March 12, 2019

Dollarbie wonderfulness (OMG cute)

If you know me, you know I love to shop for inexpensive clothing. Not because I'm cheap but because when I find something really nice, it's rewarding and I can share with friends. Plus anyone who doesn't have a lot of Lindens in their account can get something that won't break the bank.

Today's find is from the SL Marketplace. It's called ShuShu ButtonUp PROMO Set. The cool thing about this outfit is that it comes as a dress with a sort of halter / suspenders look AND as a skirt with a separated corset top.

Yes it look amazing in SL This is natural light (noon, nothing weird).

It also comes with some funky socks and oversized sunglasses which honestly are more like afterthoughts and not really needed.

Yes it's only $1L on SLM. What gets me is that for the price, a few people have whined about minor details and knocked it down to 2 stars. NO NO NO. That's not right.

Anyway, here's the URL to the outfit on SLM.

Just about every mesh body available is supported too. Shown here with Maitreya Lara and Lumae Eirtae skin.

February 14, 2019

Two Bento dresses from Arcane Spellcaster

Gramy by Arcane Spellcaster
OK, I admit it. I'm a sucker for the unusual when it comes to fashion. Retro, modern, odd. Anything that looks different from the usual cookie cutter fashions or mesh template outfits. Today's finds came from Arcane Spellcaster at the February 2019 Designer Showcase (link is SLURL).

First up is Gramy. The dress is Bento rigged and comes with an optional "jacket". It's really an interesting outfit especially from the back. Very much an OMG that's so cute moment.

Gramy from back
Gramy is HUD driven and the jacket and dress are separately colored 10 ways. So for $350 you get 10 different outfits or if you care to mix and match the jacket and dress, 10 to the something power lol.

The last view shows how you might color the top and dress separately. Probably would be better if I'd done black and white but oh well.  Click on any of the images to view them full size. Note that there is quite a bit of side boob and the bottom is VERY short so it might not work for some.

Gramy is $350L at the showcase and worth every $L.

Pirette by Arcane Spellcaster
Next up is Pirette, also by Arcane Spellcaster. This one is borderline BDSM but it has an extra feature that really says buy me. The mesh is animated to look like the wind is gently blowing the back of the skirt up from your butt! Sort of a Marilyn Monroe poof on a mini-skirt.

Like Gramy, it comes with a color HUD but with 20 options.  I've show it here in black, teal and bright pink with advanced lighting but it seems to look a bit more natural without advanced lighting.

The designer claims both meshes are original and I have no reason to doubt that. Nothing else like these have crossed my fashion inbox. :)

Pirette is $450L.

For anyone who cares, my skin is Lumae Eirtae, body is Maitreya Lara, head is Utilizator Normie, hair is Roxana by Truth and shoes are Boston by KC.

Side view

November 3, 2018

The death of Flickr?

Since Flickr (the online photo sharing service) was purchased by SmugMug, a lot of people have wondered what the new ownership would do with its new shiny toy. Well yesterday, the other shoe dropped and here's what Flickr users are now being greeted with:

While 1,000 free photos sounds like a lot, the longtime integration between Second Life and Flickr (with Linden Lab having an official presence on Flickr) means that it really isn't. Many Second Life users have Flickr accounts with TENS of thousands of photos. Per Flickr, come February 2019, anyone OVER the 1000 photo limit who does not upgrade to Flickr Pro at $50/year, will have their photos deleted. It's not clear from Flickr's blog how they'll determine which photos get ditched.

Another worry is that a LOT of work available through Creative Commons is hosted under free accounts at Flickr. It's not clear what will happen to that content although Creative Commons is said to be working with Flickr on solutions.

Second Life users have long had another outlet for photo sharing called Snapzilla. It's a sister site to the virtual worlds online forum site, (previously I reached out to the owner/developer of both, Cristiano (aka Cristiano Midnight) who had these observations:
"I have been following what's going on with Flickr - there's an active thread here ( about it. While I think their 1000 image limit is still fairly generous, SL Flickr users are definitely looking for alternatives. Snapzilla has always been focused on SL (though I'm expanding it right now to include other worlds including sinespace, Sansar and OpenSim grids), so it's a good fit for SL bloggers and photographers. It already has 13 years of SL history on it. 
I just recently moved Snapzilla to new hosting and split the actual image hosting off from the main site to make it more manageable and scalable (web hosting can be expensive, while image storage is fairly cheap). Transferring 600k images was a challenge, but it all worked out well. 
I think there may be an influx of some new users to Snapzilla from Flickr - I'm not concerned about the impact really. The site could handle it if they do decide to switch, even if it is a large volume of new users."
I'm am personally not someone who feels compelled to document every moment of my existence -- either in Second Life OR in real life. So it's hard for me to imagine accumulating tens of thousands of photos in the first place. But for those that do, I'm sure there's some very real angst involved. After all, Flickr did promise everyone a free terrabyte forever. Storage is cheap, user retention is harder. We'll see how it all shakes out.

October 31, 2018

Halloween 2018

Cobbled together from 3 outfits and some extras. Skin is by Lumae. Makeup was a freebie from SLM. Lara body.

September 12, 2018

Specular madness with Advanced Lighting Model in Second Life

Recently I've been playing around more with Second Life's Advanced Lighting Model or ALM. While it's great for photography (enabling cool shadows and all), it wreaks havoc on items with materials that have specular highlights built-in. And while many techies complain about ALM (it can also render mesh weirdly), the default is to turn ALM ON whenever graphics are set above "High" in the Second Life Viewer.

What led me down a very deep ALM rabbit hole was a new dress put out by Hilly Haalan (HH). Honestly, I love Hilly Haalan's outfits. They are reasonably priced and most are HUD-driven with amazing color variations. So for the price of one color-way in a line like Blueberry, you get 20 or more colors and textures from HH. In fact, her HUD textures often make the same exact outfit look completely different with a mouse click or two.

#1 Specular turned on, ALM on
So here's the new dress, Felicia, by HH. You can see in the ad that it basically overlays various colors onto a mesh base.

Now I normally demo everything I can. But in general, HH's outfits have almost always been perfect out of the box when it comes to my Maitreya Lara mesh body.

#2 Specular on, ALM off
Well take a look at the photo of me on the right wearing the same dress in the ad above. (Violet color applied but it happens with all colors.) What happened to all those nice even colors? After posting a few Gyazos to two different mesh body groups (Maitreya Lara Friends and Mesh Body Addicts), I finally got my answer from some smart person. "You have ALM turned on, the dress uses materials and specular is set too high for ALM." Ohhh. OK. I have no idea what you're talking about lol.

After a few explanations in chat, it sorta made sense to me.  So I ended up sending a notecard to Hilly Haalan about the issue. Mega kudos to her. She made a custom version of Felicia with specular removed. So I can wear the dress with ALM turned on and it will still look normal.

 #3 Specular removed, ALM on
As you can see between the last two photos, there is very little difference in the appearance of the dress. However, what you do see is that my skin looks a little more natural and slightly shiny in #3 with ALM turned on. So I don't know if this is a lesson for designers but for sure it's a good one for shoppers. DEMO and make sure you look at the item you're buying with ALM ON and ALM OFF.

And now the usual stuff. Skin is Eirtae by Lumae, hair is Cray by .b, shoes are KC Amelia wedges and of course the dress is Felicia by Hilly Haalan. The link below is the SLURL to her main store.

Hilly Haalan mainstore

July 31, 2018

Fantastic bargain rigged mesh mermaid tail

I've always had a thing for playing mermaid in Second Life. From the early days of attachable fins and system skirts made to look like mer tails to sculpties with deformed avatars, I've tried just about every type. Of course it helped that a couple of boyfriends were into mer-life. It's so much fun to cuddle underwater. :D

BareRose Black Scale Mermaid
Anyway, my favorite mer avatars are from BareRose. As you can see from the photo on the left, they are gorgeous and amazingly detailed.

BUT, they are also incredibly complex. Wearing a full B@R mermaid outfit WITH a mesh body and all the accessories will easily push your avatar complexity into the stratosphere. Well for me that's around 165,000 and enough to render you invisible to a lot of people.

So I also have two mesh mer tails I use just for less complex situations or where I don't want to wear the full B@R mess. The drawback is that they are both relatively early rigged mesh and kinda clunky where the top of the scales meet the your pelvis. It's even worse with a mesh body like Maitreya Lara.

You can see that the blue tail has this added layer of fishy fat making it look like I'm really just wearing a wetsuit disguised as a tail. Which, it sorta is.

Generic mesh tail
OK fast forward to today where I went to an underwater event and of course, wanting to impress, I wore my BareRose tail and all the goodies. But there was that 165K complexity again. Yikes. Thankfully there weren't too many of us there and everyone could see everyone. BUT still.

That set me on a SL Marketplace hunt for something a bit simpler but better than my ancient mesh tail. After hitting a couple of real clunkers (thank you Demo) and some tails advertised as rigged that weren't, I finally found a simple tail that didn't suck.

In fact, the detail in the tail scales and such is every bit as good as B@R but without all the accessories and add-ons. Fellow peoples of the mer persuasion, I give you the prosaicly named "[ReS] Fitmesh Purple Mermaid" lol. Even the package looks cheesy. BUT, the tail is very good AND it comes in 5 standard sizes plus Maitreya, Belleza and Slink versions. Up close the scales have real depth and shine. What would make it perfect would be for the scales to be scalloped where it meets your pelvis so it doesn't just look like a slip-on bottom. An added bonus is that it comes with a decent mermaid AO with real control buttons. Yay!

[ReS] Rigged Mesh Tail
Oh did I mention this tail is only $65L? No, I didn't. It is. Really. It's prettier than a lot of tails that sell for 10x that price. This one is NOT available in DEMO form so you'll have to trust me that it works. You can click on the photo below to see it up close -- my body is Maitreya Lara. Oh and the mesh is auto-hide for Lara which is cool to. And tah dah, my total complexity with this tail is only (hee) about 75K.

The one thing I wasn't keen on is the included hair. It's a very basic and clunky mesh that didn't cover even my generic hair base. So the hair shown above is Rezology Wavy Hime re-colored with purple on the dark blond base. Trust me, it looks wayyy better than the included hair.

Anyway, check it out on SLM for yourself here: [ReS] Purple Mermaid Tail

July 28, 2018

InWorldz dead! ....Or is it?

I have an account on InWorldz but I've never spent much time there. However, many people have full sims and playgrounds there because, well, it's hugely less expensive to have a million prims there that it is in Second Life.

So I was shocked to see a note from one of my SL groups (Underground) that they were facilitating migrating template purchases made InWorldz to SL. What??

Turns out that a royal mess-up of some sort is indeed potentially sounding the death knell for InWorldz. Which is so sad. It really was a decent alternative to Second Life.

I've read through all the various posts and I'm not sure exactly where the whole thing stands. There's a GoFundMe campaign -- which seems to have raised the requisite $$ to restart Inworldz but there's also no update from the owner if they are going ahead. Anyway, here's some reading for your weekend. :(

From the owner:

And the GoFundMe page:

You figger it out.