Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving :)

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone in the states! And happy autumn to those who aren't! I hope everyone enjoyed the colors of fall, and before you guys bundle up too much and start putting snowflakes on your sweaters you should pick up some deceased plant matter and wear it on your head.

A piece of autumn color from someone lucky enough to be where leaves turn :) The texture for these leaves was from a particularly stunning leaf I found while walking near where I live, and maples always have better color than those dowdy oaks! If you didn't get the group notice, you can grab it out of the notice history tab in the group info of Masqueraderie.

As thanksgiving is a time to appreciate what you have, but I also have potatoes to peel and a turkey in the oven, I will keep this short. I can't tell you how much you (yes you), contribute to my life just by reading these words, following my new releases and buying things with your hard earned $L. I've said before and I'll say it again that this is my passion, my RL job, and if I wasn't doing this I'd probably be waiting tables or sitting in the pale glow of fluorescent lights while doing something I found horribly boring. So thank you for letting me do something I love, and thank you for appreciating what I bring to SL. If it wasn't for you, I doubt I would be anywhere near as happy as I am. It may be mushier than canned yams, but garsh darn it it's true.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Today for Bonfire night and the 5th of November, there's a sort of movement going on in the fashion community. There's been a buzz, more than usual, about Creator's Rights and copyright protection. There are a couple of groups that have been created to promote awareness about theft and supporting content creators.

Honestly, I don't think the message is going to reach the people who actually need to hear it. The worst culprits of theft probably aren't even aware of fashion feeds, and Linden Lab couldn't be bothered with whatever action we try to take. Munchflower Zaius and Stroker Serpentine are already taking the best action available as far as LL is concerned: a class action suit.

So what is there left? I know I certainly want to spread awareness of real artists and protect our content from being ripped and redistributed, but really what is there to do?

As a customer and a shopper, the best thing you can do (in my humble opinion) is simply to be aware of who you are buying from. Familiarize yourself with some of the tell-tale signs of resellers and rippers, and with popular prefab sculpt packs. Before you plop down lindens for something you really like ask yourself who you're paying the money to. There aren't surefire ways to tell if a store is legit, but if there are multiple red flags in one place, it might be better to teleport away and find somewhere else to get that tank top.

Real artists have a dedication to their work, a love for what they do, and a passion for their products. And I feel these are the people you should seek out, support, and buy from when you can. And when you find that the insecurity of the grid has been exploited at the detriment of these people, speak up and let the artist know. Even if they've probably heard about it a hundred times, there's always the chance that they haven't.

Really that's all. It's not a grand gesture, it's just a constant effort. As a shopper, even if you never speak to a content creator, wearing their items is a badge of support and an endorsement. So thank you, however you are showing your support today, thank you.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The King and Queen of the Dead

For the past few weeks, I have poured more time and effort than ever before into an event mask. I had a rough idea what I was in for, but even planning ahead and allowing extra time ended with me finishing them a mere four hours before the masquerade began. For the past week I literally woke up, worked on this, (grabbed a snack), and fell asleep.

I had a vision of not only a skull mask, but an entire skull.. and not just a skull but the neck as well. I wanted its beautifully asymmetrical and jagged vertebrae raw and exposed for all to see. This did mean tackling invisiprims, which are a kludgey, glitchy, and sometimes hideous thing to deal with. People tolerate them on their shoes, but would they tolerate them in a more visible spot, like the face? I'd have to make it worth their time.

I've been learning both new sculpting techniques but most especially texturing, which has allowed me to delicately paint and utilize sources in new ways, which allows me a whole new level of realism. I didn't want a perfectly photosourced look (I don't think it works too well in SL), but I adore the detail it brings to my already smooth and stylized textures.
The differences between the male and female masks might not be immediately evident, it's mostly in the collar, the jaw, and the shape of the invisiprims. I wouldn't suggest trading genders in the case of these; the shapes are quite specifically formed to the respective meshes.

Amusingly, you can wear hair with these, which can sometimes work out wonderfully and sometimes disastrously. I suggest you experiment with different styles, if at all, because obviously it works well on its own.

Another option you can try it with is just with the neck piece, which I've been quite enjoying. Sometimes you want a touch of the macabre, but don't want to hide that gorgeous face you spent so long tweaking and finding the perfect skin for.

If these go well I might consider doing other skeletal pieces like hands or an arm. The issue here is where are people willing to tolerate invisiprims? They're not the best solution, but they're currently the only ones.

I'm also so exhausted from this month I think I'm going to go crawl in a hole for a little while.