The Instinct Avatars Wolf avatar is the first offering in a new series of avatars by a relatively new company. Created by Leben Schnabel, but backed by a more established group AnthroXtacy. Instinct Avatars intends to push the limits of realism in SL furry avatars. This raises questions of issues like the Uncanny Valley Phenomenon™. Have they gone too far?
- Individual Eye Colors
- 3D Prim Eyes
- Eye States (Wolfess only)
- Talk Activated Muzzle
- Muzzle and Tongue States
- Choice of Two different tails each with Wag control
- Adult + Neutral Skins (Wolfess only)
- Prepared for optional typing AO (Animation not included)
- Heads Up Display (HUD).
Build and Skin
The instinct wolf avatar is available in both male and female versions, and choice of 12 different colors:
Black | Grey
Black-White | Purple
Blue | Red
Brown | Tricolor A
Fox Color | Tricolor B
As usual these days is made from almost entirely sculpted prims, however it utilizes more of them then I’ve seen before. For example the main part of the head and the muzzle use 6 prims where as most other avatars would use 3. The possible reasoning behind this is likely to try to create more detail. The eyes are shaped and fitted to match up exactly with the base avatar eyes, so the prim eye attachments are only need for scripted color changing ability, which is provided. Extra work went into this avatar, which even includes Semi-Transparent prims added over the eyes to create a sort of animal eye lens effect. However, this may cause issues if one wishes to wear glasses, meaning that there could be an amount of texture flickering. However, this issue has nothing to do with the avatar as much as failures of the Second Life Client and OpenGL.
The textures are quite detailed, especially given how the creator has decided to use a pre-rendered shadow effect on both the avatar attachments and skin. Thus, the avatar will appear to be lit from the front-right angle. This comes as a two-edged sword as for still pictures this makes the avatar look quite photo-realistic from limited angles, but then again lessens the detail on the shadowed side and may make the avatar look slightly out of place in differently lit locations.
On another note, since I only reviewed the male version of the avatar (We can’t afford to buy two copies of every avatar all the time) I was unable to try out the two features of the female avatar. While one is self explanatory the other “eye states” option isn’t explained as much. I’m curious as to what that does and why it wasn’t included in the male version. But unfortunately, I haven’t seen a female version of the avatar. Perhaps that question will be answered in the future with a little update to this review.
The Heads Up Display had decent functionality, and seemed to be scripted well and provided the
Muzzle Control Options
Four Muzzle States
Typing AO (animation not included)
Tail Control Options
Tail Shape Selection (two choices)
Tail Wag Selection (three choices)
Eye Control Options
Eye color (Both, Right, Left) (selection is made using RGB sliders)
The HUD size however was quite small, would almost disappear under the chat bar when minimized, and too much gloss effect was added to everything making the text slightly hard to read. Fortunately it is re-sizable and movable. Also, as I’ve stated before in earlier reviews, while the move to HUD controls is good way of controlling the features of an avatar, the lack of gestures, or the lack of documentation of featured typeable commands may disadvantage people who prefer using text-based commands or hot key gestures to control their avatar.
This avatar is fully modifiable, so it can be modified to suit the end-users preference. However the textures are quite complicated and leg prims are fitted exactly to the provided shape, thus customization can be difficult at times. It is important to realize that one may take a risk when changing their shape as moving the placement of these prims may ruin the cohesion of the avatar. Like most avatars, the digitigrade leg prims restrict the wearing of non-prim shorts longer then knee length. On the other hand, all shirts can be worn without any need for changes.
I really want to be able to recommend buying this avatar, it’s well modeled, realistic looking, and is of one of my favorite species. However, in my opinion, the pre-rendered shadows ruined it. In Second life, avatars are dynamic entities, which move around and are looked at from various angles and light conditions. This avatar looks stunning only from limited angles, conveniently the same angles all of the pictures displayed in the vendor are taken from, which left me feeling somewhat tricked. That being said, if you really want a realistically modeled wolf avatar you could do far worse. In the end, despite the setbacks, this avatar shows a possible direction of avatar textures and sculpt-detailing of future avatars, and pushes the limits of avatar creation for future generations of content creators.