About keliahangelis

Blogger, photographer, pose maker, and general nerd. Find me here: wonderfulsecondlife.blogspot.com Store: http://picturethisposes.blogspot.com/

New Challenge – Storybook Saturdays

I have been so inspired lately by the many items and places I’ve seen in Second Life that I’ve decided to showcase a blogger challenge. At first I thought to keep it personal an within the confines of my own blog, but then decided that it might be a fun undertaking for some of you and so here it is!

Storybook Saturday is a weekly themed challenge devoted to all things fiction in Second Life. Be it fantasy, history, or science fiction. There are no rules for your photo save that it must fit in with the theme. You can do a ‘look book’ photo, do a landscape, or just do an image that tells a story about your avatar in the particular theme.  Each theme is rotated every Saturday, beginning yesterday. If you want to join in on this fun challenge, this week’s theme is The Galactic Empire. Next weeks will be The Medieval Court.

Here is the Flickr group if you want to follow along and post pictures!

Photo Drama: Layering Windlights

Lighting and shadows are one of the things that add visual drama to a photograph, and I’m going to cover an easy tutorial on how to get optimal drama on a photograph with minimum post editing. Before I begin, I want to point out that I am a Photoshop 4 user, but this tutorial will essentially work with most digital editing software. Alright, let’s begin.

The first thing you’re going to want to do is pick two windlights. One that has a very dramatic effect of lights and shadows and then one that maybe doesn’t have shadows at all. For the latter, I prefer Strawberry Singh’s ‘Closeups’ or ‘Original’. I also like Luna Jubilee’s ‘Bright and Sparkly’ as well as Nam’s ‘Optimal Skin and Prim’ windlights.

For this example, I’ve used Phototools‘ Black and White # 11 and Strawberry Singh’s Original. The Phototools’ Black and White # 11 is available on the latest version of Phoenix Firestorm (they might be available on other 3rd party viewers, but I don’t use anything else but Firestorm and SL Beta Viewer.) For Strawberry Singh’s ‘Original’ you must download it from her blog. However, ‘Closeups’ is available on Firestorm and the Linden Viewer.

From the above picture, you can see my two images on the ‘Layers’ tab. Please note that I have layered the dramatic photo over the plain photo. I’m going to work mostly from the ‘Layers’ tab on the side bar. I’m not sure how this translates to other photo editing software.

What I’ve done is decreased the opacity of the dramatic photo over the other photo, which allows the better lit and cleaner shot to come through, but leaving the dramatic light effects. I’ve also pointed to the layer options. I’ve not given this layer any special effect and left it on ‘normal’, but if you’re a Photoshop user, try the different effects. Multiply, Overlay, and Screen are some of my favorites.

For a little added clarity on the face, I go to my eraser tool, make sure the brush opacity is decreased, and erase the face. Using a soft brush is the best. I like to use a very low opacity with a round, soft brush and just center it directly over the face. Now my face shines much more, becoming the focal point of this photograph.

This is essentially it for this tutorial. Obviously I encourage photographers to go much further with the post editing. There are countless ways of making this photograph even more dramatic with darker shadows and brighter highlights, but that’s a matter of personal preferences. If you have Firestorm or a viewer with a wide variety of windlights, play with this tutorial! It’s a lot of fun.

Here is my finished product. It’s been edited to be SFW here, but you can see my marvelous Lola breasts on my flickr photo here. I posted a smaller, more simple version of this tutorial on my personal blog “It’s a Wonderful SecondLife” with the credits if you want to know more about what I’m wearing.

Have fun!

Keliah Angelis

All the Houses!

So I was recently speaking with Harlow Heslop in regards to SL housing.She found this wonderful mesh cottage from The Domineaux Effect and loved it so much that she spread the word on Plurk, to which some of us had to go scope out the build. Mainly me. Because I have an addiction.

You see, I’m so addicted to buying and decorating SL builds (homes, skyboxes, scenes..) that I have a system in place that allows me to live in multiple skyboxes on a shared SIM. Harlow confessed that she had the same addiction – that she also loves SL builds. When I told her what I do with builds, she declared that I am a genius. I’m not sure how genius I am seeing how much money I spend on SL homes and furniture, but none the less, I figured that if Harlow and I were both home junkies in SL then probably most of the blogging community is.

So. Here is my big secret. I have a rezzer.

There are many types of rezzers available in SL. Just search the market place and a bevy of scripts and devices come up, but I use Horizons by Novatech. It comes in three editions: Basic, Home, and Pro. Pro is for those who build commercial scenes. Home allows you to build SIM size scenes and make multiple copies of the rezzer. Basic does not have the tools and you can not create new scenes, so it is my recommendation that you get the Home Edition.

In my opinion, Horizons is the easiest out there and there are so many options one can do. One can make a shell scene or one can make a scene crate. For the sake of this post, I’m just going to talk about scene crates.

Rez your scene. For example? A skybox! You’re going to want to arrange your skybox so that your rezzer is visable on the floor level of your build so you don’t plummet to your death when you rez things. Once you’re happy with the placement of the skybox/build it’s time to decorate the crap out of it. If you’ve rezzed a skybox from a faux rezzer (most buildings are set up this way) make sure you ‘save’ the build on the menu. Most skyboxes or homes home in a temp or faux-rezzer. If you don’t save the build or make it permanent (whatever it says on the menu) then you need to go through all the prims and remove the scripts.

Decorate how you see fit. Want a goth theme? A clean theme? Posh and modern? Classic and casual? Go for it. It’s just important that all your decor is copy/mod. If it’s not copy and mod then it will not work and you stand a chance of losing your non-copy items in the SL black hole. LUCKILY most furniture stores and decor stores have copy/mod things. If I absolutely need a no copy/no mod item in my build, I usually save the item in my folders in which I store the crate (a crate is something the Horizons rezzer creates for you), but it’s up to you. (Skydomes are a good example of this. I rez my decorated and arranged house and then rez the skydome separately.)

After you’ve decorated your build it’s time to put it together and drop it into the scene crate.  The first thing you’re going to want to do is link together what you can. This makes packing your crate much easier. Link all your wall decor and floor decor together.  Once it’s linked together then drop the rez script (It comes with the Horizon tools) in via the edit menu. Pick up the decor into your inventory.

As a rule of thumb, anything with it’s own scripts should not be linked together. So drop a rez script in any furniture that has poses or texture menus. Doors, too! Once everything has a rez script pick it up into your inventory.

From the Horizons menu rez a new crate. Crates are also in the Horizon’s tools. Rez the crate. Drag the decor and skybox (everything your put a rez script in) into the crate. The best way to find everything is to go into Inventory>Recent and then look through your recent folders. Usually the items will be in the Objects folder, but sometimes they return to their home folders.  Name your crate as you see fit and pick up the crate into your inventory. This almost always goes into the objects folder. Drop the crate into the contents folder of the Horizons rezzer. Now I can rez this decorated skybox any time I want via the menu. Today I might live in a New York skybox; tomorrow I might live in a desert temple. This way I have plenty of options of picture scenes for blog entries.

I realize that much of what I said here can be confusing. Luckily, Horizons comes with MUCH better instructions. The point that I wanted to make here in this post was to show you how to have multiple decorated scenes on hand. Anyone who has any questions is welcome to comment here or contact me in world (keliahangelis resident.)