Reflections & final product

Well its finally finished…

Hindsight is an interesting thing isn’t it. Of course if I was given a do over I would do things differently. Wouldn’t we all? For me this would amusingly enough involve less planning and not more so as to let things evolve on their own as opposed to following a planned sketch. During the initial building phase I was far too focused on “the plan” for it to even occur to me to explore alternative possibilities. f3 One of the major things I would change is the height of the build. Most of my prims went into the stairs and branches need to cover a tree so large. In a do over scenario I would focus more on an overall purpose such as a tree club house with comfy seating and interesting interior rather than having the tree span three levels. f1 One of things I have learnt is good sculptie vs a bad sculptie (they warp when you are not close to them or maybe that is just my awful internet connection) and about scultpie’s in general which are amazing things! I would have loved to have had lessons on creating them. f5 And another huge factor for me was time. Rome was not built in a day and neither was my build. I rushed ahead with the initial build and then discovered I should have textured as I built as going over the whole thing again was a tiresome chore. f6 As I went over my default texture wood build I tried a heap of different textures on the staircase but none of the had them had the natural aesthetic I was looking for so the first time through I picked a patterned yellow tile with different repeats and rotations on different faces. At first I was happy with my choice but as my build progressed I decided I did not like it and wanted to change it. Instead of uploading yet more textures I decided to try the texture boards on Koru again as one of the biggest problem I ran into with uploading my own textures was that they did not repeat perfectly most of the time. One of the texture boards had a patterned stone texture that I had initially not thought to try as I had thought was to dark but it worked it out anyway and the finished product looks much better and I am glad that I took the time. f7 One of the strengths of the build in my opinion is the overall scope of the build. It spans over three levels and still manages to be balanced and not look too unnatural which was one of my initial concerns. f8 One of the weaknesses is that there is not comfy and cosy area to sit and listen to the birds sing because the prim restriction in combination with the large height grounded my building to a screeching halt. The whole build has a bit of a sterile feel even given its nature inspired environment and I wish I had more time to make it look more like the image in my head. f2 Overall the build went rather well and its looks much better than the crude sketches from my planning stage which I think is in large part due to the box enclosure that surrounds the platform. Thanks for the tip Isa! All in all I’ve enjoyed building in Second Life and may just return some time, course work load permitting, to see what else I can come up with…..

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Reflections & final product

Requirements for a build with visual complexity

A minimum of 50 and a maximum of 300 prims used in the construction

Floating high above Koru encased in a large white box is my build. At last count the land impact was sitting at exactly so the 300 prim max has been reached.

Prim Count

At least three different primitive types

Many different primitive object types have been used throughout the build including Torus, Cylinder, Sphere, Box and Cone fulfilling the primitive object type requirement.

At least four different forms of prim manipulation

Cut, twist, hollow and slice have all been used on the hand rails for the staircase fulfilling the prim manipulation requirement.

Prim Manip

At least two different texture manipulations

The texture manipulation requirement is fulfilled by the glowing lamp orbs and the shiny surface of the pond

Glow Shine

The appropriate use of multiple textures on a prim

The Welcome Sign has a custom made texture on the front and another on the back of the flat central prim. The box surrounding the environment also has different textures on opposite faces.

Multi Tex

The use of at least three textures with transparency

The lamp orb, the upper surface of the pond and many, many, many trees more than cover the transparent texture requirement.

An animated texture

Ponds two surfaces rotate in opposite directions giving the illusion of movement

Animated Tex

 

An instance of a prim with Flexible Path

Many, many, many branches and trees cover the flexible path requirement. The upward shape of the branches being achieved with negative gravity

Flex Path

 

An instance of a prim with Light

The roof on the top level illuminates the platform below

Prim Light

 

The use of at least two sculpties

A fountain in the pond, the tree with surrounding bench and the seating area and benches and are all purchased sculpties

Scultpies

An appropriate particle system

A particle system has been put in place that issues a butterfly png texture. This has been used a few time with different textures.

Particle Sys

The use of different textures and colours throughout the build with consideration given to using appropriate textures, texture repeats, offsets and rotations

AND

The appropriate scale for purpose both in construction and texture use

I feel that I have met these requirements. I have uploaded, tested and discarded countless textures in my quest to get my build to look how I pictured it would. Textures have been repeated in relation to the varying sizes of the objects and different repeats and rotations applied to different faces of those objects. Huge landscape textures have been uploaded for the interior faces of the box that houses the build to create the illusion of more space and help tie everything together.

Requirements for a build with visual complexity

Building – Continued

Things are shaping up rather well at this stage. I have got some more foliage on my naked tree but more is needed as this week I focused more on for filling some more of the requirements.

build 6

I have a nice dark wood texture on the staircase hand rails and on the top platform and roof which is very effective. I am not sure about it with the yellow tile I chose for the steps but the tile was by far the best fit of all the textures I tried due to the wedge shape of the steps.

build 3

That staircase has been the bane of my existence. I should have textured the step before building my staircase. Hello learning curve moment. Texture your prim before you copy it if you want more than one the same otherwise you will end up redoing your work again and again. Seems logical now.

build 1

The particle system was another small adventure. I misunderstood the rules of a visual complexity build and thought I could use things that others had created in my build. So out went the white butterflies with flapping wings that move around at random that I had purchased and in went a flat texture particle system that I created after a quick trip to the Particle Laboratory.

build 7

The final construction this week was a welcome sign that I made up in Photoshop. I hope to squeeze in time to make a small river or brook. There is too much empty space around the tree and it also ticks off an animated texture from my build requirements. All visitors welcome as feedback is appreciated.

Building – Continued

Problems and Issues – How they are resolved (or not as the case may be)

In my rough initial week by week plan I was going to do my Requirements Met blog this week but I have had more problems than requirements met so I have decided to swap them around.

My many fun little problems are as follows:

THE PROBLEM: The Braches?!?!

My bright idea to use flexible path for my central branches is proving to be one amusing problem. I decided to use flexible path both because it is a requirement and because I could give the branches a nice and realistic series of kinks well still using a single prim. The problem. They are flexible path prims and simple will not stop moving.

THE FIX: I upped the tension and resistance and downed the wind but they will simple not stop their wiggling around. Branches are not supposed to wiggle. At this stage I can ignore it if I don’t look too closely at it.

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THE PROBLEM: Platform Roof

My conceptual platform roofs will not fit as walking up the staircase is trick enough with branches sticking out willy nilly.  Well they would fit if all Avatars were Pink Rainbow Unicorn sized and sadly that is not the case. (not sure why, who doesn’t love a pink rainbow unicorn)

THE FIX: Abandon it. At lease at this stage. The top platform roof is still a go though.

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PROBLEM: The View Point

Alt Ctrl to pan view sounds simple in theory but not so simple in practice. It I move my mouse too far I end up looking at empty space in the middle of nowhere. And it happens a lot.

THE FIX: Practice pure and simple. And regular breaks to avoid frustration.

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THE PROBLEM: Textures

A first $10L to upload a texture does not seem like a lot but when you add the fact that you don’t know if the texture will look how you want it becomes an expensive and time consuming process. The leaf png textures all looked terrible due to the size of my tree and I don’t fancy forking out $1000L for a branch texture pack.

This has a sub problem. The dollar count in general is climbing. I found a really nice glowing fairy particle system and did not get it due to the huge price tag. Instead getting a white butterfly one for a tiny fraction of the price.

THE FIX: The generosity of others. I asked around and was given a few png textures of trees and leaves. After trying them out I decided that having trees on my branches as leafy branches was going to give me the effect I wanted not just a leaf texture.

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THE PROBLEM: My unnatural looking tree.

As anticipated I have on my hands one very unnatural looking tree. I’m thinking that this is due to the sheer size of the tree and the lack of branches off the branches with tree textures as branches off them.

THE FIX: More work. More time. More effort.

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THE PROBLEM: Time

There just does not seem to be enough of it. I and really glad that when I wrote my scheduled I gave myself an extra week for when “this takes far longer than I think it will” I’m going to need it.

THE FIX: Someone needs to build me a cloning machine or give me the ability to freeze time.

So ends this fun little rant. It has helped immensity I feel much better and must be getting back too it…

Problems and Issues – How they are resolved (or not as the case may be)

Design and Development – Initial Build

Initial building has begun and so have a laundry list of fun little problems. The whole build at this stage is looking more than a little funny without branches on it and my bark texture simple is not working, thinking perhaps that it is too big and too uniform. It needs moss or something to make it look more natural. I am as anticipated having issues reproducing something from nature. I have on my hands one unnatural looking tree.

initial 3

The staircase from the note card in the Ivory Tower of Prims worked out really well. It’s balanced and even and was very easy to make and add too. Made up of flat and cut cylinder prims and rotated and raised from the same point it took far less time than anticipated. Isn’t basic math wonderful.

initial 4

At this stage I have not found a texture for the stairs or the platforms. I trailed a number of different metal and wood textures but nothing looked quite right. I may finish the tree and put in the branches before I try again.

I have added a number of lamps within my handrails to anchor them to the build. Initially I only had a few but I plan to add more at even intervals as I like the effect.

initial 2

The large branches supporting the top platform are proving tricky to join up with the trunk as some part of the trunk always seems to be sticking out. Trial and error gets a little frustrating when your trial only returns error. But after a few days break I’ll get back at it.

initial 1

My  prim count is climbing I will need to take care from this point as I do not have leafy branches on my central branches and for a tree this size I will need a rather large number of them.

Design and Development – Initial Build

Initial Planning

Content Creation with Visual Complexity.

As I mentioned in my Assignment Three Brainstorming blog I plan to construct a tree house / fairy house / platforms in a tree type of thing.

So naturally my planning started with a tree. A really big one. Now for some strange reason making things that already exist in nature is hard. Or at least having them look half descent is.  I have noticed that when an amateur artist attempts to sketch an animal they look like something from a bad science fiction film and I wish wholeheartedly to avoid this phenomenon.

initial plan trees

As I navigated thought my google image search for really big trees I kept coming across a lot of trees in various stages throughout the seasons. This gave me a good idea for a scripted change in texture so you can select if the leaf texture is summer green, autumn orange or winter white. Interesting notion but putting it into practice will be challenging. Putting this on the back burner.

season trees

My google image searching also yielded many real world treehouse which I plan to poach ideas from. Of cause I am not limited by silly things like gravity which should make things considerably easier ( I hope).

initial plan treehouses

I have little expectation that the final product will look anything like my crude sketch (picasso I am not) but it should provide me with a good place to start. I am unsure how I will get the planned hanging dome platform roofing to fit with the staircases above and below but that’s where trial and error comes in.

tree plan

I am anticipating that time management (or the lack there of) is going to be a large factor in this build so I have created a rough time frame to try and help myself keep on track as due dates tend to sneak up on me (on occasion) and I don’t think I can fit this into a night before mad rush.

I have a feeling that sculpties are going to be my best friend with filling in the gaps in what I can and can’t create myself. I want to create an eerie and ethereal vibe so lots of moss, soft light (this is where the glowing small fairy partial system will come in) and maybe some fog. I am going to have to locate and trial a huge amount to textures to find something that fits with the vibe I’m going for. Let the hunt begin…

I would like to also create a wild park to surround this tree in but I am beginning to think I will need to simplify this as 300 prims is not that many. Darn. I wonder if the prim restriction is negotiable…..

Initial Planning

Assignment Three Brainstorm

After an outline of the possible options for assignment three I was tossing up between making a machinima titled “The Adventures of the Pink Rainbow Unicorn” showing the places I have been within Second Life as visiting fantastic locations is my favourite aspect of Second Life or building an elaborate tree house / fairy house type of thing.

After watching a few how too videos I abandoned the idea of making a machinima because I think that on top of my other papers and my part time job I would not have enough time to come up with a visual concept, shoot enough footage and edit it. From what little I know about film making the editing is what takes the most time and I don’t have a lot of it to spare so making a tree house it is.

I have been teaching my mother to make PowerPoint presentations as she wanted to make one about Pinterest for her ToastMasters group. This resulted is numerous visits to Pinterest to find images for her to use and also where my treehouse idea originated so it also seemed like the logical place to start for my research for my initial concept designs.

treehouses

I like the idea of multi levelled viewing platforms and of a spiral staircase with handrails to make it easier to walk up without walking off. Fitting the branches around the platforms will be tricky I think as I want it to build on a central tree not across three or four. Sketches to follow in initial planning stage.

treehouse2

I have also found some pictures that could be incorporated into some interesting outdoor furniture. And I must remember to do some more investigation into temporary prims as I would like light partials, small fairies or fireflies to float around the branches.

Assignment Three Brainstorm