I recently read in the blog Metaversed about a new avatar customization service offered by the awkwardly named company "CyberExtruder" on their sim Avatar Island (teleport SLURL). The word was that you just drop them a good picture of your face and they create a 3D version of it that you can apply to your avatar. I dropped in to check it out yesterday, where I ran into one of the proprietors Dave Surface. He was gracious enough to give me a tour and a free trial head.
More on the process, plus video and images, after the jump…
Here’s Dave Surface in their avatar customization laboratory. Dave told me that he himself recently had his own avatar customized to look like him. Good to know they eat their own dogfood, as they say. (Note the tonal mismatch at the neckline.)
The Cyberextruder service is quite simple. The service costs L$2,700 for one image/face, a little more than US$10. This is cheaper than many full-body skins you get at other stores, and certainly a bargain compared to what other avatar customization artists are charging out there.
You sit yourself down on their avatar analyzer, which puts you through a hilarious series of tortuous scans reminiscent of the movie "Brazil." It’s almost worth the purchase price to go through the scanning machine.
At the end you are sent to a website, where you have to upload a picture of your face that they use to create your avatar face. There is quite a trick to getting the right image, apparently. If you have a really bad passport picture, that will probably work fine. I had to take a ton of pictures using two cameras till I had one I was somewhat happy with.
Within a minute or so, you get an email from the company with a JPEG of your avatar face. You have to upload this to Second Life, and then attach it to your avatar as a face texture. And if you sent a decent picture, you should get something that looks much closer to your real face than anything you could pull off with the standard appearance sliders.
Here’s how mine came out.
Not bad, I have to say!
Hair and eyes are excluded from the texture, which makes sense since people often use their own prim hair and custom eyes in-world. This mop of hair is what I look like when I haven’t had a haircut for a couple of months.
The biggest issue appears to be matching your real life skin tone to your avatar’s. Typically there will be a visible seam at your neckline, meaning you’ll have to adjust the tone of your avatar’s body tone to try and match.
Conveniently, there’s another store on Avatar Island where you can purchase custom skins that can be adjusted to fit your new head.
All-in-all, I found it a fun and painless experience. Definitely worth a visit.
Another silly add-on to the island is a giant head that floats above the laboratory. Apparently every sunrise, the head constructs itself from 931 seperate prims. Then at sunset, it explodes into tiny shards quite beautifully. Here’s a little video that gives you a taste of this.