Monday, June 30, 2008

What Hath Lludmila Wrought?

Kathy sits at the glass-top wrought-iron table from my childhood.

The Restoration Hardware catalog was inspirational, but I dug into my past for the next project, the glass-top wrought-iron table. I could have saved a ton of prims in the making of this, but I wanted something more like what I grew up with. This table is still in the family. It has been nothing but a pain to move it four times (the glass always breaks), but I love it. The original has an ivy pattern decoration, but there was no way ...

Kathy and the mahogany desk.

There had been a desk, chair, and lamp in my collection of freebies, but they all swamped my avatar. Most avs must start at six and a half feet tall. I shrank mine originally to fit in a space capsule, and left her there at 4' 8" - diminutive but sassy. Subsequent avatars might be taller, but I try to keep them at six feet or under. Note the embossed leather top to the desk. Nice touch!

Kathy experiences a script error on the fainting couch.

I'd always wanted a fainting couch in RL, but a) it doesn't seem likely I'd find one I wanted in my price range and b) I don't have anywhere to put it. The next best thing is to make a virtual one! I had trouble with it until I saw one for sale in-world. Aha! But what these pieces really need are pose balls to put avatars in the right positions. And I don't know the secrets of pose ball creation. They are balls ... with pose animations in them, but they need something else. So I dissected one to uncover its secrets. Once that was done, I could cut-and-paste from existing materials. Mwah-ha-haaa!
I needed to find a pose that would fit this piece of furniture and Ms. Qunhua was helping me when I tried a pose that just wasn't working because the script had self-destructed. It did, however, resemble an actual "faint." So I took a picture of it. This piece still needs a little work, but I was pleased with the overall result. Hmm, a better texture would be nice as well.
I have now mastered Stealing Ideas and Cobbling Things Together through a process called Trial and Error. I am so proud!

Building, Continued

Lludmila builds, "Ker-CHOW!"

For my next project, I tried making something house-like. Avatars don't need much. And if we think there's any such thing as privacy in SL, we're seriously deluded. But I made a nice rectangular building with lots of windows for light. Originally it had "sliding doors" that were phantom and you could walk through them, but I wasn't able to maintain that after linking the parts. Now I just leave that bit open.
Kathy sits in a freebie deck chair in front of the little house.

A house in SL is just a place to keep furniture, so I pulled some furnishings out of my inventory and stuck them in. For the most part, they were just the wrong size. And, besides, I hadn't had the pleasure of making them. This is like my RL jewelry. Sure, I could buy that piece, but isn't it that much more satisfying to have made it myself, even if it does turn out a little wonky?
Lucky for me, the Restoration Hardware catalog I didn't ask for arrived in our mailbox. In it was the cedar chaise longue I almost bought 8 years ago but instead went for the wrought iron look for the patio at our new house. Also, there was a ton of simply designed furniture and my beady little eyes goggled.A chaise longue isn't enough for Lludmila, she has to make a couch and fire pit as well!

Okay, so I went a little crazy. I have some outdoor furniture now and I have to make the fire pit as well. Heh, heh. Funny story about the fire pit and why there is no fire in it (at least in this picture) ...
Once upon a time I built a fire pit and looked through my inventory to see if there was any fire I could just stick in it. I had several choices, but didn't know what they looked like. Fire is a particle emitter. It has a script embedded in an object and little, or not so little, objects (the particles) are emitted from that location. They can spread far or not so far. If you want to move the emitter, you have to find the object and click on it. If you want to delete it, ditto.
The first fire I rezzed to look at was an easy target with logs and everything. It was a bit too large for the fire pit. I deleted it. The second one was a bonfire. It was only made of particles and the emitter. And it was huge. I tried to find the main object with alt + left click and zooming in. I couldn't see it. I right clicked and deleted at random ... and suddenly, the ground disappeared. I clicked some more, thinking I'd finally seen my target, but nothing was happening. Why not?
Well, when the floor disappeared, so did I. My avatar plummeted to the ground and I was too far away to make any changes in anything. I tp'd back. The fire, the rocks, the benches, were all hanging in mid-air. I zoomed in on the bonfire again and deleted it. Embarrassed, I IM'd Milosun (the owner of the sandbox) to tell him I had burnt half of it down.
Lludmila surveys the carnage after the Great Conflagration That Burned Down the Eduisland Sandbox.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Adventures in Building

Lludmila models the bun she made for the back of her head and the necklace (see photo above her head for the front).

I came to Second Life (tm) for the library and librarians and I stayed for the friends I made. But in the middle there, I tinkered with the idea of making things. I like to make things in real life (no tm): mostly using needles (beading, sewing, a knit here and there and perhaps a crochet) and sometimes just cardboard and a mat knife. I refinish furniture. If I need to know something, I just get a book on it and read up. So, I thought I'd be able to make things in SL (that Second Life tm thing*). It was harder than it looked. I got a great deal of pleasure out of taking clothing forms and applying new textures and combining them. I was able to create shapes and add textures to them easily enough, but it was time consuming. When I tried making small things, like a necklace, it became very frustrating. One day I was hanging around a virtual campfire and someone handed out marshmallows on sticks (in flames, too - most humorous) and someone said, "We need s'mores!" So the next time I was in a sandbox, I made a virtual s'more and called it a s'less.Lludmila creates a s'less (like a s'more, only not quite).

At some point I discovered the fun of stalking the wild freebie and that took up a lot of my unstructured time on SL. Then I became a child. I got so nervous about being out amongst strange adults (as nervous about my own behavior as their reactions), that I curtailed some of my Great White Hunter activities and stayed in the sandbox. I unpacked boxes of freebies and deleted some clothing that I had once appreciated and now wouldn't be caught virtually dead in. After a conversation with a friend who builds a lot of stuff, I decided there was a more profitable usage of my time. I would build something. And I wouldn't try small things again, because that was just crazy. I would build something large, using simple shapes. And immediately the idea of a round gazebo in marble struck me.

Karrot inspects her handiwork.

It got pretty fiddly because I couldn't just leave it as an open space. I had to put in curtains and show off my ability to make something flexi. Somehow, it turned out to be a phantom object (I could walk straight through the columns) and I had trouble with my alpha layers so the columns kept disappearing, making bits hard to work with. They were there, just invisible. There's not a whole lot you can do with some of that, just try to remember where the bits were supposed to be and click and hope. Fixing the phantom columns, though, meant taking the whole thing apart and relinking it. In the end, though, I was pleased with what I'd created, but felt I could do better.

Pink marble is all well and good, but I wanted to try another color, so I used the green to make a new gazebo, this time perhaps a little smarter. I was able to make sure I was starting with non-phantom materials. I wanted some contrast and so I made the plinths darker. I wanted an airy roof that would have vines around it (when I got some). I wanted nicer sheers as curtains. Doric style columns sufficed before and while wondering if Ionic was possible, I came across a texture that I thought could pass for a minimalist Corinthian style. I tinted it a greyish green and stuck it at the top. Then I patted myself upon the back for being so clever.
Making the second gazebo went a lot faster. I was gathering confidence. I now thought I could tackle a square.

*You know, this is just plain stupid. If I write about the Kleenex (and it actually is that brand) I have in my pocket I don't put a tm. If I whinge and bitch about Microsoft I don't put a tm. It's just a blog, fercryinoutloud.