A “Perfect Body” in Second Life

By Cindy Melgund & Whimsy Warrhol

One of the coolest, and exasperating, things about SL is that you can create a body that suits your self-image. The combinations are endless. And often disastrous.

You know when a particular shape doesn’t work. Something in you says: that’s not right. But what is it that triggers the response? Almost certainly it is because you are seeing something that lacks proportionality. “It’s off” and when you see that our brains are “hard wired” to respond negatively.

This isn’t Cindy’s opinion. Study after study has shown that human beings are programmed to respond to out of kilter proportions with discomfort…and to respond positively when it’s all “right.”

But what is “right”? The ancient Greeks knew. So did the portrait artists and sculptors of the Renaissance. They discovered that the “ideal” proportions of the human body are almost entirely based on a deceptively simple “Golden Ratio” or “Golden Section”…also known as Phi.

For you math lovers, the ratio is 1 to 1.618, (references found here). Another way to think about this is to draw a line that is 1 meter long. Divide it in two with the short section being .38 meter and the long section being .62 meter. Stay with me here. Remember that ratio: 62/38

It was their belief that any object, including the human body, will look balanced and proportional when this ratio is incorporated into it. Why? Who knows? But there is little doubt, and lots of research to prove it, that when you see a building that uses this ratio in its design, or a sculpture, or a living person whose body and face conform to this ratio, it will look “right”, that is, it will look pleasing.

Sound a little odd? Ask a friend who went to art school. If you went to yourself, you already know about the Golden Ratio.

So how does this apply to SL? Well, how is a shape actually constructed here? With sliders that are all based on numbers, right? Unlike the real world, you can use them to make a “perfect” shape…but it’s not easy and even the top shape makers, who are very good, often miss the mark. The best shape makers, and there are a few, absolutely follow the rules I’ll outline below.

The Basics
This primary thing to remember about the Golden Ratio, as applied to SL specifically, is that your height governs everything.

Once height is fixed, based on your taste, the next step is to look at the “ideal” relative relationship between overall height and such things as neck height and width, arm length, head size, torso length,etc.

One last bit about height: if you want to be at 100 in height (SL slider number), you will make fixing your body more complicated, but that’s the subject of another article.

In my experience with 100s of clients in our Body Shaping consulting business at Whimsy’s Closet, the most serious problem that women have is poor proportionality for the legs versus their torso length. It is by far the number one problem. And it is also absolutely critical that this issue be corrected FIRST.

The 62/38 Rule In Action
Here is a simple example in the Golden Ratio in this famous sculpture.

Looking at David’s overall height, Michaelangelo set his torso at 38% of the statue height. Note where the mark is: Right at the Navel. His lower body is 62 percent of the height. No, I’ve never measured David’s most interesting part. I’ll leave that to you.

Analysis done by far greater than experts than me have found that Michaelangelo used this ratio everywhere on David. But for now we are going to focus on torso and leg length.

So ok, big deal. You don’t want to look like David. You want an “ideal” body in SL! WITH big boobies! How?

Now, you will no doubt notice as you read this article, and follow-up articles, that I barely discuss the subject of booby size.

Frankly, boob size is nearly irrelevant when applying these principles. Unless you go to extreme sizes, what really matters is whether the REST of your body is proportional to your height. Besides, boob size is a very personal matter.

I tell this to my clients all the time, and many are surprised because I almost never advise on boob sizing. Typically, once their shape is proportionally correct, it’s pretty easy for them to appropriately size their boobs on their own.

Techyish Stuff: The Details
As mentioned above, golden ratios, like the simple one in “David” can be found all over the “ideal” human body. We’ll start with a male image:

According to the author of this chart:
The long white lines (left and right) are the body’s height. The blue line, on the right, is a “golden section” of the white line and defines the distance from the head to the finger tips. Notice how long the arms are.

The yellow line, a golden section of the blue line, defines the distance from the head to the navel and the elbows. Emphasis on NAVEL.

The green line, a golden section of the yellow line, defines the distance from the head to the pectorals and inside top of the arms, the width of the shoulders, the length of the forearm and the shin bone.

You almost certainly don’t want to look like a man.

However, the essential proportions that are seen in the male body above and those for women are the same, the most important of these is the length of the torso versus the length of the legs. Hip width and shoulder width (not to mention boobs, butt, and vajajay are obviously different too. We’ll get to them in the next article (except for your vajajay, that’s on you)

A too-short torso is going to look bad in both a male and female AVI, the same with a torso that is too long.

Screw that up and everything else is going to be a problem. That’s why when doing body changes it’s vital to fix problems in this are FIRST.

The key marker in determining how you shape up is the position of your navel. The navel is the torso marker.
Look carefully at this photo. On the left is Whimsy’s shape with overly long legs.

On the right  is her shape in conformance with the 62/38 ratio. Note that there doesn’t seem to be a lot of difference in the navel position. But look at the torso length differences.

On the left, the body is “cramped”; it’s “off” somehow.. On the right, …natural.

We’re going to fix you now.

Torso to legs Fix
Before you do anything, make SURE you have saved a copy of your shape, you are very likely going to be making changes and then doing a SAVE AS on your new shape. You want to keep that original as it is…

1. We’re going to get an accurate measurement of your height first.

2. Grab this texture. Apply it to the box and then stretch it so that the Y and Z axis are equal. Try 2.5m for both. Leave X at 0.5. Make sure that X and Z are squre.

4. Drag the box over your body as you stand on the posing stand.  Change the texture transparency so that you can see yourself in the box.

5. Stretch that box so it it barely covers the BOTTOM of your BARE FEET and so it just touches the top of your BARE HEAD check and check again.

6. Center your view…this is critical.

7. You want that center line in the dead center of your screen before you do ANYTHING.

At this point, you need to adjust your torso length and probably you leg length. Do one thing first, say the torso, use small changes. Then hop back on the posing stand. Adjust the position of the box up or down to again have it barely touch the top of your head and bottom of your fee. Do NOT resize the box!

If you left the box alone, you will likely find that you’ve changed your height. Test it by checking to see if the bottom of your feet and the top of your head still fit the box correctly. Make further adjustments.

The goal is to stay the same height while shifting your belly button up or down onto the center horizontal line.

If you find that you’re now way short or way tall (when in the box), then, and only then adjust your body height. But go slow and easy. It’s a big of a slow process, but the results are worth it.

Compare your original shape to your new one. You may be really surprised.
Next time we’ll discuss and correct the other most common shape problems.

Cindy Melgund and her partner Whimsy Warrhol are the owners of Whimsy’s Closet, a leading retailer of clothing for busty women since 2009. Cindy does body shaping consulting and design for the company. Feel free to contact Whimsy or Cindy with any questions.


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kahlima
    Aug 11, 2013 @ 19:12:34

    I’m pretty artistic and I truly love the golden ratio but if followed to a T everyone would look the same in SL. That would be sad 😦 I love the variations… (since when is being “leggy” a bad thing?) and the variations I don’t care for much I still value on their own terms.


  2. Cindy Melgund
    Aug 12, 2013 @ 15:27:53

    It’s really not possible to follow GR to “T”. Everyone I consult has to tell me first what height they want. We start there and that ensures that everyone’s look is unique because, as you know, height impacts everything. Tons of variation.


  3. FrostedOats
    Apr 10, 2014 @ 19:42:45

    I am in firestorm version 4.6.1. I think for me and maybe others it might be helpful to be more detailed. This page is interesting but i need more instructions. I ddid the torso / legs then i see the neg getting too long. Will i ( giggles ) turn into a bird?


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