A Customizer's Guide to Customization
Ever sat staring at your Neopet, wondering how in Neopia you could customize it? Wondering how can you turn that blankness into pizazz and that emptiness into personality? Maybe you have some ideas, some Neopoints tucked carefully away for the day you finally customize your Neopet. But where do you begin? Is there any tried and true way to break into the vast and mainly uncharted realm of Customization? How do you start with a blank canvass and end up with a Neopet that's both fashionable and eye-catching at the same time? And, for that matter, what comes in between?
These are the questions that many a Neopian has pondered, spending hours looking through catalogs of wearables and backgrounds, gazing longingly at their splendor and wondering if Customization would ever be within their reach. Well, let me tell you, it's easy to become lost within the endless labyrinth of options, to become caught up in the jumble of decisions that is Customization. But don't be daunted! This article outlines several steps and pointers that can get you quickly on your way to escaping the maze of Customization confusion!
However, maybe you've tried customizing before, only to be left adrift in a sea of wearables. Or maybe one negative comment about your pet's attire made the word "wearable" leave a bitter taste in your mouth. Perhaps you're an old pro, reading this article because you've been waiting a long time to see something fresh, something new, burst out onto the Customization scene. Well, I sincerely hope this commentary doesn't disappoint you, and I certainly hope that it leaves you with at least one new idea about Customization.
But whatever your feelings about are, try to approach the topic with an open mind. Instead of seeing the task of clothing your pet as daunting and confusing, don't get lost among the sheer number of options from which you can choose. See this as an opportunity, a new beginning for your pet.
You might discover something.
In order to approach Customization with a clear mind, a couple common myths require debunking. The first of these is this: the more items - the better. This myth is untrue for a number of reasons. A lot of wearables means, obviously, a lot of colors. Too many colors are not only unpleasant to look at, but they also distract from your pet itself. After all, your pet is the centerpiece, the focal point, of your Customization! The product of a successful Customization job should be a pet that shines - not wearables that steal the show.
The second Customization myth is that basic colors are not good for customizing. In a Paint Brush world, it is all-too-tempting to view pets as being more "valuable" or more "desirable" should they be painted an expensive color. However, when it comes to Customization, basic colors - reds, greens, blues, yellows - work fantastically. Think of these simple colors as proverbial blank canvasses upon which you may paint. The medium of your choice? Wearables.
Besides, basic colors allow you more freedom with Customization. And, anyway, if you pick wearables that cover a lot of your pet's surface area, you're going to conceal that expensive paint job. Not to say that basic colors are the best for customizing. The truth is that color is dependent on personal preference, upon taste. The myth is merely that basic colors are undesirable.
A Few Guidelines
Now that we've established that, on to Customization! What's that? You don't know where to begin? I'm getting to it; I'm getting to it! I know you're excited but - okay, okay - I'll get on with it.
When it comes to clothing your pet, there are a few pointers that always come in handy.
First, pick a central theme for your pet. This could be anything from a daring adventurer to an evil overlord. I should say, not more evil or more overlord-ish than our Dear Doctor Sloth, of course. To achieve that end is impossible and, quite "Frankly," I don't like your tone. Ha ha ha ha he - er, a-herm...
Moving on, once you've picked a theme, keep in mind your pet's personality. Is your pet sweet, mischievous, cheeky? This will help you narrow down your options.
Next, stick to a common color scheme. To determine this, it's often helpful to reference the color of your pet's fur or keep in mind the shades of a background you want to use.
Lastly, don't be rash - expensive and fast isn't necessarily better. I know you want to blow your savings on those new trousers that were released last week, but trust me - you need that money to pay your dues to the Great Doctor Slo - I mean, er, set a budget and stick to it. Be patient. Those trousers will soon drop considerably in price. And, even if they don't, with all the other wearables out there, you'll probably be able to find a satisfactory replacement.
Explore Your Options
Now that we've set some guidelines, let's look at an example! A Rainbow Cybunny, for instance. Not that Doctor Sloth would approve of such garish and happy colors, but anyway...
Say, for example, that you've decided you want your Rainbow Cybunny to look like a princess, but you don't know where to begin. Good news - you've already begun! By picking a central theme, you've taken your first step toward successful Customization!
To achieve your goal, the most obvious option here is to cross-paint your pet Royal and Rainbow, but since we've just established that your Cybunny is already Rainbow, it's too late for that now. The Magnificent Doctor Sloth would never have had such a severe lapse in judgement, but I guess if even I can't match his intellect... Anyway, I'll explain cross-painting in more detail later in the article.
Back to your Rainbow Cybunny. Rainbow pets present a peculiar challenge because they're, well, Rainbow. With all those colors, how can you customize without making your pet look like a blaring, sloppy mess?
I'll tell you how - you start with the basics. Pick a background, one that isn't too full of color. You want to avoid backgrounds like the Square Mania Background and especially the Rainbow Slugawoo Background, unless you want your pet to blend in with the background. In that case, the more colors the better!
But let's just assume for a moment that you don't want that. Anything too colorful will severely limit your other Customization options, because you simply will not be able to discern the pet from the background. Colorful backgrounds make pets painted neutral tones like Brown, Biscuit, and White stand out more, and softer-toned backgrounds make colorful pets pop. Of course, the Flawless Doctor Sloth looks good against any background, but that's beside the point.
With a Rainbow Cybunny, you want to strive to tone things down a bit. Otherwise, you'll soon be running into a few Customization dead-ends.
Remember, even though you want your Cybunny to look like a princess, the background does not have to denote royalty. What I mean is that you don't have to pick a background that's strictly a castle or a palace. You can even choose one that's a scenic backdrop or perhaps something completely different - like the Faerie City Balcony Background. The important thing is to keep your options open. Don't limit yourself with unneeded barriers.
Once you've got a background, the going is surprisingly easy. Try to pick some common colors that both your pet and the background share. For instance, should you go with the previously-mentioned Faerie City Balcony Background, some colors you might want to try to match are shades of pale blue and maybe even pink. Although you don't have to stick with dresses, consider what clothing means "royalty" to you - and then go find some! And by "royalty," I mean the Honorable Doctor Slo - oh, never mind.
Also remember that you might be able to scrounge up some Cybunny Paint Brush clothes. Regardless, don't narrow your options to include just Cybunny-only wearables. Remember that there are many more other clothes to try. Explore further than single-species clothing; check multi-species clothing thoroughly. And if you ever decide to change your Cybunny's Customization in the future, those multi-species wearables you bought might just come in handy with another pet. Not that the Spectacular Doctor Sloth ever wore hand-me-downs, but you get the picture.
Cross-Painting - Set Apart
Now that you're well-versed in the art of Customization, I think you're ready to learn about cross-painting. What's that? Well, I'm getting to it! Hold on, young whippersnapper! The only person who's ever been this demanding of me is the Esteemed Doctor Sloth, but he's allowed to be. I think...
Cross-painting: Combining the wearables of one Paint Brush with the base color of another. This allows you to, essentially, get the benefits of two Paint Brushes at once! I daresay the idea is on-par with the high-caliber schemes of the Gifted Doctor Sloth!
For example, say you wanted to cross-paint your lovely Xweetok White and Pirate. In order for cross-painting to be effective, you must first paint your pet Pirate (or whichever of the two colors has the wearables you want to keep), then White (the base color).
And voila! A cross-painted pet!
What Paint Brushes are used, however, is entirely up to you. But be aware that, in order for cross-painting to be successful, you must choose one color that comes with wearables and one color that you wish to be your base coat.
For instance, a pet cannot be cross-painted Shadow and White. The second color would merely cancel out the first, and you would be left with an unremarkable Shadow or White pet and no Neopoints. Highly undesirable.
Let's see what some other Neopians have to say on the topic, their experience, preferences, etcetera!
"Some colors give great accessories, like Desert or Island," says jalele, "I think they look great when crosspainted, but the base color depends on the species and the owner's taste. Personally, I think brown also makes a great base colour for some species."
"White is a good base color, and biscuit is surprisingly good as well. But it really depends on the species, too, as colors are not necessarily exactly the same for each one," says momofpharoahwarrior.
"With the moon and the station under my control, Neopia will be just a short step away. Muahahahahaha!"
Oh, whoops - that last one was from the Eloquent Doctor Sloth. How did that get in there? Erm, anyway...
Finding Your Niche
All that said, remember that, in the end, Customization is up to you! Let your creative abilities work their magic! It's about having fun and giving your pet personality.
Customization is about finding methods of making your pet unique, making it's characteristics shine. And, in the process, you'll let your own Customization skills speak to your highly-creative mind and your level of intelligence so advanced that it approaches that of the Genius Doctor Sloth!
I must say, after explaining all of this to you, I have a newfound confidence in your abilities! I think you're ready to go out there and conquer the world of Customization! And if you get stuck, don't let it get you down. Customization is a process of revision, of choices, finding out what works for you.
Now, go out and explore the realm of wearables! A world of Customization is waiting for you.