For reference, let's start with a blast from the past. Here we have Philip Linden aka Philip Rosedale rocking an early prim hair plus spikey system hair look on the left. Philip 2.0 is to the right, again with the basic prim hair deal.
So now let's see what we get from the hair fair. I don't mean to pick on Exile because in general, they make good stuff. But here's their Hair Fair 2015 gift. It really doesn't look like we've progressed all that much in terms of realism,
So Jill seems OK (sorry but Jack is just too, uh, precious and contrived for me). But let's look at the hair as actually worn in Second Life (and without Photoshopping or other stuff). It just looks flat. And as someone commented to me in SL today, that's the problem with most straight mesh hairs! They don't have any shine (maybe some coconut oil??). Still, to Exile's credit, this is one of the better freebies at the Fair.
|Jill by Exile|
Does it get better? No not really. I intended to pay $L for at least a few hairs just to make sure I was donating to the cause (Wigs for Kids) and it wouldn't be just a gripe about the freebies.
So honestly, here's the BEST mesh hair I could find out of all the Hair Fair sims. It's Grace by MINA. It actually looks lots better in the photo than it does in-world. Here's the package photo. Note how spikey the pieces look -- and while the part that goes across the face LOOKS wispy and natural in the photo, it doesn't look nearly as good in-world.
|Grace by MINA (blonde)|
And here's Grace being worn on me -- not that I'm any great fashion model but I just want to show how most mesh hairs end up looking. No detail. Stiff. Stringy. Primmy.
I think this is not so much a designer issue so much as it is a mesh issue. In the rush to rigged mesh, we end up with hair that looks like old school fixed prim hair with the ONLY advantage being that the wisps and strands don't intrude on your body.
|Grace by MINA (chocolate)|
|Pya by Damselfly|
First here's Hila by Blueberry -- again, rigged mesh. Note that we really haven't advanced THAT much with rigged mesh because the hair strands still go through the prim collar on my shirt. And again, we have that ropey, strandy look of mesh that just looks like someone used Play-Doh.
Next up is Piper by Calico. I really, really, really wanted to like Piper because some of my very first hairs were by Calico and at the time, they were very good. But, here's what rigged mesh does. Again big huge clumps and no real detail in the strands. Sigh. Seriously? But OK Calico, you got my $L because of memories. :)
My one surprise was Despina by Tameless. It's a gift hair with all colors included plus a colorable hairband (via HUD). But look at the detail! The wisps don't occlude your face and because it's an old school flexi hair, it moves naturally. So WTG Tameless. (And yes, I have a few of their hairs and goodies in my inventory from a few years ago. They still rock.)
Now please creators, don't think I'm picking on you. I think it's just a limitation of mesh that you're dealing with. And really, these are examples of some of the BETTER mesh efforts. There were so many god-awful ones at the fair, I was actually wondering why a designer would even bother with mesh.
|Hila by Blueberry|
|Piper by Calico|
|Despina by Tameless|
But don't let this stop you from donating to the cause Wigs for Kids. You can do so by clicking boxes throughout the Hair Fair or by going directly to the organization at the link above.
SLURL to Hair Fair 2015: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Iridium/135/33/23
UPDATE: Added inworld photo of Jill hair by Exile with commentary.