Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Simplexity

There is a method where a builder can place video over every object in a sim which uses the same texture (provided they have media access under the land tools). So essentially if you put a jpeg of a donkey over half the prims on your land, then tell the land to play a specific video for everything using that donkey texture then you will have streaming media all playing the same video over many surfaces. Its pretty neat and I've actually used the same method to put video over the actual ground textures with the intention of using this as an addition to fog. So the actual land you are standing on can also play video, imagine a combination of a movie of swaying grass combined with swaying prim grass. There are only so many hours in the day unfortunately.
I don't know of a great many artists who use this technique, Douglas Story and Desdemona Enfield come to mind and Tuna Oddfellow has had a popular event for years called the Oddball which also does this. I can remember Thoth Janzen using this technique ever since I met him when I was a Caerleon artist a few years ago. I think I bump into him once a year or so, and this time it was at NMC Campus West -- The Aho Museum for a new build of his called Simplexity. Its a really dynamic build which is part kaleidoscope and part dance party. A really interesting connection though is that each of the several videos he used in the build come from the demoscene. The demoscene appeared on the Commodore 64 computer ages ago and grew with the appearance of the Amiga and Atari. When software was "cracked" the teams who did it would often leave a type of tag or cracktro at the start letting everyone know it was them who pirated it. They would try to make the cracktros look impressive by manipulating the graphic capabilities of those computers.
These old computers all apparently worked off of very similar code which the average user could get a hold of. People would create graphics and compose music to go with their creations. Each artist trying to outdo the other with awesome videos while also attempting to show superiority of one computer over another. It seems there was a huge loyalty to ones commodore or amiga, similar to the one sided rivalry between Apple computers and PC's. I don't know how many times I have been told by an Apple user that my computer sucks, but it shows the depth of loyalty marketing and a good product can create.
Second Life is an open source medium, so doesn't really need to be cracked (however I think some of Thoths demoscene videos are on megaprims which is a form of software crack)and it contains the ability to quickly create great fractals using alpha textures rotating over distorted sculpties or prims. I could really see a new demoscene being born in Second Life with competition against other platforms ranging from Open Sim to world of warcraft. People creating real time video compositions for bragging rights. Second Life would naturally kick everyone else's ass, but imagine 45 000 prims with video on Open Sim compared to the 15 000 SL offeres builders. Using a combination of machinima and fractals alone could create some really amazing musical works.

When you go see Thoths work be sure to sit on some of the chairs he has set up as they give you a variety of perspectives with which to view the work.

Come see Thoths work Simplexity here

Also I came across not so much a tiny but rather a micro avatar built by Lomgren Smalls. I nearly stepped on him. I put him at the end of the video below.

Simplexity from Bryn Oh on Vimeo.



Save Space from SaveMe Oh on Vimeo.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Busted!

     I had a strangely comforting email last week from the Intellectual property team.   In it they informed me I had content that was perhaps copybotted or in some way illegal.  I think that is what they are saying anyway.  Seems a strange thing to be encouraged about, but somehow knowing that they had a way to seek out and remove what I guess is stolen content suggests to me that Linden Labs is indeed taking IP rights seriously.
     For those of you unfamiliar with Second Life, each avatar has an inventory where we build up ridiculous amounts of garbage.  Inventories are like that Doctor Who spaceship which looks like a police phone box but is massive on the inside.   My inventory has something like 24 000 objects in it and I am not a shopper.  So these dances at some point came to my inventory, I don't generally buy dances so my guess is someone gave me a folder of them at some point.  Possibly years ago I just don't know.  The point is that they were able to search the entire SL population and remove the content.  While it's a bit creepy to know someones been looking through your underwear drawer, it's also very important for content creators to know that there is a recourse should your work be stolen and distributed.

In other news I just found out that in a short time we will have the option to use "nicknames" for our avatars.  For a long time SL users have wanted to assign their own first life names to their avatars for business reasons.  So it sounds like we will each have our embedded sl name such as Bryn Oh but we will have the opportunity to change our name to something like Bitey McPinchpunch or Phillip Linden.  I am curious as to whether the nickname will be attributed to content created or if it will revert to the original name.  Also would someone be able to have the nickname of  Bryn Oh and make content under that name?  If I change my name to Phillip Linden and go on a griefer spree will people be able to quickly determine I was not in fact Phillip?  How often can you change your name and will it affect the entire database of objects in Second Life when you do so? I am thinking I might want to create a symbol for my name like ¥ and be the artist formerly known as Bryn Oh.  If I do so will all the artwork I have created in the past now reflect the creator as ¥?

Anyway, below is my letter from the IP team.

Hi Bryn Oh,
We are writing to let you know that we removed some content you had in Second Life under our Intellectual Property Policy. For a list of the specific content we removed, please see the "IP Complaint Details" below at the bottom of this email.
When we receive an intellectual property complaint, we investigate it and look for copies of the content identified in the complaint. Our investigation found that you had some of this content. We replaced the content with generic placeholder item(s), as described in our FAQs on our Intellectual Property Complaint Process.
If you weren't aware of an intellectual property issue, don't panic or take it personally! Just take steps to avoid content that may have intellectual property issues. Here are some tips to protect yourself and keep your inworld shopping safe and fun.
Many thanks for your interest in Second Life.
-- The IP Team at Linden Lab

IP COMPLAINT DETAILS
Content Removed:
  • Item: Animation named "AK Dance 14" Location: Inventory of Bryn Oh
  • Item: Animation named "AK Dance 10" Location: Inventory of Bryn Oh
  • Item: Animation named "AK Dance 7" Location: Inventory of Bryn Oh
  • Item: Animation named "AK Dance 11" Location: Inventory of Bryn Oh
  • Item: Animation named "AK Dance 17" Location: Inventory of Bryn Oh
  • Item: Animation named "AK Dance 16" Location: Inventory of Bryn Oh
  • Item: Animation named "AK Dance 5" Location: Inventory of Bryn Oh
  • Item: Animation named "AK Dance 12" Location: Inventory of Bryn Oh
  • Item: Animation named "AK Dance 1" Location: Inventory of Bryn Oh
  • Item: Animation named "AK Dance 6" Location: Inventory of Bryn Oh
  • Item: Animation named "AK Dance 8" Location: Inventory of Bryn Oh
  • Item: Animation named "AK Dance 3" Location: Inventory of Bryn Oh
  • Item: Animation named "AK Dance 18" Location: Inventory of Bryn Oh
  • Item: Animation named "AK Dance 9" Location: Inventory of Bryn Oh
  • Item: Animation named "AK Dance 13" Location: Inventory of Bryn Oh
  • Item: Animation named "AK Dance 2" Location: Inventory of Bryn Oh
  • Item: Animation named "AK Dance 4" Location: Inventory of Bryn Oh
  • Item: Animation named "AK Dance 15" Location: Inventory of Bryn Oh
  • Item: Animation named "Touch Me - Abranimations" Location: Inventory of Bryn Oh
*If animations were removed, the replacement animation may be in your HUD or animation override (AO).

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Machine Cinema

Machine Cinema or Machinima is where you record footage in a real-time 3D environment.  Traditional animation or CG contrast in that one is done through manually drawing each piece while with CG it is keyframed or motion captured.  Machinima was spawned through video games with the first I recall ever seeing being the fabled Leroy Jenkins from World of Warcraft.



    When Second Life arrived on the scene the users were given the ability to directly and permanently build in world.  Meaning that what we created was persistent.  Each time we logged in the world had changed during the hours we were offline and the things we created the day before would still be sitting where we left them.  We were given the ability to plan ahead and we could create unique environments.   Essentially Linden Labs gave us the ground we stand on and the users created a world.  And beautiful chaos ensued.  What this also allowed for was the birth of machinima as an art form.  For example, when I create a machinima (unless I am promoting someone else's work) I have full control over the final product.  I write the narrative, build, script and texture.  I create the sky and terraform the land.  I create an environment which is not constrained by one perspective like a painting or picture is.  And unlike the medium of film where the viewer passively is told a story, the visitors to my sims must interact to discover the narrative and the story can change.  This is part of the art movement I call Immersiva.  But I digress.
     I have said that some of the art being created in Second Life right now will eventually be chapters in art history books.  We are part of a new frontier in art, and we are currently defining it.  I personally see its unique traits as being along the lines of creating a painting you can enter and explore.  I won't get into all that as this post is not about creating Immersiva, but rather Machinima.  What I do want to express though is that Machinima is also an emerging art form.  It has existed for a while but it has, with second life as a medium, now become a powerful tool of expression with far more range than previously.  Surprisingly, there are only a couple dozen good machinima artists that I am aware of so what I am going to do is help those of you with an interest to get started.

These are the things I use, but I know there are alot of other software combos.



First test out fraps.  You can get a free version which will let you film for 30 seconds or buy the full thing for $37.  What fraps does is capture/film what is on your screen.  You press a button and it begins to film what you see... you press another button and it stops filming.

Next buy editing software.  I use Sony Vegas which cost me around $95.  I found it pretty easy to use and felt quite comfortable with it after only a few months.  You will import your fraps avi movies into this and chop them up until you are happy.


You can stop with just fraps.  Or you can stop with fraps and Vegas.  Or you can also buy a space navigator which allows for more control over your camera.  It is a 3D mouse.  It essentially lets you position your camera anywhere and then move in any direction you wish.  It is $99.  This is all starting to add up a bit, but if you are like me then get it all in christmas and birthday gifts.

I think that is about it really.  Oh this is important.  I am actually still struggling with finding the right settings to have a nice HD machinima that can also be shown full screen.  I have tried tons of settings and it can be very frustrating to have something look wonderful on your own screen only to lose it all once its uploaded to youtube or blip.tv.  So here are a few links which I am currently trying that I found informative.

good youtube settings


More useful rendering info



Below is just a proposal I made.  There is a museum which is putting on a show of a Canadian painter and they are looking for a new media exhibit to go along with it.  I put this together to see if they are interested in me creating one of his paintings as a 3D environment.  So if you have a moment watch this proposal and pretend you don't know what SL is.  Let me know if it would convince you to pick me or if its just confusing.  Is it easy to read the text or does it go to fast?  things like that.  I wanted to explain a bit about SL, let them know there is potential for exposure outside their museum membership, show that I am somewhat accomplished and would do a good job and express that SL is not a video game.


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Format

A machine poem from Immersiva.  Beautiful music by Tasuku arai / ghost.  If you want to watch it in HD you have to press play first then where you see the number 320p click that and pick the HD one. 



Just checking to see if youtube renders better than bliptv.