Monday, December 19, 2011
I Can Haz Promoshunz: Anatomy of a Blogpost
With I Can Haz Promoshunz posts, it all begins with the blogger gifts, also known as the Promotional Items. There are a lot of terms for them, and attitudes range from "why should I give you free advertising" to "why should I give you free stuff" to everywhere in between. In my case, I'm grateful for the free gifts (which is why I think of them as gifts) but I am also aware of the unspoken - and sometimes spoken - expectations. In all honesty, even though I'm on the blogger side, I think the store owners have more to lose. They are offering out free items and there are a lot of people who seem to get into blogging so they can accumulate free things. I can't imagine trying to figure out who I can trust and what "trust" should look like when I give away free products. In the area of gifts, there are a few people who give me things where I know there is no expectation - where we have a relationship beyond and outside of our sometimes relationship as Store Owner and Blogger. I still sometimes blog their things, but I don't feel quite the same invisible strings of expectations as I do with Store Owners who I don't know.
I'll also be honest and say that the biggest downside of Blogging is these invisible strings, and my own desires to have Second Life be more about responding to my whims and desires than the demands and expectations of others. I know no relationship can exist without expectations, but sometimes I can find myself running from those expectations. That's part of why I started the I Can Haz Promoshunz series, in fact - to differentiate between the 'you have given me fantastic things and here are the ones I like along with some color commentary on them' and the 'I take pretty pictures and babble a while about whatever's on my mind' posts that are the mainstay of my blog.This post will be a little of each - an amalgam, if you will.
In between my other activities today, I get some gifts from a couple store owners I'm becoming friendly with; one is explicitly a blogger's pack, the other is more ambiguous. I hit the last midnight mania and teleport in a few alts who I think it will suit; I'm fairly confident it will lock without me bringing out the full force of my alt army. "Chores" taken care of, I hop back home to begin to plan out my outfit. Every ICHP post starts in the same folder - my "To Be Blogged" folder. In it I put things which are given to me, or things I have ideas for so that they're set apart. Every couple of months it becomes unruly, and I spend an afternoon opening old boxes, sorting through offerings, organizing and deleting. Things given specifically to me tend to rank a little higher than things which come through the blogger groups I'm in, but I try to do one Fashion in Pixel's post a month (if not a week).
I catch a midnight mania I wanted to hit and I swing by (too late), only to find the Store Owner there to switch out the lucky boards (Pinkmares is a totally generous store!). She turns many of the boards into question marks - briefly unleashing a swarm of clicks as people try to pick up what they hadn't managed to get yet. Even though I have "Do ICHP: Anatomy of a Blogpost Pictures tonight" on my brain, I get totally distracted as I wait to see what the new offerings are, all the while trying hard to not thing of the wave of unopened boxes waiting for me in my inventory. Timely I am not. Finally dragging myself away to lock down a midnight mania, I head for a friend's sim where I can rez objects that take up loads of prims - more than my tiny little house can support. Nothing like friends in high places (literally, in this case; we have islands in the sky).
Back home, I strip down to see if one of the review items (a set of skins and an outfit I'd been eying when the notice came through my inventory) suits me. The face is most critical, since I tend to wear fairly covering clothing, but I like to see the all over in case it will affect both whether I'll wear it and what I will wear it with. For example, I love wearing low-cut in the back things with De La Soul skins because there are little butt dimples and the cutest butt cleavage ever; highlighting the unique and fun aspects of a skin is part of what I enjoy. I rarely show skins because I don't like the change my shape, but Fallen Gods is one of my most likely exceptions, and it proves to be the second addition to my look (the first being my hair, which like I said in my last post I'm not taking off for a while) for the blogpost - as does the included, group gift tattoo. I simply adore the built-in iridescence; it's completely gorgeously tempting. The shadows continue the same theme beautifully while maintaining the illusion of translucence.
I set the included dress aside for another day, though, thinking I'd like to diversify to a different outfit and cover more ground in this blogpost since I do multiple pictures of the same outfit instead of single pictures of multiple outfits. Now the immovable pieces - hair (Wasabi Pills), ears (Illusions), wings (Fancy Fairy) - are all recolored to match the skin - in this case I go for a white shade for the hair and make the ears and wings match the skin tone as closely as I can using a tint. The hardest recolor is the ears; I shift to one of my recolorable ear sets so my usual set don't lose the tone of my usual skin, and select just the ear part so that the jewelry remains unchanged.This really sets the pallet for the rest of my look - I can either aim to match it with shades of white and blue, or I can try to make it "pop" in the current vernacular using orange shades, but whatever comes next will have to work with the base already in place.
So I'm back to my "To Be Blogged" folder in the clothing subfolder (I organize by type of thing so that I can find what I'm missing). I already have a backlog of boxes to open that I've tossed in here, but I focus on what's already open primarily. I'm tracking what wears well on me - where is there alpha occlusion and how much does it interfere? Does this work with the skin, the hair style, how I'm feeling today? If there is alpha occlusion (which is very common), is it something I can work with or will I be glaring at my legs through multiple layers for the rest of the night (note to designers - if you can put a slightly smaller layer of non-alpha but the same colored prims underneath, that can correct for a lot of the alpha occlusion; sometimes, if I like a dress enough, I even make one myself).
Tonight it's a wave of alpha layer options that leave me peering at the included picture and wondering how they managed to conceal; wishing the alpha was due to a transparency setting, so I could make a second, non-transparent level. After some more searching and some box opening, I finally find it! The first color I try on, blue, is to close to my skin color, but the second color is perfect, and so an outfit from SLC Couture joins the rest. I adore the texture - all those little flowers flowing smoothly over the pieces.
Fitting it is next; I'm a shorter, rounder avatar than most, and fashion tends to be made for the tall and the skinny, so fitting has become a necessary step when going through my inventory. I've become good at it, too; in this case, there's lower levels attached to the legs and an upper level for the skirt which require the most fitting. I take the top level off to fit the legs (temporarily confused since they're resizable through a script, not editing), then fit the top level (which is resizable through editing). Then I tilted the hairflower to fit my hair, which was simple as cake. I've sometimes fit outfits prim-by-prim if it were particularly complicated and worth it, but this is a relatively simple design, which makes things easy.
Likewise, selecting accessories - in this case an amethyst set from Elemental Earth Designs - was really fast I saw amethyst, tried it on, and it fit the overall mood perfectly. I love when outfits begin to come together like this; there's something magical about adding each element and seeing the cohesive and attractive whole. All I have left is selecting a pair of shoes, which most likely won't be seen. I have a whole folder from Duh! waiting to be tried on, and even though the chances of these shoes being seen are near nil, I put them on. Poor Duh! I need to do a shoe-focused shoot sometime soon. At the last minute, I remember the other gift I got earlier in the evening, and take a second look - finding a tiara from Eclectica which will go perfectly with my princess-pretty look. I actually had picked up the dawn version of the tiara, a lucky break for me since this pack includes the noon! And the noon is silver, which fits the coolness of the overall template. Recoloring it was a snap - it recolors on touch, and the purple, in a fit of synchronicity, is almost identical to the purple of my dress and shoes.
So that's the dressing half of my photoshoot! I hope you enjoyed it! Sometime in the future I'll have to share how I find a place to shoot and pose my shots, but I think this post is long enough already~!
( More pictures here. )
Skin: Fallen Gods, Ice Crystals (Promotional Item)
Face Tattoo: Fallen Gods, GROM (Promotional Item)
Eyes: De La Soul, RooMee Eyes - Rainbow
Eyelashes: *X*plosion, Prim Lashes
Hair: Wasabi Pills, Cherry Mesh Hair (Promotional Item)
Crown: Eclectica, Regency Tiara - noon (Promotional Item)
Ears: Illusions, Mystic Ears
Jewelry: Elemental Earth Design, Kiowa Set - Amethyst (Promotional Item)
Dress: SLC Couture, Lovely Flower - Lilac (Promotional Item)
Ring 2: Earthstones, Eternal Blossom Ring - Bouquet
Shoes: Duh!, Mary Janes - Violet (Promotional Item)
Location: Dimrill Dale
Light Settings: Places Astryls Wild
Water: TOR, Yung buk
Photographed by Deoridhe Quandry
Post processing: Cropping only