Sunday, December 23, 2012

I know, it has been a very long time since I’ve blogged here… perhaps this post marks a revival of sorts - only time will tell.

A while back I worked with and even made a brief demonstration machinima video of my explorations in using the Lighting and Shadows settings.

I have been playing again with what I call shadow projections.  I am taking advantage of the ability place images and choose color when working with Light in the build menu.  Since some have asked… 

Specifically: Build>Features tab> check box “Light”
  • Choose color and image in the two windows to the right of the check box.  These operate just like image and color windows in the Texture tab.
  • I recommend thinking of the image as a stencil.
  • The surface must be a color other than pure black, the lighter the grey the brighter the image.
But wait, I can’t see anything?  Apparently it is only possible to see the effects if you can operate with the “Lighting and Shadows” box checked in the advanced graphics settings.  

Specifically: Preferences>Graphics>General Tab> select check box “Lighting and Shadows”.
  • This path is specific to the current Firestorm viewer. 
  • However, any viewer that allows you access via preferences to advanced graphics setting (beyond simply choosing Low to Ultra render quality) should work.  Look for a setting allowing you to activate Lighting and Shadows.
Once settings are good, and your viewer is also set to Nighttime then have a look around.
  • If you find this is difficult on your machine or the sim is lagging (it is mainland after all), then park your avatar and view via fly camera mode, etc.
  • The Sphere is entered from above… sit on the glowing cubes and observe the rotating images.
  • The Cube is entered by simply walking into the inner cube (the cubes are phantom).
    • Unfortunately, it is close quarters in the cube... again fly camera mode may be best for viewing here.
  • Along the viewing screen at the East Edge of the platform are some “projectors” casting images onto a wall.  Here I am experimenting with how to shape, focus and point the images at objects.
Please note all pieces are still works in progress.
Also note, the figures in orange & yellow colors are unrelated to the shadow projector projects… just another unfinished work.

For those that want to see in Second Life here is the link to Anzac.

Here are some sample images of the type of lighting effects I'm getting. Not revolutionary and likely old hat to some, but I'm enjoying exploring the possibilities.  I hope you enjoy as well.

Using directed projections... 

View from inside the Sphere... have a seat and let the images scroll by...

Inside cube, walk thru walls or fly camera in to view...

View from high above platform... 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

"The only art I'll ever study... "

Ok... lets face it I am an infrequent blogger.  But tonight I feel compelled to share one of those mind expanding moments that can only happen when we discover something fresh, creative and new (to me).

After a long day at work... 12 hours... I got home and really only had energy to check my email.  So there I was looking at an email from NPR and noticed it highlighted their latest Tiny Desk concert.  This is a series of videos of musicians and bands that perform in a corner of the NPR music offices (perhaps a musician is brought in for an interview and in some cases they perform in the offices for about 20 mins).  I idly followed the link and saw it was a guy called Kishi Bishi.  I'd never heard of him, but the write up spoke of how he combined 21st Century pop and classical sensibilities in real time as a one man band.

I clicked the link and what unfolded fired my imagination and blew my mind.  Literally it was mind expanding... watching him perform meshed completely with something I've been reading recently called Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon.  The premise of the book is the idea that proof of creativity requires some sort of originality and declares that to be a misconception.  He takes what amounts to a post-modern stance declaring that there really isn't anything new, nothing is pure originality. My favorite way of thinking history as a wave full of ideas and future is that wave of ideas cresting and breaking against the shore of the present and there for completely mixing, dissolving and re-creating those ideas.  For Kleon, creativity is really the re-purposing of known content.  Essentially creativity is a mash up.  He quotes many artists to bolster this idea... such as "The only art I'll ever study is stuff that I can steal from." - David Bowie.  An idea I like since I seem to struggle coming up w/ anything that feels

Back to Kishi Bishi... he takes his own performance informed by his knowledge of classic music and popular music and repurposes the performance to create a real time digital mash up.  Think a DJ re-mix of his actual performance as he performs.  For example, he may hum 2 bars, digitally loop that and then sing harmony to the humming in real time w/o skipping a beat (literally w/o skipping a musical beat).  Clearly it defines my paltry attempt to describe it.  Just watch... and enjoy.

Kishi Bishi Tiny Desk Concert NPR

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Here is a quick and dirty look at some of what I’ve been doing lately in Second Life.  For the first time in long while, I’ve been enjoying a creative project who’s techniques are new (at least to me).

 I’ve been exploring the lighting texture options in the Features section of the build menu (where you enable lighting effects).  The moving light/shadows are objects w/ a simple texture in each set to rotate.  The textures themselves are just transparencies w/ some lines stroked over them.  These objects are then set to rotate or orbit and some hints of color are added, etc.  It is nothing too fancy and mostly just fun because it was new to me.   It was good to get back in world for a bit of creative exploration.  I will explore what the projections look like inside of a sphere next and set the objects to transparent (they are too hard to find if set that way at the I will explore a bit more, if I come up with anything of interest I’ll post it here.  

I hope you enjoy…For some reason the embed below appears off set to me... try this link if you have the same issue: Shadow Projections

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Metaversian Chill – Where do you go to relax?

One of the hardest things to explain to someone who hasn’t visited a quality build in a virtual world is the tangible sense of place these digital constructions can take on.  For me this sense of place is most pronounced when there is spaciousness, and almost desolation to a build.  Folks who have visited Immersiva or the work of AM Radio (Husk, The Far Away & The Quiet come to mind) know what I mean.  As is often the case not all of these builds can still be visited although Immersiva will return (not sure this link is current).  To see stills of AM’s builds check out his Flickr photo stream.

Yet, what of today in second life?  For me, there are still builds that invoke this intense and unique sense of place. The rebuild of Chouchou is very powerfully chill (An oxymoron?  Not with the lovely music of Chouchou combining with the simple elegant build - you will see what I mean).  Chouchou build and music draws people together yet we tend to distribute ourselves physically thru out the sim as we float across the space.   Below are a few photos taken recently, hopefully they convey at least a portion of what I am trying to describe.  I also recently discovered the HuMaNoiD sim… a richer color palette is used, but it still conveys a sense of warm delicious decay.  

So are you also drawn to these seemingly ‘empty’ builds?  If so… let me know below where you chill in the metaverse?  
Chouchou beauty

Kenbishi's bemused chill

HuMaNoiD warm chill

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Inspired Creation

Long time since I’ve posted… As some may know, I am interested in the concept of creativity; both as an act of doing and as an internal process (i.e. to develop my own sense of creativity).   My relative silence on this blog is not due to a waning of that interest.  While my RL work life has been more demanding of my time lately I’ve continued to pursue my exploration of creativity.  I’ve recently moved from working with the Processing language to working more with Adobe After Effects and Blender. 

Working with Blender is something I look forward to doing more of as I begin the explore working with Mesh tools in Second Life.  Which leads me to why I'm posting.  I was reminded of just how beautiful and moving a quality build can be in a virtual world when I saw claudia222 jewell’s stunning full sim build Spirit  at Art Screamer.  If you have not seen it yet… stop now, go explore and enjoy.  

I was most impressed w/ how intricate her work was and how well it "hung together" conceptually.  Others have noted how it very Bosch like in it’s styling’s.  As I’ve moved through it, I’ve been struck by its imagery of transformation and immergence. Claudia has been quoted:  “This exposition is for me the letting go of a long griefing, to let the spirits pass, and start new in peace.”  Over all I found this build to be powerful and inspiring. 

For myself I’ve taken images from the build and worked with them to express my feelings as I explored. Enjoy these few images, but more than anything express your own Spirit.  Thank you claudia222 jewell and Art Screamer for inspiring me to explore.