Believe It Or Not, These Stunning Second Life Landscapes Are 100% Photoshop-Free

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Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

Understanding color, lighting, depth, and most of all composition in photography (be it virtual or real) isn't something everyone is able to do innately, but it can also be pretty easy to take for granted. That is, until you see all those things employed so masterfully that they put anything you've done (and usually fudged with editing tools like Photoshop) to shame.

That's the experience of going through Loverdag's Flickr gallery, in a nutshell.

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Halloween And Christmas Meet In This Spooky Second Life Theme Park That's Filled To The Brim With Gifts

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Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

If you're not quite ready to let go of the Halloween spirit, there's a newly opened sim filled with surprising details and limited gifts that you might want to see for yourself.

Nuville Horrors was created by Anya Ohmai and Suetabulous Yootz, RL sisters who are a SL creative force to be reckoned with. Though they generally specialize in wearable designs, they're also incredibly talented builders... And it shows.

Here's the spooky new sim's premise:

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This Intense Second Life Sim Photography Might Give You An Inferiority Complex About Your Own

CishCash Da Vinci isle
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

Lately I've been drooling over the Second Life photography of CishCash, who specializes in evocative shots of some of SL's most gorgeous sims. Dramatic lighting and depth of field are both in full effect, as well as outstanding scene composition that could make even a talented RL photographer stop and take note. But this is more than just eye candy...

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Draxtor Despres Takes on SL's MadPea Games in the Latest Episode of The Drax Files: World Makers

World Makers MadPea Games
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

Draxtor Despres' mixed-reality interview series just keeps getting better and better. The latest episode of The Drax Files: World Makers highlights MadPea Games, a group who create immersive storytelling environments and game experiences within SL. Kiana Writer spoke for the group and had quite a few interesting things to say about what they do and why... But more on that in a bit. Check out the full episode for yourself, first:

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SL-Based Interactive Sci-Fi Webcomic Splintered Rock Needs Your Support

  Kickstarter campaign
Iris Ophelia's ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

A couple months ago I wrote about Splintered Rock, an interactive webcomic influenced by Dune and shot in Second Life using a cluster of truly magnificent and gritty sci-fi sims. What makes it so innovative is that the story develops based on several different kinds of interaction that readers can have with creator Darren Green, including polls and the use of tokens to bolster the stats (and therefore survival chances) of their favorite characters.

It's a neat concept and it's pretty well executed, but it's not all smooth sailing either. Projects like this don't create themselves, and Chapter 1 proved to be a pretty time-consuming endeavour. That's why Splintered Rock needs your help...

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Barnesworth Anubis' Prefab Store Will Put a Very Chic Roof Over Your Head (NWN Readers' Choice, Top SL Brand)

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Iris Ophelia's ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

Barnesworth Anubis is yet another institution of the content creation community in Second Life, and one more brand I'm entirely unsurprised to have on this list. Barnesworth has been designing shops and homes in Second Life with international flavour and modern flair since the stone ages of Second Life, and although he'd been quiet for awhile his participation in the monthly event Collabor88 has brought him back to the forefront of the prefab-making community.

Barnesworth doesn't favour any particular kind of architecture too much, offering everything from enchanting haciendas to window-covered modernist homes, as well as a selection of apartment-style skyboxes like the one shown above. On top of all that he also designs furniture for these unique and eye-catching builds. Barnesworth's texturing style may be an acquired taste for some. He sticks to fairly soft and smooth textures with simple shading, a technique with looks ideal in Second Life but which may ruffle the feathers of home buyers seeking gritty photorealism in their builds. All in all, Barnesworth Anubis has always been a wonderful brand and a wonderful designer to have in the SL community.

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SL Art Installation by claudia222 Jewell Gets Nearly 20K Unique Visitors -- But Goes Away Next Week!

Claudia222 jewell SL Art Screamer

"Spirit", claudia222 Jewell's surreal and acclaimed installation in the Art Screamer sim has been visited by nearly 20,000 people during its 7 month run, Chestnut Rau (who helps run the sim) reports, which gives us a pretty good data point for the amount of people who'll explore a work of 3D art in Second Life. (Being featured in the Destination Guide, as "Spirit" has been, probably helps there.) However, it's going away at the end of this month: 'With hearts that are a bit heavy we will be closing Spirit by claudia222 Jewell at the end of August to make room for the next artist." So better visit before it's too late: [Click here to teleport to Art Screamers in SL]

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A Klein Bottle Comes to Second Life (Again)!

A Klein Bottle is a mathematically brain-melting object with no in or out and no front or back, and thanks to Wizard Gynoid, one of them was made to float in Second Life. Watch this machinima to see what I mean:

Love the music by modern master Moby and metaverse artist Miso Susanowa, and it's a credit to both I can't tell when the Moby music ends and the Miso music begins. (Or vice versa.) Via Second Life's Subreddit.

This isn't the first Klein bottle to rise from SL, as I suggested: At least one more was created in 2008 by AM Radio and Miki Gymnast.

Via Ms. Gynoid in Comments: Click here for a direct teleport SLurl to the Klein bottle.

Have You Seen SL's Pink Floyd-Streaming Secret Spheres?

Secret Spheres SL Pink Floyd

Chestnut Rau explores Secret Spheres, a very cool-looking SL experience which she says "consists of a labyrinth of small scenes built inside a series of spheres, all of which are named for the music of Pink Floyd." Fittingly, music from the epic British band streams through each sphere. In previous generations, Pink Floyd fans would have to make do with playing Dark Side of the Moon in a darkened bedroom while utterly baked, or watching The Wizard of Oz with the sound down. Now you can get your Floyd on in 3D: Direct teleport to the Secret Spheres here.

Photo credit: Carrie Lexington, who has some more great pics here.

15 SL Places to Explore Outer Space in Virtual Space

Second Life Space Sims

Daniel Voyager has 15 places in Second Life which realistically simulate outer space, from Spaceport Alpha created by a group of real life rocket scientists, to NASA's official SL site, to a site that simulates a space shuttle launch (which alas is maybe the last place to see the shuttle launch in any variation.)