Practice Makes Perfect

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:

Dreaming

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!

 

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Slow Motion Animations

I mentioned in a previous post that I used the ‘slow motion animations’ option to help me capture the effect I wanted in a photo.

I assumed everyone knew how to do this, but since Path asked me, I thought I would share it here.

It’s really simple, just a few clicks.

I’m not sure if this works the same in the official viewer, since I use Firestorm, but I’m sure it’s similar.

Developer MenuFor Firestorm, you must have the Developer menu enabled.

To access the Developer menu, hit Ctrl+Alt+Q to toggle the menu on.

Once you have the Developer menu, go down to Avatar.

When you highlight the Avatar option, you will see another menu pop out.

Slide your mouse over onto that menu window and select Animation Speed.

When Animation Speed is selected, you will see a third menu pop out.

At the bottom of that menu, you will see the Slow Motion Animations option.

Click that, and you will now see animations in slow motion.

Slow Motion AnimationsPlease note that everyone else will still see the animations at the regular speed, only you will see them in slow motion.

However, it’s a nice tool to use in certain situations, particularly when you are trying to capture a shot.

You could use this at a dance show to help you capture the photo you want of a dancer.

You can use it as I did, to animate yourself and then capture a photo.

Play with it, use your imagination, go wild!

SL Dance Dictionary

Dance Dictionary
Image Source: dancedictionary.tumblr.com

Inspired by a recent post by Huckleberry Hax about his SL Dictionary of Virtual Experience: Inventory, I decided to come up with some new words for an SL dance dictionary.

I love words and wordplay – inventing these was a ton of fun.

Maybe I’ll come up with some SL puns next. 😛

Without further ado, the SL Dance Dictionary:

Divaphobia:  the fear of having to work with a diva

Ichabodancer:  a dancer who is wearing a mesh body that doesn’t rezz and appears as a dancing head to the audience

Slip-n-Glide:  moving avatars who appear to glide across the floor while dancing

Brokankles:  oddly shaped/bent ankles caused by dance animations

Distadancer:  a dancer who remains at the far back of the stage during the entire routine

Lagvoidance:  avoiding a particular venue because the lag is always terrible

Facenova:  someone who insists on wearing a facelight made with halogen bulbs the size of the sun

Crashdancer:  a dancer who repeatedly crashes during a performance

Camversion:  the act of avoiding camming around a venue for fear you will cause yourself to crash

Assisticurtains:  people who try to be helpful by opening the curtains, causing the curtains to open and close multiple times during a routine

Invisidancer:  when you’re told to set to midnight, but the set isn’t lit and you can’t see the dancer

Ghost Movers:  when extra movers appear on the stage that aren’t supposed to be there

Déja View:  when you think you’ve seen a routine before, but you can’t remember for sure

Avahorde:  when there are so many avatars at a venue that you can’t get in, or if you get in, you can’t move

Peekaboob:  when a dancer wears a mesh costume and a physics layer, causing their boobs to peek in/out of their costume as they dance

Those are my contributions – what do you think?

Do you have any words I should add to my dance dictionary?

So You Want To Dance?

Dance
Image Source: http://www.pinterest.com

I’m always amazed by how many people are unaware of the show dance scene in SL.

If you ask most people about dancing, they immediately think of clubs, socializing, or ballroom/couples dancing.

For over 5 years now (eek!), I have been involved in ‘show’ dancing in SL.

I went from being a ball-warmer (not that kind!) to being a lead dancer to being a choreographer to being a solo artist. 😀

Show dancing is a ton of fun, but there are some things you need to know before you jump in.

(Please – jump in – new victims, err . . . dancers are always nice!)

If you’ve never seen a dance show in SL, hop over to my calendar page for a listing of regular weekly shows (with SLURL’s) and check one out.

Animations

The first thing you’ll need to be a show dancer/choreographer is dance animations.

I recommend buying only copy animations to protect yourself in case of loss (i.e. – SL eats your stuff 😛 ).

There are a lot of great dance animation stores (see my list here), but I highly recommend Abranimations and A&M Mocap.

Dance HUD

The next item you’ll need is a dance HUD that will let you ‘sequence’ your dances, so that you can make your own choreography using animations you’ve purchased.

There are a ton of HUDs available, but most serious show dancers use one of 4 HUDs:

  • HUDDLES EZAnimator Deluxe
  • Barre HUD
  • SpotOn Performance Director HUD
  • Artiste HUD

Both the HUDDLES and Barre are available on MP only, as both in-world stores have closed.

Additionally, there is no customer support for either HUD, though both have user groups you can join for help.

Any of the HUDs above will let you animate other dancers for a performance.

The HUDDLES, however, does not have the capability to do ‘group’ dances, where different dancers do different sequences during a routine.

Product Suites

As show dancing has evolved, so has the equipment.

What you’ll find now, instead of stand-alone dance HUDs, are ‘suites’ of products all made to work together seamlessly.

There have been avatar/object mover systems in SL for quite a while, but when the SpotOn Choreography Design System was released, it was an instant hit.

It’s pretty simple to use and set up, and it works with most any dance HUD.

Following the success of the designer, SpotOn has released a number of products – Group Formation system, Performance Director HUD, Costume Assistant, Smooth Dancer HUD, and most recently, the Stage Manager.

SpotOn products are all sold separately, so you can choose which products you want to purchase.

The Artiste HUD is another suite of products.

Included in the Artiste GOLD Performer Series are the following: the Artiste GOLD Dance HUD, the Palette (mover/special fx), the Set Rezzer, the Director, the Stage Sight (a directed camera HUD), the Stage HUD, the Dance Diva (a group formation system), the Follower Relay (for use with the Dance Diva), and the Message Board.

Everything is included in one package and is available for purchase from the creator, Lat ‘Yummy’ Lovenkraft.

Final Thoughts

Show dancing in SL is not an inexpensive undertaking.

Just for tools (like those mentioned above), you can spend anywhere from $1200L to $25000L on equipment.

Though you can make a nice income in tips, it will rarely (if ever) equal the amount you spend on props, textures, animations, costumes, and everything else you need for a routine.

If you’re unsure whether show dancing is for you, you can join a troupe as a chorus member (otherwise known as a ball-warmer) to learn the ropes.

I love putting a routine together and then performing it in front of an audience.

Dancing is one of the most rewarding things I’ve done in SL.

See you on stage!

Saturday – Party Time!

Celebration
Image Source: madamsabi.wordpress.com

Saturday is finally here, and I am rushing around like a chicken with its head cut off, as my grandpa would say.

Actually, he probably would have said, “You’re busier than a one-legged man in a butt-kicking contest!”

Grandpa was a hoot. 🙂

Anyway, I’m still busy cleaning and getting ready for our big soirée tonight, but I wanted to remind you that there are some great dance shows on this weekend.

Breezes Dancers are doing a show – I saw their Christmas show and it was wonderful.

Fusion Dance Crew is also doing a s show – Ric and Feli are amazing, so if you haven’t seen this group before be sure to check them out.

And of course there are the regular weekend shows – hop on over to my calendar page for dates, times, and SLURL’s. 🙂

After I’m done with my crazy weekend, I will be trekking around the grid to animation vendors to see if there is anything new out there.

I know there have been a few new AO releases, so I will be checking those out as well.

I was actually excited to see the release of a new mesh head.

I don’t generally care for the look of mesh heads, because they seem too stiff and lifeless, as well as all looking pretty similar.

However, the new mesh heads from Rowne actually look pretty good to me.

I’m not jumping the gun, because the heads do not currently use appliers, which means I would have to switch skins to wear them.

I just switched skins a month or so ago, and I’m not looking to outlay another load of L$ for a mesh head AND new skins. :/

It’s back to work for me.

Enjoy your Saturday!!

Happy Friday!

Friday
Image Source: http://www.yourpathtofit.com

As the school year winds to a close, RL is intruding more and more on my SL time.

I was so busy yesterday I didn’t even have time to log in! 😦

Hopefully after the next couple of weeks are over, things will get back to normal and I will have a more set routine.

Until then, I’ll do my best to keep blogging!

One of the things I’m hoping to start is a series of posts on creators – places where I like to go for props, poses, particles – anything you might use in a routine.

I have a few creators already in mind, but I would love to hear from you – what places are ‘go-to’ stores for you when trying to find something particular?

I hope to be able to interview some of the creators as well, but given everyone’s busy schedules, I’m not sure how many will be able to participate.

Regardless, I will be doing some posts on them. 🙂

At least it’s Friday – Happy Weekend, Everyone!

What’s Your AO?

Image Source: wiki.phoenixviewer.com
Image Source: wiki.phoenixviewer.com

I’ve been following a couple of online threads recently about various viewer issues – things not rezzing, Winnie’s missing left eye, etc. 😛

Weird things catch my eye, and after seeing some screen shots of people’s issues, I saw several AO’s.

I use the Firestorm viewer and I also use the built-in AO.

I love it.

No attachments to fuss with and no remembering to put it in every outfit.

When I first heard about the built-in AO’s, I remember hearing that it would help cut down on lag.

I did a bit of searching around yesterday, but I can’t find any information on that.

The little I did find said that it might help a tad with lag, but that new scripts in newer AO’s are not a lag-inducing as they used to be.

I still see venues asking people to detach AO’s, so I wonder how lag-heavy AO’s are these days.

But then I started wondering – how many people use attached AO’s?

Are they better or worse than the built-in viewer AO’s?

Do people just use pre-built AO’s or do they modify them?

I personally have modified mine – removing stands and such that I didn’t care for (like the ones where you seem to be checking your shoes for something -.-).

I have changed the basic run into another one I like much better, etc.

Now if there was just a way to add an ankle lock animation into it – is that possible?

Does anyone have a home-grown AO – one that they cobbled together?

Attached or built-in?

What animation stores are favorites for AO animations?

If you use an attached AO, is there a reason you’ve made that choice over using a built-in AO?

I’m dying of curiosity over here!