If the eyes are the window to the soul how much do we want to reveal? I’ve always believed that a little mystery is a good thing. In developing an SL shape the eyes are one of the most important features as they are in RL. The question is, how do we determine the right size and then how do we create that size? It’s easy to find a skin that has alluring eye makeup, don the most realistic eyes, and attach finely detailed eyelashes. But then the real work begins.
A common mistake I see on SL avatars is over sizing the eyes – I’ve been guilty too. Some avatars look like poster kids for Graves disease. Combine an abnormally large pair of eyes with poor quality eyes and the offense is complete.
Here are pics of my friends Victoria and Tami in over-sized eyes.
Painting the eyes for enlargement has its place in history as far back as 4000 years ago. Before the modern-day cosmetic industry was making billions of dollars off us, the Egyptians applied copious amounts of what we commonly refer to today as kohl to enhance their eyes both in shape and size. Given our ability to do whatever we want with our shapes in SL, it’s hard to resist the urge to enlarge the eyes based on traditions that transcend time. But resist we must if we don’t want our avatar selves to look like lemurs.
So what IS the right size? In RL the width of one eye on the human adult is usually equal to the distance between the eyes. Given this formula look what can happen…
The two pictures above remind me of a Margaret Keane sad-eyed child painting.
If we take realism one step further we should factor in where the eye sockets lie in relation to the rest of the skull. The eyes should be positioned half an eye width from the “edge” of the face. Based on this real-life formula we had some hysterically funny results but, in the interest of space, I decided to leave the pics out. But take my word for it, the girls looked like something out of Roswell New Mexico.
Below is a visual of how to determine the distance between the eyes based on eye size. Once you apply this formula the rest just falls into place.
Eye sizes and shapes obviously differ from one person to the next (VIVE LA DIFFÉRENCE!), but here are a few basic tips to keep them positioned "correctly" and naturally.
(1) Eyes are usually one eye width apart
(2) And usually positioned half an eye width from the “edge” of the face
These last two pictures illustrate more realistic proportions of the eyes and eye width.
All that said, it always gets back to SL being what YOU want it to be. If you’re not anal about having a realistic looking avatar then worry not. Go as you are and enjoy whatever comes your way. However, if vanity is thy middle name, like it is with me, and you haven’t been able to find that sweet spot regarding your eye size, then try the formula above and notice the improvement.
A special shout-out to my friends Victoria and Tami for posing for these pics. They were real troopers as I directed them in moving their sliders for this article. Thanks gal pals!