Review: Reel Expression Burlesque poses.

Reel Expression recently released several Burlesque-themed poses sets.  I wanted to do these pose sets justice, really showing off their expressive quality (more on that later.)  As I was playing with the poses, I decided to try my hand at setting up poses in an intimate, photable-type setting, using poseballs to set the poses where I wanted them.  It’s a bit of work to get the poses to work all together, trying to visualize where and how each pose will interact with one another, but it was an interesting experiment — though certainly an area where I could use quite a bit more practice.  It’s funny; you wouldn’t think slapping down a few poseballs would be so much work to align.

Moving on to the poses themselves.  In this case, I’m considering the two Burlesque standing pose sets and one Burlesque sitting pose set from Reel Expressions.  So, how does one evaluate a set of poses?  For me, specific criteria: expression, naturalism, fit, mesh distortion, and value.

First, expression: does the pose express a certain mood?  Is it sultry, or emo, or standoffish?  I demand that my poses have expression.  I want them to tell a story.  You may have a perfect outfit and setting, but it’s really the pose that will tell the narrative — the narrative that helps to make a picture worth a thousand words.

Burlesque, in my mind, is about the contradiction between sex and shyness.  It’s not blantantly sexy like stripping; instead, it’s about the tease.  A bit of sultriness here, a bit of coyness there.  Reel Epression’s Burlesque poses encompass the full range of expression that burlesque represents, which means that there’s a pose for everyone here; the poses will suit a variety of blogs, store vendors, and casual pics.

Next, naturalism.  Does the pose look realistic?  It doesn’t matter how awesomely expressive a pose is — if the normal (non-contortionist) person cannot achieve the pose, I’m not interested.  In my opinion, so long as you’re representing an RL avatar in an RL setting, the pose should be  realistically possible.

Luth Brodie, as I understand it, is one of the godmothers of posemaking, in a large part because she focuses on the naturalism of the human figure.  When I look at a Reel Expression pose, I know I can stand like that in real life. These poses are not convoluted, nor are there any dislocated knees or elbows.

Third on my criteria list is fit.  While all my criteria are subjective, this may be the most subjective of all, as we all have different and unique shapes.  No pose is going to fit every shape perfectly.  What really matters is whether the specific pose fits your specific shape.   I have a few poses that I adore, but can’t ever use, because my hands get lost in strange places.  (Also, if you’re buying a pose to wear with a specific outfit, you may want to make sure the prim attachments like hair and skirt work with the pose.)

In two sets of standing poses and one set of sitting poses, only three of Reel Expression’s poses did not fit my shape.  Two standing poses ate a finger or two, and in one seating pose, the elbow did not sit on the knee as I would have liked.  Now, my avatar is medium-sized — I’m not a full-figured av, but I have a few of my sliders cranked up pretty high, like body thickness and arm length.  If 3 out of a total of 36 poses are less than perfect, then I’m over the moon about the other 33 — that’s a success rate I’m quite happy with.

The fourth criterion is mesh distortion.  This may not matter to you.  However, if you’re a blogger or creator, and you’re interested in showing off products at their best, this should be terribly important.  If I’m showing a patterned top, the pose should not cause my ribs to stretch or eat a part of the design — it’s ugly, and it does not show off the product well.

I threw on a patterned top to test the mesh distortion of the poses, to test how often my av’s ribs tried to eat a shirt.  And, WOW!  No major torso distortion in 36 poses.  Mind you, the more dramatic leg poses are going to eat the upper part of the lower avatar texture, and there’s nothing to be done about that.  But seriously — no rib-chewing, in 36 poses?  This is impressively, remarkably well-done.

There’s a another criteria that I’m not totally comfortable mentioning, but it needs to be done: value.  How expensive are the poses, and are they worth the money?  Honestly, Reel Expression has the most expensive poses that I pay money for.  L$800/set is at the high end of the market, and I won’t lie, I carefully consider every Reel Expression purchase I make.  That said, I’ve never once regretted a purchase.  I find the poses versatile with a variety of outfits and settings, and based on the criteria of expression, naturalism, fit, and mesh distortion, these poses are worth the premium price.

Poses: Reel Expression Burlesque Set 1, Burlesque Set 2, Burlesque Sitting Set
Hair: [OH] Stage Props2 – R (Designers United 3)
Skin: Tres Blah Hiccup Light Skin – Swoon (Freckles, light winged brows) (Designers United 3)
Undershirt: Zaara Isis Shirt – Pitch
Overshirt: Beauty Avatar Couture – Janess – black
Lingerie, including neckpiece: DeLa Mirielle Bustier and Shorts Set – Black
Gloves: 5th & Oxford Leather Gloves – Black
Skirt: Vanitas Vesture Weston Swishy Skirt – Black
Boots: J’s Thigh High Boots – Black – Middle
Set: Aden & Anna’s Pidgeon Coop
Location: Alirium Gardens
Also used: Mechanized Life Filtercam

Promotional items received: poses, boots, FilterCam.  Skirt is from my own shop.  I’m acquainted with some of the designers shown here.  However, I only blog things I like, regardless of affiliations or gifts.

4 Comments to Review: Reel Expression Burlesque poses.

luth brodie
January 7, 2010

Wow. That just made my year. And that’s counting towards last year.

Very much a well though post. Extremely comprehensive and covering the details that take so long to do. With the added bonus of very lovely pictures.

Thank you!

January 7, 2010

/me blushes.

Shelby Rasmuson
January 7, 2010

Very nice, and great poses!

Cajsa Lilliehook
January 8, 2010

I am a major fan of Reel Expression poses – as you can see they are the ones used in the vast majority of my photos – for the very reasons you enumerate. They just work so reliably.

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