Monday, November 29, 2010

Class Meetings Monday

On Monday, Dec 6, our classroom will be available (it should also be available all week) so after my Crit duties are over (around 2pm) I will be in the classroom to take your questions and offer individualized help for your projects.

Request a meeting

If you would like an inworld review of your work, please IM me (Ti Mosienko inworld) or email me at I will try to arrange a meeting within 36 hours of your request: before, during or shortly after Crit Week leading up to our Dec 13 presentations. In your email or IM please suggest a time that you are available, to ease the planning of an office hours type visit (it's actually a studio visit). Additionally, you can email me questions.

Tips for a Successful Semester End

In your work I will be looking for what you have imagineered (imagined+engineered) individually. Some features that I will be looking for include:

particle systems
animation (motion, avatars, camera)
machinima (videos)
conceptual depth
quality of documentation
visual appeal
complexity of models
overall class/project effort
quality of textures

It is not necessary to earn high marks in (or even include) every category. Since each project is very individual, I will be looking for your personal style, your SL tech smarts, problem solving skills, vision as well as completion of what you set out to do.

If you sent a large part of your time modeling in Maya, or scripting, please state so in your documentation or during your presentation.

As stated in the syllabus, you will be “graded” on your

4 writing samples
4 images
4 videos
in addition, much can be revealed in your inclass demo/presentation on December 13.
Your "final project" can and should supercede some or all of the previous assignments. I will base my opinion on the aggregate effort you have made in class, but focussing on your final presentation plus your documentation.

All final documentation will be due on the blog (or linked from the blog) by Dec 20, 2010, 4pm. For due consideration of grading, please leave your things on Second Life and ont he blog until January 1, 2011. We will have use of the land through February for those of you who want to show and tell or if you need more time to archive your projects.

The presentation is also part of your grade for participation; this is required. You should show most, if not all of your completed work. In preparing for your presentation, please practice it. Make sure your videos, images, objects and build are accessible and ready. While you are not required to do a powerpoint-like presentation, per se, it can be a helpful tool for you to organize your thoughts. At the very least, have an outline of what you are going to demonstrate. Your video documentation can be shown as part of your presentation.

Here is also a tip: please do not call attention to the things you didn;'t do, or planned to do, or didn;t have time to do. Your presentation should be about what you DID do. Even if yours is a work in progress, please spend the majority of your time talking about what we are looking at, not something else that isn't finished yet.

Good documentation of a scaled-down project can be just as rewarding as a large project, given the time, and shared resources (or lack thereof) we have at our disposal.
Caitlin shared this link from the NPIRL website:

Remaining Schedule

The remaining schedule for the class is as follows:

Nov 29 - [today]
Dec 6 - Crit Week for Grads - No Class for undergrads
Dec 13 - Presentations (20 min + 10 min for questions), 30 min total
Dec 20 - by 4pm, all final work due on the blog (4 writing, 4 images, 4 videos). Class is optional if you are already finished with documentation. Instructoir will be in class to help with video editing

Sunday, November 21, 2010

late post update with video

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So far my trip through second life has allowed me to make a more personal connection to my art practice through my habit of drawing animals and incorporating that into the second life realm. I have begun this practice at first by creating prim interpretations of my animals in new, freeform ways in order to give myself a better understanding of the prim controls and camera movements to better control what it is that I’m attempting to visualize for myself.

At first, I created a few animal masks with basic prim shapes in order to familiarize myself with the process of being able to attach a shape to my character in what ever form and reach and after that, proceeded to create larger forms in order to feel out the prim controls of Second Life as well as the precision of its manipulation in accordance to the size. My goal with these short processes was to create a miniature monument to my practice in the involvement of warped and oddly shaped animals as well as to create what might be something of a ‘mythology’ within Second Life as I had previously attempted to envision what might not be capable in ‘real life’ and to capture that in Second Life. My hope was to begin a ‘morphing’ from one animal to another to attempt the ‘mythological process’ that predated our current generation of animals as well as create a visual demonstration of the ‘mythological process’.

Upon this study for myself, I finally came to the idea for my final project to create a transformation, a step-by-step process that, rather than a mythological approach, would come across as a more scientific study of the connections and visualizations of one animal and its process in becoming another through the programmability of the movements and shapes of Second Life.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Clothing Files

Avatar Object Files
(.obj files for messing with clothing files in Maya)

Second Life Templates
(.psd files for making slider clothing using Photoshop)


As I begin to use various methods of screen-capturing, such as Camtasia and Snaps Pro, I find that I have more of an interest in using the virtual camera as a way of depicting very specific experiences in Second Life, such as a script that moves my Avatar. I like the fact that I have the capability to disguise the interface of Second Life; I do not want to ignore the fact that this imagery was created in Second Life, but would rather like to hide these menus as a way of extending the captured imagery beyond the virtual world. I think that these videos and still images take on another quality when their origin/history is somewhat vague.

The video I have below is a clip of my avatar floating on water, using a script. I have had this specific image in mind for a while, due to the ambiguity of the action being performed. The female simultaneously appears to be floating and drowning, alive and dead. I am interested in water's dual capacity to act as a form of recreation and detriment. While this action being performed by my avatar, Nike Graycloud, is very minimal, I think it embodies the various ideas I have been working with. I want to continue with similar imagery, and figure out how I might be able to combine such scripted actions with objects built by my avatar. Machinima has been helpful in depicting my ideas, and I want to take this project further.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Claustrophobia in Second Life

I converted the "basement" of my studio into an abstract nightscape. At one point I felt the beginnings of a mild panic attack when I was having camera troubles in a particularly tight space. I don't have any strong phobias, so I wasn't worried about having serious difficulties, but the experience persuaded me to investigate feelings of claustrophobia and disorientation in the virtual environment. I filled the space with a variety of objects, editing them in ways so that they'd interfere with the camera, constrict avatar movement, or otherwise take control away from the player.

I found that the feeling is most dramatic when the avatar enters a small enclosed space and it is difficult to find an exit. Making everything the same flat colors, with few shadows, makes it difficult to understand spatial cues when moving the camera around such a space. Second Life's unique camera system, where whatever you click on becomes the pivot point, contributes its own problems, especially if you accidentally click on the outside of the enclosure so that you can't easily maneuver back inside. Discomfort increases the longer this goes on.

In the virtual environment, claustrophobia is heightened by confusion and frustration when the viewer encounters inconsistent patterns, where boundaries between objects are unclear, and navigational directions are ambiguous. This is evidence of the extent to which a human will interface with a cyber body. When the "controls" linking the human mind to the virtual representation malfunction, it often feels as though the individual is being physically constrained.

As my friend and I simultaneously explore in world, I photograph her tattoo to superimpose upon my fabricated second life character. The overlap of one’s living breathing existence with that of the computerized semi-algorithmically customized character appeals to me, especially in the case of something as intimate as a tattoo.

Taking something that is an understood copyright because it is on your body, you own it. Steeling that, digitizing it. Replicating tattoos that are more inline with the real world around me.

Nothing is permanent in regards to a second life body; the meaning of permanence is lost. Taking something that is considered permanent in the real world, and translating it into secondlife is to question this difference.

It is not really about tattoos it’s about questioning ontological values hidden in virtual worlds and considering consequences from a lack of permanency.


So far as my avatar, not much has changed. Although I usually like customizing (if possible) and focusing on my avatar when moving through a virtual environment, I am more interested in building an environment in maya and bringing it into Second Life. Though Second Life has many limitations in terms of realtime lighting and amount of prims that can be used, I think it would be interesting to see a light-mapped environment imported into the scene. I am currently working on a model of a house which I will light in maya, bake the lighting, and import into Second Life.

The following are images of a light-map test I made in maya(I was planning on uploading it into Second Life, but my computer broke :/). The model looks the same in realtime as it does in the final render.

I am interested in exploring environments and models that people have built in Second Life so I thought of making one myself.
For the final project I won't be using the model above. However I am planning on building a large model of a house that hopefully will be fun to explore as well as look different from the typical SL sim with mismatched objects and images.
I also want to create the feeling of a hidden narrative that will keep the viewer interested and eager to see more.

Building continue and Record test

These days I continue building the subway station, and yesterday I met a problem that the objects were full. I couldn't build more objects. Because I use too much objects in details and actually these objects are not important and useful, such as as the floor, I can use textures to simulate the floor instead of the real square of the floor. So later I deleted these objects and re-built the floors using textures. The structure of the first floor and second floor are the space like the picture below. And later I want to put some details in the space such as chairs and ticket machine.

When I try to use script to make the train move, problems come again. Although I found some scripts to make the train move, I cannot control the speed and distance of the train. So I need to find a suitable script to make it. The video is the test of record screen. I try to record the screen smoothly, but it is really hard with mouse.

Emancipated Spectator

Last year, one of my professors showed me a brochure of performance in England. The main character was Jude Law who is England actor. One of the most interesting things in the performance was that there was no stage or theater. It held on a open street market. Actors and actresses positioned on decided places and they had some dialogue. There were tiny rules in the performance.
It means that spectators were parts of the performance. Their roles are not only spectator any more. In “postdramatic theatre” (Hans-Thies Lehmann. 2008. POSTDRAMATIC THEATRE. Oxon: Routledge.), spectators were able to participate in a performance. They could hang around in front of actors or actresses and even talk to them. For these reasons, we were not able to distinguish who are actors or actresses and spectators, now. They were creating a performance together.
             For me, it seems like a movie that called “The Truman Show”. Only different thing is a fake. Because, in modern performance doesn’t have fake or we cannot perception what is fake. I think that in Second Life, has same function of modern performance. We don’t know who are performers or who are spectators. All of Avatars just tend to live in their life. Further, we are confused what is real or true in Second Life. Because, Avatars are manipulated by human's intention.
In these reasons, I am trying to change my plan of performance in SL. As I mentioned the last class, I think that if I make some stages or theater, it seems like just copying of real life or showing in different scale. I need different things while I will make performance in SL. I am not yet decided what my final is, but I am keep thinking what is performance in SL.

Mayan Magic Mushrooms Tutorial

Mayan Magic Mushroom Tutorial

Open Maya
Create a new scene
select curves tab
select drawing tool
draw the profile of a mushroom
select surfaces tab
select the rotate tool
using the attributes panel, correct (if necessary) the rotating axis
select the rendering tab
select and open (double click) the 3d Paint tool and panel
make sure your model is selected
scroll in the 3d paint panel to assign/edit textures.
click assign/edit textures
in the resulting dialog box, set the texture filetype to JPG (for SL: the resulting export file will be a JPG)
click assign/edit textures in the dialog, closing the daialog
this phantom step (there is no visible change to model) assigns a texture map to the object
choose brush and color, etc, from the 3d paint panel
paint the object/scene
SAVE the scene (this will save the maya scene). Note this is NOT an export step for SL. This Maya file is for archival purposes only

There are two output steps:
1) saving the texture in the 3D panel panel
2) exporting the model correctly as a sculpt for SL

In the 3D paint click on the Save Texture button
The resulting command output saves the texture (takes name of attribute and .JPG selected above.
The texture file is now exported to your maya folder in 3D paint
Click on the Maya to SL script button you have previously imported (should be in one of your tabs)
Output dialog will allow selection of filename and filetype
Resulting ,bmp file will be the sculpt map for SL

Open SL
Click on Inventroy Tab
upload image file for $L10
Choose .jpg texture file from Maya documents
you can preview file so it looks correct before uploading
upload image file again $L10
Choose .BMP sculpte file from Maya docs
you can preview file so it looks correct before uploading

In SL Build a new object (cube) to unite the two files.
Change property of cube to Sculpt type
Object changes to default apple sculptie
Changes panel to show scuplptmap
replace sculptmap (by drag from inventory to panel) with BMP (model file) from maya
object should rez to correct sculpt shape
rotate (if necessary) object to correct rotation
select the object again
click texture tab
replace the texture (wood) with texture from maya JPG (texture file)
adjust texture as necessary
(rotate texture 90)

You are done.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Tiffany Holmes of Art and Technologies Studies department is having an opening this week at Lake Forest College.

Details here:

Camtasia Example

Here is an example of a quick screen grab I did in Camtasia Studio

Monday, November 1, 2010

Lighting Effects

As a reminder of how powerful local lighting can be in SL, I've uploaded today's picture. The object near which Iam standing is illuminated, casting a pink glow on the land below and the objects nearby.

SONY Pixelmaid

Second life is a low polygon world marked between notions of reality and the possibility of anything. My goal and final project for this class is to ultimately break the barrier from the virtual to the “real world.” My main focus would be the interaction and the extraction of objects.

First I would like to import meshes into the software through 3d scanning the live object and then applying scripts and particles to those objects. The “actual” object in a way becomes more real in this virtual world, because it can automatically move, change colors or even blow up in flames. Documentation is key on seeing these functions. Using machinma and realistic camera angles to record the virtual flow and function of these objects. I’d also like wear these objects and teleport to different locations and record the conjunction between the other settings, and avatars reaction to them.
For the next half of the project I want to the low polygon shape forms and extract design to make hand created sculptures. Reflecting the geometry of the screen and continuing the image or shape in an installation. I’m also interested in the way landscaped objects are mapped out, a multiplication of 2d that are geometrically placed beside one another, in order to look 3d. This will be executed through using the laser cutter to create an outline in the acrylic and then printing the image onto a sticky piece of transparent paper and applying it to the acryclic surface.

SONY Pixelmaid