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What makes a doll "OOAK"?

Aug 8, 2010

    1. Mods: I searched for a similar topic and couldn't find one, so I apologize in advance if this is a repeat subject.

      I've noticed this off and on - a doll being labeled in the marketplace (here or on other BJD sites) as a "One of a Kind" doll. I go in, expecting to see some cool, permanent mods done, and I find out that the only thing making it "OOAK" is a special faceup by a specific artist. I leave the thread feeling disappointed, because to me, a faceup, even by a well-known artist, does not make a doll "One of a Kind". A faceup can be wiped, it can get chipped and wear off, and when all is said and done, you still have a completely ordinary sculpt underneath.

      Faceups/body blushing, to me, do not make a doll "OOAK" unless they are wildly unique and have been made permanent in some way. (QuearvoS's Leander comes to mind - a "wooden" BJD!)

      So what is it that makes a standard sculpt into a "One of a Kind"? A specific faceup or body blushing that can still be removed with standard cleaning methods or regular wear on the doll? A small modification, such as removing elf ears? A major modification, where the head or body have been sanded and/or added to with epoxy? Anything else that you can think of?

      EDIT: Also, I feel I should put a clarification on the term "permanent" for this discussion, now that it's been brought up. I think that, at least for the purpose of this discussion, "permanent" should refer to something that cannot be removed with normal play on the doll, and requires a concentrated effort to undo. Sound agreeable enough?

      I put this thread in Debate because I figured that opinions could vary pretty drastically on what warrants the "OOAK" label. Mods, if this isn't the right place for it, please move it where it belongs!
    2. To my mind, OOAK should imply a unique cast from the factory (A DIM Minimee, in which only one was ever created, for example, or a single doll cast by a hobbyist, like many of the ones over at TheJoint). Modified dolls, to my mind, are certainly unique, but aren't "OOAK" - Anyone could perform an eye-opening or a cheek sanding on their standard doll. I suppose it's like the difference between an OOAK outfit made by a fashion designer, and a skirt sewn from a home-made pattern - There's certainly only one of it, but calling it "One of a kind" in any kind of sales pitch is over-egging the pudding a little.

      If face-ups and homespun modifications count, then most of our dollies are one of a kind!
      • x 1
    3. In the world of fashion dolls, a doll sold in a one of a kind outfit counts as OOAK. (Additional things like rerooted hair or a repaint were common enough but not a requirement.) You could take the dress off, and have the same doll you could buy at Toys-r-Us for $20; it made no difference. I don't see an enormous difference here, either. 'Limited' dolls might just be limited because they have a fancy outfit and faceup and that is accepted as a completely normal business practice. OOAK just means 'limited to one' when you get right down to it.

      To me, the faceup counts. The outfit counts. The wig counts. The sculpt counts. Most 'OOAK' dolls I have seen are sold as fullset only, as a completely realized design concept from top to bottom, so all of those elements are relevant even if someone could ostensibly copy them on their own.

      Permanence does not. Why? If there's anything that has become abundantly apparent in this hobby, people will find a way around just about anything someone thinks is permanent, be it sanding off yellowing, dyeing a skin color, removing 'permanent' dye with chemical solutions -- "permanent" is a myth. Even something sanded off can be sculpted right back on and vice versa. This is why I see this as no different from the fashion doll example. Those dolls may not be meant to be customized the way a BJD can be, but that very difference just proves out the point: it means that there really aren't many BJD customizations extreme enough that they can't somehow be reversed or replicated to make the 'permanent change' or 'heavy mod' requirement suggested any different from rerooting the hair on a Barbie or repainting its face to make it distinct from others of its kind.

      Most BJDs end up as OOAK sooner or later. That's partly what makes them interesting in the first place. The kicker is, the one big thing potentially not permanent? The doll remaining OOAK. Yep, you can wipe a faceup that was the one unique element, and now that doll is unique only in that you paid for a fancy faceup and now have the same doll everyone who bought the basic version has, and the doll is no longer OOAK, really. No one ever said that 'OOAK' is an irrevocable status. ;)
      • x 1
    4. To me, OOAK means that there had better be only ONE of that particular thing out there. If it is a OOAK BJD, then only one exists and only one will exist. Faceup certainly makes a doll unique, but it does not make it one of a kind since underneath that paint, pastel, and sealer, there is a sculpt that many other people have.

      As surreality said OOAK status can change. The creator(s) of that one of kind doll can decide to make more. Even if they make just one other, it is no longer one of a kind. Same with outfits. I don't think faceup can very well be included because another artist with enough skill can very well do a faceup that looks the same. And faceups fade and/or are removed over time.
    5. Usually a OOAK doll implies that a company has taken one of their sculpts and made a new face-up and outfit. About a year ago (perhaps a little more) Volks came out with a OOAK Suigintou; instead of the straight white wig and gothic doll outfit from the anime, it had a different face-up and dress. Only one of these was sold to my knowledge.

      Technically a good number of dolls are OOAK, including a few of my own which I have done face-ups on. I doubt I would ever label a doll as that if I ever sold one; it's the sort of label that should generally be reserved for actual one-offs sold by a company in their full-set. If anything, the outfit seems to be the most important part of a "one of a kind" label when it comes to fullsets.
    6. Wow. See, this is why I put this thread in Debate. In just the few posts so far, I've seen very drastically differing opinions! Also, I feel I should put a clarification on the term "permanent" for this discussion, now that it's been brought up. I think that, at least for the purpose of this discussion, "permanent" should refer to something that cannot be removed with normal play on the doll, and requires a concentrated effort to undo. Sound agreeable enough?
    7. As a hobbyist for more things than just BJDs, to me, a specific faceup does make a doll OOAK. A blank doll, or a doll w/ a company's default faceup (or limited edition faceup, for limited releases) would fall into not OOAK.

      I realize that my description does put a huge chunk of BJDs in the OOAK category, and I feel that is correct. Therefore, if I were selling a doll, the use of the term OOAK would be pretty weird. It's assumed that when you get your doll, your going to make it yours. That's what it's for. I didn't join this hobby to purchase someone else's ideas, I joined to bring to life my own ideas.

      All my dolls are OOAK, but if I were to sell one, I wouldn't call it OOAK, since its implied for the hobby.
    8. To me OOAK means a fullset or special edition doll offered by the company that there is only one of released.
      In my opinion people sometimes confuse 'One Of A Kind' with 'Custom'. I have seen several times in the marketplace dolls being offered as OOAK because the owner had done a custom faceup on it, or done some sort of modification. That really doesn't suit my definition.
    9. In the bjd hobby, I take it to mean a one off is a doll (not a one off sculpt per-say) with a special LE wig, faceup, and outfit. BJD companies do not typically make one off sculpts, and even LE sculpts are often re-released periodically with different outfits and faceups. In this hobby, the out fit and faceup, even if it is not exactly permanent does make a doll a one-off.

      You could make the case that all non-default abjds are one of a kind, and in a sense they are. However, that is not how the term is typically used in this hobby.
    10. OOAK... is not really a term/concept you see used a lot in the BJD hobby. The term comes from fashion dolls, where it's fairly uncommon for people to reroot and repaint the dolls and the outfit is an important part of the doll. So if you have a doll that has new hair, a newly painted face, and a new dress... wow that's a one of a kind doll! On the other hand, most BJDs are sold naked with an optional faceup and either no wig and eyes or random wigs and eyes... so it's incredibly common to change a doll's wig and eyes, faceup, and outfit. The concepts of the different branches of the doll hobby are just too different, with priorities, for the OOAK label to really work with BJDs. They're meant to be at least lightly customized by the owner so the end goal is that almost every doll becomes a OOAK and that.... doesn't really make sense. XD

      There are special dolls that companies put together for events or even for sale on their webshops, where the dolls have a special faceup (often by a well known artist), outfit (often by a well known doll clothing designer), and sometimes wig/eyes. Volks calls them One-offs, I don't know if other companies use similar terms but I've sometimes seen LE: 1 (limited edition of 1) used as well. This is the closest that BJDs get to the OOAK status but in honesty I don't think they're really any more unique or one of a kind than other BJDs, plenty of which have artist faceups, unique outfits, specially styled wigs, or custom-ordered eyes.
    11. A true OOAK, to me, would be something that is very unique and/or something that isn't necessarily easy to duplicate OR something that is truly made in only one in number. But in general terms, anything can be consider "ooak" with an adjustment that no one else has. Taco pretty much put it the way I think, they are more or less "one-offs" and not exactly ooak.
    12. I think one of a kind means different things to different artists. I have always wondered about this topic myself.
    13. To me, One of a kind is a very wide range of things. It can mean a completely new sculpt of which there is only one of. A heavy modification with sanding/epoxy that there is only one of. Finally It can mean a doll with a standard sculpt that has a one of a kind full set makeup and outfit. The definition is broad because these dolls are meant to be customized. Personally, anything that is not standard release for a company can be considered OOAK.
    14. No, not all BJDs go through any customizing by the end-user; there's no "requirement" for that. This is a huge misconception. :lol: Everybody collects & plays differently, and not everybody customizes at home.

      Some OOAKS are art dolls or fullset editions that are bought of-a-piece. One-offs by the artist or company are OOAK, no matter how common the sculpt itself is. No other doll out there has been modded, painted, costumed, etc. & sold that way, so therefore it is OOAK. For example, Satoko Ohno has done tons of repaints and mods on sculpts both rare and common, but unless she repeats a design specifically, they're all listed OOAK. The modded-SchoolHead A fullset I bought from her has never been duplicated or sold by Volks or any other customizer, so even though he is just a SchoolHead, he is still a OOAK edition. Each of Volks's one-offs is also OOAK, because it'll never be sold that exact way again.

      But I am sure many people that have customized or personalized their dolls feels that every single doll *is* OOAK, and that's OK for them too. ^^
    15. Ooooh, thankies - I'd been wondering who it was that did those mods, and not been able to find her - Now I can google to my heart's content :D
    16. Unless the mod is totally unique, like Kitkaze's Na'vi mods, or effigy's Anubis mod (or Muisje's, but she's been mentioned) then really, all of the dolls are the same. Yeah the make up might be different, but at the end of the day, remove the face up and wig and they're all the same.
    17. OOAK to me, at least in the BJD world, implies that the doll is unique in many ways. It could be a standard sculpt, but the sculpt must have been modified (perminently) in a way that gives it it's own look. Openning the eyes, sanding the cheeks, softening the nose, all of these will make the doll look different from its bretheren on it's most basic level. But it needs still more than this: a unique face-up, wig, and outfit are essential.

      While most of my boys have had work done and are hybrids, I only have one that I would consider a OOAK: he has had extensive facial work done (eyes, eyelides, nose, cheeks, and chin), large elf ears added, neck modification, a wig that I made, and all of his clothing (including his shoes) were hand made by me. I would also consider my Crobi body to be OOAK because I cut the torso in half to add and a hip joint and modded the ribcage. This is an extreme and unalterable modifiaction that sets it apart from any other Crobi body.
    18. I don't think the term OOAK can be applied to BJDs easily. I don't even see limited full-sets as OOAK because if the outfit is sold and the faceup wiped, it's normally a standard edition.

      There are maybe 5 total BJDs I've seen over the years that I would consider OOAK.
    19. What makes a doll OOAK? Well, I think my Celaran falls in that category. He's not a limited fullset doll but he IS a Minimee-head on a UniReal body. There's only two of those heads world-wide (since I only got two and didn't order any additional ones) - the second one, I'm keeping as replacement head, should anything ever happen to the original head. There's only one of that specific doll and that's all there's ever gonna be of that specific doll.

      So Celaran doesn't really fall in the OOAK category if you define OOAK as "a BJD with a special faceup and wearing special clothes that a company is selling only one of" but if I ever ended up selling him (hypothetically spelling - I'd never EVER sell him!), I'd surely advertise him as "OOAK" cos - well, that's what he is. And even more so once I finish his special outfit.