These are some really well-staged shots depicting a virtual Summer in Second Life (from French language SL blog Plu Belle La Second Life). Note the dude caught mid-dive, adding motion to the scene. For that matter, note the lifeguard who is a giant furry, which is still significantly less ridiculous than a lifeguard who is David Hasselhoff. Many more virtual Côte d'Azur-esque pics here.
Ms. Strawberry Singh has a survey on female mesh avatars -- which brand you wear (if any), what kind of clothes you wear to complement it (if some), and how much mesh avatars have transformed the SL fashion market (if at all). I'll summarize the results on NWN, so go here to put in your opinion.
SL blogger Monica Querrien makes an interesting case that Flickr, not blogs, are the key influencer of Second Life's fashion community:
What I think bloggers need to understand is this: Your blog is not only your personal space, but it’s also your personal brand. The people who are asking all of these requirements don’t necessarily care about your brand – it’s about what you can do for them to help get their message out there. You have to position yourself so when the next big trend to promoting for an event/store comes around, that it won’t be such a drastic change for you. With regard with Flickr, every blogger should already be on Flickr, posting pics, following people, and have a list of favorite photos. I will even go as far as saying that your blog should have a link to your Flickr somehow. So now, with the latest trend focusing on Flickr, it is just a matter of building on what you have already started.
Read the rest here on Monica's blog, which she's promoting via her Flickr photo above. Flickr is definitely a major node of influence among SLers (not to self: revive our SL FLickr Stream posts), but it's a striking idea that it's the most important, at least among SL fashionistas. Agree there?
Gacha Fever: Second Life Designers Are Dropping Stunning Work-In-Progress Teasers for Upcoming Fashion Event
'Tis the season once again -- for The Arcade, I mean. Second Life's most popular gacha event will open its doors on Monday, June 1st, and designers are already starting to tease the sets they'll be offering in their gacha machines.
My favorite so far has to be the work-in-progress teaser posted above, a set of mesh corsets from Pixicat. Pixicat (both the brand and the designer) are known for clothing and accessories with a lot of detail work that's more than just texture deep. She's a phenomenally talented 3D modeler, and her work is always intricate and costume-like. She takes so much care with every swoop and swirl of her creations that these finished corsets are sure to be a must-have from the upcoming event. I mean, seriously, just look at them.
If you want to know more about The Arcade, keep your eyes on their website. In addition to having an event calendar, group info and all the latest news, it will be updated with a full catalog of what's available closer to the event's launch. As for Pixicat, you can check out more of her work (eventually including the finished corsets) in her Flickr gallery.
21Shoe is an event I don't often get the occasion to cover, simply because it's window is too narrow for me to squeeze a post about it into the schedule. It opens on the 21st of every month... And only the 21st. If you miss that 24 hour span then too bad, so sad, because the lovely discounts (and often limited editions) that come with it will soon be out of reach.
This month's lineup has a distinctly summery feel and I've picked a few of my favorite entries to share, so keep reading if you're looking for the perfect pair of virtual shoes to flaunt your avatar's latest mesh pedicure.
Second Life Content Creators Cashed Out $60M Last Year, Says Linden CEO - Including Someone Making "Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars" Selling Avatar Feet. Yes, Feet.
Linden Lab CEO Ebbe Altberg let out a couple fascinating facts about the Second Life economy during his SVVR talk yesterday (video below): Content creators cashed out over $60 million last year by selling their Linden Dollars for good old USD. That might not seem like a lot, but there's about 600,000 regular active users in Second Life, so applying the 80-20 rule, it's safe to estimate 120,000 SLers creating and selling SL content on some level, which comes out to an average of $500 per creator (on a very very rough guess). However, there's probably a lot less than that 120K creating content on a highly active, professional basis. And one of them, Altberg says, is doing extremely well:
"There's a woman in New Zealand who makes hundreds of thousands of dollars making hands and feets for avatars and feeds her family by doing that."
Yes, hands and feets. That's how valuable avatar enhancements can be. Notably, Linden Lab also once reported that a maker of Second Life avatar shoes makes close to $1 million a year
Ebbe's full talk after the break, starting at 39 minutes in:
I'm head over heels for this avatar snapshot Kala Bijoux posted on her Flickr recently. Dubbed "Madeline of Pleasure" this picture is vibrantly colored and incredibly distinctive. I especially like the edges of the image, which fade from dappled color to white like an unfinished watercolor painting. The end result is ridiculously harmonious, what else can I say?
Kala Bijoux's name is a little more familiar for her wing designs than her work on Flickr. She's the designer behind Material Squirrel, a Second Life shop that specializing in meticulously painted avatar wings. Material Squirrel has been around for quite a while now, and takes particular pride in their array of flexible prim wings, rather than using rigid mesh to do the job. This allows her wings to move and bend, meaning that they've retained a popularity that few other flexiprim-based items can claim in SL these days.
The pricing of virtual goods is always a controversial topic, especially when it comes to Second Life fashion. There are two words that can make it even more so: Templates (a topic I've covered to death here on NWN) and photosourcing. Photosourcing in SL fashion generally means using all or part of a photographed image of real clothing to texture your virtual goods, and while the results can look more realistic (but not necessarily 'better') than painstakingly created original textures, photosourcers seldom have the rights to use the photos they use, commercially or otherwise. Sometimes they do have the rights, or they're using assets specifically intended for that purpose. And sometimes they're just window shopping on the Agent Provocateur website, plucking their future releases from among sample images. Many such designers will charge a premium for their work, too. Agent Provocateur may not know it, but they're probably the most popular lingerie designer in all of SL.
Long story short, it's just one more complicated issue that some consumers may not even realize is there.
Roslin Petion (coincidentally the designer behind almost every piece of lingerie I've worn in NWN's sponsored posts for Ample Avi) recently posted a mini-rant on the subject of overpriced photosourced virtual lingerie over on Plurk, and it's too good not to share. Here's what she had to say:
Here's a handy video tutorial for those of you who like taking shots of your Second Life avatar with anything but the standard sombre expression on their face. Hot off the YouTube presses (they have those, right?) SL fashion and lifestyle blogger Alicia Chenaux walks you through creating the perfect "Smile Shape", which is to say a variation of your regular shape specifically designed to look more natural when using a smiling facial animation.
If you're unfamiliar with Second Life's facial expression morphs or the specific way that "smiling" in SL tends to make an avatar's eyes completely vanish, then a Smile Shape might seem unnecessary to you. To avatar photographers including myself who (as Alicia points out) have been stuck blending screenshots of smiling and non-smiling avatar faces together to get something that looks even half-decent, this tutorial is a stroke of brilliance. One of the reasons that mesh heads have becomes so popular with photographers is for their expressions -- not having to deal with the vanilla facial morphs that tend to squish and scrunch an avatar's features has given them a lot more freedom. Even so, there's no replacing your avatar's true face, and anything that can be done to make it more expressive without detracting from its overall... Unscrunchedness... Is helpful.