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Posts Tagged ‘couples’

I don’t have a “male companion” in SL – a boyfriend, or partner, or sex buddy or whatever. And that’s not an invitation; I don’t want one. But it’s annoying to a high degree when I want to find out what a set of pose balls do, and in particular take a couple shot, and there’s no one to call on. I know what you’re going to say – ask a male friend or ask a female friend with a male alt. Neither solution really solves my problems.

The male friend solution is never easy. A fair few men take it the wrong way when you ask them to pose with you, they think it’s your shy way of saying “boy I sure would like to shag ya”. If you can find someone who won’t take it the wrong way, the next challenge is making sure they don’t have a partner who would take it the wrong way instead. If you’ve managed to overcome these two hurdles, there’s one left that far too many men fall into – the “he hasn’t spent anytime working on the appearance of his avatar” issue. That’s not a problem if I just want to randomly try pose balls for the hell of it, but if the pose ball is any good I want to take a picture of it and at that point he is (sorry) useless to me. I find it very frustrating that so few men seem to really put any effort into their SL appearance – come on boys, if you won’t do it for youself, at least do it for the girlies!

Which brings me to the problem with asking female friends to log out of SL and log their male avies in, or pull out a male they might have handy in their inventory. First off, most women don’t have male avatars or male alts anyway. Cause hello, who would choose to be a man..? If you can find a woman with a male avatar, the next issue is inevitable in my experience – they haven’t put the money or time into developing their male avie so it’s just as bad as the male friends example above who also haven’t bothered.

I used to have the perfect model for this situation. Not only did he have a nice male avie, he also had a nice female avie, and even better, was able to log them both in at the same time. This was perfection from my point of view – especially if I wanted to take pictures of rather naughty pose balls and didn’t feel like taking part – just get him and him to jump on for me! Unfortunately he got very busy with his various business projects taking off, and my photographic excursions (which he used to enjoy helping me out with) take up more time than he has spare.

So nights like tonight I wander from place to place and get inspiration hitting me with a mallet and me having to reluctantly shoo it away because there’s no one to help me out. Twice tonight I stared longingly at couple pose balls placed in perfect locations: I hopped on one then the other, feeling foolish and hoping no one would come by to see my lonely patheticness, as I tried to figure out what they look like in action; scanning my friends list and knowing already no one meets my criteria set out above – a good looking male avie who won’t take it the wrong way or have a girlfriend chasing me with a mallet bigger than the one inspiration was thunking me with. Both times I just ended up thinking the thoughts I’ve written down here, so I figured I’d just log out instead and come write them down.

If I can’t do my art, at least I can do my writing about why I can’t do it.

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Nat & Vort couple shot I took today

Nat & Vort couple shot I took today

My SL art is a constant learning experience; advanced at times by asking questions of those more experienced than me, by reading public tutorials, but mostly by personal trial and error. A new area I’ve moved into is taking pictures of couples – I currently have three sets of couples waiting for me to take their pictures. I’ve taken couple shots before but only ones I’ve posed in. After working on Vort and Nat’s couple picture today I’ve gone through the usual steep learning curve, and this is a summary of the challenges I’ve found so far:

Time: Just trying to find a time when all three people – myself and the couple – are all in-world and actually free, is a big issue. Especially if all three people are in different time zones! The best way to deal with this is for me to have them both on my friends list so as soon as I am free I can see if they’re on and contact them to get it started. Which leads of course to the next big issue: If they are both online and are in love enough that they’re wanting a couple shot, they’re also usually .. “busy”. Ah well, it’s up to them to decide their priorities. I will not though keep asking them if they are both free – after the first couple of times of asking I leave it up to them to sort the timing out.

Managing the shoot: Once you manage to actually get both people with you to the location, the next hurdle is managing twice as many people as I usually do, at the same time: Where they stand, what they wear, making them corporeal instead of a gaseous state etc. Today was challenging in that I crashed about three times and each time I came back both Nat and Vort were invisible or clouds. Thankfully both were very patient and understanding, we love patient people 🙂

The third challenge of course is the post processing: Tailoring the light and tones to suit one person’s skin and clothes is something I think I’ve gotten reasonably good at, but tailoring it to two people’s divergent skin in particular, required me to go back to basics. I had to use the techniques I used to use when I started out using Gimp and hadn’t yet learnt to make the most of in-world lighting. Now I had to apply them in careful detail, trying to retain a sense of coherent origin for the light. In doing so I realised new ways I could make the most of the techniques – such as hand-applying shadows, carefully smoothing them into the desired softness and shape afterwards. Then of course there’s the issues of clearing up limbs that cross over with the other person’s that you probably didn’t notice at the point of taking the picture itself, or couldn’t alter due to the fixed nature of the pose. I am used to this to some degree already, it’s just slightly more challenging with two skin tones and twice as many limbs in play ^^

All up is was definitely an enjoyable challenge I’m looking forward to applying what I’ve learnt for the rest of the couple shots. Bring it on 😀

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Dancing with Stoo many months ago

Dancing in SL is achieved through various methods, and as usual I have far too much to say on each type and the “hidden messages” involved in a simple button click or avatar placement. The one type I want to talk about today though is couple dancing pose-balls.

Something so fun, so pretty, so innocent… Well, depends doesn’t it. I couldn’t tell you how many relationships I have witnessed hit a huge hurdle because someone catches their significant other dancing with someone else. Whether this bothers them or not depends on their mutual understanding of what they expect from each other and how much dancing means to them as a couple. But even when there aren’t strict “rules” about “you only dance with me” there still seem to major issues when they catch their partner hot-footing it with someone else. Even worse if it’s on a slow-dance set, with those close intimate turns and kisses. The “they were the only dance balls left!” excuse never goes down well.

I’ve also completely lost count of how many guys have asked me for a dance who have got angry or pissy or rude when I turn them down. There’s a reason I turn them down, and it’s closely related to the explanation above about couples. In my experience, if you accept a dance offer from a guy (and sometimes from girls depending on their orientation), they almost inevitably think it means you’ve given them permission to have intimate chatter in IM through-out the dance, and even worse they think it means they have some claim over you so in the future they can assume you will agree to dancing with them and get “suspicious” if they find you dancing with someone else. I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised when a recent freak had unilaterally decided I was his girlfriend after dancing with him obviously one too many times!

So nowadays to avoid the confusion, and so no one thinks I’m stealing their partner, I pretty much turn down every couple dance offer, with a few very limited exceptions. Which is sad, because I miss it. I love dancing in SL: on animations, chims and pose balls, but the couple pose ball sets create so many rumours and troubles that it’s something I’ve had to learn to live without. It’s a funny virtual world we live in innit.

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