Written by: Journey McLaglan
Images by: Brox Riaxik & Patch Thaibaud
1+1 = One Amazing Build, The DNA Cloning Facility
DNA has its own unique signature, and that is what makes each of us stand out from the crowd. The same can be said for DNA/Signature skins developed by Brox Riaxik. Whether your goal is to find the unique attributes of your role-play character (Signature Skins) or your unique Second Life personality (DNA Skins), Riaxik has the look that will make you stand out.
And now these unique brands have found an equally unique home on an interstellar spacecraft built by Patch Thibaud. There is nothing in SL to rival this role-play store. It spans the diagonal sim and hides a mystery that is at once ominous and compelling. Clues can be found along the way as you tour this abandoned starship. Can you discover the story behind DNA/Signature skins?
“I had a sim design in mind and a story to go with it,” Riaxik said, “but I could never do it all myself. So I left it up to the professional to make my dream come true.”
Riaxik credits Thibaud for bringing his vision into the virtual world. “Patch has developed a great concept that will not only be a skin shop but also a role-play (RP) arena and host of a monthly treasure hunt! To me it is a truly epic build.”
Riaxik, who is celebrating his second year in Second Life (SL), laid the foundation for this vision a year ago when he decided he needed different identities to fit the characters he was creating in a RP story. “It was a personal challenge,” Riaxik recalled. “I could have used some of the great skins on the market, but I needed the characters to identify more with the story.”
Just as Riaxik has found the creation of skins helps tell the story, the amazing interstellar vessel that Thibaud has built brings the story full circle. From the aft portion with its ingenious fusion fuel generators to the navigation deck and incredible view of the star system, this is one of the most amazing places to let your imagination fly.
A star field lit in Windlight is beautiful and mind expanding place. Smaller spacecraft circle the docking bay as light from a distant sun reflects from the surrounding planets. The mysterious dark sides of these planets add to the eerie feeling of emptiness that engulfs you here. You are immersed in movement but at the same time overwhelmed with an aching emptiness – the yin-yang of life and death; of positive and negative energy.
“This is the first time I have built something like this,” said Thibaud, who is an architect in real life and one of the most amazing builders ever to come to SL.”This has been a rewarding challenge and I love the idea of the build telling the story of the product. It is so much more than a static build. It is a living, interacting space that challenges the senses with mystery and movement, and sparks the imagination with its untold story.”
As you move throughout the starship, the only life source seems to be in the bio-dome where plants provide solid evidence that there were or possibly are beings aboard. But the airlock separating the bio-dome from the bridge has been forced open. What has happened here?
Riaxik could not be more pleased with the results. “The views that you capture as you travel throughout the build are larger than life. It is a great place to explore and actually imagine yourself taking on the adventure of populating a new solar system.”
For Riaxik, this place is truly a labor of love for the group members of DNA/Signature and anyone from Second Life who loves to explore.
DNA/Signature Skins has one of the fastest growing fan bases in Second Life. One of the primary reasons is the designer’s real relationship with his customers who freely offer their input and ideas – and he eagerly listens.
“If the community does love the skins, it is because I really love creating them. It’s actually a lot of fun helping others create the look they want to express!”
And for this skin maker, helping people find their identity and creativity in SL is truly one of the biggest perks of the job. “From advertising to everyday life, I enjoy taking a step back and admiring what others can produce with the help of the skins I create,” Riaxik said.
The diversity and quality of DNA/Signature Skins is an equally remarkable aspect of this space as they capture realism across a broad range of ethnicities. “Every day we see hundreds of different faces and races, and in Second Life we see users from all over the globe,” Riaxik said. “I have made it a personal mission to try to create different ethnicities because each ethnicity has its own beautiful features. I encourage all of my group members to suggest and request skin types. I am here to help.”
Riaxik’s journey to skin making is all the more notable when you realize he has no background in art or graphic design. “Everything I have learned is because of Second Life. I compare it to taking a college course. It has been a long bumpy ride, thousands of dollars in upload costs and many sleepless nights.
“There are some great people in Second Life that have helped me on my journey. They have offered excellent advice and still to this day I reach out for their help. Because in texture work there is never really a right way, it is all about preference.”
Each skin can take Riaxik about two weeks to go from idea to in world sale but even then he feels the process is never really complete as there are always ways of improving the end result. And as any good designer can tell you, such is the art of creation. That is what keeps you going. That is what gives you the edge.
“Mostly my inspiration comes from my emotions at that moment.” Riaxik noted. “For example, if I had a tough day in RL, I might go to the office and make a badass skin to release some of those feelings I have built up. For me that approach has really worked because it’s almost like you can envision yourself as that character you are trying to create.”
As Riaxik looks ahead he sees no end to the challenges. He is excited about the possibilities. One of the big ones is mesh. “As a designer I really don’t know if I am scared or excited about mesh. The possibilities excite me, but the talent out there really makes me nervous. There will be much more exotically shaped characters available, so it makes you wonder if being a human will compare,” he said with a laugh.
For now his focus is on the equally exotic – the female skin. “Women are very picky and there is such a huge selection of female skins. I can’t promise the best yet, but I can promise continuous improvement.” Female skins will be offered at DNA/Signature for the first time when the new sim opens on Sept. 11.
When asked what the biggest challenge is in creating female skins for the first time, Riaxik smiled and answered, “Just like in real life, women are very hard to figure out.”
For male and female alike, DNA/Signature is a great place to start you SL story.