Minimum Change, Maximum Effect


With the Vanity Universe skin fair about to start, it’s time to do a post I’ve been sitting on for a LONG time. I get a lot of questions about my shape. Or rather, how it is possible that about every skin I try on looks pretty good on me.  At first that question embarrassed me, after all, when I blog a skin, it’s about that skin, not about how good I look… well.. of course, I do like looking good in the skins I feature, I admit, I’m vain like that… but when I blog a skin, it’s just not about me, it’s about me showing a skin which I really like and showing that skin in the best way I can.

5th & Oxford Audrey

But after a few times, I started to get used to it. After all, at some point I did have a shape shop and I consider it a compliment if people like the shape I have created for myself, and if they think it goes well with a lot of skins. I have always tested my shapes on a lot of different skins, to make them work with more than just one or two, so yeah, that’s basically what I do for myself as well. And the recognition of that is very much appreciated.

Très Blah Girly Chic

But the (not so) secret to looking good in “every skin”  is in minimal tweaking of the shape. And I know that is a touchy subject for many of you. “My shape is unique”, “It’s my personality” are much heard when it’s about shapes. But you also hear a lot of people complaining about skins “it looks like crap, it’s such a bad skin”  I beg to defer. A bad skin is a skin which has flaws… seams, smudges, blurries, bad blending, awful make ups, sloppy details. What most people intend when they say “it looks like crap” is actually, “this skin does not match with my shape, it doesn’t fit my shape”

Curio Beach

If you are one of the hard core one skin, one brand people… your shape is build on your default skin and that is perfectly ok. But as soon as you will want to try another skin, you will notice that, although designed on more or less the same templates, there are quite noticeable differences in where the designer has placed the various body parts on the template. It makes a skin have a character of its own, but it will mean it does not necessarily have to work with your shape. And since it’s impossible to adjust a skin to one’s shape… If you want to do justice to the skin, and look good, you will have to tweak your shape to match the skin.

Adam 'n Eve Desire II

Now that isn’t half as dramatic as it may sound to many of you… sometimes it’s a mere 1 or 2 points of 1 or 2 sliders in the face that needs to be adjusted. Aside from you being in a different skin, your shape will not or hardly visibly change. To illustrate this, I have made a series of collages which are all over this post. Every one of them showing 2 shapes on 3 different skins.

Tyranny Designs Starlust

To the left there is my own shape on 1) Dutch Touch’s Cleo, which is one of the skins I wear most, 2) the LL new skin (which is awful, but good to show how minimal the tweaking often is) and 3) a different skin. Then to the right, there is a minimally tweaked shape, also in the 3 skins mentioned before. You can see how big the effect is and how minimal the change (on the LL new skin)

Nylon Outfitters

Bottom line is… because the shape of the face and the the eyes don’t change, it will still look very much like you, no matter what skin you wear… and I think that’s just a good thing to know If you are wondering how to make that lovely skin work with your shape.

0 thoughts on “Minimum Change, Maximum Effect”

  1. Excellent post. 🙂

    I started out with a very strong attachment to my shapes, but I’ve gradually come around to the minimal tweaking side of the fence to get the most out of a specific skin.

    Though, I do think one point that can be critiqued about a skin is whether it is shape friendly or not. Some skins may be technically well done, with no blurring or seams or smudges, but they might be very limited in what shapes they will work with. It doesn’t make it a bad skin, but it makes it less flexible. Of course, some skins like that can have great character.

  2. I could not agree more. I tend to look good in most skins I try (I don’t have drastic features that require much stretching, which helps), but there will usually be a tiny change to my nose, lips, or eyes that will pop that look right into place. My problem is that I often don’t see these details until later on. Sometimes I’m just not using a critical eye.

  3. i hope i understod now everything right, in advance sorry for not perfect english. i do creating shapes since a time now, its right there are skins which work with a ‘not special shape’ always good – but for some skins, you need a shape which is done excactly for the skin – or it looks stupid. skin and shape are in realation to each other. the body doesnt matter much but the face its much important. a skin can get a different look on the shape, it can looking cute or it can become a an adult look – ofcourse the styling around taking a role too.

    its okay that some ppl saying ‘my shape is unique’ – if nobody other has the same numbers 😉 might be like a lotto game. but than there is the case another shape with another skin can looking close to somebody – is it still unique? interesting thought question imo.

    i am just sometimes very suprised on the quallity work of some skin makers – which feeling a little bit ‘abstract’ for my eye. to long neck, a face where everything feels to big .. sometimes its to get the feeling, some persons dont spent attention on the shape work – cause excactly this IS important to do. or the hole look feels weired. I don’t know many ppl who using the original shape of a skin creator .. thats why shape makers are really needed. and it should get much more attention and respect for ppl who do there a good job.

    have a great weekend and thanks for the post,

  4. I think this post was great, So cool to see it like this! I am one of those hard core one skin people, and hmm..maybe I will try tweaking more. However, to me you look totally different in the face in each skin. They all have a different persona. 🙂

  5. Wow.. thanks all of you for the lovely comments!

    @Ana: so do you, you’re one of the most beautiful avies around!

    @Freya: you have an excellent point. There are shape friendly and not so shape friendly skins. It’s about the shading really, the stronger the shading, the more likely it will “override”one’s shape. This is what I still call the “Naughty Effect”

    @Thema: it’s not something I will notice immediately after trying on a skin for the first time. Sometimes I need to wear it for a bit before I see what I want to adjust. But by now I have so many “brand” shapes that an adjustment to a new skin(line) for that brand is easily made

    @Nedeko: you make perfect sense. A skinner will do the in world testing on their own shape… and if that shape is not balanced, it’s going to be hard to look good on other (often equally unbalanced) shapes. That’s why I think it’s important for skinners to try their skins on different shapes, or ask beta testers to give feed back before they do the final upload.

    @Chance: well, ofcourse I look different in every skin, or there would be no point in changing skins at all. I do like to have a different look, but I also want to stay close to my base. Some people seem to think that they need to change massively to be able to wear another skin and are therefore reluctant to tweak, but that is just not true.

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