SL – No Amateur Content Creators Needed?

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I’ve been following a conversation thread over at Avatar Social Network about what people ‘miss’ about Second Life.  I don’t consider myself an ‘oldbie,’ but I’ve been in SL off and on since 2009.

Perhaps it’s because I’m getting older, or perhaps it’s just the times ‘a-changin,’ as they do.  One of the things that people found the most attractive about SL (myself included) was that it was a world where darn near anything was possible.  You can RP, you can shop, you can dance – whatever you want.  Can’t find the perfect outfit?  Make it yourself!  Can’t find the perfect home?  Build it yourself!

Now, I’m not saying that these things aren’t possible today in SL.  However, it sure seems like you need a whole heckuva lot more skills than you used to.  Want to build something?  Mesh is the new black – you need to learn Blender or some other 3D modeling program.  (I’ve tried Blender – it leaves me feeling like I need to sign up for a university course in order to understand it.) Want your mesh to have a texture with all the new materials options?  Take a class to learn the difference between normal, diffuse, and specular maps.  Then learn Photoshop or Gimp to make your texture(s).  And don’t forget the AO map!

When I first came to SL, anyone and everyone was creating something.  Not so, these days.  Since most people don’t have the time (or maybe the patience) to learn Blender, Maya, Photoshop, etc.  They’re buying templates to create with.  Nothing wrong with that.  I’ve done it plenty myself.  But I find that, more and more, everything is starting to look the same.  Especially in clothing.  I’ve seen the same mesh dress in a thousand places.  Sometimes with different textures, sometimes not.

There was a comment on a NWN article that SL is becoming ‘more consumer-oriented and less “build your own world” focused.’  It remains to be seen whether that is a good or bad thing for SL. 

4 thoughts on “SL – No Amateur Content Creators Needed?

  1. There’s a tool you can get inworld that will convert any prims or sculpties you have full perms on to mesh – granted it will be mesh that looks like prims… but you can make mesh. “mesh converter” or something.

    If you do happen to have some reather good looking pre-mesh items, this can be used to convert them over and gain benefits like faster loading or lower land impact or simply… cooler…

    Even before mesh – the vast majority of merchants selling goods in SL were buying full perm sculpty, script, and photoshop kits, then selling the assembled combo – that just took being good in photoshop: which is no small skill, and was still a rather high barrier to entry.

    The barrier now is not higher, just different. But you CAN go the route of buying a full perm mesh and photoshopping its texture.

    1. I’ve heard about the ‘mesh converter’ tools, but haven’t tried them out yet. I’m not sure how I feel about mesh – I love certain aspects, but hate others. However, it’s here to stay (at least until something better comes along), so I’d better learn to deal with it. 😛

  2. For me, it’s been discouraging. Not only are there barriers for content creation, other areas including blogging and photography are sometimes scrutinized and dissed by arbiters.

    I’m not of the “everyone gets a blue ribbon” consciousness. One of the attractions of virtual reality is getting to experience things that are out of reach in real life. When people put it out there saying, “I’m top shelf; you all are mediocre” and that the expressions of others are “less than stellar” I feel sad and horrified to consider the effect the message being given has on people who want to learn and engage in a friendly world.

    As someone with many issues, including cerebellum damage which I’m struggling with right now, I’ve become very discerning about filtering what I’ll let in regarding the opinions of others. My experience will not be of simply consuming and being awestruck by elite superstars. I don’t give my consent that the rest of us should just shut up because we aren’t great writers and photographers.

    Everyone gets to decide where they want to be on the creating/consuming spectrum. This comment was a little off your topic, I realize. Its something I feel passionate about and rarely see addressed. Thanks for this post.

    1. Sadly, I don’t think elitism is something that will ever go away, because even in VR, there are people behind the avatars. It is easy to get discouraged in the face of ‘professionals,’ but that is/was one of the things I love about SL. There’s room for everyone!!! Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And the stuff I make may not win any ‘awards’ but I’m proud of it nonetheless. 🙂
      Thanks for reading and commenting!

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