Colour Your World brings us their own interpretation of the German Shepherd. Full of character, packed with expression and easily customised, we take a closer look.
Out of the Box:
Build and skin:
The avatar comes with standard PG male and female skins. The skin of the avatar itself is reasonably well executed; There is no evidence of interruption between the seams, and the overall effect is aesthetically pleasing. The fur patterning reflects that of the real-life species well enough to be recognised without being overly detailed or distracting. This gives the avatar a pleasantly neutral appearance. The textures on the rest of the avatar have also been kept fairly simple, which adheres well to the minimalist style.
The German Shepherd is built entirely with sculpted prims, save for the eyes and flexi-prim tail. The sculpts are well executed and very smooth. There doesn’t appear to be any trace of sharp edges or wrinkling within any of the sculpts. The build is of a good quality, and symmetry is maintained throughout.
Starting from the feet, it is immediately apparent that his avatar has been built with simplicity in mind. CYW point out in the provided notecard that this particular avatar has been purposely designed to be light on primitives. Jig has also included a small note regarding the feet and legs:
“The legs and feet are set up differently on the German Shepherd Avatar compared to others. It’s hard to explain but the toes are attached to the feet and the digi-legs make up the bottom of the paw pads. Therefore if you were to wear jeans with sculpted bottoms all you would have are toes. Included are a pair of paw pads to add to jeans and other objects.”
The feet themselves are very rounded, featuring very simple representations of paws with a small footbase, which, as mentioned blends into the base of the digileg. Semi-transparent textures have been added to the feet to add pawpads. The paws are not clawed, and there is no further detail. The legs are similarly simple, in that their texture is one flat colour which blends into the rest of the body and the adjoining knees. Whilst this lack of detail is not unsightly, there are some instances where the legs may appear to not qute fit with the skin of the avatar through a lack of shading. The overall rounded style is however very much in keeping with the avatar’s character.
The tail is comprised of a series of flexible cone primitives, a popular method of creating bushy tails without the restrictions of solid prims. The prims fit together well, and there is no visible ‘glitching’ of textures – which blend in easily with the skin upon the avatar’s lower back with a few extra sculpts at the tailbase to aid the transition. The rest of the body remains open, with darker texturing towards the hands and neck.
The head in it’s entirety, inclusive of the ears, jaw and eyes comes to a relatively tiny 31 prims. This minimal style of building makes for a rounded, toonish result, aided by the large size of the avatar’s head, drawing attention to the large, highly expressive eyes. The textures for the head have been repeated and offset, making the textures load comparitively faster.
The muzzle has been put together in a similarly ecenomic way, an example of this would be with the German Shepherd’s teeth. Many avatars on the market with a moving jaw also sport a set of teeth – With the Shepherd, the teeth on the top and bottom jaw are formed by creating one long sculpted line, with no visible seperation between the teeth. This is a reasonable and clever way to cut down on primitives whilst keeping true to the creators intended style. The tongue remains simple, but well textured, and the nose blends in well with the darkened tip of the German shepherd’s snout.
Features and Heads-Up Display (HUD)
The HUD is very user friendly, the user simple needs to cycle through the 4 different menu pages to get to the area that they would like. Users are able to change the eye colour eye states, mouth positions and blush. There is also a function to use pre-combined selections for specific facial expressions and moods that truly take advantage of the avatar’s character.
The avatar is modifiable, and to that end users are able to tweak and change the avatar as they see fit. The creator points out that he is happy for users to make use of the avatar’s textures so long as they are for non-profit purposes. Users are able to, and are encouraged to request a pack of the avatar textures as PSD files from the creator for a small fee.
Whilst the avatar head is quite rounded, hair fits onto the skull with relative ease and little modification. Users may find the need to resize hair and hats, but this would not be too arduous. The creator has mentioned issues in using trousers with the avatar, in that the wearer is likely to ‘loose’ their feet. This could also be easily remedied with some tweaking and resizing where needed if the user so desired.
This has been an interesting interpretation of a popular canine breed in Second Life. All in all, the simplicity makes this avatar quite friendly and the expressions are a great addition. The small amount of prims used makes it rather tempting to begin modifying the avatar with some personal touches. The German Shepherd is a welcome additon to the canine family, and holds a lot of promise in its economic and user-friendly approach.