Space Babe!

After acquiring the Hero outfit from Addams, a vendor at the Epiphany gacha, I wondered what to do with it. Sure, I could have made a super hero costume, but the main piece struck me as a sort of wetsuit and I thought through several options. But when I was trying on hair I got the idea for Space Babe!!

Space Babe Comic

Or Space Gal. Not sure which I like better. The latter is more in line with the 50s Sci-Fi B-Movie idea that struck me. So I took quite a few pix with the idea of “Warholizing” the results.
Space Babe Ala Warhol 01

I used various filters in the Second Life viewer Snapshot filter after choosing a good Windlight photo. Click the photo above to see a description on Flickr, including how the comic book version was made.

I also wondered what a frame of film from such a movie might look like so I used the Toy Camera filter in Snapshot.
Alien Space Gal Toy Camera
Despite liking this result, I know I could grunge it a bit to look more like an old film frame, even going as far as to turning it into a strip of film, but I’ll setttle for this.

Marianne McCann contacted me and asked if she could use a version of the version top-right of the quadriptych at the top, shot with the 70s Color filter. I hope to see it soon.

Where’s Uccie?

For a little while now I’ve been taking a series of snaps with the theme “Where’s Uccie?”  for The Bay City Post. A sort of visual puzzle, if you will, and a chance to show off Our Fair City. With just one exception so far, images are posted on the blog and in the in-world edition of the paper without any clues and people have to guess where the shot was taken. The one exception was when the file name with the location was published. Here are several past shots without exact locations listed so you can take a look for yourself.

Where's Uccie - April 2015 Morton or Maddequet

This little church disappeared before the picture appeared in the April 2015 edition of The Post. It was either in Maddequet or in Morton. Sometimes I have to play my own game, it seems.

Where's Uccie - March 2015

There are two places in Bay City with this fountain and to be honest, I’ve forgotten where I shot this or how to find either one again. I always seem to run by it by accident.

Where's Uccie - Sconset 23 NOV 2014_001

This is one of those tiny 256m2 parcels in Bay City for which I have land lust. This sis in Sconset. The other lot will be featured in an upcoming Post.

Where's Uccie -- Bay City - Moloch 08 Nov 2014 Large

Someone guessed this location in Moloch right away. I guess it was obvious.

Where's Uccie = Bay City - Moloch_001

One of two shots from Moloch and there is a second location in Bay City with this same view. The Moles have a few duplicate builds in Our Fair City.

Where's Uccie = Bay City - Sandwich

A few people guessed where I was in Sandwich for this shot. Can you find it?

Surprisingly few people contact me  with guesses about the locations. Maybe it is because the nature of Second Life means that locations often change drastically in appearance, with frequency and rapidity, too, as with the first picture. I suppose the game is a bit skewed. In all, I hope the pictures encourage people to explore and discover the beauty of Bay City.

Image-anary Evolution

Mhindepinde Rez Zone

Mhindepinde Rez Zone

Last year I created a series of watercolors from some of my Second Life photos (see them on Flickr) and donated a few to the Bay City Christmas Tree Lighting Auction (as blogged here) to raise funds for Childsplay, a great charity that helps kids be kids even when stuck in hospitals. The watercolors sold well and quite a few people complimented me on the work. Some even encouraged me to do more and to sell them. All-in-all, though, I felt rather silly as the hardest part of the effort was moving the files from my desktop computer to my iPad so I could work them in the Waterlogue app then getting them back.The app does the heavy lifting as I pick among some options.

Sure, it is a bit more complicated than just pressing a button, but you get the idea. It is not like when I was doing watercolors for art class. But since starting this project I have a computer that uses AirDrop so moving images back and forth is, indeed, push-button simple. And I have a new app called Brushstroke. As with Waterlogue, one chooses various options and tweaks the final result. It does take an artistic eye but not the same manual skills of an artist. Let me walk you through the process of one of my latest pictures.

My brother's place in Bay City - Dennis (SLurl) is a lovely spot.

My brother’s place in Bay City – Dennis (SLurl) is a lovely spot.

After de-rendering much of The Plaza from the background, I experimented with Windlight settings and framing, finishing with a 5120 x 2630 pixel original, using the Viewer’s tools to see what a final would look like cropped to a 16:9 ratio.

Fixing the sky.

Fixing the sky.

From there I used Pixlemator‘s cloning and healing tools to tidy-up the sky then the levels tool to sweeten the colors. If I had more skill, all the subsequent steps could be accomplished without leaving this application but I’m not that good yet.

Using Brushstroke and Acorn.

Using Brushstroke and Acorn.

I tried a number of options in Brushstroke though I don’t recall the name of the one I finally picked. One day I’ll have the discipline to take notes at each step just as I learned to do back in the day when I worked in photo darkrooms. But I exported the now 4182 x 2150 pixel image back to the desktop computer so I could add a rough-edged border like the Waterlogue app automatically adds. For this I used a couple techniques in Acorn, my go-to image editor for fast and easy work.

Then it was a matter of scaling the final result to 1024 x 576 pixels (still the 16:9 ratio I use for such images) for import into Second Life. I’ll use that for large reproductions and will upload a 512 x 288 pixel image for efficient rendering on smaller objects.

How long did this all take? The original image was captured in about 15-20 minutes (de-rendering bits took a while). The edting from start to finish was about another 20-30 minutes. Writing this blog post took nearly an hour.

A New World

Mid-afternoon local time I picked up my new computer. Three hours later …

My first picture with my new computer. Ultra graphics and all the candy.

My first picture with my new computer. Ultra graphics and all the candy. Click to embiggen or see it on Flickr.

It is an Apple 27″ 5K Retina iMac with 8GB RAM, a 1TB Fusion Drive (128GB Flash on a Hard Disk), a AMD Radeon R9 M295X with 4GB of GDDR5 memory graphics card, and a fire extinguisher. Well, the latter isn’t true, but the machine is hot. Everything is faster and I swear it is 50% lighter in weight than my late 2009 27″ iMac.

My first log in was with an alt so I could tweak settings and move files from the old computer. I wanted my first visit as me to be great. After, I logged in at the laggiest place I knew and was able to turn on High Graphics with Shadows, water reflections, and Ambient Occlusion. I could walk around without lag, type in local chat without lag, and watch others move without lag. It was a joy.

So I went home to take a picture. With Ultra Graphics I had far more lag as I had on the old computer when it was just on High Graphics or a half step below without the eye candy but that wasn’t a problem for the photo. Needless to say, I’m very happy.

Second Life Yearbook Photo Challenge

Strawberry Singh is back with blogger memes and I had a few minutes to kill, so …

Share an image of your Second Life avatar smiling for a yearbook photo” (orignal post here).

I decided to re-create my high school senior yearbook photo but thought “maybe I should’t post a blank image.” Since 5th grade my picture never appeared in school publications because I always refused to participate. Starting in 8th grade we all had to have our photos taken for security reasons. Sure, years after I was kidnapped,* they wanted a photo. Locking the school door after the fire started, I guess, or something like that. We all needed photos.

In my senior year we were all to go to a studio in town for those really nice formal sittings that seniors get, but since I wasn’t going to do that I had to line up with the 11th graders and let the visiting photographer snap a pic and try to talk me into getting those cheesy portrait packs to give copies to friends and relatives. Didn’t happen. It is very rare I even appear in the family photo album. One of the reasons I got a camera was so I could be behind it.

The funny part is, my senior picture got lost. The guy couldn’t handle the concept of separating it from the juniors sets and managed to separate me all the way to the cutting room floor. So what I re-created for here is more or less what I looked like at the time. Set your Way Back Machines® for 2006.

Click to embiggen or see on Flickr.

You can’t see it from here, but my hair was down to my butt. I wore the cheapest eyeglass frames possible, no makeup, and the only clean hoodie I had. In Real Life it was a zip-up bright green one whereas all my usual ones were dark colors. Sorry, but this one is blue. One of my many Disney t-shirts capped the outfit. Jewelry? I owned one necklace and no earrings. Since people could grab you by the necklace, I almost never wore it.

The photographer often commented “I’m glad you unzipped your jacket” while constantly leering at my chest and trying to take a few shots with my torso showing. One of his really nice Broncolor lights met an untimely death “by accident” while I was zipping my hoodie on my way off the auditorium stage where the pix were being taken. Oops. Maybe the most expensive leering he’s done, I’m sure. At least he didn’t cop a feel or I would have heard what a Mamiya 645 sounded like when hitting the hardwood.

Second Life should have a yearbook because every Profile photo is a special statement. Sometime when you are bored, perv some profiles and I think you’l agree.

*Read through the blog a bit and you’ll learn about this.

Topless Tuesday with Xandah

When my wife logged in last night I was browsing for studio props on the SL Marketplace and showed her a camera with poses from What Next. A few minutes later, it was in my Received Items folder, a gift from Angela. Clearly, she wanted me to use it so I did. A few minutes with Xandah and another prop I found at Magnificent Poses then a few more minutes in Pixelmator … BAM. I got my Topless Tuesday pic! Look for more in the Topless Tuesday in SL Flickr group here.