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Wednesday, February 15, 2012


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Pussycat Catnap

I just changed my avatar's eyes for the first time since 2009 and my original choice on my new account at that time.

For me the reluctance to change was that yes, eyes are a defining trait even though so 'small' onscreen and usually not the part we see when 'driving the little pixel doll around'.

I had eyes with no whites - a glowy magenta in both the whites and pupil, but with a black circle marking a boundary. Now my new set has whites because I could not find something like I had on high quality - and the toss out of the old ones were due to them being rather 'penciled in' looking. Having amazingly rich chocolate skin, great dreadlocks hair, mesh clothes, high detail neko ears taken from a furry avatar (*) and then what looked like a crayon drawing for eyes... it wasn't working.

* Furry makers do better ears and tails than neko makers - if you want good neko parts, buy an ocelot, tiger, or cheetah furry, and just use the ears and tail alone. Furry users don't put up with 'junk' as much as neko users do. But some 'house cat' furry avatars are not as good as the wild-cat furry options, when used for this purpose.


Just want to say that even if you have a very non-human looking set of eyes, the exact same concerns as in the blog apply. If you need larger or smaller pupils - be aware of the 'impact' of your choice: Beady eyes or Anime Eyes. That light reflection matters even if you want vampire eyes, cyborg eyes, or alien-colored-cat-eyes like me. :)

At this point the magenta color eyes has become my "tell" across alts - giving my friends a visual cue to relate to me by, and I even recolor my furry looks for it. Because eyes -are- a window to the person, it becomes something you can easily make a visual cue to a sense of self on - if you are consistent on it.


I so agree -- you are so, so right. Eyes are absolutely crucial to creating a sense of realism -- of person behind the avatar. However, it's very hard to find eyes that convey that realness, and I have complained about this in my blog before. It kills me how few eye makers in SL seem to understand how the anatomy of the eye works...they keep just making eyes that are shiny and colorful, without giving any thought to realism in light and shadow. For instance, designers often put the lightest part of the iris right under the light reflection on the cornea -- it doesn't work that way.

The cornea is convex, shiny, and transparent. The iris is concave: imagine a curved glass top over a bowl. The cornea will reflect some light while allowing most through, and it will then hit the opposite side of the iris.

A few (a very few) eye designers in SL get this right. I.D. gets it right and makes gorgeous eyes -- the ones you're wearing in that top picture are stunning. There are a few other designers I also really like.

I definitely approve of bringing more focus to SL eyes. Hell yeah.

SLB Wirefly

Very true, eyes are important. That's why I started making my own when in 2009 I couldn't find anything satisfying to my taste, because I was looking for realistic human eyes, not cartoonish or similar. Oh my, it's been almost three years already, time flies, so sad I don't have that much of spare time anymore but will see :3

Alex Lapointe

What is the skin used in the article photos?


I'm totally agree, eyes are the window of soul.

Sometimes, when i'm working on something with SL open, and when i come back in the SL windows, my avatar look at me lol ... well to be exact, i have the feeling she looks me ... i dont know if someone have felt this too .. i'm maybe sick loool.

it's disturbing ...

Iris Ophelia

@Alex It's a special L$99 skin from Pink Fuel Called Candy Hearts that's out this week for Valentines. :)


The color of the eyes has also importance in this matter. Unfortunately, all the eyes color in SL that are lighter (I mean the greens, blues and greys that are not dark), look lifeless, artificial, glass-like, horribile dictu, like the eyes of a dead fish. Even the eyes portrayed in this post look like eyes of a dead fish. No deepness, no soul at all.

I would suggest everyone who would like a lively, deep, real-life-looking gaze to choose a dark eye color. Dark browns are the best, but I can imagine dark violet, very dark blue, etc. Dark eyes have much more deepness, therefore, the avatar looks more alive. Sorry, but I find light color eyes soul-less.

Henri Beauchamp

Could anyone point me to an "ID" shop ?... Kinda hard (impossible) to find in search (two letters... what this merchant has been thinking when they chose their business' name ?).

Pussycat Catnap

"For instance, designers often put the lightest part of the iris right under the light reflection on the cornea -- it doesn't work that way."

You followed that up by noting the construction of the eye - but as a result, where should the light reflection be?

What should I be looking for in a good set of eyes for an avatar, from a technical point of view?

Iris Ophelia

@Henri here's the SLurl, the store's full name is Insufferable Dastard but she generally abbreviates it as .id. because the full name is quite long. http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Sanctum/151/36/21

Iris Ophelia

And @Flo2 my favorite eye color is dark brown because I find it does look a lot deeper and more lively than the oversaturated colours of most eyes, but for the purposes of this article an eye that is too dark wouldn't show the detail and variance of different designers' irises as well as a lighter eye does.

On top of that, I wanted to focus more on some of the basic elements of a good eye while leaving the more personal things like eye colour choice and eye shape up to the reader.

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