For models in Second Life (SL), there are okay poses and then there are great poses for the runway. They can make or break a designer’s outfit so it is important to choose the right one to show them off. Each school and agency teach certain rules but they all generally have the same ideas; to sell the outfits displayed.
Now when comparing SL modeling with real life (RL) modeling, they are similar but have very unique differences. You can do things in RL that you cannot do in SL and vice versa. Such limitations include the types of poses you can utilize when working with the SL avatar mesh body. The following list details what models needs to look for when pose shopping.
1.) No armpits showing. The SL avatar’s shoulder joints are tricky to pose properly without looking awkward. When raised up, the avatar mesh twists unnaturally. Aside from that, a pose showing off the armpits is considered unprofessional since you would not want to do that in RL. Though there are exceptions when certain outfits call for an armpit pose, they are generally reserved for photo shoots and funky outfits.
2.) Joints do not fold. The SL avatar is horrible at this since the ‘mesh’ is not as smooth as it appears. This effect appears more in the shoulders when they are bent forward. For a RL model this will look fine but for a SL model the mesh will break into the body. This also includes the other joints in the body such as the hips, elbows, torso and especially the wrists.
3.) Does not crash into the avatar/clothing. SL clothing, whether it be mesh or prims, cannot move like RL clothing can so to compensate models must avoid crashing their body parts with them. This also includes when walking, so selecting a proper walk can be tricky with a prim-tastic outfit. The only exception can be when a model has their hands inside of pant pockets or folds of a skirt, if that is allowed by the agency, school and/or designer.
4.) Does not overly stretch textures. Texture stretching is more noticeable around the torso and can be a model’s worst nightmare. Keep an eye on that area when choosing a pose for an outfit with intricate designs.
5.) Looks good at all angles. A pose may look great from the front but terrible from the side or behind. Audience members tend to love to cam around a model to see an outfit at all angles so models must make sure to look their best at all sides. The most common mistake is a pose that leans backward too much, making it look unbalanced and unrealistic.
6.) Proper pose for the outfit. Different outfits call for different types of poses. In example, a long gown will want a pose set is graceful and contained while a funky outfit will need an energetic, Avante Garde type pose. If your pose sends the wrong vibe then the audience will wonder what the heck the model is doing and distract them from the outfit. Do not use a pose because the pose is awesome or your favorite, but use one that fits with the outfit style.
7.) Not overly animated. A model does not need to be moving all over the runway when audience members are trying to concentrate on the outfit. Not only is it distracting but it makes it harder for the cameraman in the audience to capture the moment you are on stage. If you really want to use an animated pose, make sure that the animation is short and stops at the end into a nice position.
8.) Poses flow with each other. Legs should not cross into one another when you transition from one pose to another. This also goes for arms and other body parts. If you make a turn, your avatar should turn all the way around one way before going the other way.
9.) Feet are planted. Try out the pose with bare feet. Seriously. A lot of poses may appear okay with prim shoes but are terrible with mesh shoes because the feet are not positioned properly. With SL transitioning to mesh, it is more important than ever to check the feet, even with mesh boots.
10.) Model does not float. Either this is a way for pose makers to ensure that the avatar’s shoes do not fall into the floor or they forget to bring the avatar to the ground when making the pose. The Avimator/Qavimator programs have the avatar floating above the ground at 43.53, but for SL models, it really needs to be set at 43 to 42.5. Watch this carefully on poses with bent or spread legs since then it will need to be lower.
11.) Pose does not snap. Posing on the runway should flow together smoothly, like a dance. If the model appears to snap into place, then the pose should NOT be used. Snapping poses are called static and should only be used in photo shoots.
12.) Pose transition times match. The transition time for IsoMotion and Di’s Opera poses are set to 1.8, which allows them to be used in conjunction with each other seamlessly. If you combine poses that are set faster or slower than one another, it is very obvious that they do not match.
13.) Pose priority is at 4. In SL, a pose can have have a priority rating of 2, 3 or 4. A priority 2 (P2) sways slightly while maintaining the pose structure. P2’s can be used as a model’s default stand but not recommended as a runway pose. A priority 3 (P3) does not sway but can be overridden by a priority 4 (P4). Default stands can also be P3’s if you want to avoid the SL sway but if you turn your feet with do the SL tip toe shuffle if you do not have a turn animation in your HUD. P4’s are the highest priority but can be overridden by each other as they are opened/started in sequence during manual posing. You can check the priority of the animation by going to the Advanced menu (CTRL-ALT-D) –> “Character” –> “Animation Information”.
14.) No default setting. This is the technical part of posing. When a limb has a default setting, where there is a zero value in the X, Y and Z axis, then any pose animation under the current one will bleed through on that particular limb. To remedy this, each limb needs to have been tweeked slightly from the default position. If not, you will have part of the avatar moving like a newbie on the runway. (Yes, it will move with SL’s default stand animation.) This is especially critical in the neck or else an unlocked neck will move around to where your cursor is.