Monday, 5 May 2014

018: Setting l'Uomo aside for a while

rusty new redhead _001

It's been on my mind for a while, and now I've done it. I've taken my l'Uomo mesh body off and I'm going to have some fun in SL without it for a while. (And, as you may have noticed, I've gone back to being the redhead as which Rusty started life.)

How did this all come about? Well ... kind of a long story. But it occurred to me that telling the story would be potentially useful for (a) other people trying to make a decision to go with any kind of mesh body or not, and (b) designers who are considering moving into the l'Uomo market. And that's because this started for me with a long conversation with Lion Valentino.

[caption id="attachment_146" align="alignnone" width="300"]Lion Valentino_001 Lion Valentino[/caption]

Mr. Valentino is a long-time SL resident and proprietor of Jungle Wear, a line of clothing I've been wearing for years. His aesthetic is for men who want to look sexy without necessarily looking skanky (not that there's anything wrong with skanky, mind you). A few years ago, he was the only designer I could find who was providing realistic body hair for a guy who wanted to look like he actually HAD body hair. And so I've been making the occasional trip to Jungle Wear over the years because Lion seems to provide clothes that I want to wear.

What brought me to his main store (seen behind him in the photograph; it's a huge layout with many, many nooks and crannies) lately was an announcement in the l'Uomo group that Jungle Wear was opening up a section for the l'Uomo man. And when I popped in to see what was going on, Lion himself was there. And he told me that he'd decided to go with the new HUD system for applying l'Uomo clothes. Or, rather, you buy the HUD, the HUD contains the textures for the clothes, and you rez the layer and ... well, it's all quite complicated. There are many advantages to it, including that the clothes automatically update, and if you want to make your own clothing the pieces are now modifiable.

Now, Lion had kindly provided a helpful and friendly assistant, Gare Claven, to help customers through the process of how to actually put the clothes on. And so I had a conversation with Lion, and a conversation with Gare, and I saved all the conversations to a word processing file. I thought that what I would do is study the instructions off-line, then come in and do a blog post as a how-to for people who were having trouble adjusting to the new system -- I learned that the inventor of l'Uomo, Miro Collas at Animations Rising, had made the same decision as Lion, to henceforth only sell clothes that had the applier.

So I bought a couple of excellent pieces of clothing, I saved the conversations offline, and I determined that I was going to knuckle down to my blog post. And I kept putting it off, and putting it off ... "It's going to take a while to learn this," I thought, "and I don't have enough time to devote to really grasp it today ... maybe tomorrow." And tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow never came, and the documents and pictures have been sitting on my desktop for two weeks staring at me.

I've learned over the years that when I can't find the enthusiasm to do something like this, when I have a clear objective in mind and the tools I need on hand -- it means something in my subconscious is blocking me. And when I finally admitted I had an issue, it was easy to figure out what it was. Essentially, I just didn't want to move a step further into committing myself to l'Uomo. Even though I had been told that the new applier would fix the "holes in the shoulders" problem that's been driving me crazy ever since I bought my l'Uomo mesh -- it was a workaround step that I just couldn't bring myself to take.

I found myself looking longingly at "ordinary" clothes. Clothes that you could just buy, in a shop or on Marketplace, and you put them on and they fit. I was reminded of the old days when I used to go shopping with friends and buy things and be able to wear them, without worrying about holes in the shoulders and being restricted to only a few shops out of all the thousands in SL. (I have to admit, my recollections were coloured with nostalgia ... there are still problems with regular clothes. But I was in the middle of an emotional reaction and not a logical one.)

And all of a sudden last night, I just thought, "The hell with it." And I signed into SL and went back to a stored non-l'Uomo shape from more than a year ago and thought, "Damn it, while I'm changing everything, I'm going back to being a redhead too." With the results you see. I tinkered with the shape for a while, mostly to get the face a little bit more in line with what I've been telling residents about how to make your face distinctive and realistic. (Can you see where I gave people a facial feature to look at that was a bit skewed from perfection?)

rusty new redhead _002

I have to say that I've really, REALLY enjoyed my time wearing my l'Uomo mesh body. I am embarrassed to say that I have said on numerous occasions that I would never go back ... I very much enjoy the sense of being 7'8" and 280# of solid muscle, and it was good for my ego in that a lot of people were attracted to that body. But it was keeping me from enjoying Second Life in the way that almost everybody else does, for the reasons that I got into SL in the first place. I like getting dressed up, I like having fun with other people, I like creating looks and tinkering with clothes and shapes. Nothing was stopping me from exploring SL and having fun with other people, so the restrictions of l'Uomo didn't chafe for a long while (it's hard to be galled by the limitations of your shape when everyone around you is telling you how hot and sexy you look). If there's anyone reading this who is considering getting a l'Uomo mesh body, I would even still recommend it. It's a great experience.

And I have to say that Lion Valentino and Miro Collas are trying very hard to give SL something that the players need. Right now, I think that the l'Uomo mesh body is a kind of intermediate step to something that players in Second Life want to do, and they found a way to make it possible. What I think is that, eventually, every player will be able to set his/her body to a much, much wider range of sizes and shapes than is currently available, without the intermediate step of having to wear a body like a suit of ill-fitting clothes. And then everyone will be able to go into a store and buy a sweater and have it fit. It's a little discouraging, but I think that Linden Labs will eventually devote the resources to make it possible, in order to keep moulding Second Life into an experience that people will continue to want to have.

Even though I'm sad to be setting aside my l'Uomo body, today I'm feeling very good about going back to my "regular" shape. And I think it was the right thing to do because, immediately I made the decision last night, I wanted to get started on a blog post. So, folks, bear with me while I make the adjustment. I'm feeling like it's a time to make changes in how I do things in Second Life, so I'll also probably be re-working my house and furniture completely in the next little while. Because I no longer have to contribute to the fiction that I work out about three hours a day.

And I still have my l'Uomo body on file and it's easy to take it out to play if I want to!

Your comments are welcome; I'd especially like to hear from anyone who's made a decision like this.



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