Friday, April 26, 2013

Fantasy Faire Featured Shop : Dinkies by Etheria Parrott

The sim of Ravenshard is without any doubt the most yummy of the entire Fantasy Faire. And is it a suprise that it is the sim that hosts the colony of tiny merchants at the Faire ?

Among shops such as Druscilla's Whim (which I covered last year) , Stuff Xavian Made and Totally Tinies we find Dinkies, the shop by Etheria Parrott. Etheria's shop is very interesting and unique, since she creates the more and more popular mesh-based tiny avatars. Dinkies are increasing popular and they have the right to be. They are absolutely adorable!

Etheria, like many other secondifers started manipulating prims at the Library of Prims, teaching herself how to build from examples and diagrams. Soon she made a prim teddy bear avatar and set it for sale. The teddy bear was successful and gave her a small income that was enough to pay rental on a shop and make clothes for the avatar. From the teddy bear the next step was a range of quad puppy avatars that people seemed to love too.

The sculpties era started and Etheria realized that she needed a 3D editing program to create things with them, so she started learning Blender.

With sculpties Etheria made an avatar of Yoda, that has always been very popular.

And then mesh came out, so she needed to learn yet another whole new way of modelling. At first Etheria made a Disney baby Brave Bear. For obvious reasons she could not market that in SL. It was an experiment to see if she could make a tiny mesh avatar and it worked. Then, in Etheria's own words, "... a friend suggested reshaping the head to make a cat so I tried and it worked. And that's how a litter of Dinkies were born".

Dinkies are painted in 3D coat from real photographs. Most of them from the photographs of several cats. It is still not easy to find all the angles needed, so sometimes it is necessary to make some of it up.

Dinkies have been very successful so far, even the Fantasy Faire committee has adopted the Dinkies as their "uniform" during the current campaign. Etheria however likes to look ahead, so she is now thinking about making more clothes for them. She is about to release a designer's kit so that anyone can design for Dinkies. 

Eventually Etheria is considering making also animals other than cats, but that's going to be a major effort since she would need new bodies designed from scratch. In the short term she is considering adding two more options to the 6 different types of cats she has now. This won't be trivial either. As mentioned, finding the right photos to make a new cat is not an easy task, and recently Etheria has been more concerned with clothing for the Dinkies.

Another major feature of Dinkies is that they work very well with the animations created for biggies (regular avatars). AOs and most dances work fine and the feeling is very smooth and natural.

Etheria shares with me a video of a performance (Rynn Verwood and Lauren Thibaud) that took place at the Faire the day before. Absolutely Fabulous !

Etheria graciously offers me to try a Dinkie, and I choose a grey one. It is absolutely cute and my AO and all the dances I try work perfectly. It is very funny to see a little cat using all those poses that I have became used to associate to the big avatar of Admiral Beaumont. Yet they say the the little cat is still me!

Here in the next pictures you can see kitty me near Etheria :-) 

Etheria has also produced some specific animations for Dinkies. So far she made a stand, a sit and and a laydown.

The Dinkies shop came late to the Fantasy Faire, so Etheria did not have the time to make anything explicitly faire-related, but she has a lovely pair of Dinkies velcro dinosaur trainers in a RFL vendor and they have sold very well so far.

I thank Etheria for her kindness and her patience answering to my questions, and I leave her with the promise to "spread the love". Dinkies deserve it !

No comments: