Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Skin Within: Arya Skins

A few weeks ago skin designer Ayesha Bisiani of Skin Within told me of a new skin line she was planning to release. The Arya line, meant to be an Indian skin with a dusky skintone, comes in twenty-four different makeups, six skins in four different categories: Day, Evening, Ethnic, and Fantasy.

Arya Sandy Skin (Evening); Hair: Drama in Driftwood, Influence by Naughty

I'm always pleased when designers' releases celebrate real-world diversity within Second Life. I personally have no taste for the faked tans on so many skins and much prefer the darker skintones natural to other ethnicities and those of mixed heritage rather than a tan, so I was happy that I was asked to review these skins.

Arya Ember Skin (Day); Hair: Katie in Smoke, ETD

The Day and Evening makeups feature a slightly more muted palette than the other two types, but with the same richness of hue that seems prevalent throughout the entire skinline, with the Evening makeup having a little more sparkle. The Ethnic and Fantasy makeups are quite vibrantly colourful, and work surprisingly well on such a skintone. Most of the lipsticks on these skins have a gorgeous metallic bloom, from the coppery lips on the Sandy Evening skin to the faintly iridescent sheen on the Dharti Ethnic skin.

Arya Dharti Skin (Ethnic); Hair: Drama in Driftwood, Influence by Naughty

The Ethnic makeups come with the traditional Indian bindi, with each skin named after the Indian elementals: Vahyu (Air), Agni (Fire), Dharti (Earth), Nee'ir (Water) and the two celestials, Surya (Sun) and Chandra (Moon). Dharti is perhaps my favourite makeup from the four I was sent to review, because of the intricate ornamental bindi - a refreshing change from the usual dot - and the striking choice of makeup colours.

Arya Divinity Skin (Fantasy); Hair: Hailey in Teal, ETD

These skins are a blend of handpainted and photosourced details, with a light sprinkling of water droplets on the thighs. This is a nice touch, though I would suggest that a "dry" option be offered just to give customers more of a choice.

The shading and highlighting on these skins is of the higher-contrast variety than softly-shaded skins, best flattered by darker, richer colours and softer lighting; this gives the skins more of a hand-drawn look to them. I would prefer that the entirety of the skin be more evenly shaded, though I'm accustomed to scant, and much softer, highlights on my favourite skins, so this may be a matter of preference; in truth, these are perhaps some of the better examples of such high-contrast skins that I've seen, as the skintone is fairly uniform throughout (unlike some, where the body or neck is in an utterly different tone from the face).

The breasts are well-shaded, with realistic, textured nipples. The stomach and ribs are given just the right amount of emphasis and tone, though the the collarbones and the shoulderblade ridges seemed a touch starkly highlighted. Overall, the torso is my favourite part on this skin - it looks well-defined enough to be lean; I prefer some muscle definition as opposed to the generic soft stomachs on most skins. The buttocks are well-shaped and fully rounded, and the naughty bits tastefully done, though I much prefer them with the Bare option than "natural" - which is fully untrimmed. The feet and hands are all right, though the pinky nail and the big toenail are a little large and may look a little distorted because of the way the avatar mesh is shaped, and the knees are quite realistic. There are no visible seams even on closer inspection, and overall the skin is of good quality.

Full body shot of the Arya Sandy Skin (click to view larger version)

Detail of the water droplets - this is a "wet" skin.

All the Arya skins may be purchased individually or as a set. Individual skin vendors have the various face sin different makeup styles; you can also purchase them in sets of six. A shape and bald base is included in the skin packs.

Shopping Information:
Skin Within, Serenity Islands CTR (160, 227, 22)