Check Out These Ultra-Simple (and Ultra-Sweet) SL Portraits by Marie Coy - and Learn to Shoot Like Her
Iris Ophelia's ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style
Recently I stumbled across the work of Marie Coy on Flickr, and I absolutely fell in love. If you're a regular reader, you may have noticed that my favourite style of Second Life photography is often minimalistic without too many dramatic lighting effects or edits. I like things simple but immaculate, and Marie's work has that in spades.
Keep reading to see more, and for a few tips on how to replicate this style yourself!
The picture above reminds me a lot of one of my favorite anime series', Hell Girl (which is just about as cheerful as the title implies). Though it breaks step with a lot of Marie's sweeter, sunnier and more feminine work, it's a beautiful illustration of the softness and the detail she puts into every face. What makes her portraits so striking are the facial features and subtle expressions achieved with a blend of SL and Photoshop wizardry.
Photoshop might be key in shaping features like the eyes and lips, but Marie's portraits also feature (and often advertise) the skins she makes and sells in her store, Mariko. [SLURL] Her skins may not be for you if you're into the heavy smokey eyes and deeply coloured lips that many other brands have, but if you're looking for the natural-looking flawlessness of Korean ulzzang girls it's definitely worth exploring.
Even if you don't like the sweet and simple faces that make Marie's pictures stand out , check out the work of Zoe Demar, an incredibly talented SL photographer who takes some truly gorgeous portraits of her own. On the right is Zoe's portrait of her avatar wearing Pink Fuel's latest skin which I wrote about last week (though her picture puts mine to shame!)
If you want to achieve a similar style of portrait for yourself, it's almost as easy as it looks. Here are a few tips:
- Keep your background simple, either with a plain color or a gradient backdrop.
- Keep your lighting neutral. If it's too bright or too dark you'll lose the details on your avatar's skin. Pores, freckles, sheen and shading will all contribute to a more natural looking face.
- Shoot from the chest up. The face is the focus, so normally it should be in the upper half of the page.
- Experiment with your editing. Add wisps of hair for effect and use liquify to soften jagged parts of the avatar.
Iris Ophelia (Janine Hawkins IRL) has been featured in the New York Times and has spoken about SL-based design at the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan and with pop culture/fashion maven Johanna Blakley.