.

Happy shopping:matte-motes-smitten:

 

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Czari, I completely empathize with you. My avie, like the RL me, is a red head of the Irish persuasion, and therefore tends to wear paler (but not sickly or goth) skins. I get a lot of good feedback on mine, but also get the occasional "Hey, you should hit the tanning bed" comments. 

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KlistiesSeMio Ewinaga wrote:

Even tho I've more or less become a full-time creature of sorts, I do have many RP alts that offer a full range of human shapes and features and tones.

I find the thing that irks me MOST is the lack of African skins. Now, don't get these confused with the 'Well I started making a white person and tinted it dark that's close, right?' skins, because those hurt my eyes.

I'm talking ones that actually take into account NOSE SHAPE and SHADING!! I think I've come across maybe three up-to-date skins that don't have a caucasian nose on a black skin. The Shops - old body co I think - have lovely dark tones, (however their separate skin/head thing makes for an ugly white neck line so I don't use their skins) that don't ignore the nose shape. I find it hard to make a decent looking black character who isn't overly muscled to the point of it looking painful, or ones with a decent body that then ignore the facial structure completely.

 

I've also seen so many people who don't have any idea what a body even looks like and I just want to drop modify shapes on them and run away. I never had an issue with the sliders because I was used to the Sims and various RPG games. :B

When I first started 6 1/2 years ago, there were few good African skins. One of my best friends in SL looked high and low for a good one, and ended up a very tan white girl...we (she and I) used to call her my racially ambiguous twin...lol! 

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I found my favorite one at Belleza.

Yeah, Tricky Boucher is regarded as one of the best skin makers by many bloggeristas. Obviously for some reason. I loved my Belleza skin for a while but became tired of the very dark complexion of  mine.  Am now more than happy with [the skinnery] skins. They are perfect for the slightly tanned northern european girl and look great with almost no makeup on them. Cool for the natural action girls which don't spend all their time in clubs and ballrooms.

As for shapes I have to admit to my shame that I'm indeed on a commercial one. Was a gift by my ex-wife she gave me since I loved the face. But the shape was much too tall, had much to much bust and the knees were a bit knocked, aka x-legs. So I totally modded that shape and ended up with a much too big head. So I started modding the face as well and now there's nothing reminding of the original expensive shape left anymore but the fat lips. :smileyhappy:

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Marigold Devin wrote:


Czari Zenovka wrote:


Syo Emerald wrote:


pixlie wrote:

Thanks for the input everyone! And yes, I like to be believable and not too much like real life as well.  I just want an avi thats looks good, like skin that doesnt look like a cartoon!

How should we know whats cartoonish for you and what not or how you define a good looking avatar?

Good point.  Where avatar appearance is concerned it is truly an "eye of the beholder" thing.  I've mentioned previously on the forums that when I first began SL in 2007 it was extremely difficult to find a fair skin, with the majority of avatars looking like they had spent way too much time (for *my* preference) in a tanning booth.  I finally found a skin that I liked that wasn't too yellow or "Goth white" and wore it for the next three years.  During that time I regularly had people in SL (a few friends plus a lot of complete strangers) telling me that I needed to spend more time in the sun, including one person who dropped an unsoliticed freebie tanned skin on me and sent an IM saying, "This skin will look better until you can afford a good skin"!!!!!!!  I thought I looked good in my fair skin and didn't like the tanned skins; other people felt differently.

Staying just within human avatars, shapes are all over the board - from the people who prefer the more "realistic" sized down shapes, to people who prefer to stay with the taller shapes due to the whole issue of SL furnishings being oversized (which is yet another entire topic...lol), to people who apparently think the frowny faces are attractive, or the "pony rider" wide angle legged avatars, to the whole lola deal.  Then we get into non-human avatars.

The point being, what type of avatar people think looks attractive can vary drastically so, imo, the important thing is to be pleased with one's own appearance. 
I'm sure there are some people who still think my avatar needs to spend more time in the sun, or not be as tall, or not have red hair, etc., etc.
;)

 

 

Red hair and fair skin rules :matte-motes-big-grin:

 

Preach it, Sistah!!!

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Pussycat Catnap wrote:

 

I find the comments above about pale skin curious, from where I look, there seem to be 1000 versions of Anglo-Saxon-female-whos-never-seen-the-sun-above-the-London-fog skin for every 1 anything else on the planet, let alone specific tones.


As I noted in my posts, NOW there are a good variety of fair skins, but back in 2007, as I said, the ultra-tan look was the "it" thing.  There were some designers who offered what they called "fair" or "pale" skin in 2007, but 99% of them had a yellow or orange tint or were pure white skins made for the Goth look.  (I have some of those for certain rp events, but I didn't want to be a Goth 100% of the time.)  If there were so many fair skins when I began SL *and* if they were popular, I wouldn't have had all the "get a tan" IMs.  Fortunately those days are over.

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