An artist is I

Well, at least kinda sorta.

I had two reasons for wanting to learn makehuman.

One was to have a mesh avi in opensim -got that sorted now.

The other reason was so that I can make statues -without spending decades learning how to sculpt.

So I set up a model in makehuman, exported it to blender with the mhx2 plugin, did some posing in blender and exported it to colloda and thus:

Ulrika Facepalm 22May2017_001

A tribute that speaks volumes …mostly wondering wtf

I had to dink around a bit -the original skirt was much too short, undignifiedly so considering who this is;

34704031101_684f253007_o

and considering her reaction to my builds 😉

Of course either version is a far cry from my original;

UlrikaStatue-2017_001

With a few red prims, a few wood planks, I made a place to stand…

 

But fixing the skirt proved suprisingly easy -I exported it to colloda and loaded it in Blender. In blender I just went into edit mode, selected faces, copied, pasted and the skirt was longer. Then I realized I could stretch the faces on the blouse and stretch them (instead of copying) and I was set.

My prim statues are probably more clever …doing more with less, after all… but my little “makehuman cheat” opens up a lot more opportunities to me and lets me do a lot more, a lot quicker.

I’m not sure if you’d call it art (although Zappa said that Art is anything you can frame), but it’s close enough for me.

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Getting a grip on makehuman

I originally wrote this on G+ as a quick guide for my good friend Leighton Marjoram. However, I have a mind like a sieve so I’d better post it here too -for future reference, if nothing else!

+Leighton Marjoram…I suspect you’re way ahead of me on all this; but all the same I’ll type out the workflow I’ve figured out.

First, I grabbed rigs.zip from this post: http://www.makehumancommunity.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=12495#p31607 and put it into the makehuman\v1\data folder (overwriting what was there).

Then I grabbed makehuman and blender (again) -Makehuman 1.1.1 works ok for me.

I edited the figure to be as close as I could get it and then set the geometry to use opensim rigging. I did that by clicking the “pose/animate” tab and then picking the “skeleton” tab and picking the “opensim” item from the rig list on the right of the screen.

After that, I went to poses and selected the T pose (click the ‘rest’ box and the t pose will be the only one left).

To export, click ‘files’ then ‘export’ and change the following settings;
*mesh format:* colloda (dae)
*options:* feet on the ground
*orientation:* Z up, face X
*Bone Orientation:* local = global
*Scale Units:* meters

and saved it to a dae file.

I load this file in blender and then immediate export it to a different collada file. I’m not sure but it seems like blender adjusts the model during conversion and I’ve had better luck loading it in opensim …even tho it seems like a gratuitous, extra step.

When exporting I simple pick “SL + Open Sim Rigged”, type a new name, then hit ‘export’.

For importing, I guide the mesh uploader to the blender exported file and pick “avatar attachment” from the “this model represents” drop-down menu.

I pick “high” under the physics tab and click ‘analyze’.

Then I go to ‘upload options’. I don’t bother uploading textures (it doesn’t seem to work -probably because of something I’m neglecting to do in blender?) but I check the “include skin weight” and “include joint posistion” boxes. I do NOT check the lock scale option -it seems to result in deformed avatars (at least for me).

Mind you all of this “works for me” *…today.* That might change tomorrow; I’m still figuring things out. But I’ve uploaded a few avatars and this should give you a general workflow to work from -even if you need to tweak a few things here and there.

[Update] I should mention a few things here:

Number one -this process is still very much something I’m figuring out. For instance, sometimes something will upload, sometimes it won’t -sometimes it’ll upload if I reload it. I’m still perfecting this/working out the bugs so this should be taken as a **general** guide.

After uploading, you should attatch the object to your *Avatar Center* attachment position.

If you don’t have a full body alpha layer -this is the time to create one. It should be easy to do (in firestorm it is, at least).

After you’ve got it attached, click on the object’s link in “worn” and click “edit”. You’re going to need to find the textures that go with the dae from makehuman. they should be in makehuman\data\v1\exports\graphics …or wherever you saved the dae file at. From there you’ll have to upload the textures you need and then add the hair, eyebrows, etc one by one using “select face”. It sounds a lot more involved than it really is -practice makes perfect! 🙂

Special mention goes to this thread by Joey Aboma, where Aine Caoimhe’s posts helped point me in the right direction: https://plus.google.com/103339622901084181366/posts/4tbpo6k3pmx
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Copybot and recourse

I was IM’d on my grid about the copybot thing being talked about. A **lot** of innocent people in SL have had their reps ruined over false claims so I hesitate to jump into the fray. Particularly since I think I would be helping right-wing anti-FOSS ideologues (I know who you are) by getting involved.

But IP theft hurts Free, Libre software since it removes the element of choice (of how your creations are used). Creative commons items that are used against their license are victims too.

Free Software requires the rule of law to be enforced -copybot is an attack on that so it’s an attack on Free Software, too.

I’m not going to address the apathy about the subject I’ve experienced in the community -other than this one sentence written to acknowledge its’ existence.

The way to get copybotted stuff removed is by getting the creators involved.

There is no other way -none. Nor should their be; if you didn’t make it, you don’t know if it was given with permission, if it’s licensed or what.

“I saw it in SL, so it must be copybotted” just doesn’t fucking cut it.

In the late 00’s there was at least one fashion blog that made their bones by posting and encouraging false accusations of copybot.

A lot innocent people were hurt and driven out by that witch hunt.

The difference between opensim and SL however is that they could **afford** to lose those people. The free meta is on life support (the 0.8.2.1 release of opensim came out when?) as it is. Moral issues aside (persecuting innocent ppl is bad, ok?) we can’t afford to lose mind-share because of a hysterical witch hunt.

We can’t abide brazen theft, at the same time we can’t allow anti-free-software ideologues to whip up a witch hunt that drives off folks whose only crime is not keeping track of their sources.

Our community will certainly come to a Bad End if we allow ourselves to dance to the tune of the pipers wanting to eradicate free content so that there the only content available is the content which they sell. If we allow that witch hunt to play out, those profits will come at the cost of undeservedly ruined reputations.

Recourse:

There is brazen theft out here, yes. When you see something brazenly stolen, look up the creators in SL: search marketplace.secondlife.com and send out notecards (that means **log in** to SL; create an account if you need to) with the information they need -include the grids’ contact info.

The rest is up to the creators. After they’re told, apart from offering information or clarification, it’s not your fight -it’s theirs.

If YOU are an opensim creator being copybotted -open a blog, and document, document, document. With screenshots. Show each notice you send, show each response you get (document it if time -a month, etc passes without a response, too). Most grids will take down stolen content if the *creator* tells them about it.

Name and shame those grids who don’t (with PROOF).

There are constructive, concrete actions that can be taken -though at the end of the day copybot will be with us always; just as it is in SL. But joining an angry, thoughtless mob does nothing but hurt our community by hurting the innocent -so have a care, double and triple check before calling people out.

But once you’re sure, and have proof; name and shame.

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Saying “fuck it” again

The whole opensim scene has fallen to shit, infighting and general bozo-level stupidity. People are chasing out other people, and other people are just lashing out in blind stupidity.

There’s nothing good, and it’s completely fucked. I should have stayed away; I think this time I will (apart from seeing through Avatarfest, if Eryn wants to).

I have more than enough to do in SL, and if I need a sandbox I can always throw up an instance in a VM. I don’t need the rest of this drama,fighting, lashing out and general stupidity.

I handed Opensim Everything to Sunbeam Magic and left the group. For posterity’s sake, here’s my last post/rant.

Ok, I’m back to the conclusion that opensim in it’s entirety is completely fucked up and dysfunctional.

And a tremendous waste of time.

A tremendous waste of my time.

I’m on the verge of canceling avatarfest -but I think instead I’m going to wait a couple of weeks, talk to +Eryn Galen in person and go from there. She seems to be the only one whose interested, but after all the work she’s done (for the last three years), I owe her that much.

I’m out of this group, though and pretty much ignoring G+ (except for avatarfest-related business…and I do mean business; personal crap’s getting ignored too).

The community has fallen more and more into disarray since JCC left; it has no where to go but down. It’s become a ghost town, a wasteland of derelicts stabbing one another for that measly last dime.

I’m sick of it, I’m done with it. +Sunbeam Magic, the group’s all yours; enjoy!

Everyone else? See ya in the funny papers…

And included this picture:
Watchmen-Comedian-BurnTheme

What’s my prediction as I burn the map? That one by one grids will continue to peel off, mostly going broke. That spats will increase both in frequency and in viciousness. That as more moderate influences are driven off (Magnus Binder, Justin Clarke-Casey) more extreme and ill personalities will increasingly make the opensim scene an increasingly toxic and UN-FUN place to be.

Eventually, within five years; you’ll have a small band of bitter, hair-trigger and erratic hold-outs with everyone else having been driven off or having wandered off to new fields (sinewave space, etc).

Like any other boomtown turned bust, basically. There’s no need to see it through to the bitter end.

So I’m not.
Au revoir, Opensim.

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Fifty shades of Amber

My relationship with the CDS in twelve words:

leaving-comingbackin

…or least, it seems that way. Unlike past CDS adversaries I honestly have nothing bad to say about the folks there. It’s a simple case of mis-matched expectations -I’m passionate about preservation in a living sense, they are more willing to throw out the old in favor of the new than I am. What’s important to them isn’t to me, and vice-versa. It’s a recipe for endless frustration.

I keep banging my head against the wall with that org, to the point where my frustration and resentment prevents me from being a positive force there.

I intended on making a clean break, but I still have friends there so I think instead I’ll simply retire, keep my properties but let them lay fallow for now.

I reached a point in January where I felt like there wasn’t any point in being in opensim; so I closed down my servers -including Admeja.

And, in SL, wiped out Funadama and the Neuanzere project. I came to realize that It’s time for me to admit that the micronation tangent was a dead-end and to do something else. It was time, too, to let go of what Funadama was before I found Admeja and Mannie’s in 2010.

Since 2011, I’ve been chasing Funadama 2007 in one sense or another. I could remake it, and have remade my own version a few times. Now it’s 2017, and it’s time to go in my own direction, one that isn’t necessarily tied to earlier builds and places.

Throw over the table, wipe away the slate, go back to the beginning again.

Thing is ….”use it or lose it” is a very real consideration. After a month of an empty sim I began to feel anxious about what I was going to do -even if it was to kiss off SL. Luckily (?) it didn’t come down to that.

I sat in Funadama, hitting revert over and over again, just tossing things around in my mind. I thought about one of the things which I had wanted to do with Neuanzere was to make a hidden underground city.

Seattle has an underground city -which is mostly hidden and inaccessible. I remember being bitterly disappointed by that when I took the tour.

That led to another thought -all of the poor, and seedy places have been scrubbed from downtown Seattle long, long ago. I wandered there as a teen-ager in the early 80’s and by 93 it was already an altogether different place

One that was more hostile if you were poor. And my understanding is that it’s grown far, far worse.

The cheap “hotels”, the porn shops, pool halls and the scariest bars this side of hell …gone, largely.

I’m sure as hell not going to try to make another Seattle, that’s for sure! I don’t have the textures, I don’t have the skills and it wouldn’t be my own.

But over the next few years I’m going to try to make my own city center

…and my own underground.

I’ve already started:

map-1-1012-998-objectsFunadamaOverlook-17Ap2017_001

The grid pattern has to go, I have to come up with something else. That much is obvious. Right now I’m scouring flickr and the Seattle photo archives for building references and ideas and trying to decide what I’ll put where.

AvatarFEST is back on, but I’m sure will be much much more scaled back -and I’ve even returned to Opensim, though Admeja grid is in mothballs until I get the scratch to rent another server.

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CopayB0atin (reinventing the wheel bad)

For ages it seems like, I have been trying to make my “schloss” for the neuanzere project and as my home. It’s been a great learning excercise, but I know fuck-all about design -like, at all.

It’s 3 floors, roughly 24 meters in height. Going from one floor to the next is a challenge -teleporters feel wrong, I’ve been settling for ramps but they’re obtrusive. There’s also the question of layout too, but that’s another story.

So, in desperation (and in search of a reference) I looked in my inventory for stairs. There were several in my copy of the Linda Kellie outdoor build collection and I found one that had a lot of promise:

Coppyb0at-LK_001.png

It was great but I can’t copy it from my grid to SL and I thought it was sculptmapped (I was wrong -it’s prim) and not easily modifiable.

So -I decided to “copybot”, or rather creat my own copy based on hers.

This was part of her collection which is given away gratis under her “do what you want” license -so I had a clear conscience on that front.

The goal isn’t just to whittle a boat out of another boat, however. In the end I want to not just have an exportable copy of her stairs -I want to create mesh prefabs for other pojects.

At first I rezzed can copied prims, resizing them by hand to fit over the stairs she made:

Coppyb0at-LK_003.png

Then I realized that her stairs are prims, and I can do the old “edit select prims” and copy the size and rotation. That made things go a lot faster:

coppyb0at-lk_012

Eventually I was done

Coppyb0at-LK_014.png

-I had the build seperated into sections and ready to export:

exporting-25nov2016

Something that is important to note here; unlike XML, exporting to OXP seems to be version-dependant which is a HUGE and stupid pain in the ass. Restoring my oxp file may or may not be possible -I’ll include alternatives.

That’s IT for opensim! Time to hop over to secondlife’s beta grid:

(I chose the beta grid so I wouldn’t be interrupted, you can do this on the main grid just fine):

Once on the beta grid, I scavanged a workspace and imported the build from the OXP file I’d saved it to:

importing-25nov2016

ofc, Firestorm tends to restore things where-ever it feels like…so I had to manually set everything on the platform.

InBeta_002.png

That done, it was time to use a lil ol’ trick I learned from Arcadia Asylum:

InBeta_003.png

…or rather, a slight variation. She used sculpt generator, I use mesh generator.

Both are available on the marketplace:

sculpt generator (L$3k): https://marketplace.secondlife.com/p/Prim-Generator-32-prims-become-1-sculpted-prim/2124122

mesh generator (L$4k): https://marketplace.secondlife.com/p/Mesh-Generator-Convert-Prim-into-Mesh/5445477

For each section I wanted to convert, I did the following:

1)edited the root prim, copying the prim conversion script into it

2)converted it to mesh & download the dae file (renamed) to a DAE file on my hard drive

3)uploaded onto the beta grid (renaming it from MG_*)

Eventually I had a collection of han-held mesh prefabs:

inbeta_005

When I copied and assembled into mesh stairs:

InBeta_006.png

Of course, uploading mesh to second life costs money. Uploading the different files cost me roughly L$100 using the default settings. Your milage may vary, depending on the options you select.

There are a lot ..a LOT of faults with this. The prims should be better arranged and fitted before uploading them into Dae files, for instance. Also I’m aware that you can export to dae instead of using the mesh generator (I seem to have better results …lower LI… using the generator, so I go that route).

For those who want them, I am giving away what I made in different stages. Because this is based on Linda Kellie’s build, I am going to release it under a “do what you want” license -creative commons zero. Share, improve, make a buck off it if you can (if you do, send some lindens my way :p)…whatever you want.

A zip file containing the oxp file, dae/collada files and an iar file can be found here:

https://app.box.com/s/6ld8kxj8fdo471uvhbyboqxl7n9yj3dl

or here:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BygiJUUti7bFam1NV1RyV3dkRmM/view?usp=sharing

 

 

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Virtual worlds, real nervous break

I think it was roughly this time last year I ragequit G+ and everything, I felt overwhelmed and also I had doubts about how healthy virtual worlds are for me, for my mental health.

I’m having a nervous breakdown again, this spring. I’m feeling like I’m fumbling and messing up my involvement with 3RG and squandering an opportunity there. I’m not mad (of course), instead I’m filled with a lot of dread and anxiety.

I am mad about a couple of other VW projects centered around SL. Long story short, I feel as though me and my contributions are getting blown off, which pisses me off.

Thing is, my sleep is fucked IRL -I think I’ve gotten one, maybe two full night’s sleep in the last month. That fucks with one’s head in a major way.

I stopped one mind-altering med (ritalin), went through withdrawls and now I’m starting another (provigil).

Then there’s RL stresses involving me and my friends’ medical conditions …doctors visits, arranging shopping, that sort of thing.

This leaves me in a raw emotional state and I don’t quite trust my judgement, either.

The easy way out is to say “well, blame the virtual drama, cut it out and life will be easier”. I tend to over-extend myself and that’s definately a contributing factor …but I believe that’s also a cop-out.

I fell for that cop-out last spring and found myself profoundly missing this part of my life, and found myself still having to cope with things; so no …I don’t buy that it’s an answer.

I’ve been dealing with clinical depression and (clinically diagnosed) agorophobia since my 20’s. In that time I’ve learned some DBT tricks and I think instead of blaming virtual worlds,  cutting and running from them it will be better if I lean on some of the lessons I got from DBT;

1)Self soothing …while I adjust, things are going to be a roller-coaster. The best way to get through it is to spend time w/ people who nourish me and find things that are fun and focus on those as much as possible.

2)Radical acceptance. I need to look at some things I’m deeply unhappy with, throw up my hands and say “fuck it …it is what it is”. This is in a virtual world context, mind you. Haters gonna hate, flakers gonna flake. I have to take things, orgs and people for what they are and work around that …instead of what I wish they were or the potential that I see in them.

3)Practicing more mindfulness and detachment. It’s really weird, because I don’t think of myself (and IRL I don’t present myself) as a very emotional person …but virtual worlds bring out a primal, emotional side of me and I have to cultivate some detachment regarding them.

It’s a question of getting RL sorted out -and RL *is* getting better…and then when RL is sorted out (particularly on the medication front) I’ll be able to see things for what they are; right now I don’t quite trust my perceptions on a lot of things (lack of sleep, med changes make me distrustful a bit).

I’m going to have to re-assess what I can do, and what’s WORTH doing. But it doesn’t have to take a ragequit to do that. It’s a question of giving myself time to heal IRL, soothing myself as I go through that, and then having faith that when I’m better I’ll see things clearer and can cope with stuff then.

So I’m not leaving -leaving would be pointless and it’s not necessary.

 

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