Thursday, April 21, 2011

Cool location for a machinima

I have a sculpture garden on the mainland and while flying around the other day looking at my neighbors to see what was new or at least stuff I'd never noticed because I had my draw distance turned way down. I noticed an island off in the distance. I flew over and it was the cutest little coastal town with cobblestone streets and a wharf and a light house and a town square. It was built by the Linden Lab Department of Public Works. The build quality is very high. If you're looking for a machinima set..this might be something to check out. You'll have to watch your camera angles so you don't get the stuff on the next sim, but that shouldn't be too difficult. Here is the SLURL and some photos.



Town square with wishing well and assorted small shop buildings, including Mole & Mole Travel Agency for your virtual vacation needs. (people who work with the Dept. of Public Works use avatars with the last name of Mole - hence the company name)

A view of the sim from the light house end. There's a little beach there too with a row boat pulled up. Notice from this high angle you can see the mainland sims behind Barney's bay.

A view from the wharf. From this angle you can't see any other land. There are other sims to the right side of this picture. Check out that sea wall and the row of little houses. It was cute. There are stairs to run up and down and alleyways to pop out of.

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Friday, April 15, 2011

Learning to make poses and Animations

We bought the Animare HUD the other day to play around with in SecondLife. Hopefully now when we need certain poses for our machinima, I can whip them out fairly quickly...well faster than I edit video since that seems to be taking me forever.

I spent some time today making poses and trying my hand at animations. The HUD is easy to use, tho not easy to understand sometimes. The HUD has a picture of the body with the joints. You click on a joint, then you can rotate it, move it forward or back, move it in or a range of set increments that aren't always as small as you'd like for some tiny refinements. Here are pics of two static poses I made for a standing avatar and a lounge position that i'm pretty happy with.

Lounging poolside..that's me. The lounger is ugly as sin I's 2 prims i pushed together quickly to put the pose into to test. I need to look for some modifiable full perm furniture I guess. I was actually thinking this would be good in a window seat. But now I really want to see it in a pool side beach chair. ANd I want to make it into an animation...with tapping foot, maybe an arm waving away a bug.

I called this one Whooops...since it looks like the avie is falling

I called this one Happy to See kind of looked like someone jumping into the arms of another person they were happy to see.

A note added on Saturday evening
It is really tough to find info on animations and poses for SL. I'm trying to figure out the layout of the data in teh .bvh file that gets imported into SL. I found one source that said it starts with the hip..but not sure what is the order of the other joints. I want to be able to tweak the .bvh file in case i mess up the animare pose or in case i want a little finer movements.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A new version of the 2nd episode

We're having this episode you get to hear my voice! And we have a great fight scene

More action planned for the next episode..I hope to whack Percy the Pliers with a bottle (why..because it's int he wrestling HUD we're using and it just sounds like it would look cool)

Places to see some SL machinima

Logo from the video game Second LifeImage via WikipediaTHere are several "television networks" for programming made in SecondLife. All these networks have scheduled shows, live feeds, websites, and ways to talk about the shows. And many of them have ways for you to share your machinima with the world too.

Metaverse TV -
They have a variety of programming - news, fashion shows, comedy. They just started a new show called Claim the Fame that seems to be for fashion designers. You can watch on their web site or on YouTube and I was watching an episode of the Stylist of the Year contest. The production values are really high on these shows, good sound, interesting visuals.  They have a news program, MBC News, about many virtual worlds that I am going to start watching regularly. I made a post with one of their programs embedded from YouTube. -
They have 2 "channels" - entertainment and business, with a variety of programs on each channel. I go to the Metanomics presentations in world. shows those on the business channel along with tech news programming. On entertainment they have a variety of SL sports including giant snail races, dirt bike races, sailing and hockey. There are arts and literature programs as well as a weekly fashion program and a trivia program, The 1st Question, hosted by Pooky Amsterdam . You can watch on their website or in SecondLife using a special tv viewer they created. Their shows have ads.

Metamix TV -
THis group is new/old. They took over an existing network ( and are building a new sim, putting together a new show lineup. It's headed up by Flimsey Freenote, Chantal Harvey, Toxic Menges, Kit2Kat, and Phaylen Fairchild. SL wrestling will be on this network as is coverage of Simball matches. They host "The Phoenix Hour" with developers of the Phoenix third party viewer. They have a variety of talk, opinion, and reality programming. They plan to broadcast in HD. They interrupt their programming with advertisements. Here is one of their shows.

spoton3d on Broadcast Live Free

Virtual World Network VNW1 -
This network has shows on fashion and art, and sports like automobile racing and wrestling.

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MBC News April 14th, 2011

Monday, April 11, 2011

Camera huds and stuff

a couple of helper apps i heard about at the Machinima Monday...Haven't had time to check them out yet.

an app to create specific sized windows for filming -

Sound Ideas

So I"m working on my machinima with Marc, my machinima buddy. I gave it a title..a working title, but one I like...It's called "Till Death Do Us Part"

It's not a comedy...duh!

Anyway..all machinima needs sound effects and voices and background music.

Here are some resources. Some I found, some Marc found, and some were suggested by the people at Machinima Monday. BTW, If you're making movies in SecondLIfe, you should join this group and come to the meetings on Mondays, usually at 2pm SLT and 7pm SLT.

Wikipedia page about copyleft and out of copyright music - mostly classical music. On the Mac, you ALT left click on the file name to download it. Not sure what you PC folks do. - database of Creative Commons licensed sounds/sound effects (not music). You enter keywords and get lists of sounds so tagged. You can see the other keywords used to help you find what you want. Then ALT left click to download - database of Creative Commons licensed music remixes.

Music Discovery Center - the search tool for ccmixter. I don't see keywords listed on selected songs like i did for so it's a little tougher to find what ya want. Maybe just a matter of me playing with it some more.

Free Music Archive - you can sort by genre and then listen to selected tracks. Be sure to check the licenses but it seems that most are free to use for non-commercial projects

Actors' Sandbox - voice actors hang out here. They're running a workshop for voice actors. If you need people to speak in your movie, this might be a group/place to check out. I just found out about this at today's Machinima Monday. As I find out more, I'll update this.

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Saturday, April 09, 2011

iMovie coolness

I just discovered I can crop clips. My machinima buddy, Marc, sent a clip with black bars on the side and of course I managed to ruin a few takes filming underlying window edges. Now I can maybe use all that footage! Thanks iMovie

and maybe I should read the documentation....nnnnnnaaaaaawwwwww

Thursday, April 07, 2011

My turn as Director

We - my machinima buddy and I - started a new project today, one based on a story idea I had. This is the first time I"ve been the editor and director. I made a lot of mistakes but fortunately my buddy was patient while i got the software working. He was trying to be nice when he said my project was ambitious. I'm sure he was thinking...that girl is nuts...gonna crash and burn...but he didn't say it. Thanks!

Anyone in RL will tell you..i am a slow still photograph taker. I like to line things up just so and try different angles and amounts of zoom..all before I take a picture. Maybe why i take so few people pictures in RL...trees and rocks and the sky sit around and wait for me. I digress.

I laid out a list of the scenes I want in my video, in 2 column format. And we started shooting...and my well thought out scenes fell apart. I needed some transitions. Some scenes needed changes to be more logical in the flow of the movie.

I've been trying to pick out places to film. One  was a plaza with an awesome fountain. When I'm places normally, i don't notice things like advertisements and tip jars and store windows. It took time today to lay out the camera angles and think where the actor could move. At the Machinima Monday meeting the other day someone mentioned putting up transparent walls to keep the actors in the shot; now I see what they were saying. It's difficult to explain what you're seeing on your screen to the actors; walls would stop them before they got out of the shot.

Here's some footage i started editing. It's from an early scene. There's no audio yet. Just to give you an idea of what i did today

Mistakes I made today
- filming away..and then noticed i was in the shot in the background
- managed to make the filming window in Snapz not as big as the window of Secondlife
- managed to move the SecondLife window but not the edit window, so i filmed some windows that were under SecondLife...that is really irritating because I got a good shot..and don't think i can trim that line of garbage off the left edge
- filmed things before they were completely rezzed
- realized without an external mic, I can't do voice to give directions to my actors when i have the SecondLife interface turned off
- realized i need to think more about motion...moving the actors, moving the camera.

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Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Poses for machinima

Working with avatars has some advantages over working with always looks good, avatars often have amazingly varied inventories to draw on for props, and they can stand without fidgeting (if you take off their AOs of course) while you set up your shot.

There is one drawback though that I've run into so can't just tell your actor/avatar..oh move your hand higher..or grab them around the neck. Well, technically you CAN tell them..they just can't do it. Without poses and animations that is

The pose fair is going on now till the 15th of April on a sim called Postura. There must be a hundred stores here. You can buy loaded AOs, individual poses and pose packs for singles and couples, furniture with poses built in, and cool things to pose with for photos. For instance {what next} has a rowboat with poses in it - photographers must love those things. Here's their SLURL at the pose fair -  and a picture of their little space showing the rowboat.

Here's a pic of another cool prop..a brick wall to lean on. It's from Glitterati - they have a huge real world store with poses and props. Here's the slurl to their store at the fair -

As a new machinima maker, I"m trying to decide what kinds of poses I need. And looking hard for animations. Probably need to invest in some specialty HUDS.

Then there's the problem of getting your actors to have the right animations..because a lot of them are no transfer...grrrrr.
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Friday, April 01, 2011

A checklist for SL Fashion Photographers

A good blog post for fashion bloggers with a checklist of things to do to avoid some common problems like unrezzed prims and hands buried in articles of clothing