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Basics - Appearance



This thread is dedicated to some basic information about appearance in Second Life with hopefully some useful information.


Most skin is made outside of the game in Photoshop or similar packages and then uploaded into the game. You simply upload as an image and then select the type of image - head, lower body, upper body. It costs 10L to upload each image.

The Linden templates for Skin can be found here: http://secondlife.com/community/templates.php

Sezmra has also put out some really great skin templates as resources, for people to learn from, modify and make your own skins. They shouldn't be resold as is for commercial gain. http://sezmra.com/?page_id=7 You can pick up the skins ingame for free - they come in a variety of make-ups and skin tones and also a freebie shape.

A skin is wearable - you cannot take a skin off, without replacing it with another one. Its denoted by a picture of a stick man with his arms and legs outstetched - like he's doing a star jump !

Some designers sell skins which are modifiable - you can tint the skin tone and/or make up options e.g. change the shade of lipstick. This is usually well advertised when buying a skin. Aside from the differences in face make up, all skins will vary in the highlights on the body and erm various body parts.

Its always adviseable to buy a bunch of demos (usually free or 1L) and then take them home or somewhere relatively private, so that you can try each skin on and see not only the face, but the whole body.

Because skins are hand drawn, they effect the way your avie looks - even with the same shape - a skin will change your features. Some skins will make your mouth markedly different to the mouth in your shape. A top tip I read somewhere (if I could remember where, I'd give the credit) - when making a shape, don't put too much upturn in the mouth as most skins do this anyway and you end up with some weird wrinkled look around your mouth.

The following picture shows several different skins - all worn with the same shape and shows how some skins make a subtle difference and some much more noticeable.

Aside from the bottom 3 - all the other skins shown were either free or 1L. Skins usually retail at around 1000L per skin - so picking up a good quality, well made skin for free (or next to nothiing) is not to be sniffed at ! There are plenty of free skins around - some nice, some not so good. Look out for treasure hunts, group gifts and special offers. In the past month, I've acquired some really great skins for next to nothing.

Free Dove and the Gnubie Store have a couple of decent skins to help start new players off.

The skin on the far right, second up from the bottom is a current free gift from KA Designs and comes in 4 different shades. Sunkissed is showing in the pic. Link below:


To compliment your skin, pick up a free facelight - available pretty much anywhere (at most skin, shape and hairstores). You simply wear it - usually attaches to your chin. It will light up your face and stop the strange effects that windlight causes.
Some facelights tend to light up the whole body rather than just the face, so you end up looking like you're glowing, so shop around until you find one that suits.


As well as a skin, you wear a shape - denoted by a brown square with a head and shoulders in it. Like a skin, you have to replace a shape with another one - you can't just take a shape off.

Unlike skin, shapes are made in world using the edit appearance slider tools.

Unless you have bought a shape that is not modifiable, you can play with a shape's setting to your heart's content. You can also make your own - open your inventory, click create, new body part -> new shape. You can then wear it. Click on yourself and Appearance. This brings up a whole bunch of sliders - starting with the body and working through all the body parts. Oh and you can pick male or female too, if you feel like a change !


In Second Life most hair is worn like a wig. First you go bald by wearing a bald hair base - these usually come with your hair. (They also come with many skins with a choice of eyebrow colours). Next you right click on the hair of choice and simply click wear.

You can stand on a pose stand to ajdust your hair - usually best to take a copy of the hair before you try this. Use the red, green and blue positioning arrows to move the hair. You can also click on edit linked parts and an individual part of the hair to slightly adjust just one piece. *be cautious when doing this, if you're not used to using the build options.

Some hairstyles come in varying sizes so you can pick one that matches your head size and some have a built in menu hud to adjust the size of the hair to suit you. Alternatively of course, rather than messing with your hair, you can always alter the shape of your head to fit your hair :p