May at Holly Kai Park in Second Life

Holly Kai Park - May
Holly Kai Park – May

The May ensemble exhibition in the Holly Kai Art at the Park series commences on Saturday, May 7th, 2016, and runs through until Saturday, June 11th.

For this exhibition, we are both pleased and privileged to be featuring the work of Ceakay Ballyhoo, Eleseren Brianna, JudiLynn India, Lantana Silverweb, Slatan Dryke and SisterButta.

The exhibition will open with a special gala event at the Holly Kai Pavilion, which will also mark the end of Silas Merlin’s marvellous Mirrored Garden exhibition at Holly Kai Garden – see below for more details.

About the Artists

CK (Ceakay Ballyhoo)

CeakayCK Ballyhoo has been roaming SL in search of wonderful landscapes and interesting buildings to capture and use to make her art. She has also discovered the joy of background studios and is still learning new things every day, often through inspiration by other artists.

Her style can be best described as capturing moods. Feel yourself drawn into the landscapes of her pictures. See the emotion and character traits expressed in the people she portrays. It’s a dreamy world most of the time. Unclear lines, blurry, warm colours. Sometimes darker and gloomier.

There are often series. Sometimes around a theme, sometimes different takes of one scene, because she can’t decide which one she likes best and likes to give them time to grow on her.

Eleseren Brianna

ElesTrained as an illustrator in the physical world, Eleseren Brianna is perhaps best known as a fashion and couture model in Second Life, so her photographic work is understandably focused in that direction, but certainly not limited to fashion shots. Holly Kai will be her sixth major exhibition in Second Life, where she has only recently entered the art world, although , she has previously exhibited her work at Dreanz and Visionz in Inworldz.

The pieces she offers at the Park are placed under the title of “Myths”, which she describes thus:

I wanted to create mysterious and dreamlike images, that call upon the universal archetypes that Jung said lie tangled within the roots of our Collective Unconscious. These images do not try to explain, or define what is going on in them..they are left mysterious, open-ended, ready for the viewer to spin their own story onto.

JudiLynn India

JudiLynnJudiLynn is an established artist in the physical world who states she has been drawing since she could first hold a crayon. Since then she has pursued art both academically and physically, and since the turn of the millennium has focused on acrylic and digital painting.

JudiLynn says of her work:

My work embodies my spirit and personality. My goal is to allow you to experience the image with your own mind’s eye. My work is entirely intuitive. I get lost in the layering of texture and colour. Occasionally, I will include figurative work if my spirit is so presented with the composition. Just as there is order in the chaos of the universe, the energy within me is brought into focus one canvas at a time.

Lantana Silverweb

LantanaLantana Is another person who is new to the world of art in Second Life, but who is deservedly gaining a reputation for the outstanding images she produces. Describing herself as inspired by the work of other SL artists, Lantana has developed her skill and eye very much through a “learn by doing” process, which has led her into experimentation and a natural approach to her avatar studies. ” I don’t use photo poses but rather have the model use their AO and take the photos as they move around,” she says.

Her entry into SL art came – appropriately enough – as a result of a visit to Nitroglobus Gallery. “I sent some of the better ones to the owner who invited me to put them on their Flickr page. I didn’t know much about Flickr, but when I saw it realised I had somewhere to post my photos so that others could see them.” And from there things grew.

For her work, Lantana focus on the feeling each image evokes in her. “I work on them until I touch the darkness,” she says, before going on to express her preference for avatar studies. “I prefer to make images of people rather than landscapes and do my shoots on location although there have been a few occasions where I have built sets.”

As she gains experience, so she is looking to experiment further, noting she’s working with every more elaborate pieces in an attempt to move away from purely 2D art and more into 3D work, and taking advantage of the physics SL offers.

Slatan Dryke

SlatanSlatan Dryke loves art in all its forms, and while he may well be a photographer in the physical world, he regards painting and sculpture as being closest to his heart, and he works in both mediums here in Second Life, as the pieces he has opted to show at Holly Kai Park demonstrate.

A wanderer by nature, he enjoys nothing more than exploring the grid, finding new pockets of beauty for his pictures, thanks to the creativity and imagination of fellow residents, where his physical world knowledge of photography greatly informs his framing, windlight selection, image ratio, etc., such that he rarely post-processes his work.

As a sculptor, Slatan surprisingly claims to have limited skills with in-world building. However, his works – which focus on the abstract – demonstrate a talent for colour, motion, and composition, and show a skilled level of prim manipulation.

For Holly Kai, Slatan is present his 2D art on one of the art decks in the hill-top gallery area, was well as a number of his sculptures scattered through the art exhibition area.

SisterButta

sisterbuttaA professional writer, SisterButta, also known as Trolley Trollop, sees Second Life as a means to explore narrative techniques and means to create new “story-making” possibilities to create interactive and immersive environments to convey information in non-traditional ways.

A life-long denizen of on-line communities dating back to early 1980s, SisterButta is a noted performer and voice artist is Second Life, and has been active in the promotion of arts through the likes of Seanchai Library and the Decades festival, which focuses on historical role-play in Second Life. She has also, with building partner Robijn Resident, created an installation covering the first 200 years of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), which was displayed at Rocca Sorrentina.

More recently, SisterButta and Robijn created Wound Angels, an interactive exhibit honouring breast cancer sufferers through the ages, as seen through the eyes of some of history’s greatest artists, and which was first shown at the RFL 2016 Home and Garden exhibition. We are very honoured to have it reproduced at Holly Kai Park.

Opening Event

joaquinThe new Art at the Park exhibition will officially open at 4:00pm SLT on Saturday, May 7th, with several of our artists on hand. The event will also mark the closing of the excellent Mirrored Garden exhibition by Silas Merlin at Holly Kai Garden, which you can read about here.

As always, the opening event will take place at the Holly Kai Pavilion, which can be reached via the bridge from the main Holly Kai Landing point, and which also connects with Holly Kai Garden, allowing attending to also visit Mirrored Garden.

Our friend Joaquin Gustav will be providing the music for the opening, and we very much hope you will join us, and either tour the park and garden ahead of the opening, or spend time exploring following Joaquin’s set. Formal attire is requested.

This post first appeared on the Holly Kai Park website.

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SL project updates 16 18/2: TPV Developer Meeting

Osprey Ridge; Inara Pey, April 2016, on Flickr Osprey Ridge – blog post

The following notes are primarily taken from the  TPV Developer (TPVD) meeting held on Friday, May 6th, 2016. A video of the meeting is embedded at the end of this report, my thanks as always to North for supplying it, and time stamps in the text relate to this recording.

Week #18 Server Deployments – Recap

On Tuesday, May 3rd, the Main (SLS) channel received the same server maintenance package originally deployed to the three RC channels in week #17, comprising a crash fix and minor internal improvements. There was no RC deployment during the week.

Week #19 Attachment Inventory Limits

There will be a new RC deployment in week #19 (commencing Monday, May 9th). This will include new limits, I believe, on the total number of assets which can be contained on worn attachments. The exact limits aren’t clear to me. However, in-world objects cannot be rezzed if they contain more that 10K inventory individually, or 30K in the case of linksets, so I suspect similar limits will apply to attachments, and any attempt to attach objects that exceed these limits will fail. More on this next week.

SL Viewer Updates

Release Viewer

[03:40] The Maintenance RC viewer, version 4.0.4.314579, released on April 28th, was promoted to the de facto release viewer on Thursday, May 5th.

Quick Graphics Viewer

[03:50] The Quick Graphics RC viewer (currently version 4.0.4.314426, dated April 26th) is now “perilously close” to being promoted to release status, and apparently only needs to be merged with and tested against the new release viewer code.

[04:55] The next update to this viewer will refer to rainbow avatars as “Jelly Dolls”, in keeping with the new popular term for solid-colour avatars, which has been “adopted with enthusiasm” by the Lab.

[05:20] There is also a new control added to the viewer screen for making quick adjustments to the Max Avatar Complexity setting.

Project Bento

The Project Bento viewer updated to version 5.0.0.314884, also on Thursday, May 5th.

This build contains several updates related to joint offsets and meshes:

  • Joint offsets will be ignored if they define a position identical to the default position for that bone. We use a 0.1 mm tolerance to determine whether a position has changed, so to force the offset to be applied you can make an invisibly small tweak to the bone in your modeling tool.
  • Along with this, we provide some log message feedback during upload to show which joints will have active offsets.
  • Meshes can now have multiple skeleton roots – for example, you could have a model rigged to both hands without including any bone that both hands are descendants of.
  • Joint offsets are now enforced during shape editing.

Slider changes:

  • We include a fix for a long-standing bug with female torso muscles
  • The male “package” slider can now be supported in mesh models by weighting to mGroin. (note that the currently available test models do not have this weighting yet).

[04:15] The Lab believes the project is now stable enough to be “close to” moving to the Main grid.

Oculus Rift Viewer

[04:26] The Lab is continuing to work on the Oculus Rift viewer. The next release, which will remain at project status, is expected “real soon now”, but will support the latest Oculus VR SDK, etc.

64-bit Viewer Project

[07:13] The 64-bit viewer project has been temporarily suspended recently while the developers working on it were assigned to other tasks, including the ongoing QuickTime remediation project.

Upcoming Viewers

In September 2015, I wrote about the Lab’s plans for further improvements to inventory management and handling within the viewer. Part of this work involves the removal of older UDP paths / mechanisms for inventory handling are properly deprecated / removed and replaced by newer and more robust mechanisms, and that all older mechanisms which have already been replaced are properly removed.

[05:45]  This work had been on hold pending the recent HTTP work. It is now expected that an RC viewer containing these updates will be appearing shortly. Once these updates have reached release status and been fully validate through their active use, the associated UDP support for the deprecated paths and mechanisms will be removed server-side.

 Aditi and Agni Inventory Caches

As I’ve previously reported, the new Aditi inventory syncing process created local inventory caching issues (see also BUG-11651). A fix for this was proposed by the Lab, which would allow the viewer to create separate inventory caches for Agni and Aditi, with the correct cache being automatically selected depending on which grid a user logs-in to (see here for more).

This update was incorporated into the Maintenance RC, and so is now a part of the de facto release viewer, and so should also be appearing in TPVs as they adopt the 4.0.4 code base from the Lab.

The current release viewer, version 4.0.4.314579 including the new Aditi / Angi local inventory caching capability to prevent local inventory caches being incorrectly merged when logging between the main and beta grids
The current release viewer, version 4.0.4.314579 including the new Aditi / Agni local inventory caching capability to prevent local inventory caches being incorrectly merged when logging between the main and beta grids

Other Items

Double Posts in Chat

There have been reports of users experiencing double posts of their own text chat (local or IM) appearing in their viewer (although other people only see their comment displayed once. The Lab has requested that the problem be tested using the their own viewer, and a JIRA raised stating the precise circumstances when the issues occurred, as soon as possible after it has occurred, together with all relevant data – logs, viewer About information, etc., and further occurrences are similarly logged against that JIRA.

TLS 1.2

As per a blog post from the Lab, which I also reported here, users are being advised to update (if necessary) their web browser and their SL viewer to a version that supports TLS 1.2 by June 15th, 2016. After that date, any web browser or viewer that does not should TLS 1.2 will no longer be able to access Second Life cashier services to send, receive, or exchange L$.

An actual look inside Project Sansar

Project Sansar image via Linden Lab
Project Sansar image via Linden Lab

The end of April was a busy time for the Lab, with Ebbe Altberg leading a team to both the  Collision 2016 tech conference (billed as the “anti-CES”) in New Orleans, which ran from April 26th through 28th, quickly followed by the 2016 Silicon Valley Virtual Reality (SVVR) conference, which took place at the San Jose, California, conference centre between April 27th and 29th.

At both events, Ebbe Altberg gave a presentation which included further images and some video shots from within Sansar, and Collision 2016 has now made these available for viewing within a recording of Ebbe’s presentation which can be found on YouTube, and is embedded below.

As the Collision event is more general tech than VR specific, the first part of the video is more about the potential of VR and the possible VR / AR marketplace in the future. A lot that is familiar to SL users is mentioned, such as the use of immersive spaces for social activities and the potential VR has in areas such as education, design, business, healthcare (the use of Second Life in helping PTSD sufferers is touched upon, something I covered back in June 2014).

For those wishing to cut to the chase, the Project Sansar discussion starts at the 8:18 point in the Collision video.

[05:52] The Sorbonne University and the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities worked with Insight Digital to produce a 3D model of an ancient tomb based on digital photography and laser scanners. The initial 50 million polygon model, which the Lab were able to publish through Sansar as an optimised 40,000 polygon model visitors to the experience could visit and interact with and within
[09:52] The Sorbonne University and Insight Digital supplied a 50 million polygon model of an ancient Egyptian tomb created as a part of a project for the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities. This was optimised as a 40,000 model in Project Sansar people can enter and explore
In brief, this part of the presentation:

  • Reveals the Lab is now employing around 75 people in RD on Project Sansar (High Fidelity, as a simple comparison, has around 25-30 staff)
  • Indicates the broad base of creators and “content partners” invited into the initial platform testing which started in August 2015 is revealed – such as the Sorbonne University / Insight Digital (see above)
  • We get to see both the editing environment and the runtime environment elements of Project Sansar (remembering that the actual editing / layout mode of Sansar is quite separate from the runtime environment where users actually engage with one another once experiences have been “published” to it)
Jason manipulates assets using the HTC Vive hand controllers within Sansar's edit mode whilst building the Mars scene seen in previous Sansat promotional shots
[11:17] Jason manipulates assets using the HTC Vive hand controllers within Sansar’s edit mode whilst building the Mars scene seen in previous Sansar promotional shots
  • Reiterates that in using the term “creator”, the Lab isn’t necessarily just referring to content creators as might be the case within SL. Rather the term also encompasses those who purchase original content within the platform and use it to create their scenes and spaces. It is ease-of-use for this broader class of creator that the Lab is currently addressing when it comes to ease-of-use within the platform.

I’m actually curious to know more about the edit mode / runtime split. For example, can an experience still be accessed by others while it is being edited, in the same way a WordPress (to use the Lab’s analogy) page can still be viewed and read by others? If so, what happens when an update for an experience is published?

The video show Project Sansar’s runtime environment commences at the 12:38 mark.

In particular, this reveals a number of locations – including the Mars scene, the Golden Gate seen previously in Project Sansar promo shots, and a camera trip into the ancient Egyptian tomb mentioned above.

The Sansar clips open with a reasonable-looking avatar walking across the office / excavation space
The Sansar clips open with a reasonable-looking avatar walking across a complex built around the Villa Ortli excavation in the Crimea – a model selected from on-line, or another joint project?

My own observations from these video clips are that:

  • Project Sansar potentially has a higher level of polish within the runtime environment than High Fidelity has thus far shown
  • In there appearance, Project Sansar avatars are at least as good as the more advanced avatars currently found within High Fidelity and certainly more immersively attractive than the more recent iterations of the Altspace VR avatars
  • It will be interesting to see how dynamic things like day / night cycles and weather are / will be handled be Project Sansar.
The UI icons in the video clips
The UI icons in the video clips

The video includes some hints at the client UI – remember it is still very much a work-in-progress, so there are likely to be many changes.

As it stands, the buttons are ranged against the right side of the screen, in two groups of four, top and bottom, and shown on the right.

Some of these appear reasonably obvious: the landform / terraform tool and Avatar tool at the bottom of the first group of icons, and microphone, help and exit  / log-off options in the second group of four.

Doubtless the range of buttons and options available will increase  / grow more sophisticated as the UI continues to develop. The current set would appear to simply address the current level of capabilities within the platform at present.

The Lab is apparently still considering whether or not to make the video footage of Sansar more generally available. I’m tending to assume given the overall tone and presentation of the runtime footage, complete with music, that it was put together as a potential promo piece, rather than just a video to show at presentations. So hopefully it will make a broader appearance when the Lab judge the time to be right.