June 23rd, 2009
|07:21 pm - What causes Lag.|
Lots of people have been blogging about this really informative article that finally explains what causes lag, what doesn't and what we can do to minimise it.
But I want a permanent link on my blog too - so here it is:
If you haven't read it yet, you really should, if only so we can tell the ARC Nazis to shut up and read the article.
June 20th, 2009
|03:10 pm - I'm 777 days old and I have a new viewer.|
Dunan and I are trying out a new viewer made by the owner of the Insilico sims called the Gemini viewer. It's great - in fact if had support for RLV features (the Restrained Life Viewer) it would be perfect. I have a pugin for my mystitool that make use of some RLV features and it would be nice to have that work too. I'm currently using Coolviewer but Gemini is really good.
One of the new many new features in Gemini is an inbuilt radar (one less HUD to wear and one less script to run) that tells you the age of the person - Dunan is 877 days old and I am 777. The radar also can operate at three ranges - sim-wide, your draw distance or chat range.
If you download it and give it a try - just be warned you might have to spend a few minutes in the prefernces tab to set it up. I found the default text size was too small and increased it a bit and I also had to turn on the row of buttons at the bottom of the screen. Dunan likes it without them though.
June 18th, 2009
|10:47 am - Child avatars will be allowed on the adult continent?|
I don't often find myself agreeing with Prokofy but for this one I do.
It seems that the Lindens have said that it is OK for child avatars to go to the new adult continent Zindra and allowed them to dance among giant prim penises at some opening party.
I'm certainly not comfortable with that idea at all. Isn't the new adult continent the place where all the public sex-play will be? Where all the public violence games will be? The place where the BDSM'ers can parade their naked slaves down the streets if they want to? I haven't been there but that what I understand its for - and allowing a child avatar to be seen/photographed near giant genitals seems an appalling mistake to me.
I do not think that Zindra should allow child avatars on it.
June 7th, 2009
|08:06 pm - Tasteful bum pictures.|
There is a meme going around that I actually like - it started here http://marnixmoocher.blogspot.com/2009/06/creating-monster.html
The idea is to take a nude but tasteful picture of your bum and post it somewhere.
This is mine. Second Life seems determined that I should have a square bottom so I had to spend ages trying to make it look halfway natural.
June 3rd, 2009
|12:02 pm - Once in a lifetime|
In fifteen minutes it will be 12.15 on the 3rd day of the 6th month in the 9th year, or 3/6/9/12/15 (and even /18 at 18 seconds).
Wow that's ....something. But something that won't come for another 1000 years.
May 31st, 2009
|10:02 am - Recent themes|
Each week Dunan and I take turns to choose a theme for the week. We decided to do this as a way to keep us looking through our inventories and wearing things that were starting to be forgotten and so far its been great fun. The theme can be anything from the specific like gypsies and pirates to rather open ended ones like the week I chose "black".
I just thought I would post some of my themes so I don't forget them.
This week's theme was our red & black skin from Sin Skins. I came up with several sets that fitted the theme but most people seemed to like the spider suit from Chaospire more. I can't imagine why .
We've were Gypsies last week.
and before that we were cyber-angels although in the only picture I have Dunan doesn't have her wings on (we had just bought these outfits from Graves (mine was a rez-day present from a friend).
and before that we were Pirate Queens.
It was a while ago but we even spent a week as steampunk cats. It was surprising how many people liked them.
May 27th, 2009
|06:52 pm - How I made my "busting out" pictures.|
When I posted this picture on my Flickr and Koinup accounts I was asked "how did I make it?" which was a surprise because I don't think I know much. But I'm happy to share with anyone who is interested in making their own because I look at so many pictures and wonder " how did they do that?", so we all need to share our tips and tricks.
I love these kinds of picture because they seem to bridge the gap between your second life and your first life (RL?). The funny thing is though that this is the second one of these I have done and it was by far the easier to do too. This one that I did was of us on Dunan's bike was my first and I still think it's better.
So how did I do it? I started by reading a few online tutorials and there are a lot out there so if you need more detail than I can give here, then Google is your friend. But there are 3 basic steps:
- Take a suitable picture of your subject
- Do the same for the computer you want the first picture to come out of, and
- Create the illusion. (that sounds better than boring old 'edit the first picture' ).
Step 1. In order to be able to look like it is coming out of a computer screen your picture has to have a subject that has some "length" so part of it can appear inside the computer screen and part can extend out. This is the picture I started with.
That gun is almost leaping out of the screen already :)
It all starts when you take the picture in SL and I've learned some great tips from the experts on Flickr (and in particular from Codebastard Redgrave) on how to take better pictures.
The first tip is to turn off the "high res snapshot" option in the viewer and instead take the picture at a resolution at least 3 times your screen resolution and save it to your hard drive. My monitor is 1920x1200 so I take my pictures in "Ultra" at 5760x3600, but I know Codie uses 6000x4000.
The second tip is never ever, ever, use the default Windlight setting. It's so ugly I wonder why it's even there and the first thing I do when I log on is change it. Here are links to some better ones which mean that you will never need a face light again:
[Update: Ana Luetetia has made her windlight presets available for download too. Get them here http://analutetia.com/blog/sharing-windlight-presets/ ]
and if you aren't sure what these are - please read this post first (and there are more links to other presets in the comments) : http://faerie-h.livejournal.com/25096.html
So open up your picture in Photoshop and do all your "fixing" - that is smudging and blurring of prim seams, and liquifying any lumps and bumps away, and any other things you want to do to your subject. Do it all before you move on. Then flatten the picture down to one layer and save it.
Step 2 is to get your picture of the computer and do any fixes to it that it needs (I cut mine out away from the background and then put a blank dark background in its place).
It's important that the subject and the computer both face in the same direction but I couldn't find a picture of a computer that faced the same way as my original picture so I went back and flipped my picture horizontally (flipping the computer would have put the Compaq label in backwards).
Step 3 is when the fun starts.
Open the first picture, select all, copy and then close it. (In Photoshop that is Control+A, Control+C, Control+W).
Then paste that picture (Control+V) into/onto your computer picture. I'll call it the "subject" from now on. It's probably much bigger and will completely cover the computer picture so adjust the transparancy of the layer down to about 30% so you can clearly see the computer through this new layer.
Then use Image>Transform>Scale (hold down the shift key to keep the proportions) and reduce the size of the picture (never ever make it bigger) . Leave it a bit bigger than you want it to end up though, because the next step makes it smaller again, and then move it around to roughly where you want it
Now we have to distort the subject picture using Image>Transform>Distort. What we want to do is make the back half of the picture (the bit that will be inside the computer screen) smaller than the front bit that will be sticking out (like a trapezoid shape?) so it creates a sense of perspective. Things that are closer are bigger and get smaller as they get further away.
When it's all where you want it to be, it's time to zoom right in and start cutting away all the parts of the subject picture we don't want. I use a combination of the trapezoid looking tool to cut away straight lines and the eraser tool to erase along curves. Go slowly and take small bits away at a time. Save often! I also use Control+J to make new layers periodically so I don't lose everything when I make a mistake and erase too much.
Then restore the transparancy of your subject layer to 100% and hey presto. But spend some time looking along all the edges to make it all fits together OK.
In the picture of us on a bike, I also drew in some shadows on the keyboard to make the bike look more "real". I just made a new layer and hand painted them in with a big soft brush using the airbrush tool on about 3%.
One more tip - I didn't know where to put this is in so I left it to the end, but a really neat way to sharpen your pictures is using the "High Pass" filter. After you've done all your smoothing and blending and liquifying and any other fixing of your picture, make a new layer (Control+J) and go Filters>Other>High Pass and set the slider to 4 pixels. The result will be grey and weird looking but watch what happens when you set the blending mode to "Overlay". And because it is on its own layer you can erase any parts you don't want sharpened.
Have fun, and please share your tips with me. :)
May 5th, 2009
|01:58 am - It's my Rez Day.|
Today (4th of May) was my rez-day and Dunan bought me an ancient dragon avatar. I'm on the left in green and Dunan is in red. Christi, the Lady of the Isle of Faerun, was left feeling very small so we took her for a flight around the island.
You can click on the picture to enlarge it (twice).
April 5th, 2009
|06:12 pm - Fashionsfor Faeries - Part 6. New Skins|
I have two new really wonderful faerie skins to show you. One is rather expensive (but oh so worth it) and one is totally free, but you will have to spend an hour or two stalking the fortune teller to get it :)
Both feature full-body art that is so nice the creators have included matching underwear that looks like it is part of the skin so you can wear nothing else and be PG. I hope more skin makers follow this trend, (is 2 a trend?). A great way to look wonderful and be low lag at the same time.
Which one to start with? Ummm, the expensive one:
Selos Dae who owns Trap skins just released a series of skins that he calls Koi and are like nothing I have ever seen before. They turn you into a walking piece of art. There are (from memory) 16 different skins in this series and it's $1500L for a pack of two (I said they weren't cheap). But look how incredible they are:
Please click on the picture to enlarge it. In this picture Dunan on the left is wearing "Forest" which is primarily greens and yellows, and I am wearing the multcoloured "RB". We are both wearing the underwear that comes with them so there are no naughty bits exposed. It's just as well Faeries are immune to the cold.
Now the freebie skin. Which has to be one of the best (public) freebies I have ever got.
This wonderful skin is a freebie from the Fallen Gods Fortune Teller. We are also wearing the additional underwear that comes with the skins and also the branch accessories from the lucky chair there. Your letter is sure to come up while you ask people to try their luck with you. If you don't know how the Fortune Tellers work, there are two seats in front of it and when two avatars sit together the Fortune Teller tells them what their "Mystical Connection" percentage is, and if it is 100% both avatars get the prize. The catch is the Fortuner Teller remembers what your percentage is with anyone you have sat with before and always give you the same result if you sit again. So you have to keep trying with different people until you get a 100% match.
Fallen Gods is at:
|05:45 pm - My first attempt at Rei Ayanami|
I got two great suggestions from the Secondlifers group for Rei's jumpsuit and in the end I went with the less authentic but really really well made suit from Graves because the other one dated back to 2006 and things made then cannot compete with the quality that exists now.
I'm not totally happy with the hair but it's the best I've found so far (in fact it was a freebie I have had for ages and it was white hair that I tinted blue). If you know of a better option please tell me!
You can click on the picture to enlarge it.
and here is the real Rei :)