Personalisation is a funny thing. When something you truly need only comes in white, you will take it. If that same product has a ridiculous number of customisation options, many people will feel inclined to cough up a lot more cash than they initially intended to spend and that is saying nothing about how much longer it will take them to make up their bloody mind. If you stop and think for a minute you will realise that the plain old white one would have worked just fine. When it comes to Second Life however, it is very easy to understand why our avis become a personal thing, as they are a digital representation of ourselves. For some people that means that they want their avi to resemble their true physical form. Others may go down the furry route or become a vampire. Many of us just want our avi to look good, but you will rarely meet anyone in SL who wants to look exactly like everybody else.
Before I switched to mesh heads, I enjoyed the higher level of individuality that could be achieved with the classic head, a.k.a system head, a.k.a. SL head, a.k.a. just call it whatever you want! I quickly started using a mesh body, but combined it with a system head. The neck tattoo solution to blend the mesh body skin with the system skin worked very well to achieve an inconspicuous seam.
Naturally I soon noticed that mesh heads were blessed with enviably smooth porcelain features whereas my little old system head looked a bit choppy at certain angles and in certain windlights. But the downside of a mesh head was that, while of course different skins could be applied to it, the underlying structure could hardly be altered at all. This finally changed when Linden Labs introduced the new “bento” skeleton, adding many facial bones to the structure. This meant that mesh heads could now be rigged in such a way that they would respond to the sliders in your shape editor. One of the first bento enabled male mesh heads to hit the market, was “Mike” by Akeruka.
For a long time I struggled to fade out the very recognisable features of Mike and bring something more individual to the front. Wherever I spotted this mesh head in other blogs or Flickr images, it was always with the original skin. Any other skins I tried, somehow made the liner of the eye sockets pop out and often the face looked mildly or severely pissed off at everything… That’s one way of looking at life, I suppose. By regularly coming back to this head to tweak the shape and looking out for skins and other solutions I eventually came up with these three quite different looks.
For each of these looks I’m wearing a shape I created myself and the TMP deluxe mesh body. On the left I’m wearing the original Akeruka skin in a pale tone with a Deadwool beard. The dark somewhat longer hairstyle and green eyes help to create a pale sexy Irishman. If we’re going to talk about nationalities then I guess the one in the middle would be, a blue-eyed tanned Italian. For this look I found a skin at The Skinnery. I was amazed at how different it makes the face look and how there’s almost no trace left of Mike. Finally for the third look I was casually browsing through my inventory and came across something with an Asian flair to it from Essences. Once you’ve applied a skin from any creator you can still use features from the Akeruka hud to add eyeliner, pigment spots, freckles and facial hair. I thought I’d try to create a fourth one, but my avi got a bit angry with me and commanded me to unplug myself from virtual life and go get some fresh air. I tried with a “why so serious?” but he was having none of that. These questionable existential multiple personality moments are troublesome!