Saturday, June 26, 2010

The trick to building?

So, I've been asked a lot how I got to be able to build so good. And I always say the same thing, practice. Every time I try and do something, I always try and challenge myself, and every time I always get better. And the trick is, to push yourself outside of your comfort zone, because then when you do accomplish, you can look back and really notice how much you improved.

Here is a picture of the first sculpty I ever... a pillow. And that was I believe back in the summer of 2007. I was completely new to Blender and 3D modeling. But, I kept trying to make new things, look up tutorials, and try out different techniques. One of the main tutorials I used was from Machinimatrix.
Now fast forward to 2010, and here is some seating for the auditorium for the new Oceanside Elementary that I am building. Each seat is 1 prim, and when you sit/unsit the seat got up or down. And it also has baked in shadows, and the texturing was done completely in Blender.

Now I know some people are going to say "Oh, it took you 3 years to get that good." But, everyone starts at the beginning. If I just said "I'm never going to get as good as these other people." we would never have a lot of the fun stuff for camp, or the cool stuff from HKE over the years, or even a lot of the houses my family lived in.

Its also about not putting your goal too far out of reach. It's like if back in 2007, when I never touched Blender, and I wanted to make the seating. I would never been able to do that, I would have become discouraged and just given up. Its about setting an immediate goal that challenges you.

I don't know if this will help anyone, but I hope it does. It's very satisfying when you look back on something you just made, and you are proud of what you did. And I love to be able to share that with people.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

My SL Toolbox

I'm sure everyone is curious what certain content creators use to make the amazing things that they bring into Second Life. So, I thought I would share what tools I use in what I do, other then myself!

For texture creation, I use Photoshop CS4 with Filter Forge. I used to use Paint Shop Pro 9 when I first started Second Life, and only recently started using Photoshop as I wanted to broaden my skill set and also be able to improve the quality of my work.

For sculpties, I use Blender with Primstar (the sculpty add-on). For a free open-source program, it has been a great tool. Maybe not as feature rich as the more professional programs out there, but as a starting point, very good.

As for building in Second Life, the best tools I have are the built in building tools. Although I do use the Emerald client, which adds some nice extras. For example, it adds more decimal points to the values, one button copy/pasting of position/size/rotation, extra shapes, and something I just found out, planar texture auto-align. Although this last one I believe is from the latest version 2226 which is still in Beta.

Cool Stuff: Uploadable Meshes

This is something that I am super excited about. This is what sculpties should have been. Full meshes that can be animated! And, they can also be made to replace the avatar but move with you.

I am curious too how physics will be with it, as I am curious about using it for building houses.

Although with LL's recent layoffs, I wonder how this will hinder development of new features. Although as far as useless new features, I think the new voice changer that is in the Viewer 2.1 is up there.

Fathers Day

This would have to be one of the best fathers day I have had. My kids organised a treasure hunt that I had to do to find my fathers day gifts. So, I loaded them up on my back and off we went searching around the island for them! All the gifts, and the time they took to put all of this together was just so amazing. And what I also loved was that some of the presents was things that I could share with them, like two story books. So I look forward to many nights ready bedtime stories to them! :)

I'm just amazed at my kids, and I love them all to bits. Everyday that I get to spend with them, I just feel luckier to be their dad.