Changing the appearance of your avatar can be a time consuming process, and it is something we all want to change right away.
The Appearance settings are so easy and fun to use that they can can keep you busy for days trying to get your look just right.
The trick to getting a quick start in SL is to give yourself a look that is good enough to begin with and tweak as you go along. Otherwise you will never get around to exploring SL.
Your avatar’s appearance is influenced by four things, the shape, skin, hair, and eyes.
What you’re really doing when applying the Appearance setting is changing the general shape and features of your avatar.
You will always have to wear some kind of skin and shape. You will also have control over the default skin, eye, and hair color and can choose any color under the sun.
In general, all avatars (male and female) are much bigger than you may think, females running just over 6 feet tall and males over 7 feet.
Most people start fiddling with their appearance right away. It is OK to stay in your newbie shape for a while as you learn how to navigate in your new 3D world.
In most cases you will want to change into professional skins, hair, eyes, and maybe a totally different shape after a few weeks anyway.
There are a number of really nice new skins and outfits in your Inventory. Look in your Inventory and find the folder called Library.
Find the Clothing folder and then look for the Initial Outfits folder. You will be able to mix and match from each folder as you like. If you have worked on your avatar’s appearance be sure to save it with your name and date so you don’t loose those changes when trying on new options. More on how to do that below.
Getting the Good Stuff
It is important to keep track of your time in order to take advantage of your newbie status. If you are a newbie and under 30 days old, there are a number of well designed skins that various design houses put out for you. You’re considered a newbie your first 30 days upon entering SL. Even if you never log in again after the first day, when the 30 days expire you can no longer take advantage of some of the freebie designer fashions, skins and hair for newbies.
Your general appearance can change dramatically with a new skin. There are lots of free ones out in the freebie shops no matter how old you are. Some are very good, made by very professional skin makers, and others are extremely bad. You will have to take your time to go through them and trash the ones that you would obviously never use.
If you are entering SL via a class, please see your class inventory note card for hints and freebie locations. If not entering SL via a class, you can IM Firery Broome for one, or find and click on the class poster in the Fish Shack located on the pier on the main UD island.
You will be amazed how different skins can really change your appearance. When you find a skin you really like and want to wear everyday you may need to make a few more adjustments to your shape and facial features in order to get the look you want.
You may find a modifiable shape that is really like. Making slight adjustments to your settings could get the look you want. Sometimes the skin shape combos you may find will not match up even with adjustments or maybe the adjustments change your look too much, and you may be forced to give up on that skin and continue your search for the perfect skin or shape.
If you want to try to look like someone in particular, have photos handy or open up some browser windows of them to follow.
You can change your sex at anytime.
On With Changing the Appearance of our Avatars
Saving Copies And Changing Shapes
- Before you do anything, save your current avatar shape with “Save As” and give it a different name. I like to put the date at the end to tell which version is the newest.
Every time you go into “Edit Appearance” and make some changes, save with a new name. (In my case, I would use “Firery Everyday-01-11-08.”)
- Every time you “Save as,” you have your original shape and your new one, both hopefully in your “Body Parts” folder. Any time you make a change, save it with a new file name so you can go back if you don’t like your new shape.
- To switch or remove a shape or skin, you need to find a different one in your inventory and double-click on it or drag it to your avatar to wear. This will replace the old skin or shape.
Note you only need to do this if you have made new changes to your appearance. If you are using a default SL avie then there is no need to save until you have made some alterations you want to keep. If you already have saved your basic shape for everyday use and have not made recent additional adjustments there is no need to do another version of yourself.
The Appearance Menu
When you open the Appearance settings, the Shape tab is opened by default. There are buttons that give you access to the settings for each area of your shape. Use moderation when changing settings. Some are very sensitive and others less so.
A general rule would be to keep changes small, in a 5-15 plus or minus range.
No lady’s breast need to be over 70, and a bit of gravity will help create a more natural appearance.
Men need to watch out about becoming too top heavy as well and watch the package settings.
Proportions, proportions, proportions.
Most of the sliders are interdependent: changing one will often make a change somewhere else. This is especially true of your facial features.
Your Body Shape
Height – The default is set to 80 which is about 6 ft. tall.
Changing your height will affect other body settings. So you will want to set the general height first and then maybe fine tune after other adjustments. Your shoes will add 4.0 inches to your height.
Body Thickness – Default 20
35-50 is more realistic and it is still on the thin side.
Body Fat – Default 0
This setting helps with smoothing over the avatar framework, everyone should have at least a little.
Setting between 10-35 is a better, healthier looking number.
Your Head Shape and Facial Features
Head Size – Default 70
Your head size should match your body. Men can start with 50-60, ladies less.
If you enlarged or reduced your default body size, your head will need adjustment accordingly.
Like the height settings, you may need to make some slight adjustments here after changing Head feature (eyes, nose etc.) or body settings.
Good hair and other attachments like hats are designed to fit on standard size heads.
If you find your hair is not fitting properly, your head size may need some adjustments.
Head Stretch – Default 20
This setting affects all of your head settings. Change it if necessary to fine tune other head and face settings.
Head Shape – Default 50
Another setting that will affect other face/head settings. Effects most noticeable are on the lower jaw and chin; rounder for more a feminine and square for more masculine appearance.
Egghead – Default 75
This setting affects head shape, most visibly in your profile view. Affects the back of the head, forehead, and chin and jaw lines. Default setting is good for females, men may want to use 50-60 depending on head size.
Head Length – Default 55
Only very tiny modifications here, as this setting has a strong effect on all facial features.
Slight upwards adjustments for females, slight lower adjustments for males.
Face Shear – Default 50
This adjusts the angle of one side of the face. 50 is perfectly aligned. If you would like a more natural uneven look, use small slider adjustments. Settings between 3-6 points are recommended.
Forehead Angle – Default 37
Only small adjustments needed here. Adding a few points is recommended as the default seems a little low. You may need to adjust this when you get your good hair.
Brow Size – Default 13z
Another setting that may need adjustment with new hair and your eyes.
Small adjustments are recommended. Look at yourself in profile!
Upper Cheeks – Default 37
Adding small amounts of puff will add some natural appearance; subtracting will give you more angles.
Lower Cheeks – Default 45
Recommendation is to use this setting as a last touch to jaw and jowls(see below).
Cheek Bones – Default 38
12 points up without too much effect on other facial features.
You will find two eye options in the adjustment window. One for the actual eye type (Body Parts) and the other for your facial eye details (Body Shape). Be sure to look at your profile occasionally while adjusting this setting.
Important things to keep in mind are as follows:
Eye Opening and Size – complement one another and should be changed together.
The Default settings of 40 for Eye Size and 60 for Eye Opening have an anime look.
Eye Bags & Puffy Lids – Add some points for a more natural appearance.
Pop Eye – Removes the symmetry, for a more natural look, but a little goes a long way.
Not too much to worry about here. Make adjustments desired and remember to check changes to your profile. If you make a head adjustment later on, make sure you come back and check your ears.
Noses affect the whole appearance of your face. All these changes work together to create the look you are after.
The settings are straight forward, but you will want to work on your other facial settings first and come back to your nose. Remember to view your profile OFTEN so you can adjust the nose adjustments to other facial settings. If you have trouble getting some parts right, try using nearby settings instead.
Nose, Nostril Width, Nose Thickness and Nose Tip Shape
All closely related to Mouth shape and size:
You may need to jump between the mouth and nose settings and adjust them together. Upper and Lower Bridge settings
You will need to to pay attention to how these settings affect your Forehead and Brows.
Nose Size – Default 11
A button nose at the default setting, which is too small for most people.
Increase the setting 25 points and start working from there.
You can reduce size after other nose adjustments, if it is too big for your new head settings.
It is recommended that you work on your Jaw and Chin settings before you edit your mouth as they all work together.
Mouth setting place a lot of focus on the lip shape.
As mentioned in the nose section, you may need to tweak mouth settings when working on your nose.
Based on the the look you are trying to achieve you may need to make some head size and shape adjustments. Most of these setting will affect the other settings in this group as well as the mouth settings. So small setting adjustments should be applied.
Remember to look at your profile!
If you have trouble getting some parts right, try using nearby settings instead.
Chin Angle – Default 52
A good start for a female, a little on the weak side for a male.
Males may want to move the sliders down a bit.
Jaw Shape – Default 55
Recommendation is to adjust this setting after Chin Angle is set.
Default setting again is on the feminine side.
Males can add 10-20 points based on other Jaw and Chin setting made.
These settings can affect and are affected by changes in the
Chin Depth, Jaw Angle, Jowls, and Chin-Neck settings.
Chin Depth – Default 42 and Jaw Angle – Default 76
These should be worked together and are on the feminine side at their default settings. They have a strong effect on your appearance, so small changes should be made.
Males may want to increase Chin Depth and decrease Jaw Angle
Changes made in Jowls and Chin-Neck settings can affect the Chin Depth.
Readjustments may be needed.
Jaw Jut – Default 50
Small adjustments if any needed here.
Jowls – Default 17
Default setting is almost none. You can notch it up for a natural look
or leave it as is for the chiseled model look.
Chin settings may need realignment.
Chin Cleft and Upper Chin Cleft – Default
Use these setting, after the mouth settings are chosen. They work with Lip Cleft and Lip Cleft Depth.
Adjustments may be needed when working with either the Mouth or Chin Cleft settings.
Chin-Neck – Default
Work with this setting in conjunction with the Jaw Shaping settings.
Any changes here will affect Jaw Shape, Jaw Angle, and Jowl settings.
Torso Settings work with the body settings to let you fine tune various areas of your body. For the most part, they are straight forward, although settings in some areas affect other areas. If you want a big butt, don’t give yourself a tiny waist.
Torso Muscles also work with Arm muscles. Adjustments made here affect your arms.
Really high settings are not recommended. Men should start out with about 40.
Neck Thickness and Neck Length
Should be set once you are happy with your head shape.
Shorter necks may need more narrow shoulders.
Arm Length and Hand Size & Leg Length and Foot Size
These are all linked to the body settings and should be in a reasonable
proportion to the Torso Length.
Default setting for female hands are way too large and should be lowered.
Ladies try starting at 14-20 depending on your size.
Men try starting at 30.
Foot size, most shoes in SL are made to size 0.
So, if you don’t want to have to fiddle with fitting shoes, make your feet 0.
Most of the shoes look big and chunky anyway, so your feet will just look bigger.
Love Handles and Belly Size
Work these sliders together to get the look you are after.
They work with the Body Thickness and Body Fat Settings.
Guys’ shapes look better with some love handles: They make the transition to hips and waist nicer looking.
The Leg Length and Leg Shape settings work together.
Changes to Leg Length can create considerable changes to the shape of your legs.
Your Leg appearance can also be changed by Body Height, Body Fat, and Body thickness adjustments. Be sure to look at your butt when adjusting your leg length.
If you make the legs too long, you can get a very unappealing look at the intersection.
Females need some muscle on their frames. You want to have nice calfs and defined arms. You will want to take advantage of the nice detail shadowing and highlight details on your new skins, don’t you? If you have trouble getting some parts right, try using nearby settings instead.
Your Hips, Crotch, and Butt controls are located in the Legs area.
These three settings affect each other and are influenced by the Body settings.
Small careful adjustments are the way to go here until you see what effect they have. Remember to look at the profile and the back as you adjust these settings!
When you are happy with your settings, Save As and name the new outfit with the date.
If you make further adjustments, save again and try them both on to see how they look.
Females will need two versions of their shape.
One for pants and one for skirts. SL skirts make your hips and butt look HUGE. After you have settled on a shape, and have saved it, make another one with the butt at 0.Save this shape as above, but add NO BUTT to the end.