Just in time for the Chinese New Year, Luskwood released an avatar of the iconic Asian animal. Named for their unique call, the ‘Wah’ is the first avatar from Lusk for 2009. The avatar follows up from the old red panda model with a unique avatar that stands apart from the rest in its line.
- Blinking Eyes
- Colour Changing Eyes
- Colour Changing Hair / Hair Accessories
- Sculpted Smile and Frown Plus Tongue (with gesture)
- Twitching Ears
- Articulated Jaw for typing or voice with animation override
- Scripted Tail States (Up, Down, or Flexi)
- Twitching Tail
- Avatar HUD
Build and Skin
Starting with the textures, there is no doubt that Luskwood has gone out of its way to ensure much higher quality textures than their prior avatars. The hyena avatar was an indicator in the shift of the texture quality, while the Red Panda is an extension of texture skill that Lusk is utilizing in its avatars. The fur has texture to it, clearly having been brushed to give it a fuzzy appearance, especially all over the skin. The same can be said for the head and attachments, which means that overall, the avatar has the texture quality and detail comparable to that of AnthroXtacy or Tokushi’s avatars.
Next, would be the footpaw attachments. These are well done and textured so as to accent the toes and other parts of the feet so that they don’t look like a giant black mass. This is especially noticeable in how the toes are shaded. Since Red Pandas do not have digitigrade legs in real life, this avatar does not include them. However, it does come with plantigrade leg attachments which ensures that if one wears shorts, the feet do not look awkward.
Next, the avatar does not include any handpaws; Luskwood has instead opted to include ‘handfluff’ instead. Some may mourn the non-addition of handpaw attachments which has become a kind of standard, but this reviewer finds handpaw inclusion a luxury rather than a necessity. However, if it’s important for a reader to have handpaws, and they like this avatar enough, it should be relatively easy to modify the footpaws into handpaws.
Finally, we can move to the focal point; and ‘focal point’ is definitely not an understatement. The Luskwood Wah features a head with two large ears with many tiny prim ruffles that make the ears look even larger and fluffier. This same fluff is added to the cheeks, which establishes a strong sense of continuity throughout the head. Moving down from the ears are calm-looking eyes that are framed by the well-textured head. The eyes do not move, but again, whether this is needed is up to debate.
The muzzle is perhaps the second focal point after the ears. The sculpt was well done and smooth, as is the nose on the end. A first for Luskwood is the addition of a Muzzle-talking function, so the muzzle moves while the user chats in text. What’s pretty cute is the fact that the tongue will stick itself out whenever one types ” “. The muzzle comes with two facial expressions; a smile and a frown, which is one feature that many other avatar creators often neglect.
Now, the avatar head itself is well designed and smoothly sculpted, but a few subjective issues may arise. A few peers commented that they felt that the proportions could have been modified so as to decrease the ear size and move attention back to the muzzle. This is a valid criticism, but produce no real setbacks to the overall quality of the avatar.
Heads Up Display (HUD)
Keeping in line with their more recent line of avatars, Lusk has a fully featured HUD which gives the user access to every single option that the avatar offers. Additionally, the avatar allows you to operate the following by both text-based command or by HUD.
In addition to all of these, the HUD will shrink away into a corner if you hit the minimise button.
The avatar is easily customiseable. The HUD offers a lot of customisation already as it is, and it is no more difficult to make this avatar even more unique with some good modification. However, as a usual foreword on these types of avatars, as the head is more round than it is oval, some hairs made for humans will not fit right out of the box; you will have to to resize and re-fit the hair accordingly.
This avatar is no doubt a good interpretation of a red panda. As with most Luskwood avatars, it is flexible to customise and fun to wear. Putting any and all criticisms of head shape and ear size aside, the avatar continues the cartoon-based trend, but takes on a few extra tones of realism. The avatar is cute like many Luskwood avatars, and is a symbol of the artistic progress that the creators are striving for in their work.