Sunday, March 16, 2008

Life 2.0 Sculpty Day II Spring 2008

Session: Saturday afternoon. Posted Sunday.

I have been looking forward to this conference for quite some time. I wasn't able to attend the morning sessions on scripting, and I'm afraid that I won't be able to report on this aspect of the conference at all due to time constraints.

I have always loved visual information and yesterday was a very good day for rich sensorial input. Sculpties are not my forte as I just don't have the bucks nor lindens for two and three thousand dollar, high-end professional graphic rendering programs. However, that doesn't mean I don't want to know about the cutting edge technologies and applications. I'm not a graphic artist, I'm just an avatar with a couple stores in SL (and don't tell anyone but I also have a region in Openlife Grid under a pseudonym and I've even ventured into a couple other grids.)

I teleported to the main landing point just outside the arena on Dr. Dobbs Island before the afternoon sessions and got into the swing of things by finding a seat in the arena and listening to conversations while I fiddled with voice (that I tend to only use voice for interviews) and I still think the use of voice stream is best for presentations. Echoing and spikes in sound levels drove me crazy as improvised mics and folks with open mics and such took control over sound out of the hands of the organizers.

(See: pics of Rissa Maidstone (above)and John Zhaoying (below)
so you can identify the honchess and honcho organizer types.

When the call for the first session of the afternoon was made I had great hopes that visual cues would be used to orient avatars in the SL space because we were directed to gather around the blue ball. This worked well as there was a very large blue ball floating in a courtyard outside the arena. That was the end of really good directions.

While receiving directions for how we were to shift to another display for the first time I actually heard people using the terms left and right. Firmly anchored reference points need to be used. In later sessions terms like north, northeast and such were used, but even these sorts of directions, while much better than totally personal frames of reference such as left and right really aren't good for precise navigation in SL either.

I would have like to have seen registration packets used with various exhibit spots and presentation locations clearly labeled so I could orient myself at my leisure as folks do in RL. Some sort of large scale visual orientation needs to be used. My preference would be for some sort of organizational and demarcation system that is visible and easily decoded from the map of the area or by simply flying up and panning out and up with the camera.

Sometimes gaming folks forget that some avatars in SL have never engaged in rapid orientation and motion that some games require. SL appeals to a variety of people with very different motivations and behaviors. Some people just talk. Some people just shop. Some people just fornicate. Some people just blow things up. Some people just dance to the music. All of these behaviors and action groups can attract users who are very sophisticated in their knowledge of one or two aspects of the virtual world. Individual blends of these skills are unique.

All this said -- the talks were great!

Aminom Marvin

The first talk was by Aminom Marvin who is a student in the graphic arts and discussed sculpty technology and software from that perspective. I think his description of how a sculpty object

The Black Box

A sculpty creation product created by The Black Box who was the second speaker in the afternoon line-up.

The programming (aka in SL as scripting) behind the black box must be incredibly large and detailed in order to have an in-world effect of creation and maipulation of sculpties. While I didn't understand that much of the specific tech talk involved in the presentation I did get the concept that the process works with slices of an object that controls individual vectors of an image map. Or that is what I think I got out of the talk. LOL. In any case I will have to check out the product in-world.

Crash Prefect

Crash's talk was more accessible to me at a conceptual level.

His use of a 3 prim barbell model to illustrate what happens to an individual prim when it is sculpted to appear as many different objects came closer to an "aha moment" for me per the notion of sculpties than has any other explanation.

We all learn differently and different teching approaches willl have variable levels of success.

Anjin Mieli

The sound was so bad for me during this presentation that I didn't get much out of his talk unfortunately but I loved the work. The bas relief effect is amazing. All I can say is rich, deep, velvety shadows, real carving..... I'm going to look at his work in more detail as I think I heard that it is primarily achieved via Photoshop that means I might be able to use the technique to some degree in GIMP (if I can ever get it to load again....)

Cel Edman

Somehow I missed Cel's talk -- although I got a pic of him later. Too bad as this is the guy from whom I have purchased merchandise.

Yuzuru Jewell

This talk was less accessible to me as the text-based presentation that was put through a translation program. I actually quit listening for the most part when I read words to the effect of "no plans for a Macintosh version." One of the great things about SL is that it is effectively platform independent.

Xenius Revere

I understood most of this talk. Yea! However I will never be able to afford Maya, the program Xenius uses. Some of the effects he illustrated never did load on my computer, and I'm not into blow 'em up games, but the process for creating 3D scenes is most intriguing. The 20-plus prim car was so realistic that I wondered why anyone would want to reproduce anything so closely in the metaverse. The answer of course is that someone hired him to do it. He builds mechanistic avatar war machinery for battle games for fun. The example of this never did get beyond amorphous bloops.

Wish I was a student. You can apparently get Maya for about 300 bucks if you are verifiable as connected with an educational institution.

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About this blog and Second Ana:

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Ana Herzog, avatar in the virtual world of Second Life, expounds on the semiotics of identity in the metaverse, alternate realities, feminism, artistic expression and the growing use of SL as a a progressive networking tool. Second Ana was born into Second Life on July 8th of 2006. Her island, The Womens Center, will officially open on the Autumnal Equinox. She owns Casita Gaia, an Interior Furnishings Boutique in Barcelona del Oeste. She is the local coordinator for CODEPINK SL. CODEPINK SL is an international chapter of CODEPINK Women for Peace. CODEPINK is also represented by our hut hangout on Commonwealth Island where our neighbors include the ACLU and Green Peace.