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Myra Wildmist

What do you think makes a shape good?

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Carole Franizzi wrote in part:

The is-or-isn't-a-child-avie debate usually completely ignores the fact that it is not simply height which determines adult figures as the formulas for adults are not the same as child figures. A figure is child-like because of many factors - such as neck length, head to body size ratio, muscle tone, distribution of body-fat,  the existence of a waist, hips, the size of eyes in relation to the whole face, etc.

But it is the combination of all these factors that makes a child avatar, not just one of these features, such as an infantile-cute face. There is a long tradition of drawing adult female cartoon characters with infantile facial features. Not just in Japan, but also in the Western World (think of Betty Boop). Some people condemn SL residents for doing the exact same thing, which is quite ridiculous considering that SL is a cartoon world.

 

Edited to add: The above goes for female avatars only. When it comes to male avatars, one can't use the old "boobs + hips = no child, no matter how cute the face" formula, which makes it hard to tell if you're dealing with a child avatar. I'd even say that unless the avatar dresses and behaves (talks) the part, or mentions his RP age in his profile, there is no way to tell if he is supposed to resemble a pre-pubescent boy or a sexually mature male teenager / adult.

Cute face? Anime-inspired bishōnen look. Hairless body? People shave in this day and age (thank heavens they do. Body hair is gross). Juvenile, non-muscular body? No muscle development without both regular training and a sufficient dietary protein intake. It is entirely possible for an adult male to retain a slender juvenile (some might even say feminine) body shape. Small size? Body size is subject to a great degree of phenotypical variation, and there is such a thing as dwarfism. Which means that without asking, one can't objectively tell male child avatars from adult male ones.

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Aside from the anthropomorphic cat face, I've seen faces like that in RL. If someone's jaw line looks "right" to you depends largely on your own facial features and underlying skull structure. People with a square jaw and a strong chin feel drawn to other people with similar facial features. In other words, facial structure is a matter of phenotypic variation and individual preference, unlike body proportions (I mean arm length etc., not distribution and amount of body fat, which is a matter of preference as well).

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Ishtara Rothschild wrote:

 

But it is the combination of all these factors that makes a child avatar, not just one of these features, such as an infantile-cute face.

 

Isn't that what I said? I don't think anyone would have thought I was implying that having big eyes, for example, is sufficient to make a figure infantile, because they don't. I have large eyes in RL and my face is most certainly not child-like.

Sure Betty Boop had huge “child-like” eyes. She also had no nose, a tiny mouth which was embedded in the bottom of her chin and a head which was a rectangle about three times wider than her hips. I'm not sure that hyper-stylised cartoon figures are particularly relevant here as I've always had the impression that in SL most human-avatar operators aim for their vision of perfected realism rather than anything overly cartoonesque. I may have misunderstood but I thought this thread was about achieving a pleasing-looking, decently proportioned human shape.

This seems relevant:.

 

The Cartoon Figure

The normal human figure is about seven or eight heads tall. The cartoon figure, however, usually deviates from those normal proportions.

In fashion illustration or sports cartooning, the emphasis is on the body; the figure may be drawn ten heads tall. The traditionally sexy "pin-up" is likely to have abnormally long legs.

In the humorous cartoon, the head is usually very large in many the proportion to the body. In cartoon characters (Snoopy, Ziggy), the head is as big as body. The larger-than-normal head produces at least two effects. One, it makes the cartoon figure seem cute and childlike. Two the exaggerated head size gives play to the facial features and expressions which best communicate personality and feelings.”

http://www.medialit.org/reading-room/how-cartoons-work-cartoon-code

 

If you're aiming for a well-proportioned unequivocally adult-looking avatar there are lots of little rules worked out by artists which you can follow. If you're aiming for a cartoonesque adult, be aware that some of the features will make the avatar look more childlike with resultant reactions from others depending on where you place that avatar and what you do with it. Be also aware that a certain combination of features based on proportions will register as a child in the eyes of others. It's an in-built ability we all have – even you, Ishtara, with your apparent difficulty in distinguishing between a boy avatar in his early adolescence and a waxed young man avatar in his early twenties. It's so well-developed in all of us that I promise you, we are almost always able to guess with a strong degree of accuracy the age of a person only from his silhouette – a capacity we all have based on the universal human skill of “reading” body-shapes and proportions. If an avatar appears to be a 14 year old boy rather than a shaved (*shivers* men without any body hair are gross …) adult, it's because the shape was deliberately designed to appear like a 14 year old boy, because muscle-tone, neck-length, jaw size, nose development, eye size, etc, etc, etc, more than make up for the lack of boob+hip makers which you seem to believe are the only ways of distinguishing an adult woman from a girl (they really aren't).

 

Sure, this is a cartoon world, but since LL prohibited sexual age-play, the option of having a child-like avatar in adult situations is one no longer open to people. It's a question of like it or lump it. Swot up on adult human body proportions mapped out for figure drawing and you can make your avie as short as you like without anybody being justified in hassling you over being in adult-only situations.

 

Try this experiment. Google the word "silhouette" and check out the Images - you'll find that child, teen and adult silhouettes are all immediately recognisable.



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Body fat. I don't mean as in obesity, but to smooth out jagged angles in the mesh. Edged contours, and when you turn yhe avatar in a pose, the body looks "broken". Of course you can play with Liquify and "fix" a lot of flaws in photos, but I seldom have to do big touch-up jobs on my avatar. Picture under is unedited from SL, just cropped and added text of course. I think this is as good as I can get with the current avatar mesh, the break is almost impossible to see.

uneditedjaggedmesh.jpg 

 

It helps that I am very critical on what poses I use. Some poses break the mesh a lot more than others, these poses I delete or save because I can use them for closeups.

I would say that it's better to reduce muscles and body width, so you can increase the body fat up to at least 7-10. I have 10 in body fat, but I like how I look.  Even lean, ripped young people has some essential fat in RL. 

It is really hard to know what hand size to set. My hands look rather big here, in other poses they look too small. I had to settle for something in between - hands that look good in most angles and poses.

I know that it's touchy to comment on facial features. Myself, I love the square face and has deliberatly worked with the sliders to get this look, a broad face with a distinct jaw and smaller eyes than most. That does not mean that I think avatars with big eyes and a heartshaped face is doing something wrong.

Oh, and I am a fan of the "teeth" look, so just call me rabbit. It is what I like, I have teeth on tattoo layer, prim teeth, alpha layers that show teeth.  

 

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Adding this link: http://community.secondlife.com/t5/Technical/Jagged-Edges/qaq-p/791343

Ishtara posted a picture of what the mesh looks like. Body fat helps to smooth out the lines connected in angles. Look at those shoulders and breasts, it is not much smooth softness there! (Post #2 in the link)

Same applies for male shapes. Reduce muscle mass just a few points and add body fat the same number. You will still look lean, not obese at all.  

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I feel compelled to illustrate my aesthetic. 

People in Second Life who are critical of flaws in shapes, seem to aspire to the Golden Mean. Which is all fine too. But variety is the spice of Second Life in my opinion. It's fine to not prefer or like something, but to say it doesn't exist or isn't valid as a shape? I ask those people...

Women do not sometimes have an ample, rounded backside? ("Bubble butt" as some have said.)

Bubble Butts Shape Illustration sm.png 

Men do not sometimes have a long chin?

Long Chin Men sm.png

Attractive women do not sometimes have a long, angular face? 

Long Faced Women Shapes sm.png

There is no such thing as a big redhead with a 'square blocky' face?

big redhead sm.png

Fantasy creatures can't look any way we want? All felines are Neko? 

Fantasy Felines sm.png

 

I'm just sayin'.

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I like realistic looking body shapes. Actually, most of the standard library avatar shapes great, and with different skin, hair, and clothes you would not recognise them. I started with the one nearest to my real life look and tred to modify it to make it even closer.

It is odd that many of the shapes you can buy, especially the male ones are groteque. What is even stranger is that people like them.

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Marianne Little wrote:

Adding this link: 

Ishtara posted a picture of what the mesh looks like. Body fat helps to smooth out the lines connected in angles. Look at those shoulders and breasts, it is not much smooth softness there! (Post #2 in the link)

Same applies for male shapes. Reduce muscle mass just a few points and add body fat the same number. You will still look lean, not obese at all.  

I read through that thread, Marianne. If I understand it, there's only so much you can do to get rid of jagged edges, due to the limitations of the underlying models. Is that right?

 

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The avatar mesh is really bad, old and outdated. I stopped to think I could make a "Perfect" shape and settled for "Good enough". I think that I had to add a lot of body fat and would still have those jagged angles and weird breaks. And I don't want to have a plus size avatar in SL. 

I get along with a "Good enough" shape, poses that don't twist and distort the body too much, and then a bit of  post-processing. I really wish LL would give us new body mesh.


Myra Wildmist wrote:


Marianne Little wrote:

Adding this link: 

Ishtara posted a picture of what the mesh looks like. Body fat helps to smooth out the lines connected in angles. Look at those shoulders and breasts, it is not much smooth softness there! (Post #2 in the link)

Same applies for male shapes. Reduce muscle mass just a few points and add body fat the same number. You will still look lean, not obese at all.  

I read through that thread, Marianne. If I understand it, there's only so much you can do to get rid of jagged edges, due to the limitations of the underlying models. Is that right?

 

 

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You can only work around the polygons, only so much, I guess. :matte-motes-wink:  Does their going to mesh have anything to do with this? Would mesh make it easier for them to introduce new and better avatar meshes?

(Btw, I have almost no idea what mesh is, so I might be throwing that term around very loosely. )


Marianne Little wrote:

The avatar mesh is really bad, old and outdated. I stopped to think I could make a "Perfect" shape and settled for "Good enough". I think that I had to add a lot of body fat and would still have those jagged angles and weird breaks. And I don't want to have a plus size avatar in SL. 

I get along with a "Good enough" shape, poses that don't twist and distort the body too much, and then a bit of  post-processing. I really wish LL would give us new body mesh.

Myra Wildmist wrote:


Marianne Little wrote:

Adding this link: 

Ishtara posted a picture of what the mesh looks like. Body fat helps to smooth out the lines connected in angles. Look at those shoulders and breasts, it is not much smooth softness there! (Post #2 in the link)

Same applies for male shapes. Reduce muscle mass just a few points and add body fat the same number. You will still look lean, not obese at all.  

I read through that thread, Marianne. If I understand it, there's only so much you can do to get rid of jagged edges, due to the limitations of the underlying models. Is that right?

 

 



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It is confusing that we talk about mesh and mean 2 different things.

Mesh as in the current avatar mesh, the wireframe that we build shapes on.

Mesh as the big talk "When will LL release Mesh". I don't work with sculpts or meshes, but it has been talked about mesh in over 2-3 years, content creators has been very exited, but now I am not sure. 

I really hate it is LL think they can leave their old avatar mesh in so that content creators make workarounds, like eyelashes, prim nails, prim feet. They should have given us better avatars, not left in the old stuff.  It was talk about mesh avatars, but now I am not sure if they will be released at all this year.

If mesh avatars is released, it will be a totally new system. You can not buy a mesh shape and a skin from 2 different creators, you will probably not be able to modify it so much. You can see a review of a mesh avatar here: http://juicybomb.com/2011/06/03/yabusaka-mesh-avatar/#comments 

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Clarissa Lowell wrote:

I feel compelled to illustrate my aesthetic. 
 

I'm just sayin'.

And I believe that shows that you completely missed what I was pointing out - the technical issues, in artistic critique, that can be issues in SL.

SOme of you want an 'everybody is a special snowflake' thread there - but I read the OPs request as desiring an examination of good shape. Not a hippie group hug - so I gave my analysis.

I'm sure there are flaws in my own shapes that I posted, and if someone could help point them out without being dropping into silly/juvenille 'get you back for what you posted' - that's the kind of thing I'd enjoy seeing, a critical artistic discussion of how we can make and improve good shapes.

 

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Marianne Little wrote:

Adding this link: 

Ishtara posted a picture of what the mesh looks like. 

That image of the SL mesh in post #2 there is a great example of what motivated my comments - some things which might work great in RL, like a bubble butt of a cleft chin - fail on the poor mesh we have. Bubble butts start to de-render in crowds, and cleft chins look like they have a rip in them. Anyone who's dialed up the boob-size slider knows this too - go above a certain value and you lose your boobs and get 2 boxes instead.

The same thing for the cat face - you want to pull that look off, use well made prim teeth and prim whiskers (and not the freebie teeth I have) - you'll get much better results.

Or you could just take such comments personal, and not understand where I'm trying to come from. Oh well.

Though I did mix in some aesthetic opinions with my technical ones - so not a perfect post. But studies have shown that a square head is not the ideal of attractive on a female face, and the cleft lip is something that can frighten people. Its not PC to say a cleft-lip is ugly, but it is fact. Aid groups spend a lot of money sending doctors to the third world to perform operations on people born with it.

 

As for a critic of my own shapes... I'm kind of thinking my own shape my be too thick in certain parts for how it mixes with others, and have been spending a lot of time camming around myself to find whatever flaw it is that is nagging at my subconscious. Doing that less since I put the shape through a proportion fix, but something is still lingering in there that I've not yet nailed down. Its not as bad on my human shape - but on Pussycat something's there that I've not yet specifically found.

 

 

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Yes, your comments did sound harsh, being based, as they were, from one or two sample photos. Being such an expert on the mesh you should well know that some of the photosphere poses out there can distort things. Also, IMO, an avatar should be taken as a whole, not be the victim of a microscope. Yes, there are limits to the mesh, but one could point out flaws in any shape out there.

It's a bit derogatory to say a shape has a 'bubble butt' when in fact, if you looked closer, you would notice (hopefully) that one leg is extended in front, and the backside is pushed out, (as in the paparazzi pix) and the angle of the photo is such as to maximize or emphasize that aspect, as it were, of the avatar. Isn't the most important thing whether or not the avatar is proportional? I'm very proud of that particular shape, as it happens, because I managed to make a body type, with the existing basic mesh, which has somewhat of a pear shape, full bottom included, without any of the pointy results of overextending the sliders. I think all body types should be represented in Second Life, and while I know popularity does not count for much with some, that shape happens to be one of my more popular ones.

The "cleft palate" you keep harping on is not part of the mesh either (I am surprized you do not know that), but is merely part of a skin that I still feel is fabulous and creative. I found the skin somewhere at a nice price, and made an avatar to go with it, for a hunt with a star theme. The note card with the shape told something of the genesis of the supposed creature, and it was a one-off, never will be available again, so you needn't worry about running into too many of the apparently offensive felines on the grid.

I don't see your point about the cleft chin; but no matter what, I feel there is a way to express one's criticism of others' creations without being quite so blunt or harsh, especially when it has not been called for. And I will leave it at that.

 

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Again with the harsh tone. See, I felt this was a thread in which everyone had an equal opinion about what makes a good shape. I didn't notice anyone ask for criticism of each other's opinions or shapes, or what makes a bad shape.

But then I'm just a hippie.

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i think they look great..thats my opinion..

we won't get perfect in RL and we won't get it in here..

there is no one standard for shapes..if there were then there would be people out there proving it wrong anyways hehehe thats only human..

keep doing what you are doing..

just like movie critics..if we listend to most of them we would miss a lot of great movies :P

hehehe

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Thanks for the tip about the body fat, Marianne. That's one slider that I've always tended to leave at zero, but I'm beginning to see its usefulness. It's not just to make you fat.
And yes, the basic avatar mesh is really in need of an overhaul. I defy anyone to make a realistic child avatar, for example. (No doubt the paedophobes will take a Luddite stance on this.)
A note of thanks to those who posted pics here too - nice variety.
Just one somewhat unrelated question while I'm here: why do so many posters have badges that obscure their names?

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mine was from attempt after attempt of trying to get the size right in that stupid background lol..

i wasn''t sure of the size and it was trial and error when i came back and there were new forums lol

when i feel like messing with it again i'll make a new one..

people can scroll over the badge if they want to know who it is until then lol

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Carole Franizzi wrote:


Ishtara Rothschild wrote:

 

But it is the combination of all these factors that makes a child avatar, not just one of these features, such as an infantile-cute face.

 

Isn't that what I said? I don't think anyone would have thought I was implying that having big eyes, for example, is sufficient to make a figure infantile, because they don't. I have large eyes in RL and my face is most certainly not child-like.


I was commenting on your post rather than disagreeing with you. There is a number of people in SL, including one particularly prolific and thought-prokofing blogger, who often proclaim that sexually mature avatars with a single juvenile or infantile trait are nothing but child avatars in disguise. These kind of people also tend to confuse teenage avatars with child avs and scream "pedophilia" as soon as they spot something resembling a 16-year-old, according to their own cultural and ethnic/genetic bias anyway. That's who my addendum to your post was directed at.

 


Sure Betty Boop had huge “child-like” eyes. She also had no nose, a tiny mouth which was embedded in the bottom of her chin and a head which was a rectangle about three times wider than her hips. I'm not sure that hyper-stylised cartoon figures are particularly relevant here as I've always had the impression that in SL most human-avatar operators aim for their vision of perfected realism rather than anything overly cartoonesque. I may have misunderstood but I thought this thread was about achieving a pleasing-looking, decently proportioned human shape.

This seems relevant:.

 

The Cartoon Figure

The normal human figure is about seven or eight heads tall. The cartoon figure, however, usually deviates from those normal proportions.

In fashion illustration or sports cartooning, the emphasis is on the body; the figure may be drawn ten heads tall. The traditionally sexy "pin-up" is likely to have abnormally long legs.

In the humorous cartoon, the head is usually very large in many the proportion to the body. In cartoon characters (Snoopy, Ziggy), the head is as big as body. The larger-than-normal head produces at least two effects. One, it makes the cartoon figure seem cute and childlike. Two the exaggerated head size gives play to the facial features and expressions which best communicate personality and feelings.”


Betty Boop was an extremely cartoonish example. You can see the same idealization and exaggeration of youth in Japanese cartoon / manga characters with anatomically correct adult proportions and head shapes. Especially in the field of 3D-animated video games and movies, you'll often find characters that approach photorealism but nonetheless have infantile facial features.

Which is not the least bit surprising or worrying, because after all, infantile facial traits are what distinguishes female faces from male ones. Nature "wanted" males to feel as protective and non-aggressive about women than they feel about their own offspring. Male artists merely exaggerate this "omg she's soooo cute" effect in the same way they tend to exaggerate breast size or waist-to-hip ratio.

 


If you're aiming for a well-proportioned unequivocally adult-looking avatar there are lots of little rules worked out by artists which you can follow.

Other than the obvious legal limitations that exist for no rational reason as far as I can tell, I am not aware of any rules by and for artists in regard to renditions of the human anatomy, and I'm quite opposed to anybody who tries to limit any form of artistic expression. Which has nothing to do with my personal tastes and preferences (they are a lot more ordinary than people might think when reading my posts). It is merely a matter of principle and intellectual honesty for me.

By the way, other than your Carole avatar, I've seen remarkably few unequivocally adult looking female avatars (legally adult looking, that is) in SL as of yet. Considering the lack of tissue degeneration a.k.a. wrinkles in SL, together with the cartoon-like nature of this platform, most female avatars could be anywhere between 16 and 25.

 


If you're aiming for a cartoonesque adult, be aware that some of the features will make the avatar look more childlike with resultant reactions from others depending on where you place that avatar and what you do with it. Be also aware that a certain combination of features based on proportions will register as a child in the eyes of others.

Yes, I am aware that some people are prone to hysterical overreactions. That is exactly why I wrote my previous post. It can't hurt to remind these people that their own subjective, ethnocentric, and taboo-laden perception is not the be-all, end-all.

 


It's an in-built ability we all have – even you, Ishtara, with your apparent difficulty in distinguishing between a boy avatar in his early adolescence and a waxed young man avatar in his early twenties. It's so well-developed in all of us that I promise you, we are almost always able to guess with a strong degree of accuracy the age of a person only from his silhouette – a capacity we all have based on the universal human skill of “reading” body-shapes and proportions.

See, this comes very close to the kind of hysterical overreaction that I'm talking about. I don't have any problem of making this kind of judgement within the context of the RL population and -culture that I live in (and besides, who would want to put up with a giggling teenager?) But I am also well aware that my own perception is far from being objective, especially in a cartoon world with an international audience.

This is why, while I do ban what I deem to be child avatars from my adult sim -- my sim, my ethnocentric judgement, my arbitrary rules -- I'd never go as far as abuse reporting people for their appearance and thus endanger their SL account. I don't mistake my own culture- and population-specific bias for a universal human age radar. There is no such thing. One might as well postulate a universal human shoe size.

Despite the fact that all humans share the vast majority of their genetic traits, and that there is more genetic variation within human populations than between them (an often cited but ultimately meaningless truism, considering that the same holds true when we compare different deer species across several continents), there are many population-specific morphological traits, which have of course also shaped the instinctive age perception of these populations. For example, when I look at this Japanese idol...

Yuko Ogura (27 years old).jpg

...my age-dar says "12 or 13, 14 tops". But this is in fact an adult woman who is twice as old as I would instinctively judge her to be. And this is not a freak of nature but the Japanese beauty ideal, just as large-breasted women aren't rare freaks of nature in the Western hemisphere. During all the millennia when Western males were busy sexually selecting for T&A, Japanese males must have an equal or larger amount of attention to juvenile faces (and voices), and this is the result.

If judgemental Westerners, such as the infamous Prokodile, were to see an SL avatar based on the above Japanese idol in an adult sim, we'd see a neverending stream of complaints about edgecasing, desensitizing, and the pushing of boundaries. In fact, we've often seen these irrational complaints in the past. Most people are not aware of the subjectivity of their own ethnocentric instincts.

 


If an avatar appears to be a 14 year old boy rather than a shaved (*shivers* men without any body hair are gross …) adult, it's because the shape was deliberately designed to appear like a 14 year old boy, because muscle-tone, neck-length, jaw size, nose development, eye size, etc, etc, etc, more than make up for the lack of boob+hip makers which you seem to believe are the only ways of distinguishing an adult woman from a girl (they really aren't).

I know that there are more age markers than the T&A related ones when it comes to the female morphology (which varies between different human populations). I've spent quite some time researching human age and gender markers on a hobbyist basis. But most facial indicators of age, if we discount facial hear growth, are the result of an ultimately terminal process of tissue degeneration rather than physical growth and development.

In an ideal world such as Second Life, no avatar has to undergo this process. Avatars don't grow old and die. Only their operators will eventually drop face down onto their keyboards. It is therefore very understandable, imho, that the vast majority of SL residents engage in what amounts to ageplay by designing their avatar to look younger than their RL selves. As much as I admire your Carole avatar, I probably wouldn't want to participate in a virtual world where all female avatars looked that way :)

 

As for the male physique, muscle development largely depends on the amount of physical exercise. While I keep myself in shape, I have never been a very sports-minded or athletic person. As a result, I'm almost as slim and just as non-muscular with 39 than I used to be at age 16. I've also always looked younger (and somewhat more feminine) than I actually am, which shows that things like jaw development are subject to phenotypical variation, just like any other trait.

There are many adult males in RL who have a juvenile / boyish appearance, and they often become popular and admired for that very reason. Just think of Leonardo DiCaprio (who was 22 when he starred in Titanic, but could easily have passed for 15) or Johnny Depp. Everybody feels attracted to youth. If you aim for healthy offspring, it's the only biologically sensible "decision". (For males anyway. The hypergamous human females are also attracted to a youthful appearance, but ultimately select for social status).

 

PS: Speaking of body hair, how do you feel about men who shave their faces? This peculiar behavior has been selected for simply because men without facial hair appear more juvenile than they actually are, and thus more likeable, attractive, and confidence-insipring (read: less threatening). One could say that a shaved male face is a form of ageplay. Including sexual ageplay, since this behavioral trait also affects female sexual selection.

 


Sure, this is a cartoon world, but since LL prohibited sexual age-play, the option of having a child-like avatar in adult situations is one no longer open to people. It's a question of like it or lump it. Swot up on adult human body proportions mapped out for figure drawing and you can make your avie as short as you like without anybody being justified in hassling you over being in adult-only situations.



I don't mean to nitpick, but Linden Lab (and RL laws) only prohibit sexual age play that involves characters with the appearance of pre-pubescent children. This is a very important distinction imho, seeing that "child-like" can mean a lot of things and might refer to a single trait only. As I mentioned above, female faces are generally more child-like than male ones, and almost all SL residents engage in age play. I doubt that your own avatar accurately reflects your RL age, although you've probably made Carole older than yourself rather than younger.

The hassling of others is almost never justified and often AR-able. The same goes for abuse of the AR process. I think people would be well-advised to make 100% certain that they're really dealing with a child avatar -- one who looks, dresses, and behaves the part -- in an inappropriate situation, prior to filing an AR that could result in the virtual equivalent of a death sentence. I don't see why "innocent until proven guilty" should only apply in RL.

 


Try this experiment. Google the word "silhouette" and check out the Images - you'll find that child, teen and adult silhouettes are all immediately recognisable.



I tried that, and I also googled the name of the adult Japanese model whose face I posted above:

yuko ogura 2 (27 years old).jpg

What does your personal, subjective age-dar say based on her silhouette? Does it say "twenty-something"? I doubt that. If I didn't know for a fact that this is a 27 year old woman, I would never have guessed it.

Average body fat distribution is another trait that greatly varies between different human populations. Although this kind of racial profiling is frowned upon for a relatively good reason, the most womanly and voluptuous shapes and the greatest waist-to-hip ratio (3:4.5 and above) can be found among African women, whereas Asian women in general and Japanese women in particular tend to have very juvenile-girlish shapes.

Anthropology is fun and helpful in every aspect of life :) So is the awareness of the important difference between objectivity and subjectivity. I think it is impossible for any single human being (for any single population even, in case of an international environment like SL) to be entirely objective when it comes to judging age characteristics.

 

Verbose and long-winded PS: I've noticed that for the most part, it is the female gender that is obsessed with or greatly concerned about the visual age of SL avatars (although one can never be sure about the RL gender of SL residents, it is often pretty obvious). Knowing that it is very common for mothers to feel jealous and competitive towards their own sexually mature daughters, and of course to begrudge younger females in general their youthful appearance, I'd speculate that this behavior comes down to an attempt to increase ones own mating potential / reproductive success and social status by tabooing sex with younger and more attractive women. (Subconsciously of course. People's real motives always differ from their rationalizations). 

The same goes for the "dirty old man" stereotype and the taunting derision that males would be unable to deal with strong, independent, and intelligent women a.k.a. "real women" (read: with the near- or mid-menopausal and desperate taunter). Prohibiting sexually mature adolescents from having sexual relationships by conflating adolescence with childhood (or rather, by inventing a developmental stage called adolescence) was originally a control instrument of the patriarchy, seeing that fathers took it upon themselves to select what they deemed to be suitable husbands and sires for their daughters. Which, strictly speaking, was a form of eugenics.

But women ran with this idea as soon as they gained a political voice, and in the end it were feminists who lobbied to increase the age of consent. Nobody ever stopped to reflect on how this interferes with the sexual self-determination of the female gender. Or perhaps they did and considered the resulting lack of male sexual self-determination a fair trade-off. There are still feminist groups who push for an even higher age of consent, although the current legal situation (in Germany) is quite sensible in my opinion. This is also one of the main factors behind the population decline and the alarmingly low birth rates in many Western countries, seeing that in previous centuries, teenage pregnancies accounted for a relatively large percentage of childbirths.

Not to mention that a woman in her thirties is a lot more unlikely to give birth to a genetically healthy child than, say, a woman around the age of twenty (the disease-ridden mess that is the author of these lines is a great example why women should think twice about having children at age 30 or older). There is a good reason that youth equals attractivity. Not long ago on the evolutionary scale, 30 used to be the average human life expectancy. Anyway, the fact that this senseless activism does not stop at the SL login screen shows how much selfish instinct and how little rational thought there is behind it.

But of course none of this is deemed politically correct, and those who state simple biological facts (such as the psychologist Robert Epstein, who had the balls to reveal that there is no such thing as adolescence) are at risk of being called misogynists or pedophiles for their lack of disagreement with mother nature. Which prompts me to add a disclaimer: I myself am not attracted to legal minors. I think that teenagers should explore their sexuality with their peers and not with "adults". I'm merely intellectually honest, and in the fantasy world that is SL I will design my avatar to look as attractive as I deem fit. Youth equals attractivity, no matter how much our geriatric Western societies (especially the female half of the population) hate to admit it.

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     Hi everyone.

     I do agree mostly with everyone regarding what makes a good shape. Proportion is important as is living within the limits of the SL mesh. Of course, varying slightly from the norm in one area or the other can lead to a very desirable and unique look.     

     The one thing that I haven't noticed is mention of the skin. This is a very important part of the overall appearance of any given avatar. I can put a new skin on my existing shape and get a very different result than what was previously there. This is particularly true of the face. I have tried demo's of skins which when worn change my faceshape quite drastcally, very much the way makeup artists use their knowledge to sculpt a different look for a particular task.

     Granted, a skin can't make a poorly crafted shape look amazing, however a poor skin choice can make a well made shape look very messy.

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Ishtara Rothschild wrote:
I tried that, and I also googled the name of the adult Japanese model whose face I posted above:

yuko ogura 2 (27 years old).jpg

What does your personal, subjective age-dar say based on her silhouette? Does it say "twenty-something"? I doubt that. If I didn't know for a fact that this is a 27 year old woman, I would never have guessed it.

20s yes - my 'age-dar' would have pegged her at 21-23: a decade past your instincts. But 27 is not what I would pick, having lived in Asia and being a native of a city that is majority Asian.

Her look is young appearing by Asian, and by Japanese standards. But the signs of an adult are all over her in composure and not just body shape.

http://www.google.com/search?tbm=isch&q=Japanese+Actress

Your general point there is very valid though - norms vary across ethnic and also national lines.

Working in design - in a number of marketting campaigns I've had this argument with white co-workers who routinely reject the use of Asian models citing '(s)he's too young for our demographic' when I know very well they're tossing out models in their 30s for ads meant for undergraduates (I've gone as far as telling a few of them to widen their perceptions of race - especially as they live next to these people). I also routinely get treated as a junior by peple a decade younger than me unless we're working with a lot of minorities.

 

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Thought i'll leave my comment on this as well.

in 1 word to answer ur question...uniqueness (if that's a word that is lol)

 

Personally i have a thing for realism, meaning more real life like shapes i.e. u don;t see every single person on the street a next top model just popping off the catwalk to buy some milk in local superstore in rl do u.

Again it;s a personal taste and one can;t really judge others for the choice of their avs, but when majority of ppl have similar body frame it kinda gets tiring and mono-tone. Isn't SL suppose to be a creative place, and with almost every1 looking slim fit it;s hardly being creative and expressive.

Here's a variation of my av i use.

Snapshot7_001.png

How sad that some idiots out there think that this only can be a fancy dress for a party...

 

ps: is artistic nudity allowed on this forum?

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