Saturday, June 25, 2016

SL13B

Second Life 13th Birthday.

The foreground build by Lilia Artis and me,
with the bright and delicious mega cake by Mikati Slade
extending into the background for miles and miles and miles.


     It's ENORMOUS, and filled with great curiosities. I've toured several times on the pod vehicles, as well as walking and flying around, and still have barely scratched the surface. There are art galleries, services, hunts, interviews, etc... a wide variety of exciting things to explore.
     Lilia Artis and I worked on a piece together. It's on the lower left corner of the sim "Captivate". Our theme is a variation of the Centaur Ball that we'd built for Fantasy Faire 2016. This being a build to celebrate the specialness of SL, we chose to highlight the warm experience we had when a good number of people gifted us with their arrival on our centaur sim as centaur avatars. I describe this in more detail in an earlier post about Fantasy Faire. It touched us very deeply, and we wanted to bring it back to some degree for the birthday celebration. Of course, we added new elements to it, and remodeled it extensively, so there was something fresh for the SL13B build.
     I highly recommend celebrating Second Life at its dedicated birthday sims.




XXX

Friday, June 17, 2016

MARINE GARDEN at Maze Gardens

The Marine Garden is not the first underwater garden at ACC Alpha sim. But it's
the most primmy! The other three submarine gardens have been
the unfortunate casualties of  widespread prim deletion,
to the end of needing those prims
for land development. 


     The old river running its course down the slope at Maze Gardens since 2010, had quite naturally ended in the sea. But not long after it appeared, the beginnings of the museum had begun. The base of the building, also started in early 2010, simply placed a low stone bridge over the river that now flowed under it. A wall blocked off the flow of the river, so once you walked under the bridge which supports the museum, you came to an anti dynamic end of the river: a little enclosed space without issue. For years I've wanted to address this area.

Standing at the new addition to the stairs, leading to the river.
The museum hugs this scene.

The Baroque Steps.
The flowing stairway extends itself right down to the river, where you can
now follow its flow into the ocean, and the Marine Garden.

     The past week or so, I've been remodeling many areas throughout the city of Accentaury. Maze Gardens sees the widening of its entry, a cypress tree lined allee, and hedges give more privacy at the plot called Centaur Garden. The stairs that introduced visitors into the terraced suite of gardens is now greatly expanded, sweeping down the gentle slope like a frozen lava flow. The stairway is entirely rounded to fit the surrounding architecture of the Topiary Fortress... that structure of retaining walls which supports Maze Gardens. The staircase is called Baroque Stairs. One of the key features of the Stairs is a small part which leads down to the river. It is the first indication of something worth wading into the water for. And this brings us back to the new Marine Garden.

Entering the first chamber of the Marine Garden with Fantasy Faire mural.

View within the Marine Garden. Advanced Lighting Model is turned on.


     Following the river under the old bridge which supports the Museum Court, we dip below the rushing surface ripples into the calm blue cast light of Linden water. An entry hall greets us with a ship mural of Poseidon's Abyss, the sim I'd build for Fantasy Faire 2015. Indeed, the floor itself is curved like the rounded hull of a ship... an abstract concept of ship wreck. Continuing on, we reach another tunnel, inside of which we get a view onto the main room filled with sea life and vegetation. It is very much a garden, as well as an art gallery. The double function by virtue of its location directly under the museum. In my opinion, ACC Alpha looks better without the ALM (Advanced Lighting Model) checked in preferences, but the Marine Garden is an exception. Last night I purchased a projector which beautifully covers the surfaces of the garden with animated light reflections... the kind you see in shallow waters or in a pool. If you are unfamiliar with ALM, it is simple to get there:
Open your Preferences (for me this is under my viewer's tab AVATAR). Then follow this path:
Graphics > General > then click the Advanced Lighting Model box. Wait about 10 or 15 seconds because your computer takes a breather as it registers the new setting... then you will see the checkmark appear in the box you ticked. Click the button "OK", and you are done. To get out of that setting, do the same proceedure, and uncheck the Advanced Lighting Model box, once the check disappears after a 10 or 15 second wait, then hit the OK button.

     There have been many additions applied to Maze Gardens recently, (as well as Equus fields near the Cabinet of Curiosities, by the way). Here is a map of Maze Gardens. They are also posted in various areas of the gardens.

The Marine Garden is not on the map because it's UNDER the Museum Court (A).
Just follow the river down, and you will naturally arrive there.


Update, June 18 2016:

     The largely abandoned garden under Paper Tower Court had suffered many of its prims being removed over time. But this space is not that far from the Marine Garden, so I decided to join them, and went about digging all day yesterday, to connect them. In order to get the prims needed for this remodel, about 50 prims were taken in at the Golden Corridor. Though that corridor has much less detail than its original look, the sparser plantings look clean and attractive still. With these available prims then, I was able to bring a garden effect to the large space below Paper Tower Court. The fantasy plantings are mostly by Elicio Ember of Cerridwyn's Cauldron, and the fantasy deer is the creation of Krystal Rabeni. Other of her deer are on land at Equus Fields (the fields that lead to the Cabinet of Curiosities).

Rejuvenated underwater garden beneath Paper Tower Court.
Krystal Rabeni's fantasy deer. Elicio Ember's plants and green slime river.







XXX

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

GRAVITY IS A MISTAKE


Ground floor entry to Eupalinos Ugajin's "Gravity is a Mistake".

"The Library" at Eupalinos' installation. 



     On LEA21, Eupalinos Ugajin has created another of his energetic, interactive art spaces. The setting he made for it is one of my favorites. There are so many things to click on, including a dragon to fight in order to gain access to the Library area, but I am so easily distracted by the sheer beauty of the installation that I tend to observe more than do battle. Yet, when you do click, there are marvels to experience, so I suggest visitors take advantage of the interactive quality in Gravity is a Mistake. I was fortunate to have been invited to build something under the water pertaining to the library theme. The seabed is covered in a large page with script in PrimChords. The underwater telephone poles have also caught more pages of script in their wires.

My underwater contribution to the installation. 

     Above the waves are fine works by several artists. Whether the visitor is able to make it into the Library or not by getting past the dragon, it's absolutely worth it to stand at the entry and cam around. It's a work of art, and every angle of it is exciting, you can only take excellent photos.

You land in the giant pin studded seed high above the ocean. Stepping outside
of the seed, you teleport automatically to the island below, at it's entrance. Once
you get past the dragon, the Library will show you in no uncertain terms that
gravity is a mistake. Tap your forward button just a little at a time for more control.
But don't expect full control, this is what happens when physics changes its mind.


Looking from the back of the Library toward the entrance

A very lively "book"  by Alpha Auer. There are also other
amazing artists present at the Gravity installation. 





XXX


Sunday, May 29, 2016

STUDIO OF STORIES

Looking onto the pink domed Studio of Stories in the distance,
from the waterfall at Maze Gardens. 


The facade of the studio on Paper Tower Court.
The inner dome is a concave lens carved into the large drum above the studio space.
Being that the drum resembles a crown, one can also call this building the Crown of Frogs.
The 3D falling cubes are a twist on pendentives, helping to secure the drum
onto the building proper. 


Interior of the studio. 


     Since yesterday, I’ve been remodeling the ACC Builds Studio (one of the pavilions on Paper Tower Court) for the purpose of sharing readings and performance. I now refer to it as the Studio of Stories. I opened up the previous small room compartments into one large space, but divided it into different levels for a more dynamic floor plan with tiered seating. The walls are three textures deep to impart a soft glitter effect. To engage the eyes’ pleasure of the arts, two sea themed works by Lilia Artis grace the walls. Removal of the double arches afforded me the space I needed to open the ceiling into a dome. After constructing a drum, the new inner dome could fit snug into it.


Detail of sculptures.

Two of the six nixies found inside the dome's space.

Pulling further back, one sees the skylight based on Mantegna's painting




     The Frog Dome


     I wanted some kind of Baroque or Rococo elements in the painting of the inner dome, as well as lavishing sculpture at its base. I took a ceiling painting by Mantegna for inspiration, but replaced the angels and humans with whimsical frogs and nixies. I just happen to have a superb collection of the aforementioned creatures sculpted by Garvie Garzo of MeadowWorks. The frog and nixie pieces have been fashioned with great care by Garvie, and they now protect the vaulted ceiling from any conventional expectations. The amphibians adorn the rim of the inner dome with a variety of yoga poses. The sky within the dome is four textures thick, three of which are alpha layers, and you may know the joy of working with a room full of alphas! The closer you cam into the glitter walls and dome, the larger the specks become. Adjusting your distance from these architectural features will yield various effects. I hope you find just the right one for your taste! To see more frogs on the sim, also visit the meditation hall at the House of Accentaury, which is on the Plateau of Man Park.






XXX

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

New Transportation/Tour in Accentaury.


     Have you ever boarded a ship which travels counter clockwise in the air… then to the seabed… and beyond? Now you can ride a most unusual new mode of transportation in Accentaury. Click the ship when you see it – look somewhere in the proximity of the Paper Observatory (the giant domed building which floats above the center of the ACC Alpha sim).  It may take a minute or two before it emerges from the sea. You cannot miss its large size. There are three chairs on the deck, but it doesn’t matter where you click to sit, any part of the ship will place you into the animation on one of the chairs.
The ship rises toward the Paper Observatory which hovers over Accentaury.

     HOW TO RIDE:     Simply right click anywhere on the ship, choose SIT HERE from the pie menu, and you’re on your way. Next, hit your ESC (Escape) key on the keyboard, and the camera takes over for a good avatar perspective. And if you wish to ensure your view to be facing forward during the ride, when you right click on the ship, click on the ship while your view is facing forward, and this establishes the angle you will experience during the tour. Hit the ESC key as explained above, and your camera does all the work, all you need do is sit back and enjoy the short ride. [Usually you will face forward by default, but sometimes it does a side view… which is also interesting. You have some degree of control by choosing the camera angle before right clicking the ship].

     WHAT YOU WILL SEE:     Certainly you’ve been on Second Life transports and tours that take you around the sims, on land, in the air, and even above and below the sea. But have you been on one that also dips you below the sim, below the lowest seabed of the sim? It’s murky blue down there, and you’ll see it for a brief time on the ride. Hold your breath! You will also see the sim of Sparquerry off in the distance, and like magic you will traverse solid walls, and glide up to the Paper Observatory in a rather surprising kind of entrance.

It's murky UNDERNEATH a sim. This is below the lowest seabed level.

By contrast, here I reemerge above the seabed, enjoying the refreshing cold waters
of the deep sea.

Flying up from the sea, high into the sky is the entry to the Paper Observatory.




     MUNICIPAL TRANSPORTATION:     Not only does this ride give you a tour of sorts, and a good dunking into the ocean, but it will also deliver you right inside the Paper Observatory. No matter where the ship is when you click to STAND, you will be disembarked instantaneously onto the floor of the Paper Observatory. Nearby is a teleporter disc on the ground. You can left click that for a menu of 9 other stops available for transport in the Accentaury city. This time, you will travel much quicker and by space ship. This is the teleporting system that has been in use here since 2010. It’s old and reliable. The spaceship follows you like a puppy for a half minute after escorting you to your chosen destination. Then it flies up into the sky for a fond farewell until your next teleporting click.

The teleporter inside the Paper Observatory allows you to access 9 other
destinations on the ACC Alpha sim. Left click for the menu of locations.
Click the location you wish to visit, then right click to sit on the ball that appears
above the teleporter. You're on your way. A quick way to see many of the sites.


     Enjoy your stay in Accentaury on the ACC Alpha sim.






XXX

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Ancient Sea of Domes at Plateau of Man Park

Skyline at Plateau of Man Park, over the rooftop of House of Accentaury.
The floating disc in the sky is the remains of the top of the Paper Tower
which used to dominate ACC Alpha.


     After having refurnished parts of the Camel Pavilion which gives onto the Plateau of Man Park, I also trimmed some of the bushes, cleaning up the look all around that area. The trees actually show better when there is less density of the lower shrubs. The park is still quite lush on this mesa overlooking Accentaury. I decided to do a little photo series of the skyline based on the plentiful domes found in this section of the city, and how they play among the trees which reveal them through their gentle lacy leaves like silk veils. The photos are all taken in the natural sim light, without any manipulation in Photoshop. I like the soft atmosphere the region lighting gives.

Looking toward the Camel Pavilion and House of Accentaury.

Same view as above, but showing the grounds of the park. The building to the right
houses a fountain in a pond where a mother duck and her duckling swim.
Beyond the park in the far distance is the top of a tower at Darkrodin's Notebook.







XXX

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

POST FANTASY FAIRE DIGGING

View onto the cliff side dwellings of Medusa Locks.
Lots of activities have recently been at work in this neighborhood.


     Almost invariably, every time I finish a large installation, such as Fantasy Faire, either ACC Alpha, or Sparquerry will get lots of attention, usually in the form of some remodeling here or there. It's not only because I enjoy building that I do this, but each installation I make in world, new things are learned, and I am propelled to upgrade some of my older builds.

The old vase in the newly retextured hallway at Medusa Locks

     For years, I had been bothered by the messy trail called Black Forest Lock, around the book bindery. In that tiny space, it was impossible to widen the trail, however, to simplify the windy road into a more straight forward line solved the problem. While I was at it, cleaning the upper portion of Black Forest Lock was also a major undertaking. The old vase on pedestal remains on its same spot, but the 'closet' was removed as well as the new primchords textures added to lighten up the area.
     The book bindery also got a fresh coat of textures, and simplification.

The book bindery gets a face lift. Also on Medusa Locks.

     The beautiful work of artists Silas Merlin, and Eliza Wierwight played key roles in some of the recent remodels. Silas is a very talented pastel artist and sculptor, who brings his real life art into SL. He observes the festivals in Bretagne, France, where the locals dress in traditional costumes. Silas then captures them in his own compositions and delivers us remarkable drawings. The sense of light, and color and line are masterful. When remodeling the Pen Temple at the base of Medusa Locks, I began filling the room with these artworks. In addition, I had been purchasing furnishings and plants from Eliza Wierwight's Banyan House. She is the creator of Patron, in case you aren't familiar with her work, I highly suggest you look up her profile and fly over to Banyan House to see one of SL's wonders. The quality of Eliza's artistic creations are flawless, and I was grateful so many of the pieces are for sale so as to incorporate some really comfortable settings at ACC Alpha. The Camel Pavilion also got a new set of furnishings thanks to my shopping fun at Banyan House.

New furnishings by Eliza Wierwight at the Camel Pavilion at Caravan Terminus.

Silas Merlin's pastel paintings on the walls of the Pen Temple at Medusa Locks.
Patron furnishings by Eliza Wierwight.

More paintings by Silas Merlin, and furnishings by Eliza Wierwight.




     Silas Merlin just finished "Mademoiselle Rose" based on the painting by the French artist Delacroix. Silas made a 3D sculpture after the painting, and provided the background on a separate prim which carries the texture of the painting's background, so you have a kind of diorama set up. You have to see it to believe how well done it is. For Mademoiselle Rose, I felt the best place to set her up was in the old glass studio at Medusa Locks.


Silas Merlin's 3D statue based on the painting "Mademoiselle Rose" by Delacroix.
The painting is in the forefront on the easel, and the statue is to the right of this,
and can be viewed at all angles.

     In case you are wondering, these are all public places, so please just walk in. They are intended for visitors to see.





XXX