Thursday, January 1, 2015

listen to that fireplace roar

(Continued from part the fourth.)

Additional: as I've never been able to wear these boots before, may I mention how much I'm in love with them? They're from Diamant√© Jewelry and Accessories, and they're changeable to about eight colors with a separate HUD in three sections--the cuff, the boot body, and the boot tip. (And, because of this, I may have to look into my other Slink boots, at least, because without actual Slink feet involved, they might be wearable.)

You'll also notice one more thing: my head skin doesn't match my body skin, which was much less obvious before I started mucking about with studio lighting and Windlight settings.

It's a somewhat faded dividing line, which will help in skin matching, though I really wish they'd included a blend layer somewhere. But let me make it even more obvious, because I think it's vaguely important.

Now, this is what I was wearing when I logged in today, Frick's "Frostbite" skin in her Sugar tone, from 2012's holiday hunt. I've been ditching a lot of old skins because they're just not holding up, but this set is still working pretty well.

Look at the dividing line between neck and head, though. With the extreme white-to-light-tanned skin-tone difference, it's more obvious: it's not a line at all. Because of this, there's a fair amount of shading that I'm pretty sure may work for some on their chosen skins before designers get to work on full-body Maitreya skin support (which many already are).

Overall, I like what I see. I like that the set is compatible with both their included shapes, and my own current shape. I really like that the included hands and feet are supposedly Slink-compatible; if true, that's definitely an awesome feature. Still, that L$2750 price's a killer.

(I'm wearing the "Wendy" mid-length style from pr!tty in one of the Ombre HUD shades; the May 2014 group gift skin from 7 Deadly Skins, received on this year's Advent run; and the simple Brown eyes from Heaven's Gate, which at the time were part of a free set, and may be still, for all I know.

And I used Strawberry Singh's "Closeups" Windlight setting for all shots shown here.)

Now then...

Post-demo-body-trying. I talked with some friends after I put most of these entries together, and had taken all the shots I'd planned to use. They corrected me on a few things, because it's rather obvious at this point I do not haz experience in this area.
  1. The price tag is actually pretty reasonable, they tell me. Here's why:
    • The Slink Physique mesh body clocks in at L$1250, but does not come with hands or feet, and the mesh body cannot be tinted to match skins used on the head and/or hands/feet.
    • The Lena Lush body is only L$899, but a) also doesn't come with hands or feet, and b), was pretty quickly discarded by this blog entry as having the wrong size of alpha layers for most mesh clothes wearing. (I would tend to agree; the more alpha sections you add, the better off you are.)
    • The BANNED 'Dea" mesh body goes for $1,199, also has no hands or feet, and comes with only five basic skin tones.
    • The 'Rachel' mesh body from BDP retails for L$4000. It seems to include a mesh head (or maybe a skin to match? It's hard to tell). It has hands and feet, but no clue whether Slink hands/feet can be worn instead. There's a HUD for eye color, but no mention of skin color changing abilities. There does seem to be a full pack of textures for designing tattoos and mesh clothes, but it could be just for the Rachel body. And near as I can find, there's no other fits for the BDP bodies, Rachel or otherwise, from any other designers.
    • The Perfect Body from G. Inc. goes for L$850, which seems like a steal, but I'd need to try a demo for it, because not only does it seem overly hip-slung, but there's no idea of what the alpha layering looks like. Though there are some nice features in the description.
    • The Brazilia Doll retails for L$1,800. There are a few variations--this link will lead you to "Zarah", chosen at random--and other than mentioning five skin-tone presets, and the fact that the breasts are built in, the listing doesn't give a ton of information.
  2. So the fact that the Belleza "Lara" body comes with hands and feet, comes with a pretty complete finger- and toe-nail tingting HUD, comes with an insanely customizable skin-tinting section OF that HUD, AND the pretty complete alpha system, actually makes the price tag worthwhile.
  3. I'm told, by said friends, who have been playing around with various mesh avatars for far longer than I have, that the alpha layering system is not at all new. I still maintain that the sectioning is a (fairly) recent development, and some designers are better at it than others. I think Belleza (save for a V-neck) has it pretty together, all things considered. There are mesh avatars that come with far fewer deselectable alpha sections.
  4. Considering the popularity of the Venus, at least one of them felt that people would jump at the chance for the Lara--not just because they'd already bought in once and knew that system, but for a couple other reasons:
    • As the Lara, start to finish, seems an entirely original creation, it's less likely that they'll be DMCA'ed. (To note, their Venus was also original, but based on templates. While the DMCA against it was filed illegally, it was still filed. Lara's a new body from the ground up.)
    • Branding. Even in SL, it's important. We trust a brand that produced line A, we're far likelier to switch to another brand when we're looking for a similar thing.
    • There are already skin and clothing designers working on outfits and skins for the Lara, even before it was officially released. This is an excellent sign.
So, all in all, my end result is the same as when I set these entries up: I'm just having to admit I'm woefully unschooled in mesh. So I'll learn. I'm learning already with outfits. While it will likely be an insane length of time before I get the Lindens to purchase the Lara, it's definitely on my list.

This is another great review I found, from someone who knows the ins and outs of what people want out of mesh bodies. So there's that, too.

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