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(click here for a raw shot)

Lately I’ve been feeling like my arms were totally out of proportion. At first I thought they looked ok but a few people mentioned that they were a bit short and I might have a bit of t-rex syndrome going on. So I asked my friends on plurk this morning and a lot of them chimed in with loads of good advice, I suggest everyone read this plurk because I’m sure you’ll find lots of good info about body proportions in it.

Amongst all the awesome the advice and the pictures of me changing my arms and hands around, there are a few important things that stood out and I wanted to reference:

  1. This body proportions image that Corvus Szpiegel shared. It shows correct proportions for adult males, females and also children. It’s definitely very helpful.
  2. Penny Patton’s “Vitruvian Shapes” and tutorials on avatar proportions that were shared by Mona Eberhardt. That one is also very informative.
  3. I am wearing the SLink mesh hands in the picture below and I noticed when I changed my hand size, it adjusted the size of the slink hands as well. This was great because I always felt the mesh hands were a bit small looking but the medium size would not fit me. This way I can still wear my small size but adjust the sizing using the hand size sliders.
  4. Even after changing those proportions, it wasn’t a HUGE difference. There is a slight difference in my arm length and it does look a lot better, however my arms are still not the ideal proportion because of my torso and legs.

I was speaking to my friend RubyStarlight Writer about this and she mentioned how it is very difficult to create a properly proportioned avatar because the sl avatar mesh is limited. So her advice to me was, “instead of trying to struggle with proportions, just look at your arms and if your avatar is able to reach over and wipe her butt without a struggle, then you’re fine. If she can’t, then well, maybe you wanna make them longer.”
She always has a way with words! But I guess she’s right and even though they are not perfect, for now they are good enough. I guess messing with my shape will go on forever but I have learned a lot from today’s plurk and also from my What’s your Digits posts.

Messing with my arms

The first picture in this post I actually also changed my legs for as I felt they were looking way too long so I changed them from 56 to 35 and they still look that long in that image. But I kind of liked the long sexy legged look. The pose is the latest release from Diesel Works and it’s part of the Bombastic series. I fell in love with it instantly and I’ll probably do more shots with it.

So what do you think of my current arm length now? I can’t make it any longer, but I guess I can make my torso smaller and legs smaller but I don’t think I really want to do that. Where are your arms at and how do your avatar’s proportions compare to the body proportions image?

I guess the best part of Second Life is that it is our Second Life and we can make our avatars look any way we want. In the end, all that matters is if we are satisfied and happy with it. For now, I think I am pretty happy with my avatar so she’ll stay as is…till I get bored again.

1st image:
*Skin: Glam Affair – Cleo – America by Aida Ewing
Hair: booN TUN247 hair chocolate by boo Nakamura
*Mesh Hands: Slink Mesh Hands (av) Casual S by Siddean Munro
*Shoes: [Gos Boutique] Marilyn Sandals – Classic Collection – S by Gospel Voom
*Pose: Diesel Works Bombastic Pose by Rogan Diesel

2nd image:
*Skin: Glam Affair – Cleo – America – 05 C by Aida Ewing (it’s been released)
Eyes: Mayfly – Deep Sky Mesh Eye (Deep Ice, w4) by Arkesh Baral
*Hair: “”D!va”” Hair “Sayaka2″ (Type A)(Brown diamond) by Marisa Kira
*Dress: Zaara : [Mesh] Chaitra chiffon dress (S) *ivory* by Zaara Kohime
*Mesh Feet & Hands: SLink by Siddean Munro
Sandals: Slink Ilena Sandals Large White by Siddean Munro


Strawberry has been a Second Life Resident since 2007 and a Linden Lab employee since 2019.

25 thoughts on “Proportions

  • This is a classic case of the press screwing you! I’m contacting my lawyer.

    My version of things was far more graphic and vulgar than that. Berry had to go and clean it up.

    Also, I would just like to say that the reason I’ve used the “butt wiping” tool of measurement is because when I first became friends with the lovely Alicia Chenaux, she made me pee myself laughing when she saw a girl with teeny arms and said, “Oh my God…. how does she wipe?” It’s that lovely sentiment that has guided me with my arm proportions ever since.

    Just wanted to make sure Alicia got her butt wiping credit.

  • I was an anthropology major at one point in college, as my dad liked to say when i was deciding on a major i started on “a” and worked my way thru the alphabet of degrees. But i do know a persons arm length will fall naturally to mid- thigh, it seems so long but your arm span, the length from middle finger to middle finger when your arms are opened wide at a 90 degree angle should equal your height. Weird to think you would have an (average 5-7) arm span for an american woman, but its true. Measure it, its pretty cool. So anyway, of the many defects of my avatar, arm length isn’t one of them, I always check to mid thigh.

  • Gala Caproni

    I’m curious how long your torso is… cause my arms are 65 and they hang past my hips….

  • LMAO!! The butt wiping thing is hilarious! It is actually a pretty good way to think of arm proportion. I have been feeling like my proportions are a bit wonky too lately. Needless to say, my avatar can wipe her own booty. I think I have giraffe syndrome in my legs though. Last time I edited my shape I thought I was shorter than I used to be, but now I look at myself and think I’m too tall again!

    Arms and hands are difficult to judge. My arms are currently 86, hands are 20, legs 84. My height is 63. The funny thing is, if you sit and stare at your own avatar too long…anything and everything starts seeming disproportionate but to anyone else it probably does not look that way. I can’t mess with my shape much or I begin adjusting too many parts. lol.

  • I loved this post Berry, I changed my arm length to 90 and my hands to 30. I did not realize the Slink hands would change like that, it is fantastic! Thank you for this. I don’t think people will notice the difference, but I do see it.


  • I’ve been fiddling around with my shape recently myself! As India said, look at it too long and you start questioning -everything-…I think it’s worked out for the better, though. xD

    Another fun thing for SL: adjusting your shape so that poses may work a little better. My avatar’s M-L in SS usually (too big for medium but not big enough for large, morelike), and I didn’t like how it looked in profile. The stomach didn’t look good when she bent (and didn’t really seem to correspond with the shape from the front). So I screwed with my bodyfat sliders and came up with something that I liked a bit better. (Still doesn’t work well with SS, but hey! I like it.)

    I’ve been going through so many other little tweaks as well that I’ve started saving shapes with numbers so I know which is the latest one!

  • Its a little hard to see if the arm length is quite right since we can’t see precisely where your crotch is (I’ve seen one suggestion that says that the inside base of your thumb should line up with the bottom of your crotch), but it does look pretty good to me.

    I usually end up with 80-85 in arm length, but I don’t go very tall since try to keep all my shapes to 8 or 8 1/4 heads tall; I find that it is very hard to reach 7 1/2, so going with proportions that are humanly possible if not perfectly average seems fine to me.

    For example, one of my shapes is 42 tall (1.88 m), with torso 50, leg length 55 and hip length 52. That shape needs arms at about 80 and hands at 35 to have the hands in the right place. Oh, and head size 60, which of course matters for the measure of how many heads tall you end up.

    You can make someone quite a bit taller still work out alright in terms of the number of heads tall, but you have to be prepared to make your head larger and that means you also need to make your shoulders wider (and your body thicker) for all the other measures to work out.

  • this is amazing info, i always thought my hands were to small with the fitting mesh hand but never knew i can just resize the hand size and it will grow all, also made my arm longer because im at a full 100% lenght almost . will have to reread this better to much info lol

  • Thanks for sharing the information about the Slink Mesh hands, I didn’t know they’d be adjusted as well when I change my hand size! I think, the T-Rex syndrom isn’t caused by too short arms but too small hands and most female avatars have a 20 hand size (because of the prim nails etc.). I have just changed my hands from 20 to 30 and I think it looks way better now. Thanks again and btw, great post and even better pics!

  • I’ve always had shorter arms. Longer just didn’t look right to me. And I did have someone tell me my arms were too short years ago, but I don’t care

  • anjali Insoo

    great informations here, arm lenght was a topic for me too, i tried to check it in rl, and then to adapt in sl. the different sizes of slink hands are to fit to the body without gaps (Body Fat, Torso Muscle, Leg Muscle, Knee Angle).

    u can find the few settings here, to fit the hands or feet perfectly to yr body

  • I struggle with arm length also, but I seem to have somewhat extreme digits: torso 40, hip length 55, arms 100. In my case, I think the longer hips makeup for the shorter torso. When I look at my shape it seems more like your right-side photo. Regardless, you do not have t-rex syndrome. hehe

  • jackson redstar

    now, if I could just get my “man part” correctly fitted….

  • When I started reading Penny’s articles on scale and proportion I started re-working my shape. I ended up making a tool to help with getting things in proportion:

    Of course one can just get the Da Vinci image, slap it on a prim and scale it to the right size for their avatar. It helps to make the prim phantom so you can walk into it. That reduces the parallax you have to deal with.

  • Here’s the thing about the so called body proportions. Real people maybe be 7.5 heads tall on average, but that’s where the proportions in common end. In reality some people have super long torsos and short legs while others have super long legs and short torsos. Some people have arms that seemingly end at the crotch while others swing even lower.

    You doubt it? ride a bus for a month and you will see so many variables in body proportions that you will wonder how they ever came up with that average.

    You want to see a celebrity example? Ever watch Kelly and Micheal? used to be Regis and Kelly. Well a viewer wrote in and said, with Michael so much taller than you, and you so tiny, how on earth is it that when you are both sitting at the desk you appear taller? the viewer wondered if this was some adjustment in their chairs. No, as Kelly demonstrated, she has very short legs and a super long torso, while Micheal has extremely long legs and a super short torso. thus when they stand he towers over her, but when the sit she appears to be the taller of the two.

    so please everyone…lets not adhere to a “standard”. A standard is why back in the day so many women thought they should be as skinny as twiggy and why twiggy size models still walk the runway. Starving themselves and in my opinion so thin as to be gross. Not that all thin people are gross..but if your ribs are sticking out and you look like death warmed over should you really be the standard for all women?

    My nephew has very small hands. So small that its noticeable. Yet he, IS a REAL proportioned person.

    Variables, variety, non-standard…these things lead to ACCEPTANCE. Something so few of us ever manage to achieve since we are all DIFFERENT.

    Please don’t box me into 7.5 heads. SL or RL I simple won’t fit.


  • While it is very true that averages are just that, averages, I think that it doesn’t hurt to use them as a starting point if you aim for a somewhat realistic look in SL (which you don’t necessarily have to, of course). Its like writing rules; you can break them for effect, but you should know the rule to start with.

    If you don’t have that base line of an average, realistic shape as a guide, it is really, really easy to get a very warped sense of how realistic or not something looks in SL. I know that if I switch into a “typical” SL shape and then switch back to one of my shapes after a while, I tend to feel they look incredibly short and sturdy. But then I wear them for a while, and they look just right again. So if you’re aiming for a touch of realism, it helps to calibrate your perception now and then.

  • @ Anjali Insoo i have seen the link before but because im around here
    Body Fat: 5
    Torso Muscle: 31

    i cant use a bigger mesh hand it will not fit properly and im very tall with atiny hand so the possibility to enlarge your normal handsize was the best option to kill the extremely small hands

  • Hi, Strawberry!

    This topic has fascinated me since my earliest days in SL. I remember talking with the brilliant woman who made my shape (still using it – just modified now) about avatar size, shape, and appearance. She actually made my shape a little smaller for me so I could be more petite – which I am in RL. I had very little experience in SL at the time, and so was still in absolute AWE of the amazing range of avatars. I have remained so, and have marveled at the creativity in avatar design and creation.
    The range of what we can do astounds me still, and I have a deep appreciation of pretty much every avatar I have seen. What fine avenue of expression is the avatar! I’ve got a few in my Inventory, and do bring them out now and again – for fun and frolic (and more tweaking!).
    People are so different – even as we are the same in some ways. It has always fascinated me that avatars are so often, well, larger than life. I have come to understand that this is – at least in part – because of the grid itself and the proportions of it from the beginning. Now, we can change so much more of that and present the world (and ourselves in it) in an ever-increasing number of ways including avatar size, shape, proportion, hue, and, well…you name it!
    One friend is a satellite, another is often a tree. And in our little enclave of close friends we have faeries, wolves, vampires, ghosts, kitties, and girls-next-door as well as an assortment of extraterrestrials and humanoids of varying shapes and sizes. We love them all.
    Still, I think this is an important conversation and one that I am enjoying exploring. A few of our family members and a couple of friends are reading – and some may post at your flickr page; I think Aeon and I will. It seems interesting to note that the readout on height in the viewer Appearance Panel is different from almost every avatar height measuring device we have ever seen – including this one you so kindly point us to. The variation among these tools may be part of the reason this topic can be controversial or misunderstood. However, as died-in-the-wool Second Lifers, Aeon and I love the journey of discovery and we thank you for your continued look into this area of the SL experience. The avatar is central, and exploring the many, many options we have for personal expression through our avatars is critically important in our view.
    Many thanks! (Sorry for the long post…I do get carried away sometimes…)

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