December 2018 at La Maison d’Aneli

La Maison d’Aneli: Lam Erin

Now open at La Maison d’Aneli Gallery, curated by Aneli Abeyante, is a new ensemble art exhibition, one which offers a rich mix of virtual and physical art and photography in what is an eclectic but engaging display. On offer are pieces by  Lam Erin, Renoir Adder, Bump Squeegee, Layachi Ihnen, Chapichapo Delvalle and the inimitable Moya Patrick (Moya Janus).

For those unfamiliar with Moya (Patrick Moya in the physical world), he has been a part of the artistic movement Ecole de Nice, and throughout his career has been as the forefront of artistic expression through all forms of media and technology, including virtual spaces. He is an early pioneer of video art, and was quickly drawn to the potential of virtual spaces like Second Life, in which he has been involved since 2007 and where he continues to maintain his Moya estate of four regions. He was also one of the first artists to actively promote Second Life in the physical world, with Rinascimento Virtuale, hosted by the museum of Anthropology of Florence, in 2009.

La Maison d’Aneli: Moya Patrick

Entitled Carnaval et fêtes populaires (literally “Carnival and popular festivals”, but given the English title “Carnival and popular traditions” in English), it is a typical piece from Moya, full of vitality, reflecting elements of his physical world art. Within it is – as one would expect – his alter-ego of Moya, familiar by his Pinocchio-like nose, and little Dolly, inspired by the cloned sheep of the same name. Frivolous, engaging, with some subtle motifs, Carnaval et fêtes populaires is a colourful piece, well in keeping with the time of the year.

Below it, on the lower floor of the gallery are three exhibition spaces presenting the physical world art of three very different artists: Renoir Adder, Layachi Ihnen and Bump Squeegee.

La Maison d’Aneli: Renoir Adder

I confess to being unfamiliar with Layachi’s art, which is offered here as the largest of the three displays. A profession of mathematics, Layachi started painting in 1969, and since 1999 has focused on mixed media, combining digital painting on computer with traditional techniques. For this exhibition, he presents pieces that reflect this mixing – notes the faces in many of the paintings -, all offered in a unique and distinctive style.

As an artist, Renoir Adder straddles genres. Within his pieces can be found elements of post-impressionism, potentially influenced by the like of Van Gogh; suggestions of Picasso; and impressionist leanings.

La Maison d’Aneli: Renoir Adder

Much of this is in evidence in the 15 pieces displayed at La Maison d’Aneli, in the midst of which are, to my eyes, three absorbing painting of Geishas which exhibit a unique and eye-catching style that focuses the attention marvellously, encouraging the observer to work outwards from them and take in the rest of the paintings in turn.

Bump Squeegee’s collage art is, for those familiar with it, instantly recognisable. Rich in colour and style, the dozen pieces here are a marvellous selection of Bump’s work. By their very nature, these are pieces for which description is meaningless; they deserve to be seen first-hand in order to appreciate them fully.

La Maison d’Aneli: Layachi Ihnen

Back on the upper level of the gallery is a selection of physical world photography by Chapichapo Delvalle. Another artists with whom I was unfamiliar, Chapichao’s work focuses on nature and natural settings, varying from full landscape pieces to focusing down to things like a small branch of pine cones set on the stonework of a footpath, offered as a series of studies in colour and style.

Colour is a major element in these images, and might be said to be a physical reflection of Chapichao’s vibrant view of Second Life.

La Maison d’Aneli: Lam Erin

Lam Erin, in providing full disclosure, is one of my favourite Second Life landscape artists, although I only discovered his work less than two years ago. As a virtual artist, Lam takes images captured within Second Life and transforms them into the most fantastic digital works of art, so rich in detail, you feel as if you can see the individual brush strokes in an original piece of art.

One of the hallmarks of Lam’s work is his presentation of cloudscapes. These cast a dramatic, even foreboding, look to the skies of his art that brings an added depth of realism and narrative to his paintings that is utterly remarkable. It is this attention to his clouds and skies that also makes his art redolent of some of the great masters of landscape painting.

As always from Aneli  and La Maison d’Aneli, an engaging exhibition of works by talented artists, and not one to be missed.

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2018 SL UG updates 50/2: Content Creation Summary

Soul2Soul Highlands; Inara Pey, November 2018, on FlickrSoul2Soul Highlandsblog post

The majority of the following notes are taken from the Content Creation User Group (CCUG) meeting, held on Thursday, December 13th, 2018 at 13:00 SLT. These meetings are chaired by Vir Linden, and agenda notes, meeting SLurl, etc, are usually available on the Content Creation User Group wiki page.

SL Viewer Updates

The Spotykach Maintenance RC viewer, version 6.0.1.522263, was promoted to release status on December 13th.

New Project Work

Vir Linden is now looking at a number of areas that might spin-out into a new project, although it is currently not clear what that project might be. The areas he is reviewing are:

  • Animesh follow-on – this may include avatar shape support  (which would allow more fully-rounded NPCs), and also more attachment-like behaviour for Animesh attachments.
    • Shapes are viewed as potentially being the easier of the two to handle, although will require additional work on the appearance messaging.
  • Mesh uploader improvements.
  • General viewer bugs.

Beq Janus has also been examining the mesh uploader and making improvements tied to the upcoming Firestorm Animesh release, and Vir is interested in the potential for some or all of these to be contributed to Linden Lab.

Beq’s updates to the mesh uploader include a better (and resizeable) preview window, a new costs breakdown panel, and more.

Bakes On Mesh

Project Summary

Extending the current avatar baking service to allow wearable textures (skins, tattoos, clothing) to be applied directly to mesh bodies as well as system avatars. This involves viewer and server-side changes, including updating the baking service to support 1024×1024 textures, and may in time lead to a reduction in the complexity of mesh avatar bodies and heads.

This work does not include normal or specular map support, as these are not part of the existing Bake Service, nor are they recognised as system wearables. Adding materials support may be considered in the future.

Resources

Current Status

As per my Current Viewer Releases page, the project viewer was merged with the Animesh release viewer (and at the time of writing was at release 6.0.1.522127, dated December 7th, 2018).

Anchor is currently engaged in investigating the hover height issue that can leave avatars of “non-normal height” (notably, but not exclusively, small avatars) floating 0.2 to 0.3 metres off the ground if non-height related changes are made after hover height has been set. This appears to have been introduced as  a result of a simulator update (See BUG-225893 “Hover height on assets has changed somehow” for more).

Left Channels

There appears to be some confusion over the left texture channels introduced with Bakes On Mesh. Essentially, these are unassigned channels, designed to work as the creator wants them to work. The assumption is that they would be used in a manner consistent with the use of the right arm / foot channels, but they are not populated by default. There has been a request to auto-populate them with the standard skin textures, but this is viewed as a possible update for any follow-on to the current Bakes on Mesh work.

Documentation

A wiki page explaining Bakes on Mesh is under construction, but not yet ready for public consumption.

Future Work

Nothing has been decided upon in regards to any Bakes on Mesh follow-on. Requests have been made to allow UUID based texture application via the Bake Service (to enable support for existing clothing layers designed to be applied via a scripted applier system). It’s not been determined if this will be done, or whether an alternative route will be taken, such as defining a new class of wearable. There should, however, be a LSL change to allow textures to be identified and used by name (although this may not have been deployed at the time of writing).

Environmental Enhancement Project (EEP)

Project Summary

A set of environmental enhancements allowing the environment (sky, sun, moon, clouds, 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 which include the ability to use custom Sun, Moon and cloud textures. These can be stored in inventory and traded through the Marketplace / exchanged with others, and can additionally be used in experiences.

The project also includes a new set of render shaders to support atmospheric effects such as rainbows, crepuscular rays (“God rays”), better horizon haze and fogging (but will not include rain / snow).

Resources

Current Status

Rider finalising work on the last of the SL functions for EEP support: llSetAgentEnvironment. This allows the environment parameters as applied to individual agents (avatars) within an experience (so if part of the experience requires the environment to be foggy at a certain point, avatars in the experience will have their view become foggy – but visitors who have not allowed the experience to control their avatar (e.g. because they are just observing) will not be similarly affected).

This support will hopefully be in the next set of simulator updates (currently still only available on the Snack RC channel). Once this work has been completed, Rider will be focusing on the viewer once more. The other anticipated aspect of simulator work – crepuscular rays – is “still coming”.

Complexity Calculations, Project ARCTan

There have been rumours that there may be a new function added to the Bake Service to handle complexity calculations. Vir indicated that while there has been some discussion on how and where to run the calculations (which will all be revised as a part of Project ARCTan), no decision has been made as to whether there will be changes to where the calculations are performed.

In Brief

  • The Firestorm Animesh release is currently with the preview group (I’ve been using it for the last couple of weeks in different iterations), and may go to a broader “public beta” release before being formally issued. If the “public beta” happens, the fully release for the update will likely occur early in 2019.
  • In my previous CCUG update, I reference the changes made to the rate to updates made to the rate of rendering cost calculations. This was due to Animesh having unintended consequences (such as repeatedly showing the complexity alert dialogue (e.g “You may not be visible to X %age of avatars”). During the Firestorm 6.0.1 beta testing, this change resulted in complaints from content creators, leading to a decision to back it out of the upcoming Firestorm release.

Inspired by Monet in Second Life

Junbug; Inara Pey, December 2018, on Flickr
Junbug – click any image for full size

Annie Oh (Annie Brightstar) dropped me an IM suggesting Caitlyn and I pay a visit to Junbug, home of *{Junbug}* Fantasy and Vintage fashion, as the region had been recently redesigned by Minnie Blanco (Minnie Atlass), whose region designs we’ve always enjoyed (see here, here, here and here for more).  And I have to say that for anyone who loves artist – particularly the French Impressionist movement, this is a must-see location.

[It is] loosely inspired by Monet’s Giverny garden After discussions we agreed upon a garden across from water. All designing / artwork is a process and I take my inspiration from RL photos/art. I wanted to reflect Juno’s fantasy, vintage fashion designs with a romantic feeling water-scape in some way. Hence the romance of impressionism!

– Minnie Blanco on her design for Junbug, December 2018

Junbug; Inara Pey, December 2018, on Flickr
Junbug

Anyone who is reasonably familiar with Monet’s work will instantly feel they are inside one of his paintings on arriving in the region. Minnie has, through careful selection of plants (colour), design and windlight, fully captured the look and “feel” of one of Monet’s paintings, particularly, as Minnie notes, those that focus on his great life’s passion: the garden at his home in Giverny.

Junbug; Inara Pey, December 2018, on Flickr
Junbug

For example, the first impression (no pun intended) on arriving and looking over the water to the little bridge facing the store from afar was Monet’s 1899 painting, Bridge over a Pond of Water Lilies.

As we continued to look around and walk along the path circling the pond at Junbug, further influences  – or perhaps reflections might be a better term – of Monet’s art came to mind. There’s the subtle mix of colour and blending in the blooming of flowers as seen in his 1900 oil on canvas Le Jardin de l’artiste à Giverny, and Garden Path at Giverny (1902), while the pond itself offers echoes of his extensive Water Lilies series.

Junbug; Inara Pey, December 2018, on Flickr
Junbug

A small, simple setting, the garden is completed by the presence of waterfowl on or near the water, and birds singing from various points around the path (such as the stone bridge close to the store) or hopping and flitting around the paths or circling overhead. In adding their voices to the scene, they increase the spring / summer feel to the region.

There is also a touch of French flavouring to the garden and store – the latter has the presence of a grand maison, for example. Meanwhile, a number of the selected elements in the region, such as the pavilion and the little rowing boat, have French-leaning names / pose systems.

Junbug; Inara Pey, December 2018, on Flickr
Junbug

For those seeking a place to sit and enjoy the setting, the rowing boat offers a mix of individual female and male poses, while the benches along the waterfront near the store offer a mix of individual and couples sits, as does the bench in the pavilion. A further bench can be found close to the little wooden bridge, but using it will require getting past the grass growing around it, which interferes with direct clicking.

Set under a tranquil sky suggestive of a mild spring early evening, this is an utterly delightful setting, a painting made real, if you will, and well worth the time spent appreciating it. And given the inspiration behind it, I hope you’ll forgive my attempt to render it as a painting! Our thanks again to Annie for passing on the details.

Junbug; Inara Pey, December 2018, on Flickr
Junbug

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2018 SL UG updates 50/1: Simulator User Group

Cold Ash; Inara Pey, October 2018, on FlickrCold Ashblog post

There was no Simulator User Group meeting on Tuesday, December 11th, 2018. Notes are therefore a little on the light side.

Server Deployments

As always, please check with the server deployment thread for updates and latest news.

  • On Tuesday, December 11th, the SLS (Main) channel was updated with server maintenance package 18#18.12.04.522206, previously deployed to all three main RC channels, and comprising region stability improvements; simhost deployment improvements and logging improvements.
    • Part of this update includes the removal of a lot of mesh-related logging that had been required during testing, but has been surplus to requirements. However, as the code was never removed, it resulted in a lot of unnecessary logging as mesh became more popular.
  • On Wednesday, 12th December the RC channels should be updated with server maintenance package 18#18.12.07.522390, comprising voice service adjustments.
  • The Snack channel, home to the Environment Enhancement Project (EEP), received a further simulator update, version 18#18.12.07.522390.

SL Viewer

At the time of writing, there have been no updates to the current batch of official viewers, leaving the pipelines as follows:

  • Current Release version 6.0.0.520636, dated October 18, promoted November 14. Formerly the Animesh RC viewer – no change.
  • Release channel cohorts:
    • Love Me Render RC viewer, version 6.0.1.522045, December 6.
    • Spotykach Maintenance RC viewer, version 6.0.1.522263, December 5.
    • Estate Access Management (EAM) RC viewer, version 5.2.0.520057, September 28.
    • BugSplat RC viewer, version 5.1.9.519462, September 10. This viewer is functionally identical to the current release viewer, but uses BugSplat for crash reporting, rather than the Lab’s own Breakpad based crash reporting tools.
  • Project viewers:
  • Linux Spur viewer, version 5.0.9.329906, dated November 17, 2017 and promoted to release status 29 November – offered pending a Linux version of the Alex Ivy viewer code.
  • Obsolete platform viewer, version 3.7.28.300847, May 8, 2015 – provided for users on Windows XP and OS X versions below 10.7.

Cica’s Lullaby in Second Life

Cica Ghost: Lullaby

Cica Ghost’s latest installation, Lullaby, opened on Tuesday, December 11th. It’s a curious piece, something of a celebration of the creatures that might be said to come out at night, together with touches of some of Cica’s previous installations.

For the byline to the installation, Cica has chosen the chorus from Lullaby for an Insomniac, by Kate Nash. Sung  acapella (albeit with an instrumental ending) the song fits the installation very well, offering something of a gentle subtext to the setting – although too deep an examination of song and installation should perhaps be avoided.

The idea was first, but I often listen Kate, so maybe it was influence. I listen her often when I work. I made the girl a few days ago; it was only house at first, but then she needed somebody to think of.

– Cica Ghost on Lullaby

Cica Ghost: Lullaby

The girl and house in question, can be found towards the middle of the strangely undulating region, perched on a curious table of rock and reached by a ladder impersonating part of the sine curve. She sits atop the house, staring into the distance, lost in thought, the landscape darkened by a greenish night. Her attitude suits the refrain of the chorus perfectly – a girl who is missing someone, and who finds herself unable to sleep and with little interest in how she looks or the state of her surroundings.

Her indifference to her surroundings is a shame, because across this weird landscape with its abrupt hills and valleys and unusual rock formations, the creatures of the night have all come out to play: flying bugs, spiders, curious worms with friendly, anthropomorphic “faces” courtesy of eyes sitting on slug-like stalks and very human tongues lolling happily, and heart-shaped flowers with large, unthreatening eyes. Even some of the hills have eyes, revealing themselves as the domed heads of creatures nestled far enough underground while still able to see what is happening around them.

Cica Ghost: Lullaby

All of this night, in other circumstances, sound like the stuff of nightmares, particular given the giant snail watching over the landing point – but it is not; it is a night-time setting of playfulness. None of the creatures are in any way nefarious; most are going about their business without concern for whatever else might be happening, although one or two do appear to be a little curious about the stranger in their midst, sitting on her odd perch.

Also to be found in the region are echoes of some of Cica’s past works: a bear stands up on one of the hills, for example. While he may be without a shirt, he and the flittering night bugs bring forth memories of The Bees and the Bears. The three frogs sitting close to the landing point directly reflect Frogs; a spider’s web offers a faint echo of Arachnid, even the girl herself, sitting atop her house, is reminiscent of Moonlight.

And here lies the gentle  – if perhaps unintentional – subtext of the installation. Just as Lullaby for an Insomanic reflects on the things we have and the sentimental value they can have, so do these aspects of Cica’s Lullaby gives those familiar with Cica’s work pause to remember her past installations and the joy and other emotions they gave us when they were present in Second Life.

Cica Ghost: Lullaby – Cica takes flight

There aren’t too many places to sit within Lullaby (they are there, but you’ll have to find them!). Instead, and tucked away on the top of one of the odd stalagmite-like rock formations Cica offers a free flying bug. Simply take it, Add or Wear it, and use the WASD / arrow keys, together with PAGE UP and PAGE  DOWN to fly yourself around.

Lullaby should remain open through until early January for visitors. There are several tip jars scattered around the installation, so do please consider a donation towards this and Cica’s future work in Second Life.

SLurl Details

  • Lullaby (Ai Atoll, rated Moderate)

The seasons at Bay of Dreams in Second Life

Bay of Dreams; Inara Pey, December 2018, on Flickr
Bay of Dreams – click any image for full size

Bay of Dreams is the Full region home of Valor Poses Mainstore and Photo Sim, operated by Keegan Kavenagh (AlexCassidy1). As the name implies, the region offers both a base for the Valor Poses store, and the opportunity to explore a changing environment beyond its doors.

In February 2018 Caitlyn and I visited the region whilst the region offered a summertime look and feel (you can read more about that visit here), so with the end of the year approaching, I thought I’d drop in again to see what had changed.

Bay of Dreams; Inara Pey, December 2018, on Flickr
Bay of Dreams

Now designed by Adalynne Romano (AdalynneReed) working with Keegan and Tessa Kavenagh (TessaGrace51), the region presents something of a mix of seasons, all within walking distance of one another. For the store, which forms the landing point, and its surroundings, there is a decidedly springtime look and feel.

Occupying a table of land in the south-east of the region, the store is surrounded by a garden setting. The trees and flowers are all in bloom, the grass lush and green, visible through the windows of the store, inviting patrons to step outside. Those who do will find a richly mixed setting, one complete with ruins of different ages and pieces of art – notably by Mistero Hifeng – while horses and deer lay dotted across the lawns.

Bay of Dreams; Inara Pey, December 2018, on Flickr
Bay of Dreams

The store looks northwards over a low-lying headland dominated by a broad board walk and pier that stretches out over the water, a narrow ribbon of beach running around the north and east side of the headland adding to the feeling that this is the “summer quarter” of the region. Volleyball can be played on the grass, while the board walk and little pier include places to sit and enjoy refreshments.

Between the footbridge leading back to the store and the board walk, a track runs off to the west, following the bent finger of land, serpent-like in its narrowness. This ends in a bridge leading to a small island that in turns links to the south-western side of the region, a grassy quarter clearly caught in the gentle embrace of autumn. Here the trees are rich in golds, brown, oranges and reds. Pumpkins lie on the ground, while the single large barn offers a greeting of Happy Fall.

Bay of Dreams; Inara Pey, December 2018, on Flickr
Bay of Dreams

The final quarter of the region, reached via “autumn” hosts, appropriately enough, winter. Crowned by a rocky crenelation, this is another plateau within the ring of rock, the land is covered in snow, complete with a frozen pond and with a snow blanketed wooden house of impressive size. This offers plenty of seating inside and out.

Finding your way around the region is simply a matter of following the paths and using the bridges. All four aspects of the setting perfectly present each of the seasons, with a fairly neutral region-wide windlight used for all four. This also works well, but it did have me wondering about how a setting like this, with four different regional settings will look when EEP – the environmental Enhancement Project – has come into common use.

Bay of Dreams; Inara Pey, December 2018, on Flickr
Bay of Dreams

There are one or two little rough edges – path segments not meeting one another or the landscape here or there; some floating trees together with the odd plain prim or semi-floating rock. But, by-and-large, the design comes together to offer a visually interesting setting. Those wishing to rez props for photograph can join the local group.

For those who might be feeling they’ve seen a little too much snow in Second Life, or who wish to revisit their preferred season, or simply want to experience an entire year in a short walk, Bay of Dreams perhaps offers the perfect visit.

Bay of Dreams; Inara Pey, December 2018, on Flickr
Bay of Dreams

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