Archive for ‘Reviews’

August 14, 2011

Slink Vixen Catsuit – lookbook + review

Latex Two Ways (2)

To my way of thinking, a catsuit is a staple of sci-fi fashion. It displays the perfections of the futuristic form – a form which is, naturally, as toned and honed as science can make it. The shinier, the better, so when I saw this gorgeous picture from S.Luxury, I was struck by the intense, glassy texture of the latex. I also liked that it was a complete outfit in and of itself; it comes with a sculpted collar, gloves and prim shoes/feet so you really can get a painted-on look. There are plenty of latex outfits in Second Life, but the Slink Vixen Catsuit by Siddean Munro is one of the best.

(N.B. All following pictures are raw and unedited – save for cropping – as in all my reviews.)

SLink Vixen catsuit: front/back

I think one of the reasons it’s so good is that the reflections on the suit are not quite symmetrical. It’s highly unlikely that anyone wearing latex would be exactly positioned between lights at all times, so the asymmetry helps to make the reflectivity sit more naturally in the world.

SLink Vixen catsuit: close-up

SLink Vixen catsuit: feet

A few technical details: the collar prim is fully mod, but the feet prims are not. They’re controlled by a simple HUD (see below) and can either be stiletto heels or tippy-toe feet. There’s no “delete scripts” option, but the script count is 7 and the total script memory is 256k, which is very reasonable. (Under 3MB of scripts is a good goal to aim at, and I try to have as few as possible.) The lack of deletable scripts is the only thing I can find to criticise, but given the aforementioned figures, I don’t think there’s much to complain about.

SLink Vixen catsuit: HUD

At 650L$, it’s certainly among the pricier options. There are other catsuits I like, especially for layering, but none of them come close to this one in terms of both the quality of the effect and the completeness of the outfit. I could quite happily wear this and nothing else for weeks on end, except that I have a very full inventory and lots of clothing that begs to be worn. (My life is very hard.) It comes in eight other colours (ruby, blue, rose, black, metallic grey, red, gold and teal), should white not be your choice.

SLink – Vixen Catsuit (white) by Siddean Munro (650L$)

Other credits
First picture:
Skin: Curio – Cupid – Crave 1 in Moonbeam (Light) + cleavage option 4
Eyes: Insufferable Dastard – Quicksilver eyes (small pupil) + Eye Effects (Prim glow 3)
Hair: elikatira – Charmed (white)
Lipstick: KOSH – Glossy Lips (natural)
Lashes: Celestial Studios – Deviant (discontinued)
Pose: DARE – White – Me Me (discontinued)

Review pictures:
Skin: Curio – Cupid – Crave 1 in Moonbeam (Light) + cleavage option 4
Brows: Curio – Sweetheart brows (black)
Eyes: Sorry.Asia – Never.More eyes (vampire) + Eye Effects (Prim glow 3)
Hair: Kin – Cricket (white)
Lipstick: KOSH – Glossy Lips (strawberry) worn over Glamorize – Smart Mouth Lips (Diva)

March 23, 2011

A Twi’lek in Second Life

Over the past few days I’ve become enamoured of the idea of being a twi’lek in SL instead of my usual synthetic form. This is almost entirely due to the influence of a certain person (you know who you are!) but I find it an increasingly appealing concept. I enjoyed Star Wars 4-6, but it was the Knights of the Old Republic games that made me really appreciate the setting and characters, many of whom were twi’leks, and who went far beyond the slave-girl/dancer niche of the films.

Here, then, is a comprehensive overview of the better quality twi’lek items in Second Life. As far as I understand, no particular eye colour is required, so there are only two main components to locate for your avatar: the lekku (head tentacles) and a suitable skin.

Lekku

Darkfold Designs
In-world / Marketplace – L$200 (female), L$400 (male)
I’m wearing these lekku in my skin pictures below. There are male and female versions, and different prints and head-wraps/tiaras to choose from. They’re made from standard prims and the tentacles are flexi. The only thing missing is shading on the skin, but since they have mod permissions, I may add my own textures at some point. Please note that there’s a lucky board at the inworld shop with the style I’m wearing up for grabs. No demos.
Darkfold Designs: Twi’lek Black Leather Lekku (Print 1)

AA-Tech
Marketplace / L$750 (full avatar set)
These avatar packages are for the ladies only, and contain eight different lekku styles (four positions and two types of wraps) included, as well as eight skin variations, a shape and eyes, and two outfits. Again, no sculpted prims or skin textures are used. The adverts aren’t very prepossessing, but there’s a demo available. I really like the details on the head-wraps, but I would probably use them with another skin.
AA-Tech twi'lek lekku variations

Razel’fly Productions
In-world / Marketplace / L$250 (female), L$200 (male)
I love the variety of head-wraps and the thicker lekku. The ear cones have a texture, which I appreciate – as you can see in some of my pictures, they can disappear against the tentacles when both are flat colour. No demos.
Razel'fly Productions Sleek Leather lekku

The Glass House
Marketplace / L$400-475
Sells full female twi’lek avatar sets which look nice, but there are no demos, so I’ve not tried them yet (my lekku budget only extends so far…).

iLogic
In-world / Marketplace / L$100 v1 skin/lekku set on Marketplace, L$250 v2 scripted lekku in-world with L$350 for matching skin
The “Comet Dust” range is what you’re looking for, and v1 is available as a cheap L$100 skin/lekku set on iLogic’s Marketplace shop. Delightfully, these lekku are sculpted and textured! Of course, that means they aren’t flexi, but I don’t think that spoils the effect. The head-wrap is made from normal prims and has a separate attachment point. This is a really good buy if you don’t want to spend a lot.
iLogic: Comet Dust lekku/skin v1

Version 2 of the Comet Dust skin – which I’m not showing here; the picture below is of the v1 skin again – is only available in-world, and each colour comes with 3 shades. The creator has a post on their blog with additional pictures of the golden version if you’d like a better look at the details. You buy the Comet Dust v2 lekku separately, also in-world. They’re scripted with 18 colour presets that match the v2 skins (but they’re mod, so you can tint them to whatever you like) and 5 texture patterns.
iLogic: Comet Dust v2 lekku with v1 skin

The headpiece and the tops of the tentacles are sculpted, which gives a very nice effect, and then the lower tentacles are flexi. The texturing is excellent. Although I think the general look is matched by other lekku, the quality of this set is easily the best, and the combination of sculpts, flexi prims and textures make it look really good in-world. (Note that the lekku may appear to be no mod, but that’s only because they contain a no mod script; you can in fact edit the prims to your heart’s content.)

Again, no demos for any of the skins or the lekku, and these sets are for female twi’leks only.

Free avatars (male and female)
Located on the second floor of the entry area of Little Mos Eisley, just before you go through the door into the main part of the sim. They’re very basic – lekku, a skin, eyes and a shape. The lekku are no mod and the prims weren’t quite aligned when I tried them, but it is free!
Free twi'lek avatar from Little Mos Eisley

Skins

Although twi’lek skins can be a number of different colours, including human flesh tones, I’ve chosen blues, turquoises and a few greens out of personal preference (almost all of these skins come in a selection of other colours, too). I’m showing my favourite sixteen, just to try and give an idea of what’s on offer rather than to offer any judgment on quality.

Skins in unusual colours aren’t easy to search for (try “fantasy skins”, “demon skins” or “mermaid skins”) and I’ve undoubtedly missed some, but I like all of these for different reasons, and I think they cover a good range of both prices and styles.

Potential Twi'lek skins - set 1
1 (top left). Nuuna’s Skins – Crayon – pale blue
2 (top right). Nuuna’s Skins – Crayon – cyan
3 (bottom left). Nomine – Mosaic Aether – aqua
4 (bottom right). Lionskins – Leadroid – 3

Potential Twi'lek skins - set 2
1. Lionskins – Lea – green
2. Fallen Gods Inc. – Calm Waters – Pacific Lust
3. The Hidey Spot – Czol – blu unmarked
4. The Hidey Spot – Czol – grn lipstripe

Potential Twi'lek skins - set 3
1. Plastik – Lionheart Elven – Asari
2. Plastik – Lionheart Elven – Stratus
3. Plastik – Ataciara Elven Muted – Rapture
4. Plastik – Ataciara Elven – Aqua

Potential Twi'lek skins - set 4
1. Plastik – Ataciara Elven – Cirrus
2. Plastik – Ataciara Elven – Teal
3. Epic – Faelfy – Cerulean burned
4. Silken Moon – Spectrum – teal

Skin set credits
Lekku: Darkfold Designs – Twi’lek Black Leather Lekku (Print 1)
Outfit: GRAVES – Rogue
Lashes: glow studio – Fancy eyelashes – Like Natural (old The Dressing Room item)

For additional credits for individual pictures, please click through to their Flickr page (otherwise this post would be even more insufferably long and confusing!).

February 8, 2011

Powersuit Profile: Ladies who Lunch – Jem Jacket

I have an incredible love for the late-80s/early-90s power-suit. It is simultaneously awkward and cool, as evidenced by Grace Jones and Rachael from Blade Runner.

Grace Jones, cover of Nightclubbing Rachael in Blade Runner

So, somehow my sci-fi fashion inevitably involves giant shoulderpads. I’m sure I’m being a product of my time, and this look won’t work for everyone, but it works for me.

The current resurgence of 80s fashion in RL means that there’s no shortage of it in SL, so I’ve been able to find several suitably be-shouldered outfits. Here’s the first: the all-prim Jem Jacket by Ladies who Lunch. It’s unisex, contains resize scripts (it’s no mod, but there’s an option to delete the scripts), and is deliciously glam.

Jem Jacket by Ladies who Lunch (close-up)

As with any outfit made entirely from prims, there are some caveats to be aware of:

  • There are two alpha layers included, as well as the alpha textures to make your own layer, and the notecard mentions that men tend to use the minimum alpha and women and maximum. I’d agree with this assessment, but I found that the maximum was very slightly the wrong shape for me. (You can see where the alpha is peeking past the jacket in some of these pictures, though it’s only noticeable from certain angles.) However, the inclusion of the alpha textures means that I can fix this issue myself. I imagine that making an alpha texture that will suit all shapes is pretty difficult, and I’m not bothered by this feature.
  • Your hips are going to poke through (if you’re female) unless you’re careful with your AO and poses. I created a separate category of straight-hipped poses for my ZHAO AO, but I prefer to cycle between poses rather than have a fully animated avatar all the time, so this is again not really a problem for me. The jacket is definitely more masculine in shape than otherwise, but that’s the aesthetic of the piece. You can make the jacket bigger to compensate, of course, or change your shape a little. In fact, that leads to the only real improvement I can think of: a glitch clothing layer to wear underneath the prims.
  • Speaking of shapes, those boob sliders are going to have to come right down, unless you make the jacket really big.

Jem Jacket by Ladies who Lunch (variations)
Jem Jacket by Ladies who Lunch (details)

Having said all of that, I think the small sacrifices you make to wear this piece are completely worth it. The textures and sculpted prims are good quality, and the gem embellishments really make it special. There are three variations for the body of the jacket: no gems on the lapels or back, gems only on the lapels, and gems on the lapels plus a gem cross on the back. (In all versions, the shoulderpads are gemmed.) The jacket itself comes in white, black, yellow, red and purple. It’s a detailed piece, and I think it merits the 320L$ price. It’s unusual, striking, and well-executed.

Jem Jacket by Ladies who Lunch

Jem Jacket by Ladies who Lunch (320L$ / Inworld / Marketplace)

Credits
Skin: Curio – Moonbeam (Light) Cupid – Crave 1
Hair: Exile – Ada (astral)
Eyes:Senasy Cybernetics – Rotating Mechanical Eyes
Lashes: Celestial Studios – Groupie (discontinued)
Trousers: PixelDolls – Empire Belted Suit – Dragon set
Tattoo: sYs – Gift 1 (freebie)
Makeup: Natural Beauty – Lipstick 30 (Lipstick set 3)

February 6, 2011

Cybernetic prim eyes in Second Life

I recently decided that it was time to upgrade my ocular implants, and to go from static eyes to something a little more exciting. Prim eyes can have animated textures and glow effects, so they seemed the logical choice. There’s no shortage of prim eye creators in Second Life, but how many of them are cybernetic in nature? I scoured the marketplaces, both in-world and out, and came up with three options. As always with my review posts, there is no post-processing on these pictures.

pIRA Tech – Bineyez BlueGreen

120L$ / In-world / Marketplace

These Bineyez come in thirteen different colours (see them all here), which is a good range. They have a glow effect and the textures rotate slowly. I’d describe the look as electronic rather than industrial – more a refined computer avatar than exposed machinery on an android. There’s no scripted menu or HUD for the glow, but you don’t really need one, since it’s the work of a moment to edit it in the build menu. (Here’s what they look like without any glow.)

I think the price is approaching the upper end of what I’d pay for eyes – especially when you only get one colour – but it’s not excessive, and they are gorgeous.

pIRA Tech - Bineyez BlueGreen (glow)

primal groove – Cyber prim eye

0L$ / In-world / Marketplace

Not the most sophisticated eyes around, but then they’re free! I think this would make a great starting point if you’re not sure how much you want to commit to the look. Each eye has a scripted menu for colour changes, and you can choose from eleven colours plus an ‘off’ mode, which is essentially black with the glow turned off. You can also tint them yourself for more fine-tuned control.

There are three sizes, because technically they’re prim irises rather than full eyes. You can see this best in the bottom picture where I’m wearing the smallest size with the included eye base. (I’m wearing a plain black eye base in the others.)

Cheap (well, free) and cheerful, and a good look – you can’t go wrong.

primal groove - prim eyes overview

Senasy Cybernetics – Rotating Mechanical Eyes

100L$ / In-world / Marketplace

Finally, my very favourite prim eyes! The advert does these eyes no justice at all – I had actually seen them in the Marketplace and dismissed them, but I changed my mind after visiting Senasy Cybernetics in-world. They have a vendor that will show you all the items in 3D, and I’d recommend going there to see the quality of these eyes. The textures rotate and the coloured areas glow.

They come with a HUD that has three areas of control:
– Colour – there are R/G/B bars on which you can adjust the sliders for a really large variety of colours. They’re not as sensitive as the sliders in, say, Photoshop, but the degree of control is still impressive. Even better, there are six slots in which you can save colours for quick-change in future. I use this feature all the time; it makes outfit-matching easy and painless.
– Glow – up or down.
– Transparency – more or less, so if you wanted, you could partially see the eye base layer you’re wearing.
The HUD will control the colours of any other Senasy Cybernetics creation you’re wearing, so if you don’t want it to affect them (or you only want to colour one eye), detach them temporarily while you use it.

I very rarely find myself wanting to take my Senasy eyes off. The price, given the amount of customisation you get, is crazily low. They’re a bargain, and easily the coolest looking eyes I own. Go and see them for yourself; you won’t be disappointed.

Senasy Cybernetics - Rotating Mechanical Eyes

Credits
Skin: Curio – Moonbeam (Light) Cupid – Crave 1
Hair: Shag – Somebody’s Baby (in white from monochromes pack, tinted)
Lashes: Celestial Studios – Groupie (discontinued)

January 26, 2011

Review: Alpha Lyrae by Alruneia Sentry

I promised a review of the main component of yesterday’s lookbook post, so here it is! Click on any image to view it in a Flickr lightbox – I recommend this if you want to see all the details. I’ve used no post-processing apart from cropping/arranging the images and a light sharpening after shrinking them for the web. Credits and SL urls are at the end of the post.

Alpha Lyrae (options)

Alpha Lyrae by Alruneia Sentry comes in six colour options, where the latex-like panels and some of the details on the collar are the parts that change colour. I’m wearing Smokey (black) but there’s also Amethyst (purple), Cavansite (blue), Flourite (green), Pumice (orange), and Pyrite (white). The black surround, shown on the left in the image above, stays the same throughout. There’s a similar outfit in white called Alpha Lyrae II, so plenty of choices all round.

The basic outfit consists of top, bottom, glove and sock layers. As you can see above, you get various degrees of transparency to play with. From left to right: Cropped, Transparent, and Opaque. There’s a shirt and pants layer for each variation, but you also get the same thing on undershirt and underpants layers.

This leads to my only gripe: there’s a problem in Second Life with the seamless meeting of shirt/pants or undershirt/underpants layers, in that they don’t. The gaps are small, but noticeable. You can get around it by having the top on a jacket layer that covers the join, but there is none in this outfit. It’s not something that bothers me, and it’s easy to edit out in post-processing, but it might be irksome for you.

Alpha Lyrae (details)

That’s the only negative point I have. The textures are crisp and detailed, the joins are (other than the SL waist join issue) seamless, and the styling is futuristic and imaginative. I have a particular liking for outfits with transparent areas like this, because they make layering so much fun.

Like the rest of the outfit, the prim collar – there are two copies, one for the chest attachment point and one for the spine – is copy/mod/no trans. It’s made from sculpted prims (and possibly normal ones too) and adds some structure to what is otherwise a primless outfit. There’s also an extra option for the skin-baring variation: a pants layer with a lower crotch.

Alpha Lyrae (extras)

Alpha Lyrae (back)

Alpha Lyrae is priced at 380L$, which I think is a good deal. It’s a beautiful design in its own right, but it would also be an ideal base layer or component of another outfit. Out of all the catsuits/plugsuits/onepieces I’ve found in SL, it ranks very highly indeed.

Credits
Skin: Curio – Moonbeam (Light) Cupid – Crave 2
Hair: Truth – Jess (bubblegum) (freebie) & Exile – Scene (candy) (soon to be discontinued; currently on sale)
Eyes: Rakura Prime – Tech Azur Glow (discontinued)
Outfit: Alruneia Sentry – Alpha Lyrae (Smokey)