The Artiste Suite: StageSight

ArtisteHUD_IMAGEOne of the things that drew me to the Artiste Suite of products was the number of products included – so many tools it’s hard to know where to begin. 🙂

One tool included in the Suite is the StageSight.

I had actually forgotten about it and was using the built-in camera tools in Firestorm to do some of the same things.

The product actually has two versions, so I will start with the older version – StageSight 2.5b.

StageSightThis version is available on the Marketplace for $250L.  It is nc/m/nt.  The StageSight was developed in order to help dancers view what they needed to quickly and easily during a performance.

Using the StageSight, you can configure a ‘quick view’ camera angle of your choosing (generally the stage where you’ll be performing).

This tool can be extremely useful for performers who have trouble camming around at venues.  You can, using this tool, set up a viewing angle that lets you view the stage.  You can then be backstage, and with a simple click, zoom your camera out to view the stage.  Because the tool is doing it, the change is almost instant, and reduces your chances of crashing.

Because people found it so useful, Yummy received many requests for a copiable version.  Having a copy version allows you to set a different angle for each copy. So you could set up a front stage view, a backstage view, and any other angle you might wish.

The copiable version is on MP for $750L.

If you purchase the GOLD version of the Artiste suite, the StageSight is included.  The version you get with the GOLD is different than the other version, however.

StageSightPlusThe StageSight Plus is nc/m/nt.  (You can also purchase this via MP if you wish.)  It looks a little different than the StageSight and this is because it does more.

The StageSight Plus lets you you set three (3) angles rather than one (1), and it lets you do this for up to 11 venues!  That means you can set up 33 angles – though I doubt you’ll need that many.

You set up one default angle for a wide view of the stage (the cross-hair button).  You then set up a second ‘zoomed-in’ angle for the stage.  Using the +/- buttons, you can step/zoom between those two angles for shots.

You can use the circle arrows to release your camera if you wish.  It just takes one click to recenter the view/camera.  The StageSight Plus also has a tip-jar view.  You set up a view for the tip jar, and when you click the heart button, your camera zooms to the tip jar so you can tip.  You can then reset your view by clicking a button or wait, and after 12 seconds, your view will be returned to the default automatically.

There is some work to do upfront, by using the camera button to capture the info and loading it into the notecard inside the HUD.

You can set up multiple venues and choose them via a blue pop-up menu, handy if you dance/perform at different venues.  You can add up to 11 venues.  If you don’t need 11 venues, you can of course set up additional angles at one venue using multiple buttons.  Just make sure to name the menu buttons something meaningful to you.  To bring up the menu, simply click on the words ‘StageSight.’

Whichever version of the StageSight you use, you will quickly find it is an extremely useful tool.  Whether for photography or dancing or whatever other use you might imagine, it will make changing your camera views easier and faster than ever before.

Announcing The Kat & Mouse School of Performing Arts!

Kat&Mouse SOPA Logo WhiteThat’s right – I’ve finally taken the leap and started the Kat & Mouse School of Performing Arts (SOPA).  😀

I have long wanted to help other dancers acquire skills to allow them to advance in their performance dance careers.  Dance in SL can be extremely intimidating to new performers and often even experienced performers have difficulty finding the time or place to learn advanced skills.

Because I know that time is a precious commodity (in RL and SL), I have purposely designed my curriculum with that in mind.  Most of the courses are only one session and should last approximately one hour.  My intention is that students can come to a class, learn a skill, and then immediately apply that skill to their dancing.

I am starting out by offering some basic courses, but I will be adding intermediate and advanced courses, including some classes on using the Artiste Suite.  Initial course offerings include Basic Choreography, Basic Movers (requires the SpotOn Choreography Designer), Basic Set Building, Basic Costuming, and Basic Lighting/FX.

Classes begin on October 4, 2015.  Classes will be held at the Kat & Mouse Theater on Sundays at 2pm SLT.  You can join the Kat & Mouse group or hit up the subscriber at the theater to stay informed.  Click here to visit the Course Listings page and sign up for classes.

A little background on me:

I am an educator in RL, and I have been teaching since 2004.  I have taught at both the high school and university level, so I am familiar with learners of varying abilities.  I suppose my RL occupation has led to my interest in teaching in SL. 🙂

I have been dancing in SL since 2009 and have danced in many different troupes during that time.  I started out as a ball-warmer, then moved to chorus girl, and then solo performer.  I have done solo routines, routines with 20+ dancers, and everything in between. I am familiar with many different dance tools, including the SpotOn suite of products, the Barre, the HUDDLES, and the Artiste Suite.

I hope you join me on my new adventure!  I would love to help you learn the skills you need to take your performance dance to the next level.  😀

If you have any questions, just ask.  I look forward to seeing you in class!

The Artiste Performance HUD and Suite: Success ?

This post from Aura Fitzgerald, dancer at Sinner’s Burlesque, touched on some points that I agree with wholeheartedly concerning dance, regardless of what HUD you use. 🙂

Click the link below to read the post.

Source: The Artiste Performance HUD and Suite: Success ?

MJ’s Burlesque Review

MJ’s Burlesque Review is a venue near and dear to my heart.

I danced there for a while, and I absolutely adore the 3 ladies who are the heart of it – MJ, Nancy, and Zed.

MJ’s is on an adult sim and the shows are geared toward adult audiences, which may keep some people from attending.

While understandable, it’s a shame, because they have some of the best shows I’ve ever seen on the grid.

If you missed the show on Friday, mark your calendars and be sure to attend the encore performance on Sunday – 2pm SLT at MJ’s Burlesque.

MJ’s has recently started having guest performers, and this week the guest is Shadow Tarber, director of Shadows Silhouettes.

MJs 1The show started out with a performance by MJ herself, a sort of ‘behind the scenes’ look at burlesque.

One of the things I like about MJ’s is that they emote during their routines.

While the acts are able to stand alone, I always appreciate emotes, especially when they add to the story of the performance.

I also appreciate the little touches they add to make their routines seem more realistic.

Using the Artiste system, for example, MJ made it appear as if the trap door in the floor lifted and she was raised to the stage from below.

And I love the fabulous over-the-top headpiece in this routine. 😀

MJs 2After MJ was Nancy, also known as Naughty Martini.

Nancy is my hands-down favorite performer and I make it a point to attend her shows if at all possible.

I would love to be able to pick her brain apart and understand how her creative spark works. 😛

This set was to Madonna’s ‘Like A Virgin,’ but it was a slow, ballad-like rendition of the song (which I loved and will be buying as soon as I’m done writing this!).

As you can see, her sets are always visually stunning.

MJs 3The starry night, the smoke, the clouds – and nestled among them, a fragile angel.

The angel is blindfolded, and having been released from her cage, exploring the unknown and unseen world around her.

The set and costumes matched the tone of the song perfectly.

I also love how Nancy takes pieces – of costumes, of songs, of sets, whatever – that I have seen, and then uses them in different and creative ways.

The color palette of this routine is an example of how Nancy sees her routine as a whole, in addition to the all the little details.

A true performance artist.

After Nancy was this week’s guest artist, Shadow Tarber.

MJs 4Shadow did a cute routine dressed as Smurfette.

I love the little Smurf pasties she’s sporting in this pic.

Unfortunately for me, my computer was giving me fits and some of the pieces of her set didn’t rez for me. 😦

I’m told that there were cute little moving smurfs perched on top of the mushrooms.

After trying to kick my computer and SL into submission, I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to continue taking photos at the performance.

Following Shadow, MJ was up again, with a smoking hot performance as a demoness from hell.

The set was amazing (though definitely adult), but due to my computer issues, I didn’t manage to catch a snap of it. 😦

MJs 5MJ’s hot performance must have melted whatever gremlins were plaguing me, because I was able to snap a few pics of the last routine, another fantastic set from Nancy.

This picture is yet another example of why Nancy is one of the best performers in SL.

This is the opening scene of her last routine, where she is a female bounty hunter searching for her prey.

I love all the details – the western font of the text, the saguaro cactus, the skeleton, the dust blowing as she enters.

MJs 6And, of course, her costume is fabulous – the epitome of a sexy bounty hunter.

I love the sign above the undertaker’s door – it’s the little details like this which make Nancy’s performances a must-see.

If you can go see the show on Sunday – do!

My pictures don’t do any of the performers justice – you need to see all this fabulousness for yourself. 😀

If you can’t make the show on Sunday, be sure to join their group or hit up their subscriber so you can stay updated on their latest performances.

You’ll thank me!! 😀

It’s August!

August
Image Source: grimedsoul.blogspot.com

It’s only the 2nd of the month, and I am already behind. 😦

So many wonderful events opened on the 1st, but I was sidelined by a ginormous migraine.

(If you’ve never had a migraine, lucky you!  If  you have had one, you have my sympathies.)

I did manage to sneak in some quick shopping stops – FaMESHed, The Gacha Garden, and the new Mesh Body Addicts Fair, just to name a few.

I also hopped around to a few mainstores for the August round of Mix.

Izzie’s put out some new mesh eyelashes I’m dying to try – I can’t ever seem to find ones that fit just right.

Essenz (my favorite shoemaker) had several new things out, so of course I had to pick up some new shoes.

A girl can never have too many shoes, right? 😀

I also spent some time yesterday getting ready for a performance today.

An old friend opened a new theater and asked if I would dance in the opening show.

Of course I said yes!

So excuse me while I rush off, because I have a ton of stuff that needs done before I get busy with the performance.

Enjoy your Sunday, folks!

What Second Life Means to Me Video

Well, I’m a little late to the party, as usual, but I got inspired to make a video for ‘What Second Life Means to Me.’

It took me longer than I intended, but it’s done.

Please bear in mind, I’m no expert filmmaker, but I wanted to contribute in my own small way.

Here’s a little happiness for your Monday!

If you can’t see the embedded video, here’s the link:

What Second Life Means to Me

Performance Art?

Performance Art
Image Source: malditoforo.com

Yummy wrote a post on the Dance Queens blog about Performance Art.

It’s good – so go here to read it.

Yummy and I talked a lot at the beginning of the year about how things seemed to be changing – for us and for others.

As the year has gone on, however, more and more changes seem to be happening.

I don’t know if the announcement of LL’s Next Gen Platform (not SL 2.0, but Project Sansar, for now) played a part or not.

I know that, with the announcement, I personally took a step back to re-evaluate my involvement in SL.

I’ve been involved in dance since I started in SL.

But it seems that there have been lots of changes this year – more than normal.

Dancers moving to new venues, venues closing, venues opening – all normal activities, but the number of them this year seems to be rising.

One of the shifts centers around the label ‘performance art.’

Yummy stated that “There seems to be a collective mind-shift away from traditional dance-as-entertainment towards dance-as-art in the SL dance-show world. I think it is because here exists the perception that dance-as-art will allow more freedom for creative personal expression.”

I’m not sure that I agree.

I think that part of the shift has been because the terms ‘burlesque,’ ‘neo-burlesque,’ and ‘cabaret’ (which have usually been used by dance troupes), don’t really capture what dance-as-entertainment shows are in SL today.

Most of the dance shows I go to these days are what I would term Vegas-like fare.

After some researching of definitions, perhaps ‘dance revue’ is the most accurate?

A typical dance show is a variety of performers dancing in various acts – usually the length of one song.

Most acts have a single dancer, though there are also couples and group dancing.

And some contain nudity (much like Vegas shows). 😛

As more tools have become available, we now see avatars moving in formations, objects moving, sets fading in and out, and light/particle/special effects.

I wouldn’t label these acts as ‘performance art,’ though I will likely be in the minority.

Yummy’s post contained a quote/definition that sums up my feelings on the subject:  “...Performance art is a term usually reserved to refer to a conceptual art which conveys a content-based meaning in a more drama-related sense, rather than being simple performance for its own sake for entertainment purposes.”

Of course, what is art?

It’s all in the eye of the beholder, so what you consider art might be something I consider junk, or vice versa.

I think the central concept for me is that ‘performance art is non-traditional.’

So simply changing the name of an act/venue/club/whatever from ‘burlesque’ to ‘performance art’ isn’t all there is to it.

It will be interesting to see how the shift progresses.

How Do You SL?

Image Source:  modemworld.wordpress.com
Image Source: modemworld.wordpress.com

The demise of SL Go has caused quite a stir among users.

After listening to this week’s Drax Files Radio Hour (which featured Dennis Harper of OnLive), I started to wonder.

SL Go allowed users to experience SL in all its graphical glory.

Have an old system that can’t handle Advanced Lighting Mode?

A graphics card that chokes when you turn on shadows?

No access to a PC, but have a tablet?

For those people, SL Go was the answer.

Not everyone can afford a computer that has all the bells and whistles necessary to experience everything SL has to offer.

Not everyone has access to high-speed internet connections.

Everyone (of course) wants to have the ‘full’ experience when using SL.

How can you do that if you’re surrounded by grey boxes, grey avatars, and can’t even move because of the lag?

I, with many others, hope that someone sees what a difference SL Go made, and has the vision to see what a service like it could mean, not only to SL users, but other ‘games’ as well.

Then I started to wonder – how do you SL?

I am lucky enough to have access to high-speed internet and I have a decent computer set up.

My thoughtful husband keeps things updated and upgraded for me.

Because of that, I can run SL on Ultra graphics settings and have all the pretty lights and shadows.

Once I experienced SL on Ultra, I became interested in photography.

I can run on Ultra, set a pretty high resolution, put my anti-aliasing to 16x, and take some pretty decent shots.

I would never be able to do that on a basic machine.

I could run SL, but it just wouldn’t be the same.

I’ve had to bump my settings down a few times at shows in order to try and combat lag, and I hated it.

Once you go Ultra, it’s hard to go back. 😦

What kind of machine do you use for SL?

Is it sufficient for your needs?

Do you wish you could afford to upgrade – pieces or parts or a brand new machine?

Did you use SL Go?

Would you use another service like it if it significantly improved your SL experience?

Would you use SL on a tablet or another mobile device?

The Bamboo Koi Theatre

Image Source: Bamboo Koi Theatre
Image Source: Bamboo Koi Theatre

I belong to ASN and I was reading through the feed.

I stumbled across a new theatre opening this week in SL.

It’s called the Bamboo Koi Theatre.

The theatre build is lovely – grand and decorated with understated, tasteful elegance.

They will be having a 3-day grand opening beginning on Thursday, April 9.

There are a variety of performances scheduled, everything from live singers to magicians to a circus act!

You can find the Bamboo Koi Theatre here.

The venue also houses L&G Entertainment – a group focused on helping ‘new resident performers find their feet in Second life by teaching them all the basics that we had to learn as new residents,’ according to their post.

So if you’ve ever wanted to try performing but didn’t know where to start, they might be able to help. 🙂

You can find boards listing the various scheduled performers in front of the venue.

Hope to see you there!

Mesh Mess

It's a jigsaw puzzle, right?
It’s a jigsaw puzzle, right?

I’ve been spending some time lately trying to style and dress my mesh body.

It’s more difficult than I anticipated.

Not because the actual dressing part is complicated, but because so much of my mesh wardrobe simply doesn’t work with the mesh body.

There are so many clothes that have asymmetric lines, or are strapless, or off-shoulder – using the limited alpha cuts on the mesh body HUD just doesn’t work.

And since the alpha layers included with the clothing don’t work on a mesh body, some clothing is just unwearable.

I have also been using the Omega applier system with various outfits and learning how that all works.

But I’m starting to wonder if mesh and dance really mix well.

I typically arrive at a show around 30 minutes early to give things time to cache/rez.

Even then, many times things do not rez for me.

I’ve heard lots of other people complain that dancers appear handless, footless, bald, and or as a floating head, depending on what mesh items they are wearing.

The original appeal of mesh (for me) was that my dress no longer ‘sunk’ through my legs and/or chair when I sat.

However, most mesh dresses/skirts do NOT dance well.

The dance animations stretch the mesh, making it look odd, as well as sometimes ‘breaking’ it in weird ways.

I suppose it’s a question of trade-offs.

Your skirt no longer appears to go ‘through’ your leg, but it doesn’t move/flow as real fabric (and flexi) does.

I’ve successfully worn mesh to dance (generally corsets and the like) – avoiding long skirts that ‘broke’ or looked odd.

But if half of the audience can’t see it, does it work?

How entertaining is it to watch a bald floating head for 3-5 minutes?

Is the sacrifice in performance worth the ‘better’ look of mesh?

And the rez issues are not limited to clothing, though those are usually the most apparent.

I’ve gone to shows, taken pictures, and then been astonished after seeing someone else’s pics of the same show.

How come that prop didn’t rez for me?

There was supposed to be a pendulum in that act?

Another issue is that with mesh bodies, a lot of the lingerie (and some of the regular clothing) has to be ‘applied,’ so it’s not as simple to just ‘remove’ clothing.

If you strip or change costumes in a routine, this makes things even more difficult.

What do you think – is it worth wearing mesh in a dance routine?