Friday, December 16, 2011

Hair sale at D!va

psst...did you know that D!va makes really cool hair? All kinds of styles, from short to long, updo's and braids. Although a couple of the styles might be suitable for men, the majority are clearly for women, being quite girly with frills and swoops in all the right places.
The hairs fit well with so many genres like urban, scene, neko, kawaii, dolly, grunge, medieval, dress-up and yes, even everyday normal.
D!va has the coolest demo setup I've seen. Change colors, and watch the pose and accessories change. When I start selling hair, I want to offer demos like these. Of course, the problem with a static pose when trying to assess a hair is that you can't really see how the hair responds to movement, so the more recent D!va demos forego the static poses and instead encircle the wearer with a wreath of delicate ivy. Either way, it's fun - and also necessary. The hairs are no modify. They contain scripts for resizing, but if you have strands poking through your eyebrows or you want to tint the color a little, you're out of luck, so do try the demos.
Most of the styles are actually two styles, with a variation of bangs or scarf or hat included. Did I mention there's a SALE on right now?
And I should point out that the hair is 50% off. Yes, half off. Yes, ALL styles! With such cool demos and even the usual low price cut in half, how could anyone resist? (p.s. There are also a hunt prize, 4 lucky boards and many group gifts available!)
You need to visit D!va before December 20. Here's your teleport.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Photospot: Penthouse patio

Photospot on SL Unearthed is a semi-regular feature that highlights a Second Life spot that is a cool place at which to take portrait photos inworld. Not an entire sim, not even a complete parcel, but just a single specific location - a spot - with portrait opportunity.

If you go looking too hard for the "penthouse" in today's Photospot, you'll end up disappointed. This wonderfully wide ledge on a building in the Korea1 cityscape could be a real penthouse patio if there were a penthouse nearby, so we're just going to pretend there is one. The SLurl (follow the beacon if the region's landing point grabs you) will bring you to one particular corner, but the ledge goes all the way around the building; be sure to explore the visual possibilities from all directions.


The windows of the (#cough#) penthouse can be shot through, either from the exterior or the interior. In certain lighting, buildings seen through the glass can even appear as if they were being reflected. Play around with Windlight and experiment.

Flash and Style

This patio might be a bit austere, but there are so many stories it could tell. The time I spent here was quite enjoyable; just me, my camera and this lovely avatar smiling back at me. Gotta love SL.


Flickr members: you're invited to join the SL Unearthed Photospot group and add your pictures taken at Photospot locations to the group pool.
Take note that very little in SL stays the same for very long. After even a short while, Photospot locations may be gone or changed in a significant way that renders their SLurls ineffective as originally intended, so be sure to grab these opportunities as they come!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Photospot: Neko Catwalk

Photospot on SL Unearthed is a semi-regular feature that highlights a Second Life spot that is a cool place at which to take portrait photos inworld. Not an entire sim, not even a complete parcel, but just a single specific location - a spot - with portrait opportunity.

You don't actually have to be a neko to enjoy today's Photospot location. This rickety, wooden structure on the edge of "Mystery Man City" by Persephone Despres is a great spot for a neko, but it would also work well for many other types, from urban vagrant to superhero. You'll be landing, appropriately enough, near a photo lab! But don't get too excited -- they appear to be closed. Head up the catwalk instead. To reach our target spot, you'll need to climb a rope, take a couple steps and climb another rope, then walk up to the next level and climb a third rope. (You can climb yet another rope if you want to go all the way to the top.)
Photospot: Neko Catwalk
To the west is all ocean, which can help make a cool picture in itself, but we're turning our camera to the east so there will be a full urban vista behind our model. From here, we get a good view of Mystery Man City. Set up your favorite poses and start snapping. Jump around, cavort. Get a "feel" for the location and the field of view limitations (such as if you don't want open water in the urban setting).
Just Being Me
I didn't want the climbing ropes in my pictures, so I made them invisible - at least to me. On newer viewers there's a trick called Derender, but some of us are still running older ones. I enabled Advanced > Rendering > Hide Selected, then right-clicked a rope and chose Edit. Holding the Shift key, I selected the other rope so that both were selected. As soon as I selected them, they became invisible. I only needed to keep them in Edit mode. To make that activity invisible, too, I used View > Hide Particles so my selection "effects" would go away. I would have also hidden the pose balls (for the climbing), but they seem to be on a temp rezzer and each time they refreshed, they become a new object which is no longer selected. Rather than trying to re-select them each time they refreshed, I decided it was easier to deal with them in post. (Judicious cropping can often eliminate small unwanted items.)
Whenever you select something, your avatar will often automatically react by turning toward that item or pointing to it. That's not an issue if you're working with a model, but if you're your own model, be sure to select whatever items you want to hide first, then position your avatar and frame the shot.
Include both railings in your pics for a sense of the immediate locale, or catch just one. Take shots from afar, take shots up close.

Enticing Fascination
If you feel uninspired, remember that you can always mix it up a bit. Take a few shots, change the clothing, take a few more. Remember that poses can often look very different from a new angle; turn the avatar around and work those camera controls. Change the lighting, take a few shots, change the lighting again. Within one shot or eighty, you'll find the image that's a keeper, the one that says oh yes, that! That's how it feels up there on the neko catwalk in the heart of Mystery Man City!

Flickr members: you're invited to join the SL Unearthed Photospot group and add your pictures taken at Photospot locations to the group pool.
Take note that very little in SL stays the same for very long. After even a short while, Photospot locations may be gone or changed in a significant way that renders their SLurls ineffective as originally intended, so be sure to grab these opportunities as they come!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sim Crossing - Oubliette

Banner - Sim Crossing

Every couple of weeks (RL-willing), I drop in on a Second Life sim -- one square on the grid -- just to see what's there.  And every couple of weeks, I find a treasure or two.  One never knows what one will find in an unknown region!  This feature details the results of my explorations.  

Note:  This post was written on Wednesday, November 23rd, but I held off on publication until after the end date of the Unthemed Hunt.  Some things may have changed between then and now, but the sim is still there and snowy as of this morning, so I believe this Sim Crossing should be reasonably accurate.  It's only been four days... right?   - Cica

I am in a seasonal mood so, instead of scrolling over the World Map, this time I do a place search using the keyword "autumn." The first result: "Oubliette ~ Autumn Surrounds Us With Her Mystery." Sounds perfect to me! So I teleport.

I land in front of Balderdash - Bagatelle and Trinketry, in this sim owned by Elizabeth Tinsley, but that's not what has my attention at the moment. Instead it's the fantastical snowy landscape that gets my notice, as I wait for it to slowly appear. My connection is sluggish this morning, but that's okay. I'm in no hurry today, and Oubliette is a place to savor slowly. That much I already know.

Oubliette - Landing

That said, I am eager to start my wandering, and Balderdash, a structure wrought in elegant stone and stained-glass windows, is just the place to start.

"Welcome to Oubliette!" says a notecard given to me by a greeter board in front of the store. I won't quote it here -- you'll have to take one yourself -- but it emphasizes the air of mystery here, and justifies the need for taking it easy and wandering. I get the impression that I won't see everything, but that's okay. It's probably better if I just touch on the big things.

It is necessary to use the teleporter for Balderdash. I click it, choosing number two, the front of the mainstore, and taking a seat. The teleport barely rattles my tail feathers, and soon I see that I am surrounded by all sorts of fantastical things for sale. Fey ears, an ancient looking skybox, a pose prop inspired by "The Lady of Shalott." There seems to be a little of everything for those inclined to fantasy and mystery, and while normally I would change the windlight settings to midday for better viewing, I decide to stick with the sunset.

There is a Lucky Chair on this floor, by the way, offering a beautiful Oak and Ash Necklace at the moment, but I am not lucky, and thus return to the teleporter, choosing the third option -- "the Ruins" -- this time.

And they are indeed ruins, of lichen-clad white stone. I've seen them from the second floor of Balderdash, and they are just as lovely up close. It's time to pause before moving along. There are five places offered by the teleporter, but there is so much to see here, and to listen to. There are bells, jingling faintly in the distance, and birds, too. Cousins, I suppose.

Oubliette - Ruins

There is a stone path leading northwesterly from these ruins. I decide to take it. While normally I try to be methodical when exploring a sim, I'll get myself lost instead.

I cross an ancient stone bridge over gently-moving water, and find an improbable flower garden, inhabited by dancing butterflies. There is a stone sculpture here, too. Is that an owl? Magic. This place is magic, where colorful irises and foxgloves bloom out of the snowy ground.

Oubliette - Winter Garden

I see another path beyond the garden, leading up, only to find Evie's Closet. Oh, I know this store!  If you are not familiar with it, you should know that it boasts beautiful fantasy wear for elves, fairies, mermaids… even humans!  The shop is full of winding staircases, trees and terraces. I think it's been redesigned since I've seen it last, but I'm not sure. While I want to browse -- I am keeping an eye out for clothing suitable for my strange new form -- I am intrigued by the idea of a secret garden, for which a sign is displayed on a convenient teleport board.

I land in front of steps, leading up to a walled and gated area. The door opens, revealing a green clearing with benches, a small tent, a fortune teller, a stage with an ivy-entwined pergola. I take a turn at the harp, and play "Greensleeves" as I imagine fairies and elves and fauns frolicking, and celebrating the change of seasons.

Oubliette - Secret Garden at Evie's

Before returning to the main floor of Evie's, I pause on a high platform overlooking the region. Where will I go next, I wonder, though I pause on a carved tree trunk to the southwest. There, I decide. If I can find it from the ground.

I browse Evie's for a few minutes more, considering gowns that would beautiful on a fae.  I will have to come back, I think.  Then I make my leave, and see that grand old tree across the river. There is no convenient bridge. Do I try to cross over on the giant snowy log, or do I fly?

Feeling adventurous, I choose the log, and instead of climbing to its summit, I slip through its walls. It is hollow, and functions as a bridge besides! There's a hidden treasure here, too, perfect if you are exploring with a partner and want some alone-time or a photo-op.

The log bridge ends right at the old man in the tree. I stop to admire him -- he is a cheerful fellow -- and smile at the will'o'the'wisps wandering around. Suddenly, "Old man Darach yawns." Have I clicked him by mistake? Maybe, but I touch his bark again, just to be sure, and listen to his dialog. Tree spirits speak very slowly, particularly tired ones, and I am glad of the written translation in my chat window.

Oubliette - Old Man Darach

He falls back asleep, and I move on over snowy ground, toward the sound of the river. And suddenly I am on the river. It seems to be frozen over!  This would be a lovely setting for ice skating, wouldn't it? From there, Balderdash is easterly, and I will probably return there, but I decide to go downstream instead, following the watery path under the log to… a fork in the stream.

It seems the ice has ended, however, which makes my decision easy. I will take to the delta, upon which is a small lichyard watched over by birch trees and a noble deer. There are greens here, too, poking up through the snow, blooming with small yellow flowers. Winter may be in progress here, but it has not taken hold.

Oubliette - Lichyard

Climbing the hill behind the lichyard, I find a mystical waterfall. It looks strangely warm by virtue of the patterns in the stones behind it, and perhaps it is. There is a cliff just behind, and the river as well. Across, to the southwest, I see a statue. This time I will fly in for a closer look.

More will'o'the'wisps greet me as I land on the steps above the statue. What is he? I don't know. Perhaps he is an orc, perhaps a goblin. But whatever he is, he gazes happily at at a butterfly alighted on his palm. I like this fellow.

Oubliette - A Happy Fellow

Continuing up these steps, I follow a brook to an upland meadow. All seasons seem to be represented here, though winter and autumn dominate.  A weatherworn shack of a gnome draws my eye, but not as much as the greenery here. I am reminded that Oubliette borders Ode, one of my favorite sims for photos or just relaxation. The feel is similar. But older, I think. Maybe, though, that is just the winter wind talking.

I do not know where to go from here, or what pictures to take.  Like Ode, Oubliette is the sort of sim that requires return visits. Every new visit will yield a new sight, a new sound, something missed before or something recently added.

Somehow I end up at No Strings Attached (according to the navigation bar) on the eastern border of the region. While I don't immediately find the pose store in question, I do find two stories of small shops offering fantasy costumes, eyes, skins, and more. Sweet Antidote is here, as well as Moonstruck Fantavatar, Banana Banshee, Fallen Gods and, above those, Skinthesis. At this last, I find a 10L avatar called "The Truth About Mermaids," and I can't resist it. There are plenty of fantasy skins and attachments to choose from in this shop, all reasonably priced, and some 20L Skydancer Wings call to me. I have been a wing addict almost since I started Second Life, and while I am rarely fae lately, that hasn't changed. I choose an earthy pair bordered in bright green. The colors remind me of trees. I try them on briefly and they are indeed full-sized fae wings, unscripted but ethereal. I like them! There are also lovely metallic mer tails here. I'll have to remember this place.

I find my way back down, in search of No Strings Attached, but no luck. I suppose what I see in the navigation bar is just a remnant of shopping past, and return to the front of Balderdash, quite close to my landing point. Have I missed something? Undoubtedly. And while I have captured some sights to the best of my ability, a serious photographer would have a field day at Oubliette.

As for me... Well, yes, I'll be back.  I'm sure of it.  How else will I get to see how winter progresses?


Location:  Oubliette

Uses:  Photography, Shopping, Wandering

Shopping:  Balderdash; Banana Banshee; Evie's Closet; Fallen Gods; Moonstruck Fantavatar; Skinthesis

Highlights:  Balderdash, Evie's, Skinthesis, Old Man Darach

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Updated Hints Page.

The SL Unthemed hunt has started! Big thanks to Jenneh Thursday who did most of the hints overnight. I've finished up the missing pieces this morning and have posted the results on our new hints page. 

Take a peek over on the right  (the hints page link is there!) and if you are a shop in the red (okay slightly salmon colour) please contact Jenneh or myself (Audra Siemens) ASAP to get your hunt skip-over resolved!

Happy Hunting!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

SL Unearthed Unthemed Hunt Preview

SL Unearthed's first hunt is set to begin on Saturday, November 12th. The hunt will run for two weeks and has about 76 stops. We've got some fabulous vendors, with both big and small shops, and some incredible gifts to come.As part of the hunt team, I've been collecting preview pictures from the hunt vendors to share with y'all. These pictures are in no particular order, so they don't reveal hunt order, and I've not edited them in any way, so if the vendor didn't put their shop name on the actual texture I didn't add it. Here's a look at some of the upcoming hunt gifts:

darkfold designs #61 KSLiftedPumpswithColorChangeBows SLU Unthemed Hunt Gift - Khargo SLU Unthemed Hunt Gift - KG Klassics SLU Unthemed Hunt Gift - NIGHTMAIRE TEXTURES & MORE SLU Unthemed Hunt Gift - Solanos Stained Glass SLU Unthemed Hunt Gift - Shadow Moon copy SLU Unthemed Hunt Gift - Cupcake Clothing #31 SLU Unthemed Hunt Gift - Blackheart Designs SLU Unthemed Hunt Gift - Amour Fashion copy SLU Unthemed Hunt Gift - .__ Mind Games __ SLU Blog Pic #58 Pippers Place SLU Unthemed Hunt Gift - The Happy Hat SLU Unthemed Hunt Gift HERS- WAFFLEZ SLU Unthemed Hunt Gift His - WAFFLEZ SLU Unthemed Hunt Gift PeKaS SLU Unthemed Hunt Gift PeKaS Design SLU Unthemed Hunt Gift-_PYNKZ_ SLU Unthemed Hunt Gift_Urban Republic Co. woman SLU Unthemed hunt gift-Les sucreries de Fairy SLU Unthemed Hunt Gifts - @-_~ Inspired Designs ~_-@ SLU Unthemed Hunt-Lyrieals Mens SLU Unthemed Hunt-Lyrieals Womens SLUU Hunt Gift from Amazing Gallery Unthemed Hunt Gift- MollyWorld Dwellings URCo_ SLU Unthemed Hunt Male AD Vesper Dress Vesper Outfit male PenguinLoveShelf-OtW

See? Fabulous gifts to be had. The hunt starts at midnight on the 12th and will start here ... again, it's only a two week long hunt, but with under 100 shops, there should be no problem with finishing the entire hunt. Don't miss it!