July 1, 2017

Second Life explodes!

OK, OK. Teaser head I know. But long-time resident and builder, Marianne McCann, just put on the most amazing fireworks show! Accompanied by music from GoSpeed Racer, everyone on the Livingtree sim was treated to an incredible display of particles, exploding things, light fountains and what have you. The pictures here really don't capture the movement and light changes that consistently bombarded my screen. From Canadian flags to rainbows and gorgeous light fountains, it was a treat. :) Enjoy.

Sleek Art Deco mystery mesh formal

TBO Farah lamé dress
I haven't blogged for awhile since I've been super busy in RL. Anywayyyyy, I was digging through my vast wasteland called Inventory when I came across a dress name I didn't recognize. TBO Farah lame gown. (Of course lame should be lamé so perhaps a rename is in order.)

Hmmmm I thought. Where did this come from? When was it bought? Who knows? So I tried it on and immediately was like, oh wow, this is very different!

Apologies for the full size photo since it doesn't do the dress justice. The bands across the waist and bodice look almost like streamlined metal. Up close, the mesh is really a piece of artwork. And yes, it really does look like lamé.

After searching around, I found it is a $10L promo item on SLM also available in fatpack HUD driven version. The designer is "TheBeautifulOnes" aka TBO.

This really is a very lovely dress suitable for formal and cocktail occasions.

Back view and close-up of banding below.

Hair is "Kiki" by Elika-Tira.
Heels are "Yuuna" by KC.
Jewelry is Pavonine (peacock) by DS.

Link to SLM: https://marketplace.secondlife.com/p/TBO-Farah-lame-gown-Turquoise-slink-physique-hourglass-maitreya-tmp-fitted-mesh/8463424
Back view
Closeup of bodice and waist bands

May 8, 2017

Finding cocktail pants in SL!

Today's adventure was inspired by my own usual weirdness and eclectic tastes in fashion. I was going to an event and realized I really, really wanted to wear cocktail pants. Most women in Second Life would say "STOP! There are so many cute dresses, skirts, formals, etc. Why would you want to wear pants?" Well because it's me, that's why. Oh and my mesh body is Maitreya Lara which means I'm looking for something that will work on it.

Thus began my adventure. It started with asking around in several of the fashion groups I belong to. "Any suggestions for where to buy mesh cocktail pants?" You'd have thought I'd taken crazy pills or something. The few that responded with ideas and marketplace links almost all pointed towards business style pants. You know, SLACKS! Things with belts or belt loops. Dockers. Wool pants. Suit pants. Nuuuuu!! I want silk. Or rayon. Or something with sheen to it. Fancy. Glitzy! Think Jackie Onassis Kennedy.

I visited about 10 major stores including places like Blueberry, Addams, Slink -- "Excuse me, any cocktail pants or pants outfits around here?" "Well we have these nice slacks over there." "ARGGH!"

Then I turned to SL Marketplace. I tried all sorts of searches. Like "Cocktail AND pants AND maitreya AND mesh NOT demo". A few hits but not really what I was looking for. Chastened, I returned to my favorite support group in SL, Maitreya Lara Friends. Tried again. This time, some kind soul suggested looking at Hilly Haalan, a store I'd never been to. Another said try searching on "Palazzo" pants in SLM.


Palazzo in SLM led to two outfits and a visit to Hilly Haalan's store inworld led to another! Yay! One outfit isn't quite up to cocktail style but it's cute. Plus you could wear it for a wine and cheese party aboard a rich Italian's yacht (see I'm always hoping). Anyway, here they are (click on any of the photos to see full size):

Scandalize - Diane HT (front)
Scandalize - Diane HT (back)


Mesh top and bottom separates sold as an outfit on SLM. Come in most popular mesh body styles. This is my favorite of the three. Has a nice sheen to it and as my male friend said, I can totally see you holding a martini with this on (or off). (He rolls that way.) Shown with KC Lynn heels (new on SLM) and my go to necklace, Spanish Dreams (no idea where I got it). Diane comes in maybe 5 color ways but I didn't see a fatpack or HUD option. I picked the cream/gold color shown. $145L.
DBL Nantucket

DBL Nantucket Palazzo Pants & Tube Top

This outfit is not made for Maitreya or any other mesh body. It's just offered in the 5 standard mesh sizes. But I thought it fit well enough that I'm including it here. (Any rich Italians around?) You have to tweak the body alpha and there is one small spot on the back where skin shows through but it's not serious enough to reject. Besides, where are you going to find palazzo pants and a top for $99L? Shoes are KC "Caty" wedges. Available on SLM.
Hilly Haalan Monaco

Hilly Haalan Monaco Pantsuit

Hilly Haalan Monaco
This isn't a pantsuit like Hillary Clinton wears. It is simply an amazing HUD-driven mesh outfit with so many ways of combining colors it boggles my silly brain. Every part of it including the sleeves, top, pants, bow/belt and buttons can be customized for color. I've shown it two ways here. One in solid burgundy and the other in gold, charcoal and cream. Monaco also comes with a nice pair very strappy stiletto sandals (shown) for Slink and Maitreya high feet. The outfit itself is sold in 6 standard sizes plus Lara, Physique, Hourglass and Fitmesh. While I bought this inworld, it's also on SLM for only $145L. This is the real bargain of the three since you end up with hundreds of outfits via the HUD!

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!