October 12, 2016

Space, the final fashion frontier

Odyssey - Front View
Well dear followers, tis' been awhile since I've posted anything new here. Sorry 'bout that. Real life has been just a bit too consuming lately. Anywayyyyyyyy. I've got a few new things to share so expect them over the next few weeks. (I hope.)

Here's the first. A sexxxxii (R-rated) space costume from a store I've never heard of called "Shady Gear". Just in time for Halloween or your next futuristic cosplay venture,"Odyssey" is very well done with details rarely seen in something that's only $150L.

While not designed for mesh bodies, it comes with appliers for Maitreya, Omega and TMP. That's simply for the plastic under layer. The rest of the outfit is made of mesh wearable pieces that are very well done -- right down to the LED/neon glow of the parts. And woo hoo, they all fit!

I'm using my Maitreya Lara mesh body here in the photo with size L parts and everything fits perfectly. Just a little tweaking needed on the boot alphas but nothing major. The white highlights can look a teensy bit fake from certain angles but that's a really minor complaint.

No photoshop in these pics. Straight from the SL clicker!

Overall, I give this costume a 9 out of 10 candy bars! As usual, you can click on the images for full size versions.

Available on SL Marketplace for standard and some mesh avatars. Shown with Lumae Eirtae skin & Truth Roxanna skin.

Link to SLM: https://marketplace.secondlife.com/p/Odyssey/9611044

Odyssey - Back View

August 16, 2016

New mesh cuteness from Inga Wind

Inga Wind "Ansley" Mesh outfit
I am so glad that Inga Wind has finally figured out mesh bodies and appliers because she is truly amazing at texturing. Like most designers these days, the underlying mesh clothing bases at IW are mostly templates. What sets her outfits apart is how much attention to detail goes into the texturing, accessories and making everything work together. Case in point today is "Ansley" -- an amazing short and crop top outfit that is absolutely stunning. For most designers, this sort of outfit is almost a throwaway. Do some applier jeans shorts, add a mesh top and call it a day. Not for Wind.

Just look at the close-up photos of the shorts and shoes below. These are completely un-retouched. I've got lots of mesh outfits for my Maitreya Lara bod and few have this level of detail in them.

So you get everything shown in Slink, Fitmesh, Maitreya, Belleza and standard XXS - L mesh sizes. Four colors are available including the coral shown plus blue, brown & khaki.

Price? I have no idea since she didn't include it with the sample. I'll update my bloggie as soon as I find out. UPDATE - Ansley is $280L. Here is an LM to Wind: Inga Wind Clothing

Anyway, other details are Lumae Eirtae Freckled Skin Nutmeg, Roxana hair by Truth and my own custom shape.

As always, to check out full size image, click on it.

Closeup of shorts

Cloesup of shoes

July 22, 2016

Hair Fair 2016 - The 80's Want Their Styles Back

Allanah Currie
I want to like Hair Fair, I really do! It's for a good cause (Wigs for Kids) and all, but the styles the designers chose to show off generally just leave me flat. Last year I complained about all the mesh hair that looked and moved like it had 5 lbs of gel in it.

The stiff look of mesh hair hasn't changed, but this time around, I'm seeing lots of asymmetric "shave head" styles that bring to mind that awful period in the mid-80's where punk & new wave merged to the frustration of all us young girls who didn't have perfect faces. Think Allanah Currie of Thompson Twins or Grace Jones or Robert Smith (Cure) and you sorta get the idea.

I suppose with Second Life, you CAN have that perfect face to frame the "look". But in all honesty, when you actually try it, the shave head side generally looks painted on (as it is) while the hair looks like you've attached a small furry creature to your head. There's never a smooth blend into the head. The result generally looks better in the package photos (often Photoshopped) than it does for real in SL. Yes there are lots of "normal" alternatives at Hair Fair but it seems the 80's asymmetric look is "in".

Guys, are pretty much limited to the shave-head with random furry critter on top look period (with maybe two exceptions). If you like it, rock it. But it's a bit too "precious" and hipster for me. Ink (below) is a good example of the styles men are likely to find.
3 styles by Ink

Vapor by Stealhic
I did my due diligence however and demo'd a number of hairs before visiting the Fair. Here are a few I would consider for purchase:

Vapor by Stealthic

This is fairly close to how the hair actually looks although the scalp blend has been touched up a bit in the photo. On the right head, you'll get that serious Megyn Kelly anchorwoman look. 

Odyle from Mina

Here you can rock the CNN Christiane Amanpour look (at least when she was a lot younger). Well done hair with nice details and it comes in Materials and non-Materials versions.

I didn't buy this one because I already have a similar non-mesh look-alike from ETD that still looks very good. But Odyle is definitely worth a look.
Odyle by Mina

F516 by Tram
F517 by Tram

F516 & F517 by Tram

Next up are two styles from Tram. These are both super cute but they come at a fairly steep price. $350L for only two colors and honestly, they are somewhat average on the texturing. I love the way the hair is styled but I would like to see more subtleties in the color blending and at that price, how about a HUD for 6 colors? Most Hair Fair vendors offer 6 colors for $250L.

I would like to know where the model got that adorable crop-top! Me want!

Honorable mentions

I'm not in a total short hair mode. There were a few long ones that looked nice but I wish designers would make more hybrids so the hair had movement. Anyway, here are some worth checking out.

Curious Kitties for being as strange as ever. 5 styles as whacked as you'll find anywhere in SL.

Ayashi for all you cosplay kitties out there.

Bold & Beauty has some nice long, wavy styles.

Hair Studio One with well done dreadlock styles (men & women)

Everything else

You can check out all the styles here at the Hair Fair 2016 blog to see for yourself. If you join the inworld group, you can demo almost all of them in advance.

And please ppl, these are my PERSONAL opinions. Don't get all offended if I've dissed your favorite hairstyle or designer. Feel free to comment, just keep it nice. :)

March 22, 2016

Improving the Second Life avatar mesh

With all the interest in Linden Lab's "Project Bento", which promises a new, more sophisticated avatar skeleton, I st00pidly decided to ask my favorite question the open Project Bento thread in the SL Forums.

"Is anything being done to improve the avatar mesh?"

Of course I clarified a bit by wondering about adding triangles (vertices) or other possibly simple improvements. I also brought up the issue of everyone wearing mesh bodies to overcome the limitations of the base SL mesh and how complex things had become.

I got a smattering of replies ranging from "no it would break existing content" to "well maybe". But the general theme was "Linden Lab doesn't seem to want to." I did get one reply with the comment to the effect that, if mesh bodies are so complicated, why don't we work on improving that ... along with the query "what makes them so complicated?" Which sort of stunned me since the individual is a mesh creator. I was thinking, uh, wow! You don't know?

Anyway, I thought I'd re-post up my response here:

Well let's see. for my Maitreya mesh body, I have to wear:

  1. alpha
  2. main body
  3. hands
  4. feet
  5. head (optional)
  6. HUD to control alphas, layers, nails, blend neck, select foot shape / height
  7. HUD to control head and apply layers

Then the steps for wearing clothes could include:

  1. Wearing Maitreya compatible clothing HUD to apply texture to clothing layer on mesh body
  2. Wearing Omega relay HUD and Omega compatible clothing HUD to apply texture to clothing on mesh body
  3. Making sure you buy fitmesh type clothing that is tailored for Maitreya body (vs. Belazza vs. Slink Physique vs. TMP vs. whatever)
  4. Making sure attachment points of newly worn things don't interefere with already worn things (add doesn't always work).
  5. Animations for HUD for head.

So now let's try to "Save" a complete outfit. You have to make sure you are wearing ALL of the necessary HUDs that would affect any changes to the outfit plus all the necessary parts to the outfit. Assuming you've remembered everything, the next time you "wear" that outfit, you STILL have to apply the textures and operate the HUDs to make sure the right layers are showing, alphas are in place, etc.

I've been in SL since 2007 and have done my fair share of designing clothing. I just started on the mesh body thing about 3 months ago. I'm a fairly smart girl. It has totally been an "OMFG what have I gotten into" experience. I just can't imagine newbies figuring this out. And I really wonder if Linden Lab is doing the servers any favors with all of this extra junk being loaded onto avatars who really really want to look good.

We are already blowing up compatibility with existing content since each outfit has to be tailored for each brand of mesh body.

Anyway, what do you think? Honestly I would prefer a standardized, improved Second Life avatar mesh and more sliders with wider ranges along with Project Bento.  It would much more newb friendly and it would allow content creators to be able to concentrate on actually making clothing and accessories instead of having to worry about UUIDs, texture mapping to 10 different mesh bodies, embedding scripts in everything, programming HUDs etc. And I have to think it would cause much less impact on Linden Lab's servers as well as the user's computer.

Am I wrong about this? Tell me why!

March 15, 2016

Impossible bikini and impossible boots

One thing I LOVE about Second Life is the imagination creators can show in designing clothing and accessories that would be "impossible" to execute in real life. I'm going to offer up two examples -- an ancient system bikini and a brand new pair of boots from KC Couture.

bikini 1 by SS Designs
I'll start with this ancient system bikini from "SS Designs" called simply, "bikini 1" (circa 2007). I still own it for nostalgia's sake and won a best in bikini contest with it. I think it really illustrates early SL thinking outside confines of gravity, cloth and body parts. :-) This could not exist in real life of course. The top would fall right off and the string bottom would ride up so badly it would hurt. Or something. (Wow that old system shape of mine is sure top heavy.)

Yet, these sorts of outfits are all throughout Second Life. They are made of impossible fabrics, have impossible attachments, wouldn't stay on your body to save your life, come in impossible colors but in SL they exist!

Ivy Boots by KC Couture
Which brings me to the next item, an impossible pair of boots from KC Couture. Now we've come a long way in appearance with 3D mesh adding a degree of realism only dreamed about in 2007. And in the case of "Ivy" boots, while they are virtually as impossible as the blue bikini, they don't LOOK impossible. They just look amazing.

But they are impossible because the lacing would be hugely uncomfortable, the spiral would probably move and it would take you 1/2 hour to put them on (assuming you could). And of course we'd all just LOVE to have HUD driven real life shoes wouldn't we? Need pink tops with purple laces and white soles? Click, click, click done.

Anyway, Ivy is $549 on SL Marketplace and available at a discount for KC group members in world. Have fun being "impossible"!

SLURL to KC Couture: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Ominious/64/196/22

I'm really pissed off at Karu Karu

last week I wrote an article complaining about the lack of customer response from Karu Karu over a very nice request of mine to revisit a promo purchase where I was charged $399L instead of $99L that the notice had claimed. Read it here: http://snickitty.blogspot.com/2016/03/today-is-fashion-complaint-day.html

After not getting any response whatsoever, I left the Karu Karu group. However, I saw I was still getting notices from them. Hmmmmmmmm. Sure enough, I reviewed the chat and the notices were coming from an object called KARU KARU FASHION UPDATES. Well excuse me Chane Karu but I did NOT give you permission to subscribe me in the first place AND my leaving your group should have been notice enough to take me off.

First thing I did was head for the KARU KARU main store which was where the subscriber box was located. I figured I'd just mute the damn thing --- or so I thought. After looking at a few obvious possible sender bots and not finding the source, I realized that the notices were coming from 300M ABOVE the store.

OK, no problem, just fly up. Nope. The KARU KARU store is a trap and you can't physically fly out of it. And direct TP is not available because it's all routed to the store lobby. OK, I've done this stupid dance before. I flew up to the ceiling and managed to SIT on the outside edge of the store. From there I was able to fly up to KARU's sandbox in the sky with TWO sender scripts in prims churning away. I muted both of them but that's really the sucky way to deal with this crap.

KARU KARU sender bots
Clearly the bitch has no intention of supporting real unsubscribes since both boxes are owner touch with avatar key lists buried in them.

Thanks for nothing Chane. Maybe this blog post will put some small dent in your sales for being a jerk.

March 10, 2016

Latif Khalifa has passed away

Latif Khalifa
I was just going through my Twitter feed when I came across a tweet I'd missed from Johann Neddings (https://twitter.com/neddings) announcing that Latif had passed away. For those that don't know, Latif was the heart & soul behind LibOpenMetaverse and the lightweight viewer, Radegast. As a long time user and supporter of Radegast as well as someone who sent Latif ideas and suggestions, I am really saddened by this. He was opinionated and direct, but if you made a good case, willing to listen.

Latif wasn't in the best of health, but the last time I exchanged emails with him, he seemed to be a little better.

Here's hoping some of the devs that recently backed up the source to Radegast will carry on.

To Latif's family and friends in real life and Second Life, my deepest sympathies and condolences.