Screaming On The Inside

Smiling on the outside.

Not much to report on the SL front as I’m still mostly playing with my photos and seeing if I can tip them over the edge and explore “digital art”

Of the dozen or so experiments I’m working on, I have to say this one is my favorite. I know there is no real focal point, you drift between the eyes, the shoes, the face, the nude, the shadow, but I’m actually quite pleased with that result.

NSFW after the cut

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PicMonkey Virgin

I’ve been reading various blog and forum posts about PicMonkey, a photo editing software. According to pretty much everyone it’s “easy”. Well pffft, I’ve been conned by that before. Most people in SL have a different definition for the word easy than I do. Learning a new photo editing software might be quick for those guys, but for me? I could be watching tutorials for a year. I’ve never used photoshop, I have tried GIMP a few times but it seems over intensive and complicated for my needs and mostly I just use Paint.net so I really doubted that I was the target audience for this PicMonkey. However, I had a bit of time on my hands tonight and wasn’t feeling overly sociable so I decided to give it a try. What’s the worst that could happen right? I quickly snapped a few basic pictures, no shadows or fancy windlight, just to use as tests. Besides, I’d been needing a reason to show you these great shirts anyway.

Before

So those are the before. This is after my first 10 minutes in PicMonkey.

V PicMonkey

I’m not even kidding. Ten minutes, tops. I typed in the website, I opened my photo, I clicked the polaroid effect button, and it’s a big button, you don’t even have to know how to do anything. Then I went to borders and clicked the polaroid, seemed to be a good match to me. Then added text. That’s it. They can’t all be this easy though, so I tried another.

M PicMonkey

You know, if I wasn’t so excited about this I might be tempted to be a wee bit annoyed. For a long time now I’ve tried really, really hard to create some of the lighting, colors, depth of field and various other effects I admire in other peoples photos solely in Second Life. Now I’m starting to realize that perhaps many of those things I’m struggling with are done in post processing. I guess I knew that, no, I did know that, but I didn’t know HOW to do it so I was beating myself up trying to make it happen in SL and I didn’t need to be.
Alright, let’s see what else this PicMonkey can do.

E PicMonkey

Can I take credit for an incredibly artistic eye for about two seconds? One Mississippi. Two Mississippi.
OK, confession time, like the others that last one had nothing to do with me. It was yet again a button I randomly clicked that cropped it that way and I went “Oh cool!” and then clicked another button which added the rusted effect over top and that was about it. I hope I’ve convinced you how easy this is and to try it if you haven’t already.

I’m not sure what this means for the future of my SL pictures. I have a feeling I’ll be playing with PicMonkey and clicking every button on every photo for a while, but I will probably settle down eventually.

The shirts in these samples are cute aren’t they? I have 5 now and I figure any SL situation is pretty much covered. They are from the Gatcha at Snatch and only 20L a pull. I think there is about a dozen in all. If you’ve never used a Gatcha think of those gumball like machines at the grocery store when you were a kid. Where you put in your quarter and hope to get the Strawberry Shortcake hair clip but got the Spiderman sticker so you played again, and again. That’s a gatcha, except in this case all the shirts are great, even if you do end up wanting to collect them all.

Pic Monkey http://www.picmonkey.com/
Tball Shirts 20L in the Gatcha at Snatch http://slurl.com/secondlife/Snatch%20City/121/191/29
Hair: Truth
Poses: Adorkable
Skin: Ebba from LAQ
Jeans: Mon Tissu
Location: My front yard (I think I’ll hold on the SLurl just this one time)

Rust in Forgotten City

From the moment I saw that this week’s color challenge was Rust, I knew I wanted to do a Steampunk inspired shoot to once again play off the word or name as much as the color itself .  I had this vague concept of Amelia Earhart as an Airship Captain.  When I was touring the Fifty Linden Friday list and  saw that Nomine had a really fun outfit with goggles and Clawtooth had this hair I knew it was meant to be.

I'm Getting Rusty

There are quite a few great sims if you are interested in the Steampunk genre, but in the end I decided to spend some time at an old favorite, Forgotten City.  I’ve been there a few times now but have never photographed it.  Perhaps I was unconsciously saving it as my personal playground, or maybe I just had too much fun to think of pictures during those visits .  Whatever the reason, I decided it was long past time I photograph and tell you about it because there is just so much to do at Forgotten City.

Rust in The Forgotten City

I highly recommend the antique ski jumping and visiting the JD Mechanical toy factory; but there is fishing, a shooting gallery, a guided tour on a Zeppelin, the most unique dance hall you’ve ever been in and quite a few little games that are just so silly you can’t help but laugh.  Be sure to tour all over, you can use the TP sign or a row boat!  You can even rent a home in Forgotten City.

Betting on Rust

My look?  Well it’s a mashup of about 3 different outfits and 2 hunt gifts. I guess that’s what steampunk is about though, taking what you have and repurposing it, so I was really getting into the spirit of the whole thing.  I loved the look I came up with so much I’ve been wearing it for two days, I even wore it during the weekend Solstice Party at Organica.

While I was there I had a chat with the ever fabulous OneGirl Riot and was telling her that I find choosing a song for the color challenges adds an extra layer of inspiration, a well of creativity I can tap into.  We decided to collaborate, as her musical knowledge is about a thousand times larger and more diverse than mine, she’s going to help me chose theme songs for the challenges.

For this post though, I’m going to use the song I was playing while I took the pictures. Abney Park’s Wanderlust is not just perfect for this post, but if you read the lyrics it’s quite fitting for my SL and this entire Renoobed project as well.

Credits:

Hair:  Modern Gibson Dreamy Red 50L Friday item at Clawtooth
Goggles and Belt: Part of the Steampunk Pinstrip outfit for 50L Friday at Nomine
Pants: Ja Jolla Panel Jeans Oiled Rust from The Sea Hole
Vest: Believe it or not this is not part of the same outfit as the pants, it’s the top of a dress called Aeme at The Sea Hole
Blouse: Poet Shirt Gold is the TOSL Birthday Hunt Gift at Sassy
Scarf: Izzies Little Scarf Beige TOSL Birthday Hunt Gift at Izzies comes in 14 colors
Necklace: Drinking Water Looking Glass from Bewildebeest (now closed)
Boots: Sock Top Riding boots from Duh
Skin: Giulia Malice past gift from Al Vulo
Poses: From Adorkable’s Advent Calender Collection
Location: Forgotten City

SL9B: A Small Town, A Smaller World.

I grew up in a smallish town and once a year we had a local festival weekend.  You might know the kind, where the firetruck is the most exciting part of the parade because, well, it’s a fire truck.  Where the Realtor brings out his vintage convertible and the local Festival Princess for the year sits on the back and waves?  There was always a couple really creative floats, and the air cadets had a decent marching band, but really the best thing about the parade was that it was ours and you knew everybody in it.  We all went through a phase where it was cool to mock the parade, and even the festival as a whole, but we still went and all these years later I remember them fondly so I’m glad I did.

The rest of the weekend was a trade show of sorts and a small fair.  There was always a booth selling the latest non stick frying pans or other kitchen gadget, and that old guy making folk art with popsicle sticks and bottle caps.   You could walk around munching your mini donuts, drop your spare change on the boyscouts who were raising money for a canoe trip and wonder, as you do every year, why there was a booth selling prepaid cemetery plots and headstones.  I mean, it isn’t wrong, but … really?  At the fair?

It was always exciting in the days leading up to see what rides had been driven down from “The City”, especially if there was going to be a new one.  We’d line up for ten times longer than the ride took just to get our turn, and afterwards right back in line again while we complained about the wait.  When the games shut down it was off to the beer gardens and dance the night away to a local band.

I spent the last two nights at the SL9B birthday festivities and I have to say, it felt pretty much the same, but that’s not a bad thing.

I know I normally try to focus on the positive, but I won’t lie to you.  You won’t love every single exhibit on all 16 sims.  That’s just not possible.  However there are many that are worth seeing; that are fun, interactive, creative, and informative. There were also two or three where I stood there and the best I can come with for a category is “I don’t get it”.  I even briefly saw a naked guy wearing his freenis at the hub, though he didn’t last long.  Admittedly, there were also two exhibits that if it were my event I wouldn’t have included.  That’s the best part though, it isn’t my event, it isn’t yours, it’s all of ours.  This IS Second Life, complete with mind blowing creativity, representation from various groups and communities, charity awareness exhibits,  music, merchants, content creators, even all the minor technical and human annoyances that go with it rolled up in hundreds of hours of volunteering by those who love this virtual world of ours and SL9B is perfect for exactly that reason.

You will get caught at sim crossings at some point.

Sim Crossing

You might even have a hard time teleporting from one sim to another if you try to map hop.  (Well I did on day one shortly after it opened, but on day two I had far fewer issues)

SL9B I got in sort of

You’ll also smile, a lot.  Not only at the exhibits, but at the people.  I ran into some I hadn’t seen in years, made a couple of new friends, and had the most interesting random chats with others who just happened to be standing where I was in that moment.

The best part for me is not just that I’ll have something to do every night this week, but this is going to give me something to do and write about for the next year at least!  I’ve barely scratched the surface and already I’ve discovered exhibits from a bunch of groups that I don’t know much about so I took their information and hope to visit them in the future.  The Virtual Railway Consortium, The White Tiger Mentors, The Fair Winds Pirates, The Female Wrestling Community, The Dr. Who Fans, The Speed Builders, I even took a test run on a surf board at the Surfing community’s exhibit.  The list goes on and on.  If you are looking for something to get involved with in Second Life, this SL9B party is the best way to get a sample of all there is to do.

If you are going to go, and really, are you so busy when you are online you can’t spare a few hours of your virtual life to hang out with the only other people in the world who understand and appreciate your passion for SL?  I thought so.  So when you go I do have a few suggestions.  First, make use of the website, http://sl9b.wordpress.com/ and in particular this post http://sl9b.wordpress.com/2012/06/17/coming-soon-performer-schedules/   where they have a live online calendar of all the performers and DJ’s at the various stages (yes, stages, plural, there are simultaneous performances going on!)  It’s not just music, the auditorium has speakers and presentations on everything from Mesh to online relationships.

Second, educate yourself about lag, and how you contribute to it by reading this post http://sl9b.wordpress.com/2012/06/18/lag-at-sl9b-how-to-deal-with-it/

That post specifically asks us not to be the arc police, and not confront anyone there, and I didn’t.  However, here on my blog, let me just say this.  If you go to a busy event like this wearing all of your scripted combat weapons and 17 attachable scripted body parts from your hair to your shoes and everything in between, you are a douche.  There, I feel so much better now.

Third, pick the right viewer.  I knew without a doubt in my mind that the only way I was going to experience something like this without frustration was with Catznip.  It’s by FAR the most stable for me, one of the highest FPS for me (almost twice the sim’s FPS while on high settings at the Cake Stage during a performance!) but most remarkably it rezzes everything lighting fast.  You know when someone teleports you somewhere and you say “give me a minute, rezzing” well that doesn’t happen for me with Catznip, it’s just there.  I sometimes forget how remarkable that is until I switch to another viewer to do something else and tap my fingers impatiently waiting for things to pop in.

I also highly recommend that you stop by the Hub first and pick up a wearable teleport hud with all the stages and areas of SL9B.  It’s going to be very handy if you just want to pop in for a performance, the hud will take you directly to whichever stage you are looking for, or visit them all even if no one is performing.  The stages really are quite remarkable. 

I also personally really enjoyed the guided pod tours.  Sure, sometimes they get stuck at the sim crossings, but if you hop off it will cross then you can run and catch it again.  Don’t laugh! It works.  The tour is a quick way to see everything and it tells you a little about each exhibit in local chat as you go by.  From there, you can make a list of which ones you want to revisit.

SL9B Hub to pick up your free Teleport Hud

http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/DreamSeeker%20SL9B%20Devet/249/117/21

Guided Tour Pod Stations

http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/FruitIslands%20SL9B%20Party/256/242/21

http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/DreamSeeker%20SL9B%20Devet/254/76/21

On a personal note, I was using the Hud to visit various stages to see which performance I might want to sit in and listen to and when I arrived at the Cake Stage guess who was standing there?  None other than Mr. Gypsy Quixote.  I had to laugh.  I met Gypsy at Burn2 where I first heard him sing and play, it was one of my first blog posts here but I haven’t really seen or talked to him since.  I asked him if he was going to perform at all for the birthday and he told me he was up next.  His one and only booked session though he might fill in a few more before it’s over.  As I’m typing this, I’m listening to that trademark gravelly voice of his and smiling.

It’s not just a small town, it’s a small world.

Happy Birthday to Second Life and to all of you.

I may try to blog a few pictures of my favorite builds and recommend a few must see exhibits, but in case I get distracted don’t wait for me.  Come see SL9B for yourself and be sure to say hi if you see me.  I’ll be there somewhere.

The Adventures of Unmellow Yellow

The name of the color challenge this week is Unmellow Yellow but we recently had a yellow challenge so I decided I’d try to focus on the unmellow part. After a trip to Vanilla C. Designs closing sale a hint of an idea was brewing but as I mentioned in my last post it was only after seeing the poses at Del May that my concept was really born. The incredible action poses I bought combined with a hooded latex look could mean only one thing, a comic book super hero. I present to you the Adventures of Unmellow Yellow.

Unmellow Yellow

Like any good super hero story, there has to be a part where our heroine is overcome by some sort of disaster. An explosion makes for a good action shot.

Blast of Unmellow Yellow

Meanwhile, as the villains have turned their back and think they’ve finished her off, Unmellow Yellow rises to fight again and now she’s pissed.

Toxic Unmellow Yellow

I admit, I had a bit too much fun putting this together. I think I have 30 shots but I narrowed it down to just a few for the blog post. I have a sneaky suspicion that Unmellow Yellow will end up making another appearance though.

The location for this shoot is a collaboration between particle artist Tyrehl Bek and ambient music artist Ultraviolet Alter. I’m not sure that what I did with it is what they originally intended, so please do have a look at this post about the LEA exhibit called Almost Flat Land. It’s a great concept, and even better in person when you can experience the sounds, media, and of course the particles. Many of the LEA builds are limited time, so be sure to stop by as soon as you can.

I was able to create this character’s look by adding several tattoo makeup layers. Probably one of the best things that’s happened to SL in a long time because it allows each of us to personalize skins and create our own look for very little cost. If you combine more than one layer, you can end up with something completely unique. Let me show you.

Makeup Layers

The base skin, shown in photo A is Ebba Fair from LAQ, a nice neutral skin which is what I gravitate towards more and more now knowing that I can customize them with makeup. The B layer is black tears that I got free at Para Designs and layer C is yellow under eye liner with lashes that I got for 9L in the gatcha at Cheap Makeup. Last, but certainly not least, the D layer is just one of the color mask face tattoos available from Nuuna. For only 100L this Zion pack comes with 11 different colors. I’ll definitely be using these again. When I combined all three and added some black eyes, Unmellow Yellow was born.

Speaking of customizing, combining and covering, I think it’s time for this posts theme song don’t you? Again, I’m linking a cover and not just because I love them. Toxic feels like a good fit as a song for our heroine but this version by Yael Naim seems to suit Unmellow Yellow a bit more than the original.

Credits:

Full outfit called C-005 includes hood, mask and boots only 100L at Vanilla C. Designs closing sale from June 8th to July??? Go now because I don’t know the end date http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Dark%20White%20World/162/146/30

Skin: “Ebba Fair” from LAQ
Tattoo Layer B: “Bleeding Eyes Goth” free gift at Para Designs
Tattoo layer C: “Under Eye Shadow 11” 9L gatcha from Cheap Makeup at Tableau
Tattoo layer D: “Zion 2 Yellow Tat” from +Nuuna+ only 100L for a pack of 11 colors
Eyes: “Illyria Blackness” past Zombie Popcorn Hunt gift from Snatch
Pose 1: “DM – You were saying something?” by Del May
Pose 2: “DM – Holding apart” by Del May
Pose 3: “DM – Swanny male” by Del May

Location: Tyrehl Byks Almost Flat Land http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/LEA13/100/123/650

Read more about it here http://lindenarts.blogspot.ca/2012/06/tyrehl-byks-almost-flat-land.html