Friday, March 21, 2014

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Try Them On This Weekend: SLink Visage Debuts Second Life Mesh Head Line With "Sisters" Becky and Emma

Cherylblossoms in SLink Visage
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

You've probably been seeing this woman's face all over Second Life lately, and if not SL then certainly most metaverse fashion blogs. Between Becky and her older sister Emma, modelled in the crisp and almost uncanny image above by talented fashion blogger Cherylblossoms, SLink's new Visage mesh heads have quickly become a success. The Visage heads are very expressive, and particular care has been put into how the entire face displays an emotion as opposed to just the eyes and mouth. We tend to focus on those two features, but when the rest of the face isn't moving with them it creates a straight drop right into the Uncanny Valley. These full-face expressions give Becky and Emma a much more realistic edge over the competition, and makes both seemingly ideal for virtual photographers.

But here's the real selling point: Much like SLink's equally popular mesh hands and feet, the skin of the Visage heads can be changed using appliers, which means that unlike many other mesh heads there's a good chance that very soon you won't need to tear yourself away from your favorite skin brand to enjoy it.

On the other hand, liking a mesh head often comes down to liking the face regardless of the technical features behind it, and I'll admit that Becky and Emma haven't quite hooked me. I have my fingers crossed that designer Siddean Munro will be making even more faces to fill out the SLink Visage line and that one of them will win my heart, but until then I can still appreciate the craftsmanship on these sisters.

You can take Becky and Emma out for a spin at SLink [SLURL], or visit designer Siddean Munro's blog for more information.

Mixed reality iris 2013Iris Ophelia (@bleatingheart, 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.


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Pussycat Catnap

Much as vString might be on the path to cutting into the popularity of Lolas, as soon as someone makes a mesh head that is fitted mesh - this product is going to seem very dated.

Appliers for skin or not - the features of these are very locked down and to me they look somewhere between Irish, Anglo, Russian. Both of them.

So that kind of cuts out a LOT of different looks. Not just non-euro avatars like mine, but even variety among Europeans - which is quite common in SL.

Unless fitted mesh simply cannot do for the head shape dials what it does for the bosom dials, and cannot do for expressions linked to AO animations what it does for avatar physics in the bosom... unless that CANNOT be done, I don't understand why of all times this would be released now - just as fitted is starting to take off.

A year ago, it would make sense as a product. But really soon now any avatar worn mesh that is not fitted is going to be a hard sell if you can't first get customers to agree with why it is not.
- That will also end up applying to places that fitted has no impact on, due to unrealistic expectations.

I love slink feet, but because I use a standard size. In a few months somebody will have fitted mesh feet - maybe that somebody will be slink. and that will change that market.

But they do good work, and it seems like this time they've put a lot of energy into what will be a short term popular item doom to be crushed by a fitted replacement 'any day/week/month now' - but no later than a period of short months.


My understanding is that the mesh heads cannot be rigged with fitted mesh. Don't quote me on that, but that is what I've heard. Siddean did preview in a demo video a really gorgeous, more ethnic looking head so she definitely has plans on doing a variety of head sculpts.
I tried the demos and they were a lot of fun to play with, but neither felt like "me" so I didn't purchase one at this time.
I hope if anyone does fitted mesh feet it will be slink. I suspect if that ends up being the case, Siddean will release them as an update rather than a new purchase because that's what she did with the very early version of the flat mesh feet and medium mesh feet (before appliers). I hope so because I'm bit of a skin-a-holic and I certainly don't feel like buying all new appliers for somebody else's feet. So there's that and the fact that so many shoe creators have made shoes specially fit to the Slink feet. The only way I would ever upgrade to fitted mesh limbs would be if Slink did them. The small size fits me very nicely so I just wouldn't have a reason to buy someone else's hands or feet.

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