Sunday, April 12, 2009

Quote of the Hour

There is no abstract art. You must always start with something. Afterward you can remove all traces of reality.

Pablo Picasso

Saturday, April 11, 2009

SL Belly Dances

Not a secret, one of the two things I love best in Second Life is dressing up like an extra from I Dream of Jeannie. Consequently, I've gone out of my way to sample just about any bellydance I've found. In fact, I've coded and sculpted and revised and particled my own costume several times over three years, and made my own dance HUD system. I keep two HUDs, one newer motion capture ones where you run all over the place, and a standing in spot, full of pre-motion capture dances. Here are my favorites, in order.

  1. Animazoo. (Motion HUD) Fabulous, fabulous. They have the brain cells to make the animations priority three rather than four, lovely work all around, nary a glitch that I can see. Not exactly perfectly traditional, but they have that flash. Sole complaint, lousy naming convention: Dance 1, Dance 2, etc. But they're modifiable, so you can change their names. Copyable too, so put them in your HUD, put them in your dance balls in your club, put them everywhere.
  2. Lillita Lacey (Snakecharmer - Static HUD) Manually made dances are not dead. Mocap hasn't killed them! Unfortunately, I cannot find these sold anywhere anymore. :( The most excellent feather they have, aside from being copy-mod, is the neck is free! Your avatar head tracks the camera! Alt-Click your favorite viewer, and you're lookiing right at them! There was stands, a great hands behind the back dancer walk, and with 17 animations available, all at L$50 each, it was a no brainer to get them all. I use these for private shows in small, intimate venues.
  3. Sine Wave. (Motion HUD) These seem more authentic than the Animazoo ones, but they lack that pizazz that you need in SL. Authentic - Drab. Artistic licence - Wow. They're a good compliment to Animazoo. Unfortunately no copy, no mod. 1-5, fine. Dance 6, ugh.
  4. Alexicon Kurka. (Static HUD) This creator has some nifty Greek dances and bellydance. Not bad at all, I use a few in my mix. No copy, no mod.
  5. Luth Brodie. (Static HUD) As far as I know, these are the first bellydances in SL, ever. I used to save my stipends up for more of them. They feel a little dated now, but if you can still find them, they're worth a look. No copy, some no mod.
  6. Djezebel Drake. (Static HUD) I'd like these more if they didn't feel quite so tarty. I use them anyway but have been known to restart my randomiser when they come up. No copy.
  7. Seagel Neville. Static HUD) The original freebie bellydances, a couple are quite good. I have the bellydance collection at various places as a freebie, if you don't find it, ask me, or try
Have not tried: Hap Underwood. I messed around with the trial HUD once, and it might make a good manual show for someone with Voice. I may have a look again.

Disappointed: Moonlight Animations. When the store has no dance pad set out to try before you buy, that's a sign. When the branding is identical or eerily similar to other makers, in this case, for a wear anywhere dance machine called a 'Chim', (Owenmations Chimera?) and a 'Huddle' (Keiki Lemieux's Huddle?), that's a sign. If it's motion capture, it's not as good as Animazoo or Sine Wave. If it's hand made, it's rather good, except for the large glitches at the end of the loops. Animation priorities had no standardisation. The lack of understanding of SL animations, and in the case of the boxes, permission system, is curable with experience. The brand name cloning and unconvincing motion capture has me feeling uneasy I spent money there.

Quite Possibly The Most Awesome Thought Experiment Ever


Sculpture & Architecture

Postmodernism at its weirdest.

While fooling with Futurism ideas I dashed in some Feng Shui.

A failed attempt at depicting motion, but I like it anyway. This is a sheet metal Imperial Guardian Lion with optional micro solar core. (Gads I'm weird.)

I had a little more success with this piece, it's still very upright like the guardians, but does have a forward gesture line through it. This is a Lady Luminary.

I've a few more bays in the Palace to fill, I'm thinking of rabbits holding shields.

Front view of the Palace. Mountains in back, water in front. Symmetry. Feng Shui. Long curving dramatic arcs, conquest of the natural form, and a sense of urgency. Futurism.

I take Tanglewood very seriously, and thus the treed mountain shield to minimise the impact on Tanglewood's mystique. I hope a palace hidden behind mountains actually increases the mystique.

Side view.
Gathering hall. I chose to descend into the main chamber rather than ascend, and forgo any pomp such as a throne. The seatings are all West Trade, and what could count as a throne is a three seater, spaces reserved for the few people I count as Ladies in Waiting.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

You've Got To Be Joking

Carl Sagan is rolling in his grave. :|