Archive for July, 2011

July 29, 2011

When the towers collapsed

When the towers collapsed

I had planned to go for a big retro sci-fi scene for my next picture, possibly with a Metropolis-esque Hel throne and plenty of neon. Then I visited DARE* and that idea went down the toilet. This is a big pose, and it demanded big lighting and the simplest of backgrounds to show off the lines and angles. I don’t have much else to say, but I recommend clicking through to flickr so you can see it in a lightbox.

*DARE is having a mega sale which ends on the 1st of August: 10L$ for packs and 1L$ per pose – don’t miss out, because these are vibrant and arresting.

Skin: Curio – Cupid – Crave 1 in Moonbeam (Light)
Eyes: Insufferable Dastard – Clear Eyes (pink) + Eye Effects – Prim Glow 3
Eyebrows: Curio – Sweetheart brows (black)
Hair: elikatira – Rumor (tinted)
Eyeshadow: Love Soul – Tintable eyeshadow
Lipstick: KOSH – Glossy Lips (raspberry)
Bodysuit: Bare Rose – Night Hawk Lady
Eyepiece: Tokugawa Heavy Industries – Optical Shades (modified)
Boots: NeuroLab – Fatality Electro
Pose: DARE – Single Ladies 5 – The Very Last One

July 21, 2011

Touching Reflection (or: how I learned to stop worrying and love pose-making)

Touching Reflection

(Today I’m going do something a bit lengthier than my usual: I’m going to explain how I made this picture. I’m sure it will be nothing new to the SL veterans among us, but it may be of use to someone.)

There’s an exceptionally well-made sci-fi themed skybox available at Stank. A friend bought it, showed me, and watched in bemusement as I almost had kittens over the aesthetics and features. One of those features (but I really suggest you look for yourself; it’s also a very low price) is a large window that looks out on the stars. Cleverly, the maker has created a simulated reflection of the room outside the window. It’s hugely effective, and made me wish my avatar could be reflected in it too.

Well, with the wonders of modern technology… So I decided to save some pennies and make my own window-touching pose in QAvimator. Poses are not technically difficult to make, but getting something natural and beautiful is another matter. (I can only aspire to the heights of a pose maker such as Del May.) Two great things about QAvimator are that a) there’s a function that makes it very easy to mirror a pose, and b) you can add previously saved poses to your scene, and therefore preview the whole thing before taking it in-world.
QAvimator screenshot

N.B. Another way of saving pennies is to upload everything to the beta grid (if you don’t know how, see this) to make sure it looks good before you shell out your 10L$ in SL-proper.

Once I was happy with the poses, I had to create a poseball set. Again, not difficult: here is a free poseball script (I used the lower one, Dae’s version) which I dropped into a ball along with one of my poses. Duplicate ball, change out the pose in the duplicate for the mirrored one, and adjust the positions of each ball to make the hands almost-but-not-quite touching. Link balls. Profit!

There is a slight snagette if you want to take a picture of yourself, however. Once you’ve set your poseballs up across a window (one on each side), hopped on one and taken your first picture, you will find that standing up and sitting on the other ball will cause your camera to move, thus ruining any attempt at compositing the pictures in your image editor. “But Laverne!” I hear you cry. “How can I avoid this calamity?” Rest easy, for the solution is simple: a script that will temporarily lock your camera position.

I found two such scripts, one costing 1L$ and handily packaged inside a hud, and the other a raw script, but entirely free. I’ve only tested the HUD at this time. (If you use the HUD, be sure and read the instructions, and don’t forget to press ESC at the appropriate time. It turns out to be vital, just as it turns out that I am crap at reading instructions.)

So, with the camera locked, you can get on each poseball in turn and take your pictures, and you’ll end up with something like this:
Raw shots

From there, it’s a case of merging the images and editing the resulting picture to your liking. I hope this has been helpful to someone! If you’d like a copy of the pose, please drop me an IM or a notecard (I’m Laverne Unit or Laverne Donat in-world; both should work) and I’ll get it to you as soon as I can.

Skin: Curio – Cupid – Crave 1 in Moonbeam (Light)
Eyes: Insufferable Dastard – Shine eyes v2 – Light blue-green/Basic + Eye Effects – Prim Glow 3
Eyebrows: Curio – Sweetheart brows (black)
Lashes: Celestial Studios – Deviant (discontinued)
Lipstick: KOSH – Glossy Lips (mango)
Eyeshadow: Candy Doll @ Kozmetika – Smokey Eyes dollarbie (discontinued)
Hair: elikatira – Again (white, tinted)
Top: Bare Rose – Mercenary Lady, grey shirt
Top (harness): Kyoot – Addicted to Dopamine harness
Top (belt): PixelDolls – Adventuress belt (black)
Leggings: Sweetest Goodbye – Leggings 2 (group gift)
Harness & Gloves: Bare Rose – Phi Harness (black)
Boots: Kojima Industries – K-103 Hardsuit Stealth
Pose: my own

July 16, 2011

Taking the power

This empty (for-rent) skybox in Mythical is an example of the ideal place to take snapshots with shadows enabled. It’s a dome with interestingly shaped windows over the entire hemispherical surface, so a little adjustment to the sky settings will create dynamic, unusual shadows. Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about my camera angle in my pictures. A simple change of viewpoint can make all the difference, and here, the lower angle shows off the background to good effect.

I’ve been noticing these TheAbyss boots around for a while now. They come in multiple colours, and like anything TheAbyss makes, are of excellent quality. When I began to put the outfit together, the Hucci bodysuit was the first thing I chose. It’s a bit tricky to wear with certain poses and AO animations, but looks great if you’re careful.

Taking the power

Skin: Curio – Cupid – Crave 1 in Moonbeam (Light)
Hair: Milana – Willow (Ash)
Eyes: Insufferable Dastard – Quicksilver Eyes (small pupil) (June gift) + Eye Effects – Prim Glow 1
Eyeshadow: BOOM @ Kozmetika – Boom-badoom-Boom Lashed (Summer gift)
Lashes: Celestial Studios – Deviant (discontinued)
Eyebrows: Curio – Sweetheart brows (black)
Lips: Glamorize – Smart Mouth Lips in Precious Pink
Bodysuit: Hucci – Nina Bodysuit (white)
Gloves/Underpants (top): GRAVES – Savage (white)
Underpants (bottom): Nevermore – Latex Suit Pearl
Boots: TheAbyss – Stompers (silver)
Pose: Tea Soup – um you know just the usual (shop closed)

Location: Mythical

July 10, 2011

Outshone the Stars

My favourite thing about Hair Fair 2011 is the free fatpack of “Pinned” by Lelutka. (Hair Fair runs until the 15th of July, so you still have time to visit it.) At around the same time, I followed up on the note I’d made about the Defectiva outfit in this post by Strawberry Singh, and found it came in silver (perfectly space-age!). Even better: the entire outfit, including the clothing layers, is mod, so I was able to edit out a section of the collar and remove the sleeves entirely. I love the way the collar extends on to the face with a tattoo layer; it adds a certain air de cyborg.

Insufferable Dastard always seems to have something to suit my purpose. From the Jewel eyes, a bright, pupil-less pair, I took the rest of my colour palette. (Turquoise, how I love thee.) It’s worth noting that as of this post, the eyeshadow by Elegant Epiffany is at a promotional price of 1L$.

I went to Hangars Liquides again for my snapshots and ended up choosing a far simpler backdrop than I’d originally planned. There’s so much in the sim that it can be a little overwhelming, but an uncluttered setting is usually better. Shadows were tricky – either because the sim is enclosed or because of the number of buildings – so I had to put the sun overhead. This can create unflattering shadows on the face (just like it does when you put a torch to your chin to tell a spooky story) but I managed to make the light hit my hair instead.

The result:

Outshone the Stars (close-up)

Skin: Curio – Cupid – Crave 1 in Moonbeam (Light)
Hair: Lelutka – Pinned in Opal (Hair Fair ’11 gift, barrette tinted)
Eyes: Insufferable Dastard – Jewel Eyes in blue
Lips: Glam Affair – Layla lipstick in Azure
Eyeshadow: Elegant Epiffany – Linter in Marina
Brows: Curio – Sweetheart brows (black)
Bodysuit (bottom): Kyrah Design Concept – Lycra catsuit in Sweet Blue
Bodysuit (top)/collar/socks: Defectiva – Original Sin in Pride (modified)
Gloves: Bare Rose – Dadamalio
Pose: Exposeur – The Hotties, Part 4 – Indyra

Location: Hangars Liquides

July 1, 2011

Pris 2.0

I’ve toyed with the idea of recreating Pris’s look (from Blade Runner) for some time. The dark slash of paint across her eyes is probably most iconic, so I chose that rather than the earlier, more bedraggled outfit. The Pris eye makeup I’ve seen for sale has consisted of little more than a simple streak from a Photoshop airbrush, though, so I made my own. (The Beta grid is so useful for testing such things.)

Since I last posted, I’ve gained the use of SL shadows – and boy, what a difference! I use Strawberry Singh’s windlight settings all the time.

The boots are a new favourite purchase (fully mod, made from just a few well-crafted sculpties), and I took the snapshots inside the same shop: Kojima Industries. It’s a stunning build, with fully baked lighting adding to the atmosphere. Perhaps I’ll write more about my own adventures with lighting later – for now, I’ll just say that Blender has become a close friend of mine…

Pris 2.0

Pris 2.0

Skin: Curio – Cupid – Crave 1 in Moonbeam (Light)
Hair: Lelutka – Gaga 2.0 in Arctic
Eyes: Insufferable Dastard – Quicksilver Eyes (small pupil) *June gift* + Eye Effects – Prim Glow 1
Lips: BOOM @ Kozmetika – Lipwax (Pale)
Eyes/Cheeks: Pris makeup (by me)
Bodysuit (on top): GRAVES – Savage (white)
Bodysuit (underneath): Hucci – Circolo Bodysuit (white)
Boots: Kojima Industries – K-103 Hardsuit Stealth
Poses: Exposeur – The Hotties, Part 4 & Del May – You were saying something?

Location: Kojima Industries