La Coquette Cabaret Offering Dance Class

Dancers WantedLa 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!!

SLURL:  http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Jungle/79/49/2001

Questions?? Please don’t hesitate to contact me.
DaniSari Resident
La Coquette Cabaret

Hope to see you there!!

K&M SOPA Classes!!

Kat&Mouse SOPA Logo WhiteI opened registration for this year’s classes a few weeks ago.

I’m overjoyed that the Intro to Artiste class is now full and closed. ūüėÄ

If you’re interested in learning, the Movers Course is next on the schedule, from February 7 to February 21.¬† Other courses will be scheduled after that according to interest.

You can check out the full listing of courses here.

If you signed up for the Intro to Artiste course, I will be sending out confirmation notices and group invites in the next few days.

See you in class!

2016 K&M School of Performing Arts Classes

Kat&Mouse SOPA Logo WhiteI am very excited to announce the course listings for the K&M School of Performing Arts for 2016!!

I have spent the last month working on curriculum, changing some things, adding some things – all based on feedback and reflection from previous classes.

I have updated the K&M Course Listings to reflect the changes in the courses.  The basic topics/concepts covered in each course are listed.  You can now choose from courses in Choreography, Movers, Set Building, Costuming, and Advanced Choreography.

In addition, I am adding courses for learning the Artiste.¬† Currently registration is only open for the Intro to Artiste course.¬† If you have or plan to take advantage of Yummy’s discount offer for a HUD/palette combo, then this is the course for you!

Courses will be held on Sundays at 12pm SLT at the Kat & Mouse Theater.¬† There will be ‘homework’ for in-world skill assessments, as well as online assessments (assessments are not required).¬† For students who choose to complete all assessments, the school will keep a posted list of dancers/students who have successfully completed courses and demonstrated mastery of various skills.

I have listed the dates/times for both the Intro to Artiste and Movers courses.  The courses that will be taught following those will depend on interest.

I look forward to classes and hope to see you there!

Tutorial #5: Artiste Events

upcomingevents

I hope those who’ve been following my tutorials have come away knowing more than they knew before about the Artiste.

In real  life one could think of an event as a meanrngful, memorable, milestone in a persons life.  When you got married, , birth of a child, high-school graduation, major surgery, entering the military, getting engaged, your wedding, your honeymoon, an illicit affair, separation, divorce,  auto-accident, death, funeral, an arrest,  drunk-and-passed out, a physical altercation, your first-love, close-calls, fired-from-job, awards, etc.

I think we remember events more than dates. we can sort of put these in some sort of meaningful order…as to how they relate to each other…easier than we can assign exact dates or even years to them. ¬†Example: I had to have surgery after my accident which was a day before¬†Thanksgiving day. They brought me turkey from home.

We often express events in terms of other events. I plan to start a family 2 years after I am married. I plan to enter the military upon high-school graduation. I lost my job during the recession. I plan to take college-prep courses prior to entering college.

This is the ¬†approach taken to demark when things are to happen in a performance of scheduled events. Its a different mindset but one I find more meaningful than an “arbitrary timeline of things”.

=================================
Performance Events You Already Know

events_ballet

I first got the idea from Nottoo who blogged on usng song-structure changes to identify when dances should transition from one to another. Example: Song intro, chorus, verse, bridge, solo

For performing, those are good arbitrary event markers when nothing else comes to mind because we have already identified them as events, having  assigned names to them. We know when they happen relative to each other.

As you progress from song-changes, obvious other events come to mind…curtain open, curtain close, special lyrics or sound-fx embedded in a song. Song endings/beginnings from a medley of songs.

Artiste uses events at its core. Nothing that is sequenced can really happen without events. All the fun interesting stuff you do will be tied to events.

===============
The Artiste Event

Events are defined on a notecard. One event per line. Each HUD event has a number from 1 to 20 assigned to it.  You can use less than 20.

Each event has a name you give it.

And each event has a time value in seconds.

This can be duration or elapsed time.

The 2 examples below are identical but are 2 different ways to express the same sequence of events. If you can understand the difference then you know how to create events in the Artiste.  Event #1 happens 10 seconds after pressing PLAY. Event #2 happens 15 seconds after pressing play.  This about as technical as these Tutorials will get.

Example #1:

DURATION
1,”Event #1″,10.0
2,”Event #2″,5.0

Example #2:

ELAPSED
1,”Event #1″,10.0
2,”Event #2″,15.0

So now your HUD notecards (for emoting, adorning, stripping, auto-special-fx, audience-directed-camming, announcing, dance-sequencing, outfit-changes), that express when things are to happen, use the event number, (just 1 or 2) in this example, to tell when things will happen. The beauty is that by changing the event times (10 & 5  OR 10 & 15), all things attached to that event automatically move with it in time either forward or backward.

==============================
The AutoFX Function and Notecard

specialeventahead

Most notecards limit what you can do to one thing per line on a notecard (i.e. dances, emotes).

But for the¬†special-FX notecard (we call it AutoFX), you can specify multiple things to happen at nearly the same time for a given event. AutoFX controls things external to the HUD like movers, Palettes, etc. Your only limit is 255 characters for a given notecard line. And using the special WAIT command, when you specify multiple things to happen at the same event, you can create fine ¬†adjustments and offsets BETWEEN the¬†¬†multiple things that happen for a given event so they all don’t have to happen at the exact same time.

In fact, a special defining feature of the Artiste is built-in redudancy that helps you get out of tight spots. Did you know that using our powerful AutoFX, you can emulate all of the other functions as well?

Yep! ¬†This list includes: Playing a dance sequence, emoting, adorning, outfit-changes, audience-directed-camming, stripping, as well as…!!!ALL¬†of the 80 to 90 action-features of the Palette!!!.

There are also other subtle features assignable to AutoFX, like singalling a change in choreagraphy-grouping, dance-formation changing, curtain control, HUD chaining….and the list goes on.

======================
Palette-based Mini-Events
Closeup calendar page with drawing-pins
One last notable ADVANCED feature on the topic of telling performance-stuff when to happen is…the Palette “action” or mini-event.

You already know you can have up to 20 major events per HUD and each major event can trigger one (or more) Palettes to move as well as do a zillion other things.

Well you can define about 20 moves inside of one Palette (not to be confused with the 20 HUD events). Each of those moves can serve as a mini-event meaning you can attach what we call an “action” to the move. And also realize that a move can be a dummy move or place-holder for an action. Each dummy move would ahve a duration associated with it ¬†but no distance to travel or rotation to turn.

So when, say, HUD event #1 tells a given Palette (or more) to perform all (or a range) of its moves, then that Palette can begin to perform mini-events in the form of actions attached to moves,  one-after-the other and do actions and not just moves, or actions in concert with moves.

What this offers is finer granularity as well as being economcial with your 20 major events by passing off extra event-work to a Palette.

This Action can be any of the 80-90 cool action-feature thingys that  Palette can do. So this means that within one HUD event, you can have several Palette-based-mini events that do things. And, a palette-action can and often does contol what other Palettes do.

20×20 = 400 major and minor events so this ability could address the needs of someone who wanted to put on an uninterrupted hour long presentation…theoretically. And by using HUD chaining, you can introduce manual intervention where you could have manual control over say a few¬†different major acts within a given hour-long show.

Of course you probally wouldnt start ouit this advanced.

Keep it simple.

Grow slowly.

One event talks to one palette and tells it to perform just one move and then graduate and tell it to perforam all of¬†its moves. Then graduate to telling it to do a ‘range of moves‘. And then graduate to Palette-actions.

——
I hope I¬†didnt overwhelm you. There are a few more nice features that I didn’t cover. ¬†What I¬†covered here are the basics.

We have a manual on events that goes over what I just talked about here and classes will go over events as well. And you can ask for one-on-one help on top of the manual and classes.

Artiste events are powerful, flexible, precise, and are at the core of  how Artiste operates best.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looking Forward to the New Year – Artiste Classes!

Kat&Mouse SOPA Logo WhiteAfter a successful first-run of classes at K&M SOPA, I am working on revamping much of the curriculum.

In addition to the courses already offered, I am thrilled to announce that in 2016 I will be offering classes on The Artiste.

I will be teaching courses aimed at helping new owners/users to understand the main functions of the HUD and palette.

New users will create ‘working models’ for reference for various abilities of the HUD and palette.¬† These ‘working models’ are invaluable when working solo to re-create Artiste abilities.

In addition, Yummy will be teaching ‘Master’ level courses on various topics, including advanced features like the Thrower, Grouping functions, and Dance Diva.

Yummy has been writing a series of Tutorial articles on the Artiste to explain some of its capabilities and the thought process behind its creation.

In case you’ve missed them, you can find them under the ‘Product Reviews‘ page of the blog.

Tomorrow marks the start of the sale of the new Artiste product combos, which Yummy wrote about in Tutorial #1.

For those interested in a taste of what the Artiste can do, you can now purchase the following:

A-50: 1 NOCOPY/NOTRANS/MOD HUD      $5,000L
A-75: 1 NOCOPY/NOTRANS/MOD HUD & COPY/MOD Palette      $7,500L
A-100: 2 NOCOPY/NOTRANS/MOD HUDs & COPY/MOD Palette  $10,000L

The A-50, A-75, and A-100 are only guaranteed valid From December 1st, 2015 thru December 31st, 2015.

I am having to re-educate myself on some of the functions, because Yummy is constantly developing and adding to its capabilities. (Such a wonderful problem to have, right?!)

Once I have finished creating the curriculum, I will open registration for K&M SOPA classes, including those on the Artiste.  I anticipate that will happen mid to late December, with the classes actually beginning in January 2016.

In addition to the Artiste classes, I will also again be offering courses on choreography, dance tools, set building, etc.

What new skills would you like to gain in the new year?

K&M SOPA Class Schedule and Feedback Request

Kat&Mouse SOPA Logo WhiteHalloween is over, Thanksgiving and Christmas are looming on the horizon, and it’s almost time for this round of classes to end at K&M SOPA.

A huge thank you to all the people who signed up and took classes!

I have thoroughly enjoyed getting know to everyone and I’ve learned a lot.

There are two classes remaining for this year – the Intermediate Choreography and Intermediate Movers class, both of which are full.

After those two classes end, I will open registration for the basic series of classes starting in January 2016.

As the holidays approach, I know everyone will likely be busy, so I have opted to restart classes after the first of the year.

I am currently working on more curriculum, including some courses on using the Artiste suite of products, so be watching for those. ūüėÄ

If there is a class you would like to see over a certain topic, please let me know.

For those of you who have taken some of the courses at K&M, I would appreciate some feedback.

I have created a short questionnaire that I would ‚ô•LOVE‚ô• for you to fill out. ūüėÄ

You can find the form here.

The feedback you provide will help me to better create and plan classes, and to better serve those who want to learn.

I am also currently developing some curriculum for a ‘Masters’ class, so if you are interested in that, please let me know.

Again, a huge thank you to all of the students – without you, none of this would have been possible, and I’m extremely grateful. ‚ô•

What Should I Teach?

Kat&Mouse SOPA Logo WhiteHappy Tuesday!

I’ve been busy the last several days, trying to sort out my inventory, and teaching my first class (in SL, that is).

I think I finally have my inventory sorted, ready for the next round of shopping events. ūüėõ

My first class went extremely well, and I’m hoping the next class will be the same.

I have been surprised at the amount of interest in the classes, and I’m wondering if there are particular topics that dancers (new and experienced) are interested in.

I am working on additional advanced classes, but if there is a topic that dancers would like to see covered, I want to make sure I don’t miss any topics.

As I was discussing with Yummy, it can be extremely difficult for dancers to learn new skills and tools – especially if they dance at a venue where they are trying to have a routine ready every week.

Learning skills and tools takes times, and we all know there isn’t enough of that!

I know that I probably have more time than most in-world, and I have the luxury of using that time to learn new things (sometimes just for the sake of my own curiosity).

My goal is to share that knowledge with you, quickly, and in a way that makes sense to you.

The greatest tool in the world is useless to you if you don’t know how to make the most of it.

Most of us aren’t using the tools we have to their utmost.

And, as I have discovered, people generally have favorite tools.

It can be hard to try something new when you already have something that works.

So, while I work on new curriculum, I thought I’d take a moment and ask YOU what kind of classes/topics you’d like to see.

Fill out the poll below, and share it, if you would.¬† ūüôā

I’ve put in some topics, but feel free to add your own, if you have a subject you’d like to see covered.

If there’s enough interest in a topic, I’d love to add it to my curriculum!

Thank you!!

Mesh Mess – A Lesson in Frustration

Mess MeshI’m a big fan of mesh.

I wear pretty much all mesh clothes, I own a mesh body, I have mesh hands and feet, and I own about 4 or 5 mesh heads.

I love how much prettier mesh is when I’m taking photos.

Since the advent of mesh, the question of whether or not to use it when dancing has been debated.

I’ve danced in mesh clothing before.

I’ve danced with mesh hands and feet before.

I have never danced with a mesh head or a mesh body.

I’ve heard complaints from others about watching shows where headless bodies were dancing, costumes didn’t rez, set pieces didn’t rez, etc.

Never having experienced these problems (other than the occasional SL glitch), I realized I kind of dismissed the issue.

*I* could see everything fine, so what’s the big deal?

It must be their computers, or their preferences, or whatever.

After a recent fiasco at a performance, I’m re-thinking my approach.

Preferences

I attended a dance show where I knew it would be crowded.

I arrived about 30 minutes early to give myself (and my computer) time to cache everything prior to showtime.

When I arrived, I was immediately hit by a small bout of lag.

I began to make adjustments.

I lowered my graphics preferences (I usually run on Ultra).

I lowered my draw distance and particles.

I went into the advanced menu and began disabling things like sky, water, clouds, etc., that I wouldn’t need to render for the show.

The first number went okay, with only one dancer being sans hands for the entire routine.

I figured I had acted in time, and I would be able to enjoy the rest of the show.

Act Two

Mesh Mess 2The second act hit the stage, and out of 8 dancers, two of them remained stubbornly bald, naked, and without hands or feet.

I wish I understood why this happened – all 8 dancers were wearing the same costume.

6 rezzed, 2 did not.  ???

Feeling frustrated, I was going to try either tp’ing out and back, or relogging, to see if that would clear up whatever issue I was having.

Unfortunately for me, just as I was contemplating this, it was announced that access had been closed, and that if anyone left or crashed, you would be unable to get back in.

So that option was no longer available. ūüė¶

I decided to try and tough it out, hoping that things would somehow fix themselves and I would be able to see.

Third Time’s a Charm?

Mesh Mess 3Sadly, no, it wasn’t.

Again, out of 8 or 10 dancers, the two main dancers appeared naked, bald, and missing appendages.

I don’t know if it was the same issue as the previous act, where everyone was wearing the same costume, or not.

But it’s very hard to enjoy a dance performance when literally half (or more) of the performer is missing/invisible.

Now, I know this issue is NOT the fault of the performers.

Most of them were simply wearing the costumes they were given and doing their jobs.

Mesh Mess 4(Note Рsome of the pictures may appear a bit pixellated due to their small size.  I tried to crop out as much extraneous information as possible in the pictures, because I am not trying to blame the dancers or the venue.)

In desperation, I de-rendered the entire audience, hoping that would help.

At this point, I was soooo frustrated.

I decided to stay for one more act.

It had already been almost an hour, and I knew that if the next act didn’t go well, there was no point in staying for the rest of the show.

What I saw (or rather, didn’t see) next, is what made me re-think my attitude towards mesh.

Mesh MessAs the curtain slooowly opened, I sighed.

Rather than getting better, it appeared my problems were getting worse.

The main dancer was nothing but a floating head.

I’m assuming she was wearing a mesh body.

I don’t know, because I couldn’t see it.

The gentlemen next to her had hands, thankfully, but no hair, and no lower half.

Argghhhhhh!

Time to call it a night. ūüė¶

Reflections

After having some time to reflect on things, my attitude towards mesh has changed a bit.

For photography, I will continue to wear mesh so I don’t have to spend hours faffing with photos to get rid of jagged edges and such.

For dancing – I’m still not sure, but I know that I will at least put more thought into how I create my routines after my experience.

Yes, mesh looks fabulous.

But does that matter if many in the audience can’t see it anyway?

I have seen dancers who wore mesh bodies and clothing and I had no issues.

However, I’m not sure it’s worth the risk, even if it’s only one or two people who have problems.

It’s easy to blame the audience members, or their computers, or their ISPs, or whatever.

I have a good computer, a high-speed direct cable connection, and I did a ton of things to reduce lag issues, some of which most casual users wouldn’t even know to do.

It’s also easy to blame SL, though I’m not certain that’s the issue either.

Could I have arrived earlier and avoided issues?

Possibly.

But 30 minutes has generally been a good window, and quite frankly, unless the show is a one-time event, it’s just not worth sitting somewhere for an hour waiting for the show to start.

I think perhaps it just boils down to your own personal approach.

While it would be amazing to put on a show where 100+ people came, if the end result is even one person having my experience, to me, it’s not worth it.

I would much rather limit the amount of people to ensure that everyone has a good experience.

I will probably continue to use mesh props and wear mesh costume pieces, but I doubt that I will ever dance in my mesh head and/or body.

Previous to this experience, I had been considering it.

Now, I’m not sure it’s worth the possible problems.

Kat & Mouse School of Performing Arts Classes Starting Soon!

Kat&Mouse SOPA Logo WhiteIf you missed my earlier announcement, I have founded the Kat & Mouse School of Performing Arts in Second Life.

When I first started dancing in Second Life, I had no idea what I was doing, nor what I was getting into. ūüėõ

I absolutely fell in love with choreographing dances and performing.

I know that a lot of people in SL share that love, and I’d like to help YOU get better at what you do.

My approach for classes will be a bit different than most dance classes in SL.

Teaching can be a challenge in SL, because the feedback you would normally get in a classroom isn’t there (ie, the eye-rolls of students who are bored, the confused looks of those who have gotten lost, the snores of those who stayed up too late dancing the night before). ūüėõ

My focus, for all of my classes, will be to help you learn what YOU want/need to know.

The classes will be in voice, but I will also have notes for you, which will be available at the beginning of class so you can write your own notes on them as well. ūüôā

I will have hands-on examples for you to try, to play with, to explore – because I think having some hands-on is essential to learning, especially in SL.

I hope to teach you skills you can take to any venue on the grid, so that you can be as successful as you want to be.

Every troupe does things a little differently, but with the basic skills, you can be successful dancing anywhere.

The classes will be kept to an hour and only one session (as much as is possible), because I know that scheduling and availability is difficult for many.

There is no fee for any of the classes, though some of them require that you own specific equipment/tools.

If you’re an experienced dancer/performer and you have specific skills you’d like to acquire, PLEASE let me know!

I am still working on some advanced classes, so if you have an interest, I’d love to hear about it.

The basic series of classes starts on Sunday, October 4, at 2pm SLT at the Kat & Mouse Theater.

You can still sign up for classes – just head over to the K&M SOPA Class Listings page on the menu above.

See you in class!!!

K&M SOPA MISSION STATEMENT:  To help those interested in dance to acquire skills in order to achieve success.

Mesh Questions

QuestionMarksMy favorite part of writing is the feedback I get from people.

So I love it when I find a topic that generates a lot of comments. ūüėÄ

I’ve been working a lot with mesh clothing lately, and my post about whether it is good for dancing showed that it’s a very divisive issue.

Some people love it, some people hate it.

I can see both sides.

But I have so many questions about mesh.

Questions like:

  • Why doesn’t it appear until it’s fully rezzed?
  • Why doesn’t it appear if you click on it (like prims do)?
  • Why does zooming your camera waaaayy out and then back in make things appear (only sometimes)?
  • Do the specular/normal maps cause extra loading time (because it’s now loading 3 textures instead of 1)?
  • What is http texture loading and does it make things faster?
  • Why do some mesh heads rez as ginormous at first?
  • Why do mesh attachments (clothing or whatever) first rez as ‘floating’ near their avatar?
  • How do you make an applier (be it for clothing, fingernails, etc.)?
  • What effect do the number of vertices/polygons have on how fast something mesh loads?
  • Is there a difference between mesh props/decor and clothing that cause one to load faster than another?
  • Mesh supposedly improves the LI of items, so how come mesh can be worse in some instances than prims/sculpties?
  • What exactly is LOD and why do you have to set it higher in order to see certain items better/clearly?
  • Do mesh eyes have as many problems as other mesh (have you ever seen avi’s without eyes)?
  • Other than (supposedly) improving LI, what other advantages does mesh offer that you can’t get with prims/sculpties?

If you know the answer to any of these, please feel free to leave explanations/comments!

I will be investigating some of these on my own, of course, but all knowledge is appreciated. ūüôā

Do you have problems/questions about mesh I haven’t mentioned/listed here?

What are they?