Saturday, May 24, 2008

Nerdalicious, Baby!

Well. I finally did it.

No, not THAT it, you smutty-minded moron. I'm talking about the other "it": namely, I built something.

Actually, I built two somethings. The first was purely practical; I was unhappy with the low level of light in my living room at night, so instead of going out shopping (again!), I blew a prim instead of a Linden $ and made myself a glowball. As you can see, there is really nothing fancy or elaborate to it, I was just taken with the idea that you can make any form you want emit light, and I needed some light, and voila! I made a glowball and stuck it up on my ceiling. And now I have more light, and I can take it down when it's daytime or put it up in another room or carry it out onto the beach. Dandy. Tons of uses. And probably some artistic implications also, but I haven't put too much thought into that.

My second building project was really more of an experiment to see what I was capable of doing, but it also was in response to a practical issue. This time, the issue is one of aesthetic taste: I don't much like my furniture. It's not my furniture per se, it's my landlady's furniture and it came with the house when I rented it. It's all black and red and has this goth kind of feel that really isn't what I'm about. I went out furniture shopping and discovered that in SL, a really nice sofa design can cost you as much as a sofa in RL! And of course, Miss Champagne Taste here, everything I liked was extremely expensive. So I began wondering if I could make my own furniture.

This is another of those moments that makes Second Life so special. In RL, I know I don't have anything even remotely resembling the skills to make furniture. But, in SL, it's a little different process and one that I found enough learning materials and tutorials on to be comfortable with. It's just a little more nerdaliciousness coming to fore, and as we know, I am nothing if not passionately into the nerdalicious.

So I sat down in my study one night and started sticking prims together, and I made myself a meditation chair. It's really basic and crude and ugly, and why I made it that godawful shade of green I have no idea. But I was able to demonstrate to myself that this is something I actually have enough skills to do, and now I'm interested in acquiring more.

I think, though, that I need to take it to the next level and start making sculpted prim furniture and objects. "Sculpties" require some kind of 3D modeling software, and fortunately for us, SL resident Cel Edman, also a RL artist, has given us Sculptypaint, a "low polygon 3D creation tool original written for creating sculpts; 3D low polygon models for SecondLife." It's a devilishly cool little piece of software, and made my nerdgirl heart sing, so if you're even remotely interested in 3D modeling, do check out Cel's PixelLab, and if you like the program join his paid Secondlife group or otherwise SEND THE MAN SOME CASH. (He's an artist, for god's sake, he needs the money!)

I also learned that thanks to my continuing affiliation with a major four-year university (BOO-yah!), I can go through Creation Engine and obtain a 14-month license of Autodesk's Maya Unlimited Superpack or 3dS Max for less than $200. Just to give you some perspective on that, the MSRP on the Maya Unlimited Superpack for the rest of the world is $6995. You'd have to line up a lot of 14-month licenses to overrun that magical retail moment, and 14 months should be long enough for me to figure out if I really do want to get into this is such a major way.

Meanwhile, I've hit a little bit of a snag in my intention to create lots of little media screens and have them all over my property: namely, I don't have permission to control the media stream, since I'm just a renter. I don't know if that can be altered by my landlords or not; I'll have to catch them online and ask. If it can't be, I may have to buy a place. This is sad, because I love my weird little round rental house and my private beach, it just screams ME, and I've already stuck a lot of trashy flowers and beachy things all around it. I like being so close to the Jazz Club, even though it seems like there's never anybody around when I'm there. I might be able to buy some media players, but again, I'd rather make my own, just because.

So these are the things that vex me right now as an artist in SL. It's safe to say I'm still trying to figure out what I want to do, and at the moment building seems to have captured my attention. I don't know how that will manage to spill over into RL, but that's where I'm at right now.

I'll keep you posted on my progress.


p.s. Edited to add: just looking at this, I'm struck by the fact that I'm still, ALWAYS, thinking like a photographer. Just for my own ego gratification, here are a few more, ALL COPYRIGHT BY ME, PLEASE. Thanks!

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