Increased Marketplace Fees

Image Source: marketplace.secondlife.com

At the beginning of every month, I print out a report from my small Marketplace store.  I have small items for sale – rugs, particles I’ve made for a routine, etc.  Most of the items I have run between $5L-$15L.  I’m not looking to make a living, just make back a few $L here and there to help defray some of the costs of SL.

A few months ago, LL announced that they would be raising the fees charged by Marketplace.  The commission they charge was raised from 5% to 10%.  At the time, there was some outcry by creators, because of course this will affect their bottom lines  – which for some is already pretty marginal.

I just shrugged my shoulders, because what can you do?  If I want to sell on the Marketplace, I have to abide by their rules.  If I don’t like them, I don’t have to use the Marketplace.  I could sell in-world only, or just not sell at all.  Since my MP income is just extra for me (and pretty small), I decided to just wait and see.

Honestly, I’d forgotten all about it until I logged in to download my sales reports.  I noticed as I was working that my $5L items had a $1L commission – which is unusual, because for the last however many years, if I sold a $5L item, I got the whole $5L.  The commission was rounded down, I think, so I only had commission taken out if the item was $10L or more.

This month, however (well, December), pretty much every item I sold had commission taken out.  Which, again, I understand – their MP, their rules.  However, it made a pretty significant difference in my own income, which I hadn’t expected.

For most of 2019, my store averaged $850L in sales income.  The commission fees for most months averaged $50L.  For December, my sales income was only $642L, which is a low month.  Lower than usual, but not alarmingly so.  However, when I looked at the commissions, there was a significant difference.  The commission fees I paid in December were $103L.  On the surface, that tracks.  If I normally pay around $50L in fees, $100L in fees with the doubling of the commission fee accounts for that.

The kicker is that I actually made less in sales than I usually do – so if I had made my average $850L in sales income, my commission fees would have been even more than the $100L.  Which means that while LL may have only doubled the commission fee from 5% to 10%, in effect they will likely collect more than that.

I still plan to sell on MP, and I don’t plan to change my current prices.  However, I will be keeping a closer eye on the fees in the coming months.  I don’t pay for any extra advertising on MP, so my only fees are the commissions.

As I said, I don’t plan to make changes, but for large stores and/or people who make their living from SL, this seemingly small change may have a ripple effect as people discover exactly what impact it has on their income.  Some creators have already stated that they will raise MP prices, close their MP store, or leave SL altogether.  2020 may be interesting. 😛

The Secret to Shadows?

Shadows
Image Source: http://www.onebillionrising.org

Ok, people – somebody knows, and I’m not giving up til I find the answer.

*crosses arms and glares*

What is up with my shadows in SL?

Since a few recent upgrades to my computer, I’ve been running at Ultra with all the fancy shadows and lighting on and loving it.

It’s part of the reason I started taking photos in SL – because they no longer looked like the pixellated junk I’d been taking before.

However, I’ve noticed an issue, and I can’t seem to find an answer to the problem anywhere.

I’ve found a few places that mention the same issue I’m having, but I can’t seem to find where a solution is mentioned.

Up til now, I’ve just dealt with the problem by fixing it in Photoshop.

But I’m left with the feeling that there must be an answer *somewhere*.

Here’s the issue:

When I take photos, I generally wear my mesh body.

If I don’t wear my mesh body, I generally at least wear my mesh hands and feet.

Avatar feet are hideous, and although I resisted mesh hands initially, after wearing them for so long, I can’t stand the avatar hands anymore either.

I’ve had the issue in a few photos, but as I said, I just cleaned up the photo in Photoshop, or the photo was taken at an angle where the issue wasn’t really noticeable.

The other day I started to play around with using a projector to take some photos, trying to achieve some really dramatic lighting effects.

Here’s one of the shots I ended up not using:

ShadowIssues1I was really happy with the dramatic lighting and shadows I got using the projector.

Sometimes, however, I don’t notice problems.

Like the hand shadow.

Again, I usually end up either cropping out the problem area or fixing it in Photoshop.

Fixing it in Photoshop can be very time-consuming, so I’ve been trying to find a way to fix the issue when I take the photo.

Here’s a close-up of the problem area:

ShadowIssues2It may be a bit hard to see, because the photo is dark.

If you look closely, you can see the shadows of two hands – my mesh hand AND my avatar hand.

Now, I was initially confused by this, as my avatar hand is alpha’ed out, so it’s not visible.

Then I realized that the alpha just makes it invisible to me, not to the computer.

So it sort of makes sense that the computer renders both shadows.

The question is – how do I make it so it doesn’t?

Is that even possible?

I know I have seen photos by other people where the shadow in the pic doesn’t have this issue.

They could have just fixed in Photoshop (or some other photo-editor), but did they?

Is there some setting I can tweak that will save me having to do that post-processing?

In my research, I did come across an article by Honour McMillan about having issues with mesh rendering correctly.

In it, she mentions that sometimes she will derender avatars in order to get the shot she wants.

However, doing so may have unintended consequences.

The system sometimes considers mesh objects as avatars.

I’m sure someone out there with more technical knowledge than me understands why.

It does at least explain, when I go to crowded events and derender all the avatars, why other things can also disappear (like certain gacha machines at the Arcade, for example).

But back to my problem.

ShadowIssues3As you can see in this photo, there are clearly two foot shadows.

One from my mesh foot, and one from my avatar foot.

Soooo frustrating!!!

Someone please help me!!!

Any and all feedback welcome. 😀