Saturday, November 30, 2013

Sunweaver Bay Time Travel

Sunweaver Bay Time Travel

Sunweaver Bay's newest resident, Joshua Xavier, stands atop Sha Hill, surveying the many changes that have been added, since Becky Shamen first moved there, as one of it's first and longest residents. Like the Bay, Josh has evolved. His creation started as an experiment of Sha's, to prove that SL males could do as well as it's females, finding Love and Lindens Dollars. Like Sha, he is, alternately, human and furry. Having recently become his own man, with a seperate SL account, he will continue to share Sha's home and duties, as an explorer and writer for the Newser. While touring the Steampunk collective of Mieville, he found a shop called "Who's Who", on the Wells sim, and bought the multicolored scarf, worn by the fourth Doctor, Tom Baker. The making of this photo, to show off his new lion avi and outfit, served as the inspiration for writing about the evolution of Sunweaver Bay.

At one time, Sha had a castle on Sunweaver Air sim, connected to the West side of Sunweaver Space, within sight of Club Cutlass. After retiring from exotic dance and hearing rumors of the sim going away, she moved to low rent areas elsewhere, to cut down on expenses. With the creation of Sunweaver Bay, she returned to rent a lot and had her choice of locations. At that time, there was very little there, so she chose the hilltop at the west end of the bay, for it's panaroramic view. Then, as now, there were few neighbors, but the view has evolved considerably, to attract more renters.

Looking East from Sha's Place, we get a good sample of the scenic additions that have become a part of the sim, in the short time we have been a resident. On the right we see, at 11 floors and 88 meters tall, The Sunweaver Bay Apartments. Speaking of taking up lots of air space, check out H.M.A.S. Little Dove, which nearly cuts the sim in half, at the same altitude as the top of the apartments. Adding to the skyline, we see a Tesla tower and a lighthouse. At ground level, there are a variety of trees, bushes and flowers, and waterfalls in every direction. The bay now serves as a harbor for seagoing vessels, suggesting that this sim is the starting point for adventure. Now under construction, a monorail system will soon connect all the sims in Sunweaver Estates.

All of the improvements have indeed made Sunweaver Bay a very desireable place to live, but, for Sha and Josh, there was an unexpected draw back. Having a computer and router, which we are told is the minimum of what is needed for Second Life, made the sim too laggy for us. To resolve the conflict, without moving from her beloved home, Sha built a platform, 1000 meters above her lot and moved her house and furniture up, to enjoy lag-free living. Alas, at that altitude, she no longer had the beautiful scenic view from her windows. To compensate for the loss, she surrounded the platform with walls, with mountain scenery texture. That improved the view, but, explorer that she is, it gave her claustrophobia. Meanwhile, Josh was shopping on Marketplace for a free airship to explore with and found a zeppelin skybox, that would fit Sha's lot, for a mere L$5. The new abode provided an unexpected plus. The external view was replaced with an interior, that even Captain Nemo would approve of. Upon seeing it, the fire chief pronounced it the coolest home he had ever seen in SL. What's more, the new arrangement used less of Sha's prim allowance. With the previous house, there were only 10 prims left. Now she has 30 in reserve.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Josh, on his own

This is the new member of my avatar family. His name is Joshua Xavier, but it didn't start out that way. He began as an alternative costume for Sha, after hearing from males that it was so much easier for females in Second Life. Like wearing a furry, she would wear him and go about experiencing the flip side. The problem was, the disguise had one flaw, in that, even when attempting a made up name tag, people could still see the real name of Becky. To get around this, a second account was opened, using the gender-free name, Bach Shamen.. Bach made a great start as a man and even attracted some girl friends, As Sha's younger brother, he lacked a mission of his own and was caught up in fulfilling the dreams of other males, making money and finding love. After proving that SL men could make money and date pretty women, he returned to the nest, so to speak, by becoming Sha's sister, almost a twin, save a darker shade of hair. For a while, they worked at the same club, on alternate nights. Since the computer could only handle one at a time and there was little difference between them, Bach soon fell out of use.

When Sha became a news reporter and adopting characters to fit the sims  and lifestyles of the places being explored, it began to make sense that some stories are best told from a female perspective, while others from the male's. Sha's male avatar was dusted off and used in two stories, as a narrator for topics that required no exploration to write and were suited for a more authoritative speaker. By using trick photography, the two could even seem to be two separate people. He was given the name Joshua Xavier, to give maximum polarity from his progenitor. 

When a new account was opened, Sha donated L$3000, to let him shop for macho clothing, like airship captain, knight in shining armor, and leather jackets. Perhaps there will even be a motorcycle in his future. As yet, there is no sharp line between what stories will be taken by Sha and Josh, but in general he will gravitate to the science/philosophy, mental end of the spectrum, while Sha shops the feelings, desires, heart side of the street. It will be an educational experience for their player/writer (moi), developing the flip sides of the coin.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Other Cyclops on the net

Having told of being inspired my a book, called "Eternal Words", by J.J. Dewey [ISBN 0-9665053-4-4], I tried my hand at making a cyclops and it even inspired a contest, with a L$3,000 prize. I began to wonder if I was the only person that ever tried to create an attractive cyclops, so I Googled it and found quite a few images. None, so far are avatars, but here are a few that impressed me.

This artist did an upgrade on Leela, from Futurerama.

Awww, who doesn't think babys are cute?

A children's book for 25 cents. How old is that?

Makes me wonder, do cyclops babies cry half as much?

I guess they grow up just as fast.

Cyclops (1)
Would you be her friend, on Facebook?

He looks horny

I like his music. Never knew he was a cyclops.

Oh great! What next, Angelina Jolie?

Me and my big mouth.

Cyclops-Toys-in-Toy Story
To infinity and beyond? I think that's a good place to stop.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Happiness vs/ Joy

Although often used interchangeably, happiness and joy are not the same thing. We get happiness when some measure of our desires have been satiated. In a way, this is much like an addiction to drugs. There is no end to the things we can desire, hence full happiness is always out of our reach.

Joy, on the other hand, comes when we perceive that great, eternal force, which is at the heart of everything that exists in in the universe. To experience joy, we need only look within ourselves, others or anything else that matters to us. Happiness, like a carrot on a stick, might always be just out of reach, but the source of joy is always with us and can never be taken away.

In our previous story, about harmony through conflict, being unhappy was robbing my attention to the point that only the joy of being a resident kept me from all out war. If I had fought to keep things that made me happy, it would have soon erroded my ability to find inner joy. Neither fight or flight (moving to another sim) was the joyful answer, so I looked for a solution, within.

I knew, at higher elevations and other places on the sim, there was less lag, but also the view out my windows would be lost. I built a platform, 1000 meters above my house and found it to be lag free. To provide a view, I walled it with scenic prims, which I could put any picture I wanted on. They are transparent from outside and scenic inside. Next, I moved my house and all of the furniture to the new location. I even added a gazebo, with a campfire and comfy chairs.

Now, I have the same home, with a view that is even better than what I had on the ground and much less lag. On the ground, I get an average of 0.7 FPS (frames per second), which is like watching a slide show. Now my FPS is between 10 to 20 times faster. That's better than any other place I've seen in SL. So now, I still live in the same house, on the same lot, but without the things that took away from happiness and joy.

To help remind me of this solution, I have added two prims behind my desk. Outside the window, a prim has the texture of a castle, built on higher ground, overlooking a beautiful view. To the left, there is a photo of the leaning tower, which was made straight by hanging the frame tilted. These two symbols will always remind me that, when things aren't going in a happy direction, the answer lies within me.

Joy and happiness restored, having solved my conflict, I wanted to share my joy with my neighbors below. Instead of leaving my hilltop lot bare, I planted a grove of palm trees. I placed two chairs, overlooking the best view on the sim. The cross is a double symbol. It is a tombstone, marking the death of conflict and a reminder that joy is found by looking within to the eternal great powers that even the smallest bit of dirt contains.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Harmony through Conflict

I have been a student/teacher of ancient wisdom for 40 years. Wherever possible, I try to share a bit of what I have learned with others, in ways that are easier to understand than the books I have read. In the Newser, reporters are limited to writing about Second Life events, but I do what I can to get a nugget of truth in, here and there. There are few chances to devote an article to esoteric matters as the main topic. All that changed when SL Slapped me right in the face with a story, while I wasn't even looking for one. I'll give a brief idea of the direction we're going with a bit of esoterica, before we get to the way it played out in world.

It is written that, like the rainbow, the energy from which the universe is made comes in seven main colors, also known as rays. They are usually given in the same order and have Sanskrit names, which don't convey much meaning to modern, English speaking, people. They can best be defined as; Ray 1 Will or Power, Ray 2 Love-Wisdom, Ray 3 Active Creative Intelligence, Ray 4 Harmony through Conflict, Ray 5 Concrete Science or Knowledge, Ray 6 Idealism or Devotion and Ray 7 Order or Ceremonial Magic. We'll stop and leave you scratching your heads as to more details. We will be looking at how Ray 4 had a dramatic effect on life in the sim I call home.

I have, on several occasions, written about my home on the beautiful Sunweaver Bay sim. It is part of a group of sims, called Sunweaver Estates and I have made many dear friends there. One day, I saw a dear friend who also is a reporter for Newser, Kitacella, talking to the sim owner, Rita Mariner. I could tell, from a distance, that they were talking about renting a lot. Imagine my shock, to learn the next day that she had rented 16 lots and was filling them with large mesh scenery, that was seemingly causing unbearable amounts of lag. It had become impossible for me to even walk. Clicking the arrow key to move forward, it would take 10 seconds before I would move and then my av would go into weird movements, like running in place or turning in circles.

 In a panic, I sent an IM to Kitacella, asking her to cease her activity and remove the offending objects. My panic was mistaken as hostility and I was promptly banned from setting foot on her land. This only made the problem worse, because, in addition to lag, her land crossed the road that led to the fire station and home of my friend. What was a short walk, now involved flying to the other end of the sim, going across to the next sim flying back and crossing back into the home sim, or else doing a TP of just 100 meters. 

I sent an IM to the owner, explaining the problem, but got no response. Knowing, from experience, that help doesn't come until we have done all we can on our own, I began trying to contact the other residents on the sim. With the exception of myself and Albert, a.k.a. Bob, there is rarely more than 2 people on the sim at the same time. After talking to Bob, I walked around clicking on homes to find the owner's name and sending them IMs, asking if they had also been effected and wished to join in petitioning for a remedy. I had lost my serenity and the stress was getting to me in RL and SL. I worried that I would soon need to move to an isolated skybox, with no friends or neighbors near by, a fate worse than death. I was loosing sleep and skipping parties.

 I thought shopping might cheer me up, so I resolved to find and buy a unique new avatar. Money was no object. I would spend any amount to find peace. When I found a white alligator, my intuition told me there would be magic in it. I bought it and raced home to put it on. As soon as I had it on, the lack of sleep caught up with me and I resolved to get some rest and, when refreshed, buy a new outfit for it and go to the 80's theme party and show it off (and eat the competition).

Revived and recafeinated, I began by editing a photo of the alligators chest, for use with my Tango implants, then headed for the Marketplace to buy a new dress. Mission complete, I logged back into SL, to add implants and clothing to my new alligator. Little did I know, the rest of the day would be a rapid fire of related events. As I was admiring my avatar mods, I received an IM from Erik Mouse, one of the residents I had written. I flew over to his burrow, made friends and we chatted about the effects the lag was having on his land. He was concerned that a move, for him would be difficult, because he required 18 connected lots, which would be hard to find elsewhere. Before our conversation was finished, I received IMs from Bixyl, for whom both Kitacella and I worked and Nydia, one of the property managers of the sim. Nydia asked if I was free to come meet with her at Mouse Manner. I knew what the topic would be. I explained, to Erik, that she was on the other line and he said she was also talking with him. We agreed that, if needed, he would be available to join us and I TPed to the Manor. Arriving in her conference room, I found Bixyl was also there and Erik soon joined us. The four of us discussed the situation on the sim and what could be done to restore peace. I learned of the things that had caused Kitacella's reactions and that she was planning on making changes to reduce her impact on the sim. After a lengthy meeting, everyone agreed on the desire for peace and that each would do all they could to restore it. The meeting ended and each returned home, to prepare for the evening's events.

I attended the 80's theme party, at Cutlass, and shared many puns about being "a reptile dysfunction". During the event, Kitacella sent me an IM, saying she had removed the ban and would be making some changes at her property, after she got off work. At our earlier meeting, Nydia had asked if I would be online later in the evening, because I would be needed. Knowing this, as the party drew to a closing, I hurried back home, to see what would happen next. Arriving home, I could see on my mini-map that I had the sim to myself, so I tried on a few more outfits, to see what would look good on a busty alligator. Midway through a costume change, I received an IM from ODELL Avon, another of the residents I had sent messages to. Since we had not met before, I invited her to my house and we talked about the roles each of us played in SL. She explained that her dome, on the south side of the sim, was a gateway to her gaming sim that was being developed. She said that she was looking for ways to advertise it, so I told her of doing articles for the Newser, which included links that increased traffic to the sims written about. I gave her the URL to the Newser blog and, not being a gamer myself, checked and found Bix was online, so sent an IM, inviting him to join us. Getting no response, I explained that he was a busy fox and was likely AFK, so gave her his e-mail address, so that she could contact him on her own. ODELL went on to explain that she was also in need of hosts, to work at her sim. Knowing that Kitacella was a good host and under-employed, I suggested her as a candidate for the job. ODELL said Kitacella was now on the sim, so I sent her an IM, inviting her to come meet her neighbor and learn of the job she had to offer.

The three of us and Odell's pets met on the road that crossed Kit's land. Kit and ODELL had instant rapport with each other, fueled by their love of those little pet, which, to me, made as much sense as pet rocks. Upon learning that the job would pay a generous hourly rate, instead of tips, and that she could set her own hours, Kit was eager to apply for the position. ODELL gave her a folder, containing information about the gaming sim and an ap for the job. It looked like I had just made a perfect match, but at that point I crashed and had to relog. By the time I got back, I was alone again on the sim. At that point, I received a response to the IM, I had sent to Bix. I told him of all the events that had happened, since our meeting. We were both happy that the conflict had not only ended with harmony, it had also enriched the lives of all concerned. I told him, it looks like I had another story to tell, about the joys of living in Second Life.

 I hope my readers have enjoyed this story. In retrospect, it is hard to claim authorship of it. It seem more like a play, written by an invisible hand, in which I and the other actors entered, on que, spoke our lines flawlessly, and took our bows as the curtain closed.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Untangling Tango

Today, we will be talking about BEWBS. In SL, females have a slightly different set of parameters that can be adjusted on their avatars. There is a setting that allows adjusting the breast size from 0 (pirate's dream-sunken chest) to 100 (OMG cup). As if that weren't enough, one can also buy add-ons, called prim breasts or implants. These can cost between L$800 and twice that. Like them or not, from my experience, they are a good investment. When I used them, as an "exotic" dancer, in adult clubs, I averaged L$600 per night in tips. They also inspired me to make and sell clothing for them, which brings in extra money even when I am not in world. I often log on to find myself a few hundreds richer than when I left. Most implant clothing can be worn with or without implants. Implant clothing comes with "appliers", which, when worn, duplicate the texture of the clothing top (shirt, jacket or undershirt) on the clothing layer of the implants. My original clothing line was designed for use with Universal Implants brand, which was then the most popular brand. I also included a notecard with my products, called "the do it yourself guide to implants", in which I taught customers how to get the most out of their implants and even make their own clothes for them. Now, the UI designer has quit SL and clothing for them is becoming hard to find. Since getting involved with Chest Treasures Mall, I have acquired a set of Lolas Tango implants, have added appliers to my original line and make all new outfits work with Tangos. Tangos are even easier than UIs to develop clothing for, so I offer the ladies some of the tricks I have learned, to enable them to make their own clothes and skin for them.

All SL clothing is based on templates. The Top Template is for Jackets, shirts, undershirts and gloves. The Bottom Template is for pants, underpants, socks and shoes. The Skirt Template is for skirts and jacket coat tails. Templates can also be used for making tattoos. Anything designed, using these templates, will fit any body shape. You can get these templates free, on line, by searching for "SL clothing templates". In the above illustration, we show the two layers used to make the black outfit, shown in the first image of this article. The bottom layer is the template. The top layer was made from a photo of the dress Beyonce wore at the Super Bowl half time show. I painted the gloves myself, to complete the look. When the clothing texture is finished, the template layer is turned off and the clothing layer is saved as a .PNG file. PNG files are the only type image that can be uploaded to SL and contain transparent areas. The areas in the above image, where you see the template, will show skin, in world.

Making Tango Appliers

The advantage of Tango implants is, the clothing layer uses the same texture as the one for the dress top. To make an applier, first go in inventory, right click the texture, and select "copy UUID number". All textures used in SL have a unique ID number. Now, make a copy of the applier that came with your implants and drag it to the floor to edit it. In the "content" tab, double click the "clothing configuration" file to open it. Replace the original ID number with your new one, then save and close the window. Now, while still in edit, rename the object to match the outfit it will go with, like "half time applier", then close the edit window. Now, a left click on the applier will put the texture on your implants and line up with the clothes being worn under the implants. Now, right click and take the new applier to your inventory. Make a copy to put in the same folder as the outfit. From here on, wearing the applier will put it on the bottom center of your screen. After clicking it, detach it, until the next time you need it.

Other implants work differently, but the above process will be pretty much the same for all of them. To assist my customers with other brands, I have always included the clothing top texture for them to work with.

Implants come with skin appliers, allowing them to be matched to any skin color on your avatar. However, there is no way they can include skins for furries. You could just make them the right color, but that would not match the 3D shading and variations of hair colors. To use implants with your furry, you will want to make a skin applier. The steps for making one are the same as for clothing appliers, but the texture template is different. The implants don't come with a template and the skin texture is no copy, so where do you get a template? Here is how I made my own skin template. While wearing the implants, right click and edit them. Check the box to edit individual prims and scroll to the skin layer, using [ctrl]+[.] or [ctrl]+[,]. In the "texture" tab, click on the texture image of the skin, which will show it about 1.5" square. Using a paint program that can capture images on screen, grab the screen shot and crop it to just the square skin image. To get good resolution on your planned furry skin, resize the captured skin to 1024x1024 (the largest size image SL allows to be uploaded). This is now your implant skin template.

Now you will need an image of your furry's chest area, to be fitted to the template. Wear the skin, then edit appearance, to hold your av still for a photo. Set your breast size to 0, so that the image will contain all of the breast area in a 2D image. Position your camera to get a close-up of the chest area. The area photographed does not have to be exactly like the template, as long as it contains the full breast and area up to the clavicle (collarbone). Save a HD snapshot to your computer. Copy this image to a new layer, above the skin template. Move and stretch the furry layer so that it overlaps the template in 3 key locations, the nipples and clavicle. When everything is matched up, save the furry layer as a PNG file and upload it to SL. The UUID number of this new texture will be used for making a new skin applier. In making the skin applier, follow the same steps used in making a clothing applier.

Your first time at making clothes, skins and appliers will take some time, but after the initial experience it gets much faster. Within a few months, you might be ready to open your own clothing shop. Have fun getting busted.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Last Cyclops Revision

This is the last revision I will do on the Cyclops texture on mesh head. It made the original eye sockets more like cheeks, blended colors and removed the neck area.
In the process, I developed the grid and can use it to create other mask ideas.
If anybody does come up with an attractive cyclops avatar, I'll be first in line to get one.

SL Historical Museum

SL Historical Museum

In my explorations of Second Life, I have covered many millions of square meters of space. For this adventure, we will travel in time and go back to the beginning days, when all of SL amounted to a mere 16 sims. I found the SL Historical Museum in the Destination Guide. The guide described it as follows.

Learn about the origins of Second Life and see displays of historical artifacts, images, and notecards that have been instrumental in shaping SL. Wear a free, fully-customizable avatar of our Primitar "ancestors" and relive magic from the early days.

The "museum" is an open air monument and, by panning your cam, the entire thing can be viewed, without taking a single step. In mid-December of this year, I will celebrate my 4th Rezday in SL. I have often wondered why I didn't start when SL first came on line. Now, having viewed it's early history, I can see why. With a life time of experience in art and design, early SL, to me, looks like something made from Leggo Blocks.

Looking at this early street scene, it seems, back then, builders were limited to using basic primitives, like cubes, spheres, cylinders and cones. They had sculpts then, but nobody was very good with them yet. Today, we have mesh objects. Mesh is great for clothes and for limited use in scenery. While mesh does allow sim owners to have many decorations, using fewer prims, the trade off is increased lag. There have been many times that I have gone to a sim that sounded interesting, only to turn around and leave, because excessive use of mesh kept the place from rezzing and my av from being able to move. I wonder if lag was as big a problem, 10 years ago.

Early avatars, called `Primitars' at the museum, by today's standards, were scary monsters. I think  I would rather be bald than wear a hair do like this one. Thank goodness for flexi-prims. In one picture, I saw a dozen avatars, all sitting on the ground, with exactly the same pose. Today, with countless pose and animation balls, AOs, and avatar physics, motion has become very realistic. One can only hope that, ten years ago, with stiff, ugly avatars, they hadn't invented sex yet. That would be too perverse, even for my adventurous tastes.

This is the first Halloween party, held in Second Life. We have just ended the Halloween season and been to a lot of, so called, scary parties. If I had been around for this first party, I think I would still be having nightmares from it.

The next time you find yourself cursing Linden Labs, because you are still a cloud, the scenery isn't rezzing, you are only getting 1 Frame Per Second, or you've crashed three times in the last hour, remember, it could be worse. It could be 2002 and the big yellow duck wants to dance with you and take you home to his nest.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Cyclops Sha

I mentioned, in a previous article, reading a book called "Eternal Words", by J.J. Dewey, wherein he meets a beautiful Cyclops. This is my latest attempt at creating a cute cyclops girl in SL [ver.3.3]
The first version was a flat prim mask. The second was a sculpted anime head. This one is a mesh head and it is covered by a third attempt at making a texture for it. There will be at least one more tweak, to shade the old eye sockets to make them look filled out.

In the nearly 4 years, i've been in SL, there are very few things that haven't been made, somewhere in world. I think I am the first to make an attractive cyclops and I challenge other designers to come up with a better one. I'd buy it :)

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Best Free Photo Studios

Long before learning of Second Life, I was getting experience with posing and photographing avatars for graphic novels and videos, using a variety of softwares like Poser. Additional experience with CADD and paint softwares provided skills for designing, building, photographing and post production editing. With these experiences and skills, Second Life is a virtual painter's canvas/photo studio for me to create art works. Combine this usefulness with the social aspect of SL and the game, for me, is more than an alternative. It augments my real life. Now, as a reporter, I explore and tell others of places that will add to their joy, in both their real and second lives.
I had gathered a list of places to explore, from the Destination Guide's "photogenic" category, to prepare an article covering a number of them. The first sim on the list deserved a report of it's own.

Best Free Photo Studio


In the guide, each destination has a short introduction. This is what they wrote for this sim;

"As the name suggests, Best Free Photo Studio has free photo studios for public use. With a wide range of styles and locations, this is a great place for professionals, amateurs and students. They have some of the greatest photo equipment, poses and props available in Second Life. Whether you're looking for single poses, couples, even groups, come have some fun!"

At the sim landing, the first two things I saw were a TP to several of it's studios AND a free studio/pose stand, that looked very useful. We'll tell more about the freebie shortly, but first we'll look at what a photo studio is.

The above photo shows the main elements of any photo studio. In the center, there is a stand or pose ball. This is used to hold your avatar still, while you take the pictures. Behind the pose position, there is a background, called the "scene". These can be changed to other textures and each has a number of different ones to choose from. One of the studios, I played with, had 480 scenes. Each studio also has a menu, for making changes. Some have pop-up menus and others use boards, to one side of the scene, with menus on them. The menu allows you to change poses, scenes and lighting effects.

This sim has a number of different studios and you will want to make a LM and come play with all of them. The only limitation is that each has it's own poses and backgrounds and you can't change them. The above photo was one of my favorite poses and scenes, in the main studio.

In studio B, they have chairs in the studios, for making boudoir photos. I should mention here, I have a "Anypose Expression HUD", that lets me add facial expressions and hand poses, to add more to my photos.

After checking out this cool sim, I returned home to open my free studio and see what it had to offer. This device has so many great features, I don't know how I ever did without one. It's compact and only 9 prims. I can set it up in my living room, without moving any furniture. It comes with 18 poses and scenes and you can easily add more of your own. You don't even need to edit, to add scenes. While playing with it, I remembered a picture in inventory that would make a good scene. I opened the picture, to be sure I had the correct one. Without editing the studio, I dragged the image from it's window to the background and bang, there it was, ready to shoot. The studio also comes with 10 different colored lights and you can also use your own or the sim's lighting. I've already used it for  2 photos on my blog and I'm sure I'll be getting a lot more use out of it.

Guy Fawkes Day

I've got a lot of Irons in the fire, this week. Exploring a photo studio sim, I got a free mini studio. With a Guy Fawkes theme, at the Zero G club, I whipped up a quick mask and after the event, tried out the new studio. The mask must have been a hit, because I won L$1,000 for best in theme. I guess I was their "Guy".

I'm also trying to create an attractive cyclops avatar and hope to get a contest going, challenging SL artists to design one. It isn't often that I can find something that nobody has made yet in SL.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Cyclopean Pursuit

My article, "Beautiful Cyclops", challenged additional attempts of creating an attractive Cyclops avatar. Finding an anime avatar, which I could copy and modify, it's texture was captured to my computer. A photo of my normal avatar was scaled to fit the head texture. The new texture was uploaded and applied to the head. Viewing this, showed where refinements would help and a new version is shown here.
Thinking now of another version, with larger eye. The texture layout and the scripting in the head cause the eye to blink, randomly.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

the Song of 144 thousand

We thank you Father that you have revealed to us
Your protective universal light; that within this
light is complete protection from all destructive forces; that the
Holy Spirit of Your Presence permeates us in this light,
and wherever we will the light to descend.

We thank you Father that you fill us with Your
protective fires of love; that within this love is complete
protection from all destructive thoughts and feelings;
that the consciousness of Christ is lifted up in us in this love,
and wherever we will the love to be inflamed.

We thank you Father that You are in us and we are in You;
that through us Your Will is sent forth on wings of power;
that Your Purpose is accomplished on earth as it is in heaven;
that through us Your Light and Love and Power
is manifest to all the Sons and Daughters of Mankind.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Beautiful Cyclops

Beautiful Cyclops

Scattered through the books in the library, one will find certain phrases, verses, paragraphs or chapters that make a lasting, lifetime impression. We remember them word for word, what book they came from or even what page they are on. In unexpected moments, they come back to our attention. They may even have a strong effect on the direction of our lives.

In a book titled, "Eternal Words", The Immortal Series, Book IV, by Author/Teacher J. J. Dewey, there is just such a passage. In this somewhat science fiction story, the main character meets and works with an individual who is the most powerful being on the planet. Like a Wizard of Oz, few people have ever seen this being's face. All that changes, when Joe gets to see his face for the first time. On page 241, we read these two paragraphs:

  I thought about his comments on beauty as I gazed upon his face having, not two, but one great eye in the center of the forehead! This was the only visible feature that set him apart from the features of a regular human.

   My reaction to this sight was much different than I would have previously guessed it would be.  The reason was that any previous image I had seen of a one eyed person, or Cyclops. was portrayed as abnormal and subhuman in beauty, but this being was different. Instead of being abhorred by the difference, I found myself captivated by it.  It's difficult to describe, but his face was put togrther in such a way that the eye became a royal diadem, a thing of great beauty, like the jewel in the lotus.

I can see how it would be difficult to describe. Even with a great imagination, it is hard to picture this in my imagination. I had to, as an artist, get something on paper.

Here is an early attempt at photoshopping a photo of my old friend Rick. He's a friendly, soulful guy and the loss of one eye doesn't take away any of that. If anything, it would peobably make him even more popular than he already is. Picture him, at your next party. There would be a crowd, gathered around him, captivated by every word that came out of the one eyed guy's mouth. Nobody would even notice that brand new dress,  you bought for the party.

While exploring Star Journey Island, Joshua got a free package of Mardi Gras masks. Instead of being worn like a face tattoo, these were flat objects with a texture on them. The object is worn on the nose and gives the impression of being a form fitting mask. Because of the 3D shape of the face, it's hard to create an avatar with only one eye, using skin or tattoo textures. This technique seemed like a good way of doing so.

A photograph of an eye was chopped, mirrored, and pieced back together, to create a symetrical, single eye and then was uploaded to Second Life. The texture was applied to a prim, attached to Sha's nose. Then the texture and prim both got sized to fit her face.The result was photographed and touched up, to smoothly blend it together, for the above image. Not bad for a first attempt. We'll have to experiment more with the idea. As is, we begin to see that it might be possible to create a beautiful cyclops. Perhaps the SL Newser could host a contest, challenging SL artists to create the most beautiful cyclops. The contest would be open to everyone, unless you are an Argonaut, calling himself Noman.