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Old 01-17-2011, 01:14 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Creating a well proportioned shape.

Due to the number of IMs I've received from people requesting shape help over the years, and how popular shape threads are whenever they pop up on SLU, I thought it would be a good time to finally post something for the public to make use of. While this guide isn't nearly as thorough a certain project of mine, it should still be quite useful for creating a generally well proportioned humanoid shape.

The shape featured in this guide is for a slim, petite female with somewhat large breasts that stands about 5'4" (very much like her creator!). However, the guide can be applied to any body type and still give good results.

Height measurements:
Actual prim measurement: 1.62750
Scripted prim height detector: 1.615366 (I'll get around to making the script better )
Phoenix's built-in height detector: 1.66m (It's a ways off, but still better than agent height)
Agent height: 1.460944 (Most height detectors use this, it is not very accurate)

Before you begin, you'll want to grab my tools here:
https://marketplace.secondlife.com/p...-Tools/1835986

Unpack the tools and hop on the included pose stand. Be sure to take off any shoes and hair you may have on, being nude tends to help as well.

You can change poses on the pose stand by hitting shift + the left or right arrow keys. Sometimes your Z axis position will "bump" up a bit after changing poses, which can throw off adjustments. To avoid this, simply hop off then back on after changing poses.

NOTES:
1.) I'm purposely using a Linden skin since it's only the proportions we're focusing on for now.

2.) The prims may look to be scaled wrong, too small or too large in some photos, this is often due to the camera angles used and is unavoidable.
The cubes with transparency also alpha clip over each other a bit in some shots, making them appear smaller or larger than they actually are.

3.) The Height slider does not proportionally scale down your avatar as a whole. Instead, it scales the Arm, Leg, Torso and Neck lengths all at the same time, but in smaller increments than moving those individual sliders by themselves. Using the individual sliders along with Height slider is very useful for getting an exact shape.

Similar results can be achieved by using a shorter Height number, yet longer Arm, Leg, Torso and Neck lengths as can be achieved by using a greater Height number but shorter Arm, Leg, Torso and Neck. However, I suggest starting with centered playing field for everything except Height, which should be on the lower end to start. You will have more room to work with this way should you need it.


4.) The shape sliders favor the realistic average human height range when the goal is to create a well proportioned shape.

5.) This is only a guideline, the proportions of your avatar do not have to be exactly the same as they are laid out here. However, it is exceptionally important to understand that human beings are generally proportioned the same way. Due to this fact, one should not deviate too far away if their goal is to have a well proportioned avatar.

********************
On to the guide!

The first step is to pick out a height and aim at working towards that. After selecting a height you want, selecting your head size is the next and one of the more important steps in creating your shape. As any decent artist can tell you, head size plays a key role in how the rest of a figure is proportioned; Second Life is no different in this regard.

Female avatars generally want something around 55-60, with 50 being the bare minimum. Males, on the other hand, will likely want a head size around 65 at least.

Now, rez the "- Ruined - Proportionator v1.2" item and scale it to the vertical size of your head, getting it as close as you can. I also like to set the transparency to 20 in the "Texture" tab.

The top and bottom of your head should look something like this once you've scaled the prim properly. I like to let the cube clip into the head a tiny bit, since our heads don't taper to a point in RL.


Once you've done that, click the scaled Proportionator cube and select the "total height" option. This will create seven copies under your head sized prim.



Now we can see how many heads tall the avatar is. Real life adults tend to be about 7.5 heads tall on average. People on the shorter range (closer to 5') tend to be closer to 7 heads tall. Those in the tall range of the human height spectrum are often closer 8. We'll want to apply these rules to the Second Life avatar as well.

As you can see, the shape in the photo is around 7.4 heads tall or so:


Take note of where the head sized prims begin and end in the images above.

Head 1: This is obviously the head itself!

Head 2: This head starts at the chin and should end somewhere around nipple level. Neck length and actual head size affect this one the most, though breast settings on the ladies play a role as well.

Head 3: This head should start around nipple level and end around the belly button. Torso length and head size affect this measurement.

Head 4: This starts around the belly button level and ends below the crotch, but not too far down past it. Hip length and again, head size affect this.

It's fine if each head ends a little bit above or below the targeted area, so long as it does not stray too far from the general mark. People in real life have such differences as well.

Heads 5, 6, 7 and 7.5 (or 8, depending on your target)

Since only a single slider affects these heads, we can get this down pretty easily with one simple step.

Leg length
The length of your legs should be about equal to that of your upper body. In other words, the measurement from the top of your head to the bottom of your crotch should be the same as the measurement from the bottom of your crotch to the bottom of your feet.

Copy the head sized Proportionator off to the side, you may need it later. Now, making sure "stretch both sides" is not checked, select the Proportionator cube that's still on your head and scale it down until it is at the bottom of your crotch.

Like so:


Here's a look from below, it should be scaled so it clips just a bit into the "^" area between the legs. Men are a bit different between the legs...but hopefully you guys reading this can figure out where to end the prim .



Great! Now we have our leg length, click the Proportionator and select the "copy down" menu option.

It should look like this:


Yay, leg length done. That was easy, wasn't it?

Here's a closer look at the bottom:

That's about perfect.

Arm Length
Arm length is something an overwhelming amount of people get wrong, but it's really quite easy.

First off, let's make sure your hands are decent. For well proportioned ladies, the hand size will be in the late teens to low twenties depending on your scale.

In real life, the length of your arms spread out to the sides in a "T" pose from fingertip to fingertip is about equal to your height. However, this does not work very well in Second Life due to the way the avatar mesh deforms when it is in the same position.

The horizontal red prim is stretched from fingertip to fingertip. The vertical red prim is the exact same size, notice how it falls short.


What happens is the shoulders of the mesh end up getting squished inwards as the arms bend outward, so the fingertip to fingertip measurement will end up being shorter than it should be. This is an unfortunate result of how the mesh itself deforms for animations/poses.

Extending the arm length so the fingertip to fingertip measurement is equal to the avatar's height can actually create arms that are far too long.

So, what do we do?

As I said, it's really quite easy! What we want to do is make the avatar's arms long enough so the base of the thumb is at least level with the bottom of the crotch.

Like so:


If you stand with your arms to your sides in real life, the bottom of your crotch will line up in the same area, which is about half way between where your inner thumb meets your hand and the end of your wrist (the start of your hand). This is an ideal length.

Just to double check, let's measure the arms and shoulders individually with the avatar's arms to its sides, then add that together. The purple prims show the length of the arms, the red prims are the width of the shoulders.


As you can see, when we manually measure the avatar's arms and shoulders in this non-deformed/squished pose, then line those prims up vertically, it ends up being pretty much exactly as tall as the avatar.

Here is a close up of the shoulder area:


and a close up of one of the hands, I took the liberty of making the purple prim a little bit longer to account for the avatar's bent fingers. If the fingers were straight out for a proper full length measurement, they would end about where the prim does:


If everything went well, all you need to do is put your hair back on, get dressed and enjoy your new, well proportioned shape!

Last edited by Vaelissa Cortes; 01-17-2011 at 06:23 AM.
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Old 01-17-2011, 01:14 AM   #2 (permalink)
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All dressed up!

Same shape dressed up in random stuff:

Barefoot, with heels, and from behind with animal parts:



I wasn't going to go into widths, but now that I've thought about it a bit, I really should. Since I reached the character limit in the first post, I've added the following here:

On Widths
One head width is the measurement of your head's width not counting the ears.

The width of the shoulders shouldn't be more than 3 head widths, women will generally be closer to 2 and men closer to 2.5. If you are not certain about where the shoulders end due to the way the SL avatar mesh curves, check the red shoulder sized prims near the bottom of the first post. That should give you a pretty good idea.

As for the hips, about 2 head widths is a decent size to start at.

Last edited by Vaelissa Cortes; 01-17-2011 at 09:16 AM.
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Old 01-17-2011, 04:35 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Very well done!
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Old 01-17-2011, 04:38 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Nicely done.
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Old 01-17-2011, 10:03 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Old 01-17-2011, 05:01 PM   #6 (permalink)
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This is really helpful. I discovered that even at length 80 my arms were still too short and I had to bump the length up to 90.

However I found it impossible to edit my shape whilst on the pose-stand, it kept throwing me off and then I wasn't in the right position for the blocks. Is there a way to do that?
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Old 01-17-2011, 05:59 PM   #7 (permalink)
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No, unfortunately, you have to hop off of any objects you may be sitting on to edit your appearance. Due to the way Z axis hip offsets work with animations in Second Life, any changes that affect your height will change your vertical position on objects you sit on, such as pose stands.
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Old 01-17-2011, 06:49 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Lewis Luminos View Post
This is really helpful. I discovered that even at length 80 my arms were still too short and I had to bump the length up to 90.

However I found it impossible to edit my shape whilst on the pose-stand, it kept throwing me off and then I wasn't in the right position for the blocks. Is there a way to do that?
You can do it in Phoenix - in the optional preferences under avatar I think there is a check box for something like "Unsit while editing appearance".
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Old 01-18-2011, 04:30 AM   #9 (permalink)
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You can do it in Phoenix - in the optional preferences under avatar I think there is a check box for something like "Unsit while editing appearance".
If there's a preference in Phoenix does that mean there's a debug setting for it in V2?
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Old 01-18-2011, 11:53 AM   #10 (permalink)
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If there's a preference in Phoenix does that mean there's a debug setting for it in V2?
Not always. Some settings are custom coded for a viewer.
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Old 01-18-2011, 12:21 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Old 01-18-2011, 11:14 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I thought I'd share this chart I found that might be helpful for people wanting to create a nicely-proportioned child avatar. I'm gonna try my hand at it and see how it goes.

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Old 01-20-2011, 07:15 PM   #13 (permalink)
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This is AWESOME! Tried it just now and did a couple tweaks to my shape. The arm slider always makes me rage. I had it at mid 80's and they were still too short! Had to crank it to 90 to make them look right. Sooo misleading!
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Old 02-21-2011, 12:46 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Really great tutorial...I'm guessing I should have started with a shape that had a larger head though as I ended up looking like a midget in any group I am in...something borrowed ... something blue still a nice looking body...
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Old 02-24-2011, 04:10 PM   #15 (permalink)
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This is really great information. Let me, however, suggest a couple of changes in phraseology if you distribute this more widely. The way this paragraph reads still sounds to me as if there is, in your view, a "right" shape of avatar and a "wrong" shape of avatar, although you admit (rather reluctantly) that people do not *HAVE* to follow these guidelines.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vaelissa Cortes View Post
5.) This is only a guideline, the proportions of your avatar do not have to be exactly the same as they are laid out here. However, it is exceptionally important to understand that human beings are generally proportioned the same way. Due to this fact, one should not deviate too far away if their goal is to have a well proportioned avatar.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suggestion
5.) My sole aim in providing this is to help those who wish to create realistic human shapes do so. Although there are an infinite number of variations to the norm, in real life most human beings are generally proportioned the same way. Due to this fact, one should not deviate too far away if their goal is to have a realistically proportioned human avatar.
I think this accurately represents your intention, and sounds a little more welcoming to freakishly proportioned humans, aliens, mechs and those of other species (as you may perhaps be able to tell, my personal sympathies are always with the freaks).
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Old 03-23-2011, 02:47 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Thanks so much for doing this. I'm afraid I'm a bit dense, though, and haven't been able to make it work. Any help will be greatly appreciated.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vaelissa Cortes View Post

Unpack the tools and hop on the included pose stand.
The pose stand would only make me sit in space, but eventually it let me stand.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vaelissa Cortes View Post

The first step is to pick out a height and aim at working towards that.
Do you mean just pick a height in my mind and remember it, or should I actually go to appearance mode and adjust the body, torso, and leg sliders to get that height?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vaelissa Cortes View Post
Now, rez the "- Ruined - Proportionator v1.2" item and scale it to the vertical size of your head, getting it as close as you can.
When you say "rez", do you mean "wear it on skull" or "rez it on the ground and move it to your head"?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vaelissa Cortes View Post
Once you've done that, click the scaled Proportionator cube and select the "total height" option. This will create seven copies under your head sized prim.

The seven copies start at my avatar's hips, not under the block at the head.

That's as far as I've gotten. Thanks for your help.
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Old 03-23-2011, 03:28 PM   #17 (permalink)
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I've been using this tool extensively over the past few weeks, so I can provide some answers.

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The pose stand would only make me sit in space, but eventually it let me stand.
Turn off your AO -- the sits you're using are probably a higher priority than the anim in the pose stand.

Quote:
Do you mean just pick a height in my mind and remember it, or should I actually go to appearance mode and adjust the body, torso, and leg sliders to get that height?
My interpretation was to choose the height you'd like to be, then change only the body height sliders to get to that height. From that point on, as you work with the proportion tool, you'll probably have to bounce a bit back and forth because your final "proportional" shape may be too far off the height ideal you'd like.

I like having my avatar at about 6' or so, which is taller than average for women but gives me a fighting chance with Amazon heights when I dance with women at my bar. By the time I finished getting my avatar parts in proportion, I was at 6'1", but that was close enough.

Quote:
When you say "rez", do you mean "wear it on skull" or "rez it on the ground and move it to your head"?
Rez it on the ground and move it to your head.

Quote:
The seven copies start at my avatar's hips, not under the block at the head.
Try rezzing a clean copy of the head block and moving it into place. What you describe is definitely not what should be happening. If you're wearing it, that may be why it's displaying so strangely.
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Old 03-26-2011, 03:10 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Thanks for your help, Beebo.

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Turn off your AO -- the sits you're using are probably a higher priority than the anim in the pose stand.
I had done a "detach all" before doing anything with the tools.

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Originally Posted by Beebo Brink View Post
My interpretation was to choose the height you'd like to be, then change only the body height sliders to get to that height. From that point on, as you work with the proportion tool, you'll probably have to bounce a bit back and forth because your final "proportional" shape may be too far off the height ideal you'd like.
Thanks. I'll try this. I don't think the body slider will go as low as 5'5" at first, but I'll keep at it.

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Originally Posted by Beebo Brink View Post

Rez it on the ground and move it to your head.
OK, thanks

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beebo Brink View Post

Try rezzing a clean copy of the head block and moving it into place. What you describe is definitely not what should be happening. If you're wearing it, that may be why it's displaying so strangely.
Wearing it was probably the problem.

Thanks again for all your help. I'll see what I can do.
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Old 03-26-2011, 05:53 PM   #19 (permalink)
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When SL stops triggering headaches and lets me log back in I really have to grab your shape tools Vaelissa and have another attempt at making that female alt. I find the whole experience of creating a female shape (even with photographic references) really daunting... mainly due to head and arm length slider issues.

I don't have the same problem with making male shapes at all, although I really hate the male mesh.

Last edited by Walker; 03-26-2011 at 07:22 PM.
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Old 05-25-2011, 04:52 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Warning: Necro post!

But relevant to the tutorial..

I've found head stretch effects both the overall height and the width of the body. I've got myself at a 6 foot 1 inch height (slightly shorter than my RL height) but ended up with a 60 head height and 54 stretch and leg length of around 20 which seems pretty damn odd to me. Any thoughts?
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Old 05-25-2011, 07:58 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Ignore the arbitrary numbers. They don't equate to any degree of proportion. (^_^)

Make an avatar of all 50s to see what I mean. =^-^=
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Old 05-29-2011, 08:09 AM   #22 (permalink)
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The slider numbers are not even linear. When I was messing with my shape I found that changing one point on the slider could affect my height by anything between 0.1cm and 5cm. And the next point on the height slider would be a different amount of cm. And that, without touching any other sliders at all.

No wonder making shapes proportional is so difficult.
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Old 06-26-2011, 02:50 AM   #23 (permalink)
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Not to mention but scaling down basically requires you to rebuild your entire shape, proportion wise. The "height" slider is not a "scale" slider, it really is limited to height. Meaning your arms, legs, torso, head size...all of it goes wonky when all you adjust is the "height" slider.
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Old 08-11-2011, 05:31 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Hello, and thank you so much for the guide!! I had a question about the pose pad included in the kit. When I stand on it, it floats me in the air. I noticed you aren't though in the pictures. When I rez the blocks after I fit the proportionator to my head, enough blocks aren't rezzed! I'm only using a height of 6 foot even with a female body. What can I do to fix the floating issue (I have detached everything and taken off all clothing)?

I included a picture. As you can tell, I have A LOT of work to do!
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Old 08-12-2011, 05:39 PM   #25 (permalink)
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I would set the head size based on the desired avatar height and how many heads tall you want it to be. The second life avatar is very limited in the head sizes you can have so the actual value may vary greatly from what was stated in this guide.

The neck length wants to be set to what looks good with the head.

On female avatars you dont want the breast setting to interfere with the vertical proportions. So I would suggest setting them to something neutral while working on the proportions (size no more than 50 and buoyancy of I think 50).

There is only one slider that effects the length of the upper torso and that is the body height slider. So for "head 2" that is what you have to use.

Last edited by Alison Alena; 08-13-2011 at 12:21 AM.
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