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Archive for the ‘Second Life Art’ Category

This is a current list of my top ten Second Life places to take pictures. Slurls are attached to the names of each place. Each description also contains a link to a picture I have taken of it previously on my own stream, feel free to click through to get a feel for the place. Also consider dropping in donations to the tip boxes on site, or to the land owners directly, to keep these places alive 🙂

Here they are, in no particular order:

(1) Chakryn Forest: Any list without this place would be incomplete. One of the most popular places on this list too (the popularity was no doubt boosted when Torley Linden decided to use it in a recent tutorial.) It is an amazing forest, with little (and big) wonders hidden all over the place – you should be prepared to wander around to find the best it has to offer. There are existing pose-balls but you can also rez whatever you might need there for your shot, so make the most of it. Suits tranquil or magical shots in particular. I’ve written a  previous post specifically about this place as well.

(2) Zero Style: One of those places that almost any lighting and angle will create amazing and memorable pictures. It has more than one attraction on site but the one you’ll come across most often in others’ pictures is the house in the field. Thankfully it’s not too popular just yet and even when people are hanging about you can usually avoid them appearing in your shot due to the long grasses. This is the one other place on the list that I’ve also done a previous post about.

(3) The Far Away: One of the most well-known picture locations of Second Life – seen people on a train-top, or standing in an endless field of wheat? That’s this place. Even my current header picture of this blog is shot there. This place is hardly ever empty, expect to have to come back a few times before you’ll get the chance to shoot yourself on the train (right click sit on the train will put you in the train-top pose). There are other special options here though too – the flying through the wind-mill (pose ball in its lower ruts), and the desk set-up off to the side with the flapping plastic bag caught in the barbed wire. Even though your background is provided for you here, lighting will still very greatly effect the end image, so remember to experiment.

(4) The Nameless Isle: Beautiful eerie place, with the generous option of being able to rez on site. To get the most out of this place you’ll need to fly to the base circling the island, look for the glow and have a good wander around the coves and whirlpool areas. Quite a magical place that will effect your mood. Dark and beautiful. I often find there’s people in the way of the shots I want to take here though due to its popularity, so take your patience with you 🙂

(5) Silvanus Forest: Sister forest to Chakryn forest. Lesser known and used (in my experience of going to both), but still quite popular. Particularly noteworthy for a giant statue of a “knight”, and an amazing waterfall area with a very special tree beside it. Explore around that waterfall area to find the hidden cavern which is also lovely. Quite good for fantasy-style shots. Overall has a similar feel and beauty to it as Chakryn does. Ability to rez here too.

(6) Templum Ex Obscurum: Be prepared to investigate little nooks and crannies to get the most out of this place. You’ll need to get into the heart of the underground temple to get the best shots. Lovely use of light, and a sense of fantasy and forgotten places. Explore the rest of the island to find other good potential shots too – like the light-bushes, and well placed trees on cliff edges.

(7) Rez: Another place you’ve no doubt seen pictures of: The train tracks that run through water, the broken bridge, and the ruined house (also sunk in water). My recent experiences here have been unfortunate ones – of people leaving behind items that griefed me, and an oddly increasing number of men going there to pick women up, which manages to ruin the special tranquil and lost feel of the place. Even as I write this from the location someone is begging me to give them lindens to buy something, and won’t leave me alone even when I said no (ending in a tirade of verbal abuse in IM after I left the sim, great). Besides that growing down-side though, still worth a visit. The picture for Rez is attached to this post, but here’s a link to the original location on my stream too.

(8) Error: One of my new favourite places. Good for dead / deserted shots. Beautiful islands even from a distance. Lovely locations across the sim, including bridges and piers. The owner is often on site and is very friendly, so remember to thank him for his amazing creation!

(9) Kowloon: Fantastic for street and city shots. Lots of good alley-ways and roof top locations. Dark, dirty, real. Have a good scout around to make the most of it, but be mindful of the fact that some people live on the sim too – I’ve received the “private residence” warning unexpectedly more than once in my wanders.

(10) Lost World: Beautiful location with many worthy backdrops. In the eerie / fantasy / magical category. Made up of well laid-out forest, water-ways, and interesting buildings and ruins. The location name says it all.

Please feel free to let me know what you thought of these locations – the good things, and perhaps the problematic aspects too. I’d love to see links to any pictures you take as well 🙂

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Facing RespectA couple of weeks back I did a picture for The Gallery of Light, under the theme of “respect”. It was a subversive picture, and one that requires a bit of explaining, so here’s the explanation if you were wondering what the hell the picture’s about (and even if you weren’t).

It’s called “facing respect” because it is a face (duh) and because it’s about facing the truth of what it means to demand respect from people for beliefs that are actually dangerous and based on false-hoods. It is a comment on the modern use of the term “respect” to tell you to leave people’s beliefs alone and unquestioned – which to me is a perversion of the term and does a lot of harm.

The right side of the face is the “public face” of these requests for “respect”: The white doves in the eye is the vision of peace, the tears are for others’ suffering – everything about that side of the face is meant to suggest purity, innocence and good intentions.

The left side is the truth behind what it means when people demand respect for things that shouldn’t get it (as so often happens): The eye sees the truth of fire – the destruction caused by granting “respect” to ideas that should be exposed and revealed for their false-hoods. The lips are shut by barbed fire to symbolise the way people use the term “respect” to tell you to keep your mouth shut instead of exposing the truth. The hair line is fractured since the brain is ordered not to evaluate, not to criticize, but to quietly – “respectfully” keep it’s thoughts to itself. Where the right side had rose-petals the left side is scarred by thorns – just because something is pretty to the eyes (“respecting every one and everyone’s beliefs equally”), doesn’t mean it isn’t dangerous.

The light radiating from the body is representing the fact that the beliefs we carry are not just “internal” – that what we believe does matter and impacts others and ultimately reality; the way we treat other people, the politics we vote for, the laws we create. We should care what other people think and be ready to discuss and if necessary criticize it, instead of letting people tell us to not do so, in the name of “respect”.

I’m pretty sure it’s the last picture I’m ever doing for the Gallery of Light – even though I intended to keep up my art in Second Life, I have a feeling my personal exodus from there is going to be a bit more all-encompassing than I originally planned. Maybe I’ll get back into Second Life art with a passion at some point but I don’t know when, and it won’t be soon. It’s a shame that my last picture for the place was a tad dark but that’s the point of the picture itself isn’t it: The truth isn’t always pretty roses, sometimes it’s thorns, but the deeper beauty of knowing the truth is worth more than superficial aesthetics.

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PradI’ve often considered doing a post solely about Prad, but the same problem kept coming up: When do I write it? He keeps doing new awesome things for me and I knew if I wrote one he’d just do something else awesome and I’d have to write another post. My whole blog could have ended up being an ode to Prad, and I really don’t like looking like a fan-girl / stalker. Finally though the time is right.

It’s so hard to know where to start, might as well go from the beginning. He was a DJ at Three Lions when I first got to know him, and I loved going along to his sets, they were a huge crowd favourite, with good reason. I just thought of him as some nice funny popular guy. Which actually sums him up really well to this day. It wasn’t until the pub closed and we all started hanging out on his roof that we started chatting a lot more and I got to know him better. And every new thing I found out about him just made him more real and more interesting.

Once Crown & Pearl started up, I knew it would be my home base, mostly because I knew Prad’s presence and influence would bring to it all the best people and aspects of Lions. It became so much more though. God I’m going to miss that place so very much, more than I ever missed Lions.

My friendly attitude and own popularity got noticed overtime and they made me an official greeter there. Then security, then manager. It was such a huge deal to me to be considered staff at Crown. And the first half year of being manager was the happiest time in my SL existence. The place’s existence, and my promotion to those positions, wouldn’t have happened without Prad.

And then there’s the art. I would be nothing in the art field without Prad. I only even noticed Flickr because of him and his own talents. I started my own Flickr account soon after and started taking my own pictures. He saw my potential and gifted me a year’s pro subscription to Flickr for my RL birthday last March. He offered me the use of his studio at his home, he gave me the pose ball script I ended up using everyday, and he gave me encouragement and support. I don’t hesitate to say that I became one of the well known SL artists in my time; I was included in exhibits, I won and got placings in many contests, I had my picture included in a well-known SL magazine, and I had a steady stream of paying clients. I also don’t hesitate to say that it couldn’t have happened without Prad.

Even this blog wouldn’t exist without Prad – I only noticed SL blogs because of him. So all the hits I’ve had (which recently went over 5000, yay!), all the people I’ve met through blogging, and the joy I’ve got from this experience in itself, again wouldn’t have happened without his influence in my life.

Prad’s been there on so many important occasions for me – one of my favourite SL memories is the day I became a mentor and Prad’s alt was there becoming a mentor too at the same session. I laughed so damn much and everything was hilarious, because he was there sharing it with me in IM the whole time. What could have been a very boring hour turned into one of my favourite hours. And that is the influence Prad has had on my SL life as a whole – when things should have been horrible or unbearable, he made it all OK and helped everything turn out alright. When I thought I stood alone, he always had my back. When I thought I couldn’t keep going, he let me know I had it in me to be great and helped bring that out in me. In every part of my Second Life he has helped me become so much more than I thought I could be and so in leaving SL I feel like I’m letting him down.

Yet even now he stands beside me and supports me. Even when I’m leaving so much behind he hasn’t gotten angry or indifferent towards me, he is still my friend today as much as he was yesterday. And hopefully years from now I will say the same.

Even though I won’t be in SL (except every now and then in the smallest regard – only for pictures), I will always do whatever I can to look out for him back. For his SL self, and his RL self. For everything I managed to achieve in SL, my RL persona is more successful and powerful, and those skills I have will continue to be at his disposal for him whenever he wants or needs them. In the same way that he has always been there for me, I will continue to do whatever I can to support and help him.

Of all my friends, I will miss him the most. I still have him on external message systems, but I’ll miss the way it always made me smile when he came up on the mystitool radar, and how the mood in a room always shifted for the better when he appeared, and his DJing, and his drunken singing, and just his very distinct avatar. There aren’t many people in either worlds like Prad who can make the world a better place in so many ways. He’s not just a builder, a DJ, a photographer, a bar owner, a blogger, he’s my friend. And that transcends pixels, even on ultra high graphics 🙂

Thank you Prad. For everything ❤

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I’ve left Second Life, for most intents and purposes. I’ll be on quite a few times over the next week while I say goodbye to various people and tie off some loose ends, but after that I will only be on now and then, and only to do art – both for myself and for anyone else who wants me to do it too. I will be as good as emptying out my friends list and groups – retaining only a very few contacts [edit: I ended up deciding to take everyone off] and groups that relate to my art needs. I have also quit all in-world jobs not directly related to my art. So only the artist is left 🙂

The reasons for leaving are mostly positive ones, and mostly to do with real life. I have a busy year ahead of me in pretty much every aspect of my life. On top of the usual madness I want to learn some new skills which I’ve put off for far too long. So I’m refocusing my time and efforts into real life, and the thing which needs to stand aside to give me the time to do that, is Second Life. This also means of course that this blog will grind to a hold because there won’t be new Second Life experiences to write about. So to those of you who have read and enjoyed my blog, I appreciate it and thank you ^^

And to those of you who have become close friends in Second Life, I hope our friendships will continue despite me leaving. I also hope to meet a good number of you in real life some day, that would be very high on the awesome scale.

So I’m not sure if this is my last post here – the same way I have some loose ends to tie up in Second Life I may have a few topics left in me yet. I don’t mind though if you want to take me off your blog rolls, no offence taken 🙂

Good luck to all of you, in whatever you choose to do in both worlds ❤

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Zero StyleEvery so often you come across a location in Second Life that looks stunning in almost every sky setting, and where each subtle change of angle and focus seems to tell a different story. Zero Style is one of those places. I think it’s one of those special locations – like The Far Away – that every Second Life photographer should visit at some point. I’m so glad I made the time to check it out, you will be too 🙂

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IslandI’ve been doing a heck of a lot of sim-hopping lately – visiting about fifteen new places a day. And I’ve noticed something: A very large number of people put little effort into first impressions. They’ll do a write-up for their sim, they try to sell it’s appeal and the items available there, they spend how much time and money on actually purchasing and building the place, and yet two vital pieces of the first-impressions puzzle keep falling short: The picture in the search, and the arrival point on the sim itself.

The picture doesn’t have to be done professionally, but at least cycle through the four day-settings to find the best one for the sim! And consider boosting graphics to their highest level for the picture, that helps. I’ve even seen pictures in sim searches where the photographer didn’t let the sim rez properly before taking the snapshot (such as having big bubbled shapes of what are meant to be edged rocks when fully rezzed) – a bit of patience when taking the picture, or waiting until a good day when things rez properly, is a great idea. If I had my own sim and knew I couldn’t do a good quality picture for it I would pay someone what is often only a hundred or so lindens, to do a proper one – it’s a small investment that makes a big difference to how many people will visit the sim. (Hell, if you’re reading this and you want a picture done, ask me if you like, I’ll give you a discount if you mention that you read this blog entry.)

Then there’s the TP point. If someone has chosen to visit your sim, you can make them want to leave by placing the TP point in such a place that the normal camera angle makes sure all the arrivee sees is a wall, or a cloud of branches – both are equally off-putting. Sticking it in the ocean is pretty annoying too. Place it somewhere visually interesting and inviting as well if possible – as wonderful as the rest of the island might be, what will rez is what they are closest too, and if that doesn’t capture the imagination they probably won’t stick around for the rest.

I’ve been visiting places despite bad search pictures and very poorly placed entry points, and by doing so have found some very special places – places that are unlikely to be otherwise discovered by many people because of the lack of attention to these vital first impressions. It’s a shame – these are such small things that don’t require much time or money, that can make such a huge difference if done well.

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Art has all sorts of inspirations – music, emotions, people, scenery – there is no limit to what might inspire you to do that next masterpiece. I often state who or what has inspired my Second Life art. One of the lesser known inspirations for my art comes from a passion my husband has – Magic The Gathering cards. They are “collectable” cards that are used to play a game, it has tournaments with rewards and it’s an international phenomenon – chances are you’ve heard of it. What you might not have noticed though is the amazing artwork on some of these cards.

A recent example got my imagination fired up, a newly released card called “Progenitus“. There is so much I love about the art on this card. It’s ominous subtleties directed inspired this recent picture I shot in Second Life. Don’t ask me to explain what the card’s ability means, I don’t know – that’s fancy pants stuff for great men like my husband. But I love the quote on the card that goes with the picture: “The Soul of the World has returned”. *breathes* I love that! There is a lot to be said for the words that are presented with art: One of my friends, Prad Prathivi, has a real knack for finding the right words to enhance a piece of art, it really makes a huge difference and can take art to the next level.

One of the special aspects of these Magic the Gathering cards is that they need to match the feel and story of the card’s ability (and reading about what would go visually wrong when they didn’t is amusing). I often try to convey a story or a message in my art pieces so this strongly appeals to me. Once you get into an appreciation of the artists who’s talents go into these cards you start discovering their other work too, like this by Jaime Jones who did the card art I showed you above. Tell me you don’t think that’s some amazing work, and this guy is only 22!

I’m considering starting my own collection of this amazing card art because they get my creative juices flowing every time. Thankfully the house is full of literally thousands of the things because of my husband’s existing passion for their game aspect, I’m sure he won’t mind if I take one of his $1000 valued rare cards (I’m not kidding, some are really worth that much o.O) and add it to my collection of pretties…

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