What’s with THAT face?

In Second Life™ lots of people are all about looks. Few of those people know much about making a beautiful avatar. They just shape their avatar by eye. Those that are better at making shapes may end up selling shapes to the rest of us. The next step up from making shapes is sculpting heads and bodies.

I keep looking at people’s avatars and notice how some are just gorgeous. Some with incredible faces. What makes their face so pleasing?

One part of the beauty equation is proportions. Some time ago I made a tool for getting body shapes proportional. Mostly getting height and arm lengths right. Now I’ve made a guide for getting facial proportions correct. The video is the quick answer to what it is and how it works. About 3 minutes.

Demo and Tutorial – Face Shape Guide

Before you run off to buy this tool and fix that ugly face of yours… well… you’re not that bad… you need to know this tool is just a guide to assist you in creating a face shape. It doesn’t make a shape. Also, it isn’t easy to use CORRECTLY.  Read on or watch the video before you decide.

Be warned. The Guide is Copy-OK so there are NO REFUNDS.

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What is a ‘Slink Feet Switcher’?

Every so often I stumble onto something in Second Life™ I didn’t know about. Slink’s Deluxe Feet Auto Switcher is one of those things… and I’m a Slink fan.

Slink has five foot-positions in their main body HUD, Slink Physique (F) Utilities HUD (Redux) V4.0.0.

Slink’s Hand & Feet Controls v4.1.0

I’ve been putting on the HUD every time I needed to change foot positions. It can take a minute for the HUD to fully render. But the way I dress that usually isn’t a problem. I’m a top to bottom girl. By the time my dressing routine that I am picking out shoes the HUD has had plenty of time to rez.

When I change between existing outfits, going from a club to the beach, it can force me to wait on the HUD. However, there is a solution for the existing Outfit problem, the Foot Switcher. Makes the wait go away.

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Second Life Photography w/Black Dragon & DoF & Photoshop

This is a tutorial on how to use Black Dragon to capture DEPTH information for use in Photoshop (PS). The techniques can be used in GIMP and Paint.Net. The buttons are just in different places.

The reason you may be interested in using PS rather than a viewer’s built-in DoF is to get more control. Viewers tend to provide a perfect render of a scene. Our eyes pick up the texture and dust of real-life so a computer image usually doesn’t fit our experience of how the world looks. Making a photo-realistic is about adding the subtle noise of real life to an image.

Nal @ Port of Senses
Nal @ Port of Senses

This image raised some questions in the SL Forum thread How does your avatar look today? (About 1,300 pages) Mostly, I think, because I pointed out I did the Depth of Field out of focus thing using Photoshop with a Black Dragon Depth map.

Most viewers provide Depth Maps. You can create Windlight settings that will create a depth map too, but that is a PITA. It is easier to use a viewer that has the feature. So, Firestorm or Black Dragon or the Linden Default Viewer. I haven’t checked the others. I assume most have the feature.

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How to Play Second Life… The Tutorials

Those experienced in using Second Life™ (SL) don’t think of SL as a game to play. You’ll find out it is not a game with points or levels. There are such games within SL. But, SL, the overall ‘thing’, is much more like real life with an amazing variety of things and things to do.

Also, it is like Adobe’s Photoshop® in that no one knows everything there is to know about either. This means there is a learning curve. Probably beyond any game you have played. But you can take your time learning as in general no one is trying to kill your character.

Second Life has changed considerably in 2020. New players and returning players are challenged by the learning curve. Fortunately, lots of people make tutorials. Here I have collected what I think are some of the better ones.

The Sign Up & Moving About Tutorial…

This is a 4-minute basic tutorial walking through how to signup, pick an avatar, walk, and fly. It is the first in a series of tutorial videos made by Strawberry Linden. The playlist for the series is here.

There are more in this series. If you want one thing at a time, this is an ideal set of tutorials. Also, if you are looking for a specific subject then the series is handy as the video are named things like; Getting Started with Bakes on Mesh, Finding Interesting Places, and Customizing Your Avatar Shape.

This is probably the best set of tutorials for the total newbie. Those that follow will be easier for those with some SL experience.

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Second Life: What is Project Arousal? (Review-Tutorial)

I keep finding things I either haven’t known about or haven’t taken the time to… study… play with… whatever. One of these is a set of related toys all named Project something. I think Project Arousal is somewhat known. It is the core engine of a series of sex toys with a strong anime flavor, that supposedly makes SL sex more realistic. Sure. Of course. But, is it fun and what is meant by more realistic? What if you aren’t into anime?

When I started this a couple of weeks ago, SoCal was drowning in major rain like I hadn’t seen for at least a couple of years. It was a good day to stay in and play with sex toys.

Back off, humans. Finders Keepers!

What it is…

First, there is the Project Arousal Engine (L$1,000). This is the core of the Projects’ system and is mostly required for all the various parts to work. But some items in the Project family are standalone. This core mostly provides sounds and facial and body animations denoting arousal. The number of body brands supported for some features is very limited. But as a female with a Slink body, I haven’t found that to be a problem. I first suspected it might be for males. But as I learn more, I think it won’t be.

This core part of the system does not need to be rezzed. You simply wear it and your partner wears it. There is a guest HUD in the PA package you get. It is for your partner without Project Arousal. The PA engine can be used in No_rez areas. This is and isn’t true for some of the add-ons. Read the promo material carefully to know which is which.

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Another Photoshop 2020 Thing

There are a number of things in the new Photoshop. This is one I don’t remember seeing mentioned by others. I think it is handy for making pattern backgrounds.

While I am pointing out somewhat ignored features I’ll include this WordPress-Facebook feature.

In WordPress when posting there is a feature section labeled Open Graph and Twitter Card Tags. You may have to go into WP’s settings and enable Open Graph display on the editor. Whether in the Classic or Block editor the section will appear below the bottom of the editor.

There are two fields in the section, Use this image and Use this description. These are for automated systems that pick up on articles in your blog. The image field needs to be set to avoid Facebook, aggregators, and other automated systems grabbing the first image they find to use with their display of an article on your blog. If these systems comply with web standards they will use these two fields, if available, in whatever they post. Continue reading

Second Life – How to get better image quality…

There is an ongoing quest, for those of us texturing clothes and things in Second Life™, to upload better quality images. So, here is some new information on making better textures or aka diffuse layers. See Compression Depression.

Beq Janus, is one of the people working with the Firestorm team and has tweaked the mesh uploader and other parts of the viewer, been involved in tracking down bugs, and figuring out workarounds for various problems. Now she is on about a discovery made with the help of Whirly Fizzle, all starting with one of Hamlet Au’s New World Notes posts about Frenchbloke Vanmoer…  who?

Beq’s Blog – February 2019

Whoever, down in the Debug Settings it is said there is some magic. Unfortunately, it isn’t there, often as is the case with magic. The magic appears surprising to some as they do not understand the trick and think the wand, hand waving, and abracadabras actually do something magical.

However, there is a lesson to be learned and another step in the quest for better SL image uploads.

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Using the EEP Viewer – Second Life

The Enhanced Environment Project is progressing and nearing completion. Thursday Feb 14, 2019 Rider Linden updated us on where they were in development. (Ref) He is expecting the project to move to RC status very soon™. It is now available to test in its ‘project status’ in the Blue Steel and Le Tigre channels of the main Second Life™ grid. So, it may be time to start playing with the feature.

Also, with this feature comes a new item, EEP-Windlight settings, that can be sold on the market place and traded among users. If you have a talent for making sunsets, this may be your niche.

EEP and Non-EEP Viewers Feb 2019

You can get a copy of the Enhanced Environment Project viewer in the Second Life™ Alternate Viewers. As I write we are on version 6.0.2.524123 of this project viewer. It installs in its own directory. So, it won’t break or affect any of your other installed viewers. Updates to this viewer are mandatory. Meaning when a new version of the Project or RC viewer is released you have to install the update to continue using it.

NOTICE: If you click SLURLs to open your viewer and login into the SLURL’s region, installing any viewer will change which viewer Windows uses. Windows uses the last viewer installed. There are tools and tutorials that will help you tell Windows which viewer you prefer for those clicks. See SLURL Proxy.

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