Bakes On Mesh Has Arrived

Image Source: http://www.darrickbynum.com

The new Bakes on Mesh viewer is now live (if you use the official SL viewer).  Those of us who use a third-party viewer will have to wait until an update is released.  So those who are already using BoM will probably look strange to us until then.

There are several really good blog posts out there already about how to use BoM, but what it essentially boils down to is the ability to use system layers (remember those?!) for skins, tattoos, makeup, clothing, etc. – even with your mesh body.  I’m not going to explain it all here in detail (for that, you can read more here, here, and here).  I haven’t actually tried BoM myself yet, so I don’t want to hand out bad information.

If you use a SLink body, an update for use with BoM is available.  I haven’t yet heard about update for any other bodies or heads, so we will have to wait for those creators to update.  I’ve used my Maitreya body for so long that I don’t think I even have other mesh items anymore, so I really hope it gets updated.  If it doesn’t, I may have to switch over to SLink.  I did keep my SLink hands and feet (and shoes!), so I’ll have to wait and see what happens.

There are some issues with BoM, so don’t expect it to work perfectly right out of the box.  Hands and feet are known to cause issues, so I’m hoping that by the time Firestorm updates for BoM, most of the bugs will have been worked out.  Fingers crossed!

Bakes On Mesh

Image Source: xelerus.de

I saw a blog post today that said that the new Bakes On Mesh viewer would be released soon, perhaps Monday.

I don’t use the Official Viewer, so I am assuming that a new Firestorm update will happen soon after.  Once BoM is live, I expect content creators to issue updated mesh bodies to accommodate the new options.

I know that SLink has said they have updated versions ready to go, I can only hope that Maitreya will follow soon thereafter.  I have noticed that with my purchases recently, I have received textures that are labeled as BoM textures for some of the items.

BoM is supposed to help reduce avatar complexity, and therefore, I hope, the lag that is sometimes generated because of it.   I don’t expect it to go away completely, however, since lag can be caused by a whole host of factors, some of which can only be changed/controlled by the end user.

And, unfortunately, many people don’t take the time to educate themselves about what might be causing their lag, finding it easier to blame something else for the issue.

I have gotten into the habit of derendering people as I travel around SL.  It’s amazing how much faster you can get around then. 😛  Of course, I am generally either shopping or taking photographs, so I don’t need to interact with others for the most part.  For those who spend most of their time in social settings, I’m sure things can get frustrating.  Let’s hope this BoM update makes things better for those people.

Erebos Harbor

With limited time in SL this week, I turned to the Photogenic, Rezzable Sims list from Blogger & Vlogger Network (BVN).  I found Erebos Harbor on the list and it looked intriguing, so I headed on over.

The sim has a lot of paths with twists and turns, so you can find lots of hidden places, like this stunning waterfall.

The harbor where you arrive is gorgeous, with boats bobbing the water behind you as you land.

Make sure you spend some time exploring – the scenery is well worth it!

Working out the Timing

Image Source: reallifeinbroomfield.blogspot.com

As I return to blogging and photography, I find myself looking at stats again.

Not my favorite thing. :/  Mostly because I’m not doing this for the stats (thank goodness!), so sometimes it’s easy to get bogged down in the details and forget the bigger picture.

Since resuming posting here and on Flickr, I can’t seem to get a handle on when to post things.  Some posts/pics do well with early morning posting times and others do better with a later publish time.

But I have yet to figure out when the best time to post is for me.

I generally schedule my posts to publish because I tend to write in batches.  I won’t have anything to post one day and then the next I have 3 or 4 posts rattling around in my brain that I have to get out.  So I have been playing around with the posting time to see what gets a better response.

After looking at stats again today, I’m stumped.  Perhaps it’s because most of this is aimed at SL folks, who tend to be all over the world, which means all different time zones.

Perhaps it doesn’t matter.

Yep, that’s the answer I’m going with. 😛

Be Happy

I’m slowly getting back into SL and taking photos. I’m also slowly getting back into Photoshop and editing photos.  Sometimes, though, you get lucky.

Last week I was wandering around Yorkshire, a sim I have visited before.  Changes have been made, of course, so I went back to see what it was like now.

It’s still beautiful, though in a different way than previously.  Before, it was bleak and dark (but not in a depressing way).  Now it’s more light and sun and relaxation.

I do edit my photos, but I play around a lot with windlights and focal lengths and effects in-world as well.  And sometimes, I manage to find a combination that works.

I found this little scene in Yorkshire and was immediately enthralled.  I’m not sure why, because I’m not a pickup truck or outdoorsy girl.  But it spoke to me in some way, so I stopped to take some photos.

And I got lucky.

I’m thrilled with the way this photo came out.  So happy, in fact, that it is now my PC wallpaper.  I don’t care if any one else likes it – this photo makes me happy.  🙂

Sometimes It’s the Little Things

Last week I spent some time exploring a few sims and taking photos.  It’s amazing how much I remember and how much I have forgotten about taking photos in SL.

Part of the joy of photography in SL for me is getting to play around in Photoshop after taking photos.  I love trying out different things – it’s a discovery process for me, because I am largely self-taught when it comes to Photoshop.

I have an older version, back before the subscription model started, so I actually own the software.  It’s outdated, yes, but it still lets me do lots of fun things.

One of the pictures I took last week I wasn’t really happy with.  It seemed kind of bland and blah.  I played around with cropping and then tried some different effects, but I didn’t really find anything I liked.  So I set the photos aside for a few days and worked on other things.

Yesterday I sat down to do some editing and picked this photo back up.  I cropped it and added some background blur.  I still wasn’t happy with the photo, so I added a simple lens flare effect.  It completely changed the photo.

Sometimes it’s the little things that make you happy. 😀

Whimberly

As I’ve had free time, I’ve been back in SL exploring sims.  I’ve missed taking photos and playing around in Photoshop.  I’ve posted a couple of things on Flickr and I figure I have a while until I’ve uploaded my 300+ photos still available to me as a free Flickr user.

I didn’t have a ton of time to explore Whimberly, but what I did see was gorgeous.  I’ll have to make sure I return for another visit when I have more time.

I’m still a sucker for lighthouses. 😀

Time and Space

Time-Flies
Image Source: empower-u-academy.com

The older I get, the more time is on my mind.  I took a hiatus from this blog for a while, and while I was gone, the blog had its 6th birthday.  6th!

I can’t believe I’ve had this blog for 6 years.

When I started it, I had more free time and so I posted more often.  I’d thought that as I got older, my free time would increase, but it hasn’t worked out that way.  However, I’ve missed blogging and writing, so here I am.

Space is the other thing on my mind – I use the free version of WordPress for this blog, so I get a limited amount of space for the pictures I add.  When I was posting reviews of dance shows, I had multiple pics per post.  Same with when I started doing travel photos – multiple pics per sim.  I’ve only used 21% of my free storage so far, so I guess I have another 12 years or so before I need to worry about reaching the limit? 😛

Seriously, though, it’s a real dilemma.  You want pics because those interest people (and drive traffic) but the tradeoff is the space requirements.  I could upgrade to a paid account with WordPress and get more space, but that’s hard to justify right now.

I also used to post my pics to Flickr, but now Flickr is limited as well, unless I pay to go Pro (which I won’t).  So now I’m back to debating what social media I might want to use with the blog.  I used to post on KoinUp back in the day and they’re still around (and still free, I think) or I could use my Ello account.  Any suggestions besides Fakebook and Twitter?  😀

Social Media and SL

SocialMediaReport
Image Source: http://www.convinceandconvert.com

Yesterday I was going through my old SL links/bookmarks and went to visit ASNers.  Apparently the site no longer exists.  Not a surprise, but then I became curious what other SLers are using for social media.

I used to have them all – Fakebook, Tweeter, ASN, Plurk, and a few others, but I don’t use them anymore.  I suppose I have a love/hate relationship with social media.  I love how connected it can make you, but I hate how most of the companies actually work.

I refuse to use Fakebook (see here and here) for SL or RL.  I don’t agree with the policies and practices of the company, so I don’t use them.  I kept using other sites for awhile, but I ultimately decided that it was too much of a time waster – not enough benefits for the returns I was getting.

I was curious, though, what everyone else is using.  Fakebook, Tweeter, Plurk, and Flickr I know, but is there an alternative site out there?  I did some searching and found Avatarbook and Onlinker – are there any others I missed?

Dejá View

Image Source: salescoachdan.com

For the past week or so, I’ve been slowly easing back into SL.  In many ways, it feels like I never left.  My avatar, inventory, and land are exactly as I left them.  My virtual wallet has gotten thicker (thanks to my premium stipend), but other than that, everything appears the same.

But it isn’t, of course.

I was barely present in SL for almost two years – and I don’t see myself returning my previous levels of activity.  However, time in SL is something I enjoy and so I will.  🙂

Many things have changed in those years, obviously.  I’m excited to experiment with animesh, but I’ve seen much less of it than I had anticipated.  Lots of stores/venues I used to frequent have closed – people moving on in RL as they do.  My friends’ list looks the same, but it seems a few of them have disappeared.  They are present in my list and nowhere else on the grid.

Yesterday I was trying to wrap my brain around the bakes-on-mesh project.  I see the benefits, but understanding how it all will work was tough.  In some ways it seems like going backwards, even though it isn’t.  It will be interesting to see what happens on the grid when it finally appears.

I feel a bit like a time traveler – things seem familiar on the surface, but underneath there are changes I have yet to uncover.  Hence the dejá vu.

I look forward to seeing what other changes I’ve missed.  In the meantime, I have inventory sorting and shopping to do!