Archive for ‘SL General’

July 6, 2011

HuMaNoiD

Xan took me to visit HuMaNoiD last week because we love to explore and he knows I enjoy finding places that would be great sites to take pictures.  The outer periphery of the landing area consisted of several islands featuring lovely scenery and places to rest.  When you teleport in, you’re also given the option to use the designer’s preferred Windlight settings, which resulted in a nice golden glow.

One of the outlying marshy islands is shown here with its wildlife and a picturesque firepit sitting area.

Also at the landing point is a semi-circle of doors, each one opening into a different vignette.

~Dream in Blue~

~Dance to the Music~

~Delight~  (with interactive pose bubbles)

~Dare to Dream~

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June 21, 2011

Lost in the Shadows: A First Try With SL Shadows

Now that the new Firestorm viewer from Phoenix is in the public beta phase, I decided to try to play with shadows in SL.  I figured it would be good to try to acquaint myself with shadows on both viewers at the same time so I wouldn’t have any predetermined bias for one or the other.  (I had downloaded the Kirsten’s viewer a couple months ago, but could never seem to get it to work properly.)

Firestorm:  First thing I found out is that when I clicked to enable the shadows in Firestorm, I got a pop-up stating it wasn’t supported and I might crash.  I was feeling adventurous so I continued on.  I turned off all the “fancy” stuff in the Hardware options (like anti aliasing, anisotropic filtering, VBO stuff) to try to prevent the dreaded crash.

I hit apply and okay, looked around and didn’t see any shadows.  Things I found out:  You need a light source.  Duh.  I played around with trying to get a light to work indoors and using the projector settings and it didn’t seem to work.  Too advanced for me, so outside I went.   Next, some WL settings don’t show shadows.  Case in point, my favorite for taking pictures, CalWL.  Dammit!

So instead of trying out the 15 gazillion WL settings equipped in Firestorm, I downloaded Luna Jubiliee’s settings and installed the file.  Lo and Behold!  Shadows!  Well, sort of, depending on the position and direction of the sun.  Instead of trying to move the sun around, it was easier for me to just rotate my backdrop and pose stand until I got a nice shadow on the backdrop.  Also, I had to turn on the Ambient Occlusion toggle because the shadow was extremely pixilated.

So I got my shadow, but the face looked kinda blurry or soft.  I’m used to the very clean crisp images that the CalWL setting affords.  For me to be happy, I’ll have to see if I can find a nice middle-ground between the two.

Skin:  Belleza;  Aiko pale 1
Hair:  Elikatira;  Me, blond 07
Jacket:  Cashmere;  Boudoir jacket, wine (The Fashion Garret)
Pants:  Zaara;  Ishaya velour slacks, espresso
Nails:  Mandala;  Takara nails, brown 20
Bracelets:  Mandala;  7Luck, brown A & B

So this was what I ended up with after a little editing.  I immediately noticed there’s a halo between the dark brown pants and the shadow, as if it was a bad cut/paste job.  Hrmm.  I’m not sure what caused that.  It may be all the hardware settings I turned off.  It may just be the way shadows are rendered.  Also, even with sharpening, it still looks very soft.  Not good.  I’ll really need to learn more about WL settings before using shadows on a regular basis.

SL Viewer 2:  I kept all the same settings that I used in the Firestorm experiment and only changed the background color so I could tell the difference between the viewers.

I used the same editing process, but on this viewer it seemed the shadows around the nose and mouth were a nightmare to try to smooth out (compared to the Firestorm viewer anyway).  It still looks very amateurish to my eye.  I also see a little bit of that halo effect around the pants here too.  Plus, you can see the juncture of any background repeats, even with a solid color.

For my first experience with shadows, it wasn’t too terrible.  I’m really going to need to learn more about creating WL settings to be able to come up with one I’m happy with when using shadows.  Until then, SL shadows is just another tool in my photography toolbox and not something I’d want to use on an everyday basis.  I’ve read a few tutorials, but if anyone has any tips or tricks for using shadows with either viewer, I’d love to learn!

June 20, 2011

Aria

Last month, I did a post called Aria Azul which featured an art installation at Originalia called Aria.  At the time, I had only used the the entrance as a backdrop, promising myself to go back and enjoy the full piece.  Xan and I made it back and went through it, taking pictures I intended to use on a full blog piece, but life and other items kept pushing it to the back of the line until now.

Aria isn’t just the visual pieces, but a full media experience as well, with both music and video enhancing the atmosphere.  Make sure you accept the Windlight setting recommendation when you enter and click on the sign to get a notecard with information from the artist.

Once you land at the teleport point, turn away from the art gallery and follow the path down and to the right.  Follow the signs to The Docks and Aria and just keep walking along the path through the wall at the other side of The Docks.

You can see other photos of Aria on my Flickr.

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June 17, 2011

The Forgotten City

While out exploring one night, I was to taken the The Forgotten City, filled with clockwork servants and exquisitely textured architecture.  We had a great time betting on the horseraces, taking the airship tour and just exploring the city at our leisure.

It seems like we came upon surprise after surprise at each turn through the warren-like streets.  There are also homes to rent in the Forgotten City, spacious and as beautifully textured as the rest of the city, at an extremely affordable price.  All in all, we spent a very enjoyable couple of hours there exploring and partaking in some of the activities.  I know I’ve added the LM to my folder of great places to take pictures as well.

June 7, 2011

A.R.T. in SL

From left to right:  Avajean Westland, Kayden O’connell, Rowan Shamroy

For the last couple months, there’s one place I  can always be found and that’s at the Greek Archon Theater every Friday evening at 5 p.m. (SLT) watching the Avatar Repertory Theater’s weekly performance.

When I first started attending, the troupe was doing vocal segments of short stories submitted by avatars in Second Life.  Each week the audience would vote on their favorite and the winner(s) will be scheduled for a full presentation.

What I’ve really enjoyed though is their “radio” broadcasts, staged as though the actors were doing a live radio drama from years ago.  The performances are in SL voice, complete with sound effects, just as it was before television when family and friends gathered in the living room around the radio to listen to their favorite shows.

From left to right:  Corwyn Allen (sound booth), Sam Brautigan, Ada Radius, AvaJean Westland, Kayden O’Connell, Rowan Shamroy, Em Jannings, Caliban Jigsaw and Prospero Frobozz

Shown above is a portion of the cast in the first part of the Lux Radio production of Dashiell Hammett’s, The Maltese Falcon, adapted for Second Life.  To date, this has been my favorite selection and I can’t wait for the second part next week.

To round out the evening and to celebrate his birthday, the second half of the hour was focused on some writings of Allen Ginsberg.  Caliban Jigsaw read a wonderful selection from Wichita Vortex Sutra, followed by readings of A Supermarket in California by Rowan Shamroy, To Aunt Rose by Dolgoruky Umarov, February 29, 1958 by Avajean Westland and Homework by Prospero Frobozz.

I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not an artistic powerhouse, especially when it comes to poetry.  But I am curious and open-minded and this is a wonderful way to learn, with little bursts of culture in small, easy-to-digest portions to broaden my horizons.

June 1, 2011

Finally Found: Immersiva

Last week I had written about seeing Bryn Oh’s Anna’s Many Murders and I had made a promise to myself to check out her previous installation, Immersiva.  I was able to go earlier this week, quite by coincidence when Xan tp’d me there on one of our exploration evenings.  I didn’t do too much editing on the pictures because I wanted to show the pieces as the artist created them.

As you climb through this first tower, the first story of Daughter of Gears is revealed.  I don’t want to show too much because its really something you should experience for yourself.  Be careful as you climb, this is a health-damage sim and falling while making the ascent could be hazardous.

~Daughter of Gears~

After decending from the top of the tower, you can move on to the next area and follow the story of The Rabbicorn.  Each vignette has a portion of the tale which you get in a notecard by clicking on a paper somewhere in the scene.  Also there is a silver teleport which will take you to the next area.

From tesla coils
And a music box
Parts of a gramaphone
And fur from a fox

If you follow all the way through, you’ll see how the two stories correlate.  I was actually able to pick up on the themes and follow along, which is unusual for me.  I also now see how the pieces in this first installation relate to many in the second and I wish I had experienced Immersiva first.  I’ll definitely go back through Anna’s Many Murders again to enjoy it as it should be.

My journey through Immersiva left me wishing this was a real installation in a gallery so I could take my son through it as well.