Archive for April 28th, 2013

Making Of: !dM “Endless Delirium” behind the scenes

Have you ever wondered how a creation in SL comes to life?
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Well this is the time to find out!

Thanks to one of my lovely friends who was as curious as you, I took some extra screenshots throughout the creation process so here’s a glimpse onto the working desk of my last costume release !dM “Endless Delirium”.

The idea for “Delirium” has some strange roots.. it started out as a possible idea for St. Patricks (cause I wanted a rainbow corset), then swayed into some sense of My Little Pony Kitsch (don’t even ask) and well… when I got the sculpted fish all the rainbows and clouds and fish came together into a picture for anybody who is familiar with “The Sandman” comic book series. So that’s when it took a hard cyberpunk turn instead of the fluff those first ideas were associated to.

I figure, if a fellow designer is curious enough about the in-between steps already, then it’s probably a fun read for somebody who never dealt with content creation in Second Life, too. So I put a little bit more time and effort into making this a proper documentary of the “Making Of…” for this costume than I would have if only sharing it with her.

These are all snapshots taken during different stages, and I will admit, I had so much fun preparing the “Making Of”, hope you will enjoy this little trip :) The pictures are totally random and taken most of times when I was thinking off it rather than any important milestones. (Although, there is one or two taken to discuss the turns on how this should go on from there lol)

It all started in 3D:
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Cause let’s not forget, there was a cloud attachment somewhere in the mix and nothing worthwhile on marketplace to consider.

I usually start with cubes no matter what it’ll be.. cylinders sometimes too, but a cube is just easier to deal with. This one here was ment to be something abstract anyhow, so making that happen didn’t take all too long thankfully to mirror modifiers.

 

Clicking on the pictures will make them large, btw. In the upper right and left hand area of each is an arrow that appears on mouse over, so you can just look at them in larger size.

From Blender to SL:
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Uploading and testing was good enough for a start. I stuck a bunch of rainbow flexis into this when first rezzing it in SL. And totally unassumingly went browsing the marketplace for anything fluffy and air-y to put into the mix; ironically I didn’t buy anything I had targetted but ended up with a fish instead. You see the grey ones sitting on the back of the cloud in the sceenshot below!

Admittedly, that did excite me way more than the rest at this point too, so there came the fatal question.. How can this be integrated?!

 And back off we go to come up with a texture for that beast. I had proper fish scales in mind, but then, it had to fit the rest of the base textures, so clearly all went down the abstract-fish route on the creation part. I think this was my favorite part of the whole costume designing, too!

 

Once those were done and uploaded came the next challenge. Getting them all placed in the cloud was easy. But what do with those butterflies, they totally didn’t fit any longer at all! Definitely had to be adjusted now too. D’uh. The result was acceptable though I’d say :D The swirls fit pretty nicely on there!

Now let’s dress the avatar!
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The corset part was clear already so lets fast-forward that. The mesh did exist as well as I had just finished it for our previous release !dM “Creme d’Elise” so it only needed a new texture. This was as well solved fairly fast with a new baking and more specular lights for a rubber/latex feel and then a lot of color stripe layers to get the rainbow on that corset. And a lot of color tweaking but that’s always the fun part. “Fairly fast” in my world means “It took only 2 hours instead of 50.” in case you wondered about that. :D

So texture layers now. They were supposed to be punky, grungy, eccentric. AND with the fish HAD to have fishnets :P

I settled on assymetric and with way large fishnet for contrast, as the smaller one was just not loud enough in comparison to the bright flashy attachments I had so far..  This was a first rough sketch on the left, and then the painful “making it straight lines” on the right side:

If you’re on the optimistic end of the scale, you would call this “meditative efforts”… if you’re more blunt, probably just a *longstringofcurses* PITA. I am sure there is faster ways to get to that goal but i do prefer working with vectors where possible.

Eventually there comes that first test to see all the mess on the avatar. Surreal looked at me somewhat funny which i totally can’t blame her for lol. They are still pretty rough drafted at this point and it’s hard to see through that if you don’t know where this is supposed to be heading. A few things became quickly obvious though:

  • it needs white in the stockings;
  • the skirt needs more black;
  • the rainbow is too happy rainbow-brite-esque;
  • we need matching shoes for the corset!
  • I should not wear pink hair  :D  [I blame Elise and Gachas for that!]
So I went off with another mission and yet again that whole thing changes its face. (OT: Have you ever tried changing textures in a mess like this? I was blind after targetting!)

However, blind now, but the core of it all was set.
So partial victory! :D

 Finetuning:
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Thanks to resources the shoe part was semi painless too, as I had just recently finished !dM “PeggySue” so really just needed a different texture for the main sides. Surprise, surprise, the corset texture rotated did hold up pretty good for that. With additional lights this was a keeper. Again, the one on that pic is not the final shoe that made it into the outfit box. It went through a bunch of more changes towards the final phase of the creating process – but it was close enough to let it sit for a while again and feel like “that part is done!”.

The crazy bustle went through some changes well as you can see, although still not finalized. The final version of textures was v5-2 so you get the drift, there was quite many still to come. :D

The stockings were done though other than some last-minute nit-picking when creating the final layers for boxing it up. Nobody would have noticed most likely.. but it’s one of those things, once you spot a flaw you cannot stop staring at it until it’s gone!

Playing with Prims!
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Another of my favorite parts. When you see it all together in one screen frame is when it’s just most straight-forward to deal with. It jumped our sim primcount by quite a bit but I guess that’s what happens when you rezz EVERYTHING there could be rezzed. (this picture shows only a portion of what was all there LOL)

 You’ll notice the final rainbow hue is much darker now, and that non-pink hair suits me better too ;) Pretty happy with this stage by now, which is close before linking it all up and putting it in a box. This was wednesday afternoon and I was set to release at the evening.

IF there wasn’t yet again that tiny little detail that popped in my mind and postponed this for what seems an eternity.

Scripting – your best friend and nightmare:
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In my mind, it was all fast and awesome.. “Quick particle script, target, fish-on-a-leash, YAY!”

Well.. that’s the part where the scripters amongst you start to giggle already I’m sure. The very FIRST fish-on-a-leash was ridiculously fast and met all my expectations regarding “ease” and “time” needed…. only turns out, SL gives new asset keys every time you rezz a prim. D’uh.

So how make that damn fish know where to send it’s leash too? 

And that’s where the real time consuming part started that delayed release all the way to saturday morning. Thankfully my scripter friends got me onto the right track, and eventually the thing DID throw a leash when attaching. Best moment ever, for real!

 

Now just the last part, which takes a while but that was planned in at least… and a very welcome in-between activity when I was ready to rage-quit the script.

Creating the vendor picture:
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When speaking about Delirium to my friend Honey, she suggested to make it a comicbook style for display – which I LOVED that idea instantly, as it also made it pretty easy to show the different angles and combinations for the outfit each in its own pannel rather then clumping it all together with that poofy skirt bustle! :D

This went from the individual shots to pannel draft, adding detail, and adding more detail.  Click the image for large view!

Finally it all ended up in a box and got into a vendor and since there was so much free space left to both sides, I ended up making an an inworld gallery display of snapshots too. (With some different pics as there’s some snapshots inworld that i didn’t download.)

 

And with that, we’ve reached the end of this little trip behind the scenes. I hope you enjoyed reading through this as much as I had fun writing it all up for you! And since this is a pretty fun way to look back on a creation, I may share some of these “Making Of..”s more frequently (where “frequently” in my world means probably once or twice a year :D)

Special thanks:
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I started designing this costume in the beginning of March… (remember? St. Patricks and all…) Obviously that all took total different turns and there’s a lot of time passed since then and it got bent into different directions [WITH the obvious rage-quit in between too of course!].

Special thanks goes for that reason to Elise, Surreal and Honey – cause for one, they kept bravely looking at all the inbetweens and kept answering all my nit-picky questions and astray throughts of randomness with pretty helpfull feedback, and of course made the staring at prims a lot more fun. Cause really, moving prims around is more fun when there is somebody either doing the same next to you or sprouts off random madness in your IM box to trigger more ideas. And then another big thank you to Rug and Charlie for pointing my nose into the right direction with the silly fish leash :)

Very happy how it all came together!

 

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