Thursday, June 30, 2011

okay - even more.

I need to just apologize for posting so much about a set that has yet to be released. It is often that I have the game in pause mode for hours when I set up a screen shot. For whatever reason I did not this time and I got to see these items at dusk - it's crazy beautiful the lighting and how the glass just about glows in game . . . so . . . more (moar) picture spam.

You are also going to see a new object that I am absolutely nuts about. NUTS.

The glow on the glass took me entirely by surprise
I love the subtle sheen on the front fountain
Yay! Glowing!
A star lantern 
This is something I never thought I could actually mesh due to the strange angles 

More . . . or moar.

Okay. This is me - what the fuck is moar? So I googled it. More and Roar. MOAR! Okay - enough said. I stand edjumakated. While I have never professed to be cool, I am usually a little more on the ball when it comes to fancy lingo. I'm a hep cat . . . right? (snapping my fingers 1,2 . . . . 3 . . 4). Look at me go. That's me on the dance floor too. So smooth.

This is just a little more picture spam of the upcoming set. I have redone some textures on the fountain, though the tiling of the patterns needs a bit more work. Each of the larger sculptural items has a 'mossy' texture too so I needed to update the fountain. This fountain is actually inspired by a real fountain at the garden center I go to Garden Hood. It's in the hood, yo. Very cool shop if you are ever here - unique plants and the staff are extremely sweet and knowledgeable, but I digress . . . while my fountain looks basically nothing like their cool fountain (it had to fit the feel of this set too), the idea is the same. Center pottery urn with a low force bubbler in the center . . . which I could not replicate given the fountains in the game - the animations simply do not exist. Nor can you add a bubbler to the center with the fountain pieces - they need to be on the ground. They will not sit on an OMSP.  How utterly useless.

Three styles of the fountain - the front one looks closest to the real thing
So the lantern was looking a little heavy from what I had thought I wanted - it has had a very simple modification and this is how I envisioned it in my head.

MOAR pics. Please know that I will not be using the term moar seriously until it enters the Oxford English Dictionary - OED for those in the know - D'OH!
Better image of the clock
Better image of the steer sculpture outside among other objects
I wanted to see what the cloche would sit on - surprise - it's the table from the salvaged set.
I do love the glass effect in game - it's pretty stunning.

Photo Credit: Alex Pilgrim - Alex has been kind enough to test a lot of these items in game for me.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

In the Garden remastered

**Links are erroneously pointing here for the Green Man set.  If you find yourself here looking for the garden set - it's actually at b5Studio here- August 24, 2011

Err . . . you do know Eurythmics first official album was In the Garden, right? Probably my favorite, truth be told. Anyway - I am getting closer to finishing the garden set - I have a few more ideas but I don't know exactly what I will end up including just yet. Sometimes you have an idea and for whatever reason it's crap. I tried forever to get this egg finial - sort of looked like a stylized artichoke - it's actually pretty traditional fare - but my god it was impossible to get the scale right to my eye so I ended up recycling it in a bit of a snit. What can I say . . .

So, last we left off I showed two obelisk - these have not changed much - just tightened up a bit - the broken statue as well. I never did actually show you what the famous sculpture was that started this whole thing off. You'll probably laugh . . . well, maybe not.

You are probably familiar with Picasso's steer sculpture - make from a bike seat and handlebars? I had a flash in my head of it and thought it would be funny to have it in the game, so I dismantled an EA bike and created one. Not exactly a garden sculpture but that's how this set started.

We have so far two obelisk, the broken statue, the 'steer' head sculpture, two glass cloche (for those of you who may not be familiar with the term, it's also called a bell jar - used as a portable green house for seedlings and now, more seen as decor), an oxalis seedling, a gazing sphere, a tall garden (what I am calling a) finial, a tree specimen plaque (also good for museums and sculpture), a clock that not only works - it glows, a glowing sphere sculpture, a fountain . . . . today I worked on a lantern . . . . I have a few more ideas . . . . picture spam to follow in 3 . . . 2 . . . 1 . . . .

Close up of the obelisk and specimen plaque
So this is the modern sculpture with glowing side - it's based on a real sculpture
You can see the clock better in this shot
Fountain, cloches, specimen plaque
Obelisk, specimen plaque, sphere finial, gazing sphere, part of the fountain
New as of today, this is during the trials . . . . 
Most of the objects also have a mossy distressed style - you can just see the steer head too
Keep in mind - this is from an EA mesh - it's relatively small
One of my favorite plants in real life - a purple oxalis with a cloche
So you can see it's a mixture of new and old - much like how I have things in my real life. For the longest time I could say my newest possession was my computer. Prior to that it would have been my stereo. So I have a couple more ideas - I have had this idea for a door for the longest time and I have been collecting images to work from but it has been done a couple of times already - the most recent would be by the good folks over at Land of Woe - it's a warehouse door that slides - often seen in barns or old industrial buildings. The one that I have been wanting to make is a fire door - the track is actually at an angle and it's counter-weighted. Generally speaking - these would be seen more as two doors to prevent any sort of fire getting through.

While it really doesn't seem to have much to do with a garden and it was just recently done by someone else, it may go into a future build set. I have a lot of doors that I think are missing from the game. Not so much a window person - other people have done them better, but eventually I will get to meshing a door set. So many sets are just sitting in wait while I finish this latest one. The mirror set took the back shelf as I was getting frustrated with the oxidation problem of the Venetian mirror. I also have the 2x3 rugs that need to be re-released that are the smaller versions of the 4x3 rug sets and I have picture sets that are just sitting around waiting for 'finishing' meshes that will be along the lines of the 'Ephemera' set only a little larger in scale (at least in part - remember the fish picture?).

What? Laika? She's fine. The little darling peed all over my beautiful yellow sofa and then proceeded to sit in it while she nibbled at her rope toy. So to the tune of $262 we had it cleaned and guess what? She pissed all over it again. Fun stuff that. I have to drive the cushions up to Marietta tomorrow so they can soak for ten days in a solution. I can't wait. You know how much I love driving in this city. So - here's some Laika picture spam, cos I know how much you love it:

Arty 2
I love this picture - she was half asleep if you can't tell.
Yes, that's her tongue . . . she'll probably start drooling next.
Did you know she runs to me after eating and burps in my face?
OH! It's Katie at the vets . . . she had a nasty ear infection poor thing. Doesn't she look thrilled?

Monday, June 13, 2011

In the garden . . . .

Just a quickie post - I am excited about my latest set as it begins. Inspired by my real garden and where eventually I would love for it to go (right after I purchase a manor home with english garden and a maze formed from high boxwood hedging). This is a tiny post so please, no pointing and laughing at its size.

Two different obelisk (among a ShinoKCR ruins set)

Look familiar? I broke one of the statues from World Adventures
So while I have a number of ideas, we'll see what direction this starts to go. I do like things that are broken down and show signs of wear . . . the obelisk have two styles - one plain and one with moss so it can be both ways . . .

More to come . . . .

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Struggles with mirrors, blogger, and other things

Not entirely sure what is up with Blogger today - it killed the formatting of my mostly composed post and I could not undo it as it loves to auto save. Fun that. Having an especially hard time applying images and while you can report it, I envision that google has harnessed the power of a black hole for acceptance of such reports. We'll see how this goes. Also changed the look - I am not sure if this typeface is too small or the links should be a different color . . . still tinkering.

Let's see - I waxed about my latest set of mirrors - the one I am trying to pull together. I have mentioned the beveled mirror and the oddities of trying to take a photo with a mirror (and what ends up not reflecting) and how the bevel doesn't seem to actually show in game when facing it directly (only at acute angles - some not so cute ones too).

The red circle is just showing one of the 5 clips on the mirror
This is an 'arty' shot that did not make the promo shots for the Mementoes set.
I created a domed mirror that will be released in two styles - leaning and hanging. The hanging one takes up the majority of the height of the walls which is nice - the only option for that currently is the flat one that comes in both 1 and 3 square widths. The domed mirror is something I have wanted to make now for 8 or so months - never really had the time to sit down to do it.

I am pleased with the curve and poly count on this one . . .

What has me posting is actually the latest of the mirrors. A venetian mirror. For those of you who are unfamiliar with them, they are comprised of many little mirrors that usually surround one central mirror - these smaller mirrors act like a frame, are usually beveled and etched. When I would see them most would be when people would bring them into the shop I was working to be repaired. Usually these pieces are glued in place and over time the silver becomes unstable and the pieces start to fall away or it's on a wooden back that expands and contracts mildly and that aids in the problems. I mention all of that because nearly 90% of the ones I have dealt with in person have been antiqued either on purpose or become antiqued over time. While there are a few good antique mirrors out there, there is no real steadfast rules on how to make them. Things like Alpha Mask Threshold and Transparency in the different groups can wildly alter the appearance - then you have the alpha channel on the multiplier that can make things wildly different and to further complicate things, settings in the game will alter the way something looks too.
Earlier version of the mirror . . . I think I have it where I want it now.
Each time you make a tiny change, you have to save it and export it and convert it and launch the game and look at it after loading the patterns it is using. That is because it is kept in memory and you have to pull a 'fresh one' up to see it with the changes. Some of the changes are so subtle you can't see if anything is new. Other times it's a massive disappointment. This would all be much easier if you could just see it the way it should look in Workshop, but that's a understandable limitation for this free program.

So while I am starting to truly hate the venetian mirror, as a whole, it certainly is an interesting lesson - one I will possibly apply to more than one of the mirrors - we'll see - that's a huge 'maybe' visible from space. In fact - I doubt it highly.

On a completely different note - I am no longer a slider virgin. It's true, and I am not even going to blush about it. We're all grown ups. Since the first 'slider' was introduced to expand whatever facial feature or boobs or whatever on a sim, I have been dubious. Possibly because there are so many that do the same thing and any time you see a sim you really like at some site, it has yet some other slider that I am not aware of and I simply stopped downloading sims. I am also not easily impressed with stiff looking jewelry and dodahs for sims either. Clothes are another thing that I have simply stopped downloading due to the massive disappointment of putting it on the sim and it's not recolorable or it was so severely photoshopped in the screen capture that it's barely recognizable as the same item (I say all of this knowing how many people could give two shits about rugs and paintings). We all have our interests in the game. Lady Gaga's hair is not one of mine.

The other day I was checking my 'dashboard' and noticed a hat over at #aWT which was really nice. So nice in fact that I downloaded it without thinking or possibly thinking something like minemineminemineminemine. I load it in game and realize that while it is in great scale to the sims head - hair is one of those anomalies in the game that no one can really account for. He's got a set of hat sliders too . . . do I break my oath to never download a slider? I want this hat. I need this hat. So I throw caution to the wind and download the sliders. My god - it's like someone turned on the lights. While I don't know that I am a convert and will go running to download every slider on the planet, I am utterly impressed with the craftsmanship in this little accessory and the handy dandy sliders. [edit - damn it - he's got more sliders I just noticed and now I have to have them. Rats! I'm a fucking convert.]

Wendy Darling has been promoted. She no longer has to sit around while I break my back arranging screen shots for promotional purposes. She's now the official b5Studio Hand Model and will be going on the road in the fall. Wendy now gets her own lot with a dressing room and private bathroom.

Wendy in front of her new private dressing room.
We were contacted by one of our former models - Jorg, from Denmark - who was interested in being the new prop master.
Jorg in the Japanese Woodcut photo shoot . . .
Wendy is happy for her new co-worker
Jorg insisted on matching uniforms for everyone in a wildly impractical espresso colored Irish Linen. Even the robins egg blue hanky (that I was assured was not an impulse buy) is hand woven.
Matching uniforms make work the central focus.
Spying spinach on ones co-workers teeth should be shared, not kept to oneself.

I have a new album for the garden over at Picassa. You'll see a number of un-edited photos - a number of them have already been here so pardon the repeats. We've done a number of adjustments in it and it's growing in nicely but my god it has been so hot here that the transplants are always on the verge of crying. If they weren't so stressed, they probably would cry, instead they dramatically wilt and cause a scene.

OH - one more creation note . . . I really wish to work on a garden set . . . I don't know what exactly it would entail, but I have a couple of ideas and one thing already meshed. It's actually a famous sculpture and it's bonehead simple . . . more on that a different day though . . . .

Friday, June 03, 2011

In continuation of the set . . .

I have not been rushing on this set - I want each piece to be interesting and complete so I have been taking my time finishing up a few pieces - I think I have one more item to go, but we'll see - it needs something. I would love to make my own camera that actually worked, but the truth is - I would want to make a vintage camera that one holds at waist level and looks down into the view finder from the top. So it would be a decoration - not a functional item and I don't know that I know enough about that sort of thing to sit down and mesh it. Perhaps a photo album - vintage, of course. With the new video tape option in Generations, I thought the photo backdrop would be a fun object for people. ATS3 also has a gorgeous news room studio set that the screen would be fun for screen shots.

The victrola has tested well and people seem to like it. I wanted a couple of 78s to go with it - one sleeved and one unsleeved. The shine is something I am debating. In full sunlight the records have a high sheen even though the specular is not dead on white - it's actually 50% grey. It might still be too strong, but I wanted something that would reflect like a normal record would.

The book looks really nice in game in close up. That said - because it is open and flat - at a distance and at an angle - the details show poorly. This sort of thing is really for the person who wants to have something for a screenshot that is crisp. I added a cabinet that I actually own. This was acquired in Arizona (when I tell people I lived in Arizona, I say it like Phoenix is the name of the state. If you are reading this and you're from Arizona - sorry - there were three places to be and not one of them struck me as a place to stay). I bought it from a fellow named Michael Todd - he owned an antique store and was a really nice guy. He introduced me to Sordid Lives - the movie. A note about Arizona or the state of Phoenix . . . my brief time there was extreme and surreal. Helped to transform an old hotel into what was supposed to be a retirement resort, but it could not shake the crack den feel that it really was. Anyway, the real cabinet is metal with a celluloid knob. It would be difficult to get the actual paint texture in game - it's sort of wrinkled, but an industrial finish that is intentional. 

To bring the set together, I wanted some sort of vintage lamp(s). I have a number of them - some were actually heat lamps from the 40s - they had this strange carbon screw in thing for the socket - but a regular light bulb actually worked in it too so - yeah! But, I digress. I toyed with the idea of adding one of those lights - I have two and they are each unique, but because of the vintage photo backdrop, I wanted to tie the lamp in, so I created these:

These light my real life studio and without adding a cord to push their polygon limits above obscene, they pretty much look the same sans a few obsessive details (again to cut down on 'costs' of the poly count). I am really happy with these. Two sizes - spotlights - three channels - glass bulb. This is the sort of thing when I see it in an antique store I nearly trip over my feet trying to run to them. I was extremely lucky to get two of these in Cambridge, Massachusetts. They fold up and collapse and retract into almost nothing. I had to rewire them entirely and I painted the shades a metallic olivine (Modern Masters Metallic Paints). I love them and actually - I use amber bulbs in them to act like a night light. When I found them they were filthy and tucked into a corner and dirt ass cheap. So - they're cheap at objects in the game too. Here are more shots of the details:

These also have that strange industrial wrinkled paint in reality - so I used a hammerite paint finish from the game - you've seen that finish in real life on tool boxes and industrial vacuum cleaners.

Completely off the topic, I wanted to include some more photos of the garden. No Laika today - she's at doggy day care. A place called Wag-A-Lot - you can watch her on camera all day long when she's there. Fancy that. Garden pictures:

 I lied. I found a picture I took of her last night . . .
Echinacea - this is a pale lavender/pink
 Yellow Yarrow
 Pink Geyser Gaura
 Tiki Torch Echinacea - vivid orange - my favorite color
 This is sad - we just got this plant and I don't know the name of it . . .
 Euphorbia - this is a deep green/purple - it's like a thing out of Star Trek
 Dill flower - I adore dill - it's great in salad and in egg or tuna salad . . . .

Okay - off to figure out what the last item should be for this set. I am leaning heavily on the photo album idea. I haven't seen one that I would own myself out there . . . . so picky. tsk tsk.