Thursday, September 08, 2011

boxed bread

Affectionately called: The "Is It Bigger Than A Breadbox" Breadbox, this is based on a gift from my sister. I am trying to recall the exact circumstances of how it came into my possession, but I remember seeing it at an antique store and commenting on it and suddenly it was a gift to me not too long after. I am told I am a very hard person to buy for so it is not uncommon that if I mention liking something in a shop, it will end up as a surprise for me later. Note to self: comment more on big ticket items. For me? Aw shucks! You shouldn't have!!

So, this again is not the usual run of the mill breadbox. This is actually a punched steel box with an enamel coating in a similar color to the canisters. Probably from the 30s. I have never seen one like it since. I thought this with the canisters would go well together in a set - that's the short and long of it. I will say this - I remember reading the comments on a set at MS3B where people can be wildly free with their thoughts . . . . (read: cruel) and I don't remember exactly what it was, but it was something to go on a counter or table or something and someone said something along the lines of 'well if it doesn't do anything I don't want it' . . . . fair enough. I understand the sentiment. In fact, I am very anxiously awaiting Unleashed because I am expecting that there will be a box of dog biscuits or cat treats or something that can be cloned (finally) for objects that sit on counters - like the canisters. So with this thought in mind, and remembering Sandy at ATS3 made some chests that were based on the WA chests - I asked her to help me with the process of making an object a chest. [as an aside, way back - I saw Sandy asking a question on one of the forums and as per usual it was being ignored by the moderators much like pretty much every question I ask on said forum {cough cough TSR cough} so I messaged her and told her that at MTS they had helped me with a problem I had and from what I learned, wouldn't it be possible to apply the attributes from the object she could not clone {no textures} to the object she made . . . long story short - she figured it out well beyond my understanding and somehow I got the credit . . . but I had to ask her how to do it and she was kind enough to assist me so really - this is only working cos Sandy rocks! And what a crazy simple solution too!!] So this breadbox DOES something! It holds things . . . seeds, tomb artifacts . . . anything a chest will hold - sans the animation but oddly - anyone can use it - it's not limited to those who have World Adventures. Must be in one of the patches. I am beginning to wonder if we can clone a lot more than we think with no EP/SP limitations . . .

Three slots . . . just in case . . .
So, here's the funny part. Well I find it funny. I needed to use an OMSP to place it the way I wanted to on the counter. It's no secret - I am NO FAN of these things and not because they are not terribly useful, but simply because I have zero patience for working with them and trying to get my stuff where I want it . . . so many pretty pictures out there use them and god bless every last one of them who uses them well - I (seriously) got a migraine trying to use it today. BUT IT WORKED. Let me tell you - 98cm is the key to getting this puppy on a counter. The thing disappeared every time I tried to pick it up then it started spinning and I couldn't undo that - then it wouldn't move back and when I finally got the hang of using it, I couldn't get the breadbox onto it . . . then I tried the cheat moveobjects on and FINALLY it worked. Hol-lee moses that was a year off my life. I tried a lot of different OMSP and the height just wasn't right . . . this really cool one (please - do not take my SPED experience as what you will encounter - I am simply challenged in these matters) from MTS by the creator granthes was the only one that worked and allowed me to tuck it back into the corner . . . I wish there was a way to counter the problem without an OMSP - but this is the one to do it with.

Sorry bubbies - you're going to have to click on this to read it . . . .
*EDIT* - I need to update which OMSP work. I will confess that Mango's OMSP are the first I always go to - they are simple and do the job. I often feel like there is truly something wrong with me that I cannot seem to use one well - these are that simple to use. For some reason I must have overlooked this particular height and frankly, je ne parle pas anglais - so I don't even know what the titles say. [aside: I have to wonder if my descriptions are in any way offensive when they are translated to different languages] So - if you want a very easy to use OMSP, download the Mango set (page two of sets, bottom set). Here is a picture of it in use - a screen capture to show you the exact name and look of it as well. It has two styles - but you won't have to make this one invisible - it's inside the counter.. The advantage to the other is that it's larger than the breadbox and you can place it again if you put it in the wrong spot. CTRL Z also works for the low-fi inclined.
You can thank Jenba for pointing out that this set indeed had the correct height.
Every piece in this set has multiple styles, but each style has it's own tiling. I have been trying to make objects with as much versatility as possible. When I am in my own game and want to use a pattern and it looks horrible on whatever creation I am trying to CASt . . . anyway - I know it is frustrating to have an idea for your 'scene' and none of your patterns seem to look right - wood alone has such a vast array of scale . . . . well - you know - you play this game too. Anyway - I started to include different tiling sizes before, but this set every object has multiple tiling options - I am hoping that is clear to those who don't read the notes and helpful to those who do :)

The different tiling options . . .
This is the last piece to the kitchen set . . . probably won't be released until Monday or Tuesday due to the weekend being almost upon us. If I could have finished everything yesterday, it would have been nice to release the set today for the weekend. Weekend releases - I have said this before - just get lost in the mix. You kill yourself to pull together a set - release it and no one realizes you did. Soul crushing. 

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

eating time.

Not entirely sure why this is in skinny vision . . . 

Just a quick update. While this was not particularly difficult, I have been tinkering with the silverware  on this all morning and finally got it to where I think it looks good. This is based on a real clock in my kitchen. Mine is a little rusty and worn. I purchased three of these back in the early 90s  in Cambridge Massachusetts at the Church Street Fair. I was looking for gifts and could not resist one for myself, too. I am learning to include different tiling for each style as certain patterns simply don't look good when they are too small or too large. Version 1 is set to 4,4, version 2 is set to 1,1 and version 3 is set to 2,2 on the pie tin. The silverware I have left at 4,4. This should aid in getting the right look from your own patterns.

The clocks as they appear in game . . . . 
EDIT - I am going to add some kitchen picture spam from Jenba at Greetings from Mt Geneva who has been kind enough to help me with testing these items. Her pictures back to me are always to amazing. The patterns she'll try out on the different objects always makes me feel like I include some of the most boring recolors! I also need to say how important her feedback has been to this set! There were some clumsy oversights in the refrigerator especially that she caught and I am not sure I would have even noticed until I went to take final photos or worse - post release! So, THANK YOU JENBA!!

As I know these only as crackled, it had not occured to me to try a new type of base pattern!
It was testing a wood pattern that caught a tiling oversight - this is the corrected version
I had only tried metal patterns . . . custom kitchen wood panels made perfect sense!
I actually got a little weak kneed seeing this - I love the pattern selection!
This is with Awesims new kitchen - I haven't even had time to try this set out myself!
I am curious if the height is the same or if this is an optical illusion  - looks good with that set :)
The clock - brilliantly patterned to be especially fun and funky!

Monday, September 05, 2011

Lights and lettering

You know - if you looked at my very early meshes you'd think - meh - not a perfectionist. In reality there is the constant balancing act of doing the best one can and OCD. At any given moment one can only produce to the best of their current ability. But abilities refine - it's how we grow and improve. Sure - it would be nice to be an expert at the beginning but we do what we can and hope that someday there is a payoff.

Nope. Just more challenges.

I have been working on a simple canister design. I picked these up in Cambridge, Massachusetts at the Cambridge Antique Market (my god I would give my eye teeth to fly on up there and do some therapeutic shopping). Simple Art Deco kitchen canisters . . . I hadn't seen any like these before - usually just spun or anodized aluminum, chrome stackers, or some ceramic something. These were interesting because the lid is hinged and they have a little bakelite knob and typically deco lettering reminiscent of a rail line. Easy enough, right? Well . . . sure - they meshed well, but these needed options.

I like my sets to be designed that they can be built upon. This kitchen set is a continuation of the ideas in the Salt is the Fifth Food Group set. The flour cabinet in that set had many options with many overlays. The problem with an overlay is that you have the options but they are static - you cannot CASt them. This needed to be a little better than that - especially where the lettering was going to be more prominent. Often when you see lettering for the game it is a little blurry and almost never is it CASt-able. There was my challenge.

Attempt one.

A little creative license with these. Because the flour cabinet had a band around the 'enamel' table surface - I wanted these to fit in. The real ones are simply pale yellow with black lettering and a black knob - so the shape is pretty much the same and the band can go away with CASting. As for the lettering . . . it was okaaaaay but it was blurry. I had decided to do the lettering as a multiplier alpha trick instead of using the mask. When the mask is utilized to get this affect (so, picture a red field with green words on it) changing a color within the same area will cause little white lines to appear - even EA meshes have this problem - just take a good look at the oval coffee table. I felt that it needed to be improved - back to the mesh - make the lettering larger and it will be clearer, right?

Attempt two.

Well - sure - now the lettering was clearer and actually larger too on the object - not just the mesh - so it should look better. I mean - it looked better than attempt one but man - it still had a very choppy looking hard edge - nothing like how the multiplier looked. When you pan out, the letters start getting even more hard looking. Deflated, I remembered that I encountered this with the venetian mirror . . .the solution there was using Phong Alpha as the group to remedy the problem. Just change the group. Easy, right?

Attempt three.

Finally - the lettering okay . . . but the whole object became a little transparent too - the knob disappeared at certain angles and the band at the bottom could be seen through the object. W. T. F. . . . WTF???? Lip trembling . . . don't cry . . . drink heavily. That will solve the problem . . .

Attempt four.

O. M. GHAHHHHD. It's clear, it's clean, it recolors - it shines appropriately . . . it's still legible from a distance - not choppy and hard looking. AND it comes in simlish . . . and it's not translucent! The trick in this case was making the lettering a new group. I don't know that I will ever truly understand Phong Alpha, but clearly I need to experiment with it further.

Two! Two slots! ah ah ah (my impersonation of the Count from Sesame Street)
This is also the second object I have made with specific slots to allow for them to be lined up on a counter without an OMSP. I hate those things! Worse - if you had to use one - you'd need four to line all these up. The way this has been designed is the large one has two slots for both a large and a small canister - the small only has the one spaced for a small canister. Because slots are like high powered magnets sometimes - I didn't want to have them on both sides - I thought it would be overkill. I also did not want to have all four (or what you often see is three) sitting there in a row as all one mesh. That would require a significant amount of polys for one object but then you couldn't put the flour on the table next to the bowl and leave the other three behind. Same thing as the salt and pepper shakers - what if you're doing a baking scene and only want the one? So this hopefully fills a need in the game. Did I mention it also comes in simlish?? It comes in SIMLISH.

This morning I was drinking coffee and looking at the light in my kitchen and I thought - oh - this has to be made. It's one of those 50s round fluorescent bulb fixtures that often hum and make you look a little green around the gills . . . what better than to have that in game too? We now have the ability to have 'neon' lights so it would be easy enough to light it up, but also have it as light source. Full bright (the neon effect) is akin to the refrigerator Full Bloom (the lighted interior of the fridge) only it is recolorable and can (with the assistance of a light source) be dimmed in game which is really a nice feature.

Don't you wish you had one in your kitchen? I can't even take photos in the kitchen most of the time because of that lovely green overcast that it adds to everything. While this one is recolorable to whatever you want it to be, I thought it would be funny to include the standard colors. It's incredibly subtle, but the one on the left is green, center is blue and finally pink for the end. Just like science class in high school when you were nodding off but you looked up and noticed that there were no two bulbs alike on the ceiling and if they just moved those from over there to over here then you'd at least have all pink bulbs on this side of the room . . . no? Okay - I am OCD.

One more kitchen spam:

Bowl and Cookie jar from previous kitchen set - counters and stove from Exotic Elements
Salt and Pepper (the salt is on an included slot) and my old cookie jar
The kitchen so far - 2 step stools (stool and table), 2 canisters sizes, fridge,  light, and shakers
Fridge and canisters
What's for dinner? Bleu cheese, oranges, a lemon and frozen dinners! Mom!
Desert, milk and juice! . . . Look at them glass shelves (my southern inner voice comes out again)
Well look who stopped by! Wendy Darling. She's making crow . . . god love her.
Wendy's groceries demonstrate some of the slots. There are three slots per step and even a slot between the legs!
Oh! And guess who's birthday we settled in on a date for? Laika! There's an album out there somewhere of Chris, Katie, Laika, and I all wearing party hats . . . but I'll just let you see one photo of the dear thing wearing her party hat . . . it was her big day - well her's, Katie's, and Chris' too . . .

Tiny hats for everyone!