Avatar #Selfie

#selfie

#selfie

I’ve said it before…I really kind of suck at taking pics of my avatar. Between finding the right pose, props, hair and windlight, relogging over and over again…it’s a lot of work. I can’t even imagine the work involved in doing a fashion post or maintaining an entire blog devoted to SL fashion.

It was a real challenge for me to find inspiration to do an interesting avatar shot for all of the above reasons, and then some. These types of photos are out of my comfort and skill zone. But in the (very long) process, I found some fun and satisfaction in doing my version of a “selfie”.

I think I might try another one. :)

Avatar self-portraits in landscapes

Botgirl wrote an interesting blog post last week about the popularity of “avatar selfies” on Flickr. This trend stands out more now with the new Flickr interface which has long been a popular photo sharing site with Second Life users. I noticed all the avatar self-portraits too and it caused me to reflect on my own photos and the lack of my avatar face in my photostream.

I create a lot of images in Second Life however my avatar rarely makes an appearance in my photos. My RL photos are the same but this is easily explained because I am always behind the camera. I don’t have this same excuse in Second Life. My subject matter for my photos are mainly landscapes and silhouettes. I’m in love with my avatar too. I love shopping for her and dressing her up, so I find it interesting that I don’t take more photos where she is the star.

So this weekend, I logged in SL with the intention to create an avatar self portrait that I liked. This is what I ended up with (click the pic to view a larger version because it looks better!):

Alone with my thoughts

Alone with my thoughts

LOL

Those of you who know me will know that I like bears.

I don’t even think you can really call this a self portrait, but to me it is. Perhaps my image is indicative of my view of the world and my place in it. I’m just a small but important part of the landscape and all the other elements are arranged around me to tell my story.

I think I might give myself a little project and explore this a little more. We’ll see what other kind of “self portraits” I can come up with. I’ll be sharing my photos on my Flickr stream in the coming days.

Photography in Second Life and my new gallery space!

Carrie's Timamoon Gallery Collage

I think photography in Second Life has improved so much in the last couple of years, at least in my experience. I’m on an almost five year old laptop and it dawned on me today that I crash way less now than I did four years ago when I first started out here. I don’t know how or why I ever stuck around so long with so much technical problems. I’m not saying things are perfect now, but I definitely see that things have improved since I have been around these parts.

Windlight and now the option of different clouds has opened up whole new opportunities for SL photographers. Water looks more realistic than ever, even on my old clunker of a computer, and mesh items add new shape and realism to the props to play with for photo sets. Features such as the Phototools in the Firestorm viewer add a whole new world of choices for photographers to tell stories through their images. And finally, that horrible tiling bug that has haunted us for so long has finally been resolved.

I have been enjoying my time playing with these tools to create some new images (pictured in this post) which are now on display at the Timamoon Arts Community. This is a great place and there is something to see for everyone. I only just got my little gallery space set up, but so far I have felt warmly welcomed by the community.

My gallery space at Timamoon Arts Community

My gallery space at Timamoon Arts Community

This is my first time setting up a space to display my images for sale, and I enjoyed the process so much that I think I might pursue this in other art spaces as well so I can create more! I have no idea what the etiquette is in the SL art world for getting gallery space but there is no harm in approaching those who know to find out, right? When I first thought of this I had some doubts and insecurities about myself, but what the hell! I won’t know unless I pursue this and ask.

After all, I hear that Second Life is a place where you can make all those crazy artsy phartsy dreams you thought would never happen, really come true.

Visit my gallery space at Timamoon Arts Community

SL10B Preview: A Behemoth of an idea

The Behemoth Entrance, SL10B Wonderous

The Behemoth Entrance, SL10B Wonderous

On the corner of Beach and East 6th St in the SL10B Wonderous sim, something BIG is looming. You will notice the large green figure which stands South-East and not far from the SL10B Wonderous Welcome Area. If you are like me, your curiosity will take you right to the foot of this monstrous green figure.

Be sure to read the welcome sign and take a look at the sketches by the Behemoth creator, Loki Elliot, which led to its creation here in Second Life. There is a free HUD available that you should wear in order to fully experience this build.

The Behemoth SL10B - 2Once you are wearing the HUD, you will be given some quick and easy instructions before you embark on your journey from the base of the tail to the top of the Behemoth. When you get to the top, if your computer can handle it, turn up your draw distance for a spectacular view of the SL10B Wonderous sim. Along your path, click on the little figures pictured above to continue the story and collect the free gifts.

The story is a somewhat cautionary yet charming tale of a brilliant idea that grew beyond its creators expectations. In fact, it continues to grow to this day, far exceeding what anyone could have possibly imagined. Like any good story, there were challenges and conflicts and still more to come, but the effort to support this Behemoth of an idea turned out to be worth every second of it for those that love it.

I won’t give away any more details because you should go see it for yourself. The Behemoth is a story that all of us who are a part of this little virtual world that could, I think can certainly relate to and be inspired from.

Happy Birthday Second Life. Cheers to ten more wonderful years!

Looking over SL10B Wonderous from the top of the Behemoth

Looking over SL10B Wonderous from the top of the Behemoth

TP the the SL10B Welcome Area in Wonderous

TP directly to The Behemoth build

Please note that these landmarks will not work until tomorrow, June 16th 2013, when the SL10B sims open to the public.

Set me free

Set me free

Set me free

Since my surgery on May 31st, I have come to understand a new appreciation of Second Life. I am unable to walk like I used to. I can hobble around the house on crutches and a walker, but this is a far cry from the freedom and enjoyment I got from my brisk walks home from work and my evening strolls down by the lake to take photos. Yesterday I had an appointment at the with my doctor for a follow-up and some x-rays, and I nearly cried while stumbling around looking for the fracture clinic while my mother went to park the car. Life ain’t easy for someone with limited mobility even at the god damned hospital!

My incapacitation is only temporary though. Yesterday I had my bandages removed from my feet and the staples pulled out. I feel so much better but still unable to walk. I hobble around the house as best as I can. It will be several more weeks before I can start walking somewhat normal again, and probably several months before I will be briskly walking home from work again. But my doctor assures me that I will be back to normal, I just need to be patient and give it time.

I have been spending my mornings in Second Life, working on some images for my new gallery space and this makes at least part of my very long day go by faster. Today I was thinking about how grateful I am have this to keep myself busy. I have a lot of time on my hands right now which I could easily spend couch bound in front of the tv. I prefer spending at least some of that time in Second Life where I can work on creative and fun projects that keep my mind sharp while my physical body rests and heals.

Flickr snobbery

A funny thing happened yesterday. Not too long after I uploaded my image from yesterdays blog post, someone dropped me from Flickr. I don’t ever keep track of such things, but this person not only dropped me but also felt compelled to send me a message explaining why. Sounds nice to provide an explanation, but not really.

I share both SL and RL photos on my Flickr (add me!). I think I have mostly SL people as contacts but since I started sharing my RL pics, I started getting some non-SL people add me. No one has ever complained about my feed until yesterday. Basically, this person who dropped me told me that they weren’t interested in my pictures from a “video game”, that they added me as a contact because they thought I had some “real photos” to share and that’s why they were dropping me. Heh. Whatever.

I barely gave it much thought at all yesterday as you know, I have other things on my mind like my broken foot and my damaged heel ligaments on my other foot to take care of.

Last night I was doing my SL10B Greeter homework and exploring the SL10B sims, you know, so I will know where everything is when the sims open to the public. I have already viewed some photos of the much talked about A’stra Stage at SL10B, but when I went to visit it for myself, I was almost overcome with emotion. It’s just so breathtaking and beautiful and it reminded me of my dear friend and mentor Marjorie who passed away a couple of years ago. She had a special affinity for turtles and I couldn’t help but think of her as I was exploring the stage.

A'stra Stage at SL10B

A’stra Stage at SL10B

I don’t know of many other “video games” out there where you can create such amazing things that evoke such emotion. And I don’t think it’s just me who felt something when walking with their avatar across this turtles back. It was then that my thoughts turned to that snobbish person who dropped me from Flickr because I share pictures of amazing places to see and experience in Second Life. They have no fucking clue what they are missing.

A question about high res textures in Second Life

Take me home with you

Take me home with you

This morning I started working on some new images for my in-world gallery. It’s nice to get into the zone of setting up a shot, choosing windlight and snapping some shots. I did my first new image this morning and I’m ready to upload it to SL to put on a prim, but I have a question about texture size. So if there any knowledgeable people about this topic reading, I would appreciate your input.

I’ve heard the theory that 1024 x 1024 textures are responsible for creating lag. I am not a techie person so I have no theories of my own on this. I do notice that objects that have this size texture take longer to load on my laptop. I want to upload my images to hang on a wall and not lose too much sharpness or quality when they are resized. So my question is what is the best size for uploading a texture to create an art wall hanging in Second Life?

If anyone has any insight on this, I would love to hear your thoughts!