Thursday, November 29, 2007

Aha! Finally! I've figured out how to eliminate environmental shadows on the avatar, and I'm an idiot for not doing so sooner. It's so obvious.

Go to World > Environment Settings > Environment Editor (or just hit Ctrl-Alt-E, if you like that kind of thing). Click the Advanced Sky button. Go to the Lighting Tab. Turn the Sun/Moon Color to 0 all the way around to eliminate the shadows. If you don't want to eliminate them entirely, just turn them down until you're happy: the lower you go, the fewer shadows and highlights will be cast by the sun or moon.

That's it. You're done.

You may want to turn up the Ambient setting to make the scene brighter, or turn up the Scene Gamma. You may also want to go into Atmosphere tab and make sure the Distance Multiplier or Density Multiplier is set to 0 (one or the other, though you can do both if you really want) to keep things from being hazy. Lastly, if you have local lights on, you may want to go back into the Lighting tab and fiddle with the Sun and Moon Position slider, because the sun position determines how bright local lights will be. Local lighting will also add some shadows back onto your avatar.

There are a couple downsides to this technique, though. One, the sky itself will look pretty bad. Two, your scene will be pretty desaturated and may look washed out, though I'll experiment more to see if this can be worked around. For me, though, it at least beats the awful shadows cast by the avatar nose.

Here's a picture taken using these settings, with local lighting enabled and an array of lights pointed at my avatar. It came out a bit small, but hopefully gets the idea across.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

JIRA issue pimping of the day:

This is a request to fix local lighting in Windlight. It affects its surroundings less than it does in regular SL, sometimes to the point of being barely visible. This is a bit more realistic, but it also means that the environmental shading is unavoidable for avatars -- even when Windlight shaders are turned off.

In practical terms, this means that face lights and lighting studio lights don't work all that well anymore. You're stuck with the ugly and undetailed shadows cast by the face mesh. Me? I don't like that, so I voted.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Work continues, albeit slowly. I'm working on some clothing right now, and trying to be faster about it than usual. It shouldn't take two weeks to do one garment.

I'd also like to share something that's been making my work a lot more pleasant: Pandora. Okay, you've probably already heard of it, but if you haven't, go check it out. You tell it an artist or a song, and it produces a radio stream for you featuring similar artists and songs (assuming your selection wasn't too obscure). They've had people sit down and categorize songs by all kinds of criteria, so it actually works pretty well, and you can tweak the station it gives you to your liking.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

I haven't been getting enough done lately (which is a nice way of saying I've been getting barely anything done), but I do have a couple things I want to preview for you.


Rock circle. See, I can do things with Blender! (Oh, and those rock textures? 128 x 128. You can get away with smaller textures than you probably realize.)

Friday, November 16, 2007

Windlight, I love you, and want to have your sparkly, gorgeous, horizon-reaching babies.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

A quite notice: Due to RL reasons, the sim opening will probably be postponed to February, at least.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Something else I have decided to do is retexture all my jewelry and do several other improvements to it. Everything's getting new metal textures, and cabochons (and other round things) will now be spheres, not cylinders. Most faceted gemstones are getting new textures, too -- the only ones I might not change are those with both round and square gemstones, because getting the old round and square textures to match was the biggest pain in the butt ever*, and I've got enough to do right now. But everything else is getting an overhaul.

Here's a visual comparison. The old gem and metal textures:

The new ones:

I've used low shininess on the new metal, too. Unshiny metal looks too static to me, while shininess makes textures look bad; I've tried to strike a balance between the two, using just enough shiny to make the metal react to its surroundings while not so much that the texture is totally overpowered.

* Excluding, of course, Blender.

Monday, November 05, 2007

A preview of the new hair colors. The pictures are a bit small, but you get the idea.

The brunettes. Left to right: Coffee, Chocolate, Walnut, Chestnut, Cocoa.

The blondes. Left to right: Wheat, Beach, Flax, Sand, Driftwood.

The reds. Left to right: Fox, Cedar, Autumn, Copper, Sandstone.

The black and whites. Left to right: Raven, Pewter, Silver, Starlight, Snow.

The jewel tones. Left to right: Berry, Emerald, Sea, Sapphire, Amethyst.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

One of the things I did today was make up some new hair textures. I now have 25 textures, divided up into five collections: brunettes, blondes, reds, black/whites, and unnatural jewel tones. I had to stretch a bit in places to get to five (there are four different shades of gray in the black/white collection, which is good for drow and nobody else), but I'm otherwise pretty proud of what I've got. I added one blonde shade and three reds, and also revamped one of the existing blondes. My blondes still aren't great, but hopefully they're better now.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Taking a bit of a break on the trees right now. It's hard to get the lighting settings right, and I've just realized that most of my leaves are facing the wrong way. They shouldn't be pointing up. I'm pretty sick of tree stuff, so I'm putting that aside for now. I do have a couple of nice sculpted trunks so far, though, and all this messing around with Blender has made me much more comfortable with the program. Remember that chair I'd been making before? I went back to it tonight and was much more confident as I worked with it.

I'm pretty burned out on all of this, to be honest, but I need to keep working (and work quickly) if I want to be ready to open in January. I'll endeavor to pull myself away from Oblivion and stop fantasizing about doing NaNoWriMo. (Oh, and speaking of Oblivion, I finished the main quest a few days ago. Kind of a downer ending.)

Oh, and look what I've found: LL's roadmap for visuals, featuring better trees and terrain that reaches the horizon (!). Okay, so most of this stuff is never going to happen (HTML on a prim is also listed there), but a girl can dream, right?