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!


  1. So awesome! I love this set to pieces. The first thing I'm gonna do when you release it is build a sweet '50s kitchen. :)

  2. Thanks Jen! I am getting anxious to finish this one up!

  3. I have always liked those old style light fixtures for their constant humming sound. I can't wait till you finish this set!

  4. I have a love hate relationship with that light Migolia - it's retro and fun and costs little to run, but I look like I am green around the gills whenever I am in the kitchen!

    Working on the last piece to the set - it might take a little bit of time to finish - it's a breadbox that will act (hopefully) like one of the chests from World Adventures!