La Petite Morte at the 2011 Pose Fair

April 2, 2011 at 8:47 pm (Designers) (, , , , , , )

La Petite Morte - Sweet Dreams
The Pose Fair has started and I have been overwhelmed with the number and quality of pose creators out on the grid these days.  Some have combined their building skills to create photography props, making the use of their products so much more fun and useful for photographer.  Voshie Paine is one such creator is the designer behind La Petite Morte.  While the name is somewhat risqué for the French-speaking population, her creations are made with the photographer and blogger in mind.  And her releases for the Pose Fair are no exception.

The Sweet Dreams set contains 5 really adorable pose clouds made with sculpty prims.  They are well textured and each pose are exactly what you would think you would do had you the option to sit on a cloud!  And it was nice to include 5 different options to use to match your perfect cloud-sitting outfit.  This darling outfit from The Sea Dog went nicely with my cloud seat, however the full-prim set was more suited to posing versus every day wear.

La Petite Morte - The Secret Garden

Another release from La Petite Morte is The Secret Garden, again made with the blogger in mind.  This self-enclosed garden features a wooden swing hanging from a trellis, decorated with ivy.  The garden is surrounded by lovely stone walls, also ensconced in ivy, with a cute secret door entrance.  With shadows enabled this set has so many photographic possibilities, with 5 fun poses included in the swing set, all menu enabled.  In this photo I am also wearing 2 new releases from Decoy.  My favorite is the Rei Tank, in sunset in this photo.

If you are able to get through the lag at the Pose Fair, I would definitely recommend checking out these and other releases from La Petite Morte!


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Raindrops (and Shadows)

March 26, 2011 at 7:02 pm (Building, Photoshop, Tutorials) (, , , , , )


Photo is inspired by the Regina Spektor song “Raindrops”

This photo was taken on a little project I have started, and I hope to have more details to share soon!  I built this little street corner to test my new computer’s ability to render shadows, very cool (and details on how to enable below).

Enabling Shadows:  I am using the new SL viewer, which was so strange to figure out when I came back.  But am used to it now, so I think I will stick with it!  In order to enable shadows, you will need to bring up the Develop Menu by selecting ctr+alt+q
– select Develop > Rendering > Lights and Shadows
– select Develop > Rendering > Shadows from Sun/Moon/Projectors
– select Develop > Rendering > SSAO and Shadow Smoothing
– now you can move your Sun/Moon Position and East Angle in the Environment Editor (World > Sun > Environment Editor)

Adding Rain Effect: I followed this tutorial.  This rain effect adds some interesting atmosphere to the photo using noise and motion blur.  Very easy to do!
– create a new layer (Layer> New> Layer).  Select the new layer in the right menu and use the Fill Tool by selecting Edit > Fill
–> Use: 50% Gray
–> Blending: Normal
–> Opacity: 100%
– add noise by selecting Filter > Noise > Add Noise…
–> Amount: 12.5%
–> Distribution: Uniform
–> have Monochromatic selected
– emphasize the noise pixels by selecting Image > Adjustments > Auto Levels
– open the Filter > Blur menu and select Motion Blur
–> Angle: 52
–> Distance: 15 pixels
– to adjust the density of the rain, open the Levels tool (Image> Adjustments> Levels). In the Levels tool, drag the left and right sliders towards the center.
– Open the Filter > Blur menu and select Gaussian Blur. In the Gaussian Blur tool, adjust the radius slightly until the pixelation disappears (I used 2)
– If you look at the edges of the image, you may find a white glow. To remove this, simply use the Transform Scale tool by selecting Edit > Transform and selecting Scale. Drag the corners of the scale box outwards until the white glow is hidden.
– To finalize the effect, reduce the Opacity of the layer.  I used 37 here.

What I Am Wearing:
Outfit: Amerie’s Naughty – Stripe Rocker
Shoes/Socks: Maitreya Gold – Moxie (Coal)
Skin: PXL – Linda G3 SK (NudeLips)
Umbrella: Mika – Animated Classic Umbrella (Anthracite)
Pose: Diesel Works – Groove 8

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Old Friends and New PS Skills!

March 23, 2011 at 8:01 pm (Designers, People that I Heart, Photoshop, Tutorials)

Vanitas Vesture - Meticulous Pencil Skirt

One of the best things about coming back to SL after a year or so is seeing the amazing things some of my old friends are doing.  I really miss my old sim and community of new artists and creators, and am beyond excited seeing how much progress their businesses have grown in such a short while.  And more so, happy to catch up with them and see them in avatar form after so long!  Makes me want to hug their them down to their pixels!  So I decided I would start another category in my blog to write a bit about the people who I heart, who have inspired me in many ways.

One very sweet person and talented creator is SarahTheRed Aurbierre, designer behind Vanitas Vestures.  Sarah is one of the loveliest people on the grid and has amazing hand-drawn work.  On my first week back in SL I went to the I Heart Originals event.  I was so excited when I saw her shop and collection of gorgeous clothes, I immediately fangirl’ed Sarah!  She has generously donated her Meticulous Pencil Skirt in 4 colors to the Pacific Crisis Fundraiser (in photo above).  It’s beautifully done, and can be matched with a simple top for the spring and layered in the fall.  Sarah seems to have an item or so at other fundraiser events, and I applaud her generosity.  Well done Sarah!

I wanted to also send big hugs to a good friend Rogan Diesel, who’s prolific pose work will keep my photographic needs satiated for quite some time, including the pose in this pic.  He too has been quite active in supporting of events on the grid and has mad skills, as I tell him every moment I can.  He probably usually thinks I am (pardon the phrase) blowing smoke up his butt, but in reality I am usually hard-pressed to find the words of appreciation I have for his friendship.  He’s an inspiration, with his growth of skills beyond pose-making as well, with his work in sculpt-making, texturing and overall creativity.  But most of all really, he makes me want to keep on trying, to log in more, and to just pop in to say hi.  You know that saying about how the best of friends are those who can be apart for some time, but once you see each other again its as if no time has passed?  Yeah.  That’s him.  But enough smoke ;-)

I’ll post more another time about more of the folks that I am super lucky to have back in my life (or lives, if you want to look at it that way!).  But for now, here is a new PS skill to share!

Dodge and Burn:  Using this tool to paint in highlights and shadows can add depth to flat images.  This is really helpful in creating more realistic curves in avatar portraits and body parts.  I spent quite some time on the arm of the image above, and as everything, learning takes time ;-)  What I am really trying to say is ignore most of the other parts that I just really couldn’t get too, most especially the hand which I poorly executed the blur tool to try to remove pixellation!
– create a layer and zoom in on the body part you want to alter
– analyze the light source in your photo.  You will want to lighten (dodge) areas that would be hit by the light, and darken (burn) the shadows not facing the light.
– in the menu bar on the right, select which tool you want to use.  It seemed easier for me to start with the shadows (burn tool)

Burn Tool   Dodge Tool

– select the brush size from the top menu and use your best judgment based on the photo you are altering
– on the top menu, select the range, of which I choose usually Midtones for no other reason than I am not really sure what the others do and this one works for me!  I  the range has something to do with how much impact the selected tool has when you use it.  But don’t quote me (ever really, I’m learning!)
– select the Exposure which is like setting the opacity.  The higher the number the stronger the effect of the tool.  I am a PS wuss and tend to keep this rather low and use many brush strokes to get the effect I want.
– now, use your brush strokes to highlight (dodge) and darken (burn) the areas that you want, taking care to analyze the light source and how it impacts the subject.  Don’t forget that if you make a mistake, you can easily back-track with the command ctl+alt+z.  Better yet, remember that layer you created?  Just delete and create a new one to start again!

Oh yeah and the shadow! Hopefully by the end of the week I will have a fancy new laptop that has a graphics card capable of shadows.  Until then, I used my notes from this post to make the shadow on this photo!

What I am Wearing:
Pose: Diesel Works – Diva 1
Skirt: Vanitas Vesture – Meticulous Pencil Skirt – Pacific Charcoal **PCF Item**
Necklace: =^^= MIAO Madeline Pearl Ribbon Necklace **PCF Item**
Hair: Tiny Bird – Islands – Rich Brown **PCF Item**
Shirt: *Shai* Alma Mater White
Shoes: [Armidi Gisaci] Barcelona Slingback – Antique Rose
Glasses: Nea-Ban Retro *S*BOX*
Skin: [ PXL ] Linda G3 SK NudeLips

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Pacific Crisis Fundraiser

March 21, 2011 at 12:41 pm (Events, Photoshop, Tutorials) (, , , , , , , , )

PCF - Aoharu Tunic 1
Last week’s tragedy affected us all in profound ways, but what always makes the biggest impression on me in these times of huge crisis’ is the rebounding effect of human nature.  It would be amazing if the world could always be as supportive and generous and not only during times of need, but nevertheless, the outpouring of support from all reaches of the world always gives me such inspiration.  And as most humanly emotions do, the impact in Second Life has also been seen and felt.  One major event happening now is the Pacific Crisis Fundraiser, bring together a huge number of creators across the grid to generously offer their items for charity.  I encourage everyone to visit and donate, somehow and somewhere, in-world or in rl, however which way feels comfortable to you.

I’ve taken some pics of my favorite items so far, hopefully more to come.  I’ve also added a few more PS/SL tricks to my sleeve that I thought I would share with you!

PCF - Pink FuelI first became aware of the Pacific Crisis Fundraiser when I had stopped into Pink Fuel for the Diamond is Mine hunt and saw Mochi’s advert.  I’ve been meaning to try out the Pink Fuel skins as I love the glow and dewy look that Mochi adds to all of her creations.  I was intrigued not only with the Kumi pre-release but of course by the Fundraiser event, so that was my next stop.

The Kumi pre-release from the PCF has 4 options: with or without freckles and with or without cute peeking-teeth mouths.  The freckles are mad cute, giving the skin an even more youthful and spring look.  And the teethy lips is just adorable and flirty, definitely the best option of the package.  Note I did not PS this photo, so this is the skin rendering directly from SL.

PCF- Aoharu Tunic 2

The other item I have on from the PCF is Aoharu’s Off-Shoulder Gauze Tunic in a gorgeous red.  Am loving the sculpted sleeve and lace detailing.  The tunic parts are adjustable through menu, and I had do to a bit of alteration rotation-wise for the photos, but overall a well-done creation.  I really like the movement on the sleeves, how it hangs just so.

As for my new PS/SL techniques, here are the tutorials!

1) Adding Lens Flare (top photo) – a good technique to add an artistic touch to a sunny photo.
– select your layer and go to Filter > Render > Lens Flare
– on the image, select the main light point from which the flare will project.  Best to use sun position for realism
– adjust the brightness for effect and select Ok

2) Adjusting SL Environment Editor – My SL experience has only been laptop-based until this weekend.  I’ve finally downloaded the client in my desktop and I really am hitting myself for not doing this sooner!  I think its time to move that desktop or buy a new gaming laptop!!  Anyhoo, you can get great effects from SL directly, without need for PS.  The third picture (water photo) shows some of the gorgeous water rendering I used from the SL Environment Editor.  Here’s how:
– in SL, go to World > Sun > Environment Editor
– for adjusting water, select Advanced Water
Water Fog Color:
This changes the color of the particulate matter in your water, essentially defining the color of the water itself. If your water has no fog, it will appear crystal clear and colorless.
Fog Density Exponent:
Controls the density of your water fog; this setting defines how far you are able to see into the water.
Underwater Fog Modifier:
Controls how the fog density changes when you are underwater. Useful for for creating far-seeing views when underwater while keeping the surface fairly opaque. For example, at a setting of 0.25, the water fog is 1/4 as dense while underwater as it appears from above the surface.
Reflection Wavelet Scale:
Controls the scale of the three wavelets that make up the surface of the water.
Fresnel Scale:
Determines how much light is reflected at different angles; increasing this slider reduces visual reflection effects on the water’s surface.
Fresnel Offset:
Determines how much total light is reflected; increasing this slider increases the amount of light reflected by the water’s surface.
Refract Scale Above:
Controls the amount of visual refraction you can see from above the water’s surface; this is the “wobbly” effect you can see when you look at an object that is underwater.
Refract Scale Below:
Controls the amount of visual refraction you can see from below the water’s surface. This is the “wobbly” effect you can see when you look at an object that is above the water.
Blur Multiplier:
Controls how waves and reflections are mixed. Increasing this setting increases the amount of distortion you see in reflections as a result of wave activity.

If I can figure out how best to upload it, I will add my preset file here!

What I am wearing:
Outfit: Aoharu – Off-Shoulder Gauze Tunic (Red) *for PCF*
Skin: Pink Fuel – Kumi (Milk) – Amethyst *for PCF*
Hair: Maitreya – Lotte (Chestnut)
Poses: Diesel Works

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AFK…but back!

March 6, 2011 at 8:59 pm (Photoshop)

New Profile Pic

It’s been awhile…but it was so nice to log back in to SL and speak to my old friends! As the saying goes, “Good friends are like stars…. You don’t always see them, but you know they are always there.” I’ve come back in baby steps (that new viewer took some getting used to!), so decided it best to reopen this blog to help me get back into my second life.

And what better way than to update my profile pic!  A very good friend (who despite my absence has popped right back into my sl and is one of my inspirations to come back!) notified me today that my profile was rather blank.  Turns out all my profile info was wiped out recently (I swear it was there a couple of weeks ago), so gave me a very good project today.  I learned a fun new trick in photoshop as well, to create a darkened edge, aka vignette, around the photo to create focus on the main subject.  Here’s how!

1. Create a new layer…remember how?  If not, here’s how!
a. Go to the layer menu on the top of the screen and select new > layer
b.  use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+J

2. Select Layer 1 and select Filter > Distort > Lens Correction…

3. Drag the vignette amount slider to the left to darken the edges.  The further left you drag the slider, the darker the edges are

4. Adjust the midpoint slider, which determines how far the darkening effect will extend in towards the center of the image.

5. Adjust the opacity, which reduces the darkening amount around the edges.

What I am wearing:
Outfit: Nylon Outfitters – Goldfish Dress
Skin: Linda G3 – PXL
Hair: Joy – Maitreya
Scarf: Crinkle Scarf (Red) – Muism
Shoes: Moxie (Gold) – Maitreya
Pose: Diesel Works Modeling Chair

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Diversifying is good for investments, not for blogs…

February 28, 2009 at 12:10 pm (Uncategorized)

I have been absent in my blogging of progression of SL building, but because I have been actually making stuff!!!  I will get back to blogging more of the things I learn, but for now, you can see more of the stuff I have been making at the Bittersweet blog here ->

Here’s the new collection!

Cháchara Collection

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A big TY to Takeshi and Ana Lutetia for the lovely blog and review!!

January 28, 2009 at 9:33 pm (Uncategorized)

Gosh, I am so very happy and humbled at how sweet Takeshi and Ana Lutetia were to blog my convo cookies!!!

See their lovely blogs here:
Ana Lutetia – BeBeDoLL review
Takeshi Kiama – Have a Cookie, Have Two!

I’ve also received lots of kind words on the cookies and stuff I’ve been making, and its a HUGE confidence builder, so ty ty ty for loving my crazy funny ideas :)

Today I finished off my new sculpty boyfriend (and passed a few copies off to some friends).  This is mah new luv, who luvs me and only me!

Self Affirmation Teddy Bear

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My First Sculpty Prims!!

January 10, 2009 at 9:24 pm (Building, Sculpted Prims) (, , , )

Ya, I got a tad bit sleepy reading the Blender manual (another symptom of my short attention span), and saw another program on the sl wiki page that looked like fun!  PloppSL is another free program that uses a child-friendly interface to create sculptie maps.  You basically color a one dimensional object and the program poofs up the object like a mylar balloon, creating fun organic shapes.  The cool part is that it also creates the texture to color your prim once you create you map that you can upload and use inworld.  Very basic drawing pad, so most of the shapes from this are very organic but I think they are kinda cute.

Vlad Bjornsson created a this good tutorial on how to use plopp:

So I made some pretty noob sculpties, yay!!
My First Sculpties!

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Creative Short Attention Span

January 10, 2009 at 7:35 pm (Building, Sculpted Prims) (, )

Back from holidays which were lovely and warm and needed RL and SL break.  Now back with the January motivation to start new things and better oneself, I have decided to improve my building skills.  When I started SL, the best thing I found were the free courses offered on how to live a second life.  My preference for courses went towards building, then my short attention span got me looking at clothes-making, scripting, eventually signing up to teach courses (best way to learn).  Then when I walked my noob looking self into ICING, I started this buying fashion frenzy that has taken me to the modeling world I know today!  While exciting and fun, I decided after break to further expand my knowledge sharing on this site to building.

So today, I am learning about sculpted prims.  In SL, lots of products and clothes are now using sculpties as a building block, making complex and more life-like designs.  While it is always fun to see my sculptie prim lashes look like big globs of ectoplasm planted mid-face, the use of sculpties has many benefits to a builder.

The official sl wiki page pointed me to Blender.  Blender is free software that creates 3D maps for sculpties.  From what I can tell the user interface looks more confusing than photoshop!  Its probably not the easiest to use, but probably the most used tool for creating sculpties in sl.  In order to use Blender, you will also need to install Python.

Once I figure out how to do anything other than create a sphere (Add>Mesh>IcoSphere), I will blog more!

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Still Not Around…

December 11, 2008 at 8:46 am (Uncategorized)

Been lurking and plurking, but RL has taken over on account of the season!  Off to a beach holiday for a few weeks and thinking PS on the beach is prolly not on the agenda.  Who knows, possibly a drunken coconut flavoured one here and there?

Here’s my fave song as of late and see ya soon!

Happy Holidays!!!

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