Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Since I haven't said much about designing lately, here's a picture of a necklace that's coming soon(ish):

(Skin by Tete a Pied, hair by -- as always! -- ETD, chaotic pink clothing by :Lollipop:, though I may have gotten the number of colons around the name wrong.)

It's called Casual Excess, named because a) it's casual and b) when I made it, I crammed as many little discs into that center ellipse as I could, and really, that's kind of excessive. I made the pose I'm using in that picture, too. If you want a copy, just IM me. No guarantee it'll look good from the waist down, though.

I'm proud of the script I put in it; it's the most advanced script I've put together yet -- which, granted, isn't saying much. It's my usual color changing script, but you can effectively turn it on and off by clicking the necklace. So if you're worried about lag (the script uses listens), as far as I know, this will allow you to eliminate lag from the script.

(Though a necklace like this will still cause some slowness, of course, since the texture has to be loaded and the prims have to be rendered. Incidentally, I went into a jewelry shop a while ago, and saw a sign saying that the owner's jewelry caused no lag because it used no textures. While I am more than willing to give the owner the benefit of the doubt and assume they actually believe this, it's simply not true. Neither, in fact, is their claim that their jewelry naturally sparkles because of the excellent prim placement. Any very tiny prims will produce that shimmer effect, even if they're flung about randomly.

Okay, ranty digression over.)

Progress on the build continues slowly but steadily, though I have to admit I'm not in the mood to work on it right now.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

*deep breath*

Okay, so all I've got left to do is:

1 mosaic
1 bas relief
2 bas relief moderately serious re-dos
4 bas relief minor re-dos
2 signs
1 gift card texture
1 shadow texture
2 plain marble textures
1 border texture
finish the gown
beach grass
tweaks on the roses
product box texture
58 product photos
build a bench
build planters
place benches and planters
place beach grass
apply textures to build
adjust vendors
place vendors
place signs
write several notecards
take ad photos

Oh, and put the gown up for sale on SLExchange and SL Boutique, in addition to setting up its vendor. Guh. A significant enough portion of my sales come from there, but I hatehatehate listing products. SL Boutique is far easier to use in that respect, at least, but I haven't found a way to remove product photos if I accidentally upload the wrong one. And that I don't like.

Also, if anyone is reading this, do you have any opinions on an appropriate number of prims in a product box? The shape I'm currently considering has 3. It would look nicer if I gave it a prim lid, but that would increase the prim count to 6, and that sounds like a bit much. I don't want someone with a stuffed 512 parcel to be unable to rez what they bought, after all!

Saturday, May 27, 2006

I started in on the dress I'll be releasing when my remodel is done, and which I'll be using in the ad pictures. It's an empress waisted, off the shoulder gown, with ribbony bits and a flexiprim skirt. Today, I worked on the skirt.

It's... not great. Zoom out, and my butt pokes out through it. Walk, and the cylinders stream out behind me. Stand, and it flickers like a strobe light. And I'm having trouble figuring out how much of this is just me, and how much of it is due to SL's limitations. Probably a bit of both: I could make the flicker better, possibly, but not eliminate it, but I think my butt will always stick out. Well, unless I make the skirt huge, but that defeats the entire purpose of trying for an empress waist. I'm pretty happy with the flexiness settings I'm using, however. The gentle sway when my avatar turns is really, really nice.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Progress! I'm making progress on my build. Only 3-4 more weeks at the most, I think. Which sounds like a lot -- and which has been my estimate for a good long while, now -- but this time, I think I've generally got a handle on things. See, now the things I have left to do are generally things I already know how to do. In same cases, they're very tedious (e.g., reshooting all my product photos), but I'm not having to figure out how to do them first. This is a Very Big Deal.

The big problem with this build -- besides the fact that I'm a slow worker anyway -- was that about 80% of the textures involved were things I had little to no knowledge of how to do. I couldn't just sit down and go for many of these textures: I had to put thought into how to do them, and even then, I often had to redo things when it became apparent my current strategy wasn't working. There was a marble mosaic floor texture, for instance, that had to be redone more times than I remember. I had to figure out how to arrange things so that it the pieces looked distinct but not too far apart. I had to figure out how to shade the mosaic. With no shading, it looked flat. With very gradual shading, it looked like I'd just taken a gradient tool and gone to town. With too abrupt shading, it looked... well, bad. And then I had to redo the marble itself repeatedly, so as to give it the right color without making it look like a stunningly nasty bruise.

The end result was that doing the textures has been taxing, not just in terms of time, but in terms of mental and emotional energy. It was challenging and frustrating, and there was always the constant fear that I wouldn't be able to even come close to what I wanted to do, or that a strategy I was trying would fail and I'd lose all the work I'd done on it.

So even though I've got a few more weeks to go, and I'm sure on the outside it doesn't seem like I've made any particularly significant progress, I have. From now on, it's mostly going to be doing the work, rather than figuring out how to do it. It's a big relief, and I feel like I've taken a big jump forward.

(The only things that are potential issues are some shapes that don't take PSP's Sculpture filter very well, the rose bush, and the dress. But even those are not going to be the problem that some of the earlier textures were.)

Sunday, May 21, 2006

*runs around like a chicken with her head cut off*

It's crap! It's crap! My build looks terrible! Oh, all my dreams for a beautiful little city by the sea are ruined, ruined! Woe! Woe!

*composes self, goes back to work on build textures*

Friday, May 19, 2006

I swear, once I get this remodel done, I'm not touching my build ever again unless I get my own sim. (And then I'll consider hiring someone!) Creating your dream architecture -- or something sort of close to it -- sounds perfectly good until you realize it involves hours of drawing bas reliefs and rose bushes.

I still have to make -- and when I say make, I mean handpaint -- the following textures:

5 bas reliefs
2 mosiacs
2 tiled floors
1 stone arch
1 border texture that's necessary but too boring to explain
2 generic tiling marble textures
1 climbing rose bush
1 smaller rose bush
1 lavender plant
1 tuft of grass
About a billion signs
1 dress (for sale, and for use in ad photos)

And then I have to tweak a couple existing textures, texture the build, build the plants, build the skirt for the dress, set up the teleporters (if I even can), and take my ad photos. Gah.

For the past couple of days, I've been working three to five hours a day on this, and only stopping when my ability to draw has deteriorated too far. I'm eager to be done, but with (for instance) each bas relief clocking in at two hours of work, it's a daunting task.

Friday, May 12, 2006

New hairpin out in my prerelease store:

Oh, and that skin? Free! The creator gave me an entire pack of them as promotional material. They're pretty nice, and I recommend you give the demo a whirl. I'm wearing Paris in the picture, with the Day makeup on and blonde eyebrows.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Hiatus sale this week is 50% off Queen of Heaven stuff. Ever wanted a full prim tiara for under L$100? Now's your chance.

Work on the new store continues slowly but steadily. I'm aiming to be done in a month or so. Which is pretty long, but gives me time to go at a leisurely pace and take the time to do a good job.

And I can't completely sit on my hands about the store any longer! I've really got my hopes up about it and I've got to share. I think my textures (so far) and architecture both look nicer this time. There are still a few awkward bits in the architecture, but I think it accomplishes one of its primary goals -- looking larger in scope -- pretty well. So many commercial builds in SL are just gigantic, single warehouses, and I wanted to avoid that; I wanted, ideally, a small section of a city on my plot. And while I don't think I met that ideal, I like what I did manage to do. My build has multiple buildings. It has variable roof heights and building sizes (not as variable as I'd like, but still). It has a variable ground level -- i.e., the bottom floors of all the buildings are not at the same height. It has a little garden tucked away on one side. It has an observation tower. It has balconies and halls. It has an underground area. It has a reflecting pool (damn you, 1.9.1 and your inaccessible Ripple Water!). It is -- or will be -- its own little walled complex, and I'm pleased with how it's going along, even if I wish it were going faster.