Tuesday, 30 March 2010

SaveMe, save my sanity....

Yes, SaveMe Oh has another art show, and it is priceless......

Impressed by the doodles of our supreme leader, (which reminded me of stuff I did when I was about 14), and particularly impressed by the following these invoked, Saveme has the ArtWhores MoneyRun on show ...here...

Make sure you get the freebies from the box and wear them...it is hysterically funny....

Full details of the Banning and Unbanning of our delightful anarchist are to be found reported on her blog here.

.....still annoyed by a certain french bunch of pirats.... Saveme continues her critique of SL art on the next floor up...

...and Aliz, wearing a doodlely type of outfit....(one said "I have been doodled").... pictured here at a mock version of Dan Coyotes hyperfermentation retrospective on the next floor up from Idiots..... make sure you try the animations...I Am Animation...:))

....now...I have already said a load of good stuff about SaveMe, I think "My art is better than your art" is a complete classic.... but once again she has shown us just how important it is to have a Saveme in SL.

She is a thorn in the side or pure delight, depending on how up your own arse you are....


Saturday, 27 March 2010

Celestial Elf

Well, I was asked by Celestial if he could film on my beach and, of course, I was happy to let him. The Druid's Dream is the result....hope you enjoy it.


Thursday, 25 March 2010

Scottius Polke

There are about 12 good photos I have of this build, but I figured it would just spoil your surprise when you get there, and, believe me you have to go, you will love it.

Scottius Polke, along with Alizarin Goldflake and I don't use photographed textures... there are many other I'm sure, though not enough yet.... and I have often stated quite clearly before why photographed textures are a poor alternative. For those new to these pages, or haven't been paying attention (I may be asking questions later so take notes).... We are used to seeing photos and printed images at a resolution of 300, but the web and SL are all using a resolution of 72. The result is gonna look cheap and nasty...so...don't do it. :))))

Why drag poor images of a "real" world into something that could be so much more...????

In his own words....

"The process of creating Lunamaruna has spanned several months, and could not have been completed without the help of the following people:

Zachh Cale: For curating and generously lending art space for this build, as well as being Sounding Board and Gentle Critic.
Kimba Sideways: Prim and Texture Aligner Extraordinaire, and Idea Maven like none otter, er other.
Alexx Fenstalker: Bringing the island to life with Amazing Animations
Desdemona Enfield: Most Ingenious in all things scriptly..."

...just pop along to see Scottius's latest build.... here.

There's a narrative there , if you want to find it....it's not rammed down your throat, nor is it compulsory for your viewing pleasure.... I personally let my eyes find what they like and enjoy. ... enjoy they did.

This would be the sort of town/ village I would live in, given the chance.

This is the SL I expected to find when I first logged on nearly 3 years ago, and...

..this is the sort of build I would use to promote what is possible in SL instead of those nasty images that appear on my screen when I log on.

Otterly fantastic (the poor puns are obligatory)...


Wednesday, 24 March 2010

M Linden...... UWA first

Well.... there are more than a few of us who knew that Mark Linden was artist but it is a pleasant surprise to see that he is actually gonna show his work in SL.

Once again Jayjay has managed to find new art in what is becoming, or has become, the best show on the grid.....any way here's the press release.....

"What: M Linden's Personal Art Show - "Doodle Art"

When: Saturday, March 27th, 2010 at 3 PM SLT (US Pacific)

Where: Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery, University of Western Australia (UWA)

If you follow Second Life Arts, you know that the SL Art Community is full of surprises. Today we are going to share with you one of the best kept SL secrets... [not that well kept....but....]

Linden Lab CEO Mark Kingdon (known in Second Life as M Linden) is an ARTIST! ....[those aren't my capitals]

Now that the secret is out, the University of Western Australia (UWA) is proud to announce the grand opening of M Linden's first solo art exhibition in Second Life. This truly special event will showcase virtual editions of sixteen drawings selected from M's collection of doodles as well as two SL sculptures created specifically for this show.

Machinima, Doodle Art: The Art of M. Linden - By Larkworthy Antfarm

* M Linden RL Art Show at the University of Western Australia *
In addition to this exciting SL event, the University of Western Australia is thrilled to announce a real life showing of M Linden's work at the UWA campus on Friday, March 26th.

The RL event will be hosted by award winning West Australian artist Len Zuks. Len has collaborated with Miso Susanowa to breathe a fresh second life into his sculptures, 'Megabyte' and 'Lil Eizenstein', in a first ever RL/SL collaboration between American and West Australian artists. His RL sculptures will stand alongside M Lindens works!

Machinima, Lil Eizenstein - By Chantal Harvey

Machinima, Megabyte - By Chantal Harvey

Commenting on M's works, Len said:
"It is not 10 minutes since my eyes first beheld an image of one of Mark Kingdon's artworks. I had been in discussion with Jayjay for several weeks on this anticipatory moment. If I had seen any other illustration, it would have been of a lesser impact. The unexpected image and the subsequent revealing insights was an unequivocal surprise. It is as if I had bypassed the artist's eyes and had a glimpse into the mechanism of the artist's mind. Wow! " [/me wonders what Len is on, and can I get some...]

Blog post on Lil Eizenstein - By Miso Susanowa

Blog post on Megabyte - By Miso Susanowa

The Curator: White Lebed
UWA Owner & Co-Host: JayJay Zifanwe
The Gallery builders: The Slingshot, Nyx Breen
Logo by: Miso Susanowa
Promotional Machinimas: Chantal Harvery and Larkworthy Antfarm
RL Host at UWA: Len Zuks"



Monday, 22 March 2010

Best of Soror, the show....

The following photos were taken by Lalo Telling who popped over and was very trigger happy with the camera, luckily, as I was pretty busy chatting.

I put some of my flowers on shelves to show a sort of development from my early ones through to my most recent and, on a separate plinth my first and latest creations.

This is the orchid that won a prize at UWA last month for the best unscripted build.....

...and I put up some shelves to show my low prim trees, here from my first through to my most recent, all 3 prims or under....and...surprisingly popular as bonsai..:))

This is the Bubble Tree, it's my 94th Ancient One and on show on the same platform as my 4th. This one is quite a prim-eater tho... nice at midnight however....

Nur and Lalo admiring the view...

...and Oberon looking mystical....

Marko, such a great avi, came by and was very complimentary, as usual....

I was v happy to see betty...AKA little Bee, as we haven't hooked up for a while...

Heheheh.... looks like Typote and Scottius are bowled over by Mirja's beauty, but they said they were just tired....

Yooden ("it's not easy being green") Bing had come over earlier in the day which was great, again someone I had not seen in a while....

...but actually there were loads of people who came over and I didn't manage to photograph more than these few.

Snickers came at Lalo's suggestion and was kind enough to blog the event...here...

...and Lalo, who's thoughtful blog I always enjoy, was equally kind about my work...here.. better photos than mine too..:))

Anyway, it's all down to Juanita's generous hosting that the show will be around for a month or thereabouts, so do pop over if you have some time...


Saturday, 20 March 2010

The Best of Soror

soo....a new show, thanks to Juanita of Virtual Treeline Galleries.

I have set out some of my newer work along with some very early stuff, like my first prim and my first flower, and tried to put these things alongside my most recent textures, trees, flowers and prims. The Best of Soror, like a compilation CD....:)))

It's really to show an outline of what I have been up to for the last three years......... not only of personal interest cos I think it shows what new builders can do if they keep at something and develop it.......hehhehe.... funny to see my first sculptie, it's really crap, but I have also a shelf of my best ones too.

I have also shown some of the stages in my search for the ultimate low prim tree, a sort of chronological arrangement of my flowers and my most recent textures.

There are some very old trees upstairs, including the 4th Ancient One, alongside The Bubble Tree which is my 94th Ancient, and downstairs is my very latest tree...called "Tree Sisters", the 95th Ancient One.

Anyway....the show starts at 2 PM SLT Sunday, 21st March at The Virtual Treeline Gallery...

Virtual Treeline is an interesting project and one worth supporting, you can read a bit about it here or talk to Juanita Deharo, who is a very good artist and an all-round Good Egg.

Do pop over if you have time, it's next to Alizarin Goldflake's place where we had a great party last night to celebrate her new gallery ....the layout is very cool and the sort of thing I love to see....room to cam around and plenty of space given to her lovely pieces.

Colemarie Soleil played live last night and unfortunately the sim was full and it was my bed time..... no suprise here, then.... she's such a popular person as well as having a great voice.

Ah well, let's hope you do this more frequently Colie....


Friday, 19 March 2010

God, Max and I... and other stuff

Well, after a fairly good run of weather here in my little corner of Google Earth, it's turned sour and wet and generally grotty, tho, obviously not as bad as Queensland where things may be closed down for a while.

Well, it seems to me that God has let me down, and the Holy Ghost and worst of all, he's let himself down. It's not funny and it's not clever.

Now, this has come to be a Second Life issue because of Max, my new machine.... when I was grinding my slow way around SL on Baby Mac the little graphix thingies were hot enough to warm up my keyboard to such a degree that I could have baked a pizza on my lappy. Now, however, Max just purrs, (although my neighbour complained yesterday that my computer has been interfering with his radio signal (he doesn't know about Max) and I am wondering if the street lights dim when I turn him on in the morning) ......he doesn't even approach room temperature and certainly isn't breaking into a sweat .....leaving me with a freezing cold right hand. (there ya go..more RL info to go on that future profile that will leave us no alternative but disclosure...)..soo...what's the point of this little chat..well, ..

...to coin a recently critised phrase......"There is nothing to stop.."....Mac producing a little electric blanket for my mouse. I need a winter mouse, clad in fur and a summer mouse in ice-cool aluminium, otherwise I am gonna be sitting here next winter looking like a demented Michael Jackson lookie-likee with one hand clad in a wooly glove.

In other (equally important) news.... Zha's comprehensive piece on the new viewer says about everything you could say on this new turn in our lives......(no, I didn't read it all either)...and...it seems from Q Linden that...there will be no choice of viewers..like it or lump it... check out his comments ...here..

Interestingly, in regard to my recent rant about megas, Q Linden makes a point of telling us that LL has used the equivalent of 50 years work to produce this new UI...so.....that just goes to confirm my suspicions that mega's are possible but the will is lacking, not the expertise...

...and...I must say, much as I am really very positive about the stability of the grid and the amazing things we have created on it, that the new "beautiful people" Second Life advertising is a major mistake in my eyes for hundreds of previously blogged reasons.

As disclosure becomes more and more the desired outcome for financial reasons and the objectors are marginalised and ridiculed (the normal process according to Naom Chomsky) a migration of older residents who enjoy their partial anonymity is an obvious outcome. Beautiful typists will then be the order of the day. The relief that many of us feel, being able to socialise on a bad-hair-day/year/life will disappear...or.... people will simply post very old photos on their profiles..or...one's of celebs..

As it seems to me that society is pretty sick, (in that it is what you look like rather than what you accomplish that counts) it seems to me a mistake to use this sickness as a main marketing compaign philosophy, but... what do I know...


Wednesday, 17 March 2010


Well, not much to add to that really.... just...oooo.....

I can actually see what I have built now, so that's pretty interesting, and, standing in my workshop I got an fps that went up to 60....wow....

anyway...I have got most everything working on it except my iWork software which my new computer (called Max) looked down his nose at and said..."I don't think so..." think he may be a bit snobby when it comes to 2004 software...oh well...

Everything works together too, I can have Gimp, SL, Blender and music playing at the same time which is gonna be very good. I used to have to log off of SL before I opened anything else before.... and I couldn't play a uTube thingy while in SL, so gonna have to do some experimenting .

... so...I have a new show at Treeline starting on Sunday and it's gonna be a sort of retrospective. ..... and Saturday Aliz is having a party at her re-modelled studio.... before then I have some weeding to do inbetween playing with Max.


Monday, 15 March 2010

mega prims

Well, I was, as usual 'listening in' to the chat on Builder's Brewery and the subject of mega prims came up. Not for the first time I heard a number of Old-Wives-Tales about how megas cause lag etc, etc.

So, I thought I would try and get to the bottom of it having lived and built with megas for over two years now and, with a 128 graphix card, I, more than many others, should be a fair judge of the lagging effect of megas.

I went to the LL webpage, (sorry, silly me, they are all Wiki now, not webpages), here... and, under the subject title ...

Prim density and lag

The following was written
"Using a mega prim instead of multiple regular prims (for a wall, a floor, etc), decreases the number of faces which need to be drawn by the viewer (or, depending on how "smart" is your graphic driver, the number of occlusions to calculate so to avoid drawing hidden faces) can be reduced dramatically. "..
.. OK, so rather dodgy grammar, but the point is, as I suspected, that there is no known relationship between lag and megas, they can possibly reduce lag.

but.... there may be downsides....

1. "Very large mega prims will not be rendered at all sometimes by the Viewer. The only approach to fix this would be to increase draw distance, therefore increasing lag. " ... sorry, Boys, that is complete BS. The draw distance I use is never dependent on the presence or absence of megas. That is only ever going to be a building issue, never a day-to-day one.

2. "Some problems with mega prims are obviously related to their huge size. They can reach far beyond parcel borders and disturb neighbors with their presence. Residents might not even recognize that it is a mega prim which is hindering them, since they might be inside the mega prim and therefor won't be able to see it." ....sorry...I'm not buying that excuse either. That point relates solely to very mega megas, not to anything under 50 meters in size.

In fact, the objections and excuses are ALL related to huge megas, there is, as far as I can see no good reason why LL has dragged their feet on resolving this issue.

Other grids have scalable prims.

So...the history is such.....

"In a Town Hall discussion at December 20th 2006, Linden Lab announced that they were going to allow the use of mega prims on private estates."

It was further discussed in 2007, 2008 and, even last year 2009 there was talk about owners of 'private estates' being allowed to use them, again...boringly enough, the huge megas were used as an excuse...

"While Linden Lab is still not supporting or endorsing the use of mega prims, developer Andrew Linden talked about future plans on what he called the "liberation" of mega prims. He is planning to
Allow parcel owners/managers to move (or maybe just return) objects that overlap their parcels.
Provide UI feedback to the Resident when moving their objects, indicating whether they overlap neighboring parcels.
Maybe provide real-time enforcement of parcel permissions. That is, allow parcel owners to set a paranoid bit “I don’t want anyone, or these specific people, from putting stuff on my parcel”
He noted that "once that is done then perhaps we will allow you to make prims/objects as large as you want as long as they fit on your parcel."

Now, that is just not good enough.

There is nothing to stop LL from increasing the scalable size of megas bit by bit. The next viewer could easily allow a 12x12 meter prim....the following viewer a 15x15 meter prim...etc...etc.

Bettina Tizzy has been campaigning for years on the NPIRL blog for scalable prims with no success. I will not be starting a crusade, I have better things to do with my time..... but, I do have to say that I think it is totally negligent of LL to dismiss, ignore, and sweep this topic under the carpet.

There is no excuse.

Shame on you, Boys.


Thursday, 11 March 2010

Doubt, hope and, eventually, commitment.

Well, it's been a week that has seen me locked in the horns of a dilemma concerning SL.

On the negative side... well.....the whole prospect of LL chasing some stupid user number idea thro a comparison with StupidVille and FoolFarm ... and the bean-counters (Miso's words) aiming to flatten SL into a web-experience for fools...that's enough to continue my high degree of mistrust re. the business model that the Boys are following. Then, reading Dale's post concerning how horrible the first hour experience still is in SL...well... that was enough to have me seriously wondering about my planned mega expense, i.e. a computer that could deal with SL demands on it's graphix capabilities.

I did, nearly 3 years ago now, sort of wander into SL on an ordinary laptop, never thinking I would become a "gamer", well... need a gamer's type machine.

My first financial commitment to SL was the purchase of land and some few shares at the Stock Exchange. The value of both shares and land have fallen faster than an escort's panties and I began doubting I would ever recoup the cost of a good machine through the sale of mushrooms. I'd have to sell 20,000 mushrooms to do that, on top of the tier (which is basically bleeding the economy of SL dry).

....and then....

Wizzy had me pop over to see some stuff she and Thoth Jantzen were doing together, and I tped back to Thoth's to see (above) his place... :))

Well, it was just another piece of good art, but, seeing it at that time made me realise something very important. There is no going back.

Lalo also recently talked about culture, something I have been going on about for a while, and I am now pretty sure that, whatever a mess or success the Boys make of SL, there is a group of talented and innovative people who will be creating in 3D for decades to come. Transworlders, these artists will not let the bean-counters rule, they will (we will) simply move somewhere where the 'air' is clean, and building is encouraged and facilitated.

It is a culture, and we will carry that culture with us whatever grid we work on.

So..... I have ordered a new computer capable of running a small hospital (Miso again) and am eagerly awaiting its arrival on the 16th.

It's a heavily discounted Mac Pro, (09) Quad Core with a Nvidia GT120 512, probably the weakest card anyone could ever choose to put in a Pro machine, but, hey... at that discount I can buy a new one.
... and an iiyama 24" screen. So....now, even when I have my invent open and am IMing, I should have enough screen left to see where I'm walking.

My eyesight will also improve no doubt (from the current 64m) so I might even be able to see the sim I'm building... good times ahead....

I'm now committed, or should be.....


Saturday, 6 March 2010

Textures in Second Life......Workshop 5

Well, this is an addition to my previous texture workshops which are very basic. I thought it was time I shared a few more tricks to help get people started on making their own textures for sculpted prims and, of course, the same tricks apply to regular prims.

My previous offerings are available ....

No. 1 here
No. 2 here
No. 3 here
No. 4 here

In this one I thought I would go into the normal ways I make a texture seemless. That means that the two sides or edges tie in perfectly, sometimes all 4 edges need to match up, it depends so much on how it will be used.

Let’s start with a painting, any form of pattern making would do, spraypaint Photoshop or Gimp, or any physical paper colouring instrument could be used, pencil, crayon etc.
So....here are the steps for the easiest seemless tex...

1. scan the painting or drawing onto your computer.

2. increase the contrast, or posterise, or generally clean up, however you like.

3. in filters, under Map in Gimp, select..”make seemless”....scale the image to 512x512 or 1024x1024, and upload to SL as a TGA or PNG file, whatever you prefer.

the downside to this is of course, that with a pattern you loose some or the distinctive features of your original design as pixels get thrown around the page by the filter....Although you can start to work on this further to enhance and improve what you have lost.

..but...there are things you can do....

..increase the contrast and posterise....

...use 'Edge Detect' (Sobel)....

...and Invert and generally bump up the saturation a bit...... and you have an interesting tex.

Now....another method...

Repeat steps 1 and 2 shown above....

then ....3 ... make a duplicate layer.

4. Transform, Flip Horizontal that layer, and make 50% Transparent.

5. Form a new Layer from Visible. (all these names are from Gimp, PS may have slightly different names for the same idea.) and your new image is now symmetrical left/right.

6. Repeat the process but Flip Vertical, ( Transform, Flip Vertical that layer, and make 50% Transparent) and your texture is now symmetrical left/right and above/below. (That's what a seemless texture means.)

and....you can go further...

I would suggest you use Emboss filter rather than bump mapping in SL, you will have a far better result and more control....this is how I do it..

7. make a duplicate layer and choose Emboss from the filters. You will have to play around with the various tools you have there, but my aim (remembering that less is more) is to create a silver coloured embossed image with a slight depth... fool about and see..

8. reduce the transparency on this layer to 50%

9. form a new Layer from Visible, and, opening your colour manipulation thingy, bump up the Saturation to 100%..

Now, that's a nice tex and one you can go on to make into an alpha if you need to.

One more method.... and one I employ when I don't want any loss of definition from my original painting..is to 'butterfly' the image....it's done like this...

1. copy your image onto a new (transparent) file twice as wide as the original..(.and twice as tall)

2. duplicate layer and flip horizontal...

3. duplicate layer and flip vertical....

need to crop a bit to make the white band down the centre a little less obvious... and maybe Emboss....

Please note the deliberate mistake (heheheh...liar) of the slight black line down each side of the tex. This line is formed thro the Emboss filter and is hidden in Gimps default setting where the layer boundary is highlighted with a stupid dotted line. It obviously needs to be removed.....

like so...then...maybe alter the hue a bit...

..and...if that looks OK, you can be sure that Invert will look good too..

so....no excuses now....get creating. From this one texture, thro an imaginative use of Gimp or PS, you can create a dozen useful texs that will last you years, you'll find, often, that they look great on things you had never imagined doing when you first made them...

Get a few hundred of these and you will have a distinctive style....



Thursday, 4 March 2010

Mac Stuff

As 38% of my readers use a Mac, my PC based friends will have to excuse this rather biased post.

It all comes from my online window-shopping that I am currently engaged in as I am lusting after a new machine a few weeks before I can actually afford one, or, to be more precise, before my credit card can afford one.

It seems that the new Mac Pro, and possibly others, will be announced within a fortnight, from what the Mac watchers (MacRumors and HardMacare) are saying.

According to HardMac the next generation of processors will be...Intel Xeon Core i7 Hexa Core, yep, 6 core, also known as Gulftown...and this new 6 core processor will be exclusive to Mac for a few weeks, possibly a couple of months it is rumoured.

Now, I am not a geek (i.e. I don't understand much), but from what I do understand this won’t make any difference to me as it seems that it is professional video makers who will benefit most as most of the software that could take advantage of 6 core hasn’t been written yet....but... tests apparently show it to be "50%" faster.... lol

It has already tho started to send prices on the Old Dual Core down to a slightly less ridiculous level ... i.e. Lasky’s are offering a £240 reduction on the Apple Store book price for the standard Mac Pro...... and I am hopeful of further reductions......that's why I'm interested..:)))

Now, whether the new Macs will be able to be fitted with the new Radeon HD5870 as an upgrade option seems open to debate, I understand it is a really power hungry chip..... and whether the new ’basic’ model will upgrade from the rather poor Nvidia GT120 to the hyper-fast GTX 480 is impossible as it is over £400... more likely the GT220 I am told.

But one thing is for sure, according to all the blog comments on geeky posts, that the days when the iMac out-performed the Mac Pro are due (if consumers are heeded) to end.

The date is believed to be March 16th, so ....more news then, then.


Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Mass Stupidity

There has been lots of talk this week after the release of the new viewer about mass uptake of SL and other virtual worlds, like this is the great goal for us all.

SL has been compared to StupidFarm and FoolVille on Facebook and generally come off worst because more people play stupid games than will ever enjoy SL, apparently.

"Virtual World Expert".... hmm.....now there's a claim to make about yourself, or, actually, anyone...... Ralph Koster has a view, taken up by NWN, that SL is dying because it's not stupid enough for mass uptake. What a shame..

Now, the most popular TV programmes are things I wouldn't watch if you paid me (well,......not quite true, but you would have to pay me to watch...), and the most popular of our newspapers are complete crap from front page to last.

When has popularity ever spawned quality?

Do the majority of people visit the Tate Gallery?? oh...so that means the Tate is dying too, I guess.... more people go to MacDonalds.

I am at a total loss. Why, when and how did mass-uptake of a cultural or social product become the Holy Grail?

If, as an artist I wanted to sell paintings, I would paint fluffy kitties...... authors would write crappy soppy love stories.... and sculptors would do horses and dogs in bronze.

Anyone who thinks that the public knows best is a fool, and pandering to "everyone" simply reduces everything to the lowest common denominator..... mass stupidity.


Monday, 1 March 2010

UWA, people's choice.

Every month UWA has one award which is chosen by you...well.... only if you go and look...

There are 70 entries, this month, and everyone is worth a look and some are worth two looks. I know it takes a bit of time and some people might think they are too busy to go see...well... they are wrong.

I don't know of any show in SL that is more worth visiting, for a number of reasons..... firstly, you don't have to look at twenty pieces by the same artist (phew), secondly, you see work by people you never heard of, and lastly, it's a real source of inspiration... Probably more reasons too...:))

Sharni Azalee, wow, now here's someone who can texture, thank the gods, absolutely beautifully crafted piece, thoughtful, original and a pleasure to the eye.... called "Making Love'.

Feathers can turn you into an Angel...:))

Samara Borkotron...wow... now my graphix card, as I have bemoaned before is not quite up to this one, but it is a stunning piece, well, pieces actually, not quite sure which was which, but as they are sooo brilliantly Australian...ly....textured....well...I loved them both.

FeeWee Ling's piece last month was wonderful and, this month it is even more wonderful. I thoroughly enjoyed it.....being rescued by a hunky robot...soo cool.

...and a nice piece of Steampunk by Atomic Gaffer, something for everyone.....

There are a number of so-called immersive pieces there too, but Aliz's Night Light is, in my opinion, streets ahead of the rest. She really is a Texture Queen...

Now...obviously these are just the tip of the iceberg....do pop along and make time to wander round...you have a week...