Kitty musings on skins….

I’m not finding it easy to blog at the moment (5 days to surgery and counting) despite there being so much out there for me to talk about but that’s the nature of the beast I suppose. The fact is, and laugh all you want about this because I’m done being embarrassed, I can’t physically ‘sit’ at a PC/desk for any length of time to enable me to write blog posts or do anything remotely web-wonderful. How I covet an I-pad at the moment, I’d be able to lie in bed with one of those babies and surf away to my heart’s content! As it is I’m using my wee HTC Hero to read blogs, Plurk etc It’s great but suffers the same fate for me as the I-Phone, which is I lose interest in reading off such a small screen fickle bitch that I am. Put simple, I like big. Less said about that the better, and NO, before you start with the perv-thinking that is most certainly NOT what has caused my present issue, OK?!
This is a post featuring some random musings about skins, probably your most crucial investment in-world (next to a shape made by Kittylicious natch…) But first up, feast your peepers on the beautiful photo of yours truly above, and know that you are bathing in the glory of the latest Belleza beauty, known as ‘Elle’. This is the gift skin, funding preventing me from buying a full set at the present time, but I have tortured/tantalised myself by trying the demos and by gum they are bloody beautiful. It’s no wonder this lady was causing such a fervour on the Plurkscape, because she is a sheer beauty. Now, let’s back-track a second, because although this is a GIFT you get a lot of people bemoaning the fact that you have to pay a fee to join the Belleza group. At L$250 the fee will not break the bank, and no one is forcing you to join, but the quality of the gift skins for both men and women that are handed out make this a very worthwhile group to enlist in. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend that you do that if you haven’t already…
Anyway, back to ‘Elle’. This release sees Belleza provide more brow options than ever before, and Tricky Boucher has excelled with the beautiful colour options that are available. I love the tonal depth, the subtle freckles and the shading that helps allude to high cheekbones, and on the paler tones there’s a noticeable rosy hue. The body, as you would expect, is astonishing; a gorgeous belly-button and great shadow work around key areas such as shoulder blades, arms and legs. Zoom in and you’ll see blemishes and a couple of moles too to round off the authentic look of this skin. It is extremely wearable, no doubt about it, rounded off with kissable lips that are a slightly unusual shape which make shape-making to fit a challenge, but I am more than pleased with my creation above. I think she wears Elle very well indeed!
In fact, while we’re on the subject, skins are a funny business in-world to be sure. There never seems to be a middle ground, well not for me at least, they’re either very good or unbelievably bad, and I’m afraid my views tend towards the elitist when I say if you can’t create perfection then just don’t bother trying because there are plenty of creators in world who CAN create it and you are simply wasting your time. That may sound harsh but the same can be said of everything in-world, and far be it for me to dash your hopes and dreams of making it big in the metaverse; but you aren’t going to unless you can compete with the big name brands, simple as that.
Second Life is advertised as a world without barriers but it is an awfully class-ridden society despite any pretensions otherwise, and the reason for that is because of the way that it facilitates and enables people from the mid-to-bottom rungs of the ladder in real life (I class myself in that demographic) to achieve status in world in ways that they couldn’t possibly in the real world. Of course, this does entail a cost to achieve, but L$3k (Today that is $11.84 or £ 7.65 GBP) which is relatively small change by comparison to real life, making virtual perfection perfectly attainable at a stupidly low price. Look, you can easily spend that much on a blow-out at Mcdonalds..I think the skin option provides more lasting satisfaction:)
Skin makers that aren’t at the level of say Curio, LAQ, Redgrave and Belleza, to name just a few (Look I know I’ve missed League, Rockberry, Dutch Touch out but this is part of the point, there are plenty of quality skin makers in-world ) don’t have enough time to set up shop before they find their clientèle have moved on elsewhere and navigated towards better brands. Having gone through this process myself, I know that cheaper skins serve a purpose for newbies as a stepping stone in Second Life. At first Miss Noob will be chuffed to pieces with her new skin and no longer feel like a new arrival on the block (although of course any profile reader will spot otherwise) but then she’ll progress through the ranks to the upper echelons of skin design and that’s it, no more room for bottom-end skin maker.
For a long time skin-making was seen as the pinnacle of the body modification business in world, and when I first joined Second Life it was extremely big business and skins were seen as a real investment, but those days are kind of gone now, because skin shopping has become not only routine but a necessity, and quality doesn’t have to cost a myriad of Lindens like before. Of course there’s another issue that has changed the skin environment, copybotting. The amount of ripped skins across the grid has increased exponentially and it must be sickening when the artists who have been violated in such a way discover the crime. We can only hope with the increased focus upon these issues in recent months by avatars with a conscience that the problem can be lessened, although I doubt we’ll ever see an ending to such immoral thievery in-world.
When you consider the length of time that it takes to make a skin of any merit, and add to that the raft of designers who are making brilliant skins at a fraction of the prices that they used to go for, then you can see the market is starting to get a little over-crowded with talent so what will be next for the skin making impresarios of the metaverse? We already have photo-realism, scarring, freckles and birthmarks, moles..what will come next? I don’t think we’re going to see any huge leaps over the next 12 months, but rather a concentration of effort upon perfecting details in the most sublime way possible. The base texture is surely the most important part of a skin, as well as the shading. Linden limitations aside, I think we’ll see a real change in the way skin designers develop this first layer even further and when that happens I think we’ll see prices start to rise and skin makers again becoming the near untouchable aristocracy of the fashionable Second Life.

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