On the Value of Friendship…

“The connections we make can define our lives, and learning how to choose which people we invite into our lives is worthy of the deepest thought.”(1)

For the longest time in Second Life I kept to myself. I didn’t really put myself out there and try to meet anybody or start a friendship. I guess because I wasn’t sure what I was really doing or where I was going with my time in world. I kept myself at a distance because I was distracted but also because I was worried.

Alicia's New Years Eve EVE party
I’m not really a social butterfly or a party girl. I live a quiet second life because a lot of the time, I am simply working or I am logged in, but tabbed out. People will message me and sometimes I don’t get back for hours, either because I have forgotten I am logged in or I am absorbed in something I am doing. I always feel terrible for that. It takes a REALLY patient and understanding person to deal with my long in world silences. And some days are just hard for me. Some days social interactions are filled with a minefield of insecurities and paranoia and stress. I go over every conversation I have had that day and remember every word and hate myself for them. I physically cringe and have to try to breathe through moments of sheer panic and try to go through different logic techniques to talk myself down from the anxiety attack.

When you meet someone who can deal with all that and be ok with your constant bouts of awkward and long thousand topic rambles, suddenly, you feel less of all that about yourself. So one day, I reached out to someone I had been watching on YouTube and reading her blogs. It started with a sentence…this is my year to be brave. I didn’t want to be alone anymore. I just talked and kept talking, I listened, I was persistent and I reached. I asked way too many questions as I always do, and she actually didn’t think that was such a terrible thing. In giving of myself, I found that perhaps I wasn’t always so very awkward. I found that I could be fun and other people would find that fun too. Friendship is like a mirror sometimes, it reflects back at you those things about yourself that other people see in you.

I am grateful for the few friends that I have made. I am thankful for their patience. I have met some genuinely lovely people. I have talked about them before. Some have come and gone as lightly as a feather touch upon my life. Others have pulled up a chair and stayed. I have friends I have met in other worlds. There is a particularly persistent group who I have been talking to since vanilla WOW. We are a small group but we have many years of fun and fights, caring a consistency. I have met each one of them in RL but that is not what made us close, or even kept us there. It was just a matter of location.

Recently I lost a friend. It didn’t end with a bang, but only a steady silence over the internet seas. There was no huge argument, just a quiet loss, confusion and absence. I didn’t want to talk to anyone. I retreated back to my closest friends, those tried and true. I grieved, because the ending of a close friendship is as sad and heart breaking as ending any relationship. I questioned myself. I questioned my understanding of truth and reality. I thought about words I read about internet friendships and I wondered. I wondered what the reality is.

31.45
Jacques-Louis David, 1787, The Death of Socrates, 1.3 m x 1.96 m, Metropolitan Museum of Art

There have been many philosophers who have pondered what makes a friendship. Aristotle defined three kinds of friendship – of utility, of pleasure and of the good. He pondered that the first two sorts of friendship were short term friendships, derived of a selfish nature for usefulness, practicality or good times. These friendships were short lived because our pleasures and desires change over time and so the friends that are used for such ends also are short lived. The third sort of friendship was the sort that arose from a mutual admiration of the good in another and a striving to bring out the good in each other.

If these are the types of friendship, what DEFINES a friendship? What is so important if we desire the kind of friendship that is long lived and strives for mutual benefit? An entry in the Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy states:

“In philosophical accounts of friendship, several themes recur consistently, although various accounts differ in precisely how they spell these out. These themes are: mutual caring (or love), intimacy, and shared activity…” (2)

The Vordun with Wavie 1024x768Mutual caring or love, I think is something that grows over time with both intimacy and shared activity. Intimacy in this sense of the word, is not a physical intimacy, but rather a sharing of those things we hold close to ourselves. It is the kind of intimacy that comes only through mutual sharing, of taking a risk and trusting. Intimacy is also formed through shared activity. We all have our “in jokes”, those only the people with whom we have shared circumstances have a part in. So these things are caught together in a feedback loop. They strengthen each other and allow friendship to grow and develop over time. It takes work and understanding. Without these things, friendships fail.

So, I see now. I see where things went wrong and I accept the loss. However, does that mean it wasn’t REAL? When a friendship is based over the internet, when you have met that person online in a virtual world or through social media, is that friendship any less REAL for the lack of proximity? For me, the reality is this…each and every friendship is real and meaningful. I don’t care if it is “real” life or a “second life”, a “physical reality” or a “digital” reality. The feelings are real and the emotions are real. The trauma at facing the end, it feels very real.

Because here is the thing. Our avatars, they may be digital. We may exist as pixels over the internet in virtual worlds, but that picture is just a representation of ourselves. It isn’t real, but I am. It is an image of my reality. Just as my body is a representation of who I am here in the physical world, but it is not the entirety of who I am. And so, for me the value of friendship lies in its shared reality of mutual caring, intimacy and shared activity. It IS real, even when it’s time has passed and all that lingers are the memories and the emotion.

And THAT thought is enough to make me smile, pick myself up, hold the hands of the friends who still stand beside me and try again.

On the Value of Friendship

Credits:

Location:
Baja Sands
Slurl: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Baja%20Sands/227/231/22

She wears:
Body: Maitreya Lara
Head: Akeruka Lulu
Hair: Truth Halona
Eyes: Atelier Pepe Dreamy Eyes
Arm: Shu Mesh N.cc Nuada Arms Implant
Arm Bracelet: Real Evil Arwen Arm Bracelet
Dress: Erratic hanna dress
Shoes: Justice Lotus Boots
Pose: Own Pose

He Wears:
Body: Signature Gianni
Head: Akeruka Julian
Hair: Stealthic Obscura
Eyes: {Song} Sublime Cold Eye
Top: Not So Bad Gabriel Suit Blazer
Pants: {COLD-ASH} Mens Mesh Riley Boot-style Jeans
Shoes: {COLD-ASH} Mens Mesh Woodcreek boots
Pose: Own Pose

References:

(1) From Besties to Bromances: A Philosophical Look at Friendship|The Mantle
http://www.mantlethought.org/philosophy/besties-bromances-philosophical-look-friendship

(2) Friendship (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/friendship/

Some extra reading: Aristotle’s Email- Or, Friendship In The Cyber Age|Issue 61|Philosophy Now
https://philosophynow.org/issues/61/Aristotles_Email_-_Or_Friendship_In_The_Cyber_Age

Picture:
Death of Socrates By Jacques-Louis David – https://www.metmuseum.org/collection/the-collection-online/search/436105, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=28552

Just an Ordinary Girl

Just an ordinary girl
This is one of my more altered photos. I usually like to take my photos and publish them raw doing most of my work in the setting up of the shot within Second Life itself. However, I have been playing around in GIMP (1) a lot recently. I like it as image manipulation software. I like that I can customise it so many different ways and that it is open source. I don’t find it more difficult to use than Photoshop and in a lot of ways, I actually find it easier. It is certainly cheaper! Anyway, I digress…What was I thinking when I took this photo? Hmmm…

I’ve been playing around with avatar attachments recently. Wings and cyber components. I found this amazing arm attachment at the Shu stall at SL15B and knew I had to have it. In some ways, I feel like the cyber attachments are more ME at the moment. I feel like when I’m online, that I am neither this nor that. Like some parts of myself are disappearing into the machine. The tools I am using are transforming who I am and the art I make. The parts of my avatar that I am choosing to replace are the parts that I use most frequently in my art making…my arm, my hand, my eye.

I wonder if this is something that is speaking to me from a subconscious level or whether I’m just choosing this because I find it aesthetically pleasing. But then again, isn’t that which we find aesthetically pleasing partially the work of our subconscious? I think both things play and feedback into one another and that another day, I may have to examine that thought a little more closely.

But for today, I’m just enjoying the effect and playing with editing my pictures a bit more to get the effect that I want. I use the Wacom Intuous Art tablet (2) and stylus combined with Gimp. I like the feeling of drawing onto the photo directly, but there are some things I find difficult to adjust to. The discrepancy between where the hand draws and where the image is for instance. I am drawing on the tablet, but the image is on the screen. I find it takes me a little while each time I do this to get used to that mental turnaround. Also, when I draw with paper and a pencil, I turn my paper around frequently depending on where on the page I am drawing. I can’t do that with my monitor. I know there are ways to turn the page in GIMP, but it’s really not the same.

It’s all just a part of my getting used to working with digital art and online worlds. The learning curve is still steep, even 2 years on. But the journey is still fascinating and eye opening and I can’t wait to see what I will learn next.

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The original and the altered version.

Credits:
Location: Prime 3D
Body: Maitreya Lara
Head: Akeruka Lulu
Hair: TRUTH Halona
Left Eye: Buzz Gleam Eyes – Avada
Right Eye: [NeurolaB Inc.] Cyber Eyes EX-5
Left Arm: N.cc Nuada Arms implant -Shu Mesh-

References:

(1) GIMP (Gnu Image Manipulation Program) https://www.gimp.org/
(2) Wacom Intuous Art Tablet https://www.wacom.com/en/products/pen-tablets/intuos-art

SL15B

 

SL15B(1) is finally here!!! I feel like I have been waiting a WHOLE YEAR for this and it finally started! This is the second time I have been able to attend and SLBirthday SLebration. I loved SL14B (2). It had such a wonderful sense of community spirit. I remember watching Drax and Strawberry Singh live stream out there.  There were events and art and SO much to see and do and explore.  I think I actually spent a full week just checking everything out. There was a HUGE pile of presents donated by people who have just wanted to GIVE and I can remember thinking what a wonderful community this was.

SL15B Shopping event 3a 1165x748

So when I started seeing callout for musicians and creators to do things at SL15B I started to get really excited because I knew it was all about to start again. Now, for those not in the know, SLB is the annual celebration of the

Second
Life
nth
Birthday

Where “n” is the number of years Second Life has been around. And this year is f course, the 15th year. Fifteen years is certainly a long time for an online world to run with a fairly stable economy and userbase so YAY! CONGRATS Linden Labs and SL for making it to the big ONE FIVE!! I hope both the world and I are around to see you grow and develop out of the wobbly teen years and into adulthood! Did you also know the the 15th anniversary is the crystal anniversary and that is why the theme for this year is all about the crystals. You can even check out the inspiration board used for the event over at the community info site (3).

Shopping event 3 1390x736This year the celebrations can certainly be seen both far and wide over the grid (4). There is the usual huge shopping event at Halcyon, Gilded, Golden and Aurealian. Not only are a lot of prices discounted there but there are lots of gifts by generous designers set out as well. Speaking of gifts, there is also the usual huge gift pile out at the SL15B sims and this year, there is a special gift grab event. For this gift grab event, you need to collect a different limited edition crystal themed birthday gift every week and when you have collected ALL 14 gifts, you get a special birthday gift at the end. This event runs from the 18th June to the 24th September so make sure you start now and get in and collect all those crystals! You also need to make sure you grab the HUD from the welcome area and check back at the blog for news and clues for this one.

Swaggrab 1390x736

This week I had the opportunity to visit bear island. I freaking LOVE the linden bears. I found my very FIRST linden bear out near where I live in Sansara and I am pretty obsessed with collecting them, so when I read in the community blog that all the linden bears would be returning for a short time only on Bear Island (5), I was THERE. IMMEDIATELY. Like you couldn’t even blink as fast as I got there.

For those of us not in the know, apparently one of the great traditions at Linden Lab is that every linden employee must make their own Linden Bear to pass out to residents and if you come across a Linden in world, you can actually ask for their bear which they will then give to you. There is also a list of Linden Bears and their pictures on the SL Wiki (6), so if you are collecting them, that makes it heaps easier to check to see what you still need. Be aware that some of these bears are SUPER primmy so you won’t be able to display them all, unless you have a whole sim to dedicate just to the bears, which would actually be kind of cool. I’d like to see a Linden Bear museum in the world somewhere. But usually I just select one or two of my favourites at a time to display and the rest stay cosily in my inventory where I revel in the satisfaction of just having them there. Shush. Stop judging me. We all have our things.

Anyway, so there is also a SERIOUS amount of entertainment going on at the stages at ALL times of the day or night. The schedules are up and the talented lineup is incredible. You can also catch an episode of the Drax files recording at the auditorium, or meet a linden or listen to one of the great talks given by our residents or even watch a dance show or a cheerleading event! On all the others stages there is a wide variety of DJ’s and musicians playing, so why not pop on over and support our incredibly talented community.

 SL15B Bear Island

Credits:
Body: Maitreya Lara
Head: Akeruka Lulu
Eyes: Atelier Pepe – Dreamy Eyes – 05
Hair: Doe: Sugar – Candy
Top: Neve top – aris heathered
Skirt: Vinyl – Evanescence Skirt Pak BROWN
Shoes: MOoH! Slouch boots with sock Brown
Leg Chain:.::Supernatural::. Janis Lag Chain Silver
Pose: Le Poppycock *Convolutions* B (Askance)

References
(1) SL15B Website
http://www.slcommunitycelebration.info/
(2) SL14B Blog Post with links to all past live streams of the event
https://alisonjamesart.com/2017/07/02/sl14b/
(3) SL15B Inspirations
http://www.slcommunitycelebration.info/our-theme-for-sl15b/our-inspiration/
(4) SL15B Destinations
https://secondlife.com/destinations/sl15b
(5) Slurl to Bear island
https://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/SL15B%20Bear%20Island/134/164/22
(6) Linden Bear Wiki Page
http://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/Linden_Bear
(7) SL15B Destination Slurls
http://www.slcommunitycelebration.info/sl15b-exhibitors/

The Quiet Days of Digital Trees (Part 1): Conceptualisation

I started a series of physical world paintings called, “The Quiet Days of Digital Trees’, which of course started with just one tree. I took inspiration from this photo that I had taken in Second Life one day when I was exploring the Anduril sim.

It Takes Patience to be a Tree
Alison James, It takes Patience to be a Tree. 2017, Online Digital Photography, 4448 x 2355px

I have always had a thing for trees. I don’t know what it is or why I keep coming back to them. I did an environmental science degree because of my love of trees and forests. My online name has always been Mangrovejane, named of course, after that tidal zone tree, the Mangrove. So when I was considering doing a painting just to get back into the swing of doing some physical art work again…it wasn’t really a surprise to anyone that I would choose a tree as my subject.

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This particular tree was done with a deadline in mind. I finished the painting in just under 10 days. I always like my paintings to be highly textured. I work in acrylics, so this means that I also need to work with a lot of texture paste in order to get the detail I need. I like them to be almost sculptural, reaching out of the page as if they are almost real…without being quite so realistically painted. They need to have almost a dream like quality to them…as if they are dream trees. However this led me to the thought that is constantly on my mind at the moment about playing with reality.

The Quiet Days of Digital Trees
Alison James, The Quiet Days of Digital Trees 1.0, 2018. Acrylic on Cotton Canvas, 75 x 101cm

I play with the idea of reality constantly throughout my postgraduate studies. I wonder how far we can bend someone’s perception of it and how our online presence becomes its own reality. I examine those images in online worlds that are used to construct, maintain and manipulate our online realities, and so this simple image of a tree has become something else. By giving it a physical presence as a painting out in the “real world” it acts almost like a bridge between realities. This concept led me further, looking at the traditional landscape paintings and in particular, how the tree itself is a large part of most traditional western landscape painting.

I thought it would be interesting to play around with the idea of the traditional landscape tree using photos of trees and landscapes I have taken in the online world of second life and present them as physical world paintings. Then to take that a step further…to photograph those paintings of trees and exhibit the photos of the physical world paintings back in Second Life exhibits. I won’t lie…the process takes a little while. When all the pieces are together, they form a forest, each one having its place among the 12. They will all be different sizes just as the original trees also are. But each piece is also designed to stand alone.

Add into that original concept two other things that have impacted the conceptualisation of this series. Firstly, I was commissioned to do my next tree based on a paperbark tree. This is a tree with everything I love about it. It has a beautifully textured bark and a lovely form. It is something that the client wants to go up in their public music studio…and it is large (152.6 x 76.3cm). I can SEE the finished painting in my head. And I can see it as part of the series, but the contention here is that the original source material is not digital…but in the process of making the tree, I will have turned it into something digital through the use of photography rendering it back into pixels. It made me consider that not all the trees needed to come from digital sources and that, in fact, it may play with the concept of reality a little more if they were NOT all from the online world and the viewer did not know which ones were or were not.

Secondly, I have been working on recording sounds and soundscapes. This made me consider the sound of digital trees and how that world is actually quite silent. There are no sounds of wind brushing through leaves or the rain falling onto leaves or even the creaks and pops of the trees themselves as they grow throughout their day in the online world of Second Life. So, I sort of imagined what that sound world would be like and what the day of a digital tree would sound like and I wanted to add that to give the paintings a sense of almost an augmented reality. I wanted the trees to talk and to live in spaces that sounded like it had life and in this way add another layer to the twist on reality I am working through.

I am currently doing a prototype to make these paintings of trees interactive with sound so you HEAR their days which will be a constantly looping ambient sound. On top of this, will be a sound triggered by two things…proximity using conductive paint so when you reach to touch the tree, the sound of the tree itself will be heard getting louder, the closer you get to the tree. Secondly, when the series of trees are together, they will trigger each other to talk. So, for example, if one tree is triggered by proximity, it will trigger another tree in the series to talk back…and this tree will trigger another until the set is talking in a chorus. Eventually, I would like to stitch together 24 hours recordings and set it to time to the actual physical time of day so that at dawn, for instance, you hear the dawn chorus of birds and at dusk you hear the gradual changeover from birds to nocturnal creatures.

The tree in the original painting (The Quiet Days of Digital Trees 1.0) is set to become my prototype. I have to add black conductive paint to it and I am hesitating to apply the paint to the canvas as I like this painting just as it is…and as soon as I apply that paint to it, it will forever change this particular painting. I can’t just be some simple light dry brushing of the paint to the surface either…it needs to be an unbroken shape of it leading to the bottom of the painting and around to the back so I can attach the wires to it. I DID want to repaint some of this painting to cover some of the flaws that have showed through the more I look at it…but this is an extreme touch up that I KNOW I have to get to in the next couple of days in order for it to be ready to show as a prototype. I also know I can paint over it if it really doesn’t give me the look I want in the end.

But…just…for now…let me have this moment of artistic fluttering and panic and I promise I will get it done tomorrow.

That Summer Place

That Summer Place

“I remember well that summer place,
The sun, the sea, the surf soaked sand,
The light that lit your lovely face,
As we splashed bare foot, hand in hand”
– Archie Langford

Summer is one of those beautiful times here in Australia. It’s hot and everyone heads to the beach to cool off. The beach has been a big part of my life since I was very little. I remember spending summers on an island across the bay…rolling down sandhills, catching yabbies with a pump and digging for pippies with my feet and swimming. Swimming was a BIG part of every summer for me.  Summer is all about holidays and Christmas, relaxing and BBQ’s. It’s that time for being out in the park with the family and friends and enjoying the beautiful weather. And when it gets too hot, it’s also for heading to the nearest place that has air conditioning.

For me, Summer is starting to fade and we are starting to see the bite of winter chill but every now and then a day comes along that reminds me of Summer days and places. So I thought I would do a Summer Series to remind me of those lazy, hazy beautiful days that are not far behind me and that will soon, before I even know it, be right in front of me again.

Credits:
Location: Footprints in the Sand Public Beach

Body: Maitreya Lara
Head: Akeruka Lulu
Hair: *TKW* Razo
Top: *{Junbug}* Olenna Top [Latte]
Shorts: *Just BECAUSE* Kelsie Shorts – Navy
Shoes: Pure Poison – Illy Sandals
Tattoos: Identity Rise Strong (Back, Side and Thigh) and Identity Pure Heart (arms)
Arm Bracelets: **RE** Arm Bracelets
Arm Gloves: **RE** Arwen Gloves
Leg Chain: *PerveTTe* Set Instinct – Pearl Leg Chain [Silver] [White] 7#

The Mesh Generator

A couple of days ago, I had a couple of people contact me about the Prim to Mesh generator because I had left a comment on the MP store about it, so I thought I would do a video explaining what it is and how to use it. I love this thing. It makes turning your objects and builds into mesh REALLY easy and it is what I use when I don’t want to fiddle around with other third party programs. I have made everything from coffee tables to whole houses with the help of this mesh generator.

Mesh_Generator_(SLX)

You can find it on the marketplace or at the inworld store. DO try out the demo version first. I have linked you to the generator I got myself. I don’t feel like I can comment on any of the other ones on the MP as I have not tried any of them. Now, even though it is a bit pricey (L$4,526) it is really worth every linden you pay for it. It will save you a whole lot of land impact and in comparison to buying some items, it is really cheap to just make them and upload them. I can’t remember exactly how much the house I made cost, but it was only a couple of hundred linden all up. It could probably have been less, but I made some mistakes and had to re upload bits and pieces. The LI for it was only 93 in total and it had a foot print of 30.2 along the side, by 38.3 along the front. It did take me a good couple of weeks on and off and I never did finish the texturing and fine tuning that I wanted to, but it was a really fun and ambitious project and I had a lot of good times in this house.

October 2017 first mesh generator home 26102017_001

This coffee table cost me a grand total of L$11 and has a LI of one and took me no more than 30 minutes in total to knock out.

Coffee table_001

I know there are a few ways of building in SL. Everything in the world starts with a prim. You can use third party programs such as Blender and Maya to build mesh objects and there are a LOT of fantastic tutorials out there already for these, so I won’t cover them here. If you are looking for some Blender tutorials, check out Haven Ditko’s series. She does this tutorial series especially for mesh for Second Life and her explanations are thorough and really easy to follow.  If you are looking for Maya tutorials, I enjoy watching Mike Hermes channel. He has a LOT of tutorials on making a wide variety of things, although he is not specific to Second Life modelling.

Also, if you are considering building things, please check out Builder’s Brewery. They are an INCREDIBLE source of information and resources. They hold free classes at the Brewery in world as well as provide sandboxes to build in. The group is really friendly and they are always happy to help no matter what level you are at in your building.

builders-brewery-archways-01022017_001

Now I have done those couple of plugs, How does this thing actually work? Well…basically you insert a script into the object you want to mesh, the mesh generator then generates the mesh data and opens the converted .DAE file into a website for you to download. You then save that .DAE file to your computer and upload it back into Second Life as a mesh object. Confused? Then let’s make something so you can see how we do that in a bit more detail.

Build your object
So I  just built a really basic door and it all starts, of course with a prim.  I made this door out of 6 prims, one of which will be textured to be transparent so I can have a glass panel in the middle of the door, just because I like that particular look, but you could also texture it with a different woodgrain or paint effects if you wanted to. Either way, it is just a nice bit of detailing that won’t actually cost me anything in land impact.

Doors_001

Link your pieces together, but TEXTURE before you do!
Once you have all your pieces set up the way you want them, you need to link them all together. I like to colour the different faces BEFORE I link them, only because I find it makes it easier for me when I want to texture the back and the front the same way. So, any face that you might want to make a different colour or texture, just make sure you colour it differently to all the others and that will give you your different texture faces on the mesh model.

Drop in the script and hit generate on the gadget.
Once you have done all that, link up your pieces and then insert the script that came in the mesh generator folder into the root prim of the object and then hit generate.

Save the .DAE file to your computer
Once you do that, You will see a message about it generating the model and then you will be given a link to a website where you can download your .dae file. Download the file, and for tidy housekeeping, I like to rename the file straight away to something descriptive that I will remember.

Upload it back into Second Life
Then you go back into SL, go to your inventory and then click on the little plus sign at the bottom. From here, choose upload…model and choose the file name of the object. When you hit calculate, it will tell you your upload cost and how much your LI is. You can fiddle around a bit with the Level of Detail (LOD) and hulls and such here (see tips), but if you are happy with everything, simply hit upload and the model will be delivered into your inventory. Once again, I like to rename the model straight away so I don’t get confused with a whole lot of random “Mesh generator object” floating around in my inventory.

Rez it out into the world
Then you can rez it out into the world and texture and script it whatever way you want. You will be the creator of the object so also don’t forget to set your permissions if you plan to sell this item.

Tips
1. This is not just for building new objects. If you have old builds that you really like made out of prims, you can easily convert to mesh using this generator, but I believe the item needs to be full permission or modifiable. I haven’t tried it out with this as I prefer to build my own things, but let me know if you do!
2. If your blocks are at a right angle that you want to walk through….eg. A doorway, do NOT convert it as one whole piece as you won’t be able to walk through it. It will be treated like one solid rectangle. Which is fine for things like Windows because you don’t have to walk through them. Convert them in separate pieces and link them together afterwards.
3. To lower the hull count, make faces that touch transparent before you convert the prims to mesh.
4. When you are uploading, think about the LOD you actually need. This is the level at which an object will appear to collapse in on itself as you move away from it. A coffee table for instance, is always seen up close, so you don’t really need the highest LOD for that, especially if it is going to increase your upload costs!
5. And lastly, this may just be something I do because I am super obsessive about these things, but…keep your original premeshed prim shapes. There have been times when building houses that I have had to go back and tweak things and redo the mesh and if you have the original prim shapes, it’s much quicker and easier to just rezz that out than to have to build the thing all over again. When you are done with the build, you can just pack it all away into a box or you can delete it if you prefer, but you never know when you might want that same wall or floor again.

P2MGen 1b 2780x1472

And that is it. The video goes into a little more detail about the actual building of the object itself, so if you are still a bit confused, please check it out and have a go!

Credits:

Mesh Generator MP Store: https://marketplace.secondlife.com/p/Mesh-Generator-Convert-Prim-into-Mesh/5445477?
Mesh Generator Inworld Store:  http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Terriergate/8/224/3882

Body: Maitreya Lara
Head: Akeruka Lulu
Hair: No.Match_No.Lie
Eyes: Atelier Pepe – Dreamy Eyes – 05
Top: Blueberry – Radiance – Denim Jackets
Skirt Emery Bangalore Shirt 1
Shoes: -KC- Alexia Sneaker Boots
Pose: own pose made using Anypose

Wavie Haller and the Consignment Bookcases

 

Sometimes my friends put up with a LOT from me and I have to say, my friend Wavie Haller, who you might know as the guy behind Consignment furniture, puts up with more than most. I first met Wavie when I went to buy a model of DNA he had made from an event for 99L but the vendor didn’t work. Alicia had suggested we TP to Consignment, which I had not known about until that moment and see if there was one there. And there was…but I was not willing to pay full price for it, because apparently I am also stingy and love a bargain. So once again, on Alicia’s urging, I sent him a notecard explaining to him and asking if I could buy it off him for the event price. Wavie actually sent me that DNA for free which started a Linden war like no other that still rages to this day where I try to give him the 99L and he gives it back to me, both of us equally insulted at the other’s stubbornness.

Wavie at the Vordun 2224x1177
This is the guy I know as Wavie Haller…

Then there was the time he found out I liked one of his pieces of furniture and bribed Alicia to tell him what it was. The next thing I know, it lands in my inventory. He wouldn’t take any money for that either…which once again…a severe stubborn streak made me indignant enough to rip it apart and make Alicia help me to set up and take a photo of us pushing it off a bridge. I accompanied that with an anti-ad on my blog because it amused me so. I remember Wavie telling me, ” I want to be mad at you but that picture is GLORIOUS!” and the ad made him laugh…so continued our weird and screwy friendship.

Another time he gave me a pack of motorcycles he had made because I really liked vehicles and I was going to play the gacha for them. Once again…a steadfast refusal to take money for them led to this…

Consignment Motorcycles

…which I consider to be a GREAT way to tell a story and it is still to this day, one of the favourite things I have done. I had a ridiculous amount of fun setting up for each of the photos and telling the story in the anti ad.

So yeah…I haven’t even mentioned the yelling, name calling and general jerkiness that tends to define our friendship but there’s a lot of all of that on both sides, done with an almost aggressive fondness and fierce amusement.

Recently though, we were chatting and I was talking about a library I wanted for my house and the next things I know the darn thing lands in my inventory. I considered doing another anti-ad but on reflection I decided to do something Wavie is going to find even more startling and give you my honest opinion of it.

When you get the Consignment box and open it, you will be confronted with an ENORMOUS folder. One of the things Wavie is GREAT at is making these modular kits. IF you have seen the Consignment kitchen, you will know exactly what I am talking about because you are probably still using it even if you have changed houses multiple times. It’s modular nature, customisation possibilities and beautiful design make it really appealing to a wide variety of styles. And the same can be said of this library.

You can use just one of the bookcases on its own or you can connect them together to form a library suited to just about ANY house. The many different pieces will let you fit this into the space you have and if you need even more flexibility, its all modifiable so you can easily edit bits with very little effort.

When I put my bits together, I often use the align tool. Be aware it won’t always work the way you expect it to and it is best used for items of the same size and straight shape. Mostly though, I just eyeball things and try to line them up as best I can.

The pack also comes with a texture change HUD which changes the colour of the cabinets to any of 6 different choices. Wavie told me that these aren’t really tintable but I totally went ahead and tinted them anyway. It’s just that you can’t separately tint the handles as they are connected as a face to the frames they are on. S’if that is gonna stop some of us RIGHT?? If that annoys you though..feel free to drop him a notecard and complain about it…

Despite the fact that it is named after me and made by someone I know…I genuinely like this bookcase. I would have bought this bookcase. The only complaint I have is a small one…I would have liked a half sized bookcase as well for places like underneath windows. Other than that though…I like it. It is well designed and thought about and a piece that will probably stay with me through many changes of house. If you would like your own consignment bookcase, it is out now at the Fameshed event which runs through until the 27th April for a BARGAIN 585L. After that, I am sure you will be able to purchase it at the Consignment in world store.

The Consignment Bookcases

Credits:

Body: Maitreya Lara
Head: Akeruka Lulu
Hair: Moon. Hair // – Erratics – Storm
Eyes: Atelier Pepe – Dreamy Eyes – 05
Top: Flippant – BCA Mesh Tank Top – Black
Pants: .SALT – 3/4 LEGGINGS – DARK PACK
Necklace: =Zenith= magic stone necklace
Leggings: ::C’est la vie !:: Emmi Tights (#1)
Shoes: EMPIRE – Flax

Bookcases: [Con.] Groves Modular Bookcase; House: Culprit Dragonfly Cottage; Couch: Ariskea[Pow !Pow!] Comic Sofa [Single]; Coffee table: My own build; Toro. Haus of floppy disks {Destroyed}; Hextraordinary Jellyfish; Mutresse – Rock Star Gnome – RARE; Books: Krescendo Super Shelves Gacha (Full Set), Fancy Decor: Bracket Bookends, The Vordun: Book of Hours ca. 1450, The Vordun: Book of Hours ca. 1460, The Vordun: Breviary ca. 1300, Fancy Decor: Print Books, 09 Fancy Decor: Whale Tail Book Stack, +Half-Deer+ Book Clutter – Stack – Dark, BALACLAVA!! Books [vertical A], [Con.] Groves Modular Bookcase – Assorted Inserts,  Mori. spiral rug . free spirit; Fancy Decor: Magazine Stack 2

Buying a Mainland Property

 

Linden Lab recently announced that premium members would now be receiving DOUBLE the FREE mainland allotment (from 512sqm to 1024sqm) and a 10% tier reduction for mainland fees, which personally, I think is GREAT. If I wasn’t already a premium member, I would certainly be an enticement for me to consider premium membership. As I already am a premium member and own land on the mainland already, it still works for me as it reduces my tier fees. I haven’t made it a secret about how much I love mainland. I have lived there since I bought my first property. Since Linden Lab announced I have noticed many questions cropping up over the Second Life Facebook groups I am in about how to but mainland property and claim their free 1024sqm. As a result I thought I would throw together this quick explanation of the basics of how to do so. Please note…If you are buying property within a land group, I am not going to cover that here as that is another set of rules that complicates things. I am also not going to cover renting here. So let’s just stick to the basics for now…

Everyday616042017_001There are a few different ways to go about buying mainland to collect the bonus if you are a premium subscriber, but some things you should know before you commit…
1. Do NOT pick up your free linden home. Or if you have, abandon it. A linden home will take 512sqm of your 1024sqm allocation.
2. Check out the tier pricing and allotment chart. Basically you can get anywhere up to 1024sqm FREE but be aware that as soon as you go over that by even a sqm, you be thrown into the next tier bracket. So a few examples…
Example 1. You buy a piece of land that is 1024 sqm exactly. This will be FREE
Example 2. If you get 1025sqm of land you will be paying the next tier level up (1536sqm) which is $4 per month.
Example 3. If you get a piece of land that is 1582sqm you will be paying $7 per month as it is in the 1537sqm to 2048sqm tier bracket

With me so far? GREAT! Let’s move on then to actually how to go about buying the land. There are a few different ways to go about this. The three ways I will cover here are:
1. Auctions
2. Buying from the map
3. Buying from a friend

Auctions.
To buy a piece of land at auction, you will need to go to the SecondLife auction page where you will see a list of land for sale, the price the current bid is at, the amount of bids and when the auction ends. Just a couple of tips here:
a. Don’t bid too early. There is plenty of time. Usually you get about 48 hours to make a bid and if you bid too early, someone is likely to outbid you before the end of the auction.
b. Know your price and stick to it. It’s easy to get auction fever and pay way too much.
c. Please check out the land you are purchasing. If you left click on the name of the place, it will take you to a page with the Slurl to teleport you there. Just take a moment to check the place out and see if it is somewhere you want to live and make sure it isn’t right next to a nightclub or that the block isn’t some weird shape that you won’t be able to build anything on.

So basically from here, you just place your bid. Fill out how much you are willing to pay and off you go. You do get notified if you get outbid so you might want to just keep an eye on things and pop back if you get that notification to put in another bid. With a bit of luck, by the end of the auction, that land will be yours!

Buying Land from the map.
Sinkhole! 13042017_001This was actually how I bought my first property. Basically you open up the map, click on a $sign in an area you might want to live and go check it out. When you click on the $sign, it will give you the details of the size of the property, the price being asked for it and that price translated into $L/m2. If you like the land and are happy with the asking price, simply right click to bring up the About Land details then Buy Land. That property will become yours immediately. If you have bought more than the free allocation, you will start paying tier as of the beginning of the next month.

Abandoned Land.
Another way you can buy land from the map is to buy abandoned land. So if you click on the map and find some land you like but found it was abandoned, you can open a petition with Linden Lab to put it up for auction. I did this with my second property. To do this, you go to the Submit a ticket page. Use the drop down menu in “Issue Type” to choose “abandoned Land”. Then type in the name of the region which can be found either on the map under “Region” or in the Location bar at the top. Cope and paste the Slurl. Add a little note in the space provided saying you would like to purchase the land please and from there, a support person will contact you and let you know when your land will go up for auction. Then you will have to go through the auction process as I described earlier.

PHEW! So THAT is a basic guide on how to buy a mainland property. If I had some overall tips for you on getting what you want it would be…
a. ALWAYS check out the property. Check it out at different times of day (because we all have different time zones). Open the map and check out what is around you and at what times of day. Go for a walk and see what is in the neighbourhood.
b. READ the articles on buying land on the blog Cassandra’s Corner. It is basically the best and most comprehensive guide to buying land that I have found and helped me A LOT when I was buying my first land.
c. Remember this is MAINLAND. It is going to be quirky. That is part of its charm and the fun of it. You can always build in the sky or keep your camera pulled right in.
d. And lastly, those 1024sqm blocks are looking pretty pricey right now but if you keep your eye out, look around and have some patience you’ll find something you like and want. It might take the market a little bit of time to settle at the moment because a lot of people are rushing to buy mainland for now, but if you are a bit clever about it you could also buy a bigger parcel for less per sqm and sell off some 1024sqm blocks yourself to people to recoup your buying price or even make a profit!

This has been a bit of a long instructional post today but I hope it helped some of you with the confusion of buying some property on the mainland!

Buying mainland Blog 2780x1472

Credits:

Body: Maitreya Lara
Head: Akeruka Lulu
Hair: -FABIA- Mesh Hair Unnatural
Eyes: Atelier Pepe – Dreamy Eyes – 05
Dress: ISON – sahara wrap dress – Maitreya – moroccan blue
Necklace: Maxi Gossamer – Dream Feather necklace – short
Rings: (Yummy) Bohemia Ring Set
Shoes: Pure Poison – Moody Blossom Boots

House: (Milk Motion) rainy forest full pack; Plants: [DDD] Zen Bamboo – Square ; Apple Fall Reaching Plant; Lamps: 22769 – Geometric Floor Lamp – COMMON ; [IK] Wooden Dummy – Lamp D; Couch: [ keke ] refurbished sofa – wood 2.0 ; Coffee Table: [DDD] Reclaimed Coffee Table ; Rug: Sway’s [Vondra] Rug with fringes . woven; ~BAZAR~ Arizona Bar Stool; Storybook: :CP: La Belle Story Book RARE

References:

1. More Land For Less Money? Yes Please! Lower Land Prices and Double Tier Allotment for the Mainland. https://community.secondlife.com/blogs/entry/2318-more-land-for-less-money-yes-please-lower-prices-and-double-tier-allotment-on-mainland/
2. Mainland Tier Allotment and Pricing Comparison https://community.secondlife.com/knowledgebase/english/mainland-tier-allotment-and-pricing-changes-march-2018-r1455/
3. Auctions Page https://usd.auctions.secondlife.com/lin/auction/auction/list/
4. Auctions FAQ Page https://usd.auctions.secondlife.com/faq
5. Submit Ticket page https://lindenlab.freshdesk.com/support/tickets/new
6. Cassandra’s Corner: Buying Land in Second Life Part 1- Should I Rent or Buy? http://cassandrakestrel.com/2014/11/buying-land-in-second-life-part-1-should-i-rent-or-buy/#more-292
7. Cassandra’s Corner: Buying Land In Second Life Part 2 – Finding Land to Buy http://cassandrakestrel.com/2016/02/buying-land-in-second-life-part-2finding-land-to-buy/
8. Cassandra’s Corner: Buying Land In Second Life Part 3 – Eden or Lemon? http://cassandrakestrel.com/2016/02/buying-land-in-second-life-part-3eden-or-lemon/

Exhibitionist! (in both lives)

12032018 c 1390x736A month or so ago I applied for the March/April round of exhibits at the Windlight Art Gallery (1) in Second Life. Kultivate (2) have a few opportunities for artists listed on their website and I have hesitated to apply for a long time because I really needed to work on my photography skills. I took a friend to the last exhibit there and as we looked around the artworks, I had talked about wanting to be a part of an online exhibit. So, this time around…I thought, well…WHY NOT? What was the worst thing they could say? No? I am actually ok with that. You can be rejected for any number of reasons and those reasons are not at all personal. So on an impulse, I filled out the form (3) and sent it off. And I was accepted.

I was sent my acceptance package in world about a week before set up. It was really clear and well thought out. It included all the information I needed to know. It had notecards to fill out with for my Bio and my Photo, a notecard of welcome, one clearly stating out the Windlight Gallery terms and conditions and another with the anticipated timeline. It also included the landmark I needed. When I got there, my space was already set up with my name in my spot and there was a mailbox to drop my completed bio and photo notecards into.

I wondered whether it would be different to exhibiting in the physical world (4). And HOW it would be different. Well the truth is..it wasn’t a whole lot different. But the differences that are there, are stark.

Exhibit Photos3 1390x736The biggest difference to me is that it’s a lot quieter. You go in, set up in your space, send your bio in and there it is. Usually the atmosphere in a physical world exhibit is excited and anticipatory. There is a sense of camaraderie and enthusiasm for the opening. People chat and help one another set their things out and look at each other’s works and appreciate them. On the days I was setting up I only came across two other people. One I had a quick chat to in order to find out how to actually exhibit my photos. I wasn’t sure whether to frame them or whether to just texture a prim with them. (The answer is you just texture a prim with them) But that is all that we chatted about as I felt really self conscious about taking up someone else’s time.

I really missed that physical world atmosphere. It’s one of the times you feel less isolated with your work. One of the things that is difficult about being in world is that the cues for social interaction are so very different. I can’t read someone’s body language or facial expression to see whether I am annoying them by taking up their time or whether they are happy to sit and chat for a bit. So I tend to err on the side of caution and keep the conversation short and cheerful.

Exhibit Photos4 1390x736I don’t have to sit in the gallery to make sure people don’t touch the artworks or steal any of the tech but this also means that I don’t get to talk to people about the art that is being exhibited or see people’s faces or hear them discussing things.  Each of the photos that are up can be reproduced over and over. They are priced for sale and if people choose, they can purchase them without contacting me at all. At a real life exhibit, if things are priced for sale, there is usually some contact between the artist and the consumer to have artworks delivered or payment arranged. Once again, the SL experience tends to be a little on the isolating side, both for purchasing and also not having to gallery sit.

I am making assumptions that the bump out will feel the same. there will be no congratulating chatter with other artists about an exhibit well done or discussions about upcoming exhibits and who will be showing when and where. There will just be a silent pack up of prims and a teleport out. We all will have dispersed quietly to our second lives without ever having had real contact with one another.

My biggest regret is that there was an opening event on the 4th of March at 1pm SLT, that I unfortunately had to miss because the difference in time zones means that I will be otherwise engaged in my real life at that time.  It would have been the one time I was able to meet up and chat with the other exhibitors.

The exhibition itself will run from the 4th March through until April, so if you have a spare moment, go check it out and see what some of the artists of SL are doing in the exhibit.

Refs:

  1. Windlight Art Gallery SLurl
  2. Kultivate Website https://kultivatemagazine.com/
  3. Kultivate Artist Opportunities https://kultivatemagazine.com/artist-opportunities/
  4. Exhibitionist! https://alisonjamesart.com/2018/01/24/exhibitionist/

 

Waiting For My Real Life to Begin

There is this great song by Colin Hay called, “Waiting for my Real Life to Begin”, and I had it stuck in my head all day. Do you ever have songs just plant themselves in your brain for no good reason and then continue to stay upfront, yelling their music and lyrics at you? Well that happened to me so instead of fighting it, I made this picture out of it.

I was at a sim called Mother Road which is a perfect roadside location for photographs. If you pay 100L, you can join the group to rezz stuff there. today though, I just wanted to do a couple of photos without props.

Mother Road Landscape 2780x1472

I was also thinking about the fact that my life is about to change again. The university Semester officially starts again tomorrow and in a strange way, as I sit here and write this, I feel like I am waiting for THAT real life to begin. I love studying. I love research. I like talking about art with like minded people and as much as it can be hard to hear, I even love the critique of the work I do for my study. I feel like when it is all combined, it makes me a better artist.

While it has been lovely indeed to have a few months off, to do family things and work on the exhibition and get through Christmas and New Year, it always feels like a period of resting and waiting. Or rather in my case, avoiding the resting and overloading with many things in order to avoid that feeling of waiting…but still feeling it as an undercurrent anyway.

So, that brings me back to my photo and the feeling I get when I look at it and the song that runs through my head whenever I see it…Waiting for my real life to begin…

Waiting For My Real Life to Begin 5 25022018_001

Credits:

Location: Mother Road – Route 66

Head: Akeruka Lulu
Eyes: Atelier Pepe – Dreamy Eyes 5
Hair: Magika – Reading
Body: Maitreya Lara
Top: Osmia Wendy Set Top
Skirt: Osmia Wendy Set Skirt
Shoes: AsteroidBox Garter Platform Sneakers
Choker: .::Supernatural::. Hearty Black (Gold)