Yes, Virginia, you can use the Artiste for that

ArtisteHUD_IMAGEA month or so ago, I decided to focus on learning/re-learning the Artiste HUD and associated products.

I’d used the Artiste before, both in its incarnation as the SILVER and as the GOLD.  I did a Christmas routine last year with the GOLD (which I’m hoping to revamp and share before the end of this year).

However, after that routine, I wasn’t dancing as much and so the Artiste was left to languish in my inventory.

This year, I began doing routines that were a hybrid – using the Artiste HUD and a different mover.  But I wanted to get to know this system a lot better – learn all the ins/outs, especially since I will be teaching classes on it in 2016.

So I set out to use the Artiste HUD and palette system exclusively for several routines.  I’m proud of how they turned out.

It took a bit of re-learning things I’d used before, as well as learning some new things, as Yummy is always adding new and fancy features.

I managed to find time this weekend to have my husband film one of the routines I created.

If you can’t see the embedded video, click the link here to watch it.

I wanted to see if I could accomplish all the same things with the Artiste that I could using various other products.

In this routine, I wanted to be able to chat commands, in order to fade the sets in/out.

I was going to be adding/removing items, including a costume change, as well as various particle effects.

I would be moving around the stage, so I needed a mover.

I was able to do everything I needed with just the Artiste HUD and the palette.

The HUD handled my dance sequence, my chat commands for fades and particle effects, as well as all of my costuming adds/removes.  If I had done emotes for this routine, it would have handled those as well.

The palette was used as a mover for this routine.

Using the Artiste does require you to do some thinking and planning up front.  I spent probably an hour or so planning out my costume changes and other add/remove items so that the changes would be as seamless as possible.

For those of you who have wondered what you can do with the Artiste system, I hope the video demonstrates what is possible.

And this isn’t even a very complicated routine!  One HUD, one palette, and a rezzer, and you too can make your imagination come to life. 😀

Looking Forward to the New Year – Artiste Classes!

Kat&Mouse SOPA Logo WhiteAfter a successful first-run of classes at K&M SOPA, I am working on revamping much of the curriculum.

In addition to the courses already offered, I am thrilled to announce that in 2016 I will be offering classes on The Artiste.

I will be teaching courses aimed at helping new owners/users to understand the main functions of the HUD and palette.

New users will create ‘working models’ for reference for various abilities of the HUD and palette.  These ‘working models’ are invaluable when working solo to re-create Artiste abilities.

In addition, Yummy will be teaching ‘Master’ level courses on various topics, including advanced features like the Thrower, Grouping functions, and Dance Diva.

Yummy has been writing a series of Tutorial articles on the Artiste to explain some of its capabilities and the thought process behind its creation.

In case you’ve missed them, you can find them under the ‘Product Reviews‘ page of the blog.

Tomorrow marks the start of the sale of the new Artiste product combos, which Yummy wrote about in Tutorial #1.

For those interested in a taste of what the Artiste can do, you can now purchase the following:

A-50: 1 NOCOPY/NOTRANS/MOD HUD      $5,000L
A-75: 1 NOCOPY/NOTRANS/MOD HUD & COPY/MOD Palette      $7,500L
A-100: 2 NOCOPY/NOTRANS/MOD HUDs & COPY/MOD Palette  $10,000L

The A-50, A-75, and A-100 are only guaranteed valid From December 1st, 2015 thru December 31st, 2015.

I am having to re-educate myself on some of the functions, because Yummy is constantly developing and adding to its capabilities. (Such a wonderful problem to have, right?!)

Once I have finished creating the curriculum, I will open registration for K&M SOPA classes, including those on the Artiste.  I anticipate that will happen mid to late December, with the classes actually beginning in January 2016.

In addition to the Artiste classes, I will also again be offering courses on choreography, dance tools, set building, etc.

What new skills would you like to gain in the new year?

K&M SOPA Dance Classes

Kat&Mouse SOPA Logo WhiteOver the past few weeks, since opening the K&M SOPA and offering classes, I’ve been a bit surprised at the number of people who have signed up for classes.

Not just at my own classes, but at other schools as well.

While I’m glad to see so many schools and so many students interested, I’m curious as to why so many people, including people who already have skills, are signing up for some of the classes.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to see so many eager learners!

But it seems that many of the people taking classes already have skills, so I’m curious about the reasons behind the seemingly sudden flurry of students.

*What* is it that everyone is so eager to learn?

There seems to be a shift in dance right – to what, I’m not exactly sure.

New venues are opening, new schools have formed, new students are appearing – all wonderful things.

I don’t know if it has to do with Project Sansar looming on the horizon, or if it’s just a seasonal shift – but there seems to be some -restlessness – for lack of a better term.

Winnie addresses some of the things I’ve been feeling in her recent blog post, ‘What is art anyways?’

Art and dance can be so subjective.

Nothing you do is ever going to please everyone.

We’re all different people, and everyone has their own tastes and likes.

I personally prefer smaller stages and more intimate-feeling venues.

That doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate huge stages and extravaganzas – they’re just not my favorite type of dance.

Does that mean people shouldn’t do them?

Of course it doesn’t.

But you should be aware of what you like and what you don’t – as a dancer, as an audience member, and as a student.

Types of Learners and Teachers

I’ve taken a lot of classes in my life – some from teachers I loved, some from teachers I couldn’t stand.

I learn best when I can read on my own and then get some hands-on experience.

Others prefer visual learning – a video as opposed to a lecture, a slide show instead of a page of notes.

Still others have to be up and moving around – doing something physical, kinetic – in order to learn.

Instructors are people too, and they each have their preferred style of teaching.

Some like to lecture, some like to have hands-on activities, some have a mixture of things.

The best teachers are the ones who can teach in a variety of ways, so that they can meet each student’s needs.

It’s a difficult skill, and one that I am still struggling to master, even after 10+ years of teaching.

I’ve seen some frustrated students (in SL and RL), and while it’s easy to place blame, I think it’s more helpful to focus on how you learn best and find an instructor who teaches that way.

When I decided to open K&M SOPA, it was for exactly these reasons.

My Philosophy

How I teach in SL is different than how I teach in RL in many ways.

In RL, I lecture, I hand out assignments, I give presentations, the students do hands-on activities, they have homework, and there are essays and tests.

In SL, I purposely cut out many of these things – particularly lectures, assignments, homework, and tests.

(Please note, there is nothing wrong with any of these, I just chose not to do them.)

I come into SL for fun and relaxation.

Dance is a way for me to express myself creatively in ways that are not possible in RL.

I don’t want to do homework and assignments in SL – it’s too much like RL for me, and it’s not why I’m in SL.

If you do, great!

*That* is what SL is about, in my opinion – finding places and things and activities that you enjoy.

If you don’t like something, you can move on to something else.

Because so many people have limited time in SL, I chose to limit my classes to only one session (where possible) and only one hour.

My goal was/is for students to come to a class, learn something, and then use what they learned.

I didn’t want to spend my time creating assignments and later grading them (I do enough of that in RL!).

That’s my choice as a teacher – and not everyone will like it.

That’s ok – there are plenty of other places to learn, if my style doesn’t suit you.

I don’t plan to hand out certificates, and I don’t plan to have a graduation show.

I could have, I just chose not to.

Again, my decisions as an instructor.

Will they suit everyone?

Of course not.

Find What Fits YOU

As I stated above, not everyone learns in the same way.

Not everyone wants to learn the same skills.

Maybe you want to learn how to use particles effectively.

Another student may be struggling with how to build a set.

Find out how you learn best, decide what it is you want to learn, and then find the person who can teach you.

Do you want homework and evaluations?

Do you want to work in a group or by yourself?

Do you need one-on-one time with an instructor?

Are you looking to learn basic skills or is there a particular skill you want to learn?

If you are in a class that is frustrating to you, it’s likely because your learning style is at odds with the instructor’s teaching style.

I found myself in that situation recently, so I decided to leave the class.

I wasn’t doing anything but getting frustrated and taking up space in a class that another student could use.

I think sometimes that dancers/students feel there are ‘secrets’ they need to learn in order to improve their performances.

I know I’ve felt that way before.

It’s one of the reasons I started K&M SOPA and why I’m glad to see other schools open as well.

There are no ‘secrets’ – it’s just a lot of hard work.

You will learn more from your own mistakes than any lecture or class.

Are there things that more experienced dancers do?

Absolutely.

Are they secrets?

No.

It’s simply taking the time to learn how to make your performances better – whether that’s learning how to use a fader, how to build a better set, or how to tweak your movers so you don’t ‘glide’ across the floor when dancing.

Learning is not easy – it takes time and effort from you, the student.

Final Thoughts

Teachers can only teach you what they know.

Some are willing to try different methods of teaching to reach a student, some aren’t.

For me, one of the biggest differences between teaching in SL and RL is the motivation of students.

In RL, I often have students who are only there because they are required to be.

They have no interest in the subject and are not really motivated to work and learn.

In SL, you can do whatever you want with your time.

If you’re choosing to spend some of that time in a class learning, to me, that’s an indication of motivation. 🙂

So I teach, I show, you learn, and it’s all rainbows, and unicorns, and glitter, right?! 😛

On a serious note, decide what works for you.

Don’t waste your time, the instructor’s time, or the time of the other students.

There’s nothing wrong with admitting that a class isn’t for you and dropping out gracefully.

After a few weeks of teaching classes, I’m starting to wonder if more one-on-one options would be nice.

To that end, I’ve decided to offer one-on-one sessions for students.

Because time is precious and I know that making a ‘scheduled’ class is sometimes impossible, I am offering students the option of scheduling a ‘one-on-one’ session.

These one-hour sessions will be geared towards whatever skill(s) the student is interested in – whether that’s set building, using movers, choreography, critiques, whatever.

This is a new concept for me, and I’m not sure how it will go.

Because of that, the first 5 students who contact me to schedule a one-on-one session will get that session for free.

(Limit of one session per student.)

After that, there will be a charge of $200L per hour if you’re interested in future one-on-one sessions.

Hopefully, this will give students who can’t make scheduled classes the option of learning skills at a time more convenient for them.

Students can choose from any class currently on the K&M SOPA curriculum, or they can request a specific topic.

Topics might include: using movers, costuming, emoting, choreography, set building, texturing, lighting, particle effects, etc.

To schedule a one-on-one session, simply contact me.

IM me in-world (my offlines go to email) or email me at katfeldragonne at gmail dot com.

For those of you who have already taken classes or signed up for upcoming classes – THANK YOU!!

I am having an absolute blast teaching, and I sincerely hope you are all having fun learning. 😀

I Can Make Stuff Blow Up??!!

Image Source:  pixgood.com
Image Source: pixgood.com

Well, Yummy says you can, so it must be true. 😀

I am still experimenting and learning the Artiste HUD.

It does so many things, it’s kind of hard to wrap your head around all of it at once.

So far, I’ve made a short routine using the various pieces to dance a group, move avatars around, move objects around, and set off special fx.

I’ve attended two classes so far on learning to ‘throw’ objects.

It’s a lot of information to take in.

However, Yummy is always willing to take the time to explain things.

So when she announced a class on learning to make ‘explosions,’ I immediately signed up.

The inner pyro in me is having a party as we speak.  😀

Days 4 & 5 – No Time!

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

It’s now Day 4 with my new Artiste HUD.  Because I have the Release Candidate, there are things that are still being refined, so as Yummy makes changes, I get updated stuff.

Today I got a new controller and a new palette.  I was testing them out and was going a little too fast.  I didn’t realize the pop-up menu would pop up again after I hit a button, so I ended up hitting reset by mistake.  Which derezzes all your markers and means you have to start all over.  Ugh.  So after three unnecessary resets, I slowed down and got it all working correctly.  I learned that there is a remember button on the controller – it will remember the last set of markers you rezzed.  However, remember does not work after a reset.

I feel like I have a good handle on the palette as mover, so I’m moving on to emoting.  Decided to read through the emoting book again.

There are two ways to save emotes with the HUD.  You can do a set of ‘adhoc’ emotes, which you enter using the menu from the HUD.  However, these ‘adhoc’ emotes don’t get saved anywhere, so if you reset the HUD before you save them, they are gone.  The *emotetitles notecard tells the HUD which notecard to use for emotes.  So you create a new notecard for each ‘detail set’ of emotes.  But in order for the HUD to play them, they have to be listed on the *emotetitles notecard.

The HUD comes with some example notecards for emotes.  To keep it simple when starting, use one emote for each event (which means you can have up to 20 emotes – guessing I won’t need near that many).  The emotes are limited to 255 characters per line, as usual.  I think I remember reading that you don’t get an error if you go over, it will just cut off your emote.  Shouldn’t be an issue for me, since I test everything several times beforehand.

I ran out of time on Day 4 to finish all the testing that I wanted to.

On Day 5, I had other projects to finish and had no time at all to work with the Artiste.

On to Day 6!

 

Day Three – Onward!

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

It’s day three with my new Artiste HUD, and my enthusiasm hasn’t waned yet.  🙂  So, I contacted Yummy to see if she could troubleshoot why I couldn’t get the palette to work with the HUD.

(Side note here – I don’t intend to explain all the ins and outs of using the HUD in these posts.  There are simply sooo many things you can do, that it would be silly to think I could cover them all.

If you’re really interested in the possibilities, take a jog over to Yummy’s blog and check out all the demo videos she’s made about things you can do with the Performer’s Series of products.  Also, some of the things I talk about may not make sense to you unless you own the products. 😛 )

When you use the HUD, you use it to play your dance sequence (obviously).  However, with the Artiste, there are two different ways to play your sequence.  You can do it via the *autofx notecard, but in looking through the documentation, it states NOT to use that method if you want the sequence to play immediately (which I did).  So the other method is to play the sequence via the *config nc in the HUD.

After trying both methods, I got the palette to work, but there was a weird delay.  My sequence started playing immediately, but I didn’t start moving immediately.  (This is where having expectations based on previous experiences can sometimes cause issues.)  As Yummy and I were talking, trying to figure out the problem, she realized it was the events.

Doh!

I totally spaced looking at my events.

Events are central to the way the Artiste HUD works.  You tell the HUD how many events you want (up to 22 events) for your routine.  Events can be based on things like – a change in tempo in the music, a place where you want to remove or add clothing (or objects), a time when you want a special effect to fire, etc.  Because I had been so focused on learning the palette, I had ignored events.

The HUD comes with several examples already set up for you in the various notecards – so that you can ‘wear and go.’  The *events notecard has three or four events listed, including the timing (duration) of each event.  Events need to be at least 2 seconds long.  Which normally wouldn’t be an issue, except that I had my first palette move set to begin at 0.2 seconds.  So when I pressed play on the HUD, I would start dancing immediately, but the palette wouldn’t get the command to move for at least 2 seconds.

Leave it to me to make things difficult!  If I had started out my palette/mover onstage, the 2 second delay would probably never have been an issue.  However, since I am in the habit of rezzing my movers backstage and then having them jump onstage when I start a routine, it was.  So – how to fix it?

We came up with several solutions.  One – I could just change my mover route to begin onstage, and then my first move wouldn’t happen until about 7 seconds into the routine.  Two – I could add 2 seconds to the beginning animation of the sequence.  However, that throws the whole sequence off, and I didn’t want to have to redo all the choreography.  Three – Yummy realized I could add a command line directly into my sequence (in the *sequence notecard) to trigger the palette to move.

So I did that and success!  The palette began moving immediately, the same as my sequence.  So, I can continue starting the movers backstage with this method.  Which I probably will, because it’s become a habit.  Then I can have dancers sit on the movers and cache the animations while someone else is onstage.  It helps cut down on the time you need between acts.

As I continued to work with the palette route (which included ‘pauses’ at various points), I was having trouble.  If I stopped the routine before it completed, the palette seemed to get confused.  Pressing GoHome didn’t always work, and neither did GoToStart.  Even resetting the palette didn’t seem to help.  After contacting Yummy and asking some questions, she thought perhaps the ‘pause’ feature would just confuse people.  I didn’t think so, and I wanted to be able to use that feature.

Then I realized that since I had put the move command in the sequence notecard, I no longer needed that command line in the *autofx notecard in the HUD.  So I was essentially issuing two different commands to the palette – no wonder it was confused.  So I took the command line out of the *autofx notecard and boom!  The palette mover worked perfectly. 🙂

At this point, I decided to make a mover route using the controller method.  (Why?  Glutton for punishment, I suppose.  I want to really learn the use of the Artiste products, so that I can get the most out of them in performances.  The more I know, the more I can do!).

The controller method probably has a more familiar feel to it, as it is similar to other mover systems.  There are a few minor differences, but setting up the route went pretty quickly.  The biggest difference I noticed is in the turns (something I mentioned briefly in my Day Two post).  With other systems, your avatar turns immediately and faces the direction of your move.  With the Artiste, it’s more of a gradual turn, so it can look a little odd, depending on how your route is laid out.  However, with the ability to add in specific turns, this is easily adjusted.

So yay!  Another day of successes (with a few issues), so I am ready to move on.  For day four, I am planning to try adding turns and rotations into a mover route, adding emotes, and perhaps, if I am feeling ambitious, trying out a couple of special effects!

Day Two with the Artiste

Day2After a restful night of sleep (not!), I logged back in, anxious to dive back in to learning the Artiste.

I had a notecard waiting for me with Yummy’s answers to my endless questions.  After being so frustrated with the Palette, it turned out that I had put the lines for the moves in the wrong place on the *palettes notecard (What? Me make a mistake? Surely not!), I fixed the notecard and – Voilá!  The palette worked as a mover!  Woohoo!

When you use the palette as a mover, there are two ways you can generate the information you need for the notecard.  You can simply move the palette from point A to point B and then use the built in menu to generate the information.  Or you can use the controller method, where you rezz a controller and then generate placeholders for each point.  Once you have your moves set up, the controller will generate the information you need for the palette.  Both methods work equally well, it’s just a matter of what method you find easier/more comfortable.  For my first time, I used the palette method.

As I was working through my route, with Yummy’s help, I asked about the ability to ‘pause’ at a point in the route.  When I was working through it, I had to manually add the ‘pause’ times on the *palettes notecard.  Since then, I believe, Yummy has added an update which allows you to add those through the palette menu.  Progress!

Once you have your route set up, you can test your route.  You can run through the whole route, or you can use ‘quicktest.’  QuickTest allows you to quickly run through each move (point A to point B, point B to point C, etc.) to ensure the route is set up the way you want.  When I was running through the quick test, it also included the ‘pause’ times, which I wasn’t expecting.  I’m not sure if that is something that is still that way, or if that is something Yummy changed.  (I can’t find anything in my piles of notes, anyway!)

As I was working through the various steps, I realized that I had certain expectations for the palettes as movers, because of my experiences with other systems.  For example, the palette does not come loaded with a default stand animation.  The reason for this (I think) is because the palettes can be used for so many different things, not just as an avatar mover.  When you use a palette, you specify what you want that palette to do.  So, for example, if I want to use the palette as a mover, I have to make sure that the *palette notecard reflects that the palette needs to be moveable (obvious, I know), sittable (because you need to have an avatar sit on it), and animatable (because you will likely want a default stand in it – or at least I did).

(Another note here – when you make the palette sittable, you may have to adjust the position of your avatar.  You do this through the palette menu.)  Once you sit up your initial palette/mover, you can save the palette as a ‘baseline’ and use it the next time you go to design a mover route.  That way, half of the set up is already done and you save yourself a lot of time!

One cool feature of the palette I discovered while working with it was that you can use it to turn/spin.  While I am sure you can do this with other systems, it isn’t really something I’d thought about.  With the Artiste, using a palette, you can make a move, a stop, a turn, and a none (this all makes sense later, I promise).  I did some testing and the max for the turn is 180 degrees.  However, you can add several 180 turns in a row, which ends up looking like you are spinning around.  It opens up a lot of possibilities, so I’m planning to incorporate some turns into my next routine.

So after all of Yummy’s help, I felt confident enough to try and work on my own to finish setting up my route.  After I got it all set up, I tried adding the command to the *autofx notecard in the HUD to make it play.  For some reason (another dumb mistake on my part, I am sure), it didn’t work.

However, I felt like I made some real progress on day two, and I’m raring to go for day three!

Dance Experiment – Video #5

Things continue to move along at light speed, and I am running around like a maniac trying to keep up!  The dancers who volunteered for the dance experiment I proposed have gone above and beyond to help.  The latest video offering I have for you is Winnie’s contribution to the experiment.

Broken Ones – Winnie

The creativity of these dancers is just amazing.

Once again, if there are any flaws in the video, the fault is mine, not those of the dancer.

The dance experiment is fast drawing to a close, so if you have enjoyed these videos, please make sure you tell the dancers when you see them around the grid!

My First Day with the Artiste GOLD

TheArtisteLogoBefore I start this post, let me make a disclaimer.

The thoughts here are my own and based on my own personal experiences with the Artiste.  I paid for my HUD, just like everyone else.

I am not receiving any consideration from Yummy by blogging about my experience, I’m doing it because I want to and because I think others might be interested.

Your experiences may similar or they may be completely different.  (I’m betting on completely different, because I made a lot of mistakes.)  However, you learn from mistakes, right?  So I should be an expert soon. 😛

Ok, with that out of the way, on with the post!

I’ve only had the HUD for about a week, and I really haven’t had much time to play with it.  I do also own the SILVER version of the HUD, but it has been so long since I used it that it’s sort of like learning a new language.  Compared to some of the other competing products on the market, the Artiste has a fairly steep learning curve.  However, there is loads of documentation about everything it can do, and of course, you can always contact customer support with questions (and I asked some pretty dumb ones).

The Artiste is very versatile, but it takes a while to get used to the way things are set up.  Rather than everything being on one notecard, there are several pieces (and notecards) that have to be filled out to make everything work correctly.

It may seem rather clunky and/or time-consuming at first, but once you get used to it, it goes fairly quickly.  I think the added time is more than made up for by the plethora of things you can do with the HUD (and the Palettes).

As I was learning, I tried to take notes, both for myself and with an eye towards these blog posts.  In 10 days, I’ve racked up an impressive amount of notes, but I’m fairly certain that when I run into a question, the answer is in my notes.

When I got the HUD, the first thing I did was to unpack everything – there are various pieces and parts (which Yummy keeps adding to) and I wanted to get everything organized (yes, I may be slightly OCD when it comes to my inventory).  I ended up with about 12 new folders.

One of the boxes you get is filled with books detailing all the information you need about the various parts of the Artiste Performer’s Series and what they all do.  On the first day, most of it was spent reading through all the IntelliBooks.  I made it to Book 13 before my eyes glazed over and I broke some of my brain synapses.  😛

So after all that reading, I figured I was ready to load a dance sequence into the HUD and see what happened.  I planned to load a sequence, try to make a mover (using a Palette), and perhaps write some emotes.  Just a quick ‘get your hands dirty’ kind of thing.

I decided to use a sequence I already had made (lazy, I know) and loaded it into the HUD (on the *sequence1 nc).  I came across questions as I worked, which I wrote down in a notecard to send to Yummy later.  I got the sequence loaded and played it through the HUD pretty quickly and easily.

One thing I didn’t like was, as the sequence played, the HUD would chat each time a dance started/stopped.  Some may find that useful, especially during the choreography stage.  Personally, I found it very distracting.  (I included that in my notecard to Yummy, and there is now an option to turn off the sequence chat if you wish – woohoo!)

So after my success (yay!) with the sequence, I decided to move on to create a move route with a Palette.  The instructions were fairly straightforward, and being familiar with other mover systems was a plus, I think.

Feeling pretty cocky, I started playing with the Palette and setting up a route.  There are two different methods for setting up a route, so you’ll have to play with them and figure out for yourself which one you like best. (I’ll talk about those in a little more detail in the next post.) For some reason, I couldn’t get it to remember the route.  And I discovered that the default time for a move was 3 secs, so I changed it to 0.2.

(A little explanation here – I have a habit of starting my movers offstage.  I generally set the movers backstage and then the first move jumps to position onstage at the beginning of the sequence – hence the 0.2 secs move time.  After some discussion with Yummy, apparently I am in the minority, as most people start their movers onstage.)

After an hour or so of fiddling, I couldn’t make the Palette work.  I was sure it was something simple I was missing, but it was late and I was getting frustrated, so I added a few more questions to my notecard to Yummy and logged off.

My last thought for the evening was that Yummy will probably be sick of me by the time I learn the HUD, because I ask so many darn questions!!

Dance Queens Dance Classes

Always wanted to learn how to dance/choreograph/perform in Second Life?  The Dance Queens group is offering a series of dance classes, beginning September 27 and running through November 15.  Classes will be held at 5pm SLT on Saturdays.  Contact Babypea von Phoenix to reserve your spot today!  Classes start next week, so don’t delay!