It’s bad enough having to deal with hair in the real world, but at least you used to be able to escape inworld and change your avatar’s styles, colors and type with just a few simple clicks, but those days it seems are destined to become just a fond memory of the ‘good old days’.
Back then, in terms of ease of use, SL was – if you’ll exclude the expression – head and shoulders above the fuss and hassle of looking after hair in the real world: A simple click and wear, and the job was done. At its most complex, the most challenging aspect would be selecting the right size hairdo. That’s not to say that virtual hair was in any way perfect, it wasn’t – the very earliest system hair was pretty dire (and not particularly pretty, at that!), and although it certainly did improve over time, we’ve never really managed to come up with a simple, one size fits all, non-glitchy approach to hair inworld. Prim and sculpted hair certainly made for a better look, and flexi hair further improved the situation, but it was never quite the real thing. Real hair doesn’t embed itself in your boobs or magically pass through flesh and clothing, neither does it get confused about where its transparent bits should be!
Now we have mesh hair, which if those who swear by it are to be believed, is the best thing since SLiced bread. Of course, realistically, it isn’t – although like its predecessors, it has its merits and offers a degree of improvement over what we’ve had before. Personally, I’m not a huge fan – in terms of looks, rigged mesh can look every bit as plastic and fake as prim hair, even if it doesn’t poke through your shoulders.
We’re also seeing hair with HUDs far more frequently than we have in the past… HUDs to resize, reshape and recolour; HUDs for dips, ombre, shades and attachments; HUDs with appliers for every mesh body out there. The choices we have for customising and fitting our crowning glory are more numerous than they’ve ever been, but still they are not perfect, and sometimes our inworld hair can be every bit as difficult to control as our real life equivalent.
One of my current favourite hair creators produces gorgeous mesh styles with HUDs that provide a vast array of colours and variations – I love them, but in equal measure, they drive me potty! The reason – every style comes in three sizes, but for some bizarre reason, those sizes simply aren’t consistent across the range. Sometimes they fit, sometimes they don’t: In the extreme cases, bits of my scalp will poke through, even when wearing the largest size – not a problem with old fashioned hair, I’d simply have lifted it up a little, but simply not an option with rigged mesh, so I’m left with lovely hair that I can’t wear, unless I can find a hat to cover the bald patch, or subject my avatar to the SL equivalent of a tribal head shrinking. With regard to the latter option, you can call me old fashioned, but I’m afraid my body is sacrosanct and I don’t change its shape for anything!
Having hair that can’t be edited, no matter how technologically advanced it may be or how much I’d like to wear it is a complete pain in the rear end – sometimes it’s just the matter of a small tweak or a nudge to one side that’s needed to make things perfect, but that’s now denied to us, and it’s just a frustration I can do without.
We spend long enough primping and preening our hair in RL to last us a lifetime, and if I’m honest, it’s getting to be a bit like that inworld too, and I’m not particularly happy if that’s the way that things seem to be going – not just with hairstyles, but with clothing too. I know that SL should replicate real life to some extent, but if we’re going to have a virtual world to escape to, I’d rather not have to contend with some of the more annoying and time consuming bits that really should be totally unnecessary in a virtual life, even if that means sacrificing some of the realism and quality for an easy SLife.
Or perhaps I’m just an old Luddite, stuck in the past… But it’s not such a bad place y’know!
She comes in colors ev’rywhere;
She combs her hair
She’s like a rainbow
Nena – She’s a Rainbow