April 25, 2017

Second LIfe Fantasy Faire 2017

Well it's that time of year again for fashion weirdness at Fantasy Faire. Honestly, I'm not a fan. I used to love seeing the strange avatars that Grendel's Children put out but for the most part, my SL style is more real life oriented. That's not a knock against FF, it's just my personal taste.

ANYWHO! One designer who always comes up with appropriately strange things is Pixy Snook (notice the awesome last name) of Stix. Where she gets inspiration for skins, makeups and tattoos is beyond me. Some of them are seriously demented (in a good way). Her contributions to this year's FF are no different.

Prices range from $99L to $249L depending on options and fatpacks.

Anyway, here's your limo to Fantasy Faire 2017. Good luck and don't say I didn't warn ya!


April 6, 2017

New region limits for Second Life

Some interesting things in an announcement by Linden Lab recently.
Currently, when a region is full, access to the region is simply on a first come first served basis. This leads to a sort of distributed race to enter the full region; users repeatedly try to teleport or cross into the region and fail until someone leaves. The next attempt made by anyone succeeds, which makes the region full again. Even the region owner and estate managers must compete with other Residents to get into their own region if they find themselves outside of the region when it is full.
We are introducing some improvements to how region limits and region entry work:
The Region Owner or an Estate Manager can always enter, even when the region is full
The default limit on the number of avatars in each region type is increased
Full Regions by 10% (100 to 110)
Homesteads by 25% (20 to 25)
Open Spaces by 20% (10 to 12)
This new bonus capacity is, however, available for entry purposes only to Premium users - for Basic users the occupancy limits remain the same. 
I like the Premium member only bonus. I think Linden Lab could do more along these lines to improve the benefits for Premium.

For complete article see: https://community.secondlife.com/blogs/entry/2145-improved-region-capacity-and-access/

January 8, 2017

Age, beauty, Madonna and Camille Paglia

I don't normally get political or socially analytical here but honestly, this column by Camille Paglia is one of the better reads I've come across recently. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/camille-paglia-how-age-disgracefully-hollywood-guest-column-960794

I think there's some application to how we see things in Second Life too. We can all be young or old or in-between regardless of our physical ages. But it's different in real life because, well, it's real. Paglia hits a number of points spot-on. A huge megastar like Madonna actually feels like she's been dissed over her career. Yeah right. I'd love to be dissed that way. It's like that Kelly LeBrock ad from the 80's where she says "Don't hate me because I'm beautiful."

Paglia is right, the reason Madonna's new material doesn't sell is because it's blah, bleh, ick. Not because she's being "age discriminated" against. I was a huge Mad fan growing up. But now she just comes across as a pouty bitch. The YouTube video of Mad saying she "loathes hydrangeas" after accepting them from a fan showed to me just how unreal her real world really is.

Anyway, read and decide for yourself.

December 5, 2016

Mesh templates for Second Life fashion

Today's article is about mesh templates and Second Life fashion. It's not a "how to" but more of a "what to look for". We'll start with a fashion shot:
This particular dress is "BD Morgan 10-colors HUD" and I honestly have NO idea where I got it. I think it came from one of the many special SL fashion events I go to (like C88) but who knows? Anywho, I'm sure I didn't pay more than $99L.
The included HUD basically changes out the textures on the dress for 10 color variations of this sort of floral pattern. It is actually quite nice when you look up close. Good detail and there's a shadowing to the flowers that makes them look embroidered or woven-in vs. simply colored.

Want the dress in blue, teal or black? Just click the HUD and the magic happens.

 Black Rose Morgan DressNow for the fun part. Go onto the SL Marketplace and do a simple search for "Morgan Dress" without the quotes. You'll find maybe close to a hundred variations on BD Morgan. Some are sold as single colors, some have different textures for top & bottom, some have HUDs and some even add a fabric neckband. ALL FROM DIFFERENT CREATORS! And all at prices that are all over the block -- from $99L for a HUD-driven 5-color version to single colors for $149 to as much as $399L for yet another 10-color HUD version.

Above is one example of a single color from Black Rose for $99L. The creator has made their own sort of stripey texture and added some banding under the bodice and at the bottom hem.

 Morgan Dress Source MeshSo how does this happen oh mesh newbie? The answer is templates! And here's the grandmother of all these variations! The seller offers the dress in 5 standard sizes plus fitted sizes for the most popular mesh bodies including Maitreya, Slink, Belleza and TMP. That's a total of 12 meshes in all plus all the UV and Shadow maps and original DAE/OBJ files for popping into a 3D package all for $1300L. Not bad.

Now since the source files are full perms (you actually download them separately outside of SL), it's possible for content like this to get shared (aka ripped off). I have no idea if that's happening with Morgan but it's certainly possible.

The question you may ask though is why use a template? Why don't creators make their own from scratch? Well as a recovering designer myself, I can tell you it's really really really hard to do mesh. OMG. Unless you are super skilled at 3D work (using Blender or Maya or something), your learning curve to do something even as simple looking as Morgan is going to be really steep. It's not at all like making appliers for t-shirts. And then consider that there are 12 meshes for 12 size variations and riggings supplied with Morgan. That means you have to have Slink, Maitreya, TMP, Belleza and the FIVE standard size models in your 3D program to get them tweaked correctly.

So that's why you'll see many designers focusing their skills on texturing and adding value to something like Morgan rather than try to design them from scratch. Now some designers DO make their own meshes. Shoe-oriented companies (like my favorite KC Couture) mostly due their own meshes as do mesh body creators. But others, like another fave of mine, Inga Wind, do some really amazing textures on mesh templates. Often designers like Inga will create an outfit complete with shoes, accessories and jewelry to add value to what starts as a template mesh.

Now as to the HUDs to change colors/textures, those are fairly easy to come by. There are lots of full perms scripted HUDs on SLM that you can buy, load with your own textures (full perms) and target the mesh template. Since many mesh templates have "faces", the HUD can also target a specific part of the mesh to change say the shoestrings or buckles or bows or whatever might be available. Note that this discussion on templates doesn't just apply to fashion. It can be for almost anything rendered in SL including buildings, vehicles, plants, furniture, etc. 

Is this sort of info worthwhile to you or is it too basic? Let me know!

December 3, 2016

Fun holiday lipsticks from Stix

It's the holidays and what better way to celebrate than with whimsical Candy Stripes lipsticks and eye shadows from Stix (aka Pixy Stix).

$L99 Lips
$L99 Shadows
$L149 Fatpack

November 28, 2016

Business girl goes cheap! $10L special

Jessie by Licole Fashion
A discussion ensued (like that word??) in the Second Life inworld Maitreya Lara Friends group about business attire. One of the ladies was looking for a professional suit. These used to be fairly easy to find in SL maybe 5 years ago but with the advent of mesh bodies and changing tastes, they are kind of hard to find. A few options came up including a $599L full outfit from Bella Moda which, at least from the Marketplace photos, looks stunning. (Not sure if the person who was hunting for an outfit bought it or not. It is pricey.)

ANYWAY, that lead me to do my own little search on SLM and UGGGH! Still lots of paint-on system clothes for standard avatars. But there just isn't much in the way of mesh -- especially not outfits designed for Maitreya's Lara body (or for that matter Belleza or Slink).

Then I thought maybe I can make a standard mesh outfit work. And, tah-dah, with a little work on the alphas, I present to you Jessie from Licole fashion. Comes in the standard 5 sizes and as long as your shape isn't too far off, it's wearable with most mesh bodies. The cool part? It was only $10L.

The one drawback is the jacket texture (it's all one mesh) is really dark. While the detail is good, you have to be in bright light to appreciate it. My photo here shows how it actually looks under standard mid-day lighting. Enlarge, zoom in and see for yourself.

Heels are Sensure in black by Beck for mid feet ($50L) but you could get the original full perms template version for only $99L and make your own in any color for Slink, Maitreya or Belleza. They're sold as DX001 Firefly Shoes on SLM. Really, they're quite nice. I wish more shoe designers would make mid feet compatible shoes -- it's just so much more natural looking than high. Oh well. Personal annoyance of mine.

SLM link to outfit: Jessie Business Suit by Licole

November 4, 2016

Shoe Alert! Found my Mary Janes for Maitreya!!

Those who know me know how much I love cosplay outfits in Second Life. Everything from cutesy Power Puff Girls stuff to Marvel comics to manga -- SL provides such an amazing array of things to wear. So what cosplay wardrobe would be complete without a pair of  platform Mary Janes and ankle socks? Answer? NONE! You have to have them!

Bella Jane Heels by Pacagaia Creations
The problem has been finding some that work with my (totally awesome) Maitreya Lara mesh body. I've got several pairs of system Mary Janes with my favorites being a pair I picked up at Sarah Nerd's for like $1L millions of years ago. They were perfect with that chunky look that graces the feet of anime stars worldwide. (So to speak.) But alas, system shoes don't work on mesh bods so I've been on the hunt for months now.

Anyway, here they are, Bella Jane Heels by Pacagaia Creations (PC). Now they aren't perfect -- the ankle sock detail around the top is a little klutzy but the rest is purrrrfect. (And how often is someone zooming in on your shoooz anyway? From normal viewing they look fantastic.) I just love the little hearts outlining the shoe top! Sorry about the lighting in my photo studio -- the detail gets a little washed out but trust me, the lace shows up under normal SL conditions.

What's even more amazing is that they are HUD driven so ALL the colors are separately modable including the socks and hearts! BUT WAIT THERE'S MORE! (Hee hee.) They are ONLY $99L on the SL Marketplace.

Now if ONLY I could get some with chunky heels instead of stilettos. Hint hint!

Link to items on SLM: https://marketplace.secondlife.com/p/PC-Bella-Jane-Heels-wear-to-unpack/9777527