The release, which came with a blog post from the Lab, see the avatars which use the default avatar mesh and system layer clothing completely overhauled and replaced with a new set of very modern looking avatars (in terms of their dress and style).
In all there are 16 revamped avatars, which sees the set make use of fitted mesh items and presents them with looks many might find not only an improvement on the older “Classic” avatar looks, but also on the mesh versions launched in May 2014. That said, having tried several, I do feel some are perhaps oddly proportioned; “Shawna” in particular came over as a tad elongated when I tried her.
The avatars are available to those signing-up to Second Life on the avatar picker when setting-up their accounts, and from the Choose and Avatar option of the Me / Avatar menu option in v3 viewers. Once you’ve obtained one of them, it will appear in your Inventory under the Clothing folder and identified by the name assigned to the look.
A further update with these avatars is they dispense with the infamous duck walk, replacing it with something that works reasonably well, together with a series of male or female AO poses which appear to be “built-in rather than reliant upon a HUD. They work reasonably well, although I found the female one a little jerky in the transitions between some poses. They also avoid the hiccup made when launching the fully mesh avatars: these new avatars are properly modifiable.
The Lab’s blog post refers to these avatars are being “more performant”. Checking some of them out against the Quick Graphics RC viewer’s Avatar Complexity capability revealed that have reasonably low ratings, so they shouldn’t offer any major hindrance to those viewing them on lower specification systems.
The demographic represented by the new set remains fairly typical – they all appear to be relatively youthful, perhaps no older than their mid-30s. However, given the general age range of new users signing-up to Second Life, which the Lab has in the past stated has moved more towards the 20-somethings in recent years, this isn’t that surprising. And while it may sound ageist, It also means the avatars have a level of attractiveness around them which is perhaps more enticing to people signing-up to SL that offering a much broader range of ages.
All told, it’s good to see the “Classic” range of avatars updated in this way. The looks are fresh and clean, and – dare I say it – streets ahead of the mesh avatars in overall appearance, none of which I found particularly appealing in either looks or apparel.
These new avatars however, look pretty sharp (speaking as someone yet to swap to mesh bodies, etc). So much so, they they’ve finally encouraged me to give my Crash Test Alt a change of clothing after seven years! She’s now using the “Shawna” outfit and hair (but with her own shape and skin), and looks pretty good.