Paint your skies with Stevie Davros’ EEP sets

A dramatic EEP Fixed Sky with custom cloud texture (Painted Drama Windy Afternoon from the Painted Clouds set) by Stevie Davros

Back in 2018, I wrote about Stevie Davros, and Australian photographer, who had produced as series of Windlight skies and clouds for people to use to help enhance their environment when taking pictures, or to offer a unique environment within their region (see: Clouds and windlight skies by Stevie Davros).

Since the arrival of the Lab’s Environment Enhancement Project (EEP), Stevie has been working on new skies and cloud assets specifically for use with EEP, and offered me the opportunity to try some of them out. And I have to say, that like his Windlight skies and clouds, these are impressive collections, ideal for photographers looking to enhance their images, and offering region and parcel holders a set of options for setting a Fixed Sky over their parcel / region (and which can also be used to create dynamic Day Cycles).

If you are unfamiliar with using EEP assets and settings, I recommend you refer to one of the following:

However, and for completeness, these notes include a quick overview of how to apply Stevie’s settings.

Saturn looms large: a EEP Fixed Sky setting from the Cosmic Skies set by Stevie Davros

At the time of writing this article, Stevie had a dozen EEP packs available via his Marketplace store, comprising:

  • Painted Clouds: a folder of 13 Fixed Sky assets featuring cloud texture files sampled from the brush strokes of 19th Century French impressionist painters.
  • Aussie Cirrus: a folder of 19 skies featuring cloud texture files created from photographs Stevie took of the skies over Adelaide in Australia, and then processed.
  • Gossamer Cirrus: a set of 19 skies featuring cloud textures depicting very high altitude cirrus strands, some of which are presented in a their own “fantasy” style of sky.
  • Cirrus Cloudbank: a set of 21 skies featuring strands of cirrus cloud overlaid with / extending from banks of cloud
  • Cirrus Clouds: a bumper set of 34 cloud textures, suitable for “real” and “fantasy” settings.
  • Stormy Skies: a selection of cloud texture collages created by Stevie to give dramatic sky and cloudscapes.

All of these packs, whilst focusing on cloud formations, include customised ambient lighting and may include custom Sun / Moon textures.

Painted Sky Banded Sky from the Painted Clouds set by Stevie Davros

In addition, Stevie has produced several sets of Fixed Skies offering more of a “cosmic” setting:

  • Replacement Moons: a set of six replacement Moon textures (crescent, waxing, full, gibbous dual crescent and blue).
  • Replacement Suns: a set of replacement Sun textures very suitable for sci-fi settings, including a blue giant and a binary system with a blue giant and red dwarf star.
  • Cosmic skies: a set of 10 textures offering various astronomical / sci-fi images, including solar eclipses, a comet, a (frighteningly large) meteor, galaxies, a crescent Earth (ideal for a Moon base setting) and Saturn with his rings.
  • Aurora Night Sky: a selection of night skies with cloud textures designed to give the effect of looking at the aurora (Borealis or Australis, you pick 🙂 ).

The remaining two packs are more quirky in nature the first presents something for the romantics: link heart clouds,  and the second that places an erupting volcano on the horizon (the volcano replacing the Sun texture).

A radical sunrise (Gossamer Cirrus Surf Beach Sunrise from the Gossamer Clouds set) by Stevie Davros

There are a few points worth noting with these sets:

  • When purchased, each pack is delivered as a folder to the Received Items folder / panel of  your inventory (so no unpacking required). They can all be used directly from the folder they are received in; however, you might want to copy said folder to the Settings folder in your inventory – the system folder than is intended to contain all EEP assets you create and / or purchase.
  • As Fixed Sky elements, these are all assets that have fixed ambient lighting, and fixed Sun / Moon positions in the sky, with the clouds moving dynamically in response to the wind direction and speed.
  • The assets are supplied Copy / Modify, so you can make copies of any of them and then make alterations to it using the EEP Fixed Sky editor to produce your own variants. You can also use any of them as a basis to create your own dynamic Day Cycles.
  • Alternatively, to make changes purely for photography purposes, these assets can be applied and then adjusted using the Personal Lighting panel.
Use the standard EEP options for using Stevie’s assets

The easiest way to use these assets is to apply them directly to your avatar – highlight the asset you wish to use the right-click on it and select Apply only To Myself. This can be done from inventory or from World → Environment → My Environments … Applied in this way, the setting you’ve selected is only visible within your viewer, and will not be seen by others.

Alternatively, and if you have the requisite permissions, you can apply the asset to your parcel, where anyone within it who is using an EEP-supporting viewer set to (World → Environment →) Used Shared Environment, will also witness it. Further, if you are a region holder, you can apply the asset to your region  this option is not shown in the image above, as I do not have region rights, and so Firestorm has removed the option from my context menu).

Rigel in the sky (Big Giant Sun from the Replacement Suns set) by Stevie Davros
With prices ranging from L$99 to L$399 for the cloud packs, and the “cosmic” sky packs all priced below L$100, Stevie’s EEP sets represent very good value for money for photographers, and a potentially useful means for those interested in learning how to manipulate EEP settings (although the latter can admittedly be done via EEP settings available through the Library → Environments folder as well).

Again, you  can pick up Stevie’s packs from his Marketplace Store, and my thanks to him for taking them for a test drive.

A Captain’s Retreat in Second Life

AustinLiam’s Captain’s Retreat boathouse / house on display with accessories at his in-world store.

While I like to build in SL – particularly my own homes – I’m always on the lookout for units made by others that might suit our needs or be up for a bit of kitbashing. One of those I’ve had my eyes on for  a fair while is AustinLiam’s Captain’s Retreat, and moving to a home literally just across the water from Austin’s in-world base of operations has tended to sharpen my interest in having a play with that design.

For those unfamiliar with Austin’s work, he produces a range of commercial and residential units and accessories ideal for those wishing to build a waterside setting or who live on / near the water. Most are of a wooden design, and so well suited to being used in a variety of settings.

AustinLiam’s Captain’s Retreat integrated into Isla Caitinara

The Captain’s Retreat is a split-level building well suited to a coastal locations or on the banks of broad rivers / the edge of lakes. It’s an over-the-water design, the lower level forming a boathouse suitable for small or modest sized powered boats, with the upper  level offering a large open-plan area providing some 20 square metres of accommodation space (including 2 balconies) that can easily and comfortably be split into two living areas,  and is well-lit thanks to large windows on three sides of the building, two sets of which incorporate sliding doors to access balconies that bracket the building.

At 84 LI, the building is supplied without a rezzer – you just unpack it and drag it out of the resultant  folder (which also contains a single armchair, a flag pole and a bearskin rug referred to as “bear … already dead” 🙂 ), then place it. This is handy for those who don’t like messing around with rezzers; however, for those who (like me) enjoy kitbashing / modding designs, thought has been given to making this a flexible design well suited to modding. The fireplace elements, for example, can be easily selected and relocated within the house. External lighting is supplied as a part of the build, the lights individually switchable, while the boathouse has a door that can be raised / lowered and has piers for easy access to any moored boat.

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The interior living space can be comfortably split into smaller areas to suit needs. Borrowing from Austin’s approach, I used a room divider rather than full-height walls, and added slatted blinds from additional privacy between “day” room and sleeping area

In our case, the mood nature of the design allowed me to add external decking around two sides of the house, and then split the main living area into two areas – one a general living space,  with more than enough room for a sofa and armchairs, a dining  area and even a gallery kitchen. Taking a leaf from Austin’s in-world show home for the Captain’s Retreat, the remaining half of the room became a bedroom area,  overlooking the open waterway passing our Second Norway island.

The mod nature of the house allowed the fireplace to be relocated as noted above, whilst also allowing me to add greater depth to the two balconies and the glass awnings over the top of them. While it is not vital, I also modified the lighting supplied with the house, removing the supplied  scripts and replaced them with a system integrated with the room lighting I added to the house, with a script to activate all lights a SL sunset and turn them off at SL sunrise.

The living area of the house has balconies on either side, served by sliding window doors. The modular design of the build means that these balconies can be made deeper if required to provide more space, and the supporting beams of the house frame adjusted to match

At  L$1680, this isn’t a design that will break the bank – but it can provide a surprisingly comfortable living space. Thanks to Ydille’s Multi Scene Rezzer & Multi Scene Erazer Pro V5 I reviewed last month, the Captain’s Retreat house now forms a 4th option of house we can have at Isla Caitinara whenever we feel like a change – and for those looking for a house they can easily mod and / or create a cosy home on the water, I’d have no hesitation in recommending this design.

Links

House changing with a scene rezzer in Second Life

A rezzing system makes it easy to swap between house designs and furnishings, and the Multi Scene Rezzer & Multi Scene Erazer Pro V5 makes it an exceptionally low-cost option

While hardly new to SL, rezzing systems are something I’ve written about on a few occasions as a means of making convenient use of space, and being quickly able to swap between house interiors with things like Linden Homes (see: Saving your Bellisseria house designs for re-use with a rezzing system) and / or being able to swap back and forth between vehicles within taking up too much in the way of LI by keeping them rezzed all the time (see: Adding a little vehicle space with a rezzing system).

I’ve used such systems extensively throughout my SL time, particularly with reference to house / landscape designs, where I’ve tended to lay out house and landscape and then drop everything into a rezzer so that we’ve always been able to swap back and forth with house and garden options relatively easily – with the usual caveat that anything placed in a rezzer must have Copy  / Modify capabilities.

With our recent move to Second Norway (see: Farewell, Isla Pey, hello, Isla Caitinara), I again wanted us to have the freedom to swap between houses, but not quite to the same extent as with our old island. The latter was totally based on mesh landforms (due to limitations of terrain texturing available to us), so it was easy to have house designs, furnishings and landscaping placed within individual rezzers. With the new island, the layout is such that given we may want to change the house and some of the grounds from time-to-time, the gardens are pretty much as we want to keep them. Therefore, using a single rezzing system containing multiple house options makes a lot more sense. However, while the RF Scene Rezzer I’ve previously used does support this kind of approach could be used, it does rely of on coalesced objects to create a scene, and these can be tricky to manage when they comprise a lot of objects.

The broad design of the islands in Second Norway make them very amenable to tucking away houses, be they a relatively large design like our “skytower” …

So, whilst looking for a further alternative, I came across Ydille’s Multi Scene Rezzer & Multi Scene Erazer Pro V5. I’ll confess that when I saw the price – just L$49 – I was sceptical as to how well it would work. For that I owe Ydille an apology, as this is actually one of the most capable personal rezzing systems I’ve yet used, offering the kind of capabilities normally reserved for systems costing ten times the fee.

In short, the system provides the following capabilities:

  • Storing and rezzing up to eleven individual scenes (e.g. house, furnishings, gardens, etc.).
  • Auto-clearing a currently rezzed scene before rezzing another.
  • Rezzing multiple scenes side-by-side.
  • Easy updating of individual scenes, or adding further scenes to a rezzer up to the maximum of 11.
  • Using one than one rezzer in a single location.
  • Options to:
    • Manually clear all currently rezzed scenes.
    • Relocate the rezzer without impacting object placement.
    • Set access to the rezzer to one of owner, group or public.

In addition, the Pro V5 rezzer includes the ability to configure the rezzing options menu with unique names via note card.

For our purposes – easily swapping between different house options – the system is absolutely perfect, and set-up couldn’t be easier, comprising two main steps: creating your scene(s) and then updating the rezzing menu.

….Or something a little more cosy, like a stone cottage – note the change to the grounds in front of the house as well

Creating A Scene

  • Lay out the items to form a scene (in our case, the house, its furnishings and fittings, and the immediate surrounding plants).
  • Edit each object in turn and:
    • Rename it in accordance with the system’s object naming convention (see below).
    • Drop the system’s Position / Eraser script into it.
    • Allow the script to record the object’s position (region X,Y,Z co-ordinates and rotation).
  • When the Item is ready – the script’s hover text will flash in yellow – Take the object back to inventory.
  • Drop the updated object into the scene rezzer’s contents.
  • Repeat for all remaining objects in the scene.

Object Naming Convention

Items for a scene must use the correct naming convention. For the first 9 scenes in a unit, this takes the form of “S1_[name]”, “S2_name”, etc.

  • So items for the first scene might be: called “S1_house”, “S1_sofa”, “S1_chair”, etc.
  • While items for the second scene might be “S2_house”, “S2_sofa”, “S2_chair”, etc.

Items for the 10th and 11th scenes follow a similar convention, but without the underscore (so S10House, S10Sofa, etc.).

Updating the Rezzing Menu

Ydille’s Multi Scene Rezzer & Multi Scene Erazer Pro V5 provides a customisable scene rezzing menu.

By default, the Pro V5 rezzing system has a pre-configuring scene rezzing menu (“Skybox”, “Pool”, “Clouds”, Plants”, etc.). These names can be updated to more meaningful terms by editing a note card contained in the rezzer itself. To change them:

  • Edit the note card in the rezzer.
  • Delete the 11 single-line entries in the top portion of the card (“Skybox”, “Pool”, “Clouds”, Plants”, etc.).
  • Replace them with your own names, one per line.
  • If you have less than eleven scenes, you must add additional lines (use a space or period), so the list is always 11 items long.
  • Save the note card.

Note that you can update the note card as you add further scenes to your rezzer.

Using the System

When you’ve loaded one or more scenes:

  • Click the rezzer.
  • Click the Rez Scenes button to display your available scenes.
  • Click the button of the scene to be rezzed.
  • Allow the scene to rez.

By default, any current scene that is rezzed will be deleted. This can be toggled off / on via the Pre Erase button on the the rezzer’s main menu. Access options can similarly be set by clicking the Access button to toggle between Owner, Group and Public. Please refer to the system’s documentation for further notes.

Another look at the cottage – a design from Domineaux Prospero we’ve not used in a few years

Observations

Considering it is only L$49, the Multi Scene Rezzer & Multi Scene Erazer Pro V5 packs in a lot, as noted, and is extremely easy to use. Given I didn’t really want to dramatically change the overall layout of our new island home, but wanted a quick means of changing the house space, it has already proven to be absolutely ideal for our needs on Isla Caitinara, Certainly, if you’re looking for a low-cost personal rezzing system – if you’re looking for a system to sell items, you’ll need to look elsewhere – this system really cannot be beaten – and it is capable of packing in a lot large scene areas than we”re using.

Shippe & Saille Harbor Master in Second Life

The Shippe and Saille Harbor Master (Bimini and fishing rods deployed)

As a rule of thumb, I tend not to seek copies of items for review in these pages; those I do produce tend towards items I have purchased. The reason for this is because I feel I can give a fairer review if I’m writing about something I’ve purchased. That said, there are a couple of of exceptions to the rule, and I’m about to make a third in this case.

LadyJane Shippe sent me the latest from her Shippe and Saille brand, the Harbor Master, a slightly rescaled model of the Harbor Master 19, a dory style hulled cruiser with a forward cabin space, and itself based on the classic open Outboard Dory 18. It’s a small, fairly nimble craft driven (in the case of this version) by a 50 horse power outboard motor.

The Shippe and Saille (r) moored alongside the Bandit 170 at home, with the Bandit 580 behind them both

The S&S Harbor Master is reportedly 15% larger that its physical world equivalent, so as to present enough space for all sizes of human  avatars within the cabin and the covered pilot house. It is not, at first glance, a particularly elegant boat when compared to other cabin cruisers; the snub bow, forward placement of the cabin and high roof to the pilot house tend to give it something of an ungainly look. But looks, as the hoary old saying goes, can be deceptive.

Outside of the increase in size – which given it is proportional, isn’t that noticeable – this is a faithful reproduction of the Harbor Master 19, fully capturing the shape of the dory hull, the cabin and pilot house. The latter offers bench seating for two, and the cabin basic sleeping space for two – although the boat will carry up to three.  Behind the benches, the open cockpit offers room for equipment stowage, etc. A cooler box sits at the back of the cockpit, which might be considered at keeping drinks on ice or used to hold any fish caught when out and about.

Fishing aboard the Shippe & Saille Harbor Master

Fishing, because the boat is compatible with a number of Second Life fishing systems – WZW fishing, 7 Seas, and Goldtokens rod. Two rods can be rezzed in the holders towards the stern of the hull, and the pose system also include fishing poses that will auto-rez (temp) fishing rods. In addition, the user manual provides instructions on swapping the latter out for any preferred rods an owner might have.

Rezzing the two rods on the boat increases the LI from 31 to 34, which still leaves the boat a modest count in terms of LI. Other options that are included with it are a cockpit Bimini “raised” and “lowered” by the pilot’s chat command of “Bimini”, an opening /closing cabin skylight or door, and an anchor that can be raised / lowered, as can the outboard motor (the latter of which is raised by default on a fresh rezzing of the boat)., and the boat’s fenders. All of these, bar the cabin skylight and door, are activated via chat commands (the skylight by touch).

If rezzed out of Linden Water, the boat will raise itself and rez a 6 LI trailer underneath to support it

Handling-wise the boat follows the usual lines: the majority of commands are chat based, although some  – such as the lights – use the switches in the pilot house. the arrow / WASD keys handle steering and the throttle. The latter has four forward and four reverse settings (dead slow, slow, half, and full) sitting either side of the idle setting. Additionally, the Page keys can be used to rapidly toggled between idle and half speed (forward or reverse). In terms of driving, the boat is extremely responsive and the chat command for the camera can be used to help recover the camera position should things go sideways on a region crossing (including the “cc” command for any passenger – a nice touch).

Painting the boat can be handled in one of two ways. Those wishing to just change their Harbor Master’s name can use the hull texture included in the user guide. Those wishing to make more extensive changes can find a link to download a comprehensive set of texture and UV maps. As a copy / mod vehicle, this boat is also open to a degree of physical customisation – general guidelines are provided in the user guide for those wishing to do so.

The Shippe & Saille Harbor Master

Those who enjoy Get The Freight Out will find a GTFO option in the the Habor Master package. Once unpacked, simply add the script and GTFO item it contains to the boat’s contents, and your ready to use it with the game.

I’ve not used the Harbor Master extensively, having made fewer than a dozen runs in it – although three have been reasonably long distance across and around Blake Sea and along the coast of Nautilus. Throughout, I found the boat to be responsive, made good recoveries on region crossings and generally presented no real handling problems.  At L$1,900, it’s very well priced, and just the job for those looking for a modestly-priced, small-sized motor cruiser for open water or river cruising.

Related Links

Bandit 170: a pocket cruiser that’s coming Second Life

Bandit 170

I logged in to Second Life to find I had an unexpected gift waiting for me: a preview version of the Bandit 170, the latest motor boat by Analyse Dean. It’s a cute little craft modelled, as Ana’s boats are, after a physical world boat, as is noted in the 170’s user guide.

The Bandit 170 DeLuxe is modelled after the small recreational pocket cruisers of the 1970’s, like the Inter 500 and the Marina M17, they were popular then, and are still popular now.

Due to the small size they are easily stored, can be pulled on a trailer behind a compact car, they are fuel efficient when puttering around, but fast and fun to drive when you open up the throttle, and you can camp out in the cosy cabin for a weekend fishing trip.

At 6.6 metres in overall deck length, this really is a small boat – smaller than the Bandit SRV-210 speedboat, which I reviewed two years ago, when it was first released. Nevertheless, it come packed with details: a range of cabin and deck sits, the ability to tow a passenger carrying tube or and optional wakeboard (the 170 is compatible with Ape Piaggio’s wakeboards, which can be purchased at Ape’s store at Dutch Harbor).

Bandit 170

The 170 is very much a faithful reproduction of the Inter 500 / Marina M17 (Ana provides a pair of photos of the Inter 500 so you can see for yourself). The stern well provides room for four, while the compact cabin offers sleeping / sitting space for  in reasonable comfort. It is powered by 40 hp outboard motor that may not have a huge turn of speed in the physical world when compared to speed boats and larger cruisers, but which is for Second Life more than adequate, and at the upper end of its speed scale, makes this a manoeuvrable, nippy little craft.

The controls for the boat follow the usual layout: when seated, the pilot types “start” (no quotes) to start the engine and “stop” to turn it off, while the Left / Right keys will turn the boat in the appropriate direction, and the Up / Down keys increase / decrease the throttle. From start, a tap on Page Up will fully open the throttle while tapping the Down Key when in motion will drop the throttle back to idle. If Page Down is tapped when the throttle is idling, it will drop the boat into full reverse, and Page Up will bring the throttle back up to idle.

A range of chat commands unlock other features, including deploying the Bimini (Sun shade over the open boat well) or the tent (completely encloses the boat well), setting the camera position, turning the hover text HUD on / off, dropping / raise the anchor, deploy the fenders – and more, as detailed in the the user guide. Touching the boat can either access the range of sit / pose options (of which there are a fair few, singles, couples and fun) or activate various controls  / options – such the the ventilation hatch in the cabin roof, boil the kettle, (and give you a mug of a hot beverage), toggle the control panel switches for the boat’s lights, stow / unstow the forward seats in the boat’s well or the table in the cabin, put out a larger bed, etc.

Bandit 170

Like many of Ana’s boats, the Bandit 170 is a very physical craft: it really will bounce through waves when at speed; as a consequence, you can suffer a fair amount of camera juddering. This can be lessened by using the mouse scroll wheel to push your camera back a little from the boat. And talking of the camera, for those times when it skews and locks at a weird position on a region crossing, the pilot can generally recover by toggling between the two camera modes (cam 1 and cam 2). It may not always work – but such is the nature of SL.

For those who like first-person driving, the Bandit 170 is a capable craft, the dashboard has a single instrument – the speedometer. When driving in third-person mode, a little practice will show there’s no need for the hover text HUD.

The boat’s package includes a range of extras: a dock with scripted auto-mooring, a trailer for towing the boat, a complete texture pack for producing custom paint finishes (and which includes a couple of pre set paint options; textures are applied by right-clicking the boat and selecting the required face – just refer to the texture currently in place on the boat to confirm which texture goes where). A pack of flag textures are also included, together with the aforementioned towable tube – see the user manual for details on this.

The Bandit 170 on its trailer

An interesting twist with the Bandit 170 is that it comes ready for a new game Ana is working on with Ape Piaggio, Rez Grey (the originator of Get The Freight out) and Dutch Mainsail. Called OMFG (that’s One More Fishing Game before you jump other conclusions!), it is a grid-wide fishing game that Ana describes thus:

It’s 100% database driven, so all the water in SL is mapped out, meaning you’d really have to go out with your boat, look at the fish finder to see if there is fish, and then stop and cast a line, what you catch depends on what gear/bait you use, and where you are (also, how much you had to drink, if that’s a lot, you start catching really weird things…

The game has yet to be finalised, which means the eventual retail price of the Bandit 170 is still TBC. However, those who would like early access to the boat (without the game option) can obtain it from the Bandit stall at Uber. Those buying the boat from there will receive a free game update once the latter is available.

Bandit 170 o the rivers of Bellisseria

One of the things I like about this little cruiser is that its small size, shallow draft and low speeds make it ideal for navigating inland waterways around SL – I had a lot of fun (low bridges allowing) pootling around the rivers of Bellisseria.

All told, a great addition to the Bandit ranged of power boats, one that could well be a popular item among boating enthusiasts, bringing with it a land impact of 35. If you don’t fancy trying to fight your way into Uber to grab one, you can hop to Dutch Harbor and at least take the demo version for a run.

Bringing a little (Studio Skye) Zen to your SL garden

The zen garden at Isla Pey

While visiting JimGarand’s Grauland in January 2020 (see: Grauland’s touch of Japanese Zen in Second Life), I was struck by the zen garden included within the region design. An examination of the core elements in the design revealed them to be from the Zen Garden Building Set by Alex Bader, sold under his Studio Skye brand.

Alex has a reputation for producing excellent landscape building kits – and I’ve used several in constructing places like Holy Kai, although there are admittedly some that while mouth-watering in terms of my desire to put them to good use, such as his stream building sets, I simply haven’t (thus far) had the space in which to do them real justice. However, the Zen Garden kit was one that I immediately had a familiar “me want!” itch about, so that after a couple of days of pondering how it might work within Isla Pey, I snagged a copy from the Marketplace. And I have to say, it is simply superb.

The zen garden at Isla Pey  viewed from the house balcony

At L$899, the kit includes some 24 individual elements: rocks, gravel surfaces, gravel path sections, plants, shrubs, ground cover, ground pieces, stone steps, edging pieces (combinations of rocks and plants), and so on. All of this offers a comprehensive means to build a garden network of paths, plants and open spaces, which can both be used to provide places to sit or include additional features as well as being easily integrated into a broader landscape.

In addition, for those who might be daunted at the thought of trying to glue everything together themselves, Alex provides two “pre-built” and rezzer based examples of gardens: one 32m on a side (96 LI when rezzed) and the other 26x18m (46 LI). Also, a couple of textures are also provided for the purposes of blending any additional items – fillers and the like – that might be required to ensure a good pairing of garden to surrounding landscape elements.

The zen garden display at Studio Skye

Given they are “ready to go”, so to speak, the two example gardens are a good place to start with a design. As they are supplied in rezzers, also that’s required is a couple of clicks with the rezzers, and they can be put together in moments and the rezzer then used to position them as required. Just click the Finish option once placed, remove the rez box and then modify or extend the garden or blend it with a broader landscape using both the additional components in the kit and whatever else you have that you feel might work with it.

I opted to take this approach myself, using the 32mx32m garden as my starting point. To this I added some of the base, path and edge pieces to provide a basic design (one which currently uses the garden’s featured rock monolith seen in the photos here, although I’m debating swapping that out and creating a “formal” element common to zen gardens: an area of sand raked to resemble ripples on water). To this I added our selection of sculptures by Ciottolina Xue and Silas Merlin, plus trees by AzaleaBluebell originally offered as a Fantasy Faire hunt gift, together with a selection of shrubs to provide more of a garden feel.

The more extensive zen garden at Grauland

There are some additional nice touches with the set, together with a couple of “does” and “don’ts”. For example, the water elements include a volume control for adjusting / changing the sound being generated by their little falls. The edges of the individual paths are nicely “feathered” so that path sections can be more easily placed together and blended. Also, the kit is compatible with the Studio Skye 4-Seasons bolt on – although this is where the “don’t” comes into play. If you do plan to use season changing bolt-on, don’t link elements of the garden together, as doing so will adversely affect how textures get applied when changing the seasons.

Also, do take care should you vertically resize elements (e.g. so the base better connects with whatever is under it): many of the pieces have horizontal faces painted as edge cover, and resizing can leave these “floating” above the rocks / pathway section on which they are supposed to be growing, or no longer aligning with edges they are supposed to be draped over.

The zen garden at Isla Pey with the house behind

But, as noted at the top of this piece, this is a minor niggle. For those looking for a different look to their garden – one that can be unique to them whilst leveraging other plants and garden items they have, the Studio Skye Zen Garden Building Kit makes for a excellent purchase.

Links

Note: the statuary, trees, large bushes and benches seen in the images here do not form a part of the Zen Garden Building Kit, but have been purchased separately.