Well, not all… but a lot. In a recent post on her blog, Iris Ophelia refers to the prices for content getting higher in SL and she refers to skins. “L$1000 used to be the upper limit of pricing for a single skin, now that’s a median point. More people are coming into the SL design community with more sophisticated training (sometimes) and price tags that match.”
Now that wouldn’t be such a bad development, if that meant the actual quality of said, more expensive, skins would be superior as well. Which, all too often, is just not the case and I doubt, more than once, the self proclaimed RL experience of the creators.
Before I proceed, let me state that the skin I’m using to illustrate this post is not subject to review, nor an exceptionally expensive skin. As a matter of fact, I don’t even know what it normally costs. this is a freebie of a brand I didn’t consider any skins from before, so I was curious to see what it would look like on me. And it does look cute!
So what is this about? Well, considering the increasing amounts of money people are spending on skins, I often cringe when I see the quality of a lot of them. Seams, mismatched textures, blotchy make ups, pixelated textures, holes in heads (!), misplaced body features, more seams, poorly drawn hands and feet and so forth and so forth. Sloppy details that in many cases can be avoided. Details that someone who really cares about their product and really knows what they are doing, will work on, and will work on again till it is flawless.
I’d like to show you some of the things I mentioned, so that at least when you shop for skins next time, you know what to look for, or rather, what you hope NOT to see in a skin or at least know what you are spending your L$ on. Iris is doing this blog series “30 things I want you to know”, well, I consider it something you really should know, just like adjusting prims, or ctrl-0 for zooming in. If you click the photos you’ll end up on my flickr stream where you can open the large sized photos and see the details better.
To the upper left, you see the seams were the neck and the front and back of the template meet on the shoulder. Other notorious places for seams are the hips, the ankles, the inner legs rather than the outer legs and the waist. Left center is an example of a hand that again shows seams on the fingers (front and back) but also a noticeable difference between the texture on the back of the hand and the fingers. How textures blend are important because it makes your avie look more natural, more real. In this example it’s not well blended. Bottom left, an ear. A very photoreal ear. To be honest, an ear that I think is so real that it looks weird on an otherwise hybrid skin. Photosourcing is more than just cutting and pasting. Creating a photoreal texture involves a lot of work in photoshop in order to give it depth and make it blend in.
To the right a detail that most of you will say “pffff.. Graz.. you’re so anal” Uhm, yes.. you are probably right. It’s about symmetry. You see a line from the middle of the nose, via the lip cleft going down over the torso and you’ll notice the collarbones being off center, shifted towards the left, and the right part being higher than the left part. Further down to the breasts you’ll notice that the bossom is shift off center to the right. And whereas asymmetry can make a face and/or body more interesting, if my vertebra would be crooked like this, I’d be in desperate need for a chiropractor.
PS: no post editing has been done on these photos other than cropping and making a collage. The windlight preset which I use is from Caliah Lyon, and I uncheck the atmospheric shaders in the preference menu. This is the setting that I do all skin photos in.