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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The "Shape Doctor" of SL- DoctorKaren Kanto Reporting…


On my travels through SL, I happened upon an individual, Pertinax Greggan, whose profile caught my attention.

He professed to having some expertise with female shapes in SL and I just had to find out what that was all about. Prior to the interview, I asked him what he thought of my shape (this was made easier by the fact that we were both at a nudist sim at the time), and he offered several "corrections" that, when I tried them out, all were small but significant improvements that I have retained.

Karen: Your profile says you are a "Shape Doctor, making realistic female shapes as a sort of hobby, not to sell... I give them away!" What do you mean by "Shape Doctor"?



Pertinax: Well, there are positively hordes of women out there in SL who have tinkered with their own shapes and ended with results that are less than anatomically plausible, much less aesthetically pleasing. I draw photo-realistically in RL and, so I have a good eye for form and proportion. ((points to a drawing on his wall)) That is done with pencil and charcoal and some chalk... it loses something from the scan to SL, though.







Karen: So your sense of aesthetic is that the SL avi would do well to be closer to RL female forms?

Pertinax: Now Doc, I admit to certain personal prejudices. I do like a fully developed female figure with an actual butt, not that i have anything against slender ladies, but in brief, yes, closer to RL form is much better. After all, most of the female denizens of SL prefer to look human, so why not wear a human shape?

Karen: What are the most common mistakes, in your opinion, that people make with their female avatar shapes?

Pertinax: As one travels around SL, one sees a number of common mistakes. One of the hardest things to get right and so often seen wrong is the waist/hip/thigh transition. The hips should flare, but not pass for towel hooks. Other big common mistakes are legs too long, pelvis too short, and boobs that never heard about gravity. The worst offenders are the "Barbie Dolls" that have pipe-stem legs, no butts , no hips and appear to be 14 year old (male) basketball players smuggling grapefruit in their shirts! Another common mistake they so often make is to have the arms too short!

Karen: You say you make female shapes... how many and with what kinds of variations?

Pertinax: I have 95 "off the rack" shapes I have made that can be molded to suit the needs/want/angst of the particular wearer.

Karen: So 95 shapes... how much variation do they have?

Pertinax: quite a bit! I go from tall, slender, athletic to round and jiggly. It's all about what the client wants.

Karen: When you gave me the folder with all the shapes and I tried them all on, I was surprised at what seemed to be a limited range of the shapes. There only seemed to be a few main types.

Pertinax: The differences are subtle. They can be considered "templates" that can be further varied by simple adjustments of the body thickness and body fat sliders. It IS true that many of the shapes are the outgrowths of earlier ones. Besides, how many basic body types ARE there, anyway?

Karen: you are the one who studies it :)

Pertinax: There are really only a few, really basic archetypes, you might say. Beyond the basic ectomorph, mesomorph  and endomorph, there are long waisted and short waisted types. Usually, when you get  a long waist, you get short legs, and the opposite is true. Only rarely will you find a long legs AND a long waist, and when you do the effect is arresting. The most important principle is balance. The top should not overpower the bottom, else the effect is too "comic-bookish"

Karen: Do you have a compiled picture or set of pictures of them?

Pertinax: I wish I did! But there is a problem of resolution. The differences between shapes is often subtle, and with the screen resolutions available to us it would be tough to see what you are looking at. The ideal would be a pose stand with a manikin on it that you could use to riffle through the pages, as it were.

Karen: You would like a 3-D display for best rendering.

Pertinax: Yes, a 3-D display would be the only truly satisfactory solution.  One thing I always urge upon people is that, if you find a face you like to take the time to WRITE DOWN on paper or into a note card ALL of the slider positions for your head. That way, if you change shape, you can restore your original face quickly and without guesswork!

Karen: That could hold true for someone's entire shape, couldn't it? To record all of the parameters?

Pertinax: Yes, but in that instance, one could just make a copy of the shape and give it a name. It would be nice if SL would let one save JUST the head, but that is a thing left to the Linden Gods.

Karen: So, how did you get into the practice of making all these female shapes?

Pertinax: Well, I have used Poser, a sophisticated 3-D figure modeling program, for years, so doing this is a natural extension of that.

Karen: For what did you use Poser?

Pertinax: I used poser originally to help with my RL pencil drawing because the figures in the program are pretty correct, anatomically.

Karen: How do you go about working on a shape?

Pertinax: There are 3 methods I use to rework a woman's shape, in descending order of preference: The first is she gives me a copy of her shape, assuming her shape is not store bought. She gives me a copy, I wear it, rework it, rename it, and hand it back to her for inspection and comment. Sometimes it takes two or three cycles to get it right. The next method is to "talk her through" the changes as she works on her own shape. This can be exhausting as it takes strict attention and a good knowledge of what all those buttons do. One can forget trying this with a noob, I'm afraid. The third method is to give her an "off the rack model" and do a little tweaking. This can often be done to the client's complete satisfaction.

Karen: I understand you do not charge for any of this work? Why do you give the shapes away instead of selling them?

Pertinax: I don't know about selling them. It just doesn't feel right. I get a kick out of just doing it. Call it my Pygmalion complex ;0 Trust me, the smiles are payment enough. See all the pictures on the desk here? I remade all of their shapes for them.



Pertinax: One thing I abhor are "Lolas". Beastly things! There is not a damned thing in this or the other world with a B cup!

Karen: ?? There are no B cups?

Pertinax: Sorry, there is not a damned thing WRONG with a small breast.

Karen: Ah... you are not fond of the quadruple D cup breast? :)

Pertinax: Jesus, no! Look, I try to keep things in a RL perspective. A woman who is a 32B at 20 will likely still be one at 60. Lolas would have looked terrible on you. As you are, you are balanced. (Looks closely) Nah! wouldn't change you by a millimeter.

Karen: well, truth be told, you already did :)

Pertinax: I know! I was re-evaluating.


After the interview, I re-wore all 95 of the shapes in the folder, took a picture of each one, and gave Pertinax the folder of all 95 pictures for anyone that might be interested in seeing the range, albeit only in 2D pictures rather than a 3D model. My own shape, with his suggested modifications, I will keep for myself. :)
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