Wednesday, April 27, 2016

NewVideo

video
OMG, crosses fingers hoping this will show here. The new computer gets high frame rate and the capture program made a smooth animation. Now to see how well it plays here

Friday, April 22, 2016

Awards Night Pics


Sunweaver's first SUNNY awards


Our Awards Formal was held by the Wesak full moon, at club Cutlass VI


Our first SUNNY awards went to RECoyote, Cynthia Farshore, Shockwave Yareach, Rita Mariner and Becky Shamen. Perri Prinz, accepted for RECoyote, her partner, since he was on the road.


RECoyote was the inspiration for creating the community service award. We also honored him with a statue, to be displayed on Sunweaver Bay. Service to one's community is what makes heaven a place on earth.

Desk


I had to add a wing to my desk, to make room for the new Asus gaming computer and Wacom cintiq pen display that RECoyote sent me.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Sunny award

   By now, the word is out that local resident, RECoyote Mindes, has been helping out some members of the community. This story has grown on me and even made me a part of it. When I first began hearing of it, my friend and co-artist, Valkrye, announced that the coyote was sending her a powerful computer and a Wacom cintiq display/drawing board. Lucky Val! In my dreams, thought I, knowing how such a set up would aid my own art. After a week, I got an IM from REC, saying that he was also sending me the same equipment. I was stunned. Was this some kind of April Fools joke? Since I was now in the group of people that were being assisted, I began hearing details of how much and who was being helped. We were all being helped in RL, but the effects directly ripple through our SL community. I contemplated that since he was helping SL residents, one could estimate the amount of Linden Dollars that would equal. Mind you, at the time I did the math, I only knew of a handful of cases, but it was adding up to over twelve million Linden Dollars. Now it was beginning to look like a news story that folks need to see. In a conversation with Rita Mariner, I half jokingly said' Maybe we should put up a coyote statue in the town square. She adopted the idea and we've played with building one. I think she wants to add pigeons to poop on it.
   I have always been a big supporter of building healthy communities. If there are punishments for bad behavior, there should also be rewards for good behavior. Perhaps, like Oscars and Emmies, we could create an award for those that have given generously of their services to the community. I told Rita I was thinking of making such a reward and giving it to her to give out as she and or a committee decided. I made a walnut base and made the top design of translucent woven gold, which glows and gives off light. The gold forms a symbol, which is based on the universal thought-form that joy creates. The shape can be found in a smiley face, the SL hand logo and there is a hint of an all seeing eye, in the center. When the build was completed, I was delighted to discover that it seems to radiate joy, when you come near it.  I call it the "Sunny" award.


   So now I'm writing a story about a community hero, an award and a statue. Good heroes tend to be humble, so I think it best to go ask the yote if it's OK to write a story about him. I found him, relaxing at home with Perri. As I meandered up, shuffling my feet and clearing my throat, I made my request. His initial response was a heroic please no, but Perri quickly pointed out that, with the wide reaching benefits to community, having a "hero" will lift their eyes to the behaviors that lead to building a better world. With that in mind, he decided this article would be OK and I could ask him more questions. 
   I began with my favorite question, "Was there a "spirit" or inspiration that led to his actions?". He just said, "I like to help". What does he do in RL? He drives a tank truck, hauling blood.  He said, "I drive truck. I love to drive, but hate driving". Driving is hard on the body and he's getting where he can't handle some equipment and climbing up in the cab is painful. Asked about the source of this new wealth, I learned it came with the sale of some land that had been passed down in his family.


   As we talked, we were joined by Niko and Erik. When I told REC that my artistic service would be freely given to him, the group began talking about how a coop of local artists would benefit them and the community. Pooling our talents, we could produce illustrated and or animated stories, with a potential attention and even income to the artists. I mentioned that Erik had also shown interest in creating graphic stories and could use Sunny Beach for "location" backgrounds for pictures and movies, a mini Hollywood.
   This is the ripple effect, which started with REC's help. Community members, joining to make a better world. I hope readers will join in honoring RECoyote, for his humble services to the community that loves him.

"Sha"


Sunday, April 10, 2016

Metamorphosis


   Well folks, here we are again, now on our third art exhibit in a row. A notice was sent to the Newser staff, that a reporter was needed to cover an exhibit of M.C. Escher's work. I responded, immediately, that this was my baby. As a Graphic Artist and Engineer, I have been a fan of Maurits Cornelis Escher (1898-1972) all my life. I was 22 when he passed on, making him a contemporary artist and inspiration in my own works. It is very likely that I have been a fan of MCE since before the creators of this exhibit, Solkide Auer and Sniper Siemens were even born. This exhibit is found on the LEA 15 sim. I didn't need to even search for a LM, because it was right next door to the last exhibit I wrote about. Arriving at the landing point, I found myself in the lower level of a flying saucer shaped structure. There are a number of objects to explore at that level, before going up the stairs to the main exhibit.
    My first visit to a sim is always a short one, to get an idea of the layout, make a LM and get a first impression. I return a few more times, to get more insight and take pictures. On this first visit, I notice that on the first level objects have been placed to provide key information that will help make the exhibit better understood and enjoyed by visitors. The first thing they want you to know is that it took two artists to build the exhibit. Next, we see two signboards that show the proper settings for Firestorm and SL viewers, to get the intended lighting effects for the exhibit. Next we see an original MCE drawing, placed as it was originally drawn. In addition, there were a number of the objects, used in the exhibit. I also took a quick look around the upper level, before dashing off to another appointment. Later, before returning, I reported to the Editor that I would indeed write the article, but it would be a short one and I would have to add a bit of "spin" to make it sell.


When I returned, the first thing I did was adjust my graphics settings, hoping to get the spectacular lighting effects that I thought Solkide and Sniper had intended. Alas, the lighting didn't impress me. I thought perhaps there was a problem with the viewer I was using, so I switched from Firestorm to the SL viewer. After matching my settings to those on the signboard, the lighting was the same as in the previous viewer. While in the SL viewer, a notice popped up, saying it would upgrade the viewer on my next start, so I closed it and came back. This time, the upgrade had set the lighting back to default settings. I could now see the difference, with and without the correct settings. When I corrected the settings, I was back to the same lighting as I saw in the other viewers. It was not spectacular. If anything, it was very subtle. It would take a bit longer to understand why the artists placed so much importance on getting the settings right.


At the exhibit level, the lighting is what, in stage lighting, we call a "wash". Little ovals of soft white blurred lighting dotted the walls and ceiling, beyond the perimeter of the physical exhibit. A single spot of light illuminated the center of the floor. Aha! Perhaps they want the exhibit to be seen from the center. Using Alt+Ctrl+T, to see the invisible source of the center light, I moved to where the light was directly above my head and entered "Mouselook". Doing a complete 360 degree turn did not improve the picture, but it did produce a thought, in my mind. This exhibit is built in a circle, around me. As an artist, this thought was interpreted as art "in the round", a.k.a., 3D. Suddenly, the lighting made perfect sense. By being outside the exhibit, it enhanced the 3D perspective. At this point, the artists gained  in status. Their art had communicated the message that they wanted me to hear. They had converted MCE's 2D drawing into a 3D object and I, the viewer was now inside the creation. In my attempts to create Escher style art, these were the two things that were the greatest challenge, making it 3D and being inside the art.


Now that I understood the main message, that of turning Escher's "Metamorphosis" into 3D art, my questions switched from what they were doing to how well they were doing it. I began to investigate the individual elements that went into building the exhibit.  It looks like it was made from hundreds of mesh objects, which were then assembled. None of the mesh objects had any name, other than "object". How hundreds of objects, no two alike, were made and assembled is something I have experienced with my PXL structures, so I know how difficult it can be. This pair of artists, compared to my skills, are master art engineers. If he were alive today, Escher would probably like their work and tell them, "Bedankt voor het compliment".


While I was in the middle of being in the middle of Metamorphosis, I got a group message from my friends at Sunweaver. After telling them I was at the Escher exhibit, Mamma Gil responded with, "I went to one, once, but damn it wore me out. I never did find the top of the stairs and just felt like I was going around and around in circles". While I was there, there was very little visitor traffic. If you go now, there's a good chance you'll be in the center of attention and the circle will go round and round YOU. In closing, it turns out this article was not short and did not require any additional hype. They did a great job. I  recommend that you go see this exhibit, even if Escher is new to you.
Have fun,
"Sha"

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Strawberryland


Here we are exploring our second art exhibit in a row. It wasn't planned, but I got a staff notice that was looking for a Reporter to check out "Strawberryland", by Cica Ghost. My ears perked up, as I recalled my recent article, "Roots", by the same artist, last January. I found her art to be very simple, but radiating subtle mental imagery, through all of our senses. It even smelled good.

I think good art should convey a message, from the mind of the artist to the mind of the observers. I wanted to see more of what's inside Cica's imagination. After finding the link for Strawberry Land, in the Destination Guide, I made a short, scouting trip to make a LM and take a quick look about. First impression? I would return, a.s.a.p. and take pictures.

On the return visit, as my landing spot rezzed, I spotted a lady in a black dress, standing in front of me. Her name tag showed her to be the artist, Cica Ghost. I introduced myself as a Reporter for the SL Newser, that had written about her last show and was now reviewing Strawberryland. She asked for the URL of the Newser and I gave it. I sensed that neither of us was prepared for an interview, but perhaps she could answer a question or two. In my mind, I am about to judge her art on how well it communicates ideas to me. I couldn't ask her, what's the meaning behind this or that, so I let the technical artist in me blurt out, "Are all you art objects made from sculpties or mesh?". She seemed proud to announce that they were all mesh. There was a steady trickle of new visitors to the exhibit, wishing to bestow at-a-girls and pats on the back side, so I thanked Cica for her time and inched away, pointing at my camera.


Within a few feet of the meeting with Cica, I snapped a photo of a small, table top model of a house and flowers. What made it unusual was it had a background picture of sky and it and the flowers were moving, as if being blown by wind. I didn't realize, until later when I cropped all the photos, that this first model sculpture was a key to understanding the language being spoken, throughout the rest of the sim.


The first thing you notice is all the strawberries. When I think of the song "Strawberry Fields", I picture a place and event, but no fruit. In Strawberryland they are plentiful and BIG. How big? I walked into a small greenhouse, with a starter plant and baby strawberries. I estimate them to be about 30 inches tall. Strawberries also brought the smell of the fruit to mind. To my nose, the taste and smell of strawberries is  right in the middle of the scale. It's OK, but I don't seek them for myself. On the other hand, the smell of synthetic strawberry flavor (ester) has always raised a red flag in me. As before, Cica's art spoke through my nose.


Strawberries aren't the only big thing here. I felt about one foot tall, through most of the exhibit. I begin to notice another theme among some of these large sculptures. Although they contain no animated parts, they display motion, like wind blowing hair and cloth or wheeled carts under sculptures to move them around.


As we continue the tour, I remark to myself that this exhibit seems more colorful than the previous one. An industrial looking building, with rusting metal sides, is just ahead. Inside, we can see a collection of smaller sculptures, so we open the metal gate and go inside.


I recognized the objects as being ones that were used in "Roots", but these had somehow been made anew. They had been painted, but not in the way a normal house is. It's more like they were splattered with different colors. As I head to the next area, I remark to myself, "She's added a splash of color this time".


At the painter sculpture, we see several of the communicated ideas come together in one spot. A big man, covered in a rainbow of paint spills, is splattering two different colors on one wall, as his hair blows in the wind and an impatient horse waits in front of the biggest strawberry on the island, to be taken somewhere else.


Down the path, we find a boy and girl enjoying this impression of wind. Looking back at the picture, it's hard to believe that nothing in this scene was moving.


So readers, let us review what these objects d'art have communicated to us today. We had strawberries. Did you taste them? We had the motion of wind and wheels. Did you feel the rush? We had a splash of color. Did you get wet? Perhaps, if these three key ideas were placed end to end, in the right order, they might form a complete sentence, a thank you from Cica Ghost to the visitors of Strawberryland.  I'll leave that for the readers to decipher. Meanwhile, I get out my tape measure to calculate if I can build an island with this huge strawberry.
"Sha"