In our second PsiCorp review, we get started on discussing their German Shepherd avatar. Released not too long after their fox avatar, this avatar covers a breed of domestic canine that has often been left to the wayside in favour of others.
Out of Box:
- A wide range of facial expressions (Angry, Eyebrow Arch, Snarl, Manic, etc.)
- Both genders
- Skin and Shapes
- Tongue In/Out
- Muzzle-Talking Function
- Twitchable Ears
- Tail Options
- Hand emotes, custom emotes are possible
- Lifetime free updates and customer support
- Web-based manual rather that note-card based
- Viewer 2.x capable alpha layers
|Script Time / Memory (With HUD)||~0.1ms / TBD|
|Script Time / Memory (without HUD)||~0.1ms / TBD|
|Avatar Rendering Cost (Scale Here)||~1300|
Build and Skin Quality:
Like the PsiCorp Fox before it, the German Shepherd maintains what seems to be PsiCorp’s standard in sculpting. The sculpts are clean and placed together well with minimal creasing between prims.
In term of textures, the German Shepherd maintains the same style of fur used in their fox, but develops a bit. The fur looks slightly like it’s airbrushed, with a good deal of colour applied from head to toe on the body. The fur still looks slightly like a metal scrub sponge because of the sharpening of the textures, but not as much like the previous avatar. This shows that the creator is improving their textures between avatars. A little bit of ‘softening’ would have only strengthened the fur textures further. Otherwise, the markings do reflect that of a German Shepherd’s with accuracy.
The avatar includes both male and female skins and shapes, and the females get a good degree more attention in the breasts and rump, while males receive a set of rock-hard abs.
The avatar, like many others, includes a box with Alpha layer skins and attachments without invisiprims. This avatar comes with foot-paws and digitigrade legs, but no plantigrade leg attachments. The feet are created in a way such that the back of the foot juts out a fair bit behind the digitigrade leg, or even the plantigrade leg, which does appear a little odd, as the leg should always meet the back of the foot rather than the middle. Otherwise, the feet make for simple, but fairly competent dog’s paws, complete with paw-pads and nails. The digitigrade legs themselves are well made, both in shape and build quality. On the in-step side, the creator included the dew-claws. At this point we’ll mention that with the male and female shapes, the creator has taken the initiative to include resized attachments (legs, foot-paws, and hand-paws) to fit each respective shape.
A criticism that could be offered to the legs and feet are that the textures on these attachments are different from those on the skin. The problem isn’t big enough to be seen from a distance, but the closer one gets to the legs, the more one can see the discontinuity. The tail itself isn’t too out of the ordinary, what with being flexible and coming with a tailswishing motion built in and controlled by text command or HUD.
Next up are the hand-paw attachments. These have been sized appropriately enough to require no wrist prims. These attachments are slightly more human-like than paw-like in their structure, but still maintain the semblance of paw-pads on the underside of the paw. Like the legs, the hand-paw attachment textures differ from the shape skin to a degree.
On to the head now. The eyes for this avatar as well as the surrounding areas are very canine in their design and construction. Some may feel that the eyes are too large, but that’s more a matter of personal opinion than a technique issue. Along with moving around in relation to wherever the mouse is, the eyebrows have several different expressions which can be used in combination with muzzle expressions. Some of the eyebrow expressions are very easy to see, while others are somewhat muted. The forehead is very depressed, so an invisiprim has been placed between the ears to hide the shape head underneath. It does the job, but looks distracting on its own, and can conflict with third-party hairs; so users may need to remove that prim before putting new hair on.
The muzzle is fairly long and canine, with the look sharing much in common with a German Shepherd’s muzzle, right down to the well-made nose. The bottom jaw is partially hidden by the overhang of the upper jaw of the muzzle, but it’s clearly there when the muzzle is open. The interior of the muzzle suits the face and reflects further on its canine look-alike with decent teeth and a suitable tongue which can be stuck out of the muzzle.
A crucial part of the head are the textures, which we’ll speak briefly about here. Over the main head prim, (area surrounding the eyes) the textures are very strong; giving the impression of fur very nicely (See photo on left). However, the outside of the muzzle has grainier, less sharp textures which contrasts heavily with the face, making the otherwise good sculpt-work less robust. An area where the texture issue stands out all the more is the cheek-ruffs; which are single sculpted prims with alpha textures for ‘fluff’ effect. From the front and back, this looks very good, but from an angle viewing straight from the side, or in conjunction with third-party hairs, you can easily see a space between fluff textures.
Features and Heads-Up Display:
This avatar came with a slightly above-average amount of features, and it appears that a strength of PsciCorp lies in their scripting abilities and HUDs. Like we’ve seen a creator or two already do, they have ditched notecard based guides in favour of online manuals which offer easier to read information online. This manual can be accessed here: http://kb.psicorp.us/index.php?title=German_Shepherd_Avatar
One of the most integral parts to this avatar would have to be the facial expressions. This avatar comes with a highly expressive preset facial expressions, as well as the ability to adjust specific settings like mouth-openness, tongue in/out, etc. The photo below shows this.
The avatar also comes with a single hairstyle of the hair being pulled into a small unisex ponytail. The photo above shows this ponytail attachment in detail. The fingers can also be put into a number of preset poses, like pointing or fists, or even “Rock, Paper, or Scissors.”All of the options, such as the muzzle talking function, tail wagging and position can be controlled through the HUD, as well as through text commands and gestures.
This avatar comes as copiable and modifiable, so users are able to modify the avatar to their heart’s content. As we mentioned before, however, since there is an invisiprim used on the head, fitting third party hairs or whatnot may be difficult unless the user removes the said invisiprim.
The PsiCorp German Shepherd does pay tribute to its real-world counterparts fairly well, but the irregularities in textures hold the avatar back a slight. This isn’t to say that the textures are bad at all; quite to the contrary, the way these textures are made are very unique and have potential, but consistency and a little softening would draw focus away from the textures and provide more attention to the way the avatar was designed in its entirety. In the meantime, the avatar remains a viable choice for someone looking for a German Shepherd with an expressive face and very canine eyes.