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.

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