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Mesh Bodies?

Like everyone else, I’ve been looking (and drooling) over the new mesh bodies available.  In a quick search, I found mesh bodies by *KL*, SLink, Belleza, Vika, TheShops, Sking – the list seems endless.  Add to that the endless options – feet, hands, heads, and the whole idea of a mesh body makes my head spin.

New users to SL have the option to get a mesh avatar when they sign up.  But the difficulty in dressing a mesh avatar has caused a lot of stress and confusion and many have questioned whether it’s too confusing for newbies.  So is a mesh body the way to go?

I’ve tried a couple of demos, and I liked them.  But I’m not sure it is worth it.  I tried the SLink Visage heads and loved both of them – lots of options that you don’t get with a regular avatar, like facial expressions.  I liked the way the body looked and LOVED the HUD and the multitude of options it provided.  Plus, it works perfectly with SLink hands and feet, something I’ve already invested in.  I haven’t tried any other demos yet, but from what I’ve seen/read, most of them offer the same sort of options as the SLink body (a HUD with lots of options for adjustments, working with the SLink hands/feet, etc.).

As a dancer/performer, I love the way the mesh bodies look and move – no flat butt when you bend over, no weird shoulder joints when your arms move above your head, etc.

Butt Flat Reg Av

Ack! What happened to my butt?!! (Standard Avatar)

VS.

No Flat Butt Mesh Av

Whew! There it is! (Mesh Body)

What I don’t love is how difficult it has been to dress a mesh body.  Previously, finding clothes that worked with each mesh body was no easy task.  In the months since I first tried a mesh body, creators have been working hard at making it easier to use and dress a mesh body.  The SLink body has HUD options for a tattoo layer, underwear layer, and a clothing layer.  Skin creators are making appliers for the new mesh bodies, and with new mesh clothing hitting the grid daily, some of the headaches are going away.

However, there are still some things about mesh bodies that concern me.  I have shied away from using mesh clothing when performing because of the alpha layers that are required.  So a dress looks great if I’m standing still, but when I start dancing, my legs only appear from my feet to my thighs – my hip/groin region is invisible, which always looks odd.  Mesh ‘breaks’ when you move in certain ways – so the skirt appears to ‘rip’ into two pieces when I walk.  Not the look I’m going for.  I’ve seen dancers who use mesh and when they change costumes or remove pieces, pieces/parts of them are briefly invisible because of the alpha layer.  It’s odd to watch someone with no torso (only head, arms, legs visible) dancing.

I’m not sure if using a mesh body and mesh clothing with it will address these issues.  Some of the bodies are rather pricey, so how do you decide which one is the right one?

I’d love to hear if you use a mesh body, which one you have, and why you love it!

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Dance Queens Dance Classes

Always wanted to learn how to dance/choreograph/perform in Second Life?  The Dance Queens group is offering a series of dance classes, beginning September 27 and running through November 15.  Classes will be held at 5pm SLT on Saturdays.  Contact Babypea von Phoenix to reserve your spot today!  Classes start next week, so don’t delay!

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SpotOn Classes

If you have the SpotOn group of tools – the Choreography Designer, the Smooth Dancer, the Group Formation system, and/or the Performance Director, the kind folks at SpotOn are beginning their fall round of free classes.

Sign up at the SpotOn store via NC (http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Martian/115/144/22).  Classes begin October 4 and they fill up fast, so stop by and put your name in soon!

Schedule:

October 4 @ 2pm – Choreography Designer

October 11 @ 2pm – Smooth Dancer

October 18 @ 2pm – Performance Director with Choreography Designer

October 25 @ 2pm – Group Formation System with Performance Director

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Interview with a Dancer #8 – SexyS Quintessa

Continuing with the ‘Interview with a Dancer’ series – here is the latest installment:

You can find our next dancer all over the grid – she’s one of the most dedicated shoppers I know!  In addition to shopping, she loves to dance.  Please welcome SexyS Quintessa!

sexys promo 2014

 

 

SL Name: SexyS Quintessa
Display Name:  LOL I need no other name!
Rez Day:  July 20, 2008
Location:  San Francisco Bay Area

 

 

Questions:

What led you to/How did you start dancing in SL?
SQ:  Well,  I was at a club one day and my friend invited me on her HUD.  She had better dances in it than the club had.  At that time I believe the club just had some of the freebie dances.  Most clubs had those at that time!   I asked her how can I dance like her?  So she told me go and buy this HUD and go to this dance animation place and buy some dances to put in it.  I went to the landmarks she gave me.  I bought the HUD which was a HUDDLES.  I went to the dance animation place and found a bunch of dances that I liked.   I used it for club dancing mostly until Blue Moon Cabaret became a Burlesque Club!

How long have you been dancing?
SQ:  I have been doing dance shows since 2009.

Where do you dance?
SQ:  Blue Moon Cabaret is where I started and will also call home!   Guerilla Burlesque, A&M MOCAP Maniacs, Elysium, Euphoria, and the newest one – The Partyculars!

How much time, on average, do you spend in SL each week?
SQ:  Lol – too much time!!!

Of that time, how much (%) is spent working on dances/performances?
SQ:  95%.  The other 5% is shopping or seeking out gacha machines!

How long does it take you to create a set (start to finish)?
SQ:  It all depends.  I recently finished an act that I did for the Le Cirque de Nuit production which took me 3 months.  Some have taken just a week.  With dance in SL these days, it’s taking much longer because of the movers and special effects.

Name your ‘go-to’ store for dance animations.
SQ: A&M MOCAP Danceworks.

Name your ‘go-to’ store for non-dance animations.
SQ: Oracul.

What dance HUD do you primarily use?  Why?
SQ: Barre dance HUD because I like it best! Lol.  If you want me to compare or tell why I like it best from all the dance HUDs that are out there would need a whole other blog post!

Do you use a movement system?  Which one?  Is there a reason you prefer one over the other?
SQ:  Yes, I use a mover system.   I have used DB Dance System and used that until all the other ones came out.  I currently use 2 depending on the situation.  I like SZI because it is easy and fast to work with. So when I need to create something quickly, I will use SZI.   When I have lots of time and PATIENCE, I will use SpotOn.  I like SpotOn as well because it moves so smoothly and is low in scripts.

Do you use other huds?  What are they?
SQ: I have used the SpotOn Director’s HUD.

Do you build your own sets or work with a scripter/builder? 
SQ: I’ve done both!!

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten about dancing?  
SQ: Well in RL, my first Bellydance teacher told me something that really also can pertain to SL.  “Bellydance is a CUT THROAT business, so be careful out there and watch out!” lol.

Do you emote?  Why or why not?
SQ: I used to at Blue Moon Cabaret because it was required! lol  Now I don’t have to!!  I’m a dancer not a writer!!

Where do you find your music?
SQ: Most of the time I hear it playing and think – oohh, this would be great for an act!

Do you make your own mixes?  If yes, where do you find music and/or sound effects?
SQ: No, I haven’t ventured into this department.  I have edited music so it’s cut down from 7 minutes to 4 or less.  I had to do that many times with bellydance in RL.  I was taught how to do that by one of my teachers.

What is your stance on the issue of music copyright in SL (and also in YouTube videos you might post)? 
SQ: They made the music to share with us, so I don’t see any copyright issue unless someone was selling it in SL for profit.

What are your preferences when it comes to dance performances?  (Large/small sets, particles/none, effects/none, lighting/none, faders/none, emotes/none, movers/none?) 
SQ: All depends really on the song and what I feel should be present in the act. Also the song has a lot to do with what I put into the act. I want a visual of the song. One song may not require particles whereas another song would.

What’s your favorite store for costuming?  
SQ: I have many!!! One of my favorites is !deviousBeauty by Chandra Meehan.

Is there a particular artist (in SL or RL) that inspires you?
SQ: In SL there are so many people who inspire me! Diawa Bellic, Misse Tigerpaw, and Setsuna Hirano are a few! There are many more.

What’s the most embarrassing or frustrating thing that has happened to you during a performance?
SQ:  Lol embarrassing would be a RL performance when my bra strap came undone!  Luckily, my straps were made so there is an “X” in the back.  So it was just flapping around in the back.  If I didn’t have that X in the back I dunno what might have happened!  After that incident, I reinforced all my bra straps and hooks with velcro.

What is your greatest fear as a dancer?  
SQ: In SL, I haven’t really had that emotion.  In RL, that’s another story.  Remembering choreography is a big fear! Especially when doing it with a group because that is always more noticeable.  Also dancing for the general public is always easier than dancing before your peers.

What is your biggest complaint about dancing in SL?  
SQ: The LAG that is often associated with performances in SL!

What’s the best comment/compliment you’ve ever received about your dancing?
SQ: I’m trying to remember now!  I’ve had many.  I should start saving them on a notecard!!!

Have you ever done a dance you look back on now and think was awful? 
SQ: Yes, some of my earlier choreography.   I’ve redone the choreography.

Do you have a favorite performance/routine?  What is it and why is it your favorite? 
SQ: I love all of mine! They are all my favorite!!  Lol – Best Artsy fartsy would be my act with “The Cold Song” by Klaus Nomi.  Best comedy – this is a tuff one cuz all of them are epic!  My Jerry Springer act! ??  Best Fantasy would be my act I did to “Fantasy” by Aldo Nova which was also the set that I won best sets through Dance Queens Cutie awards.

Do you have a blog/website/flickr/facebook/other account you’d like to share?  
SQ: Facebook – Sixys Quintessa

What’s the most helpful piece of advice you would give to someone new to dancing in SL? 
SQ: Join Dance Queens group cuz there is a ton of information there!

How long do you think a show should be in SL?  Is there an ‘optimum’ max length?  
SQ: 1 hour tops – anything longer than that loses my attention.

Where is your favorite spot to spend time in SL if you are not dancing?  
SQ: Any kind of gacha fair, lol.

What is one thing you’d like to see ‘arrive’ in SL dance? (Something that is not currently possible.)
SQ: I know this is not possible because of the SL limitations but I’d like to be able to start an animation in the middle of it instead of from the beginning cuz there’s always an animation I’d like to use just the middle of or just the end of it! I’d also like a larger amount of group space please!

Any other thoughts/ideas/comments you’d like to share?  
SQ: Naiki is a fleabag!  He was my pimp before I got into performance dancing!!

And there you have it, folks – our eighth installment of ‘Interview with a Dancer’!  Thank you so much to SexyS for taking time out of her busy shopping schedule to be interviewed.  :-)

I’m Baaaaaack!!

After a hiatus (sadly, a much longer one than I had anticipated), I am back in-world on a (somewhat) regular basis.

It’s amazing how many things change so quickly in SL.  Currently I am drooling over the new (to-me) mesh bodies, several Poe-themed items at The Secret Affair (Poe is one of my favorite authors!), and various other tools that are on my wish list.  :)

A Clockwork Spiral is on my to-visit list (who doesn’t love steampunk?) and I am working hard to get back into the SL-swing of things.

Stay tuned – more posts to follow soon!

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Paradise Lost – Take 2

Paradise Lost is the current production of The Basilique Theatre.  Set to the music of Mozart’s Requiem, it is the story of Adam and Eve and their ejection from the Garden of Eden.

I saw the show back in April and had some issues with things not appearing properly for me (see my blog post here).

Becky, one of the creators of the show, was kind enough to invite me back to see the show again.  Before the show in April, it was advertised that there would be a camera control in place.  It was not ready at the April show, and is, unfortunately, still not available.

Camera control issue aside, the show is amazingly well done.  There is no dialogue during the show, but the narrator introduces each scene and ‘sets the stage’ for the action.  There’s no question that this was a huge project and an incredible accomplishment for Becky, Harvey, and The Basilique Theatre cast/crew.  After upgrading my old graphics card, I was anxious to see how well it would perform at Paradise Lost.  I am sure that the issues I had at the show in April were due to my equipment rather than the fault of the creators.

I am happy to report that God appeared correctly for me this time (rather than as a ‘mini-God,’ as he appeared to me in April).  Because I had been to the show before, I knew what to expect and was able to take some nice shots (which I will share below).  I haven’t done any processing to the pictures, other than some cropping, so what you see is what I saw at the show.

The first run of the show is quickly coming to a close, and many of the dates are sold out, so if you haven’t purchased a ticket yet, time is running out!

PL 1

The Creation of Adam

The Creation of Adam

PL 3

PL 4

Satan plots revenge

Satan plots revenge

Shame

Shame

Cast out from Eden

Cast out from Eden

PL 8

The Flood

The Flood

Turning Water to Wine

Turning Water to Wine

PL 12

PL 13

Ascension

Ascension

Older and Wiser

Older and Wiser

As you can see from the photos, the sets and costumes are wonderfully detailed.  And the second time around I was able to see many things I missed at the first show, like the baby Moses floating in the basket of reeds, and a grown-up Moses turning the water to wine before parting the Red Sea.

Again, kudos to the creators for crafting such a well-done production.  A one-of-a-kind experience in SL!

Restore to Last Position

This is an issue that I have come across more than once.  Often when I built a set for an act, I would use no copy and/or no mod items.  I know that many dancers use a rez box to rez sets, but with no copy and/or no mod items, you cannot use a rez box.  Hence, the restore to last position.  Occasionally, however, I would run into issues – the items would not rez, I would get an error message, and the item would disappear from my inventory (also known as the ‘SL ate my set’ problem).

Inara Pey’s latest blog post highlights this problem and why it occurs (I never could find anyone who could explain to me why I had to relog for things to reappear in my inventory).  Read Inara’s post here.  The ‘Restore to Last Position’ is near the end of the post.  I still use ‘restore’ once in a while (because that chair is EXACTLY what the set needs, even though it’s no copy), so reading that Firestorm (which is the viewer I use) is possibly going to restrict the use of restore with no copy items is disappointing.  It’s not always possible to find copy/mod items for a set that work with your artistic vision and what you’re trying to create.

I am not a content creator and I don’t have the skills (or the time) to create every item used in a set.  So taking away ‘restore to last position’ as an option for me is again, disappointing.  I could switch viewers, I suppose, but since the LL official viewer may remove ‘restore’ entirely (not just for no copy items), that doesn’t seem like an option either.  While I can understand the attempt to limit the loss of no copy items, I wish there was a better fix.