Saturday, December 29, 2007

Remember that hair I was (not) working on yesterday?

Yeah, it's done. So are all the shapes, all the lashes, all the jewelry, and all the eyes. (The shape, lashes, eyes, and jewelry in that image are all by me and will be for sale, though the hair has been slightly modified to show the earrings better. Those earrings are one of the game prizes, in fact.)

Friday, December 28, 2007

Project update: all I have to do is one more hairstyle (already half done, but I'm not fast at this) and some prim lashes, and I'm done with making products. I'm still going to be making clothing, but it's not going to be a core product in any way -- if things go well, for instance, I'll have two pieces of clothing out at the sim opening, one new and one existing. It's not going to be getting its own department.

I hope to have the lashes and the hair done by the end of the day, and then I can start on the horrible task of learning to texture things using prim.blender.

And, in the interests of procrastination, I present:

Making Hair the Miriel Way: A Guide to Not Getting Things Done

1. Fire up SL, and begin placing wispy bits onto your hairstyle. It's boring. Really, really boring.
2. Take a break to get up and walk around. Did I mention that making the hairstyle is boring?
3. Return. Add two more tori.
4. Realize you'll need a new alpha texture for this. Go into PSP and make one.
5. Check your new texture. Perfect! You deserve a break, don't you? Go look for Oblivion mods.
6. Download two dozen mods.
7. You've been screwing around long enough: add a few more tori.
8. Click through your Pandora stations trying to find something good. Scroll past several songs without even starting them because the album covers are so cheesy.
9. Remember hearing about a mod that lets female characters wear the male version of Sheogorath's outfit. Decide that you absolutely must own this and start looking.
10. Will no one let you crossdress? Apparently not. Fail to find the mod, and add a few more locks of hair.
11. Get stuck on the hair. Get up and walk around again. Do a dorky dance at one point.
12. Focus on a different part of the hair, one that isn't giving you trouble. Get some actual work done.
13. Ponder a nap.
14. Ponder why working out always makes your eyes hurt.
15. Ponder if there's any way to get Pandora to never, ever subject you to Radiohead again. Ever.
16. Ponder actual work.
17. Tackle the tricky part of the hairstyle. You have to do it sooner or later, after all.
18. Pester sleeping dog with tummy rubs and head scratches.
19. Find that crossdressing mod you were looking for earlier. The screenshots are disappointing, and opt to go without it.
20. Consider how much work you still have to do, even after the hair is done. Panic.
21. Write a guide detailing all the ways you've wasted time today.
22. Get back to work, you slacker.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

I may just scrap the idea of making clothing, period. I mean, I have ideas, and I'd love to be able to churn out beautiful costumes, but whenever I sit down to make it nothing ever comes out right.

Oh, and I'm horribly behind in everything else. Thank you, RL.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Ah, my leaf textures are all cursed! Even PSP is messing them up -- and these are brand new files, so it's not like I'm dealing with an already screwy .jpg. I don't get it. Is there a rival foliage creator out there with a little Miriel voodoo doll or something?

In cheerier news, all the jewelry is done. Even the joke piece*.

* No, I'm not going to tell you what it is!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

As I slowly finish off the various prim items, I get closer and closer to the point where the vast majority of my work will be done in Blender. The biggest problem I'm having with Blender right now is, for once, not actually Blender's fault. I'm very inexperienced with setting up lighting rigs and material reflections, and having trouble getting things to look right. This has nothing to do with Blender's UI and everything to do with me never having done this sort of thing before. I'll try my best to keep things from looking like polished plastic.

However, I'm getting better at sculpting stuff. Look!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Miriel will reopen on February 9 and 10.

Under pressure from Roslin Petion of Tete a Pied (so blame her if I'm not done in time! ;) ) I've set an official opening day for the sim. For members of Miriel's Latest, the sim will be open on Saturday, February 9. For everyone else, the doors will open on Sunday, February 10.

The new sim will feature a multitude of new items, including hair, jewelry, shapes, eyes, and clothing. It will also play host to The Golden Cage, a sim-wide puzzle game with many pieces of free jewelry as prizes.

(Regular readers already know most of that, of course. Now, let's hope I can make the deadline! Actually, in all honesty, I needed a deadline -- a real one, not just a hope of being done sometime in February -- because I'm finding that I don't work well without them. Still, this one seems frighteningly soon. I'd wanted to put it a few weeks later, but with Valentine's Day and all...)

Time for another update. I'm sure none of you care all that much (particularly when there aren't any pictures of upcoming goodies), but if there's one place in the world appropriate for my inane prattlings, it's my blog.

I've got three shapes out of six done -- sort of. I keep fiddling with them whenever I pull them out, and that's not a good sign.

The new eyes are done. The cat eyes weren't working very well (and never sold spectacularly), so they're gone for now. I'd love to do more novelty type eyes in the future, though, so I do plan on eventually bringing them back.

Unless I decide to redo my freebie jewelry (which I might), I have two more pieces to finish building and texturing, and then I'm done. I'm so happy with all my jewelry right now -- I really like the new scripts that let you turn shiny and full bright on and off, and I've got some new (and revised) pieces that I think you all might like.

Out of six hairs, four are built and textured, one is built and needs to be fully textured, and one is partly built. (Granted, three of them aren't new.) I'm pretty happy with all of these. They're not Armidi good, but they're not total embarrassments, either.

Which brings us to the clothing. The bad news is that I've only got one outfit partly done, and Blender is... well, being itself. It's very picky about .tga files, and frequently mangles them or crashes when trying to open them. The good news is that I'm growing increasingly comfortable with the program, and I'm pretty inspired, with all the planned items sketched out. (Plus, I got Shivering Isles a little while ago, and some of the clothing -- not the bikini armor -- is awfully nice and has generated a "I want to work hard and make something that looks that good!" response in me. Of course, nothing I make for Second Life will look that good, no matter how hard I try or how skilled I am, but a girl can dream, can't she?)

I don't have any demos done of anything yet, but those shouldn't be too time consuming to put together. A few days, at most.

And then, of course, there are the various buildings, a fountain, a semi-working armillary sphere, the writing for the game, ads, product pictures, scripting, some sculpted cliffs, terraforming, and -- brrr -- the foliage.

All of which would be a whole lot of work even if my health holds out. Which it, er, probably won't, because it certainly hasn't been. Fingers crossed, though.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Bah, I'm behind. I'd wanted to get all the jewelry done by Tuesday; instead, I'm now hoping to get it all finished up today. I would have gotten it done, too, if I hadn't gotten distracted by... well, all the usual things that distract me. Illness. Birthday presents. More illness.

I'm never going to be done by February at this rate...

Oh, and to everyone telling me I have junk on my land: thanks, but you can stop now. I know. I've got my new store build floating way up high and I didn't want to risk bits and pieces of it falling prey to autoreturn. I clean it up manually every few days.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Here is an interesting post for those of you interested in avatar appearance and lighting (NSFW: topless avatar images at the link). I've been complaining a lot lately about the way avatars look -- and not just at noon, where the badness is understandable -- and blamed it on the underlying mesh. I mean, if those strong shadows on the sides of the nose show up pretty much whatever you do, lighting-wise, the problem must clearly be with the geometry, right? The sides of the nose have to be angled weird or something.

Well, it seems that's not the case. Joannah Cramer opened up the avatar in a 3D program and tweaked the material and the lighting, and with the help of a skin, got a result that actually resembles a real human being. Seriously, go look. You'll likely be stunned by how much better it appears than anything in world.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

It appears I have won something. Thank you to everyone who voted for me, and to Tanya Book for organizing things, and congratulations to the other winners and nominees.

I'm sorry for this post being belated and short. I've spending much of my time holed up in my skybox working -- and to good effect, but it does mean I'm way more out of the loop than usual.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Rant about Windlight removed because I'm a total dumbass. You know the trick of pointing lots of lights at your avatar to get rid of the environmental lighting? I rely on that trick for my product images. I was complaining that it wasn't working in Windlight and nobody cared, and that even turning shaders off doesn't help.

Well, turning shaders off didn't seem to help a few weeks ago, but I tried it again today just to confirm, and... well, did I mention that I'm a total dumbass? It works. So, those of you that want the environmental shadows to go away, do the following:

1. Go into Preferences.
2. Turn off either basic shaders or atmospheric shaders. Turning off just the atmospheric ones will leave you with just a hint of environmental shadows.
3. Stick a bunch of local lights around yourself. Go nuts.
4. Ta-da! You now look pretty.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

As I've been making shapes, I've been using this as a reference for proportions. And you know, I knew the SL avatar was screwy (particularly the face), but I hadn't known just how screwy until I started carefully measuring things. Why on earth the arms were made so short is a total mystery.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

I've been tagged by Grazia Horwitz (thank you for letting me know!).


(1) Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.

(2) People who are tagged need to write a post on their own blog (about their eight things) and post these rules.

(3) At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.

(4) Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

1. I spent years being trained as a vocalist. Despite this, I am not a very good singer.

2. I grew up in a place that had sunshine almost all the time, and thought that what I wanted was rain. Then I briefly moved to Portland, Oregon, and it rained for a month straight, and I learned that what I really wanted was variety.

3. I enjoy math, and find it soothing.

4. I hate travel. Airplanes terrify me and I get desperately homesick at the drop of a hat.

5. I love symphonic metal. You can all point and laugh now.

6. I am a big sap and will cry at almost any movie or book, even if it's bad, or I didn't like the characters much, or I know I'm being cheaply manipulated into being sad. I'm sure I've cried at a commercial or two in my day. It's embarrassing.

7. The sun is not my friend.

8. Before Oblivion (my preciousssss) became my crack du jour, I played a lot of rougelikes. I've actually beaten Nethack a couple times, including one foodless win. Keep in mind that this is a game where you can easily starve to death, dying means you have to start over at the beginning, and just about everything is trying to kill you.

I tag... you know what, a million people have already been tagged, and I can't keep track of who has and hasn't been. Consider this a free invitation to do the survey if nobody has tagged you already.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Here, at the moment, is my plan for what I want when my sim opens, product wise:

* 6 hairs, including old and new ones. I'm actually close to this goal, believe it or not -- I just have one more hair left to build, one hair that needs new textures made for it, and then a couple hairs need more textures applied. I'm pleased to say that hair making is becoming easier for me.

* 6 pieces of clothing, all new and made with the help of Blender, plus maybe Echo (which gets a reprieve due to not being too embarrassing). I resisted using Blender for a long time, because I used to be a somewhat decent artist and thought that having to hand draw things would be a good way to help regain that. Also, I was rebelling against the notion that you had to have a 3D program to make nice clothing, as if it were totally impossible for anyone to paint realistic texture and shading onto the avatar UV maps. But hand drawing wasn't a good way to encourage art practice, and I'm not a good enough artist anymore to have anything but a painful time when trying to hand paint everything. So out comes Blender, and I'll be trying my best to avoid the terrible, unrealistic shading that you get with bad baking.

* 6 shapes.

* About 7 or 8 new pieces of jewelry for the game (some of which are really sets), plus a couple new independent pieces. Some of these are partly done already.

* Scripting in all the jewelry that allows you to turn full bright and shiny on and off. I haven't put this in anything yet.

* New textures on all the jewelry. This project is partway done -- and no, I'm not doing it all by hand! I have scripts to help me.

I'd like to get all this done in December, and then spend January building. I'm aiming a little bit low in terms of new content because I really don't need to be stressing myself out. If I have extra time, I can make more things.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

I've set out the Snow Queen stuff. The Starlight and Snow hair colors are (or will be) standard, but the Ice is limited edition, and will be taken down when I open my sim.

Whenever that will be.

Oh, yes, and if you want a clumsy version of my vendors, toss me an IM and I'll drop a gigantic folder on you. Do remember that you get what you pay for.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

I had forgotten how much I loathe packaging things for sale. (This is the real reason I don't have items up on SLX or OnRez: too many product images to do.) But there is good news: I'm packaging things because I'm releasing them!

Tete a Pied, Nicky Ree, and I have collaborated on an outfit. It's not up in my shop yet because I need to check on how it ought to be displayed, but here's a preview, and it should be up within a day. I did the hair and the crown.