1.2 of the free Vitruvian Shapes set is now out and I've added two new shapes.
5'6"/171cm African Woman's shape.
4'11"/150cm Japanese Woman's shape.
This brings the total up to 12 shapes, 6 male and 6 female. I've also added a screenshot showing several full avatars using these shapes, compared to two of the Linden Starters.
Just to reiterate, the Japanese woman shape, which is the second from the right, is 4'11"/150cm. She is 7 and 1/4 heads tall with wholly adult proportions. I kept with realistic, if idealized, proportions here, but I could reduce her head size and increase her leg length if I wanted to give her a 6' tall person's proportions while keeping her at a Japanese woman's height of 5-5'5" tall.
I could probably cut several more inches while maintaining adult proportions before I ran into issues.
A lot more is possible with the avatar than people realize, it seems so limited mostly due to the poor/broken interface. It's actually easier to accomplish attractive/realistic proportions in the 5-6' range than at the oversized heights people tend to use, because the limitations of the shape sliders are skewed against the sizes LL themselves encourage people to use.
The difficult part is getting down to the smaller sizes in the first place. When you start with a 7' tall shape you need to adjust EVERYTHING, essentially creating a new shape from scratch, just to get down to the 5' range. And Linden Lab insists on forcing everyone to start with a 7' shape.
Once you have a well proportioned 5' shape to start with, it's much easier to customize it within that range. This is why the appearance editor should provide multiple body types, all in different height ranges, for users to start with. That tiny, easily implemented change would make creating a custom shape much easier for users of all skill levels.