Thursday, November 19, 2015

Cosmetic's Fair: Lost in a Dream

Image Description: Close-up of a woman's face with brightly colored, mismatched eyeshadow, metallic textured lips, and rainbow nails.

The Cosmetics Fair continues apace until the end of the month, and I'm taking a opportunity to show off a few of the things available.The main reason for these distance shots, instead of the up-close fun ones I showed below, is so that the full hair from ::Bold & Beauty:: can be seen. Like many stores, it comes with HUDs for color changing - I'm showing off one of the fades here; there are two ombre sets with a lot of variety, but sadly no rainbow! It's a nicely curly style with minimal use of transparencies, which makes it layer nicely with my wings. It's also well rigged so that it moves naturally through most poses and the bangs have an interesting shape and nice curve back, almost big enough for my enormous ears.

Image Description: Line drawing of a man sniffing a rose, a fence, and a girl; a more natural woman is flying in the middle, apparently blown back by a line drawing breeze.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Cosmetics Fair: #adored

#adored's cosmic pack lipstick come with system tattoos and for LeLutka, Loud Mouth, Omega, and Sweetlips. Their oil slick nails are set for SLink, Omega, and Maitreya nails, and their so cute it hurts nails comes for SLink. All of these are available at the Cosmetics Faire
"Now I must explain to you that the Princess Langwidere had thirty heads--as many as there are days in the month. But of course she could only wear one of them at a time, because she had but one neck. These heads were kept in what she called her "cabinet," which was a beautiful dressing-room that lay just between Langwidere's sleeping-chamber and the mirrored sitting-room. Each head was in a separate cupboard lined with velvet. The cupboards ran all around the sides of the dressing-room, and had elaborately carved doors with gold numbers on the outside and jeweled-framed mirrors on the inside of them." - Ozma of OZ, by L. Frank Baum

Lipstick: Maj Lips, Blue
Left Hand: So Cute it Hurts, Set 3 (five)
Right Hand: Oil Slick Mani & Pedi (nine and ten)
(Hair: Truth, Lucia)

Sunday Squee: Tea and Jeopardy

The Sunday Squee is about things that make me happy and excited. From books to movies to television shows to podcasts, I'll highlight less commonly known things as a way to share what I love. If you want to join in the Sunday Squee, please link back to me, magnifying both of our joy.

This is a hard day to Squee - with the recent murders in Paris and Beirut. The world is full of anger, and pain, and hatred, and I stand with the victims of terrorism and against anger and hatred. Together, I hope we can heal our pain.


Tea and Jeopardy is a podcast about exactly that. Every few weeks Emma Newman - author of books like Planetfall and Between Two Thorns - interviews a different author in an ever-changing tapestry of tea lairs, from the literary to the mediariffic. Each time the author brings a curio to share (my favorite is when Seanan McGuire brings her cat because said cat insisted) and answers a variety of questions both serious and silly, including one drawn from "the twitters". Emma does all of this with the help of her "helpful" butler Latimer, who makes a simply divine cup of tea and is almost certainly working against the authors themselves, though mentioning it might be seen as uncouth. Emma herself is charmingly oblivious most of the time and has her own adventures in the narrow band before and after each interview involving cake, time-travel, and occasionally not being quite so oblivious. This is one of those series that I re-listen to, relaxing into the charming, perilous but not too damaging adventures and trusting Emma to see us all through. It helps that the authors themselves are all quite clever in escaping their perils via means both violent and not. There are also chickens. Magical, singing chickens. Come for the chickens, if nothing else.

Playing on a Brilliant Day

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Art Corner: Warrior in Wait

Warrior in Wait

This is a more artistic, singular take where I was trying to set a mood of stealthy watchfulness. The outfit started with the Cila armor style and got filled in with old standards, like my Rosal gloves and boots, and a new gift from Stockholm & Lima that a friend gave me. The final touch was a fairly severe updo from Wasabi Pills to fit the martial sense with it's orangey-pink highlights. I started with a fairly stark windlight, to capture the shadows being cast across the layers of leaves and my clothes and played around with the east angle and time of day until I got a sharp angle across everything - angles generate interest and keep the eye moving throughout the image. I tried to narrow everything down as far as I could - aiming for texture in the backdrop instead of any individual items, and struggled for some time with what I wanted in the background - the angles didn't work well to get the path or watermill in the background, but an errant hit on the side instead of back view gave me this fantastic angle slightly off to one side. I always struggle with cutting out the face, but in this case I felt like the Grafica pose offered a sense of the person waiting even if her face was out of view.

Once set and take, I opened the image in Gimp and cropped it down to it's present size. The bamboo down the center had a line of highlights along it which was very distracting, though, cutting the image in half and causing my eye to get "caught" on it repeatedly. Using colors I picked up from the background, I strengthened the cross cuts of the shadows across it and it receded into the background instead of messing up my composition. I had already set my figure off center; the other piece was to have int he background a sense of something she could be looking at without being too specific. Composition somewhat rescued, I brightened the image slightly and amped up the contrast to make everything more vivid and visible. The final touch was using "oilify" for the brush-like effect. On the strength I liked for the background the forefigure became uncomfortably indistinct and softened around the edges, so I made a cut out of the figure alone, erased around her edges, and then used a much lower "oilify" level. The overlay was effectively flawless, as the choppier style of the leaves made blending the two layers a breeze.

I'm really happy with the use of diagonals, but I'm not entirely pleased with my composition - though I'm not sure how I would want to improve it. In thumbnail it's a striking combination of lights and darks. I'm wondering if the pink being only along one side is an asset, as it makes it stand out, or a deficit, as it makes it really different from the mottled green backdrop. I really like the angle and cropping, though; I think it conveys the sense of anticipation and watchfulness well, and
is dark without being indistinct.I'm wondering if I might want to use less contrast in world if I anticipate editing my image in Gimp.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Devae's New Old Release

A while ago - I'm not saying exactly how long - I got handed a folder of miniskirts. This was in the confusing days when Rue was rebranding herself Devae, which is an awesome name but I don't exactly have the longest attention span, so I kept switching back and forth between names. This made finding these pictures an absolute blast, as apparently I had nothing even approaching consistency.

What have I done?

In addition, there are many people on Second Life who rock a miniskirt, but I don't tend to be one of them. However, the color palette was as amazing as Rue's palettes always are, and in the days since I've found them incredibly useful for dealing with a variety of single pieces of an outfit with a very specific style - not my typical style, but one I enjoy playing with.

Children of the Flowers

Into the Wilds

Oh! What a Beautiful Morning

Made up of a mixture of wild and mechanical, Into the Wilds is a smooth combination of internal and external spaces, perfect for exploration and spending time with other people. Natural props like a variety of trees and a lovely river system, and human additions, like cars and buildings, meld together in a lovely manner with poses and dance balls scattered for you to find. The color scheme is shades of brown and green with gold and silver highlights, and there's some height in the form of a mountainous region to contrast with the lowlands which predominate. Small buildings dot the landscape, from furnished houses to ruins left fallow in the grass, and include a number of cute, bare buildings on the beach and throughout the woods.

There's life here, too - bears, horses, deer, sheep, and even birds that make their home on a boat waiting at the docks. The creator also made clever use of soundscapes to sell the natural nature, and the added surround for the sim gives the illusion of this being a river-soaked area in a mountainous region rather than the seascape standard to all individual sims. The sheer variety of items means you have significant flexibility in many themes, whether you use the warm sunset windlight set for the sim, or substitute in your own as I did by indulging in my penchant for golds and greens. A note of warning - the sim is set to adult, so adjust your settings accordingly and remember Adult means adult avatars only. I didn't get dropped a notecard of rules when I landed, but there is a group you can join if you want to rez things (small things only, please pick up after yourself) and I'd assume the usual rules of being polite to others and taking responsibility for yourself hold even without explicit rules.

Wading in the Shallows

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Sunday Squee: Fallen Gods Anniversary Parties

The Sunday Squee is about things that make me happy and excited. From books to movies to television shows to podcasts, I'll highlight less commonly known things as a way to share what I love. If you want to join in the Sunday Squee, please link back to me, magnifying both of our joy.

Close Friends

Every year, Fallen Gods has a party. It's really the lastish leg in an ongoing event to celebrate another year of the store being open following a massive photo contest (I totally intended to make a whole post about my image in the vain hope of maybe winning something, but ah well! I missed my chance!) and this year a clever grid-wide hunt via HUD. One of the things I've done for a few years now is take photographs of the dancers, trying to swim through lag to take images of each guest as they arrive and some of the highlights of the event. This year, may I say, I outdid myself - I took almost 100 pictures covering three different events, and I even now and then managed to take something almost artistic.

Dance Like it's 2007: Alia and Sonya

Dance images are always a challenge to take. First of all there's the impossibility of getting a clean image - an image without a ton of background or with the right amount of background. Secondly, there's catching a clean pose. Dances are notoriously skeleton bending and uneven, and capturing something that changes in seconds is incredibly difficult. It also becomes a really fun challenge to manage something artistic - it flexes a different sort of sense; a different source of inspiration. I'm sharing a few of my favorites out of the hundred here, and I look forward to my next change to capture the moment in such an exciting and dynamic manner.

Bare without being Bare: Deoridhe

( Other Sunday Squees. )

( More Images form the Dance Party here. )

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Watercolors in the Rain on LEA 29

Castles in the Air

Based on a novel by David Lavigne, Watercolors in the Rain is a dreamy sim with a chocolate sky wall blocking off it's sister sims. The welcome area is a low-walled garden with fountains and a lot of information about various topics, some clearly part of the story-theme of the sim while others are more confusing. The largest signs are about the White Raven Hunt Quest; one flat gives a sample of the prizes available, but the details and how this hunt fits into the story (the white and black ravens are companions of Moxxie and Crud) only is shared once you go through the pink gate. The prize images for this hunt are flanked by two Evo*Mystic Faeries, and their inclusion here and later is also confusing, as otherwise there is no indication of fairies in the story - though one of the fairies is named "Moxxie". The colored obelisks off to one side offer teleportation offers - the first menu based, the second to the first flat, and the third to the beginning of the hunt.

The stated purpose is to bring to life the world of this story, Watercolors in the Rain, through the use of three dimensional building and interactive activities like quests and musical events. I found the builds overall lovely but the structure and purpose confusing; many of the transitions are lovely and well done - I'll note the transition from autumn to winter in particular, between The London Street and The Mountain Top Saloon (The Farm is not in between them; it is in a different direction) - but the flats are in a strange order, there are gaps between them which affect immersion, and the actual written content is bare of most interesting details while also often not matching up with the builds themselves. As a form of marketing it is confusing and left me annoyed rather than curious. As a form of art there were moments of beauty but no real emotional content besides the most perfunctory - scary wolf for fear, snowy scene for isolated, dead bodies for horror. However, if you want to find some lovely spots for sitting or spending time with friends, this is a perfect choice and others than I might be less thrown by the apparent plot.

A London Street

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Events: Burn2 - Carnival of Mirrors

Rainbows are the Star

Burn2 in Second Life is going on through the 25th of October. There are six sims - Deep Hole, Looking Glass, Limbo, Jade, Black Rock, and Frog Pond - all of them broken up into smaller camps created by individuals or small groups around the themes of Carnival and Mirrors. Each small area is a "camp" like on the actual Playa, but within Second Life - of course - people can come and go much more easily than offline, and so there are many fewer people to run across outside of scheduled events. There seem to always be a few knots of green on the mini-map, though, marking out places where people are gathering. Bits of road mark paths here and there, but you can make your own way between the camps spotting brilliance and bright lights alike.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Sunday Squee: Royal Story

The Sunday Squee is about things that make me happy and excited. From books to movies to television shows to podcasts, I'll highlight less commonly known things as a way to share what I love. If you want to join in the Sunday Squee, please link back to me, magnifying both of our joy.

Royal Story is an opportunity to build your own fantastic world, organize it the way you want to, and save your kingdom and everyone associated with it. I can't tell you how reassuring and lovely I found it - beginning with a small island and a few trees, one can create a diverse, moving world full of color and cheer. You begin with a tiny castle and a single ally - but I've been at this a while, and my castle has grown and diversified greatly! I try to keep echos of my early days handy, though, like the little Royal Vineyards on either side of my castle, the first things I actually built! Once something is built you can often upgrade it, adding to it's image and making room to mix and match different stages of each - like my many towers with their different aspects. Most things are harvest-able, either for valuable coin or for the variety of items you need in order to save heroes, reform monsters, and save the world.