Follow These Clear Tips to Get the Perfect Fit from Your Second Life Mesh Avatar Enhancements

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Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

If you've ever worn specialized mesh body parts on your Second Life avatar, you know how hard it can be to get the perfect, seamless fit. Even if you have experience with these incredibly popular add-ons, it can feel like there's always something wrong with yours.

And everyone can see it.

And they're judging you.

But there's still hope, my patchwork friend, and it comes in the form of a tutorial from one of Second Life's most experienced fashionistas...

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A Taste of the Wastes: Fallout-Inspired Fashions Arrive in SL

FATEplay nuclear war
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

What's the best way to play a Fallout game? With the music dialed up to 11? Yes. Rocking your Pip-Boy like a particularly bulky Rolex? Mhm. Tearing through the wastelands with a pack of ridiculously stylish corgis? Always. But what about when you're not playing Fallout? What then?

Thanks to FATEplay's latest releases you can now bring a piece of the nuclear apocalypse with you wherever you go in Second Life. Damien Fate posted a set of outfits inspired by the Fallout franchise to celebrate his costume-focussed brands first anniversary, so guys and gals can now roam SL in faded leather dusters or shabby-chic vault jumpsuits, listening to their favorite oldies and shooting any sniping radscorpions from as far away as possible because have you seen those things? They're disgusting.

Visit FATEplay in world [SLURL] or on the Second Life Marketplace for more, and be sure to leave a comment with your favorite SL wasteland destinations for any particularly inspired virtual world photographers to visit.

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No Flossing Required: Here's How to Get A Perfect, Picture-Ready Pixel Smile

Jessica Pixel  tooth smile shape
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

Here's a tip I'd never even considered from SL user Jessica Pixel's Plurk: If you're the kind of person who likes an expressive avatar, you might want to make yourself a special shape to get the most out of a toothy smile emote. Jessica's own animated gif, shown above, illustrates the differences between her typical shape and a smile-ready shape pretty well. Depending on the dimensions and features of your facial shape, Second Life's built-in grins might look compressed, or just not quite as nice as they could. Not every shape will need it (and not every player will want it) but for those that are interested few tiny tweaks to the mouth area are all you'll need.

As most fashion-minded SL users know, multiple subtle tweaks of the same avatar shape can be a pretty crucial part of your wardrobe, especially if you want to fit perfectly into your favorite mesh attire and accessories. Likewise, shape tweaks can help make your avatar look more consistent across a variety of skins. So if showing your avatar's pearly whites is a priority, try this out for yourself.

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The Perfect Male Avatar Might Not Look Exactly Like Nomak Nyori, but it's Probably Very Close

Nomak Nyori Monday
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

In case you were wondering, in case you somehow fell out of the loop in the interim between now and one of my previous posts about him, Second Life artist Nomak Nyoki continues to be the absolute gold standard for male avatars. His styling? Still flawless. His photography? Beyond compare. His boston terrier? Well that's a new edition, but I love it just the same.

Nomak shared a few new pictures on his Flickr this week, and they're just as stunning as you'd expect -- even more of what has made his face and name a force to be reckoned with in the world of men's fashion in SL, even if he isn't the most prolific artist in the scene. Whether you're looking for a dash of modern style, or you want to motivate yourself towards a head-to-toe male av makeover, his Flickr stream should be your number one source of inspiration.

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The Glossy, Voluminous (and Free) Virtual Moustache You've Dreamed of is Now a Reality at Hair Fair 2014

Hair Fair INK FreebieJanine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

Second Life bloggers aren't the only ones having a little fun with their Hair Fair 2014 photography. It's no surprise that hair designers themselves have been cranking out some stunning images to promote their new releases.

A lot of the focus is on glitz and glamour (as is so often the case) which is why this snap of INK's immaculately groomed moustache, available for free at their Hair Fair booth, stands out so much. That's not to say that these handsome handlebars aren't glitzy or glamorous in their own right of course, but they certainly offer a welcome change from all the smoky eyes and smouldering gazes. 

You can pick up INK's free moustache at Hair Fair 2014 [SLURL] until July 27th.

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My Five Favorite Styles (and Snapshots) from Second Life's Hair Fair 2014

Hair Fair Oakley Foxtrot
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

I have a confession. Whenever I set out to take pictures for a Second Life event like Hair Fair, I get absolutely overwhelmed by the amazing work that other bloggers and photographers are doing. To be entirely frank and only marginally self-deprecating, at the end of the day I'm a million times more interested in showing off what others have been doing than adding my own (comparatively worse) work onto the pile. Here's what I mean...

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A Little Birdy Told Me To Watch Out for This Style at Second Life's Hair Fair, Opening Tomorrow

Hair Fair Newreem Anya Ohmai
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

It's that time of year again -- time for one of Second Life's most popular traditions and events, Hair Fair. Every year, designers get together across several sims to celebrate SL hair design and raise money for charity by releasing brand new (and occasionally exclusive) styles and generous freebie bundles... Not to mention Bandana Day, where fashionistas across the grid don customized bandanas in support of the Wigs For Kids charity.

Hair Fair opens tomorrow, so naturally many users' timelines and Flickr dashboards are already filling up with teasers from participating designers. I'll have a more detailed look at my favorite Hair Fair styles next week, but for now I want to leave you with one of the cutest (and most inventive) styles I've seen yet -- Newreem by Anya Ohmai. Anya's not only one of my favorite SL photographers, but she's also a tremendously talented virtual designer. She'll be releasing quite a few styles at Hair Fair, most of which seem to include those plump and playful little birdies, so be sure not to miss her booth if you get a chance to swing by!

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Iris Wants to Know: Do You Totally Love or Utterly Hate Your Second Life Mesh Avatar Enhancements?

Snow Rabbit Nea 1
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

Now that mesh bodies are starting to cement their place on the list of must-have items for many virtual fashionistas, it seems like the piece-by-piece conversion of Second Life avatars from outdated vanilla models to mesh-enhanced creations that would be at home in any modern game is essentially complete. Heads, hands, feet, lips, ears, eyelids, butts, boobs, bodies... Even I'm rarely willing to take off my animated mesh head from Snow Rabbit, though it's not the most popular (or flexible) mesh head on the market any more.

For many (including myself) mesh enhancements like these offer the opportunity to augment avatars and smooth over rough edges. For others however, they're just a pain in the polygonal backside. They're expensive, they can be quite fiddly to adjust, and they come with a boatload of compatibility concerns. Sometimes it can certaily seem like a lot more trouble than it's worth.

So here's what I want to know: Do you love your mesh enhancements, or loathe them? Would your sooner die than wear them, or not be caught dead without them? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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Second Life Creators and Bloggers Are Making Low-Poly into High Art

Nana Minuet For My Little Friends
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

If you're a computer graphics snob, you might not be thrilled to see the low-poly trend that's already made its way into indie games and aesthetics. Late 90s gaming nostalgia seems like the natural evolution of all those Pixel-based throwbacks as creators who grew up with N64s rather than Super Nintendos find and share their inspiration. That's why Half-Deer's Low-Poly Lullaby set (available in Second Life) maybe won't be to everyone's tastes. Nevertheless, I doubt anyone can argue that blogger Nana Minuet's pictures of the critters and props in the set, one of which you can see above, are beyond adorable -- like something plucked from the pages of a very stylish picture book.

Even if the low-poly look doesn't appeal, be sure to check out Nana's blog for more pics and, naturally, her outfit notes. If you'd like to get your hands on Low-Poly Lullaby, drop by The Chapter Four event [SLURL] to pick them up for yourself.

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When it Comes to Fashion Photography in SL, Don't Be Afraid to Flaunt the Details

Brandi 62214
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

We're well into summer now (in the northern hemisphere, anyway) and even in the virtual world minds are drifting to sunny beaches, strappy sandals, and flattering swimwear. There's a great deal of summer-inspired blogging going on too, and of all the beach-based snaps I've been seeing lately this one by Brandi Monroe might be my favorite.

Obviously the focus of most fashion photography, virtual or otherwise, is going to be on the clothes, but that just makes me appreciate pictures like this one even more. Offering a little flavour to a set is important, as is focussing in on the details that might be all to easy to lose in the background of a larger shot.

Be sure to visit Brandi's blog to view the rest of this Summerfest-inspired set and see her complete styling notes.

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