Enjoy All the Charm of a Summer Sunset in This Stunning (and Unedited) Second Life Snapshot

Nivaya Barbosa Persephone Paine
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

I'm a sucker for great, unprocessed screenshots, and this happy little accident shared by Nivaya Barbosa on Plurk and Flickr takes the cake. The contrast, the lighting, the depth of field, the lush colors of the environment against the muted tones of the dress -- it all just feels so natural even though typically (as most SL artists and virtual photographers know) that natural feeling is one of the most difficult elements to capture.

I will admit that I find myself wishing that her subject, Persephone Paine, was wearing a mesh head purely because they tend to look a little more realistic under indirect lighting compared to the Second Life avatar's vanilla face (like her hands and dress for example.) Then again, even the imperfections lend themselves to the overall effectiveness of this shot. The more I think about it, the more I realize that I wouldn't change a thing.

Check out Nivaya's Flickr stream for more.

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Iris Wants to Know: What Are Your Experiences with the DMCA Process in Second Life?

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

With the removal of the Wowmeh mesh body line from Second Life, there's been a lot of talk about whether or not the DMCA process is helpful in SL, or just a huge hindrance. In case you missed it, the Wowmeh body was a phenomenally successful mesh body that was the target of a DMCA takedown. Creator Baby Ghosn maintained that it was unjustified and malicious, but as she was unwilling to release her personal information to someone she claimed was purely a troll, she decided to revamp Wowmeh and replace any potentially dubious components. When she released the new body it was taken down again, allegedly for being a re-release of a taken down item. At that point Baby called it quits, saying that the process of supporting and defending Wowmeh was more than she'd expected and was willing to take on. 

While Hamlet has already explained his position that Second Life and the DMCA process are incompatible, I'm not so sure. That's why I want to hear from SL designers who've ever tangled with either end of a DMCA. Click here to fill out a super-short survey and share your experiences, and share it with fellow SL content creators! Next week, I'll report back with results and the most interesting feedback received.

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Lindens Hate Her! This Designer's One Weird Trick for More Efficient SL Marketplace Listings

Maylee Oh SL Marketplace
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

Second Life designers know just how dull and arduous it can be to list items on the marketplace, especially when you're listing items that come in several different colors or variations. Making sure that customers can easily navigate to the other items in the set via the Related Items panel is an easy way to ensure you get at least one (if not multiple) sales, but it can also be time consuming. The pop-up window will automatically close after one item is selected, meaning that for an item with 8 variations, you'll need to repeat the process 8 times... And then of course multiply by 8 again for each of the other listings. Exhausting.

Unless you're clever about it, as many merchants (including Maylee Oh) are...

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Citing DMCA Drama, Popular Mesh Body Pulled from SL

Wowmehlogo greyNOTAVAILABLE

"I'm sorry, but I think Wowmeh will not come back," Baby Ghosn, creator of the popular mesh-based body for Second Life avatars, announced in the comments of her blog last Wednesday. "I really can't manage all this all alone, I'm not professional enough nor I was ready for this big success and troubles." And with that, Wowmeh bodies are gone from Second Life.

"In short, she released a product," Iris tells me, catching me up to speed with a rough summary, "it was popular, it got taken down based on a DMCA claim, she believes it was malicious but didn't counterclaim because she didn't want to give her RL info to a possible troll (I wrote about this at the time) and instead made a revised version of the body removing purchased 3D assets she'd incorporated. That body was then also taken down because it was considered a re-upload of a previously DMCA'd item, even though she says she'd changed it. So now she's not going to re-re-release the product because she wasn't prepared for the level of attention and work involved when she launched the original." (A very casual summary, which might miss some fine details.)

My take: Whatever its value as a law to protect content creators in general (and that's debateable), DMCA is utterly incompatible with Second Life. Here's what I mean:

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From Sketch to SL: Here's a Glimpse of the Process Behind Designing a Second Life Dress

Maylee Oh Collabor88 Concept August 2014Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

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.

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Follow These Clear Tips to Get the Perfect Fit from Your Second Life Mesh Avatar Enhancements

Tutorial-meshitemsandsettings-01-600x213
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

If you've ever worn specialized mesh body parts on your Second Life avatar, you know how hard it can be to get the perfect, seamless fit. Even if you have experience with these incredibly popular add-ons, it can feel like there's always something wrong with yours.

And everyone can see it.

And they're judging you.

But there's still hope, my patchwork friend, and it comes in the form of a tutorial from one of Second Life's most experienced fashionistas...

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A Taste of the Wastes: Fallout-Inspired Fashions Arrive in SL

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

What's the best way to play a Fallout game? With the music dialed up to 11? Yes. Rocking your Pip-Boy like a particularly bulky Rolex? Mhm. Tearing through the wastelands with a pack of ridiculously stylish corgis? Always. But what about when you're not playing Fallout? What then?

Thanks to FATEplay's latest releases you can now bring a piece of the nuclear apocalypse with you wherever you go in Second Life. Damien Fate posted a set of outfits inspired by the Fallout franchise to celebrate his costume-focussed brands first anniversary, so guys and gals can now roam SL in faded leather dusters or shabby-chic vault jumpsuits, listening to their favorite oldies and shooting any sniping radscorpions from as far away as possible because have you seen those things? They're disgusting.

Visit FATEplay in world [SLURL] or on the Second Life Marketplace for more, and be sure to leave a comment with your favorite SL wasteland destinations for any particularly inspired virtual world photographers to visit.

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No Flossing Required: Here's How to Get A Perfect, Picture-Ready Pixel Smile

Jessica Pixel  tooth smile shape
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

Here's a tip I'd never even considered from SL user Jessica Pixel's Plurk: If you're the kind of person who likes an expressive avatar, you might want to make yourself a special shape to get the most out of a toothy smile emote. Jessica's own animated gif, shown above, illustrates the differences between her typical shape and a smile-ready shape pretty well. Depending on the dimensions and features of your facial shape, Second Life's built-in grins might look compressed, or just not quite as nice as they could. Not every shape will need it (and not every player will want it) but for those that are interested few tiny tweaks to the mouth area are all you'll need.

As most fashion-minded SL users know, multiple subtle tweaks of the same avatar shape can be a pretty crucial part of your wardrobe, especially if you want to fit perfectly into your favorite mesh attire and accessories. Likewise, shape tweaks can help make your avatar look more consistent across a variety of skins. So if showing your avatar's pearly whites is a priority, try this out for yourself.

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The Perfect Male Avatar Might Not Look Exactly Like Nomak Nyoki, but it's Probably Very Close

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

In case you were wondering, in case you somehow fell out of the loop in the interim between now and one of my previous posts about him, Second Life artist Nomak Nyoki continues to be the absolute gold standard for male avatars. His styling? Still flawless. His photography? Beyond compare. His boston terrier? Well that's a new edition, but I love it just the same.

Nomak shared a few new pictures on his Flickr this week, and they're just as stunning as you'd expect -- even more of what has made his face and name a force to be reckoned with in the world of men's fashion in SL, even if he isn't the most prolific artist in the scene. Whether you're looking for a dash of modern style, or you want to motivate yourself towards a head-to-toe male av makeover, his Flickr stream should be your number one source of inspiration.

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The Glossy, Voluminous (and Free) Virtual Moustache You've Dreamed of is Now a Reality at Hair Fair 2014

Hair Fair INK FreebieJanine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

Second Life bloggers aren't the only ones having a little fun with their Hair Fair 2014 photography. It's no surprise that hair designers themselves have been cranking out some stunning images to promote their new releases.

A lot of the focus is on glitz and glamour (as is so often the case) which is why this snap of INK's immaculately groomed moustache, available for free at their Hair Fair booth, stands out so much. That's not to say that these handsome handlebars aren't glitzy or glamorous in their own right of course, but they certainly offer a welcome change from all the smoky eyes and smouldering gazes. 

You can pick up INK's free moustache at Hair Fair 2014 [SLURL] until July 27th.

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