To Mesh or Not to Mesh?

It's a jigsaw puzzle, right?
Isn’t mesh great?!! ;-P

After another weekend filled with dance shows and people complaining about floating heads, I thought I would take a few minutes and share some thoughts and suggestions.

SL is a very technical, tricky, and many times just downright frustrating place. We keep coming back because we love the magic and wonder of it.

The advent of mesh was/is seen by most as a huge improvement to SL.  You can get more detailed items for less LI (usually) than you can with good ‘ol prims.  Your clothing moves with your avatar in a more natural way (usually).  And it makes everything prettier (usually).

But that darn ‘usually’ sometimes sneaks out for a quick smoke break and screws up our viewing royally when it’s gone.  😛

These days when you go to a dance show, you probably see more mesh items than not – mesh bodies, heads, hands, feet, clothes, props, etc. Which is fantastic – until you can’t see them.

I have a pretty good computer rig and a great internet connection.  And I still sometimes have problems with mesh.  Just this weekend, I had 8 avatars, all dressed in the same outfit.  I saw all 8 avatars (not mesh), but 3 were missing jackets (mesh).  Why?  Beats me.

I wasn’t somewhere super crowded or very laggy.  All 8 avatars were wearing identical costumes, as I said. So clearly the textures for the costumes were loading/loaded, because I saw 5 of them completely.  What happened to the other 3? No idea.

I’m sure there’s a technical explanation as to why this occurs.  However, it wasn’t a huge deal to me – I knew they were dressed identically, so I just shrugged and went on.

When you are attending a dance performance, however, and all of the dancers are wearing mesh bodies and appear only as dancing heads, it can be all sorts of frustrating.

Some dancers don’t care whether the audience has issues and will continue to wear their mesh bodies.  Some will shrug it off, saying that people should upgrade their computers.  Some will think, well, I can see it, so if they can’t, it must be their issue.  Nothing wrong with that – SL is a place for you to do whatever you want, so if they don’t care, they don’t care.

Some dancers, however, will be heartbroken that the dance they spent hours creating is effectively ruined for some audience members because they appear as floating heads.  Other dancers fall somewhere in the middle.

Whatever your stance on wearing mesh bodies to dance, you have options.

Option 1 is to not wear a mesh body.  The system avatars have gotten a bad rap, and I admit, I prefer a mesh body.  However, if my choice is to see a dancing head or a system body, 100% of the time, I will choose a system body. The purpose of a dance is to express something using your body.  If I can’t see your body, I’m not getting anything out of your dance.

Option 2 is to wear a mesh body.  I confess, I have worn a mesh body to dance on many occasions.  However, sometimes things just don’t work out the way I want, and I will use my system avatar for some dances.  (Appliers aren’t always available for some costumes, and sometimes using those appliers with a mesh body can be a hassle because of the inherent alpha conflicts when using multiple layers.)

As a dancer, you should already be doing things to avoid lag – lowering your draw distance, de-scripting everything you can, including set pieces and costume pieces, turning off/de-rendering unnecessary things like sky, terrain, etc. if you can.  Don’t neglect to do these things with your mesh body.

I don’t know about all mesh bodies, but mine is copiable.  So I will make a copy (or sometimes copies) for a dance, set my appliers as I need them, and then delete all the scripts out of them.

If you are a venue owner, you should consider putting a policy in place regarding mesh bodies.  Are you going to allow them or not?  If you allow them, you should consider capping your show attendance.  The more avatars on a sim, the more lag – especially when many/most of the audience may be wearing mesh bodies themselves.  Help your dancers put on the best show they can by helping to limit the lag.

WTHI’ve heard a lot of complaints recently about people seeing floating heads.  It’s a real turn-off for the audience and unhappy customers are usually the most vocal.

Mesh is fantastic, I love it, but learn to use it wisely when you dance. 😀

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Using the Artiste

ArtisteHUD_IMAGEI’ve been busily working away on routines for the last several days.

Several months ago, I began using the Artiste products exclusively to dance, so that I could force myself to learn more about it.

I knew that I had only scratched the surface of what it can do, and it’s been a really fun ride learning more and more.

The last couple of routines I did with it, I heard “That’s amazing!” and “Wow!” and “Fantastic!”

So I am pretty happy with how things are going. 😛

My original goal was to learn/re-learn some basic palette abilities so that I could offer some one-off classes on them.  Since there are currently about 70-some abilities, I figured that would keep me busy.

And it has!

Some of the abilities are things that you can do with many other systems, like tipping an object (or person), or raise/lower (via mover or object-mover).

However, my latest breakthrough had nothing to do with the abilities of the palette itself, and everything to do with making my life easier. 😀

When I first learned to use the Artiste, I learned to create my mover route and trigger it to begin when I pressed play (like every other system out there).

There was an option to have the sequence start after pressing play (a delay), but that seemed tedious and a lot of extra work.  So I would trigger my palette to start moving when I pressed play, and to continue through its series of moves.

This meant figuring out not only my moves (from A to B, B to C, etc.), but also figuring out wait/sleep times (times that my mover would stay in the same position before moving to the next point).  Now, I’m good at math, but I don’t like it.  I did it simply because there was no other way.

No system that I owned (or am familiar with) allowed me to pause/stop my mover after pressing play (without also causing a bunch of other issues that usually involved more math). So, I planned my routes, did the math (yuck!), and went on.

Because I had taught a class on using  the Artiste palette as a mover, I figured I should experiment with some of the options.  One of those options is to trigger your mover/palette via the sequence.  Great, I was already doing that!

But you can also trigger your mover/palette to do only 1 move OR a range of moves, not just the entire route.

Mind blown.

This meant that I could tell the palette to do move 1. Then dance. Then, when I wanted to, tell the palette to do move 2. Or to do moves 2-4.  Then dance some more.  And since you can specify PER MOVE a specific animation that you want to play (not just one default walk, for example), I can, when triggering my moves, have the palette activate a walk I have specified for THAT move.

BurlesqueDancerSo I can skip walk on to the stage, dance, use a second walk to move, dance some more, and use a third walk for a subsequent move.  All with the same mover/palette!

And as with all things Artiste, there is always more than one way to do something. I can trigger my moves via my sequence if I wish.  Or I can trigger them via my chat commands.  Having so many options means that I can accomplish more in less time. And best of all?

Less math!!!! 😀

Thinking Out Loud

Busy Bee
Me this week!
Image Source: http://www.clipartpanda.com

It’s been a very hectic week for me, and I have found myself without much time (or inclination) to blog.  😦

I used to post every day, sometimes twice a day – one written post and then one LOTD post.

I’ve taken on some additional projects and it’s taking me a bit to get used to the lack of free time to write and take photos.

A few weeks ago, I decided that I would stop posting every day and see what happened.  As expected, my traffic fell.  Which is disappointing, but totally understandable.  I don’t read every single post every single day of the blogs I follow, so I don’t expect that from my readers either.

However, finding a happy medium has so far been elusive.  I’ve considered changing the direction of the blog (that dreaded ‘niche’ word), but I like writing about many different things.

I love taking photos of fantastic sims and sharing those, and those posts tend be popular.  I love taking my LOTD photos, though those are probably more for me than anyone else. 😀

I also love writing about dance – which is the reason I started this blog.  I am still involved in dancing in SL, and enjoy it very much.  However, I’m not sure that many readers actually enjoy reading about it.

I’ve also become very involved with learning the Artiste tools, and many of my posts have been about that.  Certainly a niche group for those posts! 😛

So, if I post less often, please be assured that I am still here, and I do intend to continue to write (and dance, and take photos).

Enjoy your Thursday!

Main Event Show Lounge – Dance Show

Saturday, February 28, saw another performance from the Burlesque Dolls of the Main Event Show Lounge.

MESL Feb 1Opening the show was Lady C, dancing to ‘Whatever Lola Wants.’

I’m always fascinated by the costumes she puts together for her performances.

After all the glitter was cleaned off the stage, Miss Exhi took the stage, dancing to ‘Hey, Big Spender.’

MESL Feb 2I love the song and I’ve never seen anyone do a routine to it before.

This is one of my favorite Exhi routines so far – always so glamorous!

Lady C returned to the stage for a fantastic number to Joe Cocker’s ‘You Can Leave Your Hat On.’

MESL Feb 3That’s about all she left on!

If you’ve never been to a Main Event show, you’ve also been missing out on one of SL’s smexiest DJ’s, Diamonique Viper.

Her voice – sooo gorgeous!!

MESL Feb 4Next up was Babypea.

I never know what to expect from Baby – lyrical, hip-hop, sci-fi, or anything in between.

This time she treated us to a view of her more equine side. 😛

MESL Feb 5And just like that, it was time for the finale of the show.

Dancing to ‘We Are Family,’ the Dolls wrapped up the show in fine style.

The Main Event Show Lounge does shows once a month.  The next show will be March 26 at 4pm SLT.  Join the group to stay updated on the latest.

Breezes Dancers Show

This weekend I was able to attend a show put on by the Breezes Dancers.

Each act was based in a different country.  The sets were minimal, but very well done.

Breezes 1The show opened with a number danced to a medley of ‘Cabaret’ and ‘Fever.’

I thought the costumes were fantastic. 🙂

Breezes 2Up next was a tango number – all the routines were group dances, but the choreographer did a great job of finding ways to accent groups of dancers.

I liked this set and how the textures added to the feeling of ‘depth’ and perspective.

Breezes 3One of the numbers was set in Spain, and also included an opera singer.

There was also a number done to a gospel song by Elvis, though I didn’t capture any pics of it.

The costumes were fabulous, though!

Breezes 4My favorite number of the show was the tap dance number.  I love watching tap dancers. 😀

Having all the male dancers with top hat in hand was a nice touch.

The finale of the show took us to France for a traditional can-can dance.

Breezes 5The show was very smooth and the time between acts was very minimal (even with music playing, sometimes it seems to take forever for the next act to take the stage!), which I appreciate.

If you are interested in seeing the Breezes Dancers, join their group or subscriber to stay updated on the latest happenings.

TerpsiCorps ARTwerks – Gothic Opera

Yesterday I attended the Gothic Opera dance show put on by TerpsiCorps ARTwerks.

The venue was lovely, and the crowd was large, around 80 on sim at my last count.

TerpsiCorps 1Opening the show was the beautiful Lil Angels, who did a fabulous number that was an homage to Snow White.

The music in the show was just gorgeous – lush, dramatic, and perfectly chosen.

(Note: Lil was using her Artiste HUD for this performance, so kudos to her! It was fantastic!)

TerpsiCorps 2After Lil was the ever-amazing Jilley, with an absolutely breath-taking costume.

The whole show was full of stunning visuals, so if you missed it, you missed out.

The set builds were all fantastic, and many of the routines included multiple set changes.

TerpsiCorps 3Following Jilley was Aubreya, every inch the terrifying the spider queen.

The build was fabulous, a terrific pairing with her choreography.

I love this image, with the fog rolling down the steps as she glares out menacingly.

TerpsiCorps 4Next up was Zahra, whose work I admire greatly.

Another gorgeous set build – 3 actually, and all amazing.

I love dramatic and lyrical dances, and this was by far one of my favorites.

TerpsiCorps 5Closing the show was Chrissy, joined by Lil and Jilley.

The dance started innocently enough, and ended with three gorgeous demonesses wreaking havoc wherever they went.

It was a fabulous show.  If you’re interested in attending future events (and you should be!) join the group to stay updated on the latest happenings.

La Coquette Cabaret – Premiere Show

On Monday, I attended the opening show for La Coquette Cabaret, a new venue run by Dani Sari.

LCC 1The theme for the show was Mardi Gras and the show itself was full of frolic, fun, and of course, the quintessential Mardi Gras color palette of green, purple, and gold.

The opening act was spectacular, with the dancers arriving via circus hoops, resplendent in their Mardi Gras finery.

LCC 2After the opening group number, Diva took to the stage.

The set build was fantastic and she had some gorgeous particle effects.

The performers did a terrific job, especially considering that a couple of hours prior to showtime, SL was experiencing the ever-dreaded ‘unscheduled maintenance.’

LCC 3Next up was Dani herself.

I loved the set for this routine; I thought it was such a creative use of object and avatar movers. 🙂

(Note: She was wearing pasties, but since I try to keep things G-rated on the blog, I had to drag out my trusty ‘censored’ bar!)

LCC 4The next act was a bit of a switch from the fun and frolic of Bourbon Street, but was a fabulous routine about the famous (infamous) voodoo queen Marie Laveau.

After Marie had her way with a couple of unsuspecting ‘Joe’s,’ we headed back to Bourbon Street.

LCC 5I loved the concept of this routine.  A girl wanders down the street, peering into store windows, and then magically joins the store mannequin in a dance.

And the costumes were gorgeous!

A terrific use of mirrored dances in this set.

LCC 6After all the glitter was cleared off the stage, it was time for the hottest act of the night. 😀

I tried to snap a quick pic from the rear (a gorgeous view itself), but didn’t manage it.  So, another appearance of the black bar.

LCC 7Having made it through without a hitch, it was time for the last act of the show.

Another group act, it was done in true Mardi Gras style – glitter and fabulous costumes!

The show was fantastic.  If you missed it, they are doing an encore show on Monday, February 29 (leap day!) at 6:30pm.