Archive for the 'VintLabs' category
November 24, 2008 12:18 am
update: iTunes inSL has been renamed to ‘Tunes inSL’ as Amazon links were added.
The ‘live music’ scene is one of Second Life’s most compelling uses:
sitting naked behind your pc, you can attend a live performance, insult the artist as their crew can’t physically hurt you and drink yourself totally waisted as you do not need to drive home. Oh. Wait. That had to be: “you can enjoy tons of different music styles from enchanting artists - which are easily reachable through IM or chat after their performance - brought to you live from all over the (real) world without the time loss of deciding what to where and needing to go and return from a smoky club.” Better, no? ;)
Of course, when attending a live performance in Second Life, you tip as a ‘thank you!’, be it the venue, the artist or both. Sadly, there were a few occasions that you did not have the needed L$ on your balance, or got distracted so you forgot. That may happen. Luckily, you can now make up for this, and it won’t cost you a single L$. A brilliant idea from the creative depths of Crap Mariner’s mind:
Did you get an iTunes or Amazon gift card for the holidays or any other merry occasion?* Why not show your support for live music in Second Life by buying music from Second Life musicians through iTunes or Amazon? Go to the Tunes inSL website to discover which SL artists you enjoy listening to have their songs up on iTunes/Amazon. Then follow their link to iTunes or Amazon and show them your love by purchasing one of their songs or even a complete album.
* Waiting for an iTunes or Amazon gift card is not necessary. You can also purchase the songs just because (you love them and want to show your support).
What did I do to show my support? The Tunes inSL logo design by VintLabs. (which I’m btw using as my first fulfilled Akoha mission, but more on that later) You like? Me kinda proud of it, so if you do not like, please formulate that in a sensitive and delicate way. Thanks! ;)
(Compression kills. Click to see without distortion, please!)
As this whole post is about sharing, joy and support, I want to thank The Boss for giving me permission to use the Greenies iPod in an actual logo design and mention that although Foolish Frost’s songs ‘Avatar’ and ‘Prim in My Hand’ are not available on iTunes or Amazon, you can listen & download them for free at music.rezzable.com.
Do you know any Second Life musician that could use some extra promo and a push of iTunes or Amazon sales? Make sure to let them know about Tunes inSL, ‘How do I get added’ is clearly explained there. They will join the list of famous SLive Musicians such as Grace Buford, Suzen Juel, Melanie Fudge and Rich Palmer. Do inform friends which own iTunes gift cards too! And the perfect virtual holiday present? An iTunes or Amazon Gift Card code and a link to the Tunes inSL website! ;)
Update: Thanks to Michael Cela’s suggestion that a less DRM limited option would be nice also, artists available on the Amazon music store now also have those links featured.
February 16, 2008 8:29 pm
Thanks to Balp I now have 10 cute RL buttons made out of my poseball vector designs. 4 are promised to my human, 1 to her mom - she does not play Second Life, yet really liked the ‘endless possiblities’ one and we’ll inherit it anyway - and 5 poseball buttons I shall give away.
Of course, you did not think you could get them without at least some effort, right?
First you need to be willing to tell me where your human lives so my human may mail him or her the button. After she’s done that, of course, I’ll delete all your whereabouts information.
Second, you need to answer the question corresponding to the button number correctly here in the comments:
- Who gave me a squidogram as Valentine gift? (goes to Shockwave Plasma)
If I mention ‘RaR said so’, whom am I talking about? What’s my ‘home sim’? (Must be spelled corretly!)
- Which MMORPG did I play intensely previous to Second Life?
- Who did I promise my Second Life girl-on-girl virginity to? (goes to Smiley Barry)
- Which SL company am I employed with (marketing department) but has up to now never paid me? (goes to Ganymedes Costagravas)
Only one poseball button/avatar! ;)
If any of the 5 poseball buttons is not taken by the 24th of February, it goes to the person which guessed most closely to the number of ‘absolute unique visitors’ to this blog from January 1 till January 31. So you might want to add a number to your replies too.
If your comment does not appear immediately that is because WordPress settings are put that way that it only allows comments from person I previously approved. Don’t worry, I’ll keep that into account.
February 11, 2008 5:34 pm
As I’m going to neglect making a vintfalken.com header relating Valentine - really, dating last year was a disaster - and I was busy with Second Life eye textures anyway, I decided to do ‘2 Free Eye Textures for Love Related Purposes‘. Both are released under CC non-commercial, no-derives, attribution license. Which means you may use and share them freely as long as you mention you got them from me, but that’s basically it.
You can get the eye textures from Flickr or get the textures and eyes themselves at my shop at Bloedkapel Bruges (correct SLURL this time).
VintLabs offers you 2 free Second Life eye textures:
- Free eye texture which reflects the roses just given to you. (blue eyes)
- Free eye texture with a heart shaped pupil, for endless ’staring in the eyes’. (green eyes)
Rotate head 90° to the CCW to see how these textures will look in Second Life.
Maybe doomed to disappear into the ‘objects’ folders of the Second Life residents, but more likely to reside in hawt places such as ‘favorite avatar customization’, ‘fav clothes’, ‘killer outfit’ and ‘I look Woot!’ are VintLab’s latest creation, the SLartyFartsy Human Eyes.
Don’t worry, they go great for Neko’s, Elves and other creatures related to humans as well.
SLartyfartsy as word is derived from my human’s RL terminology ‘artyfarty’. Although this appear to be a performance group, the human and her friends used it to point to humans that think they are that so-called artsy. They dress ‘art-like’, they go to elitist art places, pretend to know everything of - mostly modern - art and because of that feel they are that much more than us, the everyday plebs. They are also the ones to judge what is art and what not. And most of the time, if it’s comprehensible, according to them it’s not art. An estimate was made that 25% of the minimal electro scene exists out of Artyfarty-people.
So far for the background on the history of our brand new brand name. As this brand is used as an accusation, against something we think is utterly absurd, we felt like doing SL + artyfarty + ‘add ‘S’ to stress the fart part’ was the right thing to do. End result: SLartyFartsy.
Although eyes are a wonderful thing: one of few avatar textures that allow true detail and the body part that in RL together with the 4 other senses make how we perceive our world, we won’t just stop with eyes. VintLab’s lab rats are working on designing more SLartyFartsy stuff, all accusal to the state SLart find itself in at the moment. So as there is more to come, the SLartyFartsy brand needed a logo, something that drawns attention, yet makes clear the absurdity of the situation. Our first attempt was courageous but lacked the absurdity - a bit. With the tagline ‘Dare to say it’s yours!’ referring to something you produce - SLart - we try to not be just a commercial Second Life brand, but to get a message out there.
But enough talk, let us now present the eyes: 14 pair of eyes in a box for L$50 and both copy/no-trans as trans/no-copy versions are available. Positioned perfect on their texture, with realistic iris and highlights they are a delight to stare in. 7 pair of the eyes are normal clean, verions. The other 7 are branded with the ‘SLartyfartsy’ logo - which is not noticeable at first look, only when you take a better ctrl+0 look - for those who really want to get the message out there.
You may find these awesome eyes in-world at VintLab’s shop at Bloedkapel, Brugge or on the web at OnRez (copy version, trans version), by exception on Slexchange (copy version, trans version) and using the MetaMart HUD. As usual, you can also get them at OnRez with a 50% discount*.
As a final note, we just would like to shout ‘Reclaim the
* As usual, 50% off is given to the people that are listed in my ‘exclusive vendor thingie’ on Shop.OnRez, so if you want to save 25L$, say ‘hi, me wants to pay less’ (comments, e-mail, IM, …), and I’ll add you to the vendor. That way you will see the sales item listed under ‘exclusive’ on your OnRez homepage. But I won’t protest if you prefer to pay the 50L$. (Disclaimer: Avatars added to that vendor will be more likely to be approached by me to serve as guinea pigs. I don’t approve animal testing, but I do appreciate feedback on the outfits. So hence I need to use avatars for that. ;))
Remember them? Look how cute they are when exported to RL! Yeeej! *smooches*
Someone from Topaz Labs kindly contacted the VintLabs CEO - yeah, he passed by the receptionist and communications manager, wonder how he did that - and asked if we would include his Topaz Vivacity plugin in one of our tutorials. She ordered our VintLabs Rats to work and they soon found out that this Photoshop plugin is great at cleaning up and smoothing skin without loosing any details in the edges: Vint’s human now has a skin that make her look come out of a fashion magazine. But our CEO was not that enthusiastic. ‘We spend ages on making sure our skin textures, eye textures, clothing textures, … are as detailed as possible‘, says Vint. ‘You futile Vint Labs employees will only blur those lovely details over my Ruthed body!‘
Bugger. So we answered Eric Yang from Topaz Labs that we really love his plugin, but the boss only cares about easily getting rid of the so-called ‘jagged edges’ that are so typical to Second Life snapshots. To our surprise - and saviour probably, Vint was still furious about our blur suggestion - Mr. Yang told us that was an interesting question, and Topaz Clean(YCrDb) could probably do the trick.
So the VintLab Rats set back to work, trying the settings suggested. It was a beautiful moment, when suddenly screams of joy erupted from the labs. Scream that enthusiastic that our - beloved, may I add - CEO came to see what was going on. Proudly the VintLab Rats showed her the latest results: tests done with both the Topaz Clean and Photoshop Blur. Pointing at the dagger on the testing picture they whispered: ‘Look, Your Majesty, Topaz Clean gets rid of the jagged edges better and loses less detail than Photoshop Blur does.‘
Silence fell. After a few minutes Miss Falken spoke: ‘Yes, yes, so I see. But what’s wrong with manually blurring them all?‘ Despite her criticism and old-skool suggestion, we saw in her eyes that she was proud of our great discovery and thought we did well at further exploring the Topaz Vivacity path.
Later that day, a memo went around that Vint would take us all - even the VintLabs Rats - shopping for shoes this evening. So I think we really found out something great, and that although she would not say this out loud, the discovery of this plugin was a glorious day for VintLabs.
If you know of other ways to - easily - get rid of jagged edges, feel free to share that precious information. We will suggest them to Miss Falken, and who knows, maybe we will get two pair of shoes tonight! (You’ll just get the VintLab Rats’ eternal gratitude and stuff. ;)
If you want to try this plugin yourself, you can find a 30 day trial of Topaz Vivacity at Topaz Labs. It works with Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro and the GIMP. Topaz Labs also has a freebie DeJPEG plugin to get rid of JPEG artifacts available. The settings we used for Topaz Clean(YCbCr):
- Treshold: 1.19
- Clean Radius: 3.73
- Sharpness: 0.77
- Sharpness radius: 1
- Line accent: 1
- Iterations: 1
Keep your paws off the other settings! ;) And here are the test files we showed to Miss Falken:
Update: Miss Falken told us to mention that, of course, in the first place you need to take care about getting as few jagged lines as possible when shooting in Second Life. The best way to do that is - besides shopping for great graphic gear with anti aliasing functionality and stuff - shoot your SL photographs in as high a resolution as your client will bear. Shorly summarized: the bigger the resolution & filesize, the smaller the chance your photograph will suffer from jagged edges.
Whom would have ever have thought that a coloured circle has that much potential once you give it a meaning*? Ok, probably the guy that invented that huge, giant cute yellow smiley. ;) But still, I don’t think I ever had _this_ much fun with poseballs before. And that goes for my entire Second Lifespan. My sincere apologies to the guy-avatars I’m probably offending with this.
* Pose ball, which here is a symbol for the things - and other avatars - Second Life residents do.
But I’m a strong avatar, really. So, no more playing around with illustrated poseballs for me. *withdrawal symptoms already appearing* *paws trembling* But I am serious about this matter, no more poseball pin fun for Vint.
I’m going to finish the upper part of Wrath’s outfit -
3 male avatar guinea pigs needed here, if you all three approve, ‘Wrath’s Tee’ goes into production**(all guinea pig positions taken) - and also completely finish the SLart book.
** Send an IM to me - Vint Falken - stating ‘yes, you may use me for fashion experiments’.
PS. There is a chance the pins will get a - very limited - First Life existence. I _so_ hope this works out, it will be tremendously fun to sting the human with the pins’ needles. *grins, goes to sit in front of Balp and starts to purrrr*
February 4, 2008 11:23 pm
Would you wear these poseball pins in - I guess - Second Life? Or should I not even bother uploading and just leave them as they are, imaginary merchandise for a virtual world?
And which one do you think is ‘best’, ‘most funny’ or ‘most original’? Myself, I heart the one where the Linden Gods give us poseballs/animations and thus something to do, but I think wording could be better. Closer to the original wording from the Christian creation myth. Any good copywriters amongst my readers? I’m open to suggestions! ;)
I was very pleased last week, when I finally got to hold my two RL prints from the shoot I did with hawt avatar Veyron Supercharge. With their 40×60cm - 15×23″ - at 300dpi size they each look shiny, classical and utterly majestic. I ordered two, one for me to hang - number 2/2 engraved in the tree - and one to put up for sale on vintfalken.com. So it’s number 1/2 that will be for sale here.
Both details of the photograph shown here are ‘true size’, reverting the 300dpi to 72dpi. It’s not framed as else postal fees would be enormous and I’ve noticed taste may differ as it comes to framing. (I want to put mine in a nice old, baroque like frame, but my RL auntie said that’s ugly and does not do the print any justice. :/)
Some Rules for auctioning off Veyron:
- Bidding will be done in L$. Why so? Doesn’t it sound better something sold for a few K than for a few dollards? ;) I prefer in-world payment, but paying me using paypal is also possible, with the following exchange rate: 1USD = 265L$ = 0.68 euro.
- Postal fees are NOT included in the bidding. For the Benelux & Europe those are 2300L$. For the USA and the rest of the world those are 3400L$.
- Starting bid is 7500L$, postal costs not included. If I don’t reach that amount, ah well, it may function as thingie to put the beers on or smth. (I have number 2/2 to hang up already.)
- Bidding will end on Monday December 17th at midnight my time. Which is 3PM PST.
- If the person who won the auction retreats for any reason, the photograph will go to the runner up at the price that person specified.
- Bidding goes as follows: In the comments, say ‘I bid 8000L$ + 2300L$ (Benelux) which totals at 10300L$’. It is the 8000L$ that counts. So if someone bids 7500L$ + 3400LS (USA) which totals at 10900L$, the person from the Benelux still wins. Use your full avatar name and leave behind a valid e-mail address.
- I’m sorry, but I will need a RL address to ship to. I do promise to just send the photograph and then remove the address from my inbox, chatlogs and memory without telling someone. ;)
- If the amount it sells for would exceed 15k L$, I’ll buy Veyron Supercharge a new outfit. If it would exceed 20k L$, she’ll get a pair of shoes to go with that. ;)
Veyron Supercharge - super model in this photograph - ’sweetens’ the stakes:
Yes you can now own Veyron. Well, at least a photo of Veyron from that uber photographer, Vint Falken. It’s a real life high quality photo Vint took of yours truly. But that’s not all, I’ll sweeten the pot by offering an in world shot of me with the winner of the auction. But that’s not all! I’ll wear whatever you want in my inventory, or if you have something in mind, whatever you want to supply…. Think of the possibilities here…. Hmmm….
I think that also means you can ask her to wear the outfit you supply, even when it’s only a tattoo? *tempted to bid herself* =D
When VintLabs first got the shop in the Bloedkapel at Bruges, Belgium, we were thrilled to have to honour to run our business from a building with such a past: build in the 12th century, it is the oldest building still standing at Bruges. (SLURL to Bloedkapel)
Only when our skilled building team took a closer look at this holy building to make a plan of action for inside restorations - the sim Bruges took care of the outer part -, we realised that with an old building comes a lot of trouble. Take for instance the ceiling of the chapel: flattened and painted it over with an ugly boring grey. Sadly enough our expert team had to conclude that in no possible low-prim way we could restore that ceiling to it’s original beauty. Someone also covered up the beautiful tiled floor - luckily not beyond repairs -, wallpapered the stone wall and stole all the artefacts, paintings and other belongings.
Armed with that information, the VintLabs team decided they would do the best they could and started to work on restoring - as far as possible - a corner of the Bloedkapel. The scrubbing and cleaning payed off, and soon we had a nice and shiny tiled floor again. Although they could not restore the original ceiling, the team brushed and polished, until the filled up ceiling texture was as shiny that it would reflect that tile floor.
The rest of the story is a bit vague. Although we all agreed at VintLabs that we would not use any bright pink - really, no can do for a chapel that was once dedicated to the greatness of God - we suspect one of our interns did not get that message clearly. When we went to work one morning, we entered the chapel only to see our beautiful restored corner had now grey wallpaper texture with all kind of ‘gradiented’, flashy, shiny metal objects sticking to the wall. The intern claims he didn’t notice anything strange before locking the door and going home the night before and that it must have been His Work, His Will. We always knew she was a bit strange and had a hang for pink - that’s why she got hired at VintLabs in the first place - and don not buy this story. But really, would you sack someone for using pink?
Anyway, in chance that it was after all His Work and Will, we decided to leave the pink as it was and asked the building contractor to texture the rest of the walls in grey that would match the pink. That friendly man also finished off the complete floor and ceiling for us and now we are happy that the first, huge works are finished.
Only the real interior design left to do. We’ve already hung up some shelves and are really proud of the shadow work on those and the shadow these shelves cast. We have a counter and are still brainstorming over the rest of the design: mirrors, a waiting corner for the gent’s, … .
But I can’t shake off the feeling that something is strange about that chapel. We have put up two modelling dolls made out of sculpted prims for later use. A male and a female mannequin we thought to be fit. But upon entering in the morning, we found the male mannequin lying on the ground on a blood texture. The lady mannequin was still standing upright, an axe in her hand. Did the male doll try to sexually harass the female one? Did she act out of self defence? How did that axe get into the chapel? Nobody knows…