Soft / diffuse lighting in Second Life – YouTube

Image Source:  simpleicon.com
Image Source: simpleicon.com

A great video on how to use projectors for softer, more diffuse lighting in SL.

The video may be slightly NFSW, though you may like the radioactive symbol pasties. ūüėõ

I love the softer light achieved using the projectors; however, if you have a build with built-in light and/or shadows, your pics may look a bit odd if you don’t pay attention to the details.

Very useful info!

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The Drax Files 38: economic empowerment in Second Life | Inara Pey: Living in a Modem World

I found this article interesting – more so for the conversation between Inara and Drax that she shared after the video than the video itself.

In the video, Eboni Khan says that SL has a very low entry barrier for businesses.¬† I agree – you can set up an in-world store or one on Marketplace in minutes.¬† However, that doesn’t guarantee that your business will be successful.

With the advent of mesh (and having to learn related programs like Blender or Maya or Z-brush or the like), I feel like the barrier to having a successful business has increased.¬† Maybe it has, maybe it hasn’t.

When I first landed in SL, most creating was done in-world.  When I started looking into making clothing, I realized I would need to learn Photoshop to really do it well.  So I began learning Photoshop.

To make clothing these days, it needs to be mesh.¬† Yes, there are still those who prefer system clothing, but most prefer mesh.¬† You can buy templates of course, but to be an ‘original’ creator you need to make your own.

That means learning a 3D modeling program, learning how to rig the clothes to the SL avatar and all the various mesh bodies (something that almost everyone seems to find horribly tedious, if my Plurk timeline is to be believed), and then dealing with things that sound difficult – UV unwrapping, making your AO maps, then dealing with textures, including spec and normal maps in addition to the traditional diffuse maps.¬† It’s enough to make your head spin.

In addition to all of that, it would seem then that people would, of necessity, spend more time in out-world programs (like Blender) than they do in-world.

What about you? Do you feel it is more difficult now than before to have a successful business in SL? 

The 38th video of The Drax Files World Makers arrived on Wednesday, June 8th, focusing on fashion designer Eboni Khan, who has been designing women’s apparel for the last decade, marketing it…

Source: The Drax Files 38: economic empowerment in Second Life | Inara Pey: Living in a Modem World

Tutorial: Creating and using light projectors with textures | honeyjunkies

Image Source:  simpleicon.com
Image Source: simpleicon.com

Another great tutorial from Daeberethwen Arbenlow on using light projectors for in-world photography.

I used this tutorial to take my last LOTD photo – Be Still.

Try it for yourself – lots of possibilities with this technique!

Source: Tutorial: Creating and using light projectors with textures | honeyjunkies

Tutorial: Blending Modes and Blur + Blending Mode effects | honeyjunkies

Image Source:  facilitiesscheduling.wvu.edu
Image Source: facilitiesscheduling.wvu.edu

Yet another fantastic video from Daeberethwen Arbenlow with more tips and tricks for Photoshop.

This tutorial is on using blending modes and blur to achieve different effects on your photos.

I’ve tried out all of the things she’s shown in her videos and I am thrilled with the things I’ve been able to achieve with my own photos. ūüėÄ

Source: Tutorial: Blending Modes and Blur + Blending Mode effects | honeyjunkies

Tutorial: Creating drop shadow effects on greenscreen photos – for Second Life – YouTube

Image Source:  simpleicon.com
Image Source: simpleicon.com

This is a great tutorial on how to create drop shadow effects on your green screen photos.

I’ve used this method successfully on several different photos now, and it’s completely opened up new ways of doing my photography in SL.

Rather than trying to create complete scenes in SL itself, I can take a few green screen photos and create effects using the skills I’ve learned from these tutorials.

Especially helpful for those who might not have the ability to run Ultra graphics with all the fancy shadows in SL.¬† ūüėÄ

Tutorial #9: Artiste Grouping

penguinettes do ABC

I have personally detected 6 major features for choreographers that dictate visually, movement and space centered around solo and group dancers that can be augmented by tool-featuers:

  1. Dance Sequencing Р controls local dancer motion (dance-to-dance)
  2. Formation Creation  and Transitioning Рcontrols (non in-place associations)
  3. Single-Dancer-Movement – controls global horizontal and vertical stage-space use of a single user
  4. Grouping Рcontrols local groupings (in-place associations)
  5. Couples Pairing – control pairing and synching of 2 dancers
  6. Segmentation

How these are chosen and combined seem to define the characteristics of choreography and level of sophistication. This, again, is just my own personal observation.

This tutorial discuses how the Artiste has chosed to address one of the elements. Grouping.

Grouping evolved in the Artiste from how I¬†detected RL grouping…to how people have chosen to implement it in SL. From binary-grouping in real life to custom-multiple-grouping in SL.

Artiste Grouping

There are a maximum of 4 CORE groups in the Artiste.
Group A
Group B
Group C
Group D

NOTE: As¬†soon as you provide more “types of something” than what¬†you think¬†anyone would need, someone comes along with a need for more. Aura wanted more groups for an idea she has but fortunately envisioned a solution of using Palettes to proxy new Groups.

Palettes can hold their own dance routines  up to about 20 dances. They can be triggered from autofx or from inside one of the 4 dance-sequences.

¬†So by naming Palettes with the same name, multiple Palettes can be triggered to dance their own “sequence of dances” disguised in moves that may or may not move anywhere. Triggering from inside a core sequence gives tighter sync control

An advanced method is a Palette triggering one or more other Palettes.

Meanwhile….back at the ranch…

Each group is assigned a dance sequence. 
Group A = Sequence1
Group B = Sequence2
Group C = Sequence3
Group D = Sequence4

Pretty basic.

Dancers are assigned to one group at a time

A particular assignment of groups to dancers is called a “set” or “division”; A division is simply a ¬†series of Groups that will be assigned to dancers depending on the Grouping-Method.

An advanced feature of Grouping is that the set or division can be dynamically changed at showtime midway thru a performance.

So dancers could be assigned thusly (2 couples or boys vs girls)

Division/Set 1 (couples)
Archie  = A
Anne = A
Bob = B
Brenda = B

Division/Set 2 (gender)
Archie  = A
Anne = B
Bob = A
Brenda = B

There are currently a maximum of 9 dancers per HUD so you could assign groups in a division as an example:

From 2 dancers: AC
To 9 dancers:  ABABCABAB
Or in between:  CBABC

NOTE: For completeness ¬†I want to address the issue of Artiste dancing large groups. Because we have employed HUD-2-HUD, a Master HUD can control, say, 11 Slave-HUDs. Each Slave-HUD¬†could dance 9 dancers for a total of 9×11=99 dancers + the Master’s 9 dancers for a total of 108 dancers at a time. The most avatars¬†I¬†have seen on a sim is about 103 at one time.

A second method would be to embed the dance sequence into a Palette and rez 100 Palettes. This avoids the tedium of issuing and accepting invites.

=========

Meanwhile….back at the ranch…again…

There are 3 ways to assign groupings to avatars:

For simple small groups of 2 or 3 Invit-Order might be the preferred way:

===
1 – Invite Order – this always assigns the HUD wearer to the 1st group. So for ecample if our Division is BAC then the HUD wearer would be assgined to Group B (sequence#2) and the 2nd person to accept an invite would be assigned to Group A (sequence#1), etc.

This is a quick and dirty method when you have 2 or 3 dancers in your group and say maybe only 2 groups, you the leader as group A and everyone else group B.  You can change the  Division assignment of the default assignment dynamcially by sending a Division command via *autofx

===
2 – Troupe – this hard-assigns groups to avatars by their name/key. So if Mary is assgined Group D then she will perform sequence#4 until there is a GroupSetChange issued during mid-show. Mary can have more than one Group assigned but only ever one at a time.

Example:   Mary,(uuid),DBDA

Here we set an elaborate scheme to allow for 4 DivisionGroupChange alterations during our routine. Mary is assigned to Group D at the start then when DivisionGroupChange is 2, she will dance Group B. DivisionGroupChange 3 she would dance Group D again, and DivisionGroupChange 4 would be Group A. DivisionGroupChange is the command sent via *autofx to change the division assignments dynamically.

The good things about this method are:
1) Independent of invite-order
2) Does NOT require Palettes
3) If Palettes ARE used for other needs, Group assignments are unaffected. This allows for Sit-2-Sit Palette transfers without worry of dance-groups being affected.

===
3 – Palette – this method is probably what you are used to. Group assignments based upon your relative position in the ‘line-up’. Each Palette has a letter in its name, A thru H. Divisions are assigned to those letters respectively. Assuming Palettes are laid out left to right A thru H.

So if you had 5 dancers and a Custom Group Division of say  CBABC, then Palette A would be assigned to Group C. Palette B would be assigned to Group B. Palette C would be assigned to Group A, etc.

ABCDE = Palettes
CBABC = Division

Here is a link to a video Aura: Easy As ABC РThe Penguinettes
She uses CBABC as the Division and you can plainly see the 3 groups working independently mid-way thru the video.

And here is a write-up from Aura herself on the making of the video:
As Easy as ABC

did that demonstrates the Division CBABC. I forget which method, Troupe or Palette, that was used in this video but i recall we tested both in rehearsal satisfactorily.   UPDATE: She used the Troupe method.

You can change Palette-Division assignments dynamically for the Palette method as well by using the DivisionPaletteChange *autofx command.

 

There is another special command that simplifies group-swapping.

Advanced

ABOrder can flip the assignment of dance-sequences.

ABOrder = AB ¬†(Default) means GroupA dances to Sequence1 and GroupB dances to Sequence2. But if you send an ABOrder dynamically in prior to the next dance change and its value is ABOrder= BA….then GroupA will dance sequence2 and GroupB will dance sequence1.

Same thing can ge done for Groups C & D.   ABOrder = CD and ABOrder = CD.  Of course you could accomplish the same by changing the division accordingly using the dynamic division commands learned above.

===
Also new is a notification that an invite failed, even if the invitee accepted. It happens. While it won’t tell you who failed, you will know that you need to re-invite someone.

You can use the Rollcall to see who the HUD has successfully accepted and figure out who needs to be reinvited. There are also 2 other methods as double safety-checks as to which avatars the dancer-scripts believe the groups are assigned to. Rarely will you need this but they can be helpful diagnostics when an invitation fails.

===
I hope you are now more comfortable knowing Artiste has a Grouping solution and are a bit more familiar with how it is implemented.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tutorial: Using blending modes and blur tools to create softer and more ethereal photos | honeyjunkies

Image Source:  simpleicon.com
Image Source: simpleicon.com

Another fabulous tutorial from Daeberethwen Arbelow on using Photoshop.

Learn how to use blending modes and blur tools to create gorgeous soft effects on your photos.

Source: Tutorial: Using blending modes and blur tools to create softer and more ethereal photos | honeyjunkies