Bryn’s Standby Sketches in Second Life

The Standby Sketches

I recently reviewed Bryn Oh’s Daughter of Gears / Rabbicorn trilogy (see A Daughter of Gears and a Rabbicorn in Second Life), and while it may be only a brief two article break before returning to Bryn’s work again, there is a reason for this. It comes in the form of an exhibition of Bryn’s 2D and 3D art currently open at the Surreal Art Gallery, curated by JulietteSurrealDreaming.

The Standby Sketches offers a unique insight into Bryn’s creative process, specifically in reference to the three parts of the The Standby Trilogy.

Often when planning a new virtual artwork I still step back to the traditional art, from where I began, to sketch ideas and help myself understand what I want to convey in my artwork. This exhibit shows some of the various bits taken from my sketchbooks, the pen and ink drawing, the oil paintings, and even the bronze sculpture that materialise during the creative process.

– Bryn Oh, describing The Standby Sketches

The Standby Sketches

Spread over two level of the gallery (accessed via the teleport point in the foyer area), the exhibition presents a series of sketches showing the evolution of The Daughter of Gears, mesh models from various scenes from the trilogy (including some that do not appear to have been used in the final installations), and drawings that appear to show the evolution of the rabbicorn as well asstory scene ideas.

This is a small display, but one that is fascinating nonetheless, providing insight into Bryn’s creative process. While it might have been enhanced with some additional textual information to accompany the sketches and sets of images, one cannot find fault with none appearing; for one thing, Bryn tends to keep busy with preparing art, whether intended for SL or elsewhere. For another, these pieces on offer speak eloquently in and of themselves, particularly for those who have visited the trilogy whilst it is at Immersiva, while the sketches and drawings are more than capable of standing up in their own right as works of art.

With individual pieces available for sale, and an opportunity to obtain limited edition bronze pieces cast of The Daughter of Gears and the Rabbicorn, The Standby Sketches will be open through the rest of January and February. Given the pairing of the exhibition with the Standby Trilogy, I’d recommend a visit to this ahead of The Standby Sketches so that the fullest appreciation of both can be gained.

The Standby Sketches

SLurl Details

Taking wing with Made in SL

Marianne McCann gets a little Top Gun as she discusses aviation in Made in SL

The latest Made in SL video launched on Thursday, January 23rd, with a look at the aviation scene in Second Life, and featuring Second Life long-term resident, aviation enthusiast and SL historian, Marianne McCann providing the commentary.

Second Life aviation is a genuinely broad and layered subject to try to cover in under three minutes, but thanks to Marianne’s expertise in the subject, Aviation Made in Second Life packs a huge amount into its brief running time. We get a brief peek at SL history, with names like Garth FairChang and the legendary Cubey Terra rightly popping up, (Cubey actually got me into SL skydiving, which is kind-of related to flying 🙂 ), as well as touching on the range of aviation communities and flying-related role-play in SL by touching on the Passengers of SL group (a good way to get flying with the many airlines and charter flight operations that offer point-to-point services in SL) and a look at the work of the Second Life Coast Guard (SLCG) role-play group that combines airborne and marine vehicles and role-play in places like Blake Sea and its surroundings (I’d personally note that the Get The Freight Out community also encompasses flying – see: An inside look at Get the Freight Out in Second Life).

Also given the short time frame of the film, coupled with the breadth of aircraft content available in SL, Marianne wisely focuses on just a couple of options for getting into the air at the controls, pointing to Sherwood aviation – an ideal for those who wish to have a high degree of simulated realism in their flying – and to Arduenn Schwartzman’s Warbugs, which have been design purely for fun and to allow single-region air combat (I actually wrote about Warbugs back in 2012 in Bitten by the (War)bug, but I confess I’ve not flown my own Warbug “seriously” for about 3-4 years).

Flying in SL takes many forms and includes many different aircraft and aircraft styles. I don’t really have any good examples of “unusual” flying machines, but the Piaggio Orion autogyro is both fun (and challenging at times!)

However, given the range of aircraft is so vast, getting to grips with what to buy can be difficult. Hence, Marianne points to some of the more popular or bigger airports, many of which have vendors offering demo versions of aircraft. In this, places like Hollywood Airport and Hona Lee Field can be particularly helpful, as they sit on the edges of the wide open skies of Blake Sea, where having to compete with skyboxes occupying the same piece of sky as you is removed. Many aircraft makers also have their own airfields where demos are offered, so when parsing the Marketplace for ideas, allows be sure to click any link to an in-world location and go see what demos might be available and give them a go.

As a keen aviator in SL myself, I’d probably also add to Marianne’s thoughts by saying those seeking to ease themselves into SL flying and want to have fun without worrying too much about things like instrument flying via Mouselook or having to learn the correct start-up sequences and so on, might want to try the likes of DSA (available at Hollywood Airport, noted above) for fixed-wing light aircraft flying (I’ve covered several of the DSA aircraft in these pages, and as I noted back in A look at my most-used SL vehicles (thus far!), one of them remains one of my preferred aircraft today; while for rotary flight, the likes of Spijkers Aviation & Marine (just across the channel to the west of Honah Lee Field) offer a range of helos that are pretty easy to master and are a good way to get started.

Airports like Hollywood Airport and airfields can be found throughout the Second Life continents and along the interconnecting waterways and places like Blake Sea and its surrounding private estates

Of course there are some drawbacks to flying (like any other form of SL travel), such as region crossings. However, and like everything else, the best way of dealing with these is by practice and gaining familiarity with the grid’s behaviour. Certainly, fear of region crossings should be a reason to put you off.

All told, a great promotional / introductory video.

Waterfalls of Dreams in Second Life

Waterfalls of Dreams, January 2020 – click any image for full size

Waterfalls of Dreams recently popped up in the Editor’s Picks section of the Destination Guide, and has prompted a lot of interest from visitors as a result – including from Caitlyn and I. A homestead region designed by Jeramy McMahon, it is around two years old and offers something of a neo-classical look that those of us who have been in Second Life a fair while might find particularly reminiscent.

A place intended for romance throughout and with a fantasy  / fae lean, a good proportion of the region utilises prim builds – the docks, the raised dance floors and walkways overlooking the region from the east, the various pavilions and floating islands. In turn, these use shine on surfaces rather than materials and textures. All of these, together with the use of sculpties, give the region a sense of “old school” Second Life history.

Waterfalls of Dreams, January 2020

Which is not to say mesh is not present within the region, just that its use has been minimised. This is a conscious decision on Jeramy’s part to “reduce lag”. How well this works is perhaps debatable  – lag itself is a highly subjective subject, given the volume of non-SL influences that can affect it; but it is an interesting approach to take. I will say I found my own experience in three visits to the region no better nor worse, performance-wise, than when visiting many other regions, prim or mesh in nature.

However, for me, what makes a visit to Waterfalls of Dreams attractive is that sense it being a place built upon that historic style and approach to design; one that has in some ways passed. It offers a deep sense of nostalgia and a sense of history, all the way through to the use of pose balls within some of the seating.

Waterfalls of Dreams, January 2020

The landing point is located down at the harbour, which itself offers something of a faint echo of the prim docks in Nautilus – although those docks are more Greco-Roman in feel. A teleport board here offers the way up to the elevated dance floors, while a Teagle horse rezzer sits close by for those who fancy a ride around the region’s lowlands, or a balloon ride located on the far side of the piers presents the opportunity for an aerial view of the region.

Paths wind around the lowlands, leading to various points of interest – pavilions offering places to sit and  / or cuddle, statues to admire, and rivers of flowers to roam amongst. The waterfalls of the region’s title tumble from the cliffs behind the high dance floors to feed the waterways that also wind through the region. Their presence is augmented by falls tumbling from the more distant mountains of the sim surround (although issues of alpha blending can leave these bleeding through the sculpts of the region’s trees, requiring a considered use of edit linked and derender when taking photos under certain lighting).

Waterfalls of Dreams, January 2020

The dance floors are watched over by two huge angel-like figures standing to the north and south of the high walkways. The dance areas are themselves split between two levels, a large blocky tower sitting to the east behind them forming a bath house that in turn holds aloft a large crouched angel under a domed roof. However, this is not the tallest structure in the region; that honour goes to a great tower rising to the north-west. Reached via teleport board from the dance floors, it offers places to sit and to pass the time with a loved one or for the adventurous, the chance to fly around the region da Vinci’s glider via the rezzer.

A flair for the exotic is also offered within the region through the use of elements by Elicio Ember and Noke Yuitza. There presence is few, which makes coming across them all the more effective; Elicio’s rune stones in particular give a certain air of mystery and suggestion of fae that is well in keeping with the overall tone of the region and its statues whilst also offering an otherworldly aspect to the setting that adds to its depth.

Waterfalls of Dreams, January 2020

An unusual and engaging location with opportunities for dance, rest and photography.

SLurl Details