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. 😀

I Think I Sprained My Brain . . .

brain_sprain
Image Source: injury.research.chop.edu

The last few days have been kind of a blur.

I spent most of the last three days taking a Photoshop class, and I learned enough to make my head spin.

I took a ton of notes and saved a bunch of examples of techniques that I hope to incorporate into my Photoshop repertoire.

But WOW was it a lot of information!

I’ve been experimenting with masks and filters on my own; however, the class gave me much better (and faster) tools for working in Photoshop.

I can’t wait to try out some of the cool things I learned.

Shifting Focus

I’ve been spending more and more time with photography and learning everything I can.

I started out with the LOTD posts for fun (and to clean up my crazy inventory!), but it’s become something I really love doing.

I get stuck sometimes, though, because there is a fine line between showing an outfit to you ‘as is’ so you know what it looks like, versus some of the heavy ‘post-processing’ I want to do on some of the photos.

So, I’ve decided to kind of shift some of my focus to photography.

I want to spend some more time taking ‘travel’ photos in SL.

I spend way too much time alone on my platform – it’ll be good for me to get out and about and explore and work on my photography skills at the same time. 😀

I will still be doing the LOTD posts – I do enjoy them, and I’m getting a kick out of coming up with little stories to tell with them.

Always Learning

As I said before, I am always learning.

Yesterday Becky published a post on SEO and blogging.

I’ve used both WordPress.org and WordPress.com, and I’m familiar with many of the concepts she mentions.

However, I have been kind of lax about paying attention to that sort of thing with my blog, so it was a good reminder.

I knew I could change the slugs on my posts, but I wasn’t really paying much attention to them before.

I will be making some small changes here and there to see if I can increase my traffic.

(I don’t want to say what changes I’ll be making, since I read an article the other day that said if you share your goals/intentions with others, you’re less likely to accomplish them.)

It’s another area where there is a lot of information to digest, so I’ll be referring back to the article, I’m sure.

Social Media

Along with the changes here on the blog, I am trying to educate myself further about social media.

I often am reluctant to share what little I know (mostly because I assume everyone knows it), but after doing some research, many of my questions have yet to yield any easy answers.

When using social media, I am usually left with the feeling that I don’t know enough about the platform to make good use of it.

I decided to do some research on the various platforms I use to see what I could learn.

I started with Twitter, since that seemed like the simplest platform.

As I learn and I discover, I hope to share with you any helpful tips and tricks I come across.

If you have any, feel free to send them my way! 😛

I think ‘networking’ is one of those topics that everyone would like to know more about.

Finding Inspiration

Over the last month or so, I was debating whether I wanted (or needed) to take a hiatus from SL and blogging to recharge my batteries.

I found myself struggling with writer’s block and despairing over finding my ‘muse’ again.

And then – serendipity. 🙂

Ailsa announced her weekly ‘theme’ exhibitions, I took a few classes, read a few blog posts, and now I am feeling energized and inspired.

It could also just be that school is out next week and my children’s joy is infectious. 😛

Either way, I’m looking forward to learning and creating.

“Learn as if you were to live forever.” ~ Ghandi

Perpetual Learner

Perpetual Student
Image Source: ellehull.co.uk

If I was independently wealthy, I’d be a perpetual student.

I’m curious about so many things, and there’s only so many hours in the day. 😀

Recently, my friend Nai told me about Creative Live.

I did some research and liked what I saw.

You can buy downloads of content on various subjects – business, crafting, photography, writing, you name it.

Or you can watch some of the classes for free when they are held live.

The downside of live classes is that they tend to be long – like all day.

I’m not wealthy, but I am lucky enough to be a SAHM.

So I can carve out time for the free classes.

It’s free and I learn stuff.

Win-win!!

The last few days I have been taking a Photoshop class.

It can get tedious (3 days of all day Photoshop?), but I am learning a lot.

The first day was spent on ‘key concepts’; many of those included things like using keyboard shortcuts.

I don’t generally use these, but since I started doing it, I know I’ve gotten faster at processing photos.

Such a timesaver!

I’ve also learned more about tools like the layer mask, clipping mask, and smart objects.

After the first day, I felt like my head would explode.

As I’ve begun taking photos in-world and posting to Flickr, I’ve wanted to do some cool effects, but I couldn’t figure out how to do what I wanted.

Thanks to the class, I now know how to approach what I want to do, and how not to ‘paint myself into a corner’ when it comes to using Photoshop.

Yesterday we learned about type tools, making reusable effects, and actions.

Today we will be learning about color techniques, layouts, and templates.

I’ve been taking notes, but I’m sure I’ll forget some things.

However, I’m looking forward to taking photos and experimenting with them using some of the techniques and tips I’ve learned.

It’s also actually made me excited to go out and try my hand at some photography in RL, so yay!

Who knows where this will lead?

To another class, probably.  😛

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!