Monday, 27 February 2012

Colour Challenge Week 9 - Dandelion

I really must stop assuming I have stuff for these challenges and leaving it to the last minute and then panicking because actually, yellow is NOT gold and therefore I don't have a lot of it after all, and the outfit I did have an idea for is totally unsuitable. But I did manage to put together a look I'm very happy with (i.e. would wear again, on top of making good photos). I love it when everything comes together for a challenge like this =)

Dandelion Days

Charming, isn't she =^.^= She just exudes sunshine and wholesomeness and I can't stop looking at her, she is so peaceful - suits me very well and yet (as you can probably tell from the previous eight posts) is actually nothing like me in almost every way! I think the stockings and ears/tail are the truest colour match but the dress is pretty close and was begging to be used.

Incidentally I had another battle with invisiprims/alpha meshes while making this one, but I'll post that gripe after the credits. I've changed my monitor resolution too - we swapped the VGA cable for a DVI cable and this allowed the computer to work out the best settings for the monitor, which I think makes a positive difference to my photo quality and incidentally corrects some annoying menu glitches I was getting in the Firestorm UI. Oddly though, I seem to be getting different sizes of shot in full-screen view. Meh, I'll work that out later.

Credits (oh joy... Blogger has decided to set everything to centre-alignment even though it SAYS it's not, and I'm not trawling through the code to correct it all so I'm sorry but you'll just have to cope.)

Dimbula Rose STAR*CAT skin (shooting star hunt prize)
Fireshadow's Emerald Green Eyes Slitted
Free from MB-CreationZ - Eye Sparkles
0 Style "You" Glazed Sand hair
Chimera Neko ears & tail - Yellow Tabby (free avie parts)
Sensations Nails (see item shoutout, below)

SF Design Daffy Down Dilly dress & bonnet
Battered Boudoir Yellow Savina stockings
J's Real Toe Tassele Wedge Sandals BEIGE (not my spelling mistake!) - these are lovely but I have to say, the prim toe-colour customisation HUD is the least user-friendly model I have ever encountered...
Shoe correction thanks to Avatar Alpha Masks CC by imnotgoing.sideways (free on marketplace or full perms, ask me for a set) - more about this in a minute...

Brat Designs Sunflower choker & bracelet
Baby Butterfly10 by Candie Apple (full perms, ask me)
Grendel's Children Dandelion 'wewie' doll (old RP creation, not on sale)

[AD] Angelic Designs RoseGarden Couples Bench (from a scenery set, modified)
Concrete Flowers Dandelion Love Vase 
Forest Floor *Fruit Collection* Apple tree
Field of Dreams meadow emitter v1.1 (old full perms freebie, ask; has 9 particle textures)

Item Shoutout

Sensations Nails - priced somewhere around L$350 I think, and worth every cent; I wear them with just about everything. They are customisable via a very easy to use HUD and you can choose between short claws (as pictured here), long talons, or round or square ended human nails. There is a ton of different nail polish options, OR you can import your own textures (!) - there are optional rings and leash holders (for your RP pet) - AND every finger is individually adjustable. They come in a variety of hand sizes but only in increments of 10 so you might be stuck if you have a really odd shape but they should be fine for most folks (or mod shapes). One word of warning - they are from a BDSM store, so the PG shopper may want to be careful.

AND I have just noticed that my nails were off-kilter in the first shot, so I had to do it again (this happens sometimes, they just need to be taken off and worn again) and I don't even see them in the third shot but oh well, enough messing about. You get the idea.

Shoe Correction - A gripe about invisiprims

Have you noticed yet that LL broke invisiprims? If you always buy the latest shoes, you won't care; but for collectors like me, it makes me really mad that most of my shoes are now broken :( People say 'oh just wear an alpha mask'. LIKE IT'S THAT EASY. New shoes are created with a custom mask that fits that particular shoe; now you try and find anything to fit your old shoes, particularly open styles with lots of places where the system foot shows through and just hiding the foot creates an odd gap. (And I'm not talking THAT old. Sculpts with prim feet, not the really old standard prim shoes which are hopelessly outdated.) 

I am very grateful to Immy for sharing a large bunch of different foot masks, which helps to get at least a ballpark fit; yet I suspect that there is no way to get the perfect match for some shoes, which were designed around the premise of working invisiprims. It's probably just not possible to specify the mask parameters that closely. I am trying to learn how to make the things myself, as it's a problem I'm constantly running into, and not just with shoes; you know that annoying drawback to prim jackets, where your butt sticks out? Immy has some more masks to help there, but alas, I found out that there are no masks to hide the skirt layer. And there was last week's flexi skirt issue, of course. 

I like trying to learn new things, but I do wish LL would realise how far-reaching some of their code changes are in consequence. It's not so bad for the full avatars (like my Ur-flamingo or dragons) because you can just wear a full-body alpha, but when you have parts modded to a human body, such as with furries or various fantasy races, it soon becomes a problem.

Hey, what - did you really think this was going to be a short post? I'm done now =^.~=

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Colour Challenge Week 8 - Dark Raspberry

Hooooo! This week wasn't too hard, outfit-wise; mostly a case of accessorising my one gown that seemed to fit this colour, which surprised me, as it's a nice colour and quite in my range. Pleasingly, it is also a dress by one of my favourite designers. It's the first colour post where I have fit the avatar around the clothes, instead of the clothes around the avatar, and as a result I am looking unusually "normal" - the only non-human thing about me is my ears! I had to put something on, I don't feel right if I 'pass', and Flea had just very kindly given me the new Harpy v.3 after seeing my Alice Blue post - the new harpies are awesome, by the way, they have the Icarus flight system option and a really beautiful, musical song HUD made up of rainbow feathers. So I made up a rather Victorian looking elf I was happy with, then wandered around my friends' sim looking for a rustic photo opportunity and found a delightful little bridge by a stand of foxgloves which PERFECTLY matched the colours in my dress. Sorted, one would think.

Of course I had to go and make things difficult for myself, didn't I ;)

Quite apart from modding my hair out of my hat and trying to fit a belt to hide the folds of the skirt which didn't quite disappear neatly into my hips (yes, I am fussy) I first tried to pose using a chat typer that looked like I was writing in a book. This was hard to take shots with, as you have to type with one hand while you take the picture, and in any case it didn't really fit the scene - standing awkwardly in a clump of flowers with my head in a book, oblivious to the idyllic setting? So I decided to try leaning on the bridge instead. OH ME OH MY THE DRAWBACKS OF FLEXI SKIRTS... You lean,  your skirt does not, it continues to hang in flagrante delicto with gravity. And thus, your bony knees, indeed the greater part of your lower torso, sticks out for the world to see. How shameful! And how not to showcase a pretty dress. Invisiprims were out; they don't work properly any more and even if they did, the dress had an alpha layer which interfered. 

Alpha masks would seem to be required. But does anybody make an alpha mask which fits under a skirt? If you know of one, please do share. The problem is, a full lower torso mask goes up further than most skirt belts, leaving a very obvious gap in the tummy; and no foot/leg masks I have found go further than mid-thigh. I needed a very particular mask, cutting off just under the hips. Well, a dear friend came to my rescue and made just what I needed, despite me crying for help right in the middle of an um... delicate IM moment, shall we say ;) and as a result, I have the perfect legs-B-gone! pantywaister that will hopefully come in handy for many long skirted poses. Despite this, I still had to shorten my legs drastically so that my boot wasn't sticking out on the end of an invisible limb.

During all this, I was wrestling terribly with bakefail on login, for some inexplicable reason (for one whole day I couldn't log on at all) and although I can fix it by changing outfits, the first change results in a COMPOSITE of both, even though the only options are replace or remove. This resulted in a very silly image of a flamingo in a dress, which I will share. Anyway, bakefail, extrovert legs and photogenic poses all finally negotiated, I got down to the serious business of you know, actually taking the photographs. And then wasted at least two days not posting the results because I was sick of the whole thing *g* And here it finally is! I shall call it

Girl on a Bridge
Introspection with Foxgloves

A Quiet Walk in the Country

Contemplating Nature

Demure Demoiselle

Flamingo in Drag

Incidentally, the nearest colour on Chirag Mehta's colour wheel is Camelot. There isn't a Raspberry on there of any kind, which I find odd, although possibly raspberries are not a very common fruit, internationally.


Skin, hair, boots: (PixelDolls) Revenait au Rivage "Iridescent" avatar (eyebrows tinted!)
Purpleish pink eyes by newbietemplate Linden - copy/trans, if you would like a pair just ask
Ears from Grendel's Children Harpy v3.0

Digit Darkes "Serina" dress in wine with 
Misterious! Ivory pearl lace gloves by Nonna Hedges and
Yak & Yeti Tibetan Chuba Belt in red brocade

"Alma" jewellery set by Bewildebeest (store sadly closed)

Headgear: The Mad Hatter Vintage Embroidered Linen Top Hat with Pins with
PurpleMoon 'Day' hair headpiece from Tropicalia Bazaar - available now! - I just bought this and found that the default colour was perfect for the outfit, so I added it to the hat. It is only $75 for a set of hair in 4 colours (not worn) and a colour change ornament with multiple options.

I just LOVE The Mad Hatter hats. I have 25 of them. Every new hat is sold at a huge discount of $50 for the first week and they are all superb works of original art. This is actually the most ordinary of my collection. I have had to be severe with myself not to buy them ALL.

Digit Darkes is another of my favourite designers, and I have been with her since the start, as she was the business partner of one of my first friends in Second Life (who came through Help Island with me). I've already used one of her dresses (in Alice Blue) but I'm really pleased to be able to post a dress-oriented challenge response in her brand. This post is designer heavy really, as both PixelDolls and PurpleMoon are two more [primarily clothing] stores which have profited greatly from my hoarding instincts, not to mention my favourite avatar store, Grendel's Children. I am old enough to have seen all these stores blossom from small shops to self-owned sims, and judging by the quantity of their products in my inventory, I have helped them along in no small way! At some point I suppose I really ought to post a favourite store list, with landmarks.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Colour Challenge Week 7 - Folly

I took one look at this eye-searing colour and thought FLAMINGOS!!! First I thought I would see if Grendel's Children had a flamingo avatar, but they didn't. Then I thought, what would be even better (because this is how my mind works) is a giant, carnivorous flamingo >:) What they do have in this concept is a feathered dinosaur, the Oviraptor, but they only sell it in a colour fatpack for L$300 - I left the whole thing til today and nearly cried when I found out, but I appealed to Flea and she let me buy just the white one, so I could re-tint it the exact shade. YAY and thank you so much Flea <3 I know I said I wasn't going to go shopping for this challenge but it's sort of almost not cheating because I had a couple of coloured oviraptors already (Christmas gifts) only they were textured so couldn't be re-tinted, and I knew exactly what I needed for the correct shade.

As for the photo-shoot, there was only place that could possibly happen, which is the flamingo swamp just down the hill from the Schadenfreude elephant at Lloyd. Once again, minimal draw distance was my friend, combined with the Fairy Warm Pinks (Paulina) setting on windlight to make a rosy primeval setting. (Sort of.)

For those who don't know, birds evolved from dinosaurs. (Much smaller ones than this, it has to be said, and birds have never co-existed with dinos, but there is this thing called artistic licence.) So here it is, my ancestral flamingo:-

The Ur Flamingo


Mimic (Wolf in Flamingo Clothing?)


There isn't really much more to say. That was the easiest challenge so far, but mainly because I have NOTHING else appropriate in my inventory, and the colour just screamed what to do. I am very grateful to Flea Bussy (Grendel's) and Allegory Malaprop (Schadenfreude) as well as whoever Paulina is (for the windlight setting) for making this post possible. And hey, it's not especially easy to re-tint an entire avatar, you just try it some time ;)

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Colour Challenge Week 6 - Alice Blue

Oh my, this was the hardest colour for me yet; I don't do pastels and this shade is so pale, it actually shows up as white under most lighting conditions. I thought at once of a skin I have, which is very pale sky with clouds, and wanted to do some kind of air elemental (elementals are a favourite concept of mine). I wasn't 100% happy with the result; I like the look, but think it's far more 'mythical monster' than 'spiritual sylph'. She is more of a bird goddess than a harpy, a little like the Hindu divinity Garuda. Fine for the challenge but not quite my elemental - that's going to take some future revision. But for now, I bring you the Harpy of Ice Mountain. Sorry, no story this week - RL has been super busy and it took long enough to put the outfit together and find a photo location. But I'm really thrilled so many of you liked my story from last week :)

Incidentally, do you know how hard it is to find mountains in SL? Why does nobody do mountains D: I tried 'ski resorts' and finally got lucky, though I had to put the draw distance down to minimal to phase out all the tourist cabins - charming, but not the rugged wilderness look I was going for. If you know of a good public sim with mountains, please tell me! They don't have to be snowy. But properly high, and pointy, and not out of reach in off-sim void-space, so I can fly in them and take pictures.

The Harpy of Ice Mountain

Behold my Kingdom!
This colour just screamed ice and snow, and the clear, cold air of high mountain passes. If I wasn't so hooked on non-human avatars, I'd have done a skier in an alice-blue snow suit. And then I'd have had to find a snow suit *g* 

The skin is the focus of this challenge; everything else in the outfit is just to build and complement the look of the avatar, especially the dress, which I just had to use even though the blue is too dark. It's called "Goddess - Sky", so how could I not? I tried tinting the feathers the correct shade but then everything just looked white so I went with a range of blues instead, as befits a supernatural creature of the skies.

The Grendel's Harpy AO is superb, and I couldn't resist a show-off flight to demonstrate my snowflake wing trail :) Perhaps the harpies are the mythical bringers of snow to the mountains, seeding it from the frozen tips of their crystalline wings?

Yes, I'm still in love with shadows on the v3 clients. I particularly like how these little shadows look like clouds, and complement the clouds on the actual skin. I don't know what was throwing the shadows; possibly objects outside my very low draw distance, although mostly there were only trees and cabins.

Defending her Lair #1

Defending her Lair #2
I should maybe have tried a fiercer expression for the last two, but it was late; and she's not really a vicious predator, more a stern but kindly guardian of nature. More likely to resort to throwing snowballs at trespassers than peck out their eyes ;) This sort of behaviour may be why she has earned the reputation as the Harpy of the Mountain. She tries to keep to herself, but during the skiing season, the tourists get everywhere. Nature lovers will empathise, I am sure.


Wolf Mountain Ski Resort - Apart from the photo opportunities and the fact it's the only properly high mountain I've found, this resort offers a wide range of fun activities and cabin rental.

Windlight: Sunset. Daytime set to sunset for Behold! and Flight, sunrise for Shadows.

Sky skin by ^^dk^^ deadkitties ~ 'sky' avatar freebie (it has cool hair, which I also wanted to use, but the look wasn't gelling for me - another reason this one has taken so long).

Night sky eyes by Lola Frederick (a friend).

[ni.ju.] tintable white claws - perfect for an avianoid. I'm so happy I found these claws, I will be using them a lot!

Harpy wings, flight AO, legs & feather 'hair' from Grendel's Children ~ Harpy v.2 (white, re-tinted) - legs retextured with Isle of Wyrms silver dragon scales. The great thing about the legs is the claws close naturally in flight, only I had the devil of a time messing about because LL have broken invisiprims with their latest code and I had to find a leg alpha mask to fit. Every pair of v2/3 boots seems to have its own unique mask which won't suit anything else :(

Inspired Snow Fairy particle wings - themselves such a perfect colour match I had to use them, although they don't quite fit the style of the arm-wings. I should think some extra wing-power would be needed for such a large creature though.

Dress: Digit Darkes' Goddess - Sky. I'm really pleased to be able finally to feature one of my favourite dress designers in this challenge, as my posts aren't really about fashion, and the majority of my wardrobe hasn't matched the colours so far. You'd be forgiven for thinking that my inventory is higher on the avatars than the clothes, but nothing could be further from the truth (just ask my sister...) The reason I don't go around as a dragon all the time is that you can't dress up much in that shape! And anyway, shape-shifting is fun *g*

Jewellery: Lolapop! Blue Rain clouds; my usual L&E arm rings; YIPs "is a bird" feather armlets freebie; feather headdress *TSM* The Stringer Mausoleum Laurel of Air (from her elemental manes pack) which I tinted to match the dress.

Shoulder pet: HPMD* Little Birds - sky blue. These sculpted birds come in a huge range of colours, they are mod/copy and only 3 prims, they chirp and turn their little heads and are utterly adorable. They are a must-have for anyone who likes birds.