It’s been quite a while since I last followed a blogging meme or challenge; actually, this is the second time I’m doing this and again it’s something instigated by Strawberry Singh. I’ve gone on record for saying that memes aren’t really my thing and I’m not going to bother reiterating the reasons for this policy of mine. If I’m to blog about something, I have to find it interesting – and this one is interesting, at least to me and many others: it’s about avatar proportions.
It’s a fact that most of the default “starter” avatars (at least when I started with SL, first in 2006 and again in 2008) have cringe-inducing proportions and are ridiculously (or, I should say, comically) tall: a typical barefoot female avatar is around 2m tall (6ft 7in), and a typical male avatar is even taller than that. When was the last time you encountered a woman that’s as tall as an NBA player? Exactly.
These oversized avatars, combined with the idiotic and obsolete default camera offsets, do nothing to enhance our enjoyment of Second Life. Quite the contrary, as it is nigh on impossible to build to scale.
Thankfully, several people have begun to understand how seriously things are broken and have started improving their avatars and even trying to influence others to do the same. One of the most notable (and noisy, in some people’s minds) is Penny Patton, who has written about the importance of proper avatar proportions, scale and camera positioning (much to the ire of several people who tried to present her as some sort of “avatar cop”) and has even put out on the marketplace a set of free, full-perm “Vitruvian shapes“, with realistic proportions, that people can use as a base for their own shapes; and, as an added bonus, she has included an accurate height detector, which I personally find to be an extremely useful tool.
As is the case with all of Strawberry’s memes, there are some questions to be answered. So, without further ado, I’m going to cut to the chase:
- Do you try and keep your avatar’s body proportionate and similar to the “average” proportions pictured above? – Initially, I didn’t have this chart at my disposal; however, after a relatively short period of putting up with the default proportions, I started fiddling around. My main criterion back then was to make my avatar compatible with as many animations and poses as possible. Later on, I decided to make my avatar as proportionate as possible, especially w.r.t. my human looks, which I eventually decided, after a long period of trying various different looks, to model after my real-life appearance.
- What do you dislike the most about the SL avatar mesh? – The hands and feet. Especially the feet, which are an atrocity. Thankfully, we now have rigged mesh feet and hands (although I’ve yet to start using mesh hands). Also, the weighting and articulation is crap. Try putting your avatar in a bog-standard yoga meditation pose and your leg will appear like it was cut off from the rest of the body.
- Does it bother you when you see other avatars that are not proportionate at all? – Depends. I usually don’t pay much attention to this. There are people who don’t know better. There are others who have a very specific, non-realistic look in their minds and deliberately break the “rules” to achieve it. These don’t bother me at all. But there is a certain über-pretentious, self-important and arrogant category of people who should know better, because of the role they seek to play in SL. These do bother me, and not only because of their insistence on poorly-proportioned avatars that they flaunt as “glamorous” and “fabulous”. However, I prefer to not tell them anything, avoiding their idiotic drama.
- Even though this is a virtual world and people can be anything they want to be, do you feel when they are in human form, they should try to keep their proportions close to average? – Meh. I do appreciate a realistically-proportioned avatar; it just looks more familiar. For more on that, see the previous answer.
OK, so now’s the time to give you the “digits”… So, here they are:
Height: 40 – That’s 1.77m (5 ft 9in), measured with Penny Patton’s height detector
Body Fat: 4
Head Size: 39
Torso Muscles: 35
Breast Size: 57
Arm Lenth: 62
Hand Size: 20
Torso Length: 50
Love Handles: 26
Belly Size: 0
Leg Muscles: 44
Leg Length: 50
Hip Width: 38
Butt Size: 41
Saddle Bags: 29
However, I usually differ somewhat from these proportions, not least because I use a modified version of Utilizator Mode’s excellent <UTILIZATOR> Avatar 2.0 mesh body for my latex-encased look, which is my “standard” appearance on the vast majority of occasions.
- What’s your Digits? – Take 3: Proportions Challenge – by Strawberry Singh
- Strawberry Singh’s blogger challenges (memes)
- A Matter of Proportion – by Penny Patton
- A Matter of Scale – by Penny Patton
- Penny Patton’s Vitruvian Shapes on the SL Marketplace
- Utilizator Mode’s <UTILIZATOR> Avatar 2.0 Beta mesh body on the SL Marketplace