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Archive for the ‘Textures’ Category

I am an awful coward about new viewers.

Because I need to use Second Life for work, when I have a viewer that – basically – works for me, I tend to cling to it with a passion.

The Atelier - without the advanced lighting model

The Atelier – without the advanced lighting model (old Firestorm)

For a long time, this was Imprudence which was blessedly stable. I was never tempted by Emerald but, when it finally declined gracefully (although it has lately resurged), I moved over to Firestorm and quickly fell in love with its bells and whistles.  Nevertheless, I tend to be a bit conservative about updating – I will wait till friends have tested it and reported that it’s safe.

But I have been seduced. I bought Kayle Matzerath’s Atelier, which I raved about in a previous post, and even a quickly dive into the official Second Life viewer to take pics told me that I was missing out. I knew it used materials, normal maps and specular maps … but oh my. Oh …my.

The Atelier - WITH the advanced lighting model (Firestorm beta)

The Atelier – WITH the advanced lighting model (Firestorm beta)

The difference is stunning.

So this morning I drew a deep breath and downloaded the beta version of Firestorm. Yes, I had been seduced so far. And you can see the results here. Both pictures were taken from the same angle, using the same windlight. The only different is the Advanced Lighting model (and thus materials).

And in case you are wondering – I was turned off the official Second life viewer by Version 2 (like so many) and after that have only used it as a back-up. Nowadays, I find the chat system cumbersome – I prefer the flexibility of Firestorm.

Anyway – let’s do a jigsaw (note that for jigsaws to work, I have to lighten the image before making the jigsaw – I do that using curves in Photoshop).

Click to Mix and Solve

In the Atelier

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Catch up with your Prim Perfect jigsaws (showing images of Second Life and other virtual worlds).

If you’d like to submit a photo of your own to feature as a jigsaw, send it to the Prim Perfect Flickr Group. It should be sized 800w x 600h, or else it will need to be re-sized.

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This week’s show is a timely repeat of our conversation with some of the people from Linden Lab about server side baking and materials.

Join us at 2pm SLT today, Monday 30th September, for Designing Worlds at our studio in Garden of Dreams, as we are joined by Oz, Brooke, Troy and Nyx Linden to discuss the issues of Server Side Baking and materials.

Nyx, Troy, Oz and Brooke Linden explain the changes coming

The changeover to server-side baking appears to have gone smoothly, and materials are now coming in on a variety of viewers. But what does it all mean for the Second Life user?

Server side baking is a whole new way of solving the problem of avatars (and system clothing) that fails to load properly, by moving this from the viewer side client to the server side. Nyx and Troy Linden talk about this and explaining what Second Life users should expect.

Katana, created by June Dion of Bare Rose, demonstrating materials

Then Oz and Brooke Linden explain about materials, normal and specular maps, what this is and what it means for our Second Life experience. And there are samples to see too – when Oz and Brooke took us to see the work in progress at Hippotopolis. You can go there and check out developments for yourselves but if you want to see the items properly displayed, you’ll need to download the special Materials Viewer (it doesn’t overwrite the main Linden Lab viewer).

A simple cube takes on depth and texture under changing light

Materials mean a richer Second Life experience, and creators are very excited about the possibilities! But don’t take our word for it – come and watch the show at 2pm!

Or – if you can’t attend in person – tune in at 2pm SLT on Monday for the live show on http://treet.tv/live – or watch it on the web at Treet.tv web site at http://treet.tv/shows/designingworlds/episodes/project-materials.

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The month-long, two-sim Home Show opens today!

The Home Show - a shopping experience on a boardwalk!

The Home Show – a shopping experience on a boardwalk!

Believing that there is a lack of home and garden based events in Second Life, the organisers of The Home Show want to fill that gap. This summer, they are aiming to bring some of the best, well known, and up-and-coming designers together in one event and one location to give customers a great shopping experience.

Map of the Home Show

Map of the Home Show

You can visit the Show here:
Sim 1: Sponsored by Cheeky Pea, Pixel Mode, and Circa
Sim 2: Sponsored by what next, Senzafine, and DIGS

And you can read more on their blog.

home-show-sticker-copyThe Home Show was created by Valena Vacano, owner of Casa de Smurf and manager of Cheeky Pea and The Nest. She has also created Four Walls, a home and garden hunt, as well as Together For Sway.

Look out for the stickers that indicate special releases exclusive to the Home Show.

Someone has been shopping hard at the Home Show!

Someone has been shopping hard at the Home Show!

There are forty-seven participants (by my count).  But why not go over and visit this amazing collection of top Home and Garden designers for yourself?

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Throughout the Home and Garden Expo, Prim Perfect has been running a series of talks at the Prim Perfect Temple on Home Expo 6. You’ll see a full list of the talks at the bottom of this post.

Today Rosamoo Mendelsohn will be talking to Auryn Beorn of Black Tulip at 3pm, and at 5pm, Saffia Widdershins will be hosting a Monster Mesh Mash Up – with a wealth of mesh creators appearing.

Meet the Designer: Auryn Beorn

Meet the Designer: Auryn Beorn

At 3pm, Auryn Beorn of Black Tulip with be talking to Rosamoo Mendelsohn about Mesh, Scripts and how education about them can lead to a better Second Life for us all – and we hope there will be demonstrations too!

Neet the Designers: Monster Mesh Mash Up!

Neet the Designers: Monster Mesh Mash Up!

Then at 5pm, Saffia Widdershins will be hosting the Monster Mesh Mash Up – and guests will include Maxwell Graf of Rustica, Kriss Lehmann of Botanical, Loz Hyde of Meshworx and Cain Maven of Maven Homes and Quantum Luxury Homes as well as, hopefully, Froukje Horrenbeeke of Dutchie, Cube Republic of The Cube Republic - and anyone else who wants to join in!

These should both be amazing talks – don’t miss them!

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We have a full programme of talks coming up at the Expo – make sure that you don’t miss them!

Prim Perfect Talks at the Home and Garden Expo

And make sure you don’t miss our daily lantern ceremony at 4pm, when we invite people to join us at the Prim Perfect platform on Home Expo 6 every day of the Expo at 4pm SLT for a communal release of lanterns both to celebrate the living and in memory of those we have loved and lost.

Lanterns Lifting

Lanterns Lifting

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The Dragon Spire

The Dragon Spire

Designing Worlds returns tonight, with the first of two shows from the Fantasy Faire.  More on that shortly – but for now, let’s pay a visit to a region of the Faire that was stunningly bold in conception, but very hard to photograph. It was one of two areas (the other was Evensong Woods) where, I felt, the atmosphere you got from being there was really, really hard to convey in a photograph. For both, “You really had to be there” to appreciate them. And if you were in either, your likely response was … “Oh, this is cool!”

The Dragon Spire was constructed as a series of caves.  As such, it could be a little hard to navigate (and helpful arrows appeared on the floor rather rapidly). If you took a wrong turn, you were led deeper and deeper into the labyrinth. If you took the right (as in correct) path, you found yourself exploring some amazing shops – and all within this quite stunning (and quickly rezzed) sculpted cave environment.

Caves, of course, are an archetypal fantasy environment – and a favoured landscape for roleplayers everywhere – not for nothing is the Big Daddy called Dungeons and Dragons.  But caves are incredibly hard to pull off in Second Life – I don’t think I’ve ever seen it as well done as it is here. So kudos to Khyle Sion, the designer.

Let’s do a jigsaw.

Click to Mix and Solve

Inside the caverns of The Dragon Spire

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Catch up with your Prim Perfect jigsaws (showing images of Second Life and other virtual worlds).

If you’d like to submit a photo of your own to feature as a jigsaw, send it to the Prim Perfect Flickr Group. It should be sized 800w x 600h, or else it will need to be re-sized.

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Asian Inspiration

Asian Inspiration

You may have noticed that – at the end of all of our jigsaw posts – we invite you to add your pictures to our Flickr group, and say that we hope to use some of them here as jigsaws.  There are some very striking photos posted to the group – and today’s is one of those.

It’s by Emerald Beningborough (whose photos you can see here), and it’s a photograph of one of her styling projects for the new Inspirations book – the amazing source book for interior design that’s the brainchild of Pitsch Parx and edited by Persia Bravin.  This is the from the second part of the Second Volume – and the whole is the most amazing and visually ravishing treat. Do go and take a look. And also a discreet tissue top mop up the drool …

Let’s take a deep breath and do a jigsaw!

Click to Mix and Solve

Asian Inspiration Book Vol 2 by Emerald Beningborough

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Catch up with your Prim Perfect jigsaws (showing images of Second Life and other virtual worlds).

If you’d like to submit a photo of your own to feature as a jigsaw, send it to the Prim Perfect Flickr Group. It should be sized 800w x 600h, or else it will need to be re-sized.

Read Full Post »

Lunata Lupino in Darkwood Gardens

Lunata Lupino in Darkwood Gardens

Lunata Lupino is one of those creators who deserves to be better known.  Her product range is limited – but exquisite.  She produces hand textured and hand-painted flowers, some of the loveliest in Second Life, which she sells from a small garden centre in Darkwood Gardens in DarkWood.

Lunata Lupino in Darkwood Gardens

Lunata Lupino in Darkwood Gardens

I first came across Lunata’s work when we were shooting the Christmas episode of Designing Worlds (or Meta Makeover, as it was then).  Our location was Summer Gildea’s home in Caledon Cay, because  she had decorated her home for Christmas in amazingly rich Victorian style.  While we were filming, I noticed that she had the most spectacular garlands over her windows, richly and beautifully textured, and another, with hanging Christmas cards, over the fireplaces – and I asked where she got them.  She explained about Lunata and Darkwood Gardens and warned that they were not exactly cheap to buy … but really, I think one should be prepared to pay a decent price for the sheer amount of detailed, intricate work that goes into her textures.

Lunata Lupino in Darkwood Gardens

Lunata Lupino in Darkwood Gardens

Lunata comes from Berlin – which means that some of her products are labelled in German – the garlands, for example, have the names Kartenkette (christmas cards garland) and Mistelgirlande (mistletoe garland).  In real life, she is a screendesigner, and says that her reason for being in Second Life is “for painting textures (gardening + tapisserie)”.  She says her creations  require experience, endless patience and lots of real life-time.  Consequently those textures are  highly detailed and sharp without  having  halos.

These go beyond simple plants, I think.  They’re works of art.

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Welcome to the Treasure Hunt for the June 2008 issue of Prim Perfect magazine! This month we have a record EIGHTEEN items waiting to be found, so put on your traveling clothes and be ready to see some amazing designs. For each item, you need to visit the store to discover its prim count. Instructions on finding the prim count can be found on our Treasure Hunt Information Page. For doing this little task, you could win something from the Prim Perfect prize cabinet, generously donated by talented designers and store owners from around the grid.

New to the Treasure Hunt this issue is Liquid Heat, owned by Erin Burks.  Liquid Heat is a real world corporation, registered in the United States.  They offer products to other businesses wishing to become involved in 3D environments.  Their specialties include sim design, building, texturing, and scripting.  Two of their sim designs are available to explore – a mystical paradise, including waterfalls and a volcano, and an English countryside with houses, a thick forest, and a gazebo nestled next to a waterfall.

A landmark HUD helps you get around the sims, but the landscape is very rich and deserves to be explored.  For a little while, you could pretend to be a mystical priestess in a grotto or a merchant visiting a castle or a pirate queen.  Did I mention that they sponsor live concerts in their coliseum as well?   To find the treasure hunt item, look in an area where the light is always dim.  There you could find the Oriental Style Tree Lights with Blue Glow.  They lead you up a hillside path to a mysterious fount.  As tempted as you may be to stare deeply into its depths, don’t allow yourself to be lost for long.  We have a lot of treasure hunting still to do.

In this treasure hunt competition, we ask you to find as many prim counts as you can for each of the magazine’s treasure hunt items (page 1 and page 2), and send the details to primperfect@gmail.com, including your avatar name and an answer to the tiebreaker question (which you can find in the magazine on page 80). The winner will be the person who is closest to an accurate prim count, and in the event of a tie, the tiebreaker question will be used. Also – you don’t necessarily have to find every prim count to win a prize! Just find as many as you can, and these clues are here to help. You have until July 20, 2008 to send in your entry. Good hunting!

See our earlier clues here:
June Treasure Hunt – Clue 1: Creative Fantasy

Good luck with your entry!

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Painted furnitured from Zandi Moe Once again there’s a Treasure Hunt in this month’s edition of Prim Perfect. There are THIRTEEN stores taking part this month – and you have to visit the store to discover the prim count of each of the pieces featured in the magazine. You’ll find instructions on how to find the prim count for an item on our Treasure Hunt Information page.

Today’s clue comes from a wonderful island of furniture (and a few houses – one of which I bought for my own Tuscan villa home!). It’s Zani Moe’s new sim – Organised Confusion, located next to Xylo, and packed full of treats from Zandie, ranging from attitude pillows to lovely delicately painted furniture, like the desk and chair we see here.

One of the things I really like about this set is that it conveys a sense of age, as well as being a strikingly lovely piece in itself. I find that many of the most characterful houses in Second Life have a story attached – whether created by the owner’s or just attached to it by the visitors who love it (Arcana Neuvo is, of course, a classic case of a house attracting legends). But pieces like this writing table and chair must equally attract legends – one can certainly see a Regency lady sitting down her to write spirited romances and social comedies in the mode of Jane Austen!

Botanika flowers

However, it would be unfair to portray Organised Confusion as offering only classical pieces. There’s a wide range of styles, all of excellent quality, throughout the island, including a large number of contemporary pieces in a variety of styles. One of the things I like particularly is Zandie’s use of colour – many of her modern pieces have a lovely clean fresh look, with a great use bright shades.

But don’t take me word for it – have a good look for yourself as you track down this clue at Organised Confusion!

For the treasure hunt competition, what you have to do is to find as many prim counts as you can, and send the details to primperfect@gmail.com, including your avatar name and an answer to the tiebreak question (which you’ll find in the magazine on Page 90). The person to find the most prim counts will win – and in the event of a tie, we will use the tie-breaker. Also: – you don’t necessarily have to find every prim count to win a prize! Just find as many as you can – by January 20th.

See our earlier clue here:
New Year Treasure Hunt – Clue 1: KitStar Designs
New Year Treasure Hunt – Clue 2: Serenity Studios
New Year Treasure Hunt – Clue 3: Botanika

Another clue will be appearing shortly!

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Article by Kghia Gherardi
Please note that images here do not link to larger images, unless specified.

Maxwell GrafLines that invite your eyes to follow them. Textures that tempt your fingers long to caress them. Pose balls expressing a wit – and a vocabulary — you wish you could find in your next date. Every piece designed to appeal, to attract, to invite. Maxwell Graf, the designer behind the new store Rustica , doesn’t simply seduce you with his furniture; he wants you to fall in love with it.

Vegas Victoria

Walking through the main entrance of Rustica, you are immediately enveloped in the decadently red furniture of the Vegas Victorian Collection. The collection is like a woman in a Victorian ball gown Victorian ball gown. The fabric is rich velvet, the lines curve and nip in, and the textural details make me want to dig my fingers into the fabric tufts. But the colour! Oh, baby, the colour! It doesn’t belong on some Victorian aristocrat but rather a woman intent on some Vegas-style sin. (Click here for a larger image)

Victorian Vegas collectionThe feature that most attracts me to these pieces are the pose balls. Yes, you heard me correctly. Instead of the standard, floating balls, Graf shapes and integrates them into the furniture as pillows and accents. But even better are the labels he applies — moods rather than actions. When you choose the pose, you are saying something about your attitude. Instead of sit, relax and lounge, you scheme and sublimate. You can regret, languish and sulk, just like the heroine in a Victorian novel. The Vegas Victorian Collection entices you to sink in and join the drama.

Café du Blonde

Cafe du Blonde chaise longue

The Café du Blonde Collection reminds me of Hollywood femme fatale — beautifully coiffed hair, sleek gowns, and gleaming accessories. This collection captures the same essence. The textures of the blonde wood are carefully applied, as you can see from the back of the chaise longue or in this bed. Black granite is a solid, durable contrast to the soft, honey shades. Chrome accents in the legs and handles curve and reflect light. They lead the eye, like fine jewellery draws attention to a women’s face. The collection consists of clean lines, sensuous curves, and golden softness and enduring strength.

Cafe du Blonde leather sprim chairLike all Graf’s furniture, Café du Blonde demonstrates the designer’s mastery of sculpted prims (which Graf has named “sprims” instead of “sculpties”). This leather chair is ten prims. Unlike older chair designs of similar prim count, Graf added curves and softness that were unattainable before sprims. As Graf says, “it’s not just about saving prims, so much, but about allowing you to do a bit more with it, more detail, more life — and not be a gazillion prims.” The sprims allow prim-conscious designers to move away from the harder edges of modern furniture into designs that actually look comfortable.

Ironoak

Ironoak collection

Graf’s newest collection, Ironoak, showcases another style, one he calls “elven/castle-ish.” This collection is still a work in progress, but the pieces I’ve seen so far make me long for my own castle or cabin in the woods. Rustic and comfortable, these pieces are substantial. Rough-hewn wood is embellished with twists of wrought iron, giving this rather masculine furniture collection a fantasy accent. Graf has added a snuggle script into this collection’s bed, a feature I adore because it creates an intimate space for couples. Plus, it is getting colder where I live, and I like the idea of snuggling in. Graf has clearly worked with and studied the real life equivalents of the materials he uses in-world. There is integrity in his textures and the constructions. Even his fantasy pieces are grounded in reality.

Intents

Intents

On the roof of Rustica are a group of, what Graf calls, “colour therapy environmental tents.” I’m glad he defined it, because for me, they are simply whimsical fun. My favourite tent takes me to another world — complete with craters and circling spaceships. Other tents are simply romantic retreats. All share Graf’s trademark attention to detail. If your RL room is dark, the colour form the lights inside the tent make your monitor give off the colour glow, blurring the boundary between the real and the virtual.

Rolltop deskRustica is peppered with pieces that don’t fit into these collections but also deserve attention. Roll-top desks and dual-sided bookcases. Doors and drawers scripted to open and close. There are pieces in progress – sofas with fold-out beds and others that look like vintage cars, martini glass tables, and broken-down recliners that look fit for the trash heap. All the pieces capture Graf’s whimsy and showcase a true artistic talent.

Also make sure you visit the Rustica blog to keep up with the newest releases.

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