But, alas, I just can’t seem to muster up any sort of enthusiasm for it. It is firmly, absolutely, resolutely not working for me, and I will resist this foul temptation with every fibre of my being! I want my female avatar to have curves, damn it!Curviness is next to Godliness!!! (Can I get an Amen?)
*cue organ music*
So out of the wilderness came my plaintive cry. And lo and behold, the shapewear makers heard my desperate plea for salvation! Thank you, sweet minty Jesus, for the talented and nimble Sansar content creators! (Who would have ever thought, a week ago, that shapewear would become a necessary category on the Sansar Store? Truly, it is a sign that we are living in the end times.)
Ravioli has created what he calls Thiccmarize shapewear, a rigged body attachment for the default Sansar Avatar 2.0 female avatar body:
Unlike Daisy’s solution (which you wear, drape your clothing over, then remove), Ravioli’s Thiccmarize shapewear is tinted in five colours to match your avatar skintone exactly, and you are intended to be worn underneath and with your outfit (even peeking through at the bust or butt!).
Here’s what Vanity Fair looks like wearing Thiccmarize shapewear, from the front, side, and back, in a Marvelous Designer-created dress plucked at random from my inventory:
Thus concludes my sermon. Go now, and spread the blessed Thiccmarize gospel to the slim and slender women of Sansar! And may God be with you. Amen.
UPDATE: Sorry, but it’s time to ditch the televangelist schtick and discuss a serious subject.
I have been rather sternly taken to task by one reader of my blog, for using the word “emaciated” to describe the new default Sansar female avatar. He shares the following picture of what emaciated really looks like (see right). And he asks me if I would be okay with the opposite trend of fat shaming.
He has a point. So, I will henceforth not use the word “emaciated” to describe these avatars, even though the arms on the default Sansar female avatar distressingly resemble this photo, in my own, purely personal opinion (please see the image at the top of this blogpost for reference). And I do apologize if I have offended anybody. I’m sorry. I hadn’t realized that I am still looking at things from a fat-person perspective and bias, and a First World, North American consumerist viewpoint. We all need to work on complicating our perspectives in order to make this world a better and more accepting place for everybody—thin, fat, “thicc”, and every variation in-between.
One of the things that I have noticed about virtual worlds with an in-world marketplace is that, quite often, market forces will solve a problem that has been created, or address an issue that is causing concern, without the company that made the platform having to do anything to fix it! The customers solve the problem themselves!
This has been demonstrated over and over again in Second Life. Creative content makers have, time and again, stepped up to the plate to fix a perceived problem, and reap some profits from their ingenuity. For example: do you hate the default duck walk on your Second Life avatar? Et voilà! Animation overrides were created, and they sell like hotcakes for literally dozens of animation vendors. (I’m still waiting for them to come to Sansar.)
Dislike the default Second Life system avatar? Crafty creators like Onyx LeShelle (who designed the ever-popular Maitreya Lara body) made a completely mesh body, mesh bodies become the new avatar standard, and Onyx and other mesh body creators take home money by the wheelbarrow! Witness market forces at work.
So, when Sansar released stylized, rather emaciated-looking default human avatars with their Avatar 2.0 rollout, many people (including me) complained. But Daisy Winthorpe, bless her heart, saw a business opportunity!
Daisy has just released new shapewear for the Avatar 2.0 female avatar (top and bottom) that you can add to your avatar before you put on clothes, to give you the Kim Kardashian shape of your dreams! Here’s Sansar Store links to the top and the bottom (they’re only S$25 each!):
How they work is simple but brilliant. You add the shapewear first, and adjust it as you like using the simulate button (they are made using Marvelous Designer so they are completely adjustable like any MD clothing). Then you freeze the simulation for the shapewear, then add the clothing you want to wear over top and simulate just that, then freeze your outfit and remove the shapewear! The curves remain!!!
Here’s a before-and-after demonstration. BEFORE (please click on each individual image to see it in a larger size):
And AFTER (again, just click on the image to see a larger size):
Here’s another comparison shot, before and after:
Not only has the shapewear made for a shapelier, “thicc” body, it’s also made the dress seem fuller and longer overall! (UPDATE: Whoops! I just realized that it’s not the shapewear that makes the dress look bigger; the dress looks bigger because I actually made it bigger using the new Transform Item button on the Worn Items window! You can now resize clothing to fit your personal style! Try doing that in Second Life!)
Yes, I will admit it’s a bit of a matronly look with this particular style of dress I chose, but at least I was able to get rid of that starving, hangry supermodel Barbie look! I absolutely freaking love it! Thank you, Daisy!
Now, if you do find that this is perhaps a little too shapely for your tastes, fear not! Daisy has made less Kardashian-curvy models of shapewear to please just about everybody! Hurray!
Let’s make one thing very clear: I am not a happy camper. My first two blogposts I made very early this morning about the most recent update to Sansar (here and here) were bouquets to Ebbe Altberg and his team for a job well done, but this third blogpost is about a major beef I have with the new Avatar 2.0 system, specifically the new female avatar.
I decided to load up my Vanity Fair avatar to see what kind of impact the move to Avatar 2.0 would have on her inventory. I already knew that I would lose all the old custom avatars, as well as any rigged clothing and hair, but I wanted to see what I was left with, and how I could work with what was left.
The change was actually pretty wrenching for me. I hadn’t anticipated that I would lose EVERY. SINGLE. FUCKING. PAIR. OF. SHOES. I had ever bought! I was left with one pair of tan boots and that was it. I would have thought that at least shoes could have been carried over from Avatar 1.0 to Avatar 2.0!
And, as expected, all my old hairstyles were gone, replaced by the six default female hairstyles, none of which I liked. *sigh*
Another very unpleasant surprise was that Linden Lab removed all their previous default clothing from my inventory, except for the futuristic Nexus top, pants, and shoes I was wearing! What the hell, Linden Lab?!?? Couldn’t you have offered us some NON science-fiction outfits? Are we supposed to be an all-science-fiction, all the time, now?!??
I am not a fan of any of the preset face shapes, or the choice of skin tones and eye colours. Would it have killed Linden Lab to give us a few more options in these areas, especially since we have to wait for custom skins and eyes? This is the best I could come up with on short notice, without touching any of the sliders or the face deformation buttons:
A little boring, but a perfectly serviceable starting point.
Now to get to the main reason I am so upset. The default basic female body shape is absolutely ridiculous. She’s too elongated, her shoulders and hips are too narrow, and her arms look like they have no muscles at all! I honestly cannot believe that we have been given such an unrealistic starter female avatar. What the hell was Linden Lab thinking?!?? I consider this to be a definite step backwards, and the sooner that Linden Lab implements proper body sliders and body deformations, the better.
So now it’s time to try on some of the Marvelous Designer-created clothing which survived the transition from Avatar 1.0 to Avatar 2.0, to see how well it fits and how much adjusting is needed. The first thing I tried on was a simple white top, which by default fit far below her actual shoulders:
Using the new Transform Item button on the Worn Items window, I tried to adjust the top to fit my new, overly-elongated body:
You can now edit clothing using tools which will be familiar to users of other virtual worlds such as Second Life: translate, rotate, and scale:
The fourth button allows you to adjust all three at the same time:
So, after a bit of fiddling, here is what I was able to come up with:
So yes, the tools are there for you to be able to make your old clothing fit the new avatars, but you are going to have to do a lot of fiddling and tweaking and adjusting.Even worse, you are going to have to do all that fiddling and adjusting all over again if you take the item off and then put it back on from your inventory, because when you put it back on, it will automatically go to the same spot on your avatar body.
It also means that any clothing originally designed for Avatar 1.0 avatars will be a pain in the ass to use, because it will not fit the new avatars well by default. Most clothing makers will probably land up just removing older items from the Sansar Store completely, since they won’t fit as neatly and automatically as any new clothing specifically designed for Avatar 2.0 avatars will.
And keep in mind that this sort of fiddling, tweaking and adjusting of old clothing designed for Avatar 1.0 will be a major stumbling block to new users of Sansar, who will not understand why their clothing “doesn’t fit right”. I can only imagine how much work that somebody has to do now, who has already put dozens, or even hundreds, of items of clothing on the Sansar Store, in order to make them work better for the Avatar 2.0 avatars. It’ll be like starting over from scratch. This is very clearly NOT going to be the smooth process that was originally promised by Linden Lab. If I were a clothing maker who invested a lot of time and money into making clothing to date, I would be furious at Linden Lab for making such major changes to the avatar. Why was such a drastic change necessary? Why wasn’t an effort made to keep at least some sort of backwards compatibility?
And finally, and most damning of all…
I put on my VR headset and looked down myself as Vanity Fair, and I was HORRIFIED! My forearms look like toothpicks, and my hands are much too small! I look like someone with a wasting disease or a small child, not a grown woman!
The difference between Avatar 1.0 and Avatar 2.0 is so jarring that it is immersion-breaking. It’s also a complete deal-breaker for me. This is just a truly horrible default female avatar and at this point, I don’t think I will even bother to design clothing for it until it is replaced or improved. I’m that unhappy with it.
What the hell was wrong with the much more realistic proportions of the default female Avatar 1.0? Why did Linden Lab fuck this up so badly?? What were they thinking?!?? Let’s do a direct comparison, wearing the same outfit, between Avatar 1.0 and Avatar 2.0:
If you can’t see that there is something seriously wrong with the default female Avatar 2.0 just by comparing them side by side, then I give up. There were clearly drastic design decisions made that were NOT communicated by Linden Lab effectively to the users. This is NOT what we asked for. This is NOT what we wanted.
UPDATE: O.K. I’ve had a chance to calm down and think this over.
I think it is highly unlikely that Linden Lab is going to roll us back to Avatar 1.0, but I really disagree with the direction they decided to go for the female avatars. Landon Linden reported from the official Sansar Discord in response to this blogpost:
We’re working to get body morph in before the end of the year. It is a top priority for us, too.
And this is a bit of comfort. I keep forgetting that this is a beta, and that things like this will happen. We all take part in the beta knowing that something could come along and break everything for us, and we have to start over again. That’s part of the deal. I made the assumption that things would not change, and when they did change, and that change potentially impacted an avatar clothing business that I would very much like to get off the ground, I got upset.
SECOND UPDATE:Market forces to the rescue! We now have some good interim solutions to the new default female avatar proportions, and I’m much happier!
Linden Lab has issued a major update to the Sansar client! The team was working on it all day yesterday and well into the evening. I was tired, so I went to bed around 8:00 p.m., and woke up at 2:00 a.m. this morning to discover that the update was ready to download and install, so I put on a pot of strong black coffee and set out to explore! This is my first blogpost about the new update, and there will be many more throughout the week.
There’s quite a lot to unpack in this new update, so I’m going to take things slow and capture pictures and some video to show you what I’m talking about. For a complete list of new features, here are the release notes. But for now, let’s start with the new avatars, the much-anticipated Avatar 2.0 project. Also note that I am starting with a fresh, brand-new avatar with zero inventory, for illustration purposes.
When you first sign in to Sansar, you are presented with a choice: select a pre-made humanoid avatar, or create and customize your own (see the red arrow below):
Here’s a look at the ten starter avatars. As you can see, they are all of a stylized, vaguely science fiction theme:
Now, let’s take a quick look at the avatar customization module. At first glance, it resembles the old system we had before:
There’s a very limited selection of clothing for male and female avatars, again in a futuristic, sci-fi style:
There is a similarly limited selection of futuristic hairstyles, 6 for men and 6 for women, with the same colour and tinting options as before:
And there are a half-dozen science-fiction-type head attachments, like this over-the-ear piece:
The Face tab offers a bunch of new tools, including a variety of face presets, skin colours, eye colours, as well as various sliders to control various aspects of your face, as before:
Here’s a short video to show you what changing the face presets, changing the skin colour, and changing the eye colour looks like:
Now comes the fun part: the brand new interactive face deformation tools! See these top two rows of buttons that appear over your avatar’s head when you click on the Face tab? These are the new face deformation tools:
The top four buttons are (from left to right):
Head – Allows you to modify the entire head.
Section – Allows you to modify large sections of the face.
Feature – Allows you to go deeper and modify facial features.
Part – Allows you to go even deeper and fine tune specific parts of facial features.
The second row of buttons controls the movement/position, rotation, and scaling/size of whatever section of the head you picked using the top row of buttons:
These are pretty much the same move, rotate, and scale tools that you should already be familiar with from Second Life and other virtual worlds.
So, let’s take a look at a very simple first example video: moving, rotating, and scaling the entire avatar head:
Notice that whatever area you are working on is highlighted (in this first example, the entire head). If you were to select a section, feature, or part of the head, you would use your mouse to highlight that section/feature/part before you move, rotate, and/or scale it.
So, by using combinations of the existing face sliders and the new facial deformation buttons, you can pretty much make infinite adjustments to achieve your desired avatar look. It’s a complicated but powerful system, and this blogpost is just a brief introduction, so feel free to play around and see what you can come up with! I expect it’s going to take hours of trial and error to see all the different combinations you can achieve.
There is more—much, much more—in this new release, and over the next few days this week I will write about other new features in the client. Have fun!
UPDATE 4:53 p.m.: Istari, a Linden Lab employee, shared the following animated GIF which gives a real good ides of how you can edit the various facial features of your avatar using the new facial deformation buttons (see image right):