Content Creators – I Get It

Image Source:  community.secondlife.com
Image Source: community.secondlife.com

Yesterday was a bit of a frustrating day for me.

I have a ton of projects I’m working on all at once, and yesterday I couldn’t seem to get anywhere with any of them.

One of my ongoing projects has been to work more with my Maitreya mesh body (which I love!) and see if I could figure out how to tint it to match my current Laqroki skin.

Thinking that I could just go grab an RGB value from somewhere, I went looking.

I found about 15 different ones, and none of them worked.

Sigh.

So, because I had a picture I wanted to finish, I ended up wearing the Glam Affair skin I bought.

It looks good.

It looks really good.

It just doesn’t look like ‘me.’

I spent a little bit of time feeling sorry for myself because Laq doesn’t make appliers for the Maitreya body.

But I totally understand why they don’t.

It’s a mad, mad, mad, mad applier world out there right now.

I have no idea how content creators keep up with it all.

It has got to be maddening.

I’ve made some clothing myself (using both system and mesh templates) and I’ve considered selling them on MP, just to have a few L$ trickling in now and again.

I haven’t, so far, because I have absolutely no intention of learning how to do appliers.

Which, I assume, would hinder sales.

Everyone wants something for nothing these days.

Was it annoying to have to pay for the GA SLink appliers separately from the skin I purchased?

Yes.

Do I understand why the creator does that?

Yes. Absolutely.

Time is money.

After watching my daughter (a ‘digital native’) struggle to learn Blender, I have no doubt of the time and skill it requires to create good content for SL.

That said, I also have to watch my own bottom line.

So sometimes that amazing headdress from !dM is totally worth the $300L in gacha tries.

Sometimes it isn’t.

That’s my own decision, and not something I would ever complain to a creator about.

They price their products based on many factors, including difficulty, creation time, overhead expenses, etc.

Are some products priced ridiculously high (imo)?

Yes.

Does that mean I complain about it?

Hell, no.

It just means I don’t buy it.  😀

*For a content creator’s view of this issue, read this post by Sian.

She makes some incredibly amazing stuff, and it’s interesting to hear about this issue from a creator’s perspective.

Creating in Isolation

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

Yummy had a great blog post yesterday (you can read it here if you missed it) with some of her thoughts about spending more time on ‘creative thinking’ when creating shows and routines.

The article made me stop and think about how I create routines.  For the most part, I do create in isolation.  I spend time listening to music, shopping for costumes, and trying out new dances – sometimes because I need something in particular, many times because I am looking for inspiration.  But it is generally a solitary pursuit.  It’s just not that entertaining to spend time with someone who is working on choreography, or designing movers, or trying to find ‘the’ costume for a number.

I was also struck by the notion that creation is, in essence, embarrassing. Why?  Because you fail many times before you succeed.  For example, I don’t know anyone who is happy with their choreography the very first time.  It requires a lot of ‘tweaking,’ and sometimes, a complete re-do.  And nobody likes to show off their failures.

After seeing The Night Theater’s Halloween show, I too, was thinking, “What can I do to be more creative?”  I’m going to try some of the ideas Yummy mentioned in her article.  The first one is to ‘increase your knowledge in the subject area.’  I’ve learned a lot in my time in SL, but I certainly can always learn more.  I take classes at Builder’s Brewery when my time permits (or when my overloaded brain actually remembers there’s a class I should go to!).  I’m reading/following lots of other bloggers who blog about various topics in SL, even those super-technical ones that I don’t understand completely. 😛  And I try to learn whatever I can from others in the dance community.  Sometimes a simple question can lead me in an entirely new direction.

I love the idea of a ‘brainstorming’ session – but one that is held somewhere other than a venue or rehearsal space.  Wouldn’t it be fun to gather together and meet someplace new/different and bounce ideas off of each other?  Who knows what might happen?  I am going to try this idea out, as well.  An important piece of this is that the session needs to be as ‘judgement free’ as possible.  Maybe someone will propose an idea that you think will never work.  Instead of shooting it down, go with it.  Again, who knows where you’ll end up?

The last idea was one that I have pondered before.  Sometimes it happens that one person in a group ends up the ‘leader’ of the group – leading the discussion, organizing/coordinating, etc.  While often that is necessary, sometimes it really stifles creativity.  And if you have a ‘leader’ like that, sometimes the quieter people have a difficult time speaking up or making their voices heard.  If you have some people like that in your own circle, try to draw them out.  Who knows what sleeping creativity lies beneath the quiet?

What about you?  Do you create in isolation?  Do you have someone (or several someones) who are ‘sounding boards’ for your ideas?  How do you know when an idea is a good one?

 

Perceived Value

Image Source: goodgrape.com
Image Source: goodgrape.com

A couple of days ago, I came across an interesting article on New World Notes.  The writer discusses the ‘disconnect’ between how long it actually takes to make some creations within Second Life versus how long people (consumers of those creations) think it takes.  (See here for the full article.  Be sure to read the comments.)

It’s an interesting question.  I’ve had to learn to build and create in Second Life, and it’s not easy.  I learned to build for two reasons – 1) I am not made of money and I am pretty frugal with my L$ (so buying what I needed/wanted wasn’t always an option), and 2) sometimes what I want I just can’t find anywhere.  Now, #2 I often blame on the crappy search engine that is MarketPlace.  I shop there because it’s convenient – I can see a lot more things in a lot less time.  However, not every creator puts items on MP.  And sometimes you can find exactly what you want – but it costs waaaayyy more than you can afford (or want to spend).

With the advent of mesh, building isn’t as easy as it used to be (at least for me.) I don’t know how to use Blender, I don’t know how to ‘rig’ mesh – it all just seems overwhelming.  I can take classes, watch tutorials, etc., and teach myself, but frankly, I just don’t have the time.  So I end up purchasing a lot of items that I use in my routines.

How do I decide what to purchase?  That’s where ‘perceived value’ comes in.  Sometimes, I want a statement piece.  So I might be willing to spend a bit more.  Other times, I need to set a scene (sometimes a large one), so I will purchase multiple smaller pieces (for example, desks, shelving, lights).  Those I don’t want to spend too much on, because I am purchasing multiple items.  But what I am willing to pay may not match what a creator thinks their item is worth.  Their ‘perceived value’ of the item may be higher than mine.  They factor in their time, their energy, and what it took them to create the item (including photos, marketing, vendors, etc.).  Since I (or other consumers) may not understand what is involved in creating an item, there may be a difference in our ‘value’ of the item.

It got me to wondering about differences in ‘perceived value’ and how that applies to dance.  For instance, it appears that most venues (and dancers) think that audiences put a high value on large stages and lavish sets.  But is that true or there is a difference in what venues/dancers are emphasizing and what the audience actually wants?

It’s hard to say.  But it’s an interesting thought.  What other parts of a dance performance have different perceived values for dancers vs. venue owners vs. audience members?  Are dancers and/or venue owners wasting time on things that don’t really have any value to their audience?  Are they NOT spending time on things that DO have value to the audience?  It also got me to thinking about whether or not an audience knows what goes into making a dance.  Perhaps audiences think that it takes a few minutes of tinkering and voilá! you have a beautiful dance sequence.  It might be interesting to film a video of a dance being created.

More and more questions! So keep watching for the next Question of the Day.  🙂

 

Avatar Dreams

I came across a video of avatar creation in an online game called Black Desert.  I tried to visit their website before writing this post, but got a message saying their server was overloaded and I was redirected to their Facebook page.  This was the message on their Facebook page:

Small Update regarding our Website issues. It seems like that the Character Creation Video attracted a lot of attention, especially in the west. Our Video recently reached more than 100k Views, that’s even more than the Original Video posted by PearlAbyss (검은사막). Unfortunately, the hype is to much for our Website and we can’t handle the heavy traffic at the moment. Means all we can do is waiting until the hype is over. Our Forums are still Online, but our Frontpage will stay Offline for a while.

I can see why the video got so much attention – after watching the possibilities, I would love to have even half of the capabilities shown to tweak my avatar in SL.

It would be nice to be able to add some personal touches (like curls in your hair) without having to buy a whole new hairstyle.  Content creators may not like it, of course, but having more options is always good, right?