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Page history last edited by Joe Essid 15 years, 9 months ago

This page is long because you will spend more time playing with your appearance than you will doing anything else.  Avatars fret over this constantly. Your class mentors and I do not expect your avatars to look Hollywood-perfect. In fact, a joy of Second Life is how original an Avatar can appear.  It's sad when one sees cookie-cutter avatars; they are common, often because of a lack of imagination on the creators' part. Changing one's look is easy, however, and cheap or free.


The Basics

Take every stitch  of clothes of an avatar, and it still has the following: a shape, a skin, eyes, and some hair.  For a while early on, before he purchased a custom skin for Iggy, your professor played around with Iggy, removing the skin texture and turning him into "Old Putty Head," to show what a nearly uncustomized avatar can look like:


Who's real? The answer is: both (and neither) of them.  What you see at the left is the underlying shape of the stock avatar with which Iggy entered the world.


It's easy to find free avatar-sets with skin, hair, shape, and eyes.  Try them if you find them. But even with the stock avatar and a few free items, some powerful transformations are possible.


Jezz Demonstrates

Jezz Enoch (not her real name--there's a bounty on her head) volunteered to show us how to change appearance (in exchange for me giving her several hundred Linden Dollars. She uses a free skin and shape from Sarah Nerd's Freebie Paradise, a shop whose landmark will come to you when you enter the world.


Jezz begins by right-clicking her avatar and choosing "appearance."

 The options available are too many to contemplate! At first, focus on the ones for your body, shown below.  Some clothing you are already wearing can be modified in the clothing tabs shown here.


Jezz agreed to put on some weight for this demo, using the tabs under "shape":


I had to pay her a lot to get her to do this.  She clicked "Close" and "Don't Save," saying that the extra pounds made her look "tu durned much like my no-good fool brother, Pappy Enoch. Awl I needs now am a beard, top-hat, an' a paternity suit!"  


NOW I Have My Perfect Look!

Good for you! One way to save yourself a lot of time, if you like changing appearance frequently, will be to "make an outfit" with that great look. You do that by selecting "make outfit" from the menu shown above, then naming it something memorable: "Big Man on Fake Campus" or "Ready to Scuba Dive".


You will have many options under that. Experiment, make a couple of outfits, then switch between them by dipping into your inventory, finding the outfit folder with its clever name, and R-clicking. You'll have the option "replace current outfit" and, trust me, it's the quickest way to change clothes in SL!


Help! I Have Two Heads of Hair!

Hair is one of the most worried-over aspects of SL (and real-life) appearance. Most SL hair is an "attachment" to your avatar's skull, not an integral part of its body. In that respect it is no different from the sunglasses Iggy wears in the first picture.  The problem comes from Linden Lab's old default avatars. The new ones you'll use seem better. You can take off your hair like a wig, leaving a bald head that can be mated with an infinite number of hair styles.


The old avatars had permanent hair that had to be covered up--the styles were awful. I include this section in case you end up with one of them. Designers quickly rushed to the rescue, with nice hairstyles.  With them come "Baldies" or "Bald Wigs" or "Bald Bases" that cover the Linden hair up so you can wear the fancy hair just purchased.


I wanted Jezz to help with this, but she said she'd had enough humiliation, so we brought in Iggy to show you more appearance disasters and how to fix them.  He had to change back to the first avatar he had, long ago, so show you how hair-disasters work. I used the appearance controls to give Iggy a head of purple hair that is part of the stock-skin that he had as a new avatar.


When I put on his current dreadlocks, you can see the horrific results.  The first image is without the baldie worn, the second with it.


Iggy had made himself an outfit called "Beatnik" that had his prior (and preferred) appearance. He went fishing for it and with a click...


At last, He was back to "normal" (as much as anything in SL can be. Even so, he had to manually find his sunglasses and beret. They had not copied when he'd created his outfit.


My Shoes Do Not Fit!

The next image shows the appearance interface and a segment of Pappy Enoch's transformation into James Dean.


Note that Pappy's 12EEE foot sticks through the side of his boot. Unfortunately, the shape Pappy got for free could not be modified. If it could, his first step would be to give himself a smaller foot!  He'd do that by selecting the "shape" tab, clicking the "legs" button, then making his foot-size smaller.


Luckily, the boots (they attach like Iggy's dreads, but to the feet) could be made larger with SL's building tools and moved around as to where they cover the foot.  Soon Pappy had a good fit.  In most cases, however, your avatar's shape can be modified to fit your shoes or hat or other items.  Below is the "after" picture of Pappy.


High Heels:

Iggy and Pappy do not wear heels (even a fake world is not ready for such things). Jezz reminds the ladies that heels will not fit an avatar's feet until she makes her feet "size 0" (as small as possible on the foot-size control). Shoes of all sorts also come with a "shoe base" that should be worn with the shoe to get just the perfect fit.  Even for guys, cowboy boots like those shown require a bit of work to get them perfectly fitted.


Luckily for all of you, if you get the fit right once, you can take the shoe (or hat, or hair, or other item) off without any problem. When you wear it again, unless you have changed the size of your body-part, the item will fit perfectly.

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