Now that Bakes On Mesh (BOM) has hit the grid, things have changed.
While I am excited for all the old (and new!) stuff I can now wear easily with BOM and without faffing with a zillion appliers, I am NOT excited about the inventory bloat I see headed my way.
Unless you’re an old SL’er from way back, like me, you may not remember how all the system layers worked. But we never had enough of them. When mesh bodies hit the grid, suddenly everything became appliers (HUDs with whatever you needed to wear/apply loaded into them). So instead of 20 thongs in 20 colors in my inventory, I had one mesh thong, and HUD that would let me change it into 20 different colors. 20 items vs 2 items was a blessing for my inventory.
But now that system layers are back with BOM, I can easily see my inventory creeping up every time I buy something. Because some people will want the system layers, but others will still want the appliers – so creators will provide them all. Who doesn’t want to keep their customers happy?
But that means I could end up with 24 items – the 20 BOM system layers in different colors AND the mesh item AND the HUD/applier.
I may have to become ruthless when it comes to new purchases. I’m still on the fence about unboxing my old inventory stuff as well. I mean, while it’s great that I can wear a skin I purchased in 2013, do I really want to? Is it worth spending the time unboxing everything just to see?
When I box something up in RL, my rule is that I haven’t needed it in 6 months or longer, it goes. It clearly wasn’t something I needed. (There are exceptions, of course – seasonal clothing and decorations, things like that.) But since my SL inventory is, in theory, infinite – maybe they can just stay in boxes for now and I can wait another 5 years for a trip down memory lane.
We’ll see. In the meantime, I definitely have some purging to do! If you need tips for managing your own inventory, I’ve written some tips and tricks here. It’s still useful information. 🙂
I recently came across an article by Huckleberry Hax about making your own animated GIFs in SL. He does an amazing job with his, so head over to his blog and check them out.
This is now on my list of things to do, but while reading the article, he mentioned something that reminded me of a tip I’ve learned.
Huck mentions that he uses a camera lock HUD, so that once he has his angle and everything set up for the shot, he can move his avatar and his camera angle remains fixed. This means he can walk through the shot, as he does in the example animated GIF.
The HUD he mentions is only $10L, so I will definitely be picking this up. However, if you are not going to be moving in your shot, Firestorm has a built in option.
We’ve all been there – you get everything set up for your shot, your camera angle is perfect. And then you notice that your arm is going through your dress, or your hair has eaten part of your jaw. So you have to zoom in, edit things, and then try to find your perfect angle again.
With FS, it’s pretty easy. Find the camera tools button, which looks like this:
Add it to your toolbar and then open it. The camera tools menu looks like this:
See the two eyeball buttons on the right-hand side in the middle? Those are the two you need.
Click on the eyeball with the DOWN arrow, and it will save your camera angle.
So if you find your perfect angle, you can save it. Zoom back in, edit and make your fixes.
Then, hit the eyeball with the UP arrow and it will move your camera back to your perfect angle. Tada!!
Now, you can only save one angle at a time, but it’s a built-in tool (in Firestorm), so you don’t need to fuss with any other HUDs.
It won’t work in situations like Huck’s, where you want to move your avatar around while shooting, but for still photography, it’s a very handy tool. Try it out!!
For a while now, I’ve been following Daeberethwen Arbenlow and her video tutorial series about tips/tricks using Photoshop.
I can’t say enough good things about these videos! I have learned so much in a very short time. The videos are relatively short, easy to digest, and made so that you can start trying them out yourself immediately.
I’ve collected (and reblogged) so many of them, that I’ve decided to give them their own page on my blog. This will keep them all in one place and make it an accessible resource for both me and my readers. 😀
You can, of course, follow her YouTube channel (as I have), but since many times when I am working in Photoshop, I need a quick refresher on something, I wanted to have them somewhere I could quickly access whatever topic I needed.
I will be adding to the page as she creates new videos. If you use Photoshop, watch one or two, and try it out. Your photos will thank you!
In the last post, I talked about the basics of inventory organization and the importance of using sub-folders.
Hopefully you have made some progress sorting your items and getting rid of unnecessary landmarks, photos, and notecards.
In this post, I want to show you how I organize folders with large amounts of items and the reasoning behind the sort.
I’ll also cover how to store older items and how to make outfits.
Let’s get started!
I have a few folders that contain a metric ton of items.
These include my dance animations folder, my costumes folder, and my ‘stuff for building’ folder. 😀
As a dancer, I have a ton of animations that I’ve collected over the years.
While I could certainly lower my inventory count substantially by boxing up my animations, I don’t.
Well, I do box them, but I also keep them in my inventory. 🙂
(This information only applies if you have copyable animations, which of course you do, right?)
My reasoning is this: Previously, with dance HUDs, you would load the animations into the HUD, and then you really no longer needed them to be accessible in your inventory.
The two dance HUDs I use most now (The Artiste and Spot On PD), are made so that I make a new copy of the HUD for each routine/performance.
That means I need to load the animations I use in the performance into the HUD.
I could rez a HUD (or a box), take the anims I need into inventory, rez my new HUD, and then load the anims into it, but that’s a lot of extra steps and time.
(I do box up all of my animations and store them on my land, but that’s as a precaution against SL ‘eating’ them, rather than inventory count savings.)
When you organize your animations folder, I would recommend that you organize them by store/creator name.
Each store folder may or may not have sub-folders, depending on whether I purchased dance packs or not.
Why do it this way?
If I just dumped all my animations into one big folder, they would sort according to the name of the animation.
Sometimes you can tell by the name of the dance where you bought it, but not always.
However, if they were organized in one big folder and an IP replacement happened (like the big one several months ago), you would have no way to easily or quickly know which animations were replaced (in error, usually).
The IP replaced anims, which are now all named IP *****, will sort by name into a different place in your folder.
Since I have mine organized by store name, I can at least tell which vendor’s anims were affected (in case I need to contact them) and possibly even which animations.
Also, it lets you see pretty quickly if you have already purchased a particular animation from a store – with so many animations, it’s easy to lose track.
Now, this way of organizing may not work for you, and that’s fine.
As long as it makes sense to you, and you can find things when you need them, it’s all good. 🙂
One last thing – I don’t use the system ‘Animations’ folder to store my animations.
I reserve that folder for AOs and old dance HUDs.
Which I should probably box up, since I rarely use them anymore. 😛
The way I have sorted my costumes into folders may make no sense to anyone but me.
They are sorted by genres, with some that don’t seem to fit any folders left to float.
I freely admit that I am a costume hoarder.
I had so many costumes they were just getting unmanageable.
Some I was hanging onto for sentimental reasons – my first solo, my first dance at a certain theater, a favorite performance, etc.
But the reality is that I likely won’t wear a costume I got in 2010 again.
I had to box them up.
Since I own a wardrobe system, I took pictures of everything, tagged them, and then boxed up the items.
I then put those boxes in a storage box. 🙂
I still probably have way too many costumes in my inventory, but you never know what you’ll need!
Because I perform, I also have a ton of decor items to use as props.
Some are large, like entire buildings, some are small, like wall art or bottles, for example.
Again, the way I have them organized may not make sense to others.
That’s ok. 🙂
Just figure out a way to organize things into folders that makes sense to YOU.
I have a lot of folder (categories) and I still have things that I can’t decide go better one place or another.
So I leave them to float until I figure it out.
Under my Decor Items folder, for example, you will find books, statues, vases, and various other tchotchkes.
I have a folder for lighting, a folder for fountains, etc.
You get the idea.
A project on my to-do list is to photograph and categorize the ‘building stuff’ folder using my wardrobe system, but I don’t know if I’ll ever get that done. 😛
Besides, I’m constantly collecting items.
Now that mesh is everywhere, I probably could/should go and delete some old items that are primmy or just not that great looking.
One way to help with inventory bloat is to box up old items.
If you don’t own a wardrobe organizing system, Auryn Beorn has a great post on a simple way to box up your items.
Following her system, you can link a bunch of boxes (set to convex hull to save LI) and then fill up the linked prims.
At the end of the process, you have one item in your inventory that you can rez and then reopen the linked boxes if necessary to retrieve your items.
It would never have occurred to me to do it this way, but it’s sheer genius. 🙂
Another option is to buy some scripted storage boxes.
I have some inexpensive ($10L) ones I found on MP.
You drop in the items you want to store in the boxes and then the script allows you click on the box, click to the item you want, and then have that item delivered to your inventory.
Whichever system works best for you, it’s a simple way to help reduce that inventory bloat.
If you have a hard time deciding what needs boxing, you can use the search filters to help sort by date acquired.
For instance, I plan to sort out items to delete or box by filtering the search to any items that I acquired over two years (730 days) ago.
If I haven’t used it in two years, odds are I won’t be, so I am probably safe to box it up or delete it. 🙂
The last item I want to cover is making outfits.
If you want to save all the items you’re wearing into an outfit that you can wear again, you create an outfit.
Click on the little t-shirt icon to bring up with outfit window.
Click on the ‘wearing’ tab, then click ‘save as’ and give your new outfit a name.
Doing this will create a folder (with the name you typed) in the system ‘outfits’ folder.
In the olden days, you had to manually make outfits by moving all the pieces and parts into a folder.
If you had a no-copy item, then sometimes it was hard to remember where you put things.
Using the outfit creator makes a folder with links to all the items, not the actual items themselves.
So your shoes, for example, can remain in your shoes folder, but your outfit folder will have a link to them.
This way, it’s possible to save various outfits for quick changes.
You could have a formal outfit, a casual outfit, a beach outfit – the list is endless. 🙂
Once you have created the outfit, you leave the folders in the system ‘outfit’ folder, or you can move the folder to any other folder in your inventory.
Moving the newly created outfit folder will not break any of the links inside.
Moving folders containing the original items doesn’t break the links either.
Once you delete the item from trash, however, the link is broken.
You generally get a pop-up warning that the item is linked before you delete it, but be careful!
One thing to be aware of, since the goal here is to reduce inventory bloat – links count as items.
That’s another job on my to-do list – to delete old outfit folders!
I organize them into sub-folders by date, so I know approximately how old they are.
Things move a lot faster in SL, so odds are that items I bought and wore back in December 2014 probably aren’t high on my ‘wear this’ list in July. 😛
One Last Trick
One last little inventory tip/trick, especially for you bloggers out there!
Someone mentioned this on Plurk and I felt like a complete idiot for not knowing it.
If you are blogging an outfit and you need a list of everything you’re wearing, open the create outfits window.
Click on the wearing tab (like you’re creating a new outfit).
Instead of ‘save as,’ click on the gear icon in the lower left of the window.
A pop-up box will appear and one of the options is ‘copy outfit list to clipboard.’
Click this and all your worn items can now be pasted into your blog post.
You will likely have to format it, but all the items will be listed.
This has saved me tons of time and eye strain, clicking back and forth between my blog editor and my inventory window, trying to make sure I don’t miss anything!
That’s it for tips on how to tame your messy inventory.
I hope you discovered a few new tricks and I encourage you to stay on top of organizing your inventory.
When I started blogging, I just knew that I wanted to write.
With sites like WordPress and Blogspot, it’s easy.
Create an account, log in, and start blogging!
Then, like everything else, it turns out there’s actually work involved. -.-
I don’t only have to worry about topics to write about and writing well, I have to worry about adding images, sizing images, page load times, increasing traffic, links, pingbacks, SEO, alt tags, descriptions, categories, tags, slugs – the list is endless.
It’s all a little overwhelming when you first start.
Thankfully, you don’t have to know everything. 😀
A few months ago, Becky over at SL Blogger Support started writing a series of articles aimed at helping bloggers to become better at blogging.
Many of the steps I already knew, but I had gotten lazy and wasn’t paying attention.
The first article was about finding a ‘niche’ for your blog.
There are literally millions of blogs, so finding that niche can help you find readers.
I’m still in the process of defining and refining my niche – just asking some very basic questions about my blog made me realize that I had wandered from my original purpose.
My blog is like me – it changes and grows.
As I learn about new things, I want to share what I learn.
So although my original audience was people interested in dance, I have expanded to include photography, art, and sometimes fashion.
(Maybe ‘style’ is a better word than fashion – I’m not always on top of the latest trends, but I know what I like. 😀 )
The next article was about SEO – what it is and how to use it for good. 😛
This one made me a bit angry with myself – some of these were very simple things that I knew and should have been doing, but wasn’t.
I made a few changes to my blog – I changed my tagline to reflect the added topics, and I changed my theme to one that offered better formatting/readability options than my previous one.
I am still debating whether it’s worth it to me to pay for a domain name or if I should just continue with the free WordPress option.
I know a fellow blogger had issues when changing over from the free WP site to a paid domain, and I don’t want to make extra headaches for myself.
While my dream is to someday get paid to write, I’m not there yet.
With only one income and lots of expenses (college tuition, anyone?), sometimes it’s hard to justify any extra spent on ‘frivolous’ purchases. 😦
Sometimes it’s hard to know if you’re making the right decisions.
It’s nice to see that I’m not the only one who’s trying to figure it all out. 🙂
I did take Becky’s advice and I signed up for Google’s Webmaster Tools.
However, I don’t find using said tools to be intuitive in any way whatsoever, so I’ve decided to ignore them for now, and concentrate on things I do understand.
My SEO Changes
I have been paying attention to my post titles and changing the slugs to help with searches.
My LOTD posts are numbered, but since they are not my primary focus for the blog, I’m not too concerned with them.
When I started the LOTD posts, I was taking the photos in-world and saving them as .png files to preserve details.
However, .png files load more slowly.
Slow loading times can kill your traffic – because it needs to be instant on the internet. 😛
So I have begun resizing my images when I edit them and I save them as .jpegs rather than .pngs.
There is some loss in quality, but the faster load times are worth it.
What I wasn’t doing was giving my images (LOTD and others) meaningful titles.
Nor was I filling in the alt tags.
I make sure that I am doing both of those now.
Buffer has a great post on how to optimize images for blogs and social media.
I also have begun breaking up text-heavy posts (like this one!) with subheadings to help with readability.
Growing Your Blog
One of the things Becky mentioned is feeds and that if you are on feeds, search engines may see your blog as ‘duplicate content,’ which can hurt your search rankings.
For many SL fashion bloggers, being on feeds is a must.
You can, as Becky suggests, set it up so that your posts only show as excerpts so that readers have to click through to your blog to read the entire post.
However, some feeds specifically say that you must not show excerpts only – so what to do?
You would think that being on feeds would get you more traffic, but it turns out that isn’t always the case.
Becky’s latest post was one that really got me thinking.
I actually printed it out and made notes on it as I read through it. (Nerd? Me? Noooo!)
Again, much of what she writes are things I knew, but wasn’t using to my advantage.
Having taught journalism, I knew about headlines, subheads, pull quotes, etc.
(Side note: Pull quotes and other cool options are sometimes only available with WordPress.org. Rather frustrating when you are using WordPress.com – another item to weigh when deciding whether to pay or use the free version of WP.)
When you teach literature, however, the writing style rules are different.
Some things are too ingrained for me to change (like double spacing after a period), but I certainly need to be more aware of my writing style if I want my blog to grow.
It also made me go back through my blog and look at what people were actually reading, not what I thought they were. 😀
In addition to your blog itself, tying into social media is almost a must these days.
But with so many platforms available, which one(s) do you choose?
For me, it’s been trial and error.
I loathe Facebook, so even though I could probably benefit from using it, I won’t.