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At the Coffee Shop by Laura Seabrook, on Flickr

This page took so long to do. There's three separate shots for each panel, with only 3 avatars being in world at any one time. It all works IF you can freeze the camera viewpoint, and you remember to set the Sky to a fixed position.

On my first attempt I went outside for something and when I came back in I missed that the sun's position had changed, which affected the tones of each image. Second time lucky.
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From the Jenny Everywhere Tumblr page:
Jenny Everywhere Day is Wednesday August 13th. That’s a month away which means that we’re in the slightly more “official” submission period. Any artwork, stories, songs, pictures, cosplay, etc. can be sent to benj (at) jennyeverywhereday (dot) com anytime between now and midnight central time on the day of the event. Please be sure to spread the word, let’s do our best to make this the largest Jenny Everywhere Day ever!
I made these two images for this year's JENNY EVERYWHERE DAY:

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Openly Sauced in a Public Domain - 1 by Laura Ess, on Flickr


"Jenny Everywhere, Neeta, and Octobriana decided to go on a picnic. Octobriana found the location, and Neeta brought the champagne and nibbles. The other two were quicker to find a comfortable position, but Neeta didn't mind, she enjoyed being with her friends. Besides, she had the only transport home."

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Openly Sauced in a Public Domain - 2 by Laura Ess, on Flickr


"They slowly sipped the champagne and beer, ate the nibbles and talked of their adventures and other tall tales. Gradually the originally sunny day became overcast, and they realised that soon they'd have to leave. But no one was in a hurry."


The character of Jenny Everywhere is available for use by anyone, with only one condition. This paragraph must be included in any publication involving Jenny Everywhere, that others might use this property as they wish.

Octobriana is a Russian comic superheroine created by Petr Sadecký and based on the artistic works of Bohumil Konecný and Zdenek Burian. Neeta is an open source character created by MichaelLeeLunsford .
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Success - thanks to Fred Beckhusen (who wrote and updated the original version of script I used)! I've only really tested walking and wandering with NPCs, but the fact that it works makes a HUGE difference in how I make my SECONDS comic, which is made in Second life using Avatars (AVs).

At the moment I've had a system of have multiple Avatars (ALTs) in SECOND LIFE and 3RD ROCK (an OpenSim Grid). Each ALT plays multiple characters with a variety body and clothing sets in folders (you do an Add/Replace Outfit with them), and they get posed in various ways for each shot. This works OK, but there are problems with lag (everything goes VERY slow), and when I need two characters which are played by the same ALT in the scene at once. The two workarounds for that are to take several shots from the same viewpoint with different characters in the scene, and edit them together later; or duplicate the character on more than one ALT (which can be very expensive if the right body/clothing item can't be copied and costs Lindens).

With workable NPCs it's NOT a matter of using multiple ALTs - instead I can have a single AV. Instead that AV has ALL the clothing and body sets to create any character. All I need to do is have a different NPC recorder for each character set I want, create that character on the AV and record it to the Recorder. Then each can be "trained" for whatever position and pose I want, and used in concurrence with the other NPCs in the shot with only ONE logon needed!

Of course there's a catch. NPCs only work in in OpenSim Grids, they don't work in Second Life (at least not yet). So, I can can probably convert three of my AVs in 3rd Rock into NPCs if I want to shoot there, but I'd have to keep my ALTs in Second Life if I needed to shoot there.  And if I shoot on a stand-alone grid (like Sim-on-a-Stick) or a full OpenSim install on my home network) I can have AS MANY NPCs AS I WANT, and leave them for AS LONG AS I WANT.

And as the icing on the cake, NPCs also solve another issue. I've always been interested in making MACHINIMA (videos made from games/virtual worlds) in Second Life, but as it's a real-time thing (rather than a static pose) that's been pretty hard to do with just one person (ALTS don't make that easier), but as NPCs and be set up to do their animations repetitively and left to run, I can do that much easier!

Pleased about this. VERY PLEASED.

 
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Had to wait for an email reply before I could could start on the next page of the Real Life Trips (for permission to use something) so I did this instead:

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It's a revision of an earlier build which was a modded purchase from the SL Marketplace. This one looks like you could actually live there and use it as a base - those domed things on top are aircon units. There was a lot of unused space on the roof so I made those into landing pads. and added a couple of internal floors as well! The restrooms (at bottom right) convert into an escape pod. The original was done on a rushed basis (and I have an explanation about the difference when this is used in SECONDS).

Tomorrow, back to Real Life Trips.
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I may not have been obvious but I "took October off" from the Masters. That's why I was doing so much stuff in Second Life. I did this for two reasons: I felt exhausted and stale after completing part two of Real Life Trips; and it was a form of birthday present to me. I DO enjoy Second Life, both exploring and participating socially in it. I also like the creative efforts I see there and this was a way of exploring what I might do myself.

In any case I thouroughly flaming enjoyed the break./activity. I fee refreshed and rejuvenated but now it's time to work on part 3 of RLT.  This part's a bit different than the others because it's mostly illustrated journal entries (with a comic story in the middle). You'll see soon enough.

Mr Berkley

Nov. 2nd, 2013 03:24 pm
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I just made the last new character for the next two parts:

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The character is a modified Bothan Male 01 free Version 1 avatar. The Bothans are a species from the Star Wars universe, but I knew when I saw this AV that was just right for the character of "Mr Berkley" (pronounced BARK-LEE) who's in charge of security at Buggles Trading. When I first tried the avatar I found there was a problem with the jaw (which moves when you chat in SL) and sent a screenshot to the creator. It happened that it'd been rotated the wrong way in the market place version and he sent me a revised version (and also the female Bothan AV as well). I'm also temped to use the Farghul and Giant Besalisk AVs as well (also from the Star Wars universe). The latter'd make a great warehouse labourer, but might have trouble fitting in the lift!

As for Mr Berkley, imagine someone the rougher side of wolverine but with a sense of "pack pride" and very protective about his charges. I made him shorter and changed his colouring to emphasize maturity (though Bothans are supposed to be 1.5m tall).

I start shooting new scenes tomorrow (weather permitting).
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Finished working on a new set of characters called the "Wah-Lees" who are sort of gassy podling aliens who create images of expressions on their head (rather than actually have them). This too a bit of thinking and a LOT of help from the Scription community at the Second Life Forums. At a touch I can change the colour, eye and mouth expressions on each, and also change their hands to match.
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Finished the main build of the "Main Buggles Hanger" set (my name for changes daily). There was still a LOT that could be done to it, but this is a set rather than a permanent structure - it gets rezzed when it's needed for a scene rather than sitting there forever.

Over 1500 prims in this, and 11 linksets (groups of prims). I might have been able to cut this down by 100 prims with use of sculpties and meshes but I would have had to invest in the right tools and learn them first - something that would have added a lot to the construction time. Next time, maybe.

The linksets were: Front Top Deck; Back Top Deck, Middle Top Deck (divied up to circumvent 64m limits); Crane Section, Mezzanine Level, Lower Deck, Stores, Office, Garage, and Basement.

And best of all it's portable and modifiable. I used the "Builder's Buddy" free scripts to make a rezzer. Copies of the linksets are stored in the box in the foreground, and when you touch it you can build them (and other options). Best of all when they're built they are all in the same relative position as when they were copied. You can easily change the position by moving the box, including rotating it! Very cool.

Mostly, the whole thing would be rezzed for long shots where the exterior is seen. But if I'm shooting a scene in the garage only, I only need to rezz that linset, so it's the best of both worlds. This was quite a learning experience for me. I was delayed today in making the rezzer because the Office linkset had something that wasn't copyable. It took me a while to find it, turned out to be a couple of chairs and the texture on the backplate of a sink! Deleted the chairs and replaced the texture and all was fine.
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After a systems failure on my Studio PC (getting a new tower maybe today) I've been stuck with my graphic novel. In the mean time I've been building for Return to Second Life, but rushing that is very very draining. I've also been a bit sick (flu / UTI) and staying up until 3am working on stuff has exacerbated things. So - I've decided in the short term the Masters has to come first, which means fixing the PC and doing some pages for that first. However I still need to work on Seconds as well, just at a slower pace, so I've put that on hiatus and the following will appear in a couple of days on its page:

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Wish I wasn't so bloody sick. I have discovered that building architecture in SL is not only fun, but I seem to have a knack for it - provided I take my time.
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Been working hard at refining and building things. Today Optimum discovered the right sliding door script (one that doesn't make a door frame go phantom and make you fall to to your death), and decided to salvage some transport and make a control tower out of it (as shown here)! Finicky stuff, and sometimes mistakes can be opportunities. Believe it or not what I've been doing for fun during a short break on the Masters. Loving this.

If you use SL and want to check out the current state of the set (I rebuilt it at least once) go to Vault of Souls (and you might check out the SIM itself, though it is a Mature one). It's all in several layers, because when I do shoots there it will be a lot easier to have the roof off!
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Had to go shopping today so I didn't get the chance to work with the results of the photo-shoot. However, I spent time tonight making the second Buggle brother (Jeff) for Return To Second Life:

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Both characters are based on the 80s band, and I hope there's a bit of resemblance to the originals.

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I finished the Neeta character: It made sense to take a snapshot of her in a bike shop, as she is a mechanic.

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Neeta v 3 by Laura Ess (Elsie B), on Flickr

The original this is based on can be found here.
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Rebuilding this set took much longer than I expected. While this has become a "drawing guide" ow, it still has to look right. Why, because it's based on a memory of real place, and even if no one else could spot the difference, I would!

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I'll be doing a shoot after dinner. So glad I can now go away and leave a set standing, and have the time to do a shoot (or re-shoot) properly, instead of working against a clock.
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Have finished building the set for "Octobriana's scummy flat". This will be re-used in the future, so the details had to be right.

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As I use free sandboxes to make these builds (and this one derezzes stuff after 3 hours), I know to make an initial build first, collect all the items from that in one folder, and rebuild it quickly for a shoot.

I had a but of luck while sourcing the stuff for this set. I was scouting locations to shoot a street scene where Dr Buggle & Octobriana are (foolishly) attacked by thugs. I had found one sim called FOURTEEN, but wasn't sure it was a good choice. When looking for "alley way stuff" I found this FREE set!

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Have rezzed this and it's a great set (complete with underground sewers) to do shoots on! The only trouble I had initially was that I rezzed it in a tiny sandbox, surrounded by an area with NO SCRIPTING. When I de-rezzed it only re-rezzed the bit in the sandbox. I spent 10 minutes cleaning up after myself by deleting individual components.

Avatars

Aug. 24th, 2013 08:10 pm
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Have got Octobriana ready for a bit of action in SECONDS.
In comparison to some comic versions,
she's a bit overdressed!

And one the characters she might meet:

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...from the alterverse of MUSICALIA. I also have one of
the Buggles making an appearance.

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I put a new character together for Seconds: Dr Buggle:

 

 

His brother, Thomas, is going to be more than a bit naughty.

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A more or less finished Octobriana avatar, posing in Red Square.

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Everything after this is just mixing and matching outfits.

Octobriana

Feb. 19th, 2013 12:40 pm
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Have been developing an avatar version of the Comicbook Character OCTOBRIANA. I have known of and loved the character since the mid 80s (when a certain book fell into my possession) and want to get it right.  The photo at left shows some development of this. The shape and skin seems correct.

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I also needed to create an "Alpha Layer" which defines what parts of an AVs skin is shown or hidden (just like a mask in Photoshop and other graphic editors). To do that properly I created a set of tattoos I could add to an AV is show where things appear on their skins. In the photo at right  Octobriana's wearing these, so I can see how far up to hide the legs with the boots (as you can see the calf muscles extend outside of the boots).
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I've been working on some sets in second life while waiting on phone calls. This is an exterior set:



It was made by combing a "ready-made" with parts space station construction kit. However it was no good as an internal set because the asteroid (part of the ready-made and un-modifiable) would have cut through everything. The following is the internal set:

This extended the kit part of the external set, and created spaces within which to put props and characters for the shots. Most of the windows were semi transparent and because the main chamber is supposed to be in solid asteroid I created shapes surrounding it with granite textures to make it look like it was indeed in solid rock. The iris doors used to work but now only one does. On the day of shooting I'm remove and add those manually.

Asteroid bases are quite popular in the Second Life Marketplace. Most though are a tad expensive with prices in the $L thousands. I needed two bases and the other one - used by Tee D'Olby - is a ready made. Big investments either have to be really good or re-usable (or both)!

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