Sachi Vixen of Adam n Eve in Caledonia has been cranking out gorgeous skin after gorgeous skin (as seen on her Flickr stream), and thankfully a good number of them are departures from the paleness that is very common in virtual world skin shopping. White is almost invariably the most widely available skin tone in most virtual worlds, which means that options to express other ethnicities can be really limited. Enter Adam n Eve, where skins range from lily white to chocolate brown, along with a few wilder options if you're so inclined. The skin I want to talk about today is Sharifa, which is a medium to dark brown shade depending on lighting conditions.
I'm not wearing any makeup in these pictures so that you can see the face right out of the box, so to speak, and I'll say that I'm thankful Adam n Eve will also have eyes available in their shop, because I find my current eyes a bit too flat compared to the depth of the texture on the face.
Adam n Eve's shading on this skin, and on most of their products, is a good example of how shading should be done in Blue Mars. While you can leave some of it up to the effects of light and shadow playing off the avatar mesh, the best results will come from including some shading on the textures themselves as well– this is what makes me rave about Moxxi so much (including the bikini pictured). A blending of shading to compliment the mesh of whatever the item is, whether its an avatar or a shirt or a pair of shoes, can really take a product to the next level in terms of quality. Sachi's shading on Sharifa's arms and legs is particularly well done, though I would like to see more around the clavicle.
I should also note that I'm not wearing my usual shape underneath this skin. Instead, I'm wearing a Sion shape from Shade City, even though it has rather prominent asian features compared to this skin. I like the way this shape sits with this skin in particular because this shape is far curvier than others, and I've found that Adam n Eve's skin shading looks better on a slightly more substantial figure. In particular, I find on a too-skinny avatar, the belly shading looks unnaturally straight and tends to de-emphasize the hips a little as a result. As always, try before you buy so you can see if the skin sits right on your own shape.
Tell me what you think of Adam n Eve's Sharifa skin in the comments, or by email!