Quick tip: Cataloguing skins

Quick tip: Cataloguing skins

Ladies, do you ever find yourselves trying on skin after skin in the same designer’s line, because you can’t remember which one had that lovely greenish-blue eye makeup? Sometimes it can take several minutes for each skin to load, and then it rebakes, and you’re sitting there for simply ages, while you try to find that one makeup you need right now!

Here’s a quick tip to help you out.

Hop behind the cut!

Find (or make – I’ll put up a quick tutorial on that very soon!) a photobooth with a plain white background and wear something simple, such as a strapless or ribbon-strap top. Make sure you’re wearing a hairstyle that shows as much of your face as possible. Find a pose that has you facing forward, and enable a good, bright Windlight setting (something like Caliah Lyon’s Avatar Optimising Preset – instructions here, or the AnaLu Studio presets that come pre-loaded with the likes of the Phoenix viewer). It’s usually a good idea to take off any facelights you’re wearing when you’re using these presets, because the whole purpose of the presets is to make your skin look its best without any assistance from things like facelights.

Get your camera nice and close on your face and drag your inventory window close to it. Try on each skin, one at a time, and use a screencapping program (the one I use is ScreenGrab, but there are lots of others available, as well as good old Print Screen!) to capture an image of both your face and that specific skin highlighted in your inventory. This will help you to identify the skin later on (as opposed to noting down each one on a bit of paper).

Next, using your preferred graphics editing software (Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro, or the freeware GIMP program) you can do one of two things, depending on what you need to catalogue:

1. The style of the skin

If you only want to remember that the skin is, “that one with the cupid’s bow lips and freckles,” and to differentiate it from, “that one with the arched eyebrows and full lips,” crop the screencaps so that only your face and the inventory window (with the skin’s name/type highlighted) are open. It’s also a good idea to add the designer’s name and the skin style name to each image before you save it. And save it using the designer name and skin style name!

Here’s Mar’s ongoing folder for her skins by Tuli:

2. Differing makeups within one skin range

For this option, forego the inventory window and crop the images tightly around your face. Resize them so they’ll fit within the standard SL image sizes (512 x 512, 1024 x 512, etc) and paste them into a single image. For example, here’s how Mar catalogued all of the makeups from the Gina skins that Tuli had out at varying times in The Dressing Room:

These skins were just sold with numbers to differentiate them (Gina 1, Gina 2, etc) so it’s much harder to remember that, say, #3 has the green eye makeup and natural lips.

You can either keep the images on your hard drive, as I have with the first pic, or upload them into the specific skin folder, as I have with the ‘Gina’ pic. Waiting for just one composite image to load is a lot faster than trying on a dozen skins and waiting for those to load!

Don’t forget: you can use a variant of this tip (which I originally wrote about here, on the old SL for Nowt blog) to catalogue anything visual in SL, be it outfits or hair.

Now, whenever you get a new skin, don’t wait to do this: hope onto a pose stand as soon as you can, and update your skins image catalogue :)

8 thoughts on “Quick tip: Cataloguing skins

  1. Would like to add that for portrait photography, to avoid the fisheye lens effect (which I hate, also known as bug-eyed horseface), use ctrl-0 (that’s zero) 2 or 3 time along with the traditional alt-zooming on the face. Then ctrl-9 to reset the view (or ctrl-8 to zoom back out one step at a time). Ctrl-0 adjusts the angle of view. Mar obviously knows how to do this but some folks don’t. :-)

      1. Haha, you know it, you’ve seen it.

        I do have a question. What is up with the rebaking? Why, once my face loads, does it invariably go right out of focus again, and take forever to just stay loaded?

        1. I don’t know. For some reason, the viewer does it twice: the initial ‘fuzzing-out’, then it resolves, then it often does it again. It’s annoying because it can take absolutely ages for one skin to load.

  2. I’m much lazier. I just rename the skin, adding the eyeshadow and lipstick colors to the end of the name.

    So “HS Spirit – Muse – Candyfloss SBS” becomes “HS Spirit – Muse – Candyfloss – lt pink, lt. pink.”

    I archive skins that aren’t in my preferred (pale) skin tone, so I don’t have to worry about the skin itself, just the shadow and lip shades.

    1. Good point, karen. If you can remember it from writing the colours down, that’s a great way to do it. Personally, I like to have the visual, because I have so many skins in so many tones and makeups that I’d never remember them all otherwise!

  3. It’s also worth checking to see if a ready made makeup ‘map’ has been included with your skin…. My fave skin is Natural Beauty’s new Malinka, and with her new skins Miah McAuley has included a nice little pic showing all of the makeups in the fatpack. I just added an extra image based on your example to cover the few extra versions of the skin that have been released for hunts or special events.

    Great advice as always Mar! Especially the tip about the inventory window so you’ll never forget the name of the skin and can always easily search for it. Thanks!

    1. I wish more skin designers would do that, Emma! A lot of hair designers already do it for their hair colours, but I’ve seen very few skin designers do it. I guess another option, if the store’s ad boards are of that kind, is to get a good, clear snapshot of the board, showing all of the makeups.

      And thank you :) I know that keeping the screenshots on my computer is a heck of a lot faster than waiting for textures to rez in SL, even the composites I’ve made for certain makeups. I keep meaning to do the same thing for outfits as well, but there don’t seem enough hours in the day to cover my poor, groaning inventory ;)

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