HOUSEKEEPING NOTE: The RyanSchultz.com blog will be on an indefinite hiatus (with brief exceptions), as I am working on a brand new project: writing up a proposal for a VR lab for my university library system! More details here. I’ll be back as soon as I can, folks!
Catalina Staheli (the owner of Aleutia) has posted a video as part of her new series called Exploring Second Life: A Creator’s Perspective, where she unboxes all the items she receives as an official blogger for the various shopping events in Second Life.
Her most recent video is all about the 1950’s retro, rockabilly theme of the current iteration of the Anthem shopping event, and you can watch it here:
I quite like Catalina’s new series, and after watching this video, she made me do something that this avowed SL freebie fashionista rarely does: she made me pay (gasp!) FULL PRICE for something! Truly a momentous occasion… 😉
Here, Vanity Fair is wearing a new retro, romantic hairstyle from WINGS called ER0326, which cost me L$299 for a brown fatpack with a styling HUD. It’s available in several colour fatpacks from their booth (here’s the exact SLURL):
The camellia flower shown below is a separate, adjustable attachment, and it comes with its own HUD to tint it one of six different colours.
But what I REALLY wanted to show you were these absolutely delightful animated birds from TARDFISH, available at the WARETA x TARDFISH collaboration booth at the Anthem event for only L$199! Here’s the exact SLURL. Check out the video below:
Second Life is home to many combat roleplay communities, as well as science fiction roleplay. ECHELON is a store which caters to these players with outfits, accessories, weapons, and even vehicles, and they are generously giving away a HUGE collection of such items for absolutely FREE! Just teleport to the store, join the – E C H E L O N – group for free, and click on the rotating white sign in the middle of the store:
There are no less than sixty-five separate gifts in the box you receive, a wide variety of outfits, weapons, and other objects (there’s even a cup of tea with a Bento hold pose!). Let’s start with the outfits first.
Please note that all these outfits (except where noted) include system clothing layers, which are intended for classic, system avatars and Bakes on Mesh-compatible mesh bodies, like version 3.0 of the Belleza Jake body this male avatar is wearing. (By the way, Belleza is still running their 50% off sale on the Jake, Isis, Venus, and Freya mesh bodies! It’s a real bargain, but I honestly don’t know how long this sale will last, so if you are shopping for a high-quality male or female mesh body, don’t delay!)
If you’re a fan of Star Wars roleplay—or if you just feel like strolling around Second Life dressed as a kick-ass Mandalorian!—feast your eyes on this complete set of Alorian armour, courtesy of ECHELON! The package even includes a special animation override (AO) with three sets of animations you can easily switch between during your roleplay: stand-by, sneaking, and combat. (There’s also a separate Alorian jet pack in the ECHELON gift box; it’s not shown in this picture.)
There are four different versions of this Imperial Soldier outfit (white, red, blue, and special forces), and the helmet comes in versions with and without the glow, as well as a chestplate variation for female stormtroopers!
IF you’d rather be a samurai, there’s a complete samurai outfit with armour:
This seven-piece medieval armour set is suitable for historical roleplay purposes (please note that the system/Bakes on Mesh clothing and the boots pictured below are NOT included in this package; I just rummaged around in my existing inventory for something suitable to wear with the armour):
Now let’s turn to accessories. Below are pictured two gifts, the aptly-named Crown of Light and the floating, rotating Heroic Heirloom (both are fully modifiable, so you can adjust the colour and the glow of each as you wish to match your outfit):
The Duality Mask domes in seven different versions, and is also completely modifiable:
And, as expected, there are weapons galore in the ECHELON gift box! All weapons include both stashed and deployed versions, as well as gestures which you can load and activate for your avatar to draw and sling them during battle.
First up is the AKG Assault Rifle, which comes in versions with or without the silencer:
The Slayer Sword is just the ticket to get you out of a tight spot in any fantasy battle!
The Big Heckin’ Gun is well named, as you can see!
Here my avatar is armed with a sci-fi laser rifle (there’s also a pistol, as well as all the gestures to swap between the two as needed):
And if you’re old school, how about this Dungeon Raider Halberd? There’s truly something for everyone in the ECHELON gift box.
But wait, there’s more! There are also a number of science fiction vehicles in the gift box. Here are just two, the Corvus Jetbike and the Land Cruiser hover vehicle:
So, if you are into fantasy, historical, or combat roleplay and gaming in Second Life, you owe it to yourself to drop by ECHELON and pick up this truly generous gift before it’s gone! Here is your taxi. Happy freebie shopping!
Have you joined the RyanSchultz.com Steals, Deals & Freebies group yet? I will be posting EVEN MORE news and tips on finding fabulous freebies and bargains in Second Life than I post here on the blog! More information on this brand new SL group here.
I don’t usually bother to write up a whole blogpost about a single freebie, but in this case, it’s such a nice, useful one that I am going to make an exception. It’s a unisex black vintage umbrella, which alternates between the following open and closed poses when you click on it. (Both open and closed poses are Bento and control the left arm only, so they should work with any animation override/AO you happen to be using.)
And where, pray tell, might someone pick up such a wonderful vintage umbrella? Teleport to the Engine Room shopping event, which is on from now until October 20th, 2021, join the Second Life Syndicate group for free, then head over to the HotDog booth, and click the gift box shown here:
Here’s the exact SLURL to the HotDog booth. The sim has a central spawn point, so you’ll have to save the SLURL to your Second Life inventory, right click on it, select “Show on Map” from the drop-down menu which appears, then follow the red arrow in your viewer to locate the booth.
The avatar in these pictures is also wearing:
Mesh Head: LeLutka Lilly head (which I picked up as a free group gift last December)
Skin: Barbara skin from LERONSO Skins (free group gift, which includes a package of Bakes on Mesh body skin; the LERONSO group is free to join)
Hair: Octave hair in blacks from Analog Dog (L$290)
Dress: this lovely black harness dress is a free gift from Equalizer Magazine (just click on the magazine stand where it says “Touch to join our group” and it will be delivered to you in a package along with a men’s gift)
Shoes: Wales pumps by Essenz (which I picked up as a free group gift, joining the group when they advertised a free group join period last year)
Animation Override: This is a graceful, old AO for empire-waist gowns by PixelDolls (remember them?), a store which has been long gone from the grid, but still exists on the SL Marketplace (it comes included with the Innocent Dans L’Amour gown for L$150, and I find I use it all the time with dresses and gowns). Please see this blogpost for more tips, tricks, and tools to avoid having your Second Life avatar’s arms hang down into the skirts of your outfits—one of my pet peeves! 😉
TOTAL COST FOR THIS ENTIRE AVATAR LOOK: Only L$441!
Happy freebie shopping!
Note: the first two pictures were taken at the aptly-named Rainy Alley club in Second Life…and be sure to clamber down the manhole in the middle of the rainy alley!
In a blog which I originally began a little over four years ago, covering social VR platforms in general (and Sansar in particular), many of my readers are no doubt puzzled and/or bemused by my regular blogposts about Second Life, which at the ripe old age of 18 is seen by many outsiders as quaint, outdated technology. Why do I bother with SL, you might ask.
As many of you already well know by now, I derive an inordinate amount of personal satisfaction from styling one of my small army of Second Life avatars from head to toe in the perfect look! (I’m sure that artists get much the same feeling when finishing a sculpture or a painting.)
One admittedly small thing that absolutely drives me up the wall is when a female avatar is wearing a voluminous skirt, a ballgown or a dress, and yet is still wearing an AO (animation override) where their arms and hands poke into the dress. I also see this happen with a lot (and I mean, a LOT) of “thicc” avatars with super wide hips and a large ass, as seems to be the current fashion in SL avatar shapes (and in real-life plastic surgery!).
People, if you’re going to go to all the trouble of getting that over-the-top ballgown (or tweaking those body sliders to extremes), then at least get an AO which works with your outfit and/or body! (Or pick up something like the Shoulder Overrider, which I discuss a little further down.)
So today I wanted to compile a handy list of tips, tricks, and tools on how to handle the problem of your arms and hands falling into your avatar’s outfit and body—particularly voluminous gowns and dresses with poufy skirts!
First, if you’re the type of gal who likes to rock a full-blown battleship ballgown, you probably should invest in an AO specifically designed for gowns. There are two which I have tried and can review: the Gown AO by Kamila Hauptmann’s store Posture Is Everything (available for L$1,000 on the SL Marketplace) and the Southern Belle and Woman in Ballgown Bento AO from Tuty’s Animations (available here in-world and on the SL Marketplace for L$650; they also have a Dressy and Formal Bento AO which looks good, but I have no personal experience with).
Kamila Hauptamnn’s Gown AO is the older product and it is non-Bento, which means that you will have to add a hands-only AO to animate your avatar’s fingers separately (and you can easily pick up a free one from any of the freebie Altamura mesh bodies located at the various freebies stores on the grid (here’s a list to guide you)…you should never have to pay for a hands AO! What I like about the Gown AO is that you can load different sets of animations for seven different types of gowns:
small gown (arms and hands closer to the body);
medium gowns (arms and hands a bit further out);
large gowns (arms and hands furthest away from the body);
gowns with a bustle (which keeps your arms and hands out of the rear of the gown);
mantua gowns (that is, very wide gowns, see the image below for an example);
classic gowns (not sure exactly what this means!); and
classic gowns for BBWs (big, beautiful women!).
As far as I know, the Gown AO is the only product which can accommodate even the largest and widest gowns you can throw on an avatar. What I don’t like about the product is that the animations are rather stilted and unnatural-looking. Here is an example, my goth girl alt, wearing the Gown AO:
Tuty’s Southern Bell and Woman in Ballgown Bento AO is now my preferred animation override for gowns. This is a Bento AO, so you don’t need to add a separate animation override to animate your fingers, and I have found that it works wonderfully with most gowns. (It’s also a heck of a lot cheaper than the first one.)
In those cases where even an AO desinged for ballgowns is not enough, I add a very useful tool called the Shoulder Overrider, available for L$299 on the SL Marketplace (it’s also available for the same price in-world here; you have to walk to the Fatty Mesh store sign and click on it to be taken up their sales skybox). This is an add-on HUD which only overrides the shoulder joint of your avatar’s AO, allowing you to bring the arms up even more than usual! The only downside is that it can make your shoulders look a bit hunched. Here’s a before-and-after shot to illustrate the difference it can make, in an oriental gown with long, full sleeves:
Below is an avatar wearing the very wide Clara ballgown from LANA (by the way, the L$500 free store credit offer is still available as of today, and you can pick up two colours of this glorious ballgown for free with the store credit…more details here). The avatar in the picture below is using both the Tuty’s gown AO, plus the Shoulder Overrider (the HUD shown in the upper right hand corner of the picture) to keep her arms and hands free of the voluminous, dramatic overskirt on this glorious gown.
Now, if you don’t have L$650 to spend on a ballgown AO, there are some alternative options which are inexpensive or even free. For example, there is a graceful, old AO for empire-waist gowns by PixelDolls (remember them?), a store which has been long gone from the grid, but still exists on the SL Marketplace (it comes included with the Innocent Dans L’Amour gown for L$150, and I find I pull it out of my inventory and use it all the time with wider, “poofier” dresses and skirts). Here’s a couple of the poses from the Pixeldolls animation override, to give you an idea (you’ll need to add a hands AO, too):
And today I discovered a freebie from a store called ISHIKU, a HUD intended for use with champagne glasses and bottles, but which could easily be repurposed to keep your elbows bent while wearing a ballgown! Just join the ISHIKU group for free and click on this sign in-store (here’s the SLURL):
(Note that there’s another couple of similar HUDs on the group gift wall to the left.)
The ISHIKU champage hold HUD works like a charm! Even better, there are subtle finger movements while it keeps your avatar’s elbows locked. (No, the free HUD doesn’t include the champagne glass or champagne bottle; you have to buy those from ISHIKU or obtain them elsewhere.)
Finally, I wanted to share with you that the 10th anniversary group gifts from Contraption are still available (I wrote about some of them here), and among them is probably the best prop I have seen in quite some time: the Everybook. Just teleport here, to the gift platform, join the Contraption group for only L$1, and pay the vendor L$1 to pick up your book (your Linden dollar will automatically be refunded):
The Everybook comes with a HUD with six different high-quality Bento hold poses, for either the left or the right hand. Here’s four of them (click each picture to see it in a larger size):
The book comes with two different covers, and if you happen to have PhotoShop or other picture editor skills, you can even change the diffuse, normal and specular textures on the book to customize it to your liking! Here’s a few more examples of how I used it as the perfect finishing touch for a couple of Second Life avatar looks (these illustrate the last two poses of the six):
And, of course, it’s also a very good way to keep at least one of your arms out of the skirts of your dress! The avatar below is using both the Contraption Everybook, plus above-mentioned Tuty’s scripted geisha fan with a freebie AO, to keep her arms off her rather voluminous ballgown (again, the Clara ballgown by LANA):
Hey, she may look a bit bookish…but at least her arms aren’t hanging into the gown! 😉 As I said, it’s a particular pet peeve of mine in Second Life…
And, if your historical/fantasy roleplay outfit demands it, there’s also a very nice candle lantern you can pick up for only L$5 on the SL Marketplace, as shown here on my vampire alt. The Alyonushka lantern includes the Bento pose shown here, and you can click on it to change the colour of the lantern. You’ll notice that I tinted the Tuty’s geisha fan red to match the outfit. (Yes, the Clara ballgown from LANA also comes in a 3-colour fatpack of bloodstained versions for you fashionable vampires and serial killers!)
So there you have it—a distillation of 14 years’ SL experience on how to keep your arms and hands away from your skirts, dresses and gowns, for that perfect look!
UPDATE Oct. 9th, 2021: If you’re looking for a way to keep your arms and hands from hanging into your skirts, you’re in luck! At the central fountain of the Avatar Fair Sales shopping event (SLURL), there are a selection of free Hallowe’en gifts. Just join the Avatar Fair group for free by clicking on the Group sign below, then click on the orange gift box shown to pick up a cute, free Bento mini-AO:
You can use this animation override as-is, or you can reuse the stand poses (which include natural, Bento finger movements) in another AO. All the stands have bent elbows, which work wonderfully with the especially poufy skirt on this tea dress from Ghee! (Please click on each picture below to see it in a larger size.)
If you were looking for a suitable AO for dresses, skirts, and gowns, this free gift might be exactly what you need! By the way, you can pick up this lovely Flora tea dress, in one of six patterns as shown, for free using the $150 store credit Ghee is offering as a gift at their booth at the Halloween Shop and Hop (more details here).