Tuesday, 8 January 2013

What's in a Skin? – 2013 Edition

So back in 2011 Sian did a post about skins. She felt it was time to do another. In the last month or two, Sian has changed her skin more than in the last year, over which period Sian only changed her skin significantly maybe only twice.

Which is twice more than most real people manage, granted.

So, in each of the following pics, Sian is wearing the basic skin, unadorned with makeup or tattoos, with perhaps a cleavage layer added.

Sian never ceases to be fascinated by how completely an avatar's look, her expression, can be altered by the application of a new skin. These skins are wildly different from each other. All are on the same body shape, the same facial structure. Sian's shape is unusual, and sometimes skins don't work well. The limitations of noses, skin mouths and lipstick layers are a big deal on Sian's shape, with its prominent mouth (fullness 99, thickness 60) and wide nose. Sian has other idiosyncrasies too — she prefers to go bald, and all of these skins have textures on the scalp base, which seems more and more to be the rule rather than the exception now, which Sian of course can only see as a good thing. She often shaves off her eyebrows too, or wears eyebrow remover tattoo layers (her favourite is Miss Shippe's Brows-B-Gone), and if a skin has the option of a no-eyebrows version, Sian is wearing it here.

Also, as is true with most things Sian wears, Sian paid for all of the skins (with the exception of the Curio group gift, which was free) out of her own virtual pocket.

what's in a skin 2013 - Body Co Chocolata
Body Co – Chocolata in Golden Ebony, with separate cleavage layer
Body Co's Chocolata skin was the only skin Sian wore consistently from the beginning of February through to September 2012.

Sets: One skin with a baked-in hairbase and one without one in one shade, L$1500, demos available. Cleavage layers are separate, come in several options, but are only on the tattoo layer, L$500 each, no demo. Makeup sets are each L$500, no demo.  

Pros: Sian likes the skin's strong ethnic features, defined cheekbones, clearly defined shading and rich colouring.

Cons: The eyebrows aren't really formed that well at all. They're just... lines. Sian spent most of the year wearing Miss Shippe's eyebrow eraser. The mouth, while fabulous, is not textured to take many makeup tattoos particularly well (Mock and Glamorize both provide exceptions) and while some of the (expensive) tattoo makeup sets are pretty good, some are... really not so good, especially on Sian's shape.

SLURL: The Body Co

what's in a skin 2013 - PXL Faith
PXL – Faith in Ebony
From the beginning of September to around Christmas, Sian was pretty much exclusively in PXL's most recent skin, Faith. An advancement on PXL's previous skins, Hart Larsson added the Ebony shade, which is richer and darker than the dark shade, and has given this face a definite character. She looks like a grown woman.

Sets: Available in several shades, each set L$1300 for one shade with three options for eyebrows and three for cleavage, all baked on, plus two tattoo hairbases. Makeups are L$200 for lipsticks and L$80 for eyeshadows. Demos are available for all skins and makeups, and group members get a 10% discount. 

Pros: Strong facial features and strong shading are a definite advantage, and the new shade is perfect.

Cons: Still not happy about those eyebrows. Again, to the eyebrow eraser layer!


what's in a skin 2013 - Glance Nyasha
Glance – Nyasha in Bean
So, those were the 2012 skins. Now for the new skins. Sian's friend Croon Nandahar pointed her to this recent release from Glance, an ethnic skin available in three shades. Sian's wearing the middle one.

Sets: Pack contains versions of the skin with three cleavage variations and three brow variations (no brows, brown brows, black brows) for L$1099. Lipsticks cost L$499 for twenty, eyeshadows L$399 for ten. Demos available for skins but not makeups.

Pros: Clean skin with features that are noticeably ethnic and pretty. Nice rich shades, soft musculature.

Cons: Seems a little too smooth, too even. Shares the tendency of a lot of skinmakers to highlight the face area with a big splodge of light. Sian finds that with the right makeup she can make it look like it's due to an intentional application of powder, but sometimes she doesn't want that.

SLURL: Glance

what's in a skin 2013 - Nuuna Crayon
Nuuna – Crayon 2
Sian's long enjoyed Nuuna's makeups and was excited to find that her most recent skins now include texturing on the scalp layer. Nuuna's skins offer unparalleled value, and her makeup sets are interesting and unique.

Set: Skins in eight colours (red - not pictured- orange, yellow, blue, green, teal, pink and purple) with two options for cleavage, L$400, demos available. No eyebrows, but Nuuna does a set of 21 tattoo eyebrow layers cheaply (L$200) as well as dozens of makeup sets (around L$300 each), all packed with options. 

Pros: Nuuna's best facial features yet. Many other skin makers would charge twice as much just for one of the colours. 

Cons: The brilliance and value for money of these skins is only really lessened by the fact that while fun to be green, few people want to be rainbow colours all the time (although Sian, living in Swansea, is used to seeing people that shade of orange on the street). One for special occasions.

SLURL: Nuuna

what's in a skin 2013 - Curio Visitor
Curio – Visitor Area 51 in Bean
Curio returned to the grid recently after a hiatus. Sian was aware of Curio before Gala Phoenix had temporarily to shut shop but had never paid a whole lot of attention to the store. Sian's curiosity overcame her on Curio's return. She went down there and after much umming and ahhing, purchased this.

Set: Option of buying one of six sets; each set costs L$1500 and contains all available tones in two makeup options. If you want more makeup options, you need to buy another set or the fatpack, although the fatpack is only L$2000, so you'd have to be nuts not to get it unless you really really only wanted one skin. This skin, unique to Curio, has no brows and the set includes some nice eyebrows and a few lipsticks that really don't go well with Sian's shape. You can purchase five cleavage layers separately for L$500 each, which is steep, but once cleavage layer fits all and includes all skin tones; all of Curio's current skins have exactly the same body, so only the face is different, so once again, if you own several Curio skins you only need one cleavage layer. Once again, after a steep initial outlay, the more you buy, the better the value is.

Pros: Every Curio skin has a unique face, and this one, designed to look otherworldly, certainly looks the part, even if it's completely different to Sian's usual look. Body tone is nice and the attention to detail on parts that one wouldn't normally look at is second to none. Takes makeups well.

Cons: The mouth textures on some of the stronger makeups are not suited to Sian's shape at all. The darkest shade, shown here, is still not that dark.

SLURL: Curio
what's in a skin 2013 - Curio Party Girl
Curio – Party Girl in Bean, also Curio Cleavage Option 2
This is the current Curio group gift. Shown here for comparison (compare the difference of the face, as opposed to the body, which is, as said above, exactly the same in every detail. It is up to you as to whether the whole body-recycling thing is a pro or a con; Sian is herself undecided, although notes that PXL does the same thing and she's never complained about that before).

This gift is a fatpack of skins and makeups with a fairly generic face. It comes in ten tones. It is not to be missed.

Having said that, this skin does not suit Sian at all, but it is free, and you can't look a virtual gift horse in the mouth.