Review – The Solarian Fitmesh Feline Furry Avatar from Blue Galaxy

Solarian Dancing - Front View
Solarian by Blue Galaxy (Ash Soyinka)
http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Caisteal/149/44/29
Base: 800L
Feline Legs: 200L
Dev Kit: 0L (1L that is paid back to you)

This is something radically new – a full body fitmesh furry avatar.

Full body: This is the whole thing, from head to toe. It comes as one linked piece. No seams. Ok, two linked pieces if you get the legs – which you should. But still no seams with the legs.

Fitmesh: Shape dials work all over this thing. Most of the dials will adjust what they should. Facial dials don’t work because the fitmesh standard never covered them. But you can adjust things like headsize. Foot size works with the ‘plantigrade legs’ that comes with the body, but NOT with the addon digitigrade legs that are needed to be a proper feline.

Furry: Yeah. This one is a furry and sometimes I go furry. This is probably the best furry ever seen in Second Life and so I am going to try and explain just why that is in the review that follows. There is so much that is “right” about this avatar that the things that are wrong are quite forgivable. Though I will cover both.


So, here is the body from the front:
Solarian Front View of Genders
Wait… so… 3 genders or something… yeah. Note that the male is missing something obvious. You’ll have to get that on the ‘mods market’ as so far Blue Galaxy has not supplied it as an addon. That said I did see one example of the item in question on Marketplace when I searched for “Solarian” and then just went into the right category.
– This lack though, makes me wonder what that third gender is supposed to represent.

Here is the body from the back:
Solarian Back View of Genders
This is the same pose as that which I used for my Belleza review, for you to compare. Oh and the shape… is almost the exact same shape. So this is my Belleza shape for Freya, that you can get as a freebie, with some tweaks to the butt, saddle bags, and Love Handles to make the curves fit my style, and Leg muscle set to 50 as I set it on Isis (I lower it on freya to reduce the curve a bit).
– I’m telling you this because yet again a mesh body maker using shapes that detract from the beauty of the avatar… The one that comes with this is a lot better than the one that comes with Belleza, but it still had some issues, namely T-rex arms and way too big of a bottom compared to the top.

Here is the difference between nude and covered:
Solarian - Bits Uncovered vs Covered
This is triggered via the alpha HUD, oddly enough. Not shown in these images is that the upper and lower parts are fully modeled mesh on the female, and there is a ‘dimple’ where the anal cavity would be as well.


The basic Solarian package comes with:

  • 3 bodies (female, male, “femboy”) – you get all 3 in one purchase.
  • 1 HUD for alpha cuts and 8 included colors for each of eyes and body. Eyes can be done individually.
  • A “Readme” notecard you better read because you will be shocked at what is in it… (see below – this is a MAJOR part of what makes this avatar something radical).
  • A landmark to the store.
  • An ‘undeformer’ I have been unable to get to work. This causes some issues I will note below.
  • An outfit that is a lace female top and lace panties for the female or “femboy”. But no male clothing.
  • A shape file that I recommend just putting into a backup folder and forgetting about.

Missing are the cat legs, Digitigrade because I have no idea… the cat furry avatar ships with human legs (plantigrade, google it to learn how wrong this choice is), and the cat legs are a 200L addon, instead of the logical other way around.

With and Without the cat legs looks like this:
Solarian Legs - Plantigrade vs the Digitigrade Addon

Also… get the developer kit sold right next to the body. It says 1L, but it will pay you back 1L when you buy it… so just get it…


Once loaded the Solarian is absurdly lightweight:

Draw Weight:
Female: 6476 (5285 on plantigrade)
Male: 6220 (4836 on plantigrade)
Femboy: 6434 (5170 on plantigrade)

Script Usage:
Body: 48kb
Digitigrade Legs: 16kb

So… that is so low it makes you really wonder. I had to turn down my LOD setting and cam out…
My avatar got too small to see BEFORE she lost her shape… In other words, very high detail, WITHOUT driving up Draw Weight. And those 48kbs… They’re handling full eye, ear, tail, and mouth animation at a level of variety GREATER than furry avatars I have bought that needed 15mbs to do these things…

This thing is so lightweight and low on lag it feels like I am speeding SL up by logging into it… (being silly here… to try and hammer home the point that this avatar is done amazingly right on these points).

If everybody in SL decided to toss out their current avatars and switch to Solarians, lag would be the thing of the past. Other builders should start taking notes when they get this avatar. They should get it to learn something…

Oh and, remember how editing Belleza would freeze up my system… Edit this:
Solarian - Moddable and Lightweight
– what you don’t see in the screen shot is that this is like editing a single solo prim on an empty sim. No issues. And I’m right there in the texture box where I can start “messing with things”. IN fact I can go to the body, rez it, and start unlinking parts and putting new ones on. A Modder’s happy place.

12 land impact when rezzed:
Solarian - 12 Land Impact When Rezzed for Modding
Nice. I could have rezzed this in my old 256m plot of land.
PS: unlinking the tail and wearing it on a human body works, but the deformer is in the tail and it will make your human shape look very strange… so you can do it, but it will look horrible, or comical – depending on your mood I guess. πŸ™‚


Now we’re going to start getting to some less positive aspects…

The HUD is… limited.

The HUD comes in two parts, one for coloring and one for Alphas. You’ll use the coloring one to pick your fur. Do note that it is unusual for a Furry Avatar to give you all of the color choices in one normal priced purchase. As I will note below, you also get the PSD’s for the texture pattern in a download link.

Though they are good I didn’t like ANY of the choices, so I grabbed a different one on Marketplace:
Solarian Cheetah by Llweyndwell
This is by “Aten’Ka [Sun Soul]”
https://marketplace.secondlife.com/stores/170486
Llweyndwell, the owner of that brand, is doing such amazing work that I recommend budgeting in the purchase of one of the skins from Llweyndwell to the avatar price BEFORE buying the avatar. πŸ™‚

Solarian Eye and Fur Color HUD Tab
That said the eyes that come with it are really nice, so I’m still using one of those presets. And you can set a different color for each eye (heterochromia)

So… the real HUD you’ll need is the ALpha HUD, and it frankly isn’t that good:
Solarian Alpha HUD Tab
Now this is kind of forgivable because this is a furry avatar with a rather different body shape. Even if you could alpha things most regular clothing won’t work well. That has NOT stopped people from trying though. That said… this MIGHT be one reason why this avatar is so lightweight. Then again this HUD is about as detailed as that of the Lena Lush body, and that body is actually very heavy on draw weight (but gets light if you edit it and delete the tattoo and clothing layers).
– My thinking here is that with so few alpha cuts, there are less pieces to this avatar. And less stuff, if that stuff is done right, tends to also means less burden on the system.

So… if most of the clothing you will wear will have to have been made FOR this avatar, the alpha cuts are not as important. It would be very nice to have more of them, but I suspect the community will adapt around that limit on this one.


Also… if you have fullperms on your fur texture, you can edit it in photoshop, make your own alpha channel there, and upload the texture for a custom alpha cut…

And guess what… you do. Remember that notecard?

The Notecard with all the stuff in it:
The readme notecard is kind of short and useless, until you get to the dropbox link. download that file… It’s a .rar which is a kind of zip techies like that confuses the heck out of normal people. Macs understand it these days, not sure if PCs do or if you need to get some special program to open it.

But inside of it… are “PSD” files for the textures that came with the avatar, and a blender file that is a template for clothing makers and modders to use to make stuff. People are already turning out mods thanks to this.
Downloables Contents
You can open “PSD” files in Photoshop, or GIMP:
http://www.gimp.org/
Gimp is free by the way…

So is Blender is you think you want to take on messing with that blender file… most of the mesh in SL is either made in Blender, or prepped for use in SL with Blender.
http://www.blender.org/
– But that is an application that will take a lot of dedication to master.

Inside the Digitigrade Leg addon’s folder, is a similar notecard with a similar file you can download, that has similar features to it.

So this avatar really opens up right out of the gate with ease to modify and support for content makers.


Layers:
What layers? There are no layers for layer based clothing. That said there is already one modder on Marketplace who has managed to make a layer based leotard…


Omega:
Nope, not here. But Omega is kind of pointless here anyway. No UV maps from anything else will work with this avatar. Its a very different avatar, and it has a free dev kit.


Clothing Support:
Mostly it has to be made for this avatar. There is a growing list of clothing for the avatar, and most of that is being done as copy/mod so you can tailor it to your needs, and there is even a body of people putting out texture mods to other people’s clothing creations.

Some rigged mesh items will be able to fit – but be very careful to demo and test your AO out with it when you try this.

The avatar does come with some fullperms fitted mesh clothing:
Solarian included fullperms fitted mesh clothes

If you’re looking for more stuff for this avatar, just search Marketplace for “Solarian”.


Customer Support
Its pretty thin at this point. Blue Galaxy has an active mod community and the Blue Galaxy sim is a semi-active place that even has what look like roleplay spots. But much of this is devoted to their older avatar. You would have to ask around to find people to talk with. While the avatar’s dev kit comes with a link to a documentation website, it is a google doc’s page, and not a support portal.
The Blue Galaxy group:
https://my.secondlife.com/groups/6511fa88-b3a4-66d9-c126-affae9bae270
Does not appear to be in active use. At least it has no notices in it. But it might be a place to start.


Ranking:

Pros:

  • A fitmesh furry – this is in itself something long overdue and highly welcome.
  • Mod permissions – a breath of fresh air to have a mod fitmesh body. There are a few others, but each time I see one it is a very welcome sight.
  • Very lightweight low lag avatar
  • Visual appeal – this avatar is just very nice to look at, and animated very well.
  • Most of the skin makers seem to be including for the digitigrade legs in their applier as one purchase.
  • 8 fur colors and 8 eye colors in the base purchase. PLUS the PSD (photoshop / Gimp) file in a download link.
  • Included clothing is fullperms. Modkits already exist for it. The first and last images in this review show me wearing it with a bikini-mod kit I grabbed.

Cons:

  • Selling the cat legs to a cat furry as an addon. This is just baffling.
  • Not as many cuts in the alpha HUD as would be desired
  • Newness means not as much stuff out for it as I would like. I’m hoping that changes soon.
  • Activating the adult bits on the avatar is done by clicking the alpha for those spots on the alpha HUD. Hiding the body in those spots is done the same way… its all in how many times you click the spot, and you’re not paying attention you can get the wrong result…

Ps:
So in these images I am wearing:
*booN CIZ626 hair black/chocolate/purple – Chocolate modded with Red color.
http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/SAIKIN/129/125/699

I am using the big bosom shape from my Belleza Proportionate Shapes Freebie:
https://marketplace.secondlife.com/p/FREE-Belleza-Freya-Proportionate-Shapes-And-Physics-Kit/7691358
Because this avatar is fitmesh, unlike other furries you don’t need to dial your head into all kinds of weird numbers and then wear a giant prim over the result. πŸ™‚

ON*SU Starter Apartment
I’m standing by the closet of this home, only sold on Marketplace:
https://marketplace.secondlife.com/p/ONSU-Starter-ApartmentTexture-Change/6010111
I reduced the size of this already small home to about 83% of its original because I’m obsessed with being ‘too-scale’.

The Pose Stand is my own freebie, but the pose is not in that freebie, and was from “Ran Peccable” / “taisaya AO”:
http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Meet/251/102/22

And the Solarian Body (800L) is from Blue Galaxy:
http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Caisteal/149/44/29

The Solarian Digitigrade Legs (200L) are also of course from Blue Galaxy

My skin is from “Aten’Ka [Sun Soul]” for 450L:
https://marketplace.secondlife.com/stores/170486

In the nude pics using the Cheetah skin I also used:
Solarian – Nipples and Bits – Naturals
https://marketplace.secondlife.com/p/Solarian-Nipples-and-Bits-Naturals/7630662
– Because they just looked a little nicer. But its a close call.

I have done two other cat furry reviews in the past, that you can look at as a sort of “how far have we come” experience:
https://catnapkitty.wordpress.com/2012/11/25/kinzart-domestic-cat-review-and-how-to-resize-a-furry-avatar-with-precision/
https://catnapkitty.wordpress.com/2010/08/30/my-new-avatar-derp-domestic-cat/

In my opinion… this Solarian is the only furry on the market anyone should consider right now. Mod it to other animals… but start here. It is fitted mesh after all. πŸ˜›

Solarian Dancing - Rear View

Advertisements

My new avatar – DERP Domestic Cat

I got a new avatar this weekend.

DERP Domestic Cat
The shape was my own design. The avatar came with a nice enough shape, but it wasn’t me and I’ve always used my own personally made shape. Fortunately a notecard with the avatar had numbers to put into the head and eyes of shape editing to make sure the furry head would fit into the right position of any shape you applied to it.

From the front:
DERP Domestic Cat

You might notice I’ve updated my profile images to reflect the new kitty. I’ve been looking for the right cat avatar for a long time now. I had the Kinzart Serval, but she’s a Serval and not a cat. I looked at ones from AnthroXtacy and Lost Furrest but they just didn’t meet the need. Lost Furrest’s cat doesn’t seem to have digitigrade legs. AnthroXtacy’s was about right, but they didn’t have red and I’d wanted that.

So how did I instead end up on a tan spotted cat? I dunno. I looked at the coloring of this and the orange tabby from Anthroxtacy as well as the orange tabby from DERP and I finally just hit a point where I felt I could branch away from the red my Serval had used. The tone here is pretty close to the tone I had a neko, so I ‘gave in’. Asked a friend what she though of the three options, and she picked this one, so I bought it. πŸ™‚

That always helps when you can’t decide – draft a friend into the crisis. πŸ™‚

I guess this post means I’ll start using this blog for more than just the original post’s getting started in SL guide. πŸ™‚

I’m a PG furry in Second Life. Used to be a neko. I became a furry as a part of going mostly-PG. I’ve probably got a lot to say about all three of those things: furries, nekos, and the transition I went through. πŸ™‚

Thoughts on the DERP Domestic Cat

Overall its a nice avatar. Its not perfect but its pretty good.

The skin design is very smooth, not grainy. Some furry avatars use a hair-like grain to the skin to give the appearance of fur, this one does not. Much like the Kinzart furries it is solid colors in a pattern. The pattern I chose matches a certain kind of spotted tabby design. Most of DERP’s cats were tabby, but there were also solid white, solid black, and siamese patterns. The solids were amazingly well done. They were not just a solid color, but the color with shadows and highlights to give depth to the avatar. If I had been looking for a solid colored cat, the choice between DERP. and others would have been trivial. In the solid colors DERP beats other makers by miles.

Note also that the skin is ‘G’ only. There is a male and female skin, and neither shows ‘bits’. If you go to the DERP store it has a lot of racey content, so this might be a surprise to some. As a PG Furry, it doesn’t bother me, but I’m sure its something others will want to be aware of.

DERP Domestic Cat Head
The head shape is nice with not too long of a muzzle, but there is an indentation right where the muzzle meets the main head. Its a sharp angle there around much of the muzzle. It reminded me a bit of the Kinzart Squirrel. From directly front on the AnthroXtacy cat head probably looks better, but from any other angle the choice of which is better is not as easy to make. From many angles the DERP might look better. I guess it comes down to personal preference.

The paws do not animate. You cannot pose the hands. This is a drawback, but one shared in the AntrhoXtacy cat as well. I can’t speak for the Lost Furrest cat on that regard.

My AO is one that often bends my wrists in a paw licking motion, and I have noticed that when it does this, the cat paw bends a little off from the wrist fluff prim. I think I can edit the position of the fluff and paw prims to avoid this, but have yet to try. This effect is lessened by using an arm length of 60 (the setting on the included shape). The effect can be fully fixed by using a different alpha map for the upper body. You want the alpha map to make just a little more of the wrist invisible as well. IM me inworld if you desire such an alpha map.

The legs are either plantigrade or semi-digitgrade. The semi-digitgrade is what you see in my screenshots. It starts halfway down the calf, and is one lower leg piece for both that and the foot. If you use the semi-digitigrade, you need to apply the alpha map to hide the linden-mesh feet. The plantigrade has a foot and lower leg attachment. Two pieces. This also allows wearing just the foot alongside normal SL-avatar pants.

I was worried I would not like the semi-digitigrade legs, being a big fan of full digitigrade avatars, but after running around with it for the weekend, I think it is actually one of the better done parts of the avatar. I’ve really grown to like it rather fast.

The scripting demands of the avatar are ultra-light. This is a low lag avatar:
Script Usage on DERP. Domestic Cat
When you attach the eye-color HUD though that will use up 1152kbx – but you are likely to only ever need that HUD once, when you first pick an eye coloration. Unless you like to change your avatar’s eye colors often. Likewise the normal avatar HUD is rarely needed, and can be detached most of the time.

This avatar has now been reviewed on slarf.org:
http://www.slarf.org/derp-cat/

%d bloggers like this: