Thursday, October 27, 2011

Photospot: Tormented gravedigging

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.

Let it rez. Yes, I know you hear that all the time, but when you land at today's Photospot, really, let it rez. There is a lot going on around the landing point, including particles and sculpts and stuff you don't want to miss, so be patient. There's no rush here. After all, the denizens of these graves, tombs and catacombs aren't going anywhere...! (Some graveyard humor. ;)
(Note: When I visited again just prior to posting, the landing point was disabled. I don't know if that was temporary or not, so it's possible you'll land right at the gravesite. If so, there'll be no beacon to follow and some of the navigational references might not make sense unless you walk over to the base of the stairs first.) When all is in focus, you'll see a teleport system in the stone idol nearby which might come in handy later, but we prefer to walk where we're going anyway. Straight ahead up the stairs is a graveyard with a lot of photo opportunities that include freshly dug graves and even the chance to entomb yourself, if you're into doing that sort of thing.
Photospot: Tormented gravedigging
If you continue forward through the graveyard and follow the paths (both left and right), you'll discover the stores of our hosts. The shops are cleverly intertwined with the area's appearance and situated amidst the Tormented Woods, "a dark land overrun by the BloodWorx hordes: Metal Gear, PrimEvil, Dead Center, Hells Forge, and UberDark. Enter at [your] own risk." You might enjoy doing some shopping here, particularly as Halloween approaches. There's a little something for everyone on the dark end of things.
If you continue to follow the pathways back here, you'll find an arena and what looks to be a giant statue of Cthulhu. As a consideration, maybe you shouldn't walk these pathways alone. There are ruins and graves. There are skeletons, crows and bats. Our BloodWorx hosts clearly had an enjoyable and very creative time putting this area together. Yet still amazing is that the area occupies less than half a sim, and most incredibly, it's *mainland*. You would not have guessed that if I hadn't mentioned it. I find it quite an impressive achievement. As I poked around, I noticed JubJub Forder's name frequently. It's a familiar name if you've seen items from Relics or Aja or Sculpts Only Mall. Well, guess who's behind BloodWorx, too? For more of the history, I found a little info about this area at his website.
unseelie among the sepulchers
You will be tempted to take photos all around these Tormented Woods, and I sure won't stop you. But now that we've had a good look around and I've done my (rather poor) imitation of Cicadetta, let's home in on today's particular spot and get down to business. Follow the beacon (if it didn't land you directly here) to this freshly dug grave not far from the original landing point. There must be something in your inventory suitable for wearing in this environment, especially so recently after the Supernatural, Twisted and Macabre hunts, right? Like with this very cool unseelie avatar from Malfean Visions, I get to wear a lantern on my tail. That's sure a treat that doesn't happen every day. So have a poke around and dig something up - yeah, that's a little gravedigger joke there.
Set up your lighting and work with the variety of fore- and backgrounds that can be viewed from here. Be alert when aiming toward the SW where the trees are a bit more open, but the other directions are all quite workable. There are masoleums, crypt ruins, a couple types of fences, trees and general vegetation - all of which can produce viable ambient backgrounds to your portraits.
The crows are not very good conversationalists, but they will keep a close eye on you. Perhaps too close. You better keep an eye on them, too. Watch their movements carefully, and with a little patience, you'll be able to catch them looking in the right direction for what you need. In this manner, although it took a little extra time, I love how the crows became legitimate characters in my unseelie's pictorial story.
crow watching
JubJub Forder, stealth snapI really took a liking to the looks of the path next to the grave, and after reading about the construction of these Tormented Woods, I understand now that we're seeing a sculpt which JubJub shaped to fit the terrain. That means no transparent collision prims are needed (because we're walking on the ground just beneath the phantom sculpt), and it also explains how the texture work was done. It's definitely a great effect.
And then, as I stood on the path, extoling its virtues in draft, none other than the artist himself popped into the area briefly. I couldn't resist grabbing a stealth snap before he quickly vanished. Perhaps you'll run into him too, here at the gravesite in his Tormented Woods.

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!

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