Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Couple of notes on the HOLD IT set

Perhaps it's a silly name for a set - but these items hold things. The books hold information, the cabinets hold items, the mugs hold a drink (and a few, if bittersweet, memories). These cabinets will act like WA chests so they can hold your items too in game - nifty huh? Something with a door and a shelf would actually function (if not in animation, then in practice).

The books. The original was based on a cookbook so the standing ones are called Books to Cook. I realized upon their completion that they looked nothing like real cookbooks (well, not your run of the mill cookbooks - I have a few cookbooks that look like this in my collection) but their name remains. The ones that lay down are a little more tongue in cheek in their description and title.

These have two slots - one for the small book and one for the large - as so:
well wouldja look at that!
You can thank Jenba for giving me the idea (albeit, what - a year an a half ago? It was about the time of the refrigerator). Jenba has been a goddess - testing and being a sounding board for many of my creations and ideas. I was contemplating a 'studio' set - something like my office - at the time, and she said something along the lines of 'Oh - you know what would be cool ...' and there you go. The idea was born - I just couldn't seem to get off my lily white to get it done - until now.

What's cool about having an item with slots - you can put the first item onto a different slot and the items stacked on it move with it. It's sort of a cheat for getting the look you want without needing to use OMSP. The slot thinks it's one item - little does it know!

So - here's how you do it - you might already know this trick, but for those who don't:
Takes a very steady hand!
Then - when you are ready to place the book row to the slot (counter, shelf, cabinet - whatever) - 'grab' the first book - the one you started with - and simply drag it to the slot - the whole row of books goes with it. Fancy, eh?
Woosh! Are these things magic? Amaze your friends!
The book that lays on its side also has a slot so you can stack books - or put a fancy cup on top of your stack of books. Hmm - if only you had a fancy mug . . . you know . . . that also stacks.

So - the Jelly Cabinet. I haven't really ever told the story behind the cabinet. Someone owed me $80 and in lieu of giving me cash - they gave me what I coveted: stuff. So I brought home the ugly painted, cat urine stinking, broken glass door cabinet and stripped the paint. It appears to have been painted with a casein  paint - or milk paint - that is almost impossible to remove . . . but who cares? It's stunning as is. Upon seeing it, my mum said that she could picture it painted a particular way, but she agreed that this was the proper finish for it - raw. I took it to someone to repair (the legs seemed to have been kicked out from under it at one point) and he dated it to 1800. Said the legs were from an early icebox probably around 1921. He said that it would be significantly nicer if the legs were removed. I said: no way. I left it with him to repair and (seriously) a year later I still didn't have my cabinet back. Upon arriving at his workshop, I notice that he was using it as his tool chest. [block your ears here if you are easily offended] Mutherfucker! [okay, cursing has stopped] My father said he'd try fixing it and then proceeded to do that same thing (but I wasn't paying him). The cabinet is in its original condition - sans the paint (and stinky cat pee) and I wouldn't change a thing today. I love it. It sits in my dining room.

You might recognize that tan chair and that dress form too . . .
Some of the crazy things I have collected (and kept) - I have a 'thing' for creepy cute.
This is close to the real one. Minor changes to keep a visual balance and to keep the polys down (the hinges are different for instance). Each shelf has 9 slots. The entire piece has 47 slots - including 3 underneath (every time I went to put something under it - the item would jump to a slot on the shelf above) to help with your every need.

best place to keep a radio - three of them in fact
You'll notice that the back has minor gaps and that is intentional. I wanted this to be as close to the original as I could - so gaps were included between the boards.
In workshop
In game
Hope you enjoy this set as much as I enjoyed pulling it together. I am in the middle of another project at the moment. Some feedback on one item already has me scratching my head, but no worries . . . no no, you don't worry your pretty little face. Let me get grey for you.


Sunday, June 02, 2013

A cup a cupp a cuppa cup a cup.

While I might not be singing 'The Java Jive' I was doing a little jive revisiting the metlox mug I released in 2010. While there was nothing 'wrong' with it - it always bothered me that I needed to release a stacked version of it when it should just stack on its own.

fig 1/1a & fig 2 - 2010 vs 2013
When doing a kitchen anything, I am always forced to remember the items that came before it. I like this item well enough, but it was never properly smoothed. You wouldn't know it - it looked good in game - but it always sort of bothered me that it's something I use in my own game a lot and it wasn't at it's best.

Revisiting an item one finds some curious things. This thing was over 800 polys (pushing 900). Good christ I say.

The new version is 400ish poly count. It has been slightly altered to look even more like the real thing as well - the poly trim is from the interior (the interior had as many polys as the exterior). That's just crazy . . . man. Then of course, smoothing and welding helps with the look and the seams. This also has a slot so it stacks properly. Sometimes you want random stacks at varying heights. Okay - let me rephrase that . . . sometimes I want varying stacks . . . . It was something that I would have originally tackled had I known how to do it, but I think at the time it was not really possible.

Where this is a 2.0 I didn't want to just 'redo' it and walk away. The original had 12 of the original pottery colors. In real life the white was in both gloss and satin. The original is still fine - you don't even really need to remove it if you don't feel like it (read - I can't be bothered to remove it from my own game [even though I don't even have all of my own items {talk about getting bored over time looking at your own stuff}]). Anyway - the new version has only four (what I will call 'Fantasy') colors that don't exist in real life. Some company should re-issue these things - they are so comfortable in ones hand I can't even tell you.

One more item to look at doing today . . . have a few errands to run, but posting a random image without explaining it just seems . . . . unlike me and my compulsive need to notate. Then photos. Lordy I hate taking photos.

Friday, May 31, 2013

I wave the white flag.

Apparently, texture on glass and I will not come to an agreement. Therefore, I concede. I wave my white flag, constructed with the handkerchief that I used to wipe my furrowed brow and dry my ever so bitter tears while giving it a gesture that only you and I know means 'effffffyooooooouuuuu' in some foreign land (meaning: not 'Ah-mer-KA' as my neighbor would say [while looking out 'him's win-ders' at his 'tah-may-ter' plants.] Bless his hillbilly heart.).


So ... the glass - she is an ornery thing. While I love tinkering with the settings and am often pleased with the results - this was something I simply could no longer beat my head against the wall this thing would sit on in game. May I present the last version (unless some kind soul out there cares to offer their assistance on this matter: glow and texture [hint hint {beggin' here}]) of this wall light:

I heart you, you bastard
 The real one will work, I tell you. (sob) It wiiiillllllllll.

Notice the lovely logo . . .  the beautiful ribbed (and textureless [not bitter]) glass . . . two styles - with and without logo. The end. Don't CASt it too light in color or you'll be "blinded by the light" and revved up like a deuce methinks - whatever the hell that means.

Onto other matters. I finally got a picture of my garden that looks like my garden. You'll all roll your collective eyes - I just know it - but I always go to my garden and take a photo and am wildly disappointed by the shot. It's brown. Brown and sad. While I am doing dishes or yelling "end it" out the window at the dogs who bark at pollen falling I glance over and sigh a big smile at my garden - this is year 3.5/4 of working towards a better garden - aw!

Atlanta has a very early spring and some years it is short. This year has been lovely but there has been a lot of rain so the lavender has been crushed by the rain and the weight of the water trapped in the flowers. I have two smaller plants of English lavender that I am thrilled came back - it struggles here, but it's in bloom currently and the HONEY BEES came this year to enjoy the garden. WOO. Many selections I have opted for were in hopes of helping the honey bee.

This year we will be getting plants that bloom other than in spring so that the garden isn't completely depressing by August. So while this shot still isn't that impressive - so many items did their song and dance in April.

Many of you remember the tree falling and crushing my garden. Last year we extended the garden to a full third of the back yard (after fencing in an area for the dogs). We've also extended it to the area where the tree stood to reclaim that area with life.

Okay. Now I've built up this photo like it's breathtaking. It's simply how I see my garden and it's not sparse and (completely) brown.

Only 3.5/4 years later and it's about halfway 'there' - that silver bit will be covered by mulch (top right)
Okay - off to work with me. I will be tinkering this weekend and am still working on my top secret project. If I wasn't completely grey before, this project might get me there.

Monday, May 27, 2013

The set that should have been (by now)

It's been a bit of a wild ride these past [many] months.

2012 I found myself on a roller coaster of good news followed by equally bad news. Work, life, et cetera. Found jobs, nearly lost jobs due to lack of work. Computer woes . . . car trouble - expensive repairs followed by more troubles. Medical problems . . . dental troubles . . . a dear friend passing away. 2012, in a word, sucked.

This year seemed to start out well - new computer - that lovely interview for SF Magazine. I was even crowned . . . well, dentally speaking of course. I was even amped up to start meshing again. So what happened?

I had this really long post ready for you to read and then I basically felt like no one really cares about that sort of intense and deeply personal introspection. So, I have edited it down to the bits about the set that should have been.

A long time ago, someone requested that I fix the shadow on my flour cabinet. It blinks and I know what the error is - I thought - I need to quickly do that. That was the beginning of some flawed thinking. I can't do anything 'fast' - I opened the file and saw it was a mess - it's not that it would be a problem in game, but I have learned so much since making that item that I felt it needed to be smoothed correctly and mapped better. In attempting to organize the file to smooth I realized it would be easier to start from scratch. The new one is closer in style to the one that sits in my kitchen, but the original mesh has a closer handle and more preset styles to choose from. The new one has more masks for more coloring options. The second one wins by default.

The old style sits center - the new ones in many variations.
This, I thought, would be a great start to some new kitchen pieces.

I have a tall cabinet in my studio that I look at every day and I love it. It used to sit in my kitchen but it's such a small room. The cabinet cost me all of $5 - it's metal. I would have liked to make the handle exactly the same - it has a spring handle sort of like a honey dip (those spiral utensils for honey?) - tha would have pushed the poly count through the roof. My thinking was that the cabinets would be like the World Adventure chests or the Supernatural Cabinet. Sadly - the  SN cabinet base caused routing issues because the original has doors which must be opened by the sim to be used correctly, so WA chests it is. I was on a roll.

A few presets - one with heavy distressing (which looks like my own)
Then things started to dip a bit. I made a washboard wall light. This is something I want to make in real life - it wouldn't be that hard. In fact - I meshed it exactly as I would make it - take the round fluorescent fixture from my kitchen and put it behind the textured glass. The glass being textured would dapple the light which is where the problem started. How to texture glass. I borrowed the texture from the shower glass, but at the moment it's not working very well. Then no matter what I do - the whole fixture glows. I chatted with Heidi about it and I thought we found a solution, but I tried it again in game and it still glows. I have no idea how to make it NOT glow. (If you know - tell me!!) So I started to lose interest a bit in the set because I spent so much time failing at the light. I felt it was probably just better to move along to something new.

This is CASt in a dark color so you can't see the horrible glow. Notice the lack of texture too. UG.
I wanted to make another mug. The mug I did in a very short amount of time - I love it and it looks just like the real one. I even made it stackable. The real mugs belonged to my friend who passed away and while this is a memorial to a dear friend, the manner in which I obtained the mugs left me with a horrible hollow feeling. It was nearly three months after his passing that I saw them in an antique store. It was a moment before I recognized them as his and when I did the math I was left instantly angry as well as grief stricken. I walked away without them at first but called the store to request that they be held for me. It's sadly one of the few things that I have to remember him by.

Five preset colors - can stack . . . finally.
Then I made two books. They started as cookbooks and were made to stack next to each other. Two slots - one for the skinny and one for the wider one (I need to make one that goes on its side as well). They look so cool in game, but they look nothing like a cook book though.

Spines - multiple styles with one CASt capable
The pages . . .
When I stepped back I didn't really know what else to include in a set that would be for the kitchen. I don't want to make counters (though I did find a source image that I would like to attempt at some point) but then I was fixated on the Supernatural cabinet - I wanted to make some sort of sideboard that would work to hold items. I have a number of real life chests that I wouldn't mind making for the game for additional means to hold things. In my inability to make a decision, real life was starting to take a stranglehold on me.

The garden was going to need to be attended to and then my car was making especially loud exhaust noises. What I expected to be a $100 gasket or seal was going to be a $2500 repair and, oh yeah - did I know that the underside of my car was so severely rusted out? Cah-fucking-ching. New car.

So - I have a couple of things that I need to do prior to making this hodge podge release, but I will let these items go soon. My expected March release turn April is going to be a June release. Real life 1, my ass 0.

If you didn't know - I started a Tumblr too. Mostly to show my support for all the amazing creators (whether that is CC, Mods, or simply stunning pictures and stories) in our community by way of the 'like' button . . . yes, a small effort I know - but I want to be able to do it. I had all of a few followers until it was made known that I had a new site and suddenly I have a ton of followers. I am seriously humbled. Check it out if you want. It's nothing you haven't just seen here.

I am also getting my groove back on with some of the fun challenges over at The Sims Daily. They have challenged members to remake some of the classic homes there with a strict budget. I am wildly out of practice - I barely know what is in my now extremely limited CC collection (by comparison to what I used to have). Many members have entered and done some stunning revamps (both inside and out) - these were my three attempts:

Pescadero - the seaside house owned by some grumpy thief of a sim. Outchago! Wendy Darling needed a new home after her many sim years as a hand model:

Moderne for a not so modern lady.
Then there is the home of Agnes Crumplebottom:
Who needs windows?
And this weekend I attempted one of the starter homes called "The Monotone" - I wanted to evoke an Atlanta bungalow feeling.
Rustic garden included! Hope you have your tetanus shot!
Alright bubbies . . . I am off to try my hand at a very secret project. Something I have never attempted before so wish my luck. To keep me fresh I will be finishing off this set shortly. Keep your peepers peeled either here, there, or at Tumblr.