Monday, 16 February 2009

Making mountains out of molehills for fun and profit

Now, in my previous post I went through my outfits and the clothes I choose and what they mean to me on at least a subconscious level... well now I turn my attention a little deeper... to the skin underneath. Now it has to be said, I flash a LOT of mine, all told.

There's been one thing that's always been hard for me in Second Life, and that's dealing with a universal truth. There seems to be a trend amongst some SL users to treat it as a "virtual Barbie Dolls-house" deal, and a lot of people seem to be content walking around actually LOOKING like barbie as a result. Now this is their choice, but I was never one to play with dolls. As such, my needs when it comes to my apearance are a little more uncommon when it comes to my appearance. I do not pass as beautiful in SL, certainly not from a traditional or "collectively enforced" standpoint.

I started making hair as I was looking for something that just wasn't there in-world. Now don't get me wrong. I am not saying what I do is better, not in the slightest. If I was trying to compete against the likes of Analog Dog or Damselfly I know I'd never sell anything. I steer clear of the filmstar hair and aim for something more esoteric; which is me all over.

My avatar is short, boyish, and generally pale. I am not fully loaded in the "T and A" department and my hip, leg and height sliders aren't maxed out. This oft causes one or two issues, particularly with the way the meshes behave; but the hardest thing with looking for a skin is dealing with two areas. and the issues in those areas comes down categorically to one thing. Countershading.

I'll focus on the one area - cleavage, rather than butt, as I'm not entirely comfortable with mooning you all, and I'm aware that could push the rating of the blog out of it's intended PG-13... so without further ado, let me present a sample of the skins that I've tried over my time in SL:

As you can see... a bit of variety. Reading right to left:

Redgrave - Jennifer (Tan) Smokey 4 makeup
990L a skin, or 2990L for 12 makeup fatpack.
Redgrave, let's be honest, are one of the leading names in skins on SL. They do a VERY good job of catering to public taste on there, where everyone wants to look like a Hollywood Beauty, whether it's Beyoncé, Mary-Kate or Rhianna, they're all there in beautiful detail. As you can see though, you're kinda required to have LARGE boobs to justify the tintage. Basically a no-no for me, from the tits to the tan. I bought this skin for some model shots; but don't actively wear it for anything else.

Second Skin Labs - GX2 Lyra Sublime, Mahogany (customised)
3000L for fourway makeup pack, additional 700L for custom work
Second skin labs are pricey. But the level of detail is phenominal; from teh downy hair on my forearms, through to the zit on my right shoulderblade. This skin is a work of art, and caters for my desire for a set of boobs that DON'T look like they're hemispherical and stuck on. The ONLY con is I have no ass as well... and the countershading down the crease makes it appear as if I've sat on a tan lipstick; but let's be honest, nobody sees my ass (aside from my other half) so I can live with that. The other thing I get is with the tint of the skin being quite Yellow, people often suggest I look a little ill. *shrugs* Either way, cost aside, definitely one of my favourites.

Second Skin Labs - GX1 Natural Red
2000L for the tintable skin
My love affair with Namssour's work began here. This was the first skin I bought in-world. It's over 2 years old now and still holding it's own. It has to be said, the shading on this suffers the same way as the Lyra, only moreso. But as the notecard in the box says, this skin is optimised for sliders of 35+ in the norks department. Mine are 23. It's my own fault so I just have to deal.

Boingo - Anu Pale, Nougat Gloss
I would like to say how much it cost, but it was a gift... *blush*
Jeela's skins are unique. The faces are just so expressive and the details on the bodies are glorious. What's more, they're all hand-drawn. Much as I'd LOVE to wear one full time, I just have three issues. The shading is lovely, just overdone for my frame. The tones are too dark for my taste, and I don't know what it is, but I always look so damn miserable in them. It's supposed to be sultry; this I know, and of you've got a statuesque amazon avatar, they are amazing. My alt Shinobu wears a Boingo skin, and at 6'7" and curves in all the right places she can pull it off remarkably well. Just a shame she only logs in to mule my inventory for me.

Ayiki's - Nordic
No longer for sale. Bribing Ayiki Takakura *may* get you one.
I use this one as the principle workhorse for the female models in my store. It's simple, subtle, and has the best nipples on any skin I own (and no, you're not seeing)... It's one of her earlier ones and it comes across as a little flat compared to what's in fashion on SL right now, but I have a soft spot for this one, and wore it for a LONG time (when not in the GX1). It makes it difficult to model in ginger eyebrows afterall... and we ALL know blonde women with black eyebrows... right? ;)
Of all the skins in my collection, this one also has the best butt on me!

eXceSs - Hermaphrodite Shadows 00 (TEA base with freckles)
1149L for brown/black eyebrow variants. Also ships with colormatched sculptie male genetalia... which was a surprise, let me tell you.
What can I say. The chest is perfect. The tone is just what I was after. The eye-makeup is dramatic, but a wonderful analogue for my grey neko custom skin from Ayiki. Nothing is over or underdone for my frame. I just love it. The female parts are painted on the skin, so the sculptie attachment sits gathering dust in my inventory. What more could a boyish girl ask for?

In summary; the range of skins on Second Life are vast, and the quality ranges as you'd expect. There is no perfect skin for everyone. If someone turns to you and says "These people are the best", don't go in blindly. Be prepared to shop around, but be prepared to spend a fortune. Skins are the most expensive thing you can buy for your, let's be blunt, it makes you who you are... which in my case is a diminuitive ladyboy, or so it seems...

Until next time,


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