What Not To Wear
And Mrs Iris Seale if you got any complains about our design please mention the name of the dress and the problem
Well, it seems I’ve been appropriately “Missus’d” (even though the lady is old enough to be my freaking mom), so I guess I’ll have to do as she asks. For those of our readers who are not vengeful, young and full of spunk, take this as a guide to what a fashion blogger looks for when they consider items for review. Who knows, maybe it’ll help you out when you’re shopping.
I didn’t buy anything from Black Moon, so I’ll be using the ad shots from Vanilla’s blog. As most of us know, getting a sale will rely heavily on your ad. Here is one of Black Moon’s latest releases, Canzone.
When I look at an ad, I look not only at the outfit, but also how it looks with the designer’s selected lighting, skin and hair. Since it’s an ad, I’m assuming that the designer has gone all out to show me exactly how great the outfit can be. The lighting here fails miserably. A lighting setup that lights you evenly is fairly easy to make; the six-light version being the most used. You want to set up lighting so it showcases the details in your outfit. The light reflecting off the prims seems to be a yellow-orange in color, so I’m going to assume that this shot was taken in Windlight settings at sunset. While this light is generally most flattering to your avatar, this is one of the worst times to take photos for an ad in natural light. The light reflects off your avatar and changes most of the colors of your clothes. It can also wipe away delicate details like wrinkles. In this case most of the light is falling on the avatar’s chest, it seems, with little to no light on the dress and face where light belongs.
The skin is also a very poor choice. It looks like something from 2006 and the makeup is far too harsh. Look for something with better detailing (like a collarbone) that upholds the standards you want to project as a brand. The hair is far too light for the skin and distracts the eye from the entire rest of the ad. Now I’m looking at her hair, not her dress. When you choose your skin and hair for an ad, think of them as the canvas for the outfit. You want to capture the spirit of what you’re selling, but not overpower your product.
Now let’s talk about the dress. Interesting. A good concept, but poorly executed. There is no visible shading at all on these textures. In fact, there’s no texture on these textures. Yes, I understand that half your dress is black and therefore cannot be shaded, but using a dark grey would give the impression of black and be able to be shaded. Satin, what I’m assuming a dress like this would be made of, is highly reflective. Fabric wrinkles and forms to our bodies, so a fabric texture should reflect that. Look for realistic shading when you’re out shopping. The white half of the dress looks like the tile on my bathroom floor, if my bathroom floor had no depth.
Clothes are made from fabric. It goes to reason, that a fabric texture should look like fabric. There are many, many ways to achieve a realistic fabric texture, most of which can be found in online tutorials for SL. The tutorials will show you the basics until you develop your own style.
The dress has a white halo. This is caused by the alpha layer (what makes only the clothes appear and not the entire template) not being exactly met by the texture and creates an outline of white pixels. This can be solved by using the Solidify B plugin from Flaming Pear. It makes an alpha layer for you and floods the space with color matching the texture.
The use of the system-skirt with no backup is also a bad idea. Many shoppers (myself included) will not wear a system-skirt if it was lined with cocaine and diamonds. A designer should ideally offer a backup prim version of the skirt, as well.
The prims at the bottom are a good idea. I love mermaid dresses! The problem with these prims are that they don’t take the alpha-glitch into consideration. It’s impossible to get the full effect of a nice, full mermaid skirt with the back prims showing through the front ones. While there’s no cure for the alpha-glitch, there are a lot of workarounds. One popular way is to apply a clear texture to all faces of the prim and then apply your skirt texture to only the face you want showing. It doesn’t cure it completely, but it does cut it down. And is that plywood I see on the sides of those prims? Tsk, tsk, tsk.
I wanted to take one of Vanilla’s dresses and see what I could do with it in under a minute, so I used this ad:
My goal was to apply the things I’ve been discussing in this post to this ad. I gave myself 60 seconds to do that. It’s still not amazing, but I think it’s an improvement. Right click-View Image for full-size:
It takes less than one minute to shade and add texture to your work, so why not try it?