I don’t know if anyone else has noticed this. If there is a fix I’m missing, let me know. I’ve gone to a few dance shows in SL and I’ve noticed a weird trend – what seem to be permanent jazz hands on some dancers.
I’m assuming it likely has something to do with bento hands and non-bento animations, but I’m not sure. It is distracting, however.
Most dancers in RL keep their hands in a relaxed ‘dance position.’ There are exceptions depending on the type of dance, of course, but that has been the standard position I’ve seen when using mocap dances in SL.
With the advent of bento hands and bento animations, things seem different. I’m wondering if it’s a conflict of priorities with a bento hand HUD (my mesh body/hands came with a bento HUD, I’m assuming most do), and a bento dance animation.
To be honest, I haven’t really bought many bento dance animations. When bento first went live, it seemed like most of the bento dance animations were just updates of animations I’d already purchased, albeit with the new bento hand movements included. For most dances, given that hands were in the default ‘dance position,’ I couldn’t justify repurchasing a bunch of dance animations just to get hand movements that most audience members wouldn’t even notice.
With some animations, like for certain bellydances, or others where the hand animation made a difference, then it would be worth it. But the jazz hand thing really bugs me. 😀 Maybe it’s a conflict with bento hands and non-bento animations – but then you would think that the default hand position would kick in, not the jazz hands. Or maybe this is something weird in my personal settings – in which case, for the love of dance, can someone share what I need to change?
I mean, I like jazz hands, don’t get me wrong, but not in every dance. 😛
La Coquette Cabaret (and yours truly) is holding a dance class on Saturday, February 4 at 12pm SLT called “So You Want to Be a Dancer?”
Text of the invite:
Ladies, by popular requests, but mostly because of lots of questions from our guests and group members, we will be offering an informative seminar/class giving information and a demonstration of how and what we do.
It will include a brief overview of huds, animations, and other things we do like costumes and set building, and yes, a short demonstration of a routine.
So head down to the theatre and reserve your spot! There is a mailbox outside the theatre just drop a NC with your FULL SL name to hold your spot! Seating will be limited so don’t hesitate!
We look forward to seeing you ladies and sharing the fun and creative outlet of dancing in SL!!
I’m back!! It’s been a few weeks since I posted anything – sometimes I just need a break to recharge and refresh.
I took a much needed mini-vacation with the spousal unit, did some writing, and, of course, caught some Pokémon!! 😛
In SL, I’ve been working on sets, taking classes, and shopping. Now it’s time to jump back in – I’ve got some great location pics to share, and lots of other goodies.
One thing I’m hoping to do is make some short how-to videos about some of the new skills/tools I’ve learned. I like both teaching and attending classes, but sometimes being able to ‘watch’ someone do something is easier than having them explain it.
Tools and techniques in dance are getting more and more complicated, so it’s always a good idea to add to your skill set. I think sometimes that people make more work for themselves – me, I’m lazy. Show me the easiest way and I’ll do that. 😛
In case you missed it, Shadow, Martin, and Yummy are teaming up to present the Silly Awards. It sounds like a lot of fun (who doesn’t like the chance to laugh at themselves?!), so check it out – details are on the DQ blog.
Summer is a relaxing time for many people. Sadly, not for me. I am eagerly awaiting the start of school in the fall already. Why? I have a child who is involved in 3 different activities this summer, and playing chauffeur has gotten a bit old.
Getting up before the sun has never been on my to-do list, and I like it even less during the summer. However, I am trying to make lemonade out of lemons, so I’ve been using the extra time to work improving my skills – in dance, in photography, in photoshop – I even tried some melted crayon art projects! 😛
I’ve been collecting a number of outfits and items with an eye towards doing photos with them. So I finally unpacked all the items I got from the June round of The Arcade, including Sweet Thing’s ballerina costume.
I did have a time figuring out the new Slink Pointe feet. I got the feet on and figured out the HUD pretty easily, but when I added the shoes, they were too small. I tried changing the size of the feet with the HUD, but that really only affected the ankle area. I tried to see if I could modify/enlarge the shoes, but they are mesh and it wouldn’t work.
So, I finally contacted a CSR – turns out the shoes are rigged mesh, so I had to change the size of my feet by altering my shape. My feet are generally set to 0 – a holdover habit from invisiprim shoes, I guess. Anyhow, I set my feet to 34 in the appearance editor and voilá! – the shoes fit perfectly!
Now I’ll know for next time when my shoes don’t fit. 😛
I decided that since I was dressed as a ballerina, I would do some ballet dances and use the slo-motion animation trick to try and snap some pics. I have a ton of static ballet poses, but sometimes I can’t find just what I want.
I love watching ballet anyway, so I just set my HUD to play and started snapping. I took way more photos than I used, but that’s part of the fun. Then I decided to make a collage of some of the better snaps. Here’s the result:
I used ballet dance animations from Abranimations and MyANIMATIONS for the pictures. I turned on slo-motion for the animations (read about that here if you’re interested) and had a blast. Once I had a series of pics, I headed into Photoshop and started working. I made a basic background, added a simple light effect and then copied the dance pics onto it.
Then, because I like playing around, I started trying out various actions and effects. I ended up using one from the Nik Collection – I should really use it more often, there are some great options in it!
After another weekend filled with dance shows and people complaining about floating heads, I thought I would take a few minutes and share some thoughts and suggestions.
SL is a very technical, tricky, and many times just downright frustrating place. We keep coming back because we love the magic and wonder of it.
The advent of mesh was/is seen by most as a huge improvement to SL. You can get more detailed items for less LI (usually) than you can with good ‘ol prims. Your clothing moves with your avatar in a more natural way (usually). And it makes everything prettier (usually).
But that darn ‘usually’ sometimes sneaks out for a quick smoke break and screws up our viewing royally when it’s gone. 😛
These days when you go to a dance show, you probably see more mesh items than not – mesh bodies, heads, hands, feet, clothes, props, etc. Which is fantastic – until you can’t see them.
I have a pretty good computer rig and a great internet connection. And I still sometimes have problems with mesh. Just this weekend, I had 8 avatars, all dressed in the same outfit. I saw all 8 avatars (not mesh), but 3 were missing jackets (mesh). Why? Beats me.
I wasn’t somewhere super crowded or very laggy. All 8 avatars were wearing identical costumes, as I said. So clearly the textures for the costumes were loading/loaded, because I saw 5 of them completely. What happened to the other 3? No idea.
I’m sure there’s a technical explanation as to why this occurs. However, it wasn’t a huge deal to me – I knew they were dressed identically, so I just shrugged and went on.
When you are attending a dance performance, however, and all of the dancers are wearing mesh bodies and appear only as dancing heads, it can be all sorts of frustrating.
Some dancers don’t care whether the audience has issues and will continue to wear their mesh bodies. Some will shrug it off, saying that people should upgrade their computers. Some will think, well, I can see it, so if they can’t, it must be their issue. Nothing wrong with that – SL is a place for you to do whatever you want, so if they don’t care, they don’t care.
Some dancers, however, will be heartbroken that the dance they spent hours creating is effectively ruined for some audience members because they appear as floating heads. Other dancers fall somewhere in the middle.
Whatever your stance on wearing mesh bodies to dance, you have options.
Option 1 is to not wear a mesh body. The system avatars have gotten a bad rap, and I admit, I prefer a mesh body. However, if my choice is to see a dancing head or a system body, 100% of the time, I will choose a system body. The purpose of a dance is to express something using your body. If I can’t see your body, I’m not getting anything out of your dance.
Option 2 is to wear a mesh body. I confess, I have worn a mesh body to dance on many occasions. However, sometimes things just don’t work out the way I want, and I will use my system avatar for some dances. (Appliers aren’t always available for some costumes, and sometimes using those appliers with a mesh body can be a hassle because of the inherent alpha conflicts when using multiple layers.)
As a dancer, you should already be doing things to avoid lag – lowering your draw distance, de-scripting everything you can, including set pieces and costume pieces, turning off/de-rendering unnecessary things like sky, terrain, etc. if you can. Don’t neglect to do these things with your mesh body.
I don’t know about all mesh bodies, but mine is copiable. So I will make a copy (or sometimes copies) for a dance, set my appliers as I need them, and then delete all the scripts out of them.
If you are a venue owner, you should consider putting a policy in place regarding mesh bodies. Are you going to allow them or not? If you allow them, you should consider capping your show attendance. The more avatars on a sim, the more lag – especially when many/most of the audience may be wearing mesh bodies themselves. Help your dancers put on the best show they can by helping to limit the lag.
I’ve heard a lot of complaints recently about people seeing floating heads. It’s a real turn-off for the audience and unhappy customers are usually the most vocal.
Mesh is fantastic, I love it, but learn to use it wisely when you dance. 😀
I’ve been busily working away on routines for the last several days.
Several months ago, I began using the Artiste products exclusively to dance, so that I could force myself to learn more about it.
I knew that I had only scratched the surface of what it can do, and it’s been a really fun ride learning more and more.
The last couple of routines I did with it, I heard “That’s amazing!” and “Wow!” and “Fantastic!”
So I am pretty happy with how things are going. 😛
My original goal was to learn/re-learn some basic palette abilities so that I could offer some one-off classes on them. Since there are currently about 70-some abilities, I figured that would keep me busy.
And it has!
Some of the abilities are things that you can do with many other systems, like tipping an object (or person), or raise/lower (via mover or object-mover).
However, my latest breakthrough had nothing to do with the abilities of the palette itself, and everything to do with making my life easier. 😀
When I first learned to use the Artiste, I learned to create my mover route and trigger it to begin when I pressed play (like every other system out there).
There was an option to have the sequence start after pressing play (a delay), but that seemed tedious and a lot of extra work. So I would trigger my palette to start moving when I pressed play, and to continue through its series of moves.
This meant figuring out not only my moves (from A to B, B to C, etc.), but also figuring out wait/sleep times (times that my mover would stay in the same position before moving to the next point). Now, I’m good at math, but I don’t like it. I did it simply because there was no other way.
No system that I owned (or am familiar with) allowed me to pause/stop my mover after pressing play (without also causing a bunch of other issues that usually involved more math). So, I planned my routes, did the math (yuck!), and went on.
Because I had taught a class on using the Artiste palette as a mover, I figured I should experiment with some of the options. One of those options is to trigger your mover/palette via the sequence. Great, I was already doing that!
But you can also trigger your mover/palette to do only 1 move OR a range of moves, not just the entire route.
This meant that I could tell the palette to do move 1. Then dance. Then, when I wanted to, tell the palette to do move 2. Or to do moves 2-4. Then dance some more. And since you can specify PER MOVE a specific animation that you want to play (not just one default walk, for example), I can, when triggering my moves, have the palette activate a walk I have specified for THAT move.
So I can skip walk on to the stage, dance, use a second walk to move, dance some more, and use a third walk for a subsequent move. All with the same mover/palette!
And as with all things Artiste, there is always more than one way to do something. I can trigger my moves via my sequence if I wish. Or I can trigger them via my chat commands. Having so many options means that I can accomplish more in less time. And best of all?
I can still remember the first mesh dress I bought – I was so excited that my dress would no longer fall through my legs and the chair when I sat down!
I’ve written before about mesh heads and my own struggle with the decision of whether to buy one or not.
Here are 5 reasons why I did:
Once I got into photography in SL and started taking LOTD photos, I discovered how much time I had to spend ‘fixing’ problems with the default SL avatar.
I probably save at least 10 minutes per photo when I use a mesh head (and mesh body), because I don’t have to smooth out any of the weird angles that you get with the default avatar. And don’t get me started on elbows, bums, and knees!
10 minutes may not sound like much, but it adds up. That’s 10 minutes (or more) that I could spend doing other things (like taking more pictures).
This is a common thought for many people, and I had the same fears before I bought a mesh head. I still think of my default avatar face as ‘me.’
However, SL for me is a place to try new things, new looks, new experiences. So I’m having a lot of fun trying out different heads, different skins, and different looks.
I think that the same mesh head can look completely different with different skin and makeup appliers.
While I may not look like the classic ‘me,’ I find that I still feel like myself when I wear a mesh head/body.
This is a sister to the individuality concern. When mesh heads first came out, skins were, as a matter of course, pretty limited.
Since the explosion of mesh heads, skin makers have started making appliers for the heads, which means that there are more and more options when it comes to a mesh head.
Not only can you find tons of different skins, there are all kinds of makeup and effect appliers available now.
Having all these options means that you can wear a mesh head and still be ‘yourself’ and express your individuality.
One of my favorite things about SL is that I can dress up in all kinds of different outfits.
My avatar is a bit like a living Barbie doll. 🙂 All those styles I don’t/won’t wear in RL make regular appearances on my avatar.
I rarely wear dresses and heels in RL, but you will rarely find me in anything else in SL. Why? Because I can! 😀
Mesh heads offer me the same thing – I can wear a different head and feel like a different person. Plus, they’re gorgeous!
Not every head is going to appeal to everyone, of course. I don’t find the anime/manga style heads appealing at all. Others do – that’s the beauty of them. 🙂
They can be lag heavy, but if I am going out and about, I generally stick to my Lelutka head, which I’ve found to be less ‘heavy’ than other heads.
Not all lag, by the way, is from mesh. I came across a system dress recently that had a large, full flexi skirt. The dress alone was over 400K in render weight. Wearing my Lelutka head and Maitreya body, my RW is generally around 20K.
When mesh heads first appeared (or at least when I first became aware of them), they were rather pricey – to me, anyway.
Not that I thought the price was undeserved, just that I don’t have a large budget for SL, and other items were more important. 🙂
I did finally take the plunge and bought both the Maitreya mesh body and a Lelutka mesh head. I’ve never regretted buying either.
Mesh heads also don’t have to be hugely expensive. Genesis Labs, one of my favorite head makers, routinely puts their heads in gachas, usually with a pull price of $99L or so.
There’s one out now at Kustom9, and it only took me three pulls to get one of the rare heads. So I have a new mesh head for less than $300L!!
I’ve gotten several mesh heads that way, and, at last count, I currently own 11 mesh heads.
I would never have believed it, given my attitude when I bought the very first one.
There are some higher-priced heads (I’m still debating whether to get one of the Catwa heads, because I love the way they look), but you don’t have to spend a fortune to get one. And you can always try a demo for free. 😀
If you’ve never tried a mesh head, I would encourage you to do it. You may not like it, and that’s fine. I didn’t think I would like them as much as I do, but I have no regrets about buying them.
There are other considerations besides just looks, of course. I’m still learning what works and what doesn’t when it comes to dance. I’ve not yet worn a mesh head to perform, but I have worn my mesh body on a few occasions.
It does take a bit more work to figure out how to manage everything, but so far (knock on wood) I haven’t had any issues with it. 🙂
Of course, I love wearing the mesh heads for my photography. It’s so much fun, creating different looks and characters with the different heads.
There are a ton of heads to choose from – Slink, Lelutka, Catwa, Genesis Labs, TMP, Eve, LOGO – the list is rapidly becoming endless.
Guys, don’t think you’re off the hook – there are mesh heads and bodies for you too – give one a try!
Whether you already own a mesh head/body or not, I’d love to hear your feedback – what you like and what you don’t.
Share this post with your friends (the buttons are right down there ↓) – I’m genuinely curious to see what people think!!