Monday, 27 December 2010

Humbled by the Marvellous Toy.

I just watched a video interview of Rod Humble(Linden labs new CEO) being interviewed by the Gnoriad. The first thing that struck me was ooh he's a Brit XD. This is good there's a fundamental difference between Brits and Yanks and that is enthusiasm and motivation .By nature the Brits hate all that shit. that isn't to say were not enthusiastic and motivated just we don't believe staring wide eyed at u and punching the sky will polish the proverbial turd. The second thing was something I'd never really considered and that's the difference between a toy and a game. Secondlife is a toy he didn't say that he was talking about the products he'd developed but it's a toy. It doesn't have rules and an objective like a game does, anyone u meet new in Secondlife will ask what their suppose to do assuming it's a game.

People who spend time in SL know it's not a game have they thought of it as a toy before? I always thought of it as a chat room with shoes but this never fitted my experience as u could have read in my previous posts, but a toy? I'm comparing it to the first day at playschool you enter the world nervously alone, unsure of yourself and what is expected of you. Slowly u discover the toy box this isn't an actual box in SL, but it is similar. imagine the playschool toy box and what it contains dolls, hats and clothes toy cars building blocks. Slowly you begin to play with the toys, and as you gain confidence others start to join in and play along with you and that is Secondlife

It went "zip" when it moved and "bop" when it stopped,
And "whirr" when it stood still.
I never knew just what it was and I guess I never will. (T.Paxton)

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

After all is said and done, I gotta move it's still fun, I'm gonna walk before they make me run.

Smiles howdy what a week. Creativity making it happen is like trying to put a cat on a leash. I have been tearing my eyes out with it this week. There are a few things going on with it. As I mentioned before I'm trying to make skin. This is tricky, my idea is to produce a avatar in Zbrush that I can bathe in light and shadow to hopefully produce bakes that when imported into Secondlife shoud look pretty good with no hand painting required. I ran into a few problems firstly I found myself running out of ram memory on my pc , this caused the pc to freeze whilst it shuffles data to and from the hard drive. The expert 3d modelers would all say to work at a lower detail level. I am trying to do this just to be able to see if I'm pissing into the wind I need to jump forward here and there with my model and spit it out into Secondlife to check how I'm getting along. Really it looks ok in world however there's a huge difference between low and ultra on all things in sl. On low the surfaces have no lighting or shadows so a lit face can look quite good. The same skin however on ultra gets many different problems as the surface shading clashes with the game engine shading. Sculpting problems I'm facing is that I spent a long time trying to make the sculpted face look realistic partially to see if I could and also because i felt it would produce the best highlights and shading. When I came to bring test renders in world I'm finding especially around the lip area that the lipstick coverage isn't wrapping the lip sufficiently. So now I'm finding myself back in ZB deforming the mesh to expose the problem areas to take both lighting and colour better.
The next thing I have been fighting with is we were invited to open a store on Mia Snows new sim. This required us to construct something to suit the quality and look of the sim build, our products and to fall within our prim limit. I was happily tootling along with this when I became aware of Turnip Sorbet's build on Lula. I had one of those shit moments. Its not a complicated build its just so fucking refined .It has a unified compositional style and theme. It's using some clever technology in its production but it's been so well integrated I just wanna punch them. Its left me feeling sick and green with envy. It's that good I can't even enjoy it .
I'm learning this stuff I'm just at the stage where my use of the tools isn't intuitive and complete enough to improvise .If I pick up a guitar I can play music I don't have to think where to put my fingers I can just do it, same with a car. The design process uses many different skills. It just needs more work and practice before the parts integrate and sing ...
Re Lula go have a look just don't tell them I sent u ..
Re Mia Snows sim looks like a dream I'm both daunted and excited to be there..

Friday, 3 December 2010

Uncanny valley

Is an interesting link . It gets me thinking about sl the photo realism thing. u can take photos of a real thing and wrap them around the prim shape of a thing in sl and it will look like the real thing but in secondlife it will look wrong will look outta place. The freeby shops are full o clothes made this way by people who think all u have to do to make a coat is take photos of a coat. The best clothes are generally hand drawn many of the skins are 2.This skin is is a composite taken from photos of ma gf. The plan is to strip it back and refine it. if you compare this image with the earlier one u can see the eyebrows have gone. Dirty has been photoshoping this further reducing the detail more down to shadow and tone. The plan is to get an entire skin that were able to add make up layers 2.Many of the skins in secondlife use the same base freely available here

Its a really good starting point that I'm not knocking. I just would like to go a little deeper into the process I'm happy to fall flat on my ass and fail at skin, as the texturing process is reflective and feeds back into my shoe work. I became aware that numerous skin designers in secondlife are sourcing this image of the model Devon an example of which is here for use in skins such as this

It's a really good image I do understand why it's used and I took a photo of my gf in the same manner to obtain the even coverage over the mesh.

I feel using Zbrush I will be able to create my own skin shaders sampling lighting and tone information , Then be able to create original lighting bakes and hopefully produce some exciting new sl skins, inspired by but without sourcing the work that has gone before me.

But as I said I could quite easily fall on my ass 2.If the worst comes to the worst should improve my shoe textures