Saturday, November 28, 2015

Mesh Clothing Update

Mesh clothing is proving to be more subtle than I thought.

I signed on today to look around for some modest fitted mesh clothing, and discovered two things:
  1. My legs had disappeared!
  2. My shoulders and elbows were no longer peeking through the top of the dress... and seeing Sofia Zabaleta's beautiful work as it was intended was a joy. It's a good thing I don't have it in real life, or I'd walk around running my hands over the soft fabric.
I reapplied the ombre tights (a nice pair with olive green fading to white that matches the dress beautifully) and poof, the dress went south again. There's something about the two that keep them from working and playing well with one another, which is a shame. (The other shame is that I haven't figured out how to get the sandals to work with the tights, either. I guess that's understandable, since the shoes come with their own feet.) Once it all works, it will be great; it's just getting to that point.

Saturday, August 08, 2015

An amazing online resource

One of the things I would give almost anything for is access to Oxford University's Bodleian Library. It holds eleven million items (oops! almost twelve million; there's a total on the "about" page). You can't check anything out, and in fact you must agree to this declaration before admisssion:
I hereby undertake not to remove from the Library, nor to mark, deface, or injure in any way, any volume, document or other object belonging to it or in its custody; not to bring into the Library, or kindle therein, any fire or flame, and not to smoke in the Library; and I promise to obey all rules of the Library.
That's the English language version of the declaration, one of many translations. The original is in Latin. (The prohibition of smoking is a later addition.)

Now I am delighted to link to the Digital Bodleian, which makes some of the collections of the library viewable online. My blink rate has shot up, because one of those collections is the Arthur Evans archive of drawings made at the excavations at Knossos. I would like very much indeed to think that our wanax, Aeneas Anthony, has heard of the Digital Bodleian and is happily perusing those documents and drawings.

"Some" is technically correct--goodness knows how long it would take to process all those artifacts--but it gives the wrong impression, because there's an amazing variety of things to see and study. By all means, go there and explore.

Sunday, August 02, 2015

The story so far...

I've been in world this weekend a lot more than I have for a very long time, and with help from Foxbean, I'm making some advances.

First, Foxbean's Sanira 1.0 breasts. They are beautiful. I think I will turn the jiggle down some, but it's a joy to have it. They are fitted mesh, so of course I spent a little time wondering where the heck the size adjustment is when the whole point is that the torso slider controls it! Having it bounded is a little sad for someone like me who always wants to turn the knob to 11, but... they are so breathtakingly beautiful, and have so many other advantages, that I don't hesitate. (Besides, it's not as if I don't still have what I have used in the past.)

(UPDATE: I should remind myself that breast size is not the only slider that affects fitted mesh breasts. That would make a good video, especially if it showed the effects with and without clothes.)

Second, the Maitreya Lara mesh body. It is beautiful, too, especially at the slender settings I want--no invisible pony riding for me--and plays well with Omega, as do the Sanira breasts. (I double-checked. The linked blog post says it works with materials as of 3.0, and the current release is 3.4, so when I want to go the Goldfinger route or be chrome-plated, the body shouldn't get in the way.)

 The body went on easily, as did the breasts. I have been away so long I'm having to relearn parts of the UI, so I expect things will become easier with time. I also greatly appreciate the convention of having purchases appear as a bag when you wear them, with the folder you want delivered when you touch the bag. No muss, no fuss, no need to rez on the ground and hence no need to go to a sandbox just to open your purchases. OTOH, when you're doing NSFW avatar adjustments, you need a dressing room. Thanks to those who provide such things!

I still need to get shoes, but the main thing was to be presentable so I could explore, even if barefoot. I bought a teal peplum sweater dress from Gatherings, and set to work.

Some issues:
  • Remember how Tangos, if you make them too big, are transparent in a region under your arms where what at smaller sizes are up against your torso are now off to the side? Well... at least until I manage to edit the breast clothing layer texture, you can see that region--it's not transparent, but it shows the top texture not stretched out and looking differently lit. I'm not sure whether it will always be possible to adjust the texture to minimize that issue.
  • fitted mesh is supposed to fit your avatar, but when I bend my arms, my elbows stick out through the top. That may be because I have my arm length cranked to avoid the infamous "T. Rex avatar" effect.
  • Looking closely at my legs, I see little transparent triangles. I think they're around my knees. That may be because I have my leg length cranked to 100. (I have several heroines, and Svetlana Pankratova is one of them.)
I'm sure things will improve... especially once I can materialize at an adult sandbox long enough to put clothes back on after "wearing" the demo shoes I bought so that, I thought, the bag would materialize on my arm, seemed to take said clothes off. I think the lesson from that is that, with very rare exceptions, don't wear things, add them. More news as it happens.

Saturday, August 01, 2015

Another beautiful travel blog

"El mundo es como un libro abierto, quien no viaja sólo ha leído la primera página".

(The world is like an open book--whoever does not travel has only read the first page.)

That appears by the "about the author" portion at the bottom of a beautiful travel blog, Bitacora Viajera, mentioned in a recent post in New World Notes.

The article says the blog is "bilingual", but I would say that it's much like Caminante de Sueños, both in style and in being not bilingual but nonlingual. The photos of the sites featured speak for themselves. Both blogs are more than worth your following.

(Just what does that title mean, anyway? My Spanish vocabulary isn't that great so I had to look it up. Una bitácora is a binnacle--and now we see that my English vocabulary may not be that great, either; I had to look binnacle up, too! A binnacle is a post in a ship to which a gimbal-mounted compass is attached. As an adjective, viajero or viajera means "traveling" (thus "los Wilbury viajeros"--yes, "Wilbury" rather than "Wilburys". In Spanish, you don't pluralize the family name). So, a "traveling binnacle", a guide to your journeys in Second Life.)

P. S. Apologies to my long-ago Spanish teachers for the translation. Unlike Spanish, English forces a gender on one ("he who doesn't travel..."), and "whoever" was the cleanest PC version I could come up with.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

I hope I know the answer to this, but...

We are now in the world of fitted mesh clothing, which if I understand it follows the "bones" in the avatar (which term isn't really accurate. because some of those bones don't correspond to any bones in an actual human body but are added so mesh clothing will fit better, but that's not important right now).

If that's true, then what I seriously hope is true is this: that a knee-length skirt will be knee-length whatever the sliders on your body and legs are set to, and ditto for an ankle-length skirt.  If you know me, you know I want to be as leggy as I can, and that has made for difficulties with skirts. I have had to either cause a scandal in Caledon when my slider settings keep my ankles from being decently covered or tediously stretch the strips of virtual cloth that make up skirts... and for mini-skirts, oh my!

Is my thinking correct? I will end up taking the plunge and finding out by experience, but if you know the answer I'd love to hear it. Thanks!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Sunday, July 26, 2015

I am so behind, part N+1, in which we do a lot of happy dancing

First and most important: The Return of Foxbean! Thank you, Shayna Korobase, and thank you so much for the link, Maggie Bluxome (whose blog points you at all the goings on in the SL busty world)! The impossibly lovely and talented Foxbean Liebknecht has come out with new fitted mesh breasts, Sanira v1.0.

Fitted means they work with physics, and hence can jiggle. They also work with Tango appliers and, I am overjoyed to say, Omega appliers. If, like me, you have been SL subpetric for some time, you should know that Omega, the work of the folks at Love N Lust, is an attempt to bring sanity to SL fashion, which hitherto has been a maze of products with appliers that may or may not work and play well together. (For more on Omega and what it means from the point of view of designers as well as customers, read the joint blog post of Shayna and Stacia Zabaleta of Gatherings, "Omega is a Win-Win"... and politely ask makers of mesh bodies, body parts, and clothing to make their work Omega-friendly.)

The first-linked post from Shayna has photos--and I have to admit that from some of them I was a little worried. I thought of that wonderful compliment from Miss Blackflag for a photo in the Minoan Empire:
you know, one thing that i like about you is that even though your breasts are a bit out of the standard norm, you take the time to make them look like they have actual gravity to them, instead of them being just big balloons floating on your chest.
and was concerned... but then I took a look at the photos at Foxbean's SL marketplace page for the Sanira breasts, and was relieved. (*blush* Sorry, Foxbean, I know better than that.)

So, now it's more pressing than ever; I must find a good Omega-friendly mesh body, and ditto for clothing. (The breasts I've already bought.) Photos when I have them.

UPDATE: Speaking of happy dancing, as I type the hours are counting down to 2:00 p.m. July 26, 2015 SL Time (GMT - 7, also as I type), when the fine people of Brightflame Hollow will have a special event celebrating the release of Foxbean's Sanira breasts.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Rational Discussion of SL on TV? We can hope...

An episode of Dr. Phil that aired on the day I write this dealt with gaming addiction. I'm happy to say that at least in the clip embedded in this NWN post about it, the discussion was refreshingly rational. I'll have to watch the whole thing.

Monday, June 08, 2015

Lady Triệu

"I'd like to ride storms, kill sharks in the open sea, drive out the aggressors, reconquer the country, undo the ties of serfdom, and never bend my back to be the concubine of whatever man." --Lady Triệu
She's called Vietnam's Joan of Arc, assembling forces to resist the Chinese state of Eastern Wu in the third century A.D. Lady Triệu cut quite a figure, according to some accounts:
"...a woman from the Cửu Chân commandery named Triệu Ẩu assembled people and attacked several commanderies (Ẩu has breasts 3 thước [1.2 meters] long, tied them behind her back, often rides elephants to fight). Dận was able to subdue [her]. (Giao Chỉ records only write: In the mountains of Cửu Chân commandery there is a woman with the surname Triệu, with breasts 3 thước long, unmarried, assembled people and robbed the commanderies, usually wearing yellow tunics, feet wearing shoes with curved fronts, and fights while sitting on an elephant's head, becoming an immortal after she dies)." --from The Complete Annals of Great Viet, mid 15th century
"Two centuries after the Trung sisters, another young woman, Trieu Thi Trinh, took up the same challenge. Although she, too, failed to dislodge the Chinese, the legends that grew up about her tell us much about both the dreams of Vietnamese women and the fears of the men who fought, followed, or heard of such women in following centuries. According to a late eighteenth-century account, for example, Trieu Thi Trinh was nine feet tall, had three-foot-long breasts and a voice like a temple bell, and was able to eat several pecks of rice and walk five hundred leagues in a single day. Yet she was also said to possess a beauty that could shake the soul of any man." -- from Vietnamese Tradition on Trial, 1920-1945, David G. Marr, 1984
There's a temple dedicated to her, and many streets in Vietnamese cities are named for her.

I never learned much about the history of Vietnam, and definitely not about Lady Triệu. It would be interesting to try to create a Lady Triệu avatar.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Wow. Just... wow.

I am now seriously impressed with what one can do in Second Life.

You really should watch the following video--switch it to 720 and go full screen. It shows off Angel Manor Estate, which makes serious use of "materials".

It starts with what, if you don't look very closely, seems to be a shot of a man at a monitor showing Second Life as it was... cheesy, low-res, vaporous unrezzed avatars interminably hovering... but when the virtual camera pulls back, you realize it's showing on a monitor in a much different Second Life. Varnished woodwork and metallic ceilings, hardwood and marble floors. Fade out... and then fade in to a misty sun-dappled woods. After touring it, back to the outside of the manor through the seasons, and once again into the building to view the rooms, the furniture, a lunch gathering at a very ornate table laden with food, a theater, and on...

It's not perfect. One of the hardwood floors looks like the varnish is coating it to a considerable depth--for a second I wondered if we were on water. And of course, we humans are a lot pickier about recognizing humans than we are inanimate objects, so the gentleman, while quite good looking, doesn't tromp my oeil as much as the surroundings.

That said, it is utterly breathtaking. Metallic objects in Second Life have in the past required independent twin I-beam suspension on your disbelief--either they had painted-on highlights, or like some Indian jewelry in my inventory, were set to glow. The metal in Angel Manor Estate looks like metal. There's plenty of detail that is probably there thanks to bump mapping, and hence nowhere near the burden on your system or on SL that would otherwise be required.

Many, many thanks to Kaya Angel for this video. I hope that it won't be long before all of SL is as amazing.

Watch and then pick your jaw up off the floor.

UPDATE: Hereunder is a video of the manor from three year ago for comparison. The inspiration is there, but constrained by the SL rendering of the time.