2020 Content Creation User Group week #5 summary

The Isle of Cezanne, December 2019 – blog post

The following notes are taken from my audio recording of the Content Creation User Group (CCUG) meeting held on Thursday, January 20th 2020 at 13:00 SLT. These meetings are chaired by Vir Linden, and agenda notes, meeting SLurl, etc, are available on the Content Creation User Group wiki page.

Environment Enhancement Project

Project Summary

A set of environmental enhancements (e.g. the sky, sun, moon, clouds, and water settings) to be set region or parcel level, with support for up to 7 days per cycle and sky environments set by altitude. It uses a new set of inventory assets (Sky, Water, Day), and includes the ability to use custom Sun, Moon and cloud textures. The assets can be stored in inventory and traded through the Marketplace / exchanged with others, and can additionally be used in experiences.


Current Status

  • EEP is now viewed as a priority for release by the Lab, with work progressing on the final bug fixes on the graphics side.
  • The biggest change recently made is to remove the option to disable Basic Shaders in the viewer, on account of this option causing problems when trying to address other issues.
    • It is not believed this will impact users, unless they are running really old graphics cards that do not support (the now 15-year-old) OpenGL 2.0.
    • Note this is not removing the ability to toggle ALM off / on.
  • Release is still being couched in terms of being in “about a month” – so possibly early March.
  • Those who use windlights for photography or within their regions are strongly urged to test the EEP RC viewer (last updated on January 9th, 2020, at the time of writing this summary).

Rendering System Improvements

Outside of EEP and in the future, the rendering team plan to spend time simplifying SL’s multiple rendering paths and options to make them easier to maintain going forward.


Project Summary

An attempt to re-evaluate object and avatar rendering costs to make them more reflective of the actual impact of rendering both. The overall aim is to try to correct some inherent negative incentives for creating optimised content (e.g. with regards to generating LOD models with mesh), and to update the calculations to reflect current resource constraints, rather than basing them on outdated constraints (e.g. graphics systems, network capabilities, etc).

As of January 2020 ARCTan has effectively been split:

  • Immediate viewer-side changes, primarily focused on revising the Avatar Rendering Cost (ARC) calculations and providing additional viewer UI so that people can better visibility and control to seeing complexity.
  • Work on providing in-world object rendering costs (LOD models, etc.) which might affect Land Impact will be handled as a later tranche of project work.
  • The belief is that “good” avatar ARC values can likely be used as a computational base for these rendering calculations.

Current Status

  • Testing has suggested that when an avatar attachment has a very high number of prims, there is a chance the avatar appearance does not get baked correctly – the number of prims effectively “chokes” the Bake Service.
    • The number of prims is reported as “north of 32”.
    • It appears to be the number of prims – not submeshes – in an attachment that cause the issue, but this is by no means certain.
    • It is not something that appears to have been reported via Jira, so LL is curious whether or not it is an artefact people may have witnessed.
    • A version of the internal Jira will be filed publicly by Vir for creators to look at.

Next Meeting

The next CCUG meeting will be on Thursday, February 13th, 2020.

Brief Notes from the January 29th open-Source Developer Meeting

These notes are recorded here as they may have longer-term relevance to content creation / viewer use.

  • Linden Lab has identified improving the viewer UI / UX to be a high priority.
    • Initially, the focus will be on improving usability for users who are not yet familiar with the viewer (and/or SL in general).
    • A further aspect of the work will be making the number of choices available in many places smaller and making the terminology more uniform.
  • The UI team is said to have “quite a list” of possible changes / improvements, some of which have come directly from TPV developers and through feature requests.
    • Additional feature requests are well – including illustrative mock-ups of idea, providing these are properly documented.
    • Please see my tutorial notes on filing SL feature requests, if required.

The enchantment of LeLoo’s World in Second Life

Enchantment! @ LeLoo’s World, January 2020 – click any image for full size

A timeless land filled with Enchantment and Magic. Step into spring and feel the warmth. A Magical place for exploring, relaxing and taking photos with family and friends.

So reads the description for Enchantment! @ LeLoo’s World, occupying just under a quarter Mainland Full region and located on a sky platform. Designed by LeLooUlf, this is is a delight of a garden setting offering a lot to see without feeling crowded, a place full of character – and characters -, with plenty of opportunities to pass the time on your own or with a friend or friends and for photography.

Enchantment! @ LeLoo’s World, January 2020

It’s a welcoming place – a point brought home on arrival, as evidenced by the two of the local characters holding up a welcome banner at the landing point.

Backed by high falls tumbling down from the curtains of cliffs that enclose much of the garden – but which do not make it feel overly claustrophobic -the landing point looks out across the first part of the garden, revealing some of its delights: the raised sitting points clinging to the cliffs and reached by a mix of steep wooden steps and bridges suspended by clouds; the colourful banks of flowers to act as backdrops for photography, and a cast of local wildlife and other creatures that cannot fail to raise a smile.

Enchantment! @ LeLoo’s World, January 2020

This is a place rich in places to sit, some obvious, some tucked away and requiring a careful eye to find as you explore. Also awaiting discovery throughout the garden are a number of teleport points. These allow visitors to hop through the major sights of the garden – but with a couple of exceptions, the places they lead to can also be reached by gentle exploration, so I’d really suggest you let your feet take the strain and wander along the grassy paths to discover all that is available within the gardens before turning to the teleport options to reach those you can’t directly, or to ensure you’ve not not missed anything.

Doing so will take you past a cosy caravan – don’t worry about the wolves, they are as friendly as the rest of the animals to be found here – to an avenue of trees that leads to a most unique dance partner who is ready to share a range of dances with you. Beyond this, the path passes between cliffs and wall to where the garden opens out to offer on one side a large rotunda sitting within a fenced garden of its own. A small moat around the rotunda offers a place for swans to swim, whilst the grass and flowerbeds also ringing the rotunda have a musical feel to them, being occupied by a piano and harp watched over by more of the local deer.

Enchantment! @ LeLoo’s World, January 2020

Next to this sits a little plateau of rock that presents a setting of its own, isolated from the rest of the gardens by both the height of the plateau and the blossoms of a nearby tree, a place for picnics watched over by a rune-covered arch with a seat of its own.

Once the “ground” area of the gardens have been explored, there are the steps, ladders and bridges to be climbed and crossed to reach most of the raised parts of the setting. Like the little picnic plateau, each of these offers an individual vignette, most rich with the local characters  –  including a little group of four-footed (and winged) bookworms and a trio of fairies enjoying a picnic of their own.

Enchantment! @ LeLoo’s World, January 2020

As noted above, the  opportunities for photography within this setting are many; not only do the gardens naturally lend themselves to having photos taken, as I hope my images here demonstrate, but they also present multiple places for avatar-centric photos as well. These can not only be found in the many places to sit, but also through the many poses and pose stands scattered throughout the gardens. Mostly suitable for couples or pairs, these are richly varied and placed so as to take full advantage of their immediate surroundings and the the garden as a whole. Those who do take photos are invited to upload them and drop them into the in-world slide show near to the landing point, where they can be seen by other visitors.

All of this makes Enchantment @ LeLoo’s World exceptionally attractive – and even having got this far, I’ve managed to skip over other attractions that make exploration here a pleasure, such as the little cavern, or the manner in which the storybook area takes you into a famous tale of adventure taken by a certain young English girl.

Enchantment! @ LeLoo’s World, January 2020

Rounded-out by a matching sound-scape and open to almost any windlight setting, this really is a place of charm and enchantment; a wonderful escape from the “world below”.

SLurl Details

Kultivate’s January / February exhibition and a touch of Kody

Kultivate Magazine Gallery: Ragingbellls (l) and Lena Kiopak (r)

Now open at the Kultivate Windlight Gallery is their first exhibition for 2020, featuring an ensemble gathering of artists.

Located on the ground floor of the gallery space the ensemble exhibition opened on Sunday, January 26th, and it features the artists Ragingbellls, John Brianna, Skye Joubert, Lena Kiopak, Sonatta Morales, Solana Python, Nils Urqhart and Myra Wildmist. Between them, they offer a mix of Second Life photography and physical world art that is richly varied in content and style.

Kultivate Windlight Gallery: Nils Urqhart (l) and John Brianna (r)

From stunning photographs of the French Alps by Nils (and which forms a nice companion series to his In the Clouds series I was able to review in November 2019), through unique painted portraits by Skye, to avatar studies by Sonatta, this is a selection of art to please all eyes.

However, when visiting I would emphasise the need to ensure you have Advanced Lighting Model (Preferences > Graphics) during a visit. This is because Myra’s single piece is another experiment in using lighting projectors. Entitled Snow Field, it’s a piece you should pan your camera across it to appreciate the the use of the projector in concert with the image of sunset.

Kultivate Windlight Gallery: Sonatta Morales

Take the stairs to the mezzanine, and – for a while longer at least at the time of writing, due to the fact I’m getting to it on the late side – is an exhibition of Kody Meyer’s photography. Covering multiple genres, and with a delight in experimenting, Kody always present pieces that are stunningly beautiful in execution.

There is something uniquely peaceful within Kody’s landscape images, and his love of exploring Second Life and capturing the locations he visits is clearly evident in his work. Similarly, his avatar studies offer a depth of narrative within each that draws one into them.

Kultivate Windlight Gallery: Kody Meyers

Kody notes of his approach:

Each picture depicts a story or is a reminder of an experience one can reflect upon when admiring it. As a perfectionist, I take the time necessary to capture the picture, experimenting with different angles, framings and windlights, until the perfect shot is created — the one that comes alive. Using different programs and techniques to create my pictures, the result is always a surprise. My goal is to portray the magic behind the raw image. To be able to contribute to peace and happiness in this world is an honour and an endless pleasure.

Kultivate Windlight Gallery: Kody Meyers

I’m not sure how much longer Kody’s work will be on offer at Kultivate – as noted, I got to the exhibition late myself – so do be sure to drop into the ground floor exhibition sooner rather than later to appreciate the work there, and then hop up the stairs to the mezzanine.

SLurl Details