Follow by Email

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Reflections on...

I haven't made a video in a while and  had been itching to get back to it, so I finally went for an idea that had been kicking around for a while.   I really love the illusion of deep reflections that you see in some clubs and stores.  If you have ever looked at how its put together you will have seen that they just flip the set up and put a semi-opaque "floor" between.   I figured that if you could do that with a room then why not with dancers?

Yummy and I had discussed a long time ago the concept of using some kind of reflection but obviously it has its limitations with  live performances.  I did start working on something a while back that would have worked around this by using a tilted stage but got distracted...look a squirrel!!

Anyhow... I had the skybox with the pillars etc set up and had been playing around with it in photos, so I figured why not.  

I used an anchor but in this case I didn't have to include any movement with the palettes.  I could have used Yummy's adjustable poseballs I guess but I like the smooth adjustments of a palette.  Plus they are boxes so you can easily see which way up they are.  The key thing with this one was getting the alignment of the avatars as close as possible.  Now because I wasn't using two avatars with identical feet this could be a bit tricky at times because the mesh body I was using for the hologram effect below had a very stiff rigging for its ankles and foot movements so it was never going to be exact.  Haven't tried it out with two identical avatars but it might work a lot better.

As you probably guessed, its just a matter of flipping one palette 180 degrees.  I used mirrored dances from Abranimations to match the moves and the AB system in The Artiste to regulate the dancers.

Technical point for filming: if you let the "under" dancer go out of frame when filming then the system "ignores" it as if its not there, so when you bring it back into frame the animation starts over for that avatar, meaning that your dancers are out of sync.   If you are filming and synchronised dancing then make sure you keep even just a little bit of the other dancer in frame.  Otherwise you just have to edit your way out of a mess.

The second avatar is wearing an old experimental mesh body that will take scripted textures, so that is how the "hologram" effect works.   Again, something left over from another old routine that never made the cut.

My editing is a bit lazy,  I still need to work on matching one take to another as far as the choreography is concerned.  So forgive me if the moves seem a bit repetitive in places.    I now appreciate more than ever how much time Sterling used to spend matching the shots.  However the main concern here was showcasing the effect for Yumz and matching to the song's cadences.

You can watch the full video HERE

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Do you get Frustrated Trying to Use The Artiste?

Yummy and I have tried many times to emphasise that learning to use The Artiste is a learning curve.  
I know that it seems at times to be a very steep one, but the truth is it isn't.  It is just  a very long series of baby steps.   Learning to walk means falling over a lot.  I say this as someone who has spent four years learning the basics and then moved slowly through the pathways...and I still haven't mastered it!  in fact there are some of you out there who know more about certain aspects than I do now, and all kudos to you.   

I want to offer this video link to you.  I have never come across anyone explaining so clearly (and amusingly at times) how learning something works.  I think it fits exactly what we have been trying to explain to you, things like how important it is to have a firm foundation of the basics.   Please, please do watch it and let us know below if it has been useful to you :)   

Keep on using The Artiste to create Awesomeness!

Friday, October 7, 2016

Moveable Lighting Techniques

If any of you have been to the Sinner's Burlesque shows in the last 6 months ago you will know that we have gone back to using a "midnight" windlight setting for our shows.

When I first came to SL, most shows used this windlight and dancers used face lights which made them look like mini-lighthouses as their face lights were just that - attached to their chins.  Back then I experimented a lot with different body lights and using glow orbs to simulate spotlights but I was never satisfied.

For everyday use I have my windlight set to Starley as I love the crisp look for skins and objects.  We have had forced windlights using this setting at different theatres but again, people can just choose to ignore that and the whole effect is ruined.

So I started thinking about the whole lighting issue all over again.  It would be nice if we all had the processing/graphics capabilities to watch shows in Advanced Lighting, but most people have enough difficulty with lag as it is.  I concentrated on ways that we could make something look interesting with only normal lighting enabled.  It is simple enough to attach invisible lighting prims to sets which will give the desired effects and are not much different to stage lights with colored gels.

For this particular routine I wanted to try something different.  There is a function of the palette which can turn lights off/on and dictate colors.

I used this in two palettes which were then made invisible and kept as "movers".  One was "red" and placed at one side of the stage and the other was "blue" and positioned at the other side.  I made one palette slightly higher than the other so that the colors would stay more distinct.  The palettes were then programmed to move back and forth across the stage at the same time a number of times.  My avatar was also lit by a "white" panel at the front of the stage.  If you watch the skin of the avatar you will see the lights playing across the skin.   I have also included a reference diagram and then filmed part of the routine with transparency enabled so that you can see the moving palettes.

You can watch the video here


Tuesday, July 26, 2016

I Can't Make You Love Me

Watch the Video ==> I Can't Make You Love Me

I decided a couple of months back that a music video might help promote my singing.  Apart from anything it would be a challenge and something different from dance videos and I know Sterling loves a challenge.

I really loved the song from the moment I heard it and there were a lot of cues in the song but even so all I really had was the one image of the couple in bed and one of them slowly fading out.  Sterling said it was do-able so we started with that.

He also wanted cut-away shots of me singing so we divided the set space up into two areas.  The darker colors of the main set with a more claustrophobic feel and the secondary set with open sky, light colors and a subtle lighting effect of traveling stars.  

Sterling filmed it all at very high graphic quality and used Depth of Field to get some great shots moving from one character to another.   His persistence really paid off.  There were multiple shoots from different angles and we chose a quite brooding windlight for the main shots that brought out a lot of detail but added to the oppressive feeling.

The shot that made it for me was the final one with the walk down the hall.   Again, a series of multiple shots from different angles so it had to be done over and over.  I used an Artiste Palette with a single move to achieve the walk and triggered it from the palette menu with the'TestAllMoves' button.   It meant we could film it repeatedly with no deviation and get what you see in the video...that almost seamless change of angle from front side and back.   One simple function of The Artiste that added so much to the completion!   I know it has given Sterling a lot of other ideas about how Artiste Palettes amongst other things Artiste can function within filming.

He certainly put in more time than ever editing on this one, matching moves, cutting scenes to fit...a lot more than he usually does filming dance routines which are usually a fait accompli.   He also deserves a special mention for the wonderful sound mix he did on the song; awesome job, Sterling! 

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Black Room


Watch the Video >>> The Black Room

When I first heard "Breath Control" by Recoil I was driven to do a routine around it but I had no idea what form it would take or even when I could perform it as it was rather dark and more suited to an "After Dark" audience.  Then, a couple of months ago, Imajica asked me if I would join her and Zed do a one-off show at a BDSM club.  I had another old routine in store but I wanted to see if I could pull this new one off in a couple of weeks. 

The set and costume were no real problem but it was the essence of the song and its cut-up sections leading me to want to do something more than just a dance.  It became more cinematic in my mind and so the idea of having a fade to black in certain places made sense.  Easily achieved with a simple fade screen timed to the breaks in the song.  

It was only a small step from there to imagining cutting the action up into segments and making them very different to suggest the passing of time while the protagonist is running through these memories.  

I decided to use sit-2-sit from one area to another masked by the black out.  
Originally this was going to be about 6 palettes as I was going to move her around more than I did. It also got me thinking about economy again.  Palettes can be used to do so many things and they don't have to be used discretely as one thing in a routine.  

For example, in this routine the first palette (Pal A) is by the window for the smoking stand.  She then moves to the palette in front of the chair where she walks back and forth (Pal B). Then comes the palette on the day-bed (Pal C).  I used tiny moves up and down to accommodate the height difference in poses (one of these days we will have poses that don't fling you around while changing from one to another).  

The next sit is to the chair. In my original idea I would have needed at least another two palettes to complete the routine. In fact I used only three. While she is sitting on the bed, the first palette (Pal A) moved to the chair to become the sit there.  I then moved her back to Pal B for the rest of the routine (which I simplified from my original idea as I thought it was too much).

so Pal A > Pal B > Pal C > Pal A >Pal B

Using one palette for all the moves might have been asking too much, but the whole thing could actually have been managed by alternating two.  

All the animations were in the Sequence notecard and the moves were directed from there as well.  Only the screen fades and the sit-to-sits were directed from *autofx.
Example of Autofx:


Corresponding Events:


The resulting video has had some post-production but the routine is pretty much as it was performed live and I am sure with some judicious use of autocam we could have gotten those delicious "through-the-fan" shots!


I know I bang on about this all the time, but the key is simplicity and planning. I was up against the clock to get a routine done start to finish in 2 weeks when I had so many other things going on in SL and RL.  You can't do that and assure quality if you don't plan sufficiently well.  Draw your ideas out, map them, put them on sticky-notes, draw them in mashed potato..what ever helps you sort them out into a coherent form.  Then pare it all down to the simplest way of doing it.   


Don't just think about recycling palettes as movers.  Could the mover you used 3 minutes ago move to the other side of the stage and be a particle generator?

Could it appear on stage as something else? Can it just sit where you left it and direct another palette to do something else...or even speak?  There are many ways in which they can use their chameleon talent to swap from one role to another. Think outside the box.

Makes one less thing you have to add to your rezzer...and hey, that can only be a good thing, right?

Yummy here.

Great advice! 

I really missed the nuance of this routine when I saw it live. Here is a case where the post-production really brought home the understatement and subtley of the routine. Amazing against-the-grain thinking: lyrics, pace, non-dance, and perfectly-placed nuance.

Lat "Yummy" Lovenkraft

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Alas, the End is Near - July 6th 2016

July 6th will be the last day to purchase one of the entry level Artiste Performer Series systems.

The A-50 (5,000 k), A-75 (7,500 L) , and A-100 (10,000 L) will no longer be available. I did extend the offer an extra 6 months past the intial shecudled deadline of December 2015.

The only package available will be the A-250 GOLD at 25,000 L until the PLATNIUM is released.  It now boasts nearly 200 featurs up from 150 when the system was 1st released...but now all for the same price initial price.

Lat "Yummy" Lovenkraft

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Girl(s) On Fire

Hi Everyone,
How are you all doing?  I’m very well thanks.
The reason I post this is to comment on the recent performance and the making of the Girl On Fire video that will be linked in this brief summary and edited by Lat.
Ffirst, the making of the routine was a lot of fun. The hat-throw itself was an SL dance at first, not from the adorn point-of-view but the throw itself.  Lat (Yummy) has done it before for the demo videos for everyone to learn from.
It was a subtle change from the original sword throw, to actually use it in a routine performed live at The Wolf Theater.  Lat will cover all the aspects which I used in this routine so I won’t go over them as I know she is quite eager to do it.
Learning new things can be time consuming and to implement them into something thats original or that has not been done before is even harder to do at times while at the same time associating it with dance.
But the point is, it can be done.  And the more complex you make a routine the quicker you feel gratification in the work you have accomplished,
If someone asked me to sum up the complexity of it, most is pretty easy.  The hat, being the trickiest part of it all, really didn’t take long to do, building on the previous sword-throw.  So, as the thrower is now, a few hours is all I need to make something throwable. That includes rotation, velocity, and distance.  Anyone can do it but it takes time to learn so best of luck to everyone!. Oh I forgot the link
SarahRho Huntress
Yummy here.
The preparation, creation,  live-performance thru the making of the video conjured up a books-worth of ideas, thoughts, and emotions, but I will try hard to pare down my thoughts and be as concise as I can.
First and foremost this is the first effort and results from a person not only new to the Artiste but new to SL show-dance as well.  This routine prioritized learning and using features of the Artiste  over any other routine-creation-criterium.  It is also the 1st live-show ‘throw’.
This effort shows some of what CAN be accomplished when a person:I think we have 
isolated key factors  required to become proficeint in the Artiste way of life.
1) sets aside a LOT OF TIME to learn,
2) PRIORITIZES learning and mastering tool-skills over performing and other distractions,
3) acquiring almost DAILY ONE-ON-ONE tutoring, and
4) really WANTS IT and BELIEVES in the RESULTS
Is all the effort worth it? I often ponder and wonder that.  And even when answered, I realize the answer will be personal. What is worth it to one might not be worth it to another.
So, that is a question I cannot answer. Only a person like Sarah who has gone thru the ordeal can answer.  I can never be “new” to the Artiste experience.  I repeatedly asked her on several occasions and she always answered in the affirmative.  Proof may well be in the pudding as she seems to have an unending craving for more Artiste feature-knowledge, experience, mastery, and practical application. Her enthusiam remains at an all-time high always trying to top her previous endeavors..
The focus on what has been done here should be placed on the mastering  of intermediate and advanced Artiste skills in a relatively short span of time by a relative new-comer… more so than polish of a final product as she is new and should be allowed the time to grow and mature like all of us have had.
Tha Artiste is not an easy product to learn much less master but now I know that even with a new person and a reasonable amount of time…it CAN be done...with extreme sacrifices
Many of the accomplishments are visually apparent.  Many will have significance only to those familiar with the internal machinations of the Artiste. 
I will list the techniques that I identified in this performance:
1 – Dance-Sequencing
2 – Group-Dancing
3 – Cane-Adorn
4 – Group-Cane Adorn
5 – Hat-Swap (head-to-hand)
6 – HatThrow (Thrower) (1st live use in a show)
7 – Compound-Palette design (Fire Particle and Thrower)
8 – Sit-2-Sit
9 – Group Sit-2-Sit (Relay)
10 – Multiple Movers
11 – Lower
12 – Raise
13 – Extendibles (Extractions) (Phoenix) (1st live use in a show)
13 – SetRez
14 – SetSwap  (HUD-sequenced control
15 – AutoCam design  (1st live use in a show)
16 –  HUD sequenced Curtain Control
17 -  Rez Object  (Palette)
18 - Kill Object (Palette)
18 down, only 182 more to go.
Lat (Yummy) Lovenkraft