Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Lilia's Details

Lilia Artis, my artist friend and collaborator building Fantasy Faire, also puts in a good amount of feedback and suggestions for ACC Alpha, and has contributed in some builds there as well. Just two days ago, she surprised me with a list of ideas, she knows I love her suggestions. You will see below that I not only appreciate her feedback, but usually implement them. Shall we get started?

The back side of the Paper Tower Studio, with fern frond pillars

The back side of the Visitor Center,  with fern frond pillars, 
facing Maze Gardens.

The back sides of the pavilions on Paper Tower Court, that side of the architecture which faces out toward the rest of the city, seemed massive and too sheer to Lilia. She felt they didn't relate to the city surrounding this grand central structure. Her idea was to break it down visually with a bit of detail, such as a row of columns. I agreed, feeling this would allow the walls of glass to take some comfort and fit in better with the style of the land of centaurs. Lilia's idea was to have the wall behind the Visitor Center be flanked directly by the pillars, perhaps touching the walls, or at an immediate proximity to them. However, in contrast, she said to have the pillars lined up outside the Paper Tower Studio be distanced, following the perimeter of the roof top upon which the entire Paper Tower Court is built. Having a little distance in this manner like a little avenue, would give the impression of history - perhaps in a distant time, two rows of pillars circumvented the arena, but behind the Studio, the pillars close to the wall fell, while the opposite would be true behind the Visitor Center. This reference to history is not meant to refer to a false past, rather, a contemporary kind of statement working more on the subconscious, why is it one way here, and another way there? 
Instead of straight columns, I used a kind of plant like structure rising a bit like a fern stem. The organic nature of it ties in with the curly nature of many architectural styles in ACC Alpha. 

Approaching the Ghost Sanctuary

Ghost Sanctuary with towers and balconies

One of the rooms at Ghost Sanctuary giving onto Venice Under Glass

Another room inside the Ghost Sanctuary. The wall textures are the same which
used to decorate the interiors of Paper Village back in 2013. The added ghostly
people I added today from textures I'd made many years ago, they make a come back.

Lilia asked me to rezz 6 of my new balconies. She then positioned them on a couple
of the houses at Paper Village. It made all the difference.

The house in the center of the picture now has the same type of new balcony
as the other buildings mentioned above. The old balcony was a very heavy
cement structure. It was actually at this house where Lilia's suggestions started.
The balcony overlooks Gemusy Market, definitely one of my favorite spots in the 
city of Accentaury. The furnishings and life all around the Market are Lilia's touches.

Lilia’s feedback on some of the paper-like houses along the front base of the Paper Tower Court, was nearly the same. She noted how they seemed blocky, and too similar one to another. She sent me some photos of European details which break up a flat surface, such as embedded towers and turrets. Lilia also thought I should build some balconies. I did this at the Ghost Sanctuary, where added architectural features broke up the predominance on squares. I had all but forgotten how these old buildings were copied off the older builds of Paper Village. The interiors were originally translucent with interesting textures to save me from using prims to furnish the buildings, prims I did not have any spare at the time. While Paper Village has lost all its translucent interior walls in favor of finally being able to be furnished, The Ghost Sanctuary preserves it. I even added additional ghosts for a more thorough play with the effect. How do you get inside these houses? Just walk through the walls of course. One of the houses has direct access to Venice Under Glass, and the views from inside are especially soft and tranquil. I am debating whether to use extra prims to put in a couch or chair for those visitors who want a peaceful, private rest, for no one would see them inside these structures which are opaque from the outside. The wavy pillars I made for the Paper Tower Court area, by the way, are simply taken from the bars of the new balcony, and stretched 10 fold their original size.

Two long, narrow pots which had been a part of the original Paper Tower,
 are preserved, but presently take their new positions upside down.

When the Paper Tower was removed from ACC Alpha in 2014, I’d set up an exhibit showing the history of that structure. 5 years have passed, and I am considering using that particular room in the museum for a new exhibit. But first, I moved two of the ‘jars’ which came directly off the Paper Tower before its return to inventory. Those I have now moved onto the façade of the Paper Tower Studio, turned upside down, and balancing upon the heads of two guardian statues just below the level of the dome. 

The plane flies every which direction, while the pilot dog's ears flap in the wind.

And last but not least, is a gift Lilia surprised me with: a pilot dog who now flies in Maze Gardens, where the playground used to be. This made me especially happy, because the little quilted duck which Lilia got for me many years ago, has been a resident of the museum area ever since, and she is very happy to have company! This dog in a plane comes by way of a humorous inside joke. Lilia knows how deeply involved I am with the transportation systems on the sims, with a comprehensive railway, and always wishing I had the space for an airport. She rolls her eyes when she sees how the train tracks have overtaken every centimeter of the land – and sea. This gift was a perfect expression of the joy I get from working on the sims. To poke a little fun at myself, I made a tiny sign on the lawn next at the area where the pilot dog flies around his duck and cat friends. The sign reads: Accentaury Airport. If you look around the rest of the gardens, tranquility seems to reign. This is odd to say, but were someone to ask me where I like most to relax in peace and quiet on the sim, I’d probably say the airport.


Sunday, July 21, 2019

Recent Changes at ACC Alpha in 2019

The beach at Cranberry Dock has also been retextured, and the wind blew
the dunes into new formation.

The Playground once occupied this garden terrace. 
Now it is a relaxing spot to look onto views all around the gardens.

I haven't posted in a year not because nothing was happening, but because too much was happening and I fell behind. Several months ago, I began a project to clean up Accentaury. One of the first things I did several months ago after the end of Fantasy Faire 2019, was remove the playground because it was heavily scripted and very complex in appearance. I loved it, but took the big leap to make this part of Maze Gardens simple and green, so that when you look toward the museum from that space, you really see things much more clearly.

The Napping Sun. Fabrics and interior features sculpted in Blender.

The next major change to arrive on the sim was the Lighting Project. It's always been my desire to bake shadows into the buildings on the sim. Learning the Blender sculpting program allows this. The first interior to use this technique is the Napping Sun gallery. The process is to make a rough plywood dummy of the interior space, bring that into the Blender program, and build new walls onto the imported dummy. Then I discard the dummy and complete work on the shell I just made. When it returns back to Second Life, the exact dimensions and size are preserved.

Interior of the Ziki Pavilion. 

I also wanted to try another challenging space that had an irregular floor plan. One building in need of remodeling was the Ziki Pavilion at Venice Under Glass in the heart of ACC Alpha. This room was brought into shadow and light shortly after I'd finished the Napping Sun.

The purple platforms allow travelers to easily find their train.
Signs are in English and Primchords (the indigenous language of Accentaury).

Now coming into July, I had big plans. While on a trip, I drew out my ideas for removing the train tracks which dominated the square in front of the museum. Instead, I would bring those three lines under ground below the museum, and thereby clear up the square into a fresher look. The station would need to be large, so when I returned home I began work immediately July 1. This was one of the more complex digging projects because entry and departure tunnels had to be figured out for the simplest working system, and be clear to the user which platform to use. I wanted to give the rider a sense of arriving at a major destination, for in fact, the museum above is an expansive complex nearly a third of the sim large.

Accentaury Furniture. The interior is paper based.

The Centaurs' Beat dance club was replaced with the Accentaury Furniture shop. My friend Lilia Artis suggested I sculpt things that people could use to decorate their houses such as ceramics. Then I thought, what about still lives then? She liked that version of the concept, and so this is what is now being presented at the shop. Then I made a shell for the building in Blender with light and shadow and paper horses coming out of the wall. This continues the paper motif, after all, the shop is in the Paper Village district of Accentaury.

"Plantings" by Lilia Artis and Haveit Neox for the UWA.
The building they hold is Windham Tower at the UWA.

Many years ago, Lilia Artis and I did a collaborative piece for the UWA (University of Western Australia in Second Life). Lilia sculpted the female figure and I did the male figure. But both faces are textured with photos of the faces Lilia sculpted in terracotta in real life. This piece is one of my favorite works she and I made, and I finally decided to rezz it at the Menagerie Court in ACC Alpha even though it is nearly 200 Li. 

Accentaury School House. 

If you've traveled through Accentaury before, you may have noticed the use of a language written in a very different script. Some say it looks Chinese, some say Arabic, some say Hebrew. But it is the indigenous language of the ACC Alpha sim called Primchords. It is the language of the centaurs. The Library of Darkrodin, and its surrounding neighborhood is where one could find rare examples of this language. However, recently, it has bloomed across the whole sim, and signs are popping up in public spaces, such as the train stations and public institutions. Is there a Rosetta Stone for Primchords? The closest one may come to discovering more about it is in the Accentaury School House. Until mid July 2019, the space was a texture shop, which I speak more about below. The hints to the language show up on the blackboards as well as the student papers on the desks which have been corrected by the teacher. These centaurs are trying their best to learn English, and you can see their efforts on the homework assignment.

The new Sun Deck gallery and its stairs, perching atop the Napping Sun gallery. 
Now showing work by Art Oluja.

I made a little gallery on top of the Napping Sun building. It has a nice terrace which I call the sun deck. When Lilia saw the build, she asked how people would get up there. I said they could fly. But she suggested a stairwell would be practical, and could look interesting. I thought at first to hide it at the back of the building, but Lilia suggested in the front if I were to make the stairs look architecturally interesting. Off to Blender I went, and soon had access to the little gallery atop the Napping Sun. I wanted to show some of Art Oluja's work, and this was the incentive to build a new gallery. The views walking up the staircase are interesting, so this project worked out all the way around.

Accentaury Texture Shop. It is the bottom floor of the building in the
center of the photograph.

Lilia Artis thought it was a bad idea to move my little texture shop from the above school house building to the Museum shop, where I had a tiny corner. She likes the school, but insisted that I get a permanent space for my texture shop. She scoured the sim, and came upon an ideal spot at Paper Village. Right below the Parrot Troubadour café. But it was a low ceiling basement with prims from the café jutting in from above, and from the sides. It means doing a little bit of terraforming and reconstructing the lower walls of the building. Within a few hours, the space was ready to move in. The location is right at the Darkrodin Pier and below the café which Lilia furnished. So she and I share the same building which makes it especially nice.