Going beyond “average” (female)

So…other than creating some average bodies, what else can we do with the wealth of information people have given out as part of Strawberry Singh’s digits project? Apparently, we can learn quite a lot about how people build their avatars.

For instance, let’s look at the average height of female avatars in SL. Earlier, I determined that the average height was about 50 (rounded up to a usable number). But…what does that mean? Are people actually setting their heights to 50, or do we have a whole bunch of people at height 0 and a whole bunch of people at height 100? The answer could make a big difference to posemakers, furniture creators, and clothing designers. Let’s find out.

(This chart and those below may be hard to read on WordPress — please feel free to pop over to my Flickr for larger sizes.)

So — yes. The most common height setting, by a long way, is 50. Interestingly, though, other than 53 (9 avatars), none of the other height settings in the 50s were chosen by more than 5 avatars. More female avatars had their heights set in the 40 and 60 value ranges, which joined with the large number that had their heights at 50 to reach the 50 average.

What about legs? I couldn’t accurately gauge a ratio of leg length to overall height. The SL “height” setting is a proportion of a SL standard, so even if you have your height meter set at 0, your avatar still has a height. Additionally, height is a factor of not just the height setting but also numerous other settings such as leg length, torso length, hip length, and so on. Therefore, after multiple efforts, I gave up on that. However, I did put together a bit comparing leg length to torso length, which may give a good idea of how avatars balance their height:

As you can see, women generally set their legs longer than their torsos — only 48 of 232 female avatars had legs shorter than their torsos. 34 avatars had a 1:1 ratio, or legs and torsos set to the same (or roughly the same) length. The rest, 150 avatars, had legs longer than their torsos. While the most common ratio was 1:1, the second-most common was 1.3:1, or 4:3.

I’m working on finding an accurate source for real-life proportions and ratios. Everything I’ve found for real-life proportions so far repeats the information most of us already know, using heads as a proportional marker. Once I find some more useful RL data to use as a comparison to this data, I’ll edit this post. Edit: still not finding great data for this, but I’ve discussed it in the men’s post here.

It’s also very useful to see arm to torso proportions — sure, posemakers would find that helpful, but more importantly, a lot of people posting their shapes to Strawberry Singh’s group have commented that they’re not sure their arms are proportionate. Here’s how the group shakes out:

Women almost uniformly had longer arms than their torsos, but most of them kept it very close — 190 women kept their arms between a 1:1 and 2:1 arm to torso ratio, and 124 of those kept their arms to ratios from 1:1 and 1.5:1. The most common ratios were 1.1:1 and 1:3:1, and more extreme discrepancies between arm length and torso length existed but were not common (and were often found in avatars trying to look unusual).

I am not trying to draw conclusions from all this. I’m just offering the data for those who are interested in using it, because I think it’s really cool and people have been so fantastic to offer their shape digits.

Men: you’re up next. Give me a day or two to make your graphs look pretty.

The contents of this post are licensed Creative Commons Attribution.


About Vaki

Seriously, Mega Shark v. Giant Octopus is a masterpiece of modern cinema. What? It has Deborah Gibson in it. And there's this one scene where...what? Oh, like there's something better than a mega shark leaping out of the ocean and biting a plane in half. Whatever.
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11 Responses to Going beyond “average” (female)

  1. Thanks Vaki – so great – so fascinating! There’s lots of “graphic standards” / design standards out in FL. They used to be sold in expensive books… IDK how that info is/isn’t available today… good luck finding it… I’ll poke around also and LYK if I find stuff…


    Oh, PS: The post is awesome… the flickr pix are awesome… just curious… why not use bigger pix in WordPress & let us click on the blog images to pop within WP to bigger pix… I think that works pretty well for me…

    • Vaki says:

      Because I’m just not in the habit of uploading pictures to WordPress, I upload them to Flickr and link. I could upload them to WordPress as well, but that’d be a bit odd, having the same image in two places (there are enough people on Flickr who don’t read my blog and are interested in this project that I’d end up uploading them there anyway). Is it very hard to read? I could upload them for this blog post, since it’s kind of a special case, and I don’t mind doing so.

      Thank you for your kind words!

  2. and now that I’m back from flickr… wow… your height plot doesn’t look *exactly* like a “normal” distribution…. but it’s awful close! 😛

  3. Kiss Spicoli says:

    Artists have considered typical humans proportions for, uhm … a while 🙂
    Individual’s proportions are usually considered relative to the height of a person’s head. There are a bunch of places to see such on the web, such as:
    http://www.realcolorwheel.com/human.htm It can be intersting to checked your AV … from time to time I see horribly disproportionate somethings 😀

    Thanks Vaki!

    • Vaki says:

      Kiss — you’re right, my phrasing was bad. We’ve had proportions in the form of the golden ratio since Da Vinci, but the problem is that those aren’t measured in the same way as SL’s proportions (Da Vinci’s measurements are taken with the navel as the central measuring point, whereas SL’s measurements use approximate “joints”). So if I’m trying to find the average human ratio of torso length to leg length, I can’t use Da Vinci’s golden ratio; I have to use something that measures in the same way that SL measures.

      The website you suggest, http://www.realcolorwheel.com/human.htm, is useful in many ways, but it does exactly what most resources do: it (as I said above) repeats the standard of using heads as a proportional marker. Fantastic for drawing, but not very precise when I’m looking for differences to the decimal for average ratios.

      Still, it’s very useful for showing a suggested proportion for legs and arms to torsos! Thank you for linking it.

  4. Eleri Hamilton says:

    I thought the number of 0 feet was interesting, since mine are 12… but then I realized I always walk around barefoot- the one time I wore heels, I had to crank my feet down to 0 to get them to fit in the shoe prim, without making clown shoes. So mebby foot size is a result of function rather than form.

    • Vaki says:

      Oh yes, definitely — most of the participants came to that conclusion. Women’s shoe designers create their shoes for size 0 feet, so that’s how women tend to set their foot size. Conversely, men’s shoe designers vary in sizes (some design for a foot size of 0, while others design for a foot size of 20), so men’s foot sizes have much greater variance.

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