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Darius of the Dark

Second Life is a place noted for the ability of one to be unique. Young, old, fuzzy, mechanical, or anything one’s mind can conjure up can find a home there. There is no better place for someone like me to dwell. I was brought forth uniquely different from most avatars in SL. A phenomenon quite rare. A light cast into the dark you might even say. You could say I am mostly a night-time dweller; nocturnal. I cannot spend much time in the bright light for a number of reasons. One is that my light toned skin is not meant for direct sunlight. Some people point with eyes wide and call me albino. Others whisper I must be gothic. And yet others cast their eyes upon me and believe I am an undead; a child of the night. The truth is I am all of those.

Darius Goth

October is my favorite time of year because I seem to blend in best during this mysterious month. I love the harvest moon, the call of the wild wolves in the foggy darkness and the crisp cool air taken in especially from high above the sims. I relish the blood curdling cry of the screech owl and the faint sound of an old woman’s cackle drifting on the breeze.

 

Darius Gothic look

 

 

Who do you prefer to be in SL? A playboy of women? A poor man down on his luck? A showman singing on stage for a rowdy crowd? Or maybe a dashing, sharply dressed dancing man, twirling his partner expertly across the dance floor. Is your avatar a reflection of yourself? A part of yourself you wish you were? Or possibly completely and thoroughly “you”?

 

 

 

Building your unique look can start with peering deeply into your soul, examining who you are, who you want to be and then uniting that idea with a special avatar that births your new being. An unveiling of an SL soul.

 

 

Darius albino look under the blue moon

I have found that plane for my own existence. You might say I’m comfortable in my own skin. May you reach that goal also.

 

 

 

If you are still exploring or soul searching, you could find yourself drawn to a place souls are born and unique avatars receive their life…..whether they look fleshy, plump and full of life or a little less “alive” …. like me.

 

 

 

Whichever you choose, let your body, skin and soul come together to fulfill your SL desires. Don’t be fooled though, SL is not so far from RL. Walk in the bright light of day or lurk in the dark shadows-perhaps I will find you there……  (Darius begins to smirk softly as he fades into the night..)

Darius Child of the Night

RUBY Skins Joins MHOH1

RUBY Skins will be participating in the Make Her Over Hunt 1 from September 25 – October 25 2011.

Our gift is the very beautiful Phoebe-2 Skin and Shape in a pink lip and purple eye.

 

Phoebe 2

Phoebe a beautiful skin and shape combo in a subtle pink lip and purple shadow

 

She will include just a single shade of makeup and a no-mod shape. The full pack is available in the store for L$800 which includes 5 makeups and 4 no-mod shapes. Additionally, a mod shape is available for L$100 in our premium shape vendor.

So get ready to hunt! A little clue for you; Naomi knows where it is but she is not telling.

Carmella

Who is Carmella Ruby?

Carmella Ruby owner and designer at RUBY Skins & Intimate

Hi again from RUBY Skins blogger! I’m here today with owner and designer Carmella Ruby, of the awesome RUBY Skins and other great products, including the new line of RUBY Intimates. I have managed to capture a bit of time from her busy schedule today. I have asked Carmella for a little Q & A session  and I’ll start with the obvious one…

Q-What got you started in SL?

A-Well, I started SL because a good friend had just started here. She thought it was fun. I had heard of it but really did not know what it was. And then my husband, Jethro, came on and it was a great way to get to know each other all over again. That is what has kept me here; my friends and family.

Q-You said you are a graphic artist–can you tell us more about that?

A-Not to reveal my RL age lol, but I have worked professionally for several years in the commercial graphics field. Several years. I started before there were computers in use to any high degree. So when the opportunity came to go to work at a place that was just introducing computers, I took it. Much of the software had to be self taught. I took up Photoshop at version 1 or 2, I think, and taught myself how to use it. Computers and graphics have come a long way.

Q-Tell me how the two come together here to make RUBY Skins a success.

A-Well when I started in SL we were “noobs” stumbling about but my friend and I ended up in Axel sim while looking for a place to live and we have been here since. I started building in SL – houses mostly, for ourselves. Of course like most SL residents, we were always trying to improve our appearance. We were supporting the SL economy in those days but everyone needs a skin and for the ladies that is really not too much of an issue except most look the same. Really, the challenge came for the men in our group. There was almost nothing out there and all of them looked so very similar. But the real thing that finally started me creating skins was when we wanted an elderly skin. I could not figure out why all the skins in SL were cookie cutter skins; all young, white, beautiful people…so RUBY Skins was born.

Q-Your senior skins have been touted as the best in SL by your customers. What makes them come alive?

Sarah one of RUBY Skins Top Sellers

A-To start out with, I use real life models and paint the skins seamlessly onto the SL Avatar form. I spend a lot of time de-seaming them and giving each not only a unique face but a body as well. But I think the thing that brings all of the RUBY Skins to life is they each have their own personalities. As they are created, they develop a personality. Each is special to me. Some of them are rude, some are grumpy, some are sweet. I think about people I know in RL and use that.  I create not only the skin but the accompanying shapes. So there is more than just technical skill involved; they are like an artistic creation in 3-D. I don’t even get along with some of them. lol.

Q-Can you pick one of your favorites and tell us about the development of that skin and shape?

A-Oh my! A favorite? That is like picking a favorite child..let me see..Sarah has been a phenominal success and she was my first elderly lady. She was/is a sweet, grandmotherly type who has her experiences written in the lines on her face. After creating the skin I usually temp upload unfinished skins into SL. I create the shapes with the skins and then tweak the skin for the shape and see who awaits me. So Sarah got fairly light make-up– “grandma don’t want to be painted like no hussy”–well except for her final make-up and then she over-did it. Her perfume too. One thing…if I discover a mistake with any of my skins, I will correct them and send a free update to anyone who has purchased one.

Lynn – Wow you claim to have great customer service, and I can see why. That seems to be a rarity in SL!

Carmella – Well I don’t charge a lot for my skin and shape combos but it still is enough that people deserve the best.

Q-You have opened a new store-RUBY Intimates–tell us about this unique place.

A-Well  to start off with, I am not just in SL to sell things, and I use everything I sell, so there never will be some products available here. There seemed again to be a real lack of, what I call, Realistic Gender Enhancements. I am a realistic freak I guess. There are certain things in SL that just don’t look or perform like RL. I’m not sure how to say this, but like one lady that was blogging some of the RUBY Skins said, she had “never seen a umm female gender enhancement that did not look like a hotdog bun between her legs”. As most can attest to, male enhancements look more like sporting equipment. So I created sculpted gender enhancements to look more real and opened what I think is a classy store to sell them to age verfied people. We have a nude model there most of the time displaying the products.

The RUBY Intimate Store shop in a quiet beach store

Q-Have you ever had a complaint about one of your products?

A-Someone had an issue with the toes in the ladies flip flop sandals once. And there is one review on the Adam skin in Marketplace where someone thought he was too splotchy and tired looking. However, as for the flip flops, when the purchaser showed me the issue, I fixed them for her on the spot and then updated the product. Adam was one of our free skins and truthfully, I ignored the comment. See, in RL sometimes people are splotchy, have freckles, moles, zits, uneven skin tones, etc. It is one of the things that make RUBY Skins look like someone you know.

Q-Can you tell us about your next project?

A-Oh my! I have so many…but the big thing coming up is the new Elite Skins. They will include extras like modifiable shapes, tans, tan lines…I’m still working on all that will come with them, lol. But they will sell for slightly more than our Premium Skins.

Q-You recently remodeled your store–is this to make room for the new line?

A-Yes and more skins, or should I say skin/shape combos. Some things are in the works for group members and RUBY Lake will become a hot fishing spot.

Q-Is that part of the build next to the store in Axel?

A-Yes, just north of the store is a lake in the Black sim. You cant really miss it because it has a giant, rotating, RUBY Skins sign by it. My other thing besides creating realistic Avatars is making nice, realistic looking places. I like to think that RUBY Intimates is one of the more unique stores in SL.

Q-Are you involved with any of the hunts this fall?

RUBY Skins sells complete Avatar packs throughout the year for an incredible L$10

A-Well I have had several offers but so far I am only signed up for the “Make Her Over Hunt” which should be starting sometime within the next few weeks. The gifts at RUBY Skins are top notch. Our FALL Special will be out very soon and feature “Candice”. I wont even give my junk away as some seem to do. My goal is to have 100% customer satisfaction. It does not matter if you got something free or payed for it. RUBY Skins is not all about making money. Sure, it is nice to make enough to pay tier and be able to afford better equipment to work on, but that is not my #1 goal.

Lynn-Wow, there is so much more I’d like to ask but we will close here. There is a little of everything in this store from eyes to shoes to clothes to skins. And ohhh the quality. Don’t miss the specials, freebies, hunt gifts and prizes. And for the age verified, a little hot excitement don’t forget RUBY Intimates.  Hey, I’m getting my fishing pole and heading for RUBY Lake.

Candice will be featured in the Fall Special to be released soon!

More than a pretty face?

 

SL Skin More Than Just Faces?

Second Life is a great place to spend time, there is no doubt. It offers things we just cant get in real life. The social, recreational, educational exploits are endless. And an interesting economy thrives in this virtual world. However, there is a very dark downside to elements of the SL economy. Buyers can literally be deceived due to perceptions that exist in real life but not in SL. In the real world we are conditioned to believe that the higher the price, the better the quality of our purchases. And this makes sense when we understand what goes into the making of a product. Better quality fabric, wine, etc. The cost is higher to bring that type of quality to the customer. Second Life is not this way. Merchants can get their product on the SL market very easily. And in many ways, the buyer is at the mercy of trusting that the seller has released a high quality, fairly priced product, with good customer service to back it. Unfortunately it is just not always so. Don’t misunderstand, there are excellent merchants out there in SL, who go far and above in quality and price. But there are many more who don’t. The above illustration is a comparison of faces. You would be shocked to know the prices of each of the 5 skins used in our comparison. They ranged from Ruby Skins free “Rachel” (far left) to other popular skins priced up to L$1200 in our examples. We used the same Ruby shape for all skins in the examples, same pose and lighting. Please note, the higher priced skins only include one skin and no shape. We saw prices at L$3000 or more for fat packs with various makeups and again they did not include a shape. You will find single modifiable shapes in SL averaging around L$800. As always, our photos are not retouched, but we did try to obscure the name of the skin on those with demo marks. Click the photo for enlargement and then “see full size” for an even larger view. Slower internet connections may load the examples more slowly.

The SL market is flooded with clothing and skins. Skins are good examples to prove our point.  The look one chooses  is highly important in SL. SL culture is built around this much more than in RL because it is so easy to change it and make it the way we want it to be. So in choosing a skin and shape there are endless possibilities. However, if the buyer desires something that is proportioned and modeled after real life, buyer beware. Deception is rampant not only in the product but in the marketing of it. Graphic tools such as “Photoshop” are absolutely astonishing in how they can be used, both for good and bad. They can deceive the buyer into believing that the product marketed is what they will receive. Unfortunately with skins and clothing, the skinmaker should spend as much time using Photoshop on the product itself to produce a goal of  beautiful, flawless product instead of mocking up the ad, retouching imperfections and deceiving the buyer.

An inspection and comparison of quality and price is quite a lesson for those who care to try it. Skin prices are unbelievable and often do not match the quality. No doubt, much time is put into a good quality skin and shape. However the product should speak for itself, no matter what quality of graphics the buyers computer has. There is no excuse to charge high prices for seams, grainy quality, cartoonish, garish looks and the other “sins of skins” that are easily found in SL. Feet are a good example of detail. Feet are difficult to recreate to look natural. The folds and pixelation are incredibly hard to paint. Here you see one skinmaker who decided to leave a foot without any texture at all! (center)

We pay a lot of attention to bodies in RL. No less important in SL. 3D recreation of the subtle things that make for a beautiful body are important in a good skin. Click to enlarge the above picture, and I hope you can see the comparison of bodies here and notice the seams on the sides of some of these skins, below the breasts down to the waists. Seams appear as a faint line, a demarkation of where textures meet. Quality skins will not have seams or have very few and only in difficult to “reach” places like inner thighs.

The head is another enigma. Often, the scalp is found to have no texture at all or the seam was not blended out where the face meets the scalp. It is clearly seen here, in one of the more expensive skins (4th skin from left). It is difficult to find a good bald ladies skin that has head with true texture.

Beautiful bottoms are very important in SL. They come in all shapes and sizes, often highlighted with shiny hineys. But look just above the cheeks and often you will find a distinct seam, dividing the lower half of the body from the upper half. Many times the skin is created to look best from a distance, and not close up.

Creating realistic shapes is an art in SL. Though many new users of SL prefer  to create their own shapes, often it is easy to end up with a mis-proportioned body. To attain a shape that is as real life as possible, the creator has to work with the limitations that SL offers. The avatar body options are quite limited.

Here are a number of ladies shapes. Well, we think the first shape is more like a hybrid alien. :) Unfortunately that shape came with one of the most expensive skins we sampled. It clearly stands out among the others as odd. 3rd from the left is a free Ruby shape.  Even larger shapes can be well done in good proportion, as the end shape on the right. Men’s shapes are no different. The need for good balance and proportion is essential.

Shape number one is somewhat better than its lady counterpart, but not by much. Even when attempting a shape outside of the norm, large or small, it can be a challenge to end up with something that appears natural.

As you can see, obtaining a good looking shape and skin for a fair price in SL can be like finding a needle in a haystack. Especially when most merchants are there to make a profit. Though it is true, a few truely hope for the buyer to have a great product for a low price. Check for yourself and shop wisely. Look for reputable merchants who have good customer service. Inspect demos closely. Compare prices. Ask questions if there are issues. A truely good merchant wants a happy customer and will go out of their way to ensure it. And beware of comments or reviews left on products. Often positive reviews are left by the creator themselves or an alt of the creator. And negative comments are often left by a competitor, so judge for yourself by acquiring and inspecting a demo if one is available.

I do hope you haven’t paid too much for your favorite skin and shape. If you did, don’t feel like you have to wear it just because you bought it. That only advertises a bad product. Find a product that is worthy to be worn by you!

Easy Going Bernice

 

Nothing Says Class like feathers!

Oh honey, you want me t’ tell you somethin? About me? Well my, now lets just see here. I was born in the deep south, long time ago now. Raised in the church, singing, dancin and praisin’ God. My mammy put me in the choir when I was just 5 years old. I could belt out all the great hymns and I knew all of them by heart.

Miss Bernice

Miss Bernice

 

I got my schooling and became a school teacher when I was a young miss. I married a handsome young railroad man and we were a happy couple until the Lord took him home when he was only 30 years old. We never had children but I had my school children. I loved every one that came through my 5th grade classes all those years. Anyway, I retired from teaching and took up interests serving in the church.

Bernice

Bernice

 

 

More recently though, I was approached by a fine young lady who asked me to model for her business. She liked the way I looked, she said. Unique, she said. So I said I would and now I can be found helping her out now and then. She had me make some pictures for her, even one in a skimpy little tiger bathin’suit….now dont look too close at that one, heh heh.

Bathing Bernice

Bathing Bernice

 

I like tendin to my garden too, and I like to make blackberry cobbler for all the good people where I live. I’ve learned a thing or two in that place. The people there watch out for one another. Always caring about each other, which is what the good Lord tells us to do. He gives us blessings we cant even imagine!

They had me do a glamour shot too so I dropped it in here so y’all can see me real close, my wisdom lines and all. I got them not so much from talkin a lot but listening. My mammy always said “Don’t talk more than you listen, Bee.” (She called me Bee mostly) So I hope you enjoyed my little something.

The Easy going Bernice always quick with a smile

 

The Many Faces of Festus

Festus-man of many faces

The Suave Festus

We all know him, that is Festus I mean. He is the grocer at the corner store, the retired history teacher, the wise and experienced business man…. Our Festus just so happens to be all of that and more but he came to RUBY Skins as a retired police detective, who had walked a neighborhood beat for many years and was a respected man of authority.

Skin and shape creation is an artistic venture. Once the approximate age of avatar you are going for is chosen, and a skin is picked from the myriad of available photos, the painting begins. Since the canvas is generally the basic SL avatar shape,  your painted product can look quite different from the original model from which you chose a skin. Bone structure is a major factor behind what we look like and how our skins appear. Imagine your own skin laid upon a skeleton with a very different structure. Probably nobody would even know it was you. But this variance all contributes to the true enjoyment of creating new skin and shape combos. You never know quite what your combination will look like. Therefore, RUBY Skins take on a life of their own during creation and Festus is no different. Once his skin was complete and a shape formed to fit, his life began. A number of photos are taken of our new avatars, with varying clothing styles, hair and eyes. It can be astonishing how different an avatar can look and makes for a great variation of possibilities using just one skin and shape combo.

click to see full size

Festus 60s

Festus arrived on the scene a bit younger than originally planned. Older skins are difficult to do, wrinkles and age spots have to be carefully handled. His olive colored skin and deep set eyes highlight an attractive older man. But Festus sports a fantastically textured beard which became a hallmark of his look. Dashing and suave, Festus appears with his full salt and peppered beard and  a slick,  Slide MADD hair design in dark silver above. But put on a pair of RUBY Wayfair glasses, shave his beard, throw on a sharp SF Design Performance suit and he becomes a crisp businessman from the 1960′s era.

Festus older

Perhaps an older, distinguished, grandfatherly look for Festus? No problem. Put him in a pipe, male pattern bald grey doo by Discord Designs, double breasted tux from SF Design and you have a whole new facet of him. Older avatars that look nice are hard to find in SL. Why cant older avatars look good? Check around and you find low quality and frankly unattractive faces with little to no definition on the body of most senior avatars. The reason? Simply that they are harder to make. They take longer to do.

Face shot

Close up shots are a must for all RUBY Skins vendors. They show the honest detail in face shots so our customers can see not only the great detail but also each skin they are getting – featuring the various makeups for ladies and beard/mustache combos for men. Clean shaved, Festus becomes your local grocer. Maybe even your neighbor. Whoever he is, he has a kind, familiar face. An interesting discovery about older skins; older eyes look very good with them. Literally. Older eyes are a bit more faded in color with small pupils. Some of the RUBY Real Eyes textures were taken directly of a senior RL model’s eyes.

Festus alt. shape

Festus alt. shape

One thing about SL, it is much easier to change your looks than in real life. We know this at RUBY Skins and this is why each avatar sold has a modifiable shape, available separately, for a low price, just in case you want to modify your looks. Subtle or drastic, a good skin is created to maintain it’s integrity on a variety of different shapes. Though Festus was created as a thin, slightly bowlegged senior, he can look very good in other shapes as you see him here. Be aware, however, that extreme settings on shapes can result in stretching of skins, causing bad spots. This is especially true when going for a weightier look. That is why RUBY Skins also features special skin and shapes for people who desire heavy avatars.

Festus – a man of many possible looks –  who knows where he might appear next? Maybe he is already in the mirror……try him on for size and see how he feels. He’s ready for action and adventure in your second life.

Hi from RUBY Skins!

Lynn

Lynn RIler

Thanks for the nice introduction Carmella! I’ll do my best to post interesting information about our products as well as informative reviews. Like Carmella, I enjoy photography in SL. Especially funny things that make me laugh. I do want to try and feature the RUBY Skins line though, bringing to life the personalities that emerge when creating a new skin/shape. Carmella creates skins that are unique – the goal is to avoid cookie cutter avatars, barbie doll shapes and faces, mis-proportioned bodies, seams and other anomalies you traditionally find in SL. Of course there are those who enjoy creating their own looks which is fun also. That is the great thing about SL. RUBY Skins specializes in elderly skins and shapes because there is a great lack of decent looking seniors out there. Yet a huge population of SL users are 40 and above. I personally know a few who are 75 and above! Yes, its great to have a “young” avatar and relive our younger years through SL. But occasionally folks like to look their age and yet not have unattractive, distorted skins and shapes when they do. So some of the first skins I want to feature will be middle aged or senior RUBY Skins.

I hope you enjoy our blogs – and most of all, I hope you are sporting your own RUBY Skin and shape.

 

Lynn

Welcome to the RUBY Skins Blog

Carmella Ruby of RUBY Skins

Carmella Ruby of RUBY Skins

I decided to start a blog to help everyone get better aquatinted with my business, RUBY Skins but especially our skins. Each one has it’s own personality that is so hard to get across with just a simple picture on a vendor.

One thing, don’t expect re-touched, doctored pictures of RUBY Skins products. You will see pictures straight from the viewer with only cropping done at the very most. I love Photoshop and the things you can do with it but it has no place in product pictures or advertisement. I think all the Photoshop work should be done on the product before it comes into SL, so what you see in my pictures is what you see in SL.

My very good friend Lynn Riler will be the person in charge of this blog and will be featuring my skins-complete with personality- on an ongoing basis, as well as introducing you to new skins and other products I create so I can be free to do just that. In addition, we will let you know where some of the other items that might appear in my pics come from (like hair or clothes) in case you are interested in going out and shopping for good products :) I will let Lynn fill you in on her vision for this blog but expect a lot of pictures since we love to take them. I expect some of my other friends might pop in occasionally and make a post, and I too as I have time.

I love Second Life, creating for it and bringing as much realism to my work as possible.  If one of my skins looks familiar, like an aunt or cousin, or even you, you might check and see if I know them in RL ;) RUBY Skin’s motto of “Making Your Second Life More Real” is more a manifesto and not just a marketing phrase. RUBY Skins was created as a result of my own desire for that realism and then sharing it with others.  I am not just here to make money but to help people enjoy their Second Life and to be “uniquely you”.

Carmella

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