Wednesday, August 06, 2014
Iris Wants to Know: Have The Skills You've Learned in Second Life Helped You Out in Real Life?
Last weekend, Second Life skin maker Mochi Milena asked an interesting question over on Plurk: Has the skillset you've developed in SL helped you in RL? I answered her at the time, but yesterday as I soaked in all the amazing studies and process work that designer Maylee Oh has shared on her Tumblr (including the low-poly flower models pictured above) the question rolled around inside my head even more. People do such different things in Second Life, and whether you're there to work or play it's impossible not to have one skill or another honed in the process.
Mochi shared how her experience managing and marketing a brand has transferred easily into real life work she does with charities, while several others talked about the confidence and slightly thicker skin they've developed for dealing with customers. In my case...
Tuesday, August 05, 2014
Watch This High Fidelity Avatar Animated by a Pixar Vet Imitate Real World Facial Movements in Near Real-Time
Philip Rosedale just sent me this new video demo of an avatar singing Christina Aguilera's "Beautiful" in High Fidelity, his Oculus Rift-compatible virtual world, and if you know all the art and technology behind it, you'll think it's pretty cool:
The singer is actually High Fidelity's Emily Donald (who has a lovely voice), and the avatar is imitating her actual face and lip movements as tracked via a PC camera pointed at her, and in near real time. The avatar herself sort of looks like a character in a Pixar movie, and that's no surprise: The facial animations were created by High Fidelity's Ozan Serim, who was a longtime manager at Pixar, before joining Philip's company. (Serim worked on Monsters University, Cars 2, Brave, and Toy Story 3 there.) The facial animations are more than enough to convey emotion, and the lip sync is just about perfect. (Bad lip sync remains a horrible problem in Second Life, not to mention other MMOs/machinima platforms.) As it happens, Philip and I were just e-mailing about how live music performance can be a compelling thing in virtual reality, so this video is a case study of that.
How was this shot, and what's the latency between her face movements and the avatar animations. Philip explains:
From Sketch to SL: Here's a Glimpse of the Process Behind Designing a Second Life Dress
Maylee Oh is doing amazing work both inside and outside of SL. If her name rings a few bells for you, it may be because she released this mesmerizing machinima back in April to advertise her ultra-feminine Second Life fashion brand, The Secret Store. She's currently preparing for the August round of Collabor88, a themed shopping event that opens on the 8th of each month. This time, designers are invoking a range of greek gods and goddesses, and Maylee has been giving a behind-the-scenes peek at what she'll be offering over on her Tumblr.
She started with some colorful concept art (pictured on the left) and today she posted an animated peek at the finished product. Well, almost finished. Things do tend to look just a little bit better rendered in 3D modelling programs like ZBrush (as shown in Maylee's video) than they look for most of us in Second Life itself.
That said, I doubt this mediterranean-inspired minidress will dissappoint. See the finished product in-world when the August round of Collabor88 opens this Friday.
Draxtor Despres' Mixed Reality Documentary Series Returns With the Man Behind Some of SL's Best Designed Spaces
There's a new episode of Draxtor Despres' mixed reality machinima documentary series The Drax Files: World Makers (which is now sponsored by Linden Lab,) and it's packed with absolutely breathtaking virtual spaces. That's because episode 21 focuses on Editorial Clarity, the aptly named avatar behind SL interior design blog Love to Decorate and its complimentary magazine. As always the opportunity to learn what's inspired, motivated, and changed some of Second Life's most talented and interesting individuals is invaluable.
Clean lines, cracked plaster, and a wealth of inspiration await. Watch the full episode for yourself after the cut:
Monday, August 04, 2014
Second Life Saves Me from a Real Life Pain Disorder (Comment of the Week)
This open thread on why people continue to stay in Second Life is really great, topped in my view by this answer from an SLer named Cube Republic:
I found SL just as I was diagnosed with a rare pain disorder, reputedly the most painful a human can endure. Creating in SL and living a fantasy helps me forget the reality of my existence, which is painful. I can work around my condition and make money to boot. I have a lot to be grateful to SL for. I learnt 3D, first prims, then sculpts and now mesh through my engagement with the platform. I really hope SL2 lives up to my hopes. I consider this now my life's work, and I hope my work makes other people happy.
This is awesome in many ways, and when I asked Cube to tell more more about this disorder, discovered there was still more to this story that made it even more awesome:
Show Support for a Second Life Artist in this Real Life Dress
If you'd like to wear your love of Second Life designers on your sleeve, then... Well, I have terrible news, because this chic dress and this shirt featuring art by SL's own Nylon Pinkney are both quite sleeveless.
Nylon (of Tableau, Paper Couture and Nylon Outfitters fame) has made her typically colorful and exaggerated digital art available in reality through her Society6 storefront for some time, including the bug-girl images from her recent round of gacha prizes for The Arcade. Now she's testing out Print All Over Me, a site that lets users print and sell their work on an array of items like the strapless dress pictured on the left. With the charming sidelong glance of the "Kate" dress ringing in at $125.00 PAOM is not exactly cheap, but if you're looking to support an SL artist artists while also adding a unique piece to your wardrobe, it may be worth the cost.
You can visit Nylon Pinkney's (currently small) PAOM shop here, and if you know of any other Second Life creators selling their designs online please share the details in the comments below!
Here's Proof That the Worst Parts of Kim Kardashian's Mobile Game Are Its Critics
Kim Kardashian: Hollywood's mere existence is offensive. At least that's the impression you might get from reading the deluge of articles about it. It's trash, it's vapid, it's exploitative... While I'll never argue that the game's aggressive freemium structure is healthy (it's the reason I personally lost interest in playing) I can't help but notice that this celeb-led title hits several sweet spots of gamer hatred: It's a "casual" game, a free-to-play mobile tapfest, and it centres largely around fashion (and women). The cherry on top of this derision sundae is Kardashian herself, an easy target for anyone who fancies themselves smarter or more worthy of her fortune than a woman who went from sorting Paris Hilton's closet to heading a goddamned media empire. I'm not a fan by any stretch, but it's obvious that she's put in some work.
There have actually been several solid pieces written in defence of Kim Kardashian and her game (including this one from Paste and this one from The Daily Dot) but my favorite to date is Kevin Fanning's response to each of Bustle's tremendously condescending 31 Questions about the game. It's brilliant, both in how it unpacks the bimbo celebutante caricature used against Kardashian and in how it addresses how few critics have actually played the very thing they're complaining about.
Here are a few of Fanning's choicest answers:
Top Eight New World Notes Posts from Last Week
- 80 Year Old Korean War Vet Re-Visits His Old Ship in VR
- What a Second Life Fan Told the Business Insider Next Will Make Your Jaw Drop
- Philip Rosedale: 1 Billion VR HMD Owners Possible by 2021
- Rock the Boat in Free to Play "Dramagame" Velvet Sundown, Now on Steam
- Reddit's /AskWomen: Awesome Virtual Community Helping Men Understand Women, One Clueless Question at a Time
- Iris Wants to Know: Why Have You Stayed in Second Life?
- Analyst Forecasts 83M VR Headset Owners by 2018 - A Forecast on the High Side
- Second Life Private Sims Slip to 2008 Levels (But That's OK)
Friday, August 01, 2014
80 Year Old Korean War Vet Re-Visits His Old Ship in VR
Oculus Rift developer Jon Brouchoud recreated an old Navy ship from the Korean War, and then showed it in virtual reality to his Uncle David Brouchoud, 80, who used to serve on that very ship back then:
Read about it on Jon's site, which showcases the work he's doing with Oculus Rift and Unity as a real life toolset for his work as an architect. As I've written before, a great strategy to make virtual reality go mass market is to market it to senior citizens, but Uncle David demonstrates that far better than me. Speaking of whom, if he sounds familiar, it's because back in 2010, Uncle David did a similar thing in Second Life: