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Posts Tagged ‘Photography’

Another special art thing I want to share. It’s a long list of photos but they are very clever, some of them are simply magical. Enjoy 🙂

Kudos again go to Stoo for showing me this link 🙂

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If you’ve seen someone try to do sex pictures from Second Life, chances are what you’ve viewed is utter crap. Second Life is not well made for such pictures – body parts end up in the wrong place; when women’s legs are spread they get an odd dark long shadow along the inner thigh that makes them look like they’re about to split; overly long female thighs dominate the picture; skinny-as arses look ridiculous; pose balls get out of sync etc etc.  The list of problems is long. None of these things can’t be fixed in a combination of careful in-world set-up plus lengthy post-processing. However this brings us to the sorts of people who usually do these pictures: Men. Men who are often so clearly enamoured with the picture they are making that the genitals or breasts sit smack in the centre of the shot, and their excitement has got the better of them to the point that they couldn’t pause long-enough to smooth out the shadows and put bits in the right places. They gotta share it man, they gotta share it now!

I have some bloke on my Flickr contacts list who was doing shots like this over and over – almost every (and there were very many a day) picture he did was BREAST or VAJAYJAY smack there, with a tokenistic bit of (rather bad) post-processing for each one. He was passing himself off as an “SL Photographer”, little studio named at the corner of the shot, clearly charging people for these pictures. Each to their own, fine, whatever, but it was very clear that he wasn’t in Second Life for the charming banter and the international flare, he was there to get female avies to strip for him.

This theory of mine was proven when one-day most of his pictures stopped being Second Life and started being from Thrixxx.com. Previous to this I hadn’t heard of Thrixxx. Putting it simply, it’s sorta like Second Life in some ways, but made expressly for sexual imagery, and is often linked to paying sites. The women’s bodies in it are much better rendered, so pictures taken need less post-processing and have more realistic detail. So suddenly this guy’s shots improved, through not any improved skills of his own – which remains clear each time he lowers himself to take pictures of Second Life again.

Now I only did what little research I could into Thrixxx from a “clean” distance – I do not go to Second Life for that sort of thing, so I’m not going to click through any further than I have to or join anything connected to something like Thrixxx. But you know what occurred to me? I really wish more men who came to Second Life just and purely for the sexual animation, would bugger off to places like Thrixxx instead: Second Life is not well suited to that in my opinion and these people give it a bad name, and often ruin the experience for a large number of other people who take it for the richer experience it actually can so easily be.

Before I finish this post I’m going to have to protect myself from the angry beavers: I am not saying every picture I’ve ever seen of Second Life sex is crap, just the vast majority of them. Maybe this is your area of specialty and you want to defend it, but don’t try to tell me you don’t have to do some serious re-jigging and post-processing just to make the people involved look like people. Secondly, if you think the artist I’m attacking is you, it probably isn’t, stop being so paranoid. I have no doubt there is more than one guy who fits this description, and the example is illustrative, it’s not meant to be a personal attack per se. I haven’t included anything that should point too solidly to the individual, if you think it’s you and it is too obvious I’ll remove this blog post for ya. Though I stand by everything I’ve said all the same:

Second Life is not ideal for sexual imagery, and I really wish that people who went there only for that purpose would go somewhere else – especially since it’s clear that other places do exist solely for such things, and apparently do it so much better.

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I feel like I’ve been hitting  lot of peaks lately, and even though it can be a bit draining, now is not the time to slow down. Rather I want to build on the momentum.

The first task I’ve dedicated myself to is working on the next picture for the Gallery of Light. Bailey as always has come up with a good and challenging theme, and I’m looking forward to tackling it.

I’ve also committed myself to regularly helping out on a future SL-based magazine, and helping out with the pictures for an SL calendar. I don’t like giving out details of future ventures until they’re actually underway, so we’ll see what comes of those two tasks. I am very keen on both though so I’m hoping both hit the ground running soon.

As usual I also have my ear out for anyone wanting to pay me for pictures – nothing quite so wonderful as being paid to do something you love. The photography business has been quite lucrative for me lately so I’m enjoying not worrying about where the next linden is coming from.

And of course I will still be spending most of my in-world time at Crown & Pearl, managing it, as such. People sometimes wonder what management I do (since it’s mostly behind the scenes this doesn’t bother me), while other people think I should get paid for my work. Either way I’m just happy to be involved with the best bar in SL. I’d like to step up my involvement though especially over the holiday season.

Finally I intend to push some small skills I have, a lot further: In particular I enjoy making poses and can see a lot of ways that I could be improving the poses I do make. In time I intend to turn this into a more established line of business connected to my photography.

All up I’m going to be busy, and happy, and keep on pushing through to find those next peaks 🙂

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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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My first shadow picture

My first shadow picture

Yesterday I learnt a new trick for my SL art – how to add shadows in post-processing. There were two things that created the burning desire in me to figure it out: The first was looking at someone else’s professional pictures and trying to pinpoint what made them stand-out – it was their use of shadows. I noticed though that in one of the pictures the shadow was poorly done, it didn’t wrap properly around objects which was when I realised it might be a simple thing to add after all. The second was I’m trying to perfect a concept for my next Gallery of Light entry, and the use of a shadow for the image I had in mind anyway, would take the intended meaning to the next level.

And so I used trusty Google and found out that adding shadows was a script in-built to Gimp afterall – I’d just never tried it before. So I tried it, and discovered the two things I always find when I try a new art trick: That the effect is easier to add than you’d think, but the perfecting of it is much harder. Specifically, if I want a 45 degree black solid edged shadow, I just have to select the object (I find foreground select tool most useful for this bit, though I can’t seem to undo the select option afterwards which causes major issues for me), then click the shadow option and hey-ho, we have a shadow.

But.

That’s going to be exactly what I want about nil times. Because you have to consider the angle of the sun for the direction of the shadow, the height of the sun for the length of the shadow, the intensity of the sun for the blackness of the shadow, and then of course the error I spotted in the other person’s work – you need to manipulate the shadow afterwards to make sure it fits the objects it falls on in some realistic manner. And that’s all just for starters!

I had the same experience when I found brushes for the first time: “Wow, this is easy, everyone is big cheaters”, followed by “oh right, I’m going to have to resize, re-colour, choose opacity etc etc etc”.

So my next task is to implement the shadow effect into the image I have only in my head at this point. The image itself will require me to make two custom poses and insert my avatar twice into the same picture – which will only work if I can get their relative perspective right. I’ll give it a go anyway, and if it’s any good (in my opinion) I’ll end up posting it on my blog along with an analysis, as my next entry for the Gallery of Light 🙂

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Lately I’ve done so many pictures for “purposes”: Competitions, galleries, paid work or profile shots. As much as I love having artistic tasks to work on and artistic aims to accomplish, sometimes I just like to do something purely for me. The latest picture I did gave me that deep satisfaction of release, because I just took a picture of things I love taking pictures of, full of symbolism of how I see myself, my world and my experiences.

I’m a water-baby in a big way: I love nothing more in RL than getting under the water and staying there until my lungs can take no more, just losing myself in the sensations, even the feel of my hair around me in the water makes me feel like I’m somewhere else entirely, hell even my star sign – Pisces – thinks I belong there. Water also holds deep significance in dreams, and turns up frequently in mine. As silly as it sounds, water feels more natural to me than air, I feel like I’m going “home” when I sink into it.

And the ultimate? Swimming when it’s raining. And the deeper symbolism of this particular picture..? Well, I’ll let you figure that out yourself. But wow it felt good just to do a picture for me, so good ^^

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Replace this picture for me!

Replace this picture for me!

Ok, I promised a photo contest, and here it is:

Theme: Design us a new Club Picture for the Haven’t Had Sex with Prad Club. The picture can just be of Prad being Prad, or humourous (along the lines of a warning notice if you like), pretty much whatever you like, as long as it somewhat relates to the Club. Get creative! No limit on use of post-processing techniques, just remember to properly attribute and get permission for anyone’s art you use 🙂

Rules: You must be a member of the SL Group “Haven’t had Sex with Prad Club” to participate (and to win). Membership is free, sign up yourself or I can invite you if you like, just IM me in world.
If you require pictures of Prad to play with and don’t already have some on your own stream you can mangle, you have my permission to use the two most recently posted to my Flickr stream http://www.flickr.com/photos/23347879@N07/ – the head shot and body shot. Prad’s really busy as usual (having sex probably), so please don’t pester him for a photo shoot for this, however randomly snapping him as he floats around Crown or where-ever is free game.
Contest starts now and ends 2 weeks from now (Friday 7th November) at 1PM SLT.
All pictures must be submitted to this group: http://www.flickr.com/groups/885716@N24/

Maximum of 2 pictures per person – so you can do a serious and a humourous style one if you like ^^
Judges: Myself and Prad, so getting too offensive isn’t going to make you win :p. Please do refrain from getting nasty at poor Prad, any cruel or excessively distasteful pictures will be removed from the group.

Prizes:
This is mostly for fun so the prizes are somewhat tokenistic, just a small something for participating.
1st prize: $200L and your picture used as the Club Insignia.
2nd Prize: $100L
3rd Prize: $50L

Any questions, just let me know.

Enjoy! 😀

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