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Friday, October 28, 2011

3D Art

Juggling the Solar System!
It's always exciting to see new art and the 3D artwork that is now in Second Life (SL) is incredible mix of graphics and scripting!  

The University of Western Australia in SL is hosting 3D art and they have a little competition going on, you the people of SL can vote for your favorite piece.  My absolute favorite piece is by an interactive 3D where you hop on a poseball and suddenly you are juggling the solar system!  There is 3D Halloween art to big bugs!

The University is hoping you will come by tonight and see the art and cast your vote!  The votes will be tallied and announced on Sunday, October 30th!

Some art is abstract, interpretative, interactive, and some that makes absolutely no sense, except to the artiste, some are gentle and others harsh, but there is something for every taste!  A must visit is to the 3D interactive of "My World," by Secret Rage.  Excellent and thought provoking!  

There is also dark and sad, happy and grotesque, but as in life not everything is peaches and cream.  There are honest pieces and deceptive ones, but this is a MUST see art sim!  Be patient as the sim is laggy because of so many active scripts, it is worth the frustration!

My friend Spiral has several pieces entered!  I recognized his work even before I saw his name on the voting boxes!  His "Drawn to the Dream" is magnificent! (And it is one that I must have in my collection of SL art!)

There are 99 wonderful artiste's exhibiting on this sim!  This is a MUST see!

Monday, October 24, 2011

1000+ Avatar Project - Art by Gracie Kendal

Second Life (SL) is a center for distance learning, a coming together for like-minded people who represent themselves with an Avatar.  Real Life (RL) people use SL for many reasons, to blow off steam, meet new people, fulfill fantasies and it all comes down to their Avatar.

The Avatar of Atlantis Jewell, October 23, 2011
Why do you look the way you do in SL?  I know personally that I took some character's out of my creative writings and made a prequel to my writings and made my Avatar a Blue Sky Elf... after all I reasoned,  I am human in Real Life and have spent many years wishing I was of another race or at the very least someone else!  I certainly couldn't imagine anyone wanting to be human in their Second Life!  

Gracie Kendal is an artiste in Real Life and in Second Life and she is works on her art too.  Her project explores online anonymity, which turned into a documentation of Second Life Avatars. I participated in the project and am very excited about seeing the published works in SL and RL!

She explains it better then I:  "What started out as a set of 100 portraits to help illustrate the idea of online anonymity, has turned into a sort of documentation of avatars in SL. There are so many questions I have been asking myself and ideas I have been pondering throughout this whole process, especially on the idea of online identity.”

“Like many of my other projects, I started out with one idea: to take portraits of avatars facing away from me. That was it, pure and simple. I had the idea that I wanted them to be unrecognizable, their faces hidden, just another level of anonymity in SL vs. RL. I plan on printing some if not all of these portraits out in RL for an eventual show in a gallery as well as publishing a book.”

Front view, Atlantis Jewell
“Our online identity has become a way of life for millions of people around the world. Not just in Second Life, but on many internet sights you go to. When you look on Facebook or Twitter, how many post pictures of their children or pets? Pictures of places they have visited, cartoon characters they love, logos of their business, landscapes, art, and anything else they find from their lives that they want to represent their identity online.”

"This is our avatar. I write about the avatar in my thesis."

"I think it’s important to begin with an explanation of what avatars and Second Life are; Sean Egen explains that ‘Avatar’ derives from the Sanskrit word Avatara, which literally translates as ‘descent,’ specifically, a deliberate descent by a god into the land of mortals. In Hinduism, an avatar is the bodily manifestation of immortal beings… Many who use avatars today are literally approaching it from the point of view that their avatar represents their ‘incarnation’ into the internet.” In contemporary culture, an avatar is our virtual representation.

"Most people are familiar with avatars through video games.  In World of Warcraft(TM), for example, players create avatars then customize their appearance. People also use avatars as icons in instant messaging applications, social networking websites like Facebook(TM) and Twitter(TM) and through their email programs. Avatars are also represented in film and other forms of media. Max Headroom (1986) is an early manifestation of an avatar. The British virtual band Gorillaz (2006) is made up of cartoon figures representing its real life band members. Movies such as Tron (1982), The Lawnmower Man (1992), The Matrix (1999) and Avatar (2009) give examples within the plots of alternate realities in which the person has an alter ego or other persona: an avatar."

"Besides the practical reasons for having an avatar, there are many psychological reasons. Because avatars offer anonymity, people use them as a way to escape reality. In his book I, Avatar, Mark Stephen Meadows discusses how people use avatars as masks. “We are more inclined to reveal ourselves when we use our avatars. We’re more inclined to reveal what we want, dislike, and think. But in a world where information is more important than physical proximity, we are not as safe as we might assume… After all, the word persona originally meant, in ancient Greek, ‘mask.’ Not as in a thing that hides your face, but one that shows what is truly underneath.”

"SL offers people the freedom to explore changing identity dynamics. Experimentation is welcome.  It is a safe environment which allows unlimited freedom to express oneself and consider boundaries/barriers that aren’t readily accepted in the physical world. “Computer screens are becoming the new location for our fantasies… The immateriality of cyberspace dissolves not only space and time, but our identities as well.  For some this is a frightening prospect, for others perhaps the beginnings of a new empowerment.”

“The portraits I am taking have become a documentation of the lives of hundreds of people who to me are fearless. These people (yes I say people, because no matter how we represent ourselves online, we are all people on the other side of the computer) put themselves out there into the brave new world of virtual environments as explorers, searching for anything and everything. They are amazing, creative, soulful people who I am so honored to have in my project."

"Each portrait represents a different personality, a singular life. Each person has a story to tell, a life to live. Does it matter if we know what these stories are? Does it matter if we know who is on the other side of the computer?"

Close up of Atlantis Jewell
From my personal experience, you do indeed reveal more of yourself then you would ever dream of to a complete stranger that you just met all because you feel secure behind your avatar.

Sometimes you are more honest because you are introspective of your Real Life because Second Life allows you to take a step back from RL and can objectively see things that the "noise" in RL sometimes prevents!

Many SLers have avatars called Alts or alternative identities.  I have about five or six Alts, but play exclusively with my Atlantis Jewell identity!  SLers make new identities for many different reasons, to have affairs, to start over, to evade undesirable "friends", to explore childhood again, to name a few.

I have one for creating "human" clothing so the dimensions of my avatar matches other avies.  I also have a Drow, mermaid, demon/vampire, and I have had fun exploring with all of them and I can't remember all the names of my alts!  What is your online face?  Why did you choose your avatar?  For every avie in SL, I believe there is a story to be told.  

Gracie Kendal is telling that story!  I urge you to go and see her on the Coyote sim, "Environment for Creative Minds."

Our avies are our ultimate works of art, they represent who we are at a primal level!  I found my shape first and had it professionally tweaked and then I found my hair, but it took me six months to find a skin maker to do my skin and a couple of redos to finish it, and then magic happened!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Best of Halloween in Second Life

Darkness Falls @Pandemonium, Second Life
Creepy.  Spooky.  Scary.  These are what you look for when you want to be scared out of your wits, but can you really get creeped out, after all you are behind a computer!!  Darkness Falls @Pandemonium gave me goosebumps and chills up and down my spine.

The howling wind, moaning cries, and little gnome children playing hide and seek and the lighting effects are truly scary.  A bonus for me was that it hit the creep factor of my basement of the house where I grew up in in Real Life...a truly creepy place!

Enjoy all my creepy pictures on my Facebook album!  This blogger gives this sim two thumbs up!

Island of Fear Haunted Mansion

A good scare preys on our phobias!  This haunted mansion for me was some creepy fun! The wind howling around the mansion; poltergeist girl watching the telly and floating around the house, rats, spiders and clowns! Floating beds and man eating plants!  Blood everywhere and special effects as you sit in the chairs!

And monsters head, skulls, and trapdoors to bemuse and confuse.  This adventurer gives this mansion two thumbs up!

Grimm Shores
With wolves howling and raining brimstone, Grimm Shores is a fun and spooky place.  There is an insane asylum, a haunted house and a spooky boat ride!  The mountains look like they might gush with lava flows at any moment!  

Skulls float in the water indicating that it is too hot to jump into, but it looks so cool!  There is a treasure hunt for you to complete and fun gifts to find!  Enjoy taking special Halloween pictures with your friends!  This is a must visit on your list of haunted sims, I give it two thumbs up!

Who Killed Pixeleen?  Taunt, Second Life
Murder and mayhem is the order of the day on this sim.  Don't think that your HUD isn't working properly because you have to find the clues and the story pages on the sim!  It's a mystery to solve!  Surrounded by fabulous October colors and dark scary skulls and the grim reaper!  Regardless if you solve the mystery or not, the sim is a spooky and grim place to explore!

Along the way you find Halloween gifts from the sim's sponsors.  Bring your friends, solve the mystery and be a "meddling kid!"

Siren Haunted Trail

This haunted trail/maze was the first one that I visited to actually rez for me.  Spiders, skeletons, and ghosts come out to play.  Fun picture taking opportunities to be had here!  Land in Stonehenge and enjoy the maze!
HelloHallows 20XX

When you land here and the land spot rezzes, you will think there is nothing scary to see here, I dare you to click the Halloween pumpkin and see where you go!  A fun, spooky sim where anything can happen!  Most enjoyable!

Sherwood Haunted Forest

This place is truly spooky!  There is nothing that I fear and hate more in Real Life then fog! Imagine my pulse racing when you can barely see through this haunted forest!  This sim is mature and there are some poseballs for all those ghouls who want to "do it" in a cemetery!  
This adventurer rates this spot... SPOOKY!

The Haunted Forest
There is an almost mystical quality about this haunted forest almost as if you were expecting the druids to arise from their sleep and chase the spiders, spirits away and lay to rest the skeletons!

There is a haunted swamp and pumpkin carousel hidden in the forest!

Bloodmoon Haunted Motel
Horror, Grim Reaper, Ghosts, then the most fearful... choose a door if you dare!  What is behind them?  You must come and find out!  Definitely a scare is in store for you!

Looking down the long hallway with even more closed doors with horrible conclusions, this adventurer got the ebbie jeebies and left to see who much scarier the cemetery would be!

With crows calling to one another that prey was in sight and the werewolves howling and the grim reaper following me, it's definitely a spooky place to be!

I felt a little like Little Red Riding Hood as I ambled through the forest!  Grab a friend when you visit here!

I rate this spot SPOOKY!

Halloween Trivia Hunt from AUL Music Gardens
This sim is lag free which was a wonderful thing!  If you love treasure hunts and trivia this is the place for you! All the trivia refers to some aspect of Halloween.  The gifts given are excellent!  Bring your friends and enjoy some Halloween fun!

Spookyville:  Welcome to my Nightmare 2011
Parking in the parking lot are ghosts and their trucks and cars and the grim reaper with his carriage of death!  An insane asylum, haunted house, and cemetery invoke all the creepiness of Halloween!

Arcane Delights
Arcane Delights lives up to its name as it was a delightful discovery of Second Life art combined with the spookiness of Halloween.  This discovery reminded me of my own museum and art gallery!  Well done!

There is a contest going on at the moment of In-World untouched photos only and they are on display from October 24-31st and the winner will be announced on October 28th!  So you have an amazing SL photo that you want to share... do contact belladonna Enchanted!

Beware that the drawbridge is down for a reason... don't go outside.... CREEPY!

A must see for Second Life art lovers!

A Note from Atlantis Jewell:  Many of you will be wondering why I included a Best Of list of sims celebrating Halloween!  One of the arts in Second Life is Sim building, it's difficult as the textures have to just right as do the castles, trees or that dying flower.  

We take for granted the sims that we explore and travel through; the artiste's of the sims are unsung and I felt needed a spotlight!  I hope that you have a wonderful and safe Halloween and dare to be scared!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Photographic Arts

Learning to take pictures in Second Life (SL) is difficult to master as the avatars tend to move either where your AO puts it or arbitrarily according to where your cursor on your PC is!  However the pictures turn out, it is fun to take them, share them, and post them in blogs, Flickr, or wherever your picture taking creativity takes you.

Early Days
As with any other art form in SL there are those photographers that are one cut above the others, either because they excel at PhotoShop or they have the patience to wade through the lag to take that perfect picture.  I remember my first picture, it was amateurish at best, and so to PhotoShop I went.  

Up to that point I had never done anything in PhotoShop, but I had some videos to watch and I got extremely lucky!  I was very proud of my first doctored picture, however, having no real talent with PhotoShop for a long time, I began looking for someone with the talent to take pictures of my avie.  It took me six months to find a skin maker who transformed my idea of Atlantis into the Elf I am today.  

After that I visited a friend of mine, Roxi Richez who is an absolute wonder at Second Life pictures combined with PhotoShop and I was thrilled with the results.  My favorite picture that she took of me, is of course, my profile picture, which appears in this blog and on my many other profiles pictures.

When I first started taking pictures, I would take them, share them, then doctor them in PhotoShop, and then hang them in Elven Enchantment Museum and Art Gallery, honoring my wives, friends and associates.  There were romantic pictures, noobie pictures, and gruesome pictures all shown in my museum at different times.  I found an astonding amount of gruesome pictures to show off in the Museum for the month of October!

The Grove at Halloween
Taking "the" shot in Second Life is just as hard if not harder to do then in Real Life, but once you have "the" shot it was worth the aggravation that you went through to get it.  I remember taking this picture, it was Halloween and I took hundreds of pictures for this one shot of lightening striking  during a thunderstorm on the grounds outside of my Museum.

Scenery pictures can be difficult to take as you have to have the correct graphics resolutions on your computer.  Some of the SL pictures that I have seen taken of Second Life, you would swear they are really from First Life.  

Some of my favorite pictures are romantic ones with my sweeties or settings where I "accidentally" got "the" shot!  

At the Four Seasons Plaza
Then there are those crazy SL photos you took because you couldn't believe you were "ruthed" or you were not rezzed properly and you turned into a pretzel!  As photographer interacting with a software to take my photos sometimes I see things abnormal things, but I take the picture to see if they are worth keeping and sometimes, I am surprised!

When I took the picture at the right, which was at the Four Season Plaza, my vision was blurring everything; my avie's torso, kept disappearing, and I saw myself walk around in a wig and a skirt; I couldn't see the buildings then when I sat down to take this picture my "vision" turned odd and I snapped the above picture, which I didn't think would turn out, but I like it!

Whether it's your 1st or 1000th picture in Second Life our collage of photographs, bring to mind of things past, enjoyable moments, and hopefully warm our hearts with happiness and smiles.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Art to Wear

Artwork takes on a new form in Second Life with the ability to purchase clothing, which in of themselves is artwork, but this artiste takes artwork one step further... a painting transformed into a dress, evening wear, and night wear!

Chrysanthemums, Pierre Renior (1841-1919) painted circa. 1881/82
For example, Renoir painted a painting called, Chrysanthemums painted circa. 1881/82.  The painting is just beautiful!  Now, Thera Taurog takes this painting and makes clothing with it!

Additionally, she takes paintings by Dali, Rembrandt, and Georgia O'Keefe, to name a few, and turns them into beautiful works of art to wear!

Thera Taurog's shop is set in an absolutely beautiful build of the Four Season's Plaza, which is beautifully done in white marble, has beautiful stone carvings, artwork, and statuary gracing grounds and is a totally understated  and elegant. 

The clothing we wear in Second Life is an form of art all by itself.  Most clothiers use PhotoShop to make their clothing and upload it to Second Life... I have tried making clothes and it's hard... I have also made prim clothing and that's just as hard... even with a machine!

So when I see beautiful artwork combined with the art of making clothing!  I am stunned and delighted by the results.  It's a must see to purchase and wear!

Dress:  by Thera Taurog