Forgotten at The Pulse

On a recent jaunt around SL, I stopped at The Pulse.  Sadly, when I went back to double check my LM, there is a note board explaining that Forgotten is no longer hosted at The Pulse.

So, though I am sad the build is gone, at least I got the experience of wandering around the sim.  And I have the pictures to remind me of the beautiful build.

The Pulse 1This sad little angel statue seems even more fitting now that I know the build gone. 😦

The Pulse 2I didn’t realize until I was going back through my photos that I inadvertently captured myself.  I was going to Photoshop myself out, but I decided not to. 🙂

The Pulse 3I had a wonderful time exploring the sim.  I’m glad I was able to visit when I did.

The Pulse 4A beautiful waterfall – it was so calm and relaxing to sit and listen to the sound of the water.

I try to visit various places around SL to encourage others to explore and share in the beauty.  Unfortunately, this time you’ll have to be content with the photos.

LEA22 – Funky Junk

Whenever I’m looking for a good place to take photographs, I know I can count on the LEA sims.

This trip I ended up at LEA22 – Funky Junk.  The description says it’s still under construction, but there is a ton to see and explore.

LEA 22 1The sim is full of art pieces and vignettes made of recycled junk.  I was having so much fun exploring that I was snapping pics like mad. Of course, I couldn’t resist playing around a bit with some of the great filters in Firestorm.

LEA 22 2I was a little lost and confused at first, but still having a blast wandering around and looking at everything.  (I always forget to read the land description until after I’ve wandered around a bit – or a lot!)

LEA 22 3I loved these little worker ants – heading down into the whirlpool of discarded junk, and then trundling back up the hill to their home.

LEA 22 4It really does make you stop and think about how much junk we humans through away (into landfills, the ocean, etc.) every day.

LEA 22 5There were some whimsical vignettes placed here and there around the sim.  I’m not quite sure what species these birds (?) are, but their babies are cute as the dickens. 😛

LEA 22 6This scene struck me as particularly funny and poignant. The little worker is making trees out of the trash lumber, and then painting it green to make the trees you see in the background.

Ironic, yes?

LEA 22 7As I was pondering the irony of the Forestry Department scene, I stumbled into this forest of book trees.

The sim was amazing and chock full of things to see and do.  The land description also says to wear your headset and click stuff (something I neglected to do).

Head on over and try it out!  Or, if you don’t have much time in-world, you can visit the Funky Junk blog and see what it’s all about.

Happy Accidents – Cammino e Vivo Capovolto

The other day I was wandering around SL with my camera, trying to relax.

I stopped at Ocho Tango to take some pictures.  The area was a bit smaller than I had imagined, so I was camming around to see what I could see.

Off in the distance, I noticed some statues.  Intrigued, I wandered closer and found a fantastic art installation by Mistero Hifeng.

I was confused at first, because I had landed at Ocho Tango, but then realized that I had crossed a parcel boundary into Cammino e Vivo Capovolto.

Cammino 1Which, according to Google translate, means ‘walk and live upside down.’ 😀

I’ve seen some of Mistero’s work before and loved it.

Cammino 2Some amazingly powerful images here.

I stood around for several minutes just trying to take it all in.  I went back before writing this post to get some additional information and found pieces I had missed previously, so make sure you take the time to wander and see all the fantastic pieces.

Cammino 3I love this bridge with all the statues carrying umbrellas. Some of the pieces convey such a feeling of sadness and loss, but looking at them gives me so much joy.

Cammino 4The way the light is breaking through the trees and illuminating the broken figure below – poetry for my soul.

Cammino 5In front of the bridge is this trio of broken ladies.  I’ve been there – broken, shattered, and wondering how on earth you can make yourself whole again.

It’s an amazing body of work – if you have even a few free moments, stop by.

You won’t be disappointed.

Progress, Not Perfection

This phrase has become my mantra for 2016.

I’m not one for setting New Year’s resolutions, but I am trying to make some changes in my life.

Since childhood, I’ve been one of those people who wanted to do everything I did perfectly.

If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right, as my father would always say.

Trouble is, I began to believe that if I couldn’t do it right, I shouldn’t do it at all.  This line of thinking made it incredibly easy to procrastinate.

I can’t do it yet, I don’t know enough. 

I can’t do it yet, I’m not ready. 

I can’t do it yet, I might fail.

Sound familiar?

I am trying to focus on being less of a perfectionist and trying to train myself to see progress rather than imperfections.

I’ve been trying for the last year or so to improve my photography and Photoshop skills. I still have a long way to go, but I wondered if I’d made any actual progress.

So I went back to Flickr and looked at my very first LOTD post.

LOTD 1

It’s not terrible, but I can certainly see where I made some mistakes and how I could have done things differently. 🙂

My last LOTD post was this one:

LOTD 248 - Be Still

A lot different, to be sure. 🙂  Of course, I can still see mistakes and things I could have done differently, but I can definitely see progress and that makes me happy. 😀

Tutorial: Creating drop shadow effects on greenscreen photos – for Second Life – YouTube

Image Source:  simpleicon.com
Image Source: simpleicon.com

This is a great tutorial on how to create drop shadow effects on your green screen photos.

I’ve used this method successfully on several different photos now, and it’s completely opened up new ways of doing my photography in SL.

Rather than trying to create complete scenes in SL itself, I can take a few green screen photos and create effects using the skills I’ve learned from these tutorials.

Especially helpful for those who might not have the ability to run Ultra graphics with all the fancy shadows in SL.  😀

How to Get Started in the Second Life Art Scene – Part 3 | Windlight Magazine

Image Source:  facilitiesscheduling.wvu.edu
Image Source: facilitiesscheduling.wvu.edu

This is part 3 in a series from Windlight Magazine on how to get started in the art scene in Second Life.

Part 3 discusses how to set up and market your SL art exhibition.

Source: How to Get Started in the Second Life Art Scene – Part 3 | Windlight Magazine

In case you missed the first two parts, here are links to them:

Part 1

Part 2

The Artiste Suite: StageSight

ArtisteHUD_IMAGEOne of the things that drew me to the Artiste Suite of products was the number of products included – so many tools it’s hard to know where to begin. 🙂

One tool included in the Suite is the StageSight.

I had actually forgotten about it and was using the built-in camera tools in Firestorm to do some of the same things.

The product actually has two versions, so I will start with the older version – StageSight 2.5b.

StageSightThis version is available on the Marketplace for $250L.  It is nc/m/nt.  The StageSight was developed in order to help dancers view what they needed to quickly and easily during a performance.

Using the StageSight, you can configure a ‘quick view’ camera angle of your choosing (generally the stage where you’ll be performing).

This tool can be extremely useful for performers who have trouble camming around at venues.  You can, using this tool, set up a viewing angle that lets you view the stage.  You can then be backstage, and with a simple click, zoom your camera out to view the stage.  Because the tool is doing it, the change is almost instant, and reduces your chances of crashing.

Because people found it so useful, Yummy received many requests for a copiable version.  Having a copy version allows you to set a different angle for each copy. So you could set up a front stage view, a backstage view, and any other angle you might wish.

The copiable version is on MP for $750L.

If you purchase the GOLD version of the Artiste suite, the StageSight is included.  The version you get with the GOLD is different than the other version, however.

StageSightPlusThe StageSight Plus is nc/m/nt.  (You can also purchase this via MP if you wish.)  It looks a little different than the StageSight and this is because it does more.

The StageSight Plus lets you you set three (3) angles rather than one (1), and it lets you do this for up to 11 venues!  That means you can set up 33 angles – though I doubt you’ll need that many.

You set up one default angle for a wide view of the stage (the cross-hair button).  You then set up a second ‘zoomed-in’ angle for the stage.  Using the +/- buttons, you can step/zoom between those two angles for shots.

You can use the circle arrows to release your camera if you wish.  It just takes one click to recenter the view/camera.  The StageSight Plus also has a tip-jar view.  You set up a view for the tip jar, and when you click the heart button, your camera zooms to the tip jar so you can tip.  You can then reset your view by clicking a button or wait, and after 12 seconds, your view will be returned to the default automatically.

There is some work to do upfront, by using the camera button to capture the info and loading it into the notecard inside the HUD.

You can set up multiple venues and choose them via a blue pop-up menu, handy if you dance/perform at different venues.  You can add up to 11 venues.  If you don’t need 11 venues, you can of course set up additional angles at one venue using multiple buttons.  Just make sure to name the menu buttons something meaningful to you.  To bring up the menu, simply click on the words ‘StageSight.’

Whichever version of the StageSight you use, you will quickly find it is an extremely useful tool.  Whether for photography or dancing or whatever other use you might imagine, it will make changing your camera views easier and faster than ever before.

Trying Out My New Photoshop Skills

Image Source: simpleicon.com
Image Source: simpleicon.com

A week ago, I was lucky enough to stumble across a post on Plurk from Daeberethwen Arbenlow about a tutorial she had made for removing a green screen in Photoshop.

Though I had watched various tutorials on the same subject and attempted it numerous times, I could never get to work as cleanly as the videos showed.

It may be that I have more experience with Photoshop now, but I’m chalking it up to the terrific job Daeberethwen does of explaining in her tutorials.  😀

Since the green screen video, I have used the method with great success. Just yesterday I cajoled my husband into logging into SL so we could take a holiday photo.

I had set up all my props in front of a green screen so that I could insert a different background later in Photoshop.  We could have just gone somewhere winter-y and taken the pic, but I wanted to try out my new skill. 😛

Also, it gave me an excuse to sort through my giant folder of ‘Christmas’ items and purge some of them.  (How do I end up with so many no-copy items that are useless to me for sets?!)

Perfect Xmas 2015

This is the edited photo and what I will be using for Christmas cards. 🙂

I used several techniques I learned in videos from Daeberethwen, including the green screen removal and using the ‘screen’ layer style to add effects.

I am still amazed at how quickly and cleanly I can now add effects and fancy bits to my photos with very little effort!

I changed my ‘green screen’ to blue, since so many of the props have green in them.  I did have to lower my tolerance a bit with the background eraser, because at 100% it was erasing much of his tuxedo!

I added a background texture (the snowflake background behind the pergola), changed the hue of it a bit, and then used the ‘screen’ layer trick to add some snow as an overlay.

After adding the text, I think the total time to process this photo was maybe 20 minutes.  For comparison, here is the original photo:

Xmas Original

As you can see, I cropped it (sorry, Frosty!), removed the blue screen, and then added my other effects.

Simple!

I love playing around in Photoshop and learning new techniques.  I have a ton of pre-made filters and actions I’ve found in various places, but I get much more enjoyment out of discovering how to do something myself. 😀

If you’ve been looking for some great Photoshop tutorials, I highly recommend Daeberethwen’s videos.  You can find the tutorial on using the ‘screen’ layer here.

I can’t wait to try this out with other photos and effects!

Windlight Winter Art Show and Winter Showcase Opens Tomorrow!

WINDLIGHT WINTER ART SHOW & WINTER SHOWCASE POSTERTomorrow marks the opening of a terrific event – the first annual Windlight Winter Art Show and Winter Showcase.

The event will benefit Team Diabetes of SL.  Opening on December 7 and running through December 14, the event will include live DJs, tribute concerts, art exhibitions, contests, shopping, a hunt, performers, a gingerbread building contest and more!

The art show is sponsored and produced by Windlight Magazine and Windlight Art gallery.  Included in the show are artists and photographers, including Bryn Oh, Cica Ghost, Skip Staheli, Wicca Merlin, Sparkie Cyberstar, Inara Pey, and many others.

WL Expo 1The sim is wonderfully decorated for winter, including a cute little carousel.  The shopping area is an adorable little village, complete with a flying Santa and his sleigh.

Wl Expo Mall

There are some fabulous items being offered for sale, and each merchant has designated an item where 100% of the sales will go to Team Diabetes of SL.  I will share some of the amazing items in following posts.

Merchants offering wares include Tayren’s Fantasy Fashions, Wicca’s Wardrobe, Zuri Rayna Jewelry, The House of Avro, Park Place Home Decor, Meshopotamia, and many others.

There’s plenty to do and see as you wander around and see all the fabulous art.  You might even stumble onto a snowman or two. 😀

WL Expo 2

In addition to all the other fun events, there will be a fashion show on December 13, produced by Solaris, and featuring the following brands:  Azul, JUMO, Sascha’s Designs, Lyrical B!zarre, Sonatta Morales, Spyralle, Miss Darcy, and Chop Zuey.

For additional information, and to find a calendar with the events listed, visit the Team Diabetes of SL website.

Removing a Green Screen Background in Photoshop

Green Screen Color Block
Image Source: freephotocourse.com

I have watched with envy as other bloggers and photographers do amazing things with their green screen photos.

Previously, I have avoided green screens like the plague, because I could never seem to get my background eraser tool in Photoshop to work as it was supposed to.

Green screen can be an especial nightmare when you have wispy/alpha’ed hair strands.

Enter the following tutorial by Daeberethwen Arbenlow:  Removing Green Screen Backgrounds in Photoshop.  I watched the video, hoping against hope it would somehow be different than the other videos I had watched.

After watching it, I immediately sat down at my computer to give it a try.

It worked!!!

I don’t know if I somehow had my settings screwed up (the sampling and a few other settings mentioned in the video) or if I just have more experience with Photoshop now, but whatever the reason – it worked!

Not perfectly, because I had hair strands that still had a bit of green, but I tried adjusting the hue/saturation and it worked.

If you’ve ever struggled with removing a green screen, give this tutorial a try.

I now have yet another tool in my Photoshop skills box. 😀