Based on Adam Wan’s (Zaush’s) illustrations and designs, Orange Nova gives their Citra avatar another reboot to join the ever growing pool of rigged mesh anthropomorphic avatars. In this review we’ll look at how the creator has utilised mesh in the Citra, and how they have dealt with the question of customisation.
Out of the Box:
|Features||Permissions and Statistics|
Rigged clothing including:
Build and Textures:
Due to the toony design of the original Citra concept, it’s only logical for the creator to continue this theme through the avatar. True to the style, the Citra offers sharp, vivid and not overly shaded textures over the rigged mesh body. The lines and transitions are crisp, and executed to a high standard. As each component is added as a separate attachment, the creator has a lot of control over the position of the seams in the avatar, and has easily created an overall seamless result as the textures blend from one segment to another. As this is a fully rigged body, the avatar does not use standard SL skins, and will hide the original avatar mesh through alpha textures. The male and female aspects of this avatar are available through the option of two separate mesh torso pieces. I will go into further detail regarding these options later.
The mesh is symmetrical, the pieces lock together with no overlapping or overstretching of polys. All parts of the build are sharp and rounded in the right places, with a solid, resolved overall effect. The shape of the Citra is a little different to the traditional form from the base SL mesh, being much in favour of being slightly rounder and wider in places. This may mean some additional clipping for users with more dynamic animation overriders.
Despite being rigged mesh, let it be known that the shape is by no means immune to modification. Aspects of the overall shape can still be altered using various sliders in the ‘edit appearance’ menu. Using these aforementioned sliders, users can alter the avatar’s general height, width, head size arm length and hip length/width. Users altering the length and width in the hip area will also notice a change in the length and width of the Citra’s tail.
The Citra avatar is available with two options for the legs and feet. The plantigrade feet are part of the leg build, and the foot portion can be selected as a separate face within the build menu. The feet are long, lightly rounded and are tipped with dark, rounded claws. The plantigrade legs are also rigged, but only to the ankles. The feet will not move with the avatar’s base feet, but this does mean it limits any awkward bending that may occur with some animations. These feet are kept light with no darkened tips. The leg portion of both foot sets are the same in regards to their shape. The upper legs of the Citra are rounded and well proportioned in reference to the rest of the overall build.
Two tails are available for this avatar. ‘Relaxed’ and ‘Curled’. The relaxed version holds the same gentle ‘S’ pose as the versions before it. Again, it is rounded, simplistically textured, and is part of the overall rig. The Curled tail is similar, but is positioned closer to the avatar’s spine, with a tighter curl at the top. The tails themselves are decorated with the iconic Citra stipes, the texturing remains fairly crisp in keeping with the rest of the build.
In the same vein as the tail, the CItra also comes with two sets of hands. The tensed hands have the fingers splayed and stretched out, and the relaxed version have the fingers slightly bent into a more neutral posture. The hands themselves are comprised of four fingers and a thumb, showing a hybrid look between paw and hand. The simple texturing gives the nuances of pawpads, as the hands blend into wide arms with suggested elbow fur, before transitioning easily into the rest of the body.
The torso portion defines the gender of the avatar. The female torso, as you might expect – has a pair of smooth, rounded breasts without any ‘adult’ detail. The male torso is entirely flat chested, but carries the same curvacious nature elsewhere on the avatar with slightly different shaping on the textures to accommodate the shape in the chest. As an example of this, the ‘lighter’ chest fur begins higher on the male than the female.
The head is the clear focal point of this avatar. In comparison to Citra art work, Orange Nova have kept the references crisp and accurate. The head is comprised of a few texture faces. One for each ear, the inner mouth, the eyes and the face.
Since the head is all part of one rigged build, there are no extra attachments required for each piece. This lowers creasing down to nil, and provides an overall smooth, accurate effect. One of the clear benefits to this becomes apparent in the jaw, where typing or speaking creates a smooth mouth movement. The mouth itself is fixed into a constant smile, parallel to the sloped and concave nature of the muzzle. The degree to which the mouth opens during speech can be altered through text commands. This is explained in thorough detail with an accompanying notecard.
The ears remain upright, and are rounded with smooth, light texturing that blends well with the rest of the head. There are no options to angle the ears to any new positions. The eyes are similarly well done, and sit as part of the surface texture. To this end they are not able to move, and lack the eyelids that were present in the previous version of this avatar.
Features and Heads-Up Display (HUD):
The Citra does not come with a designated HUD, as there are no toggle-able features beyond the jaw state, which as previously mentioned can be tweaked through the text commands found in the notecard present in the CItra box.
Since the Citra is of a shape unusual to that of the standard avatar mesh, Orange Nova have provided a folder titled ‘clothes’ with the Citra. This folder contains pants, various types of underwear, a sweater and gloves. All of these items are greyscale, and can be tinted to the wearers content by selecting the individual faces on each piece. The rigged clothing is very well executed, and fits the Citra avatar with no issues so long as it’s paired to the right set of legs and torso. All creasing is purposeful and detailed, and it’s clear a lot of thought has gone into these designs, with the opportunity for personalisation – These articles are more than simply an extra on the side, and help to ease any potential clothing or modification issues.
Customisation of this avatar is not impossible, merely different. Orange Nova have provided the textures that a wearer may want to use for modification in the form of *.psd files found on http://www.orangenova.org. – The textured provided are for both the body and for the clothing. Opening up endless possibilities for personal style.
The fully rigged mesh body allows for some modification through height and shape sliders in the appearance menu, as previously stated, and faces can be tinted on the provided clothing. The same can be done on much of the avatar itself. It’s not impossible to find ways for sculpted prim or other mesh clothing to fit, but this will likely require a healthy amount of experience before attempting to modify clothing in this way. Since the head, hands and tail are separate pieces, users are also able to potentially mix and match these with other avatars. The head can fit hair with some tweaking and modification, but the high brow line and non-traditional head shape may make this a challenge, not that this avatar really calls for third party hair.
Having such a low render cost and script weight puts this avatar in good favour. This is a pleasant and effective update to its sculpted predecessor, where all areas that could have been a problem, i.e, the clothing, are already covered and to a great overall quality. Whilst it may be a little more difficult to modify this avatar than those comprised of fewer mesh pieces, it’s certainly a successful update, embracing both Zaush’s designs and Orange Nova’s building style.