I don’t have freckles in real life.Â I wasÂ a redheaded kid–there’s some Irish in me–but that kind of faded toward brown as I got older.Â If I get a lot of sun,Â my hairÂ lightens toward blond rather than red.Â I guess the Irish wasn’t dominant enough.Â My complexion, though, was and still is very fair, but without freckles.Â I guess it isn’t as bad as Woody Allen (“I don’t burn, I stroke”), but I’m told my pediatrician warned my mom against letting me get too much sun (“Don’t you dareÂ bring that kid in here with a bad sunburn!”).Â And this was back when it was still “suntan lotion,” not “sunscreen,” so that kind of says something.Â I always wished my red hair had “stuck,” and for whatever reason I kinda wished I had freckles to go along with it, too.Â Although it hasn’t been a consuming passion, I’m always on the lookout for a good skin with good freckles.Â You may recall that I really liked sachi’s recent “Justin”–my only personal reservation was that the musculature was a little too ripped to suit my own tastes.Â I so like the facial features and coloring that I wear it a lot anyway.Â Rack Brautigan’s new male skins at Imagen include “Gael,” a freckled skin with toned but not ripped musculature.Â Although there’s likely no such thing as “the perfect skin” for anyone, and my own preferences may not match yours or those of anyone else, for meÂ ”Gael” does take that one step closer toward fitting my own personal ideal.
In addition to freckled “Gael,”Â Rack has releasedÂ freckle-free “Ander.”Â The two skins have similar but different faces and what appears to be the same body detailing.Â You will notice that Gael’s freckles aren’t only on his face–there’s a realistic sprinkling of them on the shoulders, arms and upper chest as well.Â Detailing is smoothly done, with definition that’s real and present, but soft-edged rather than crisply defined, a slight layer of body fat over the toned muscles.Â You’ll see less definition in back, where the emphasis is on smooth shadingÂ rather than sharp definition.Â This may not be 100% realistic, but for me the best skins walk a tricky, subjectiveÂ line between realism and stylization, and I think thisÂ approach really works.Â Ander and Gael can be worn with a light dusting of body hair, as shown here, or without body hair.Â Â Both options are included with every skin.
Both skins come in four tones: Norte, Sur, Este and Oeste.Â Each is shown here in Este, the second lightest;Â Norte is paler, while Oeste and Sur are darker.Â You can choose from twelve different facial hair options, only a few of which are shown here.Â Interestingly, these skins have tintable brows, scalp andÂ facial hair via the skin color slider.Â The default colorÂ is a fairly neutral dark brown, but you can tint to something that more closely matchesÂ your hair, or go a little crazy.Â Sadly, body and pubic hair are not likewise tintable–I was really really intrigued by that possibility–but this is still a great bit of flexibility.
Overall, I like both of these skins very much indeed (although I am partial to Gael’s freckles).Â As I mentioned earlier, in many ways they approach beingÂ ”ideal skins”Â for me.Â Â It’s worth mentioning aÂ couple of things that might be caveats for some.Â If you look closely, you’ll see that the nipples are horizontally oval rather than round(ish).Â This isn’t unecessarily unrealistic, and it doesn’t bother me by any means, but it may strike some differently.Â The other thing is something I’ve seen on other skins, to varying degrees.Â In certain avatar positions, you’ll notice stretching of the skin texture where the groin and inner thigh meet.Â This is such an unavoidable reality of our SL avatars that we may as well call it a “feature.”Â The effect on these skins is just slightly more noticeable to me than it is on some other skins–I’m not picturing it here, because I try to keep the blog from blowing past PG-13 (although if you check the oh-so-tasteful nude at right, you can almostkindasorta see the effect).Â What I think may be happening here is that the edge of the pubic hair just hits the seam or “stretch” area, thus making the texture stretch a bit more visible.Â When you try on demos, you’ll be able to see if either of these are a concern.
Permission on these skins are M C T.Â They are priced at L$995 for a “single” skin, which includes bald and head hair hair options, with and without body hair, in your chosen skin tone and facial hair option.Â You can also buy a variety of pre-fab four-packs for L$2985, or you can buy any three single skins and get any other single skin free.Â You can mix and match different facial hair options, skin tones, even male and female skins!Â Demos are L$1.
An includedÂ notecard mentions that these skins are based in part on open-source skin templates by Eloh Eliot and Sezmra Svarog.
Available at Imagen (Daffodil Island 29, 96, 3000).