Saturday, September 29, 2007

"I may be totally wrong, but I'm a..."

Last night, a friend gave me some wonderful bling: four particle generators that leave an ever-shifting trail of sparkles at your hands and feet.

Well... that clearly called for the pale green Empire dress and luna moth wings (and desperately calls for a new shape--I want to keep my (lack of?) proportions, but scale them down; a 7'2" fairy just doesn't work...), but what then? Just standing there kills the effect. So... that means I have to move. Walking is kind of dull, so that means either flying or dancing, and seriously looking at grabbing video from SL rather than stills (though a well-timed photo could be quite striking).

But then, dance animations tend to be loops (and require another participant, and I certainly don't want to bug someone at length for such a purpose). Hmm... one could hide the repetition some by changing camera position and angle, but ideally you'd want something like what (gulp) actual dancers have: a repertoire of movements that can be combined at will. (You mean I can't just sit on the poseball, lie back and think of England? Oh, dear... I'll be as clumsy as I am in real life! Not to mention that I can't do that and keep track of the camera at the same time.) There's more to this machinima stuff than meets the eye.

People do manage it, though; there is actually an SL ballet troupe!

That in turn makes me wonder--has anyone come up with animations for aerobatics? Not the standard maneuvers--or not just those--but ones that would be appropriate for a person, or a fairy. Aerial ballet, I guess.

No pictures or video yet, but I would love to have something worthy of putting on YouTube. (Hmmm... it would be wonderful to do something aerial to Iron and Wine's cover of "Such Great Heights".)

P.S. OK, OK... Vaughan Williams's "The Lark Ascending" would be even better.

Thursday, September 20, 2007 is a blog that I can't always get to, alas; for some reason my ISP sends me off to some default "I can't find that URL" page about half the time.

When I can get to it, though, it's well worth reading. She's quite a photographer (and skilled with postprocessing), and posts very useful links to web sites of use to residents of Second Life.

She recently posted a quote from a blog entry by Bejamin Duranske concerning Benjamin Duranske and Prokofy Neva. Google is said to have made changes a while back to try to combat "Google bombing." but I wouldn't say this is on that level.

UPDATE: [slaps forehead] Sorry, Vint! I fixed the link. Everyone, if you want to read about Benjamin Durankse and Prokofy Neva, then you can do so.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Nuova Sicilia

I had seen mention of it somewhere before, but yesterday I visited Nuova Sicilia, New Sicily, for the first time.

It's a beautiful place, all broad cobblestone streets and colorful buildings, with many shops selling lovely clothes, jewelry, and pottery, and a church featuring mosaics--I don't know enough to say that they are from Herculaneum, but I heard "Ercolano" in a conversation there.

Not to be missed in Nuova Sicilia: the beautiful and talented Manuela Collas's exhibition of RL photos of Sicilian sunsets, "Sicily in My Eyes."

So... why did I only go there yesterday? Well, I was looking around for places to explore with a friend. He's from Sicily in RL... so surely he's been here already, I thought, but it was so lovely I had to offer him a TP over. In fact, it turned out that he hadn't visited it before, so this Iowa girl introduced a Sicilian to Nuova Sicilia. Only in SL...

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Portrait of the Blogger as a Young Woman

Some months ago, I bought child and adolescent avatars—not for ageplay, but to try to imagine what Melissa might have been like then.

Procrastinator that I am (or am I? Etymologically, to procrastinate is to leave things for tomorrow, in Latin pro cras, and unfortunately, I put things off far longer sometimes), I finally got around to taking a picture.

She looks wistful, perhaps contemplating her future. I hope that I've not disappointed her.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Watermelon--it's everywhere!

I went to a nearby Renaissance fair today. I saw a young girl in light green with a bright, saturated pink scarf... and had to imagine Torley Junior as a young girl.

A few minutes after, there was another girl in light green... wearing pink Crocs.

Is watermelon the new whatever, or am I just primed to notice the color combination from reading Torley's blog and watching Torley's video tutorials? I don't know... and they might both be true. I was just struck by the coincidence.

A user group?

I'm thinking of creating a group for those who use prim breasts. (After blowing one morning before work trying to find plural comparatives and plural ablatives, I decided against Latin, and will give it an English name...) I hope that as a group we can accomplish things we can't in isolation.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Lighting Followup

If you're interested in a more flexible personal lighting setup, by all means check out this post in Fashion Victim. (Fashion Victim is not your usual fashion blog...) The results you can get with it look very impressive.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

"I'll be back..."

Sigh. RL is keeping me off the grid rather a lot; I've been out and unconnected the past two weekends, over and above working.

I look forward to finally being back for a significant stretch of time this weekend. I've missed many dear friends.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Ave et vale

Penso che una vita per la musica sia una vita spesa bene ed è a questo che mi sono dedicato. —Luciano Pavarotti

"I think that a life for music is a life well spent, and to this I am dedicated."

It is indeed, and you were, as music lovers worldwide will agree.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

De gustibus

Ophelia Drowns is a blog well worth reading... and beautiful to look at, too. It would be darned near perfect if the sound clip defaulted to not playing.

(At this point you can just feel the "But..." coming. Why is it that we are so much more motivated to speak up to disagree or complain?)

I have to differ a bit with the recommendations in the entry "Picture Perfect," though. Yes, definitely turn on all the graphics knobs you can afford to turn on, and run those detail sliders all the way up... but facing full into the sunrise with a face light on makes your avatar look like a cutout paper doll, wiping out essentially all depth cues. Professional portraits aren't taken with the flash unit pointing directly at the subject for exactly that reason. That "full body 5 o'clock shadow" at least shows that the avatar isn't flat.

For example, this is taken on Apollo, full face into the sunrise... and darn, I wish I could remember whether I had the face light turned on.

Here, OTOH, the subject is facing north at sunrise. Now, whatever else one might say, the subject is clearly not a cutout... and SL being what it is, nasolabial folds and other wrinkles are of no concern to us!

Not to say face lights don't have a use; they are great as fill lighting. Silhouettes are great, but the only way I know of to get something like them in SL is a pseudo-silhouette you get if you ask the snapshot to show distance rather than color. Barring that, you need the face light for something like this photo, with the subject facing away from the sun:

...and often they're needed if you're shooting at midnight. (The face light is a special case of an invisible light source. If you're really into photography, you will want to roll your own and position them where you wish; Torley Linden has a great video with many photography hints, the easy creation of fill lights being just one of the techniques shown.)

Experiment, and choose what looks good to you. My preference for depth cues is just that, and your mileage may vary.

UPDATE: Duh! If I knew anything about art, then I'd have known that what I spent so much time talking around is chiaroscuro. Do you like yours subtle (Ms. Ophelia's "after" picture does have very slight shading indicating depth) or more blatant? Both have their places.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Back to Work

I will be employed once again, starting tomorrow.

This will mean less time in SL for me... though, OTOH, more than I'd have if I couldn't afford to connect. :)

One thing it will affect, though, is contact with friends in very different time zones. Spatial distance doesn't matter in SL, which is a wonderful thing. Thanks to SL I've "met" wonderful people I'd never have met otherwise. Temporal difference, though, still does matter.

So... time spent with friends will become all the more precious.