Saturday, March 29, 2008

Free Presents in Second Life

The last couple of weeks have been a bit full for me, what with one thing and another, so I haven't been doing much in Second Life.

However, today was more "normal," whatever that is, so I managed to finish some Gift Boxes for Kids that I've been working on for a while.

I didn't want to put old stuff that I wasn't going to sell anymore in the boxes. I mean, if it's not good enough to sell, it's not good enough to give people, either.

As I see it, there are two reasons to have freebies in your store. One is to advertise; to let people see the quality of the merchandise, without having to spend any Lindens. The other is to show appreciation to loyal customers.

Giving people rejects doesn't serve either purpose, IMHO. So I wanted all the stuff in the boxes to be new, and top quality.

Some of this was simple. I could work with existing templates, and make new colors. But (Spoiler Warning) I wanted to have some things, like boy's PJs and Flip-Flops, that I'd never made. I've made them both for girls, but not boys. So I had to design those, not just recolor or retexture them. Which took a bit longer. (That's why they weren't out last week.)

I also wanted to put bathing suits in the boxes, since it's getting to be that time of year, and we have lots of places to swim on the island. But I've never done bathing suits at all, and I really wanted to get the boxes out today. I ran out of time. So I'll put those in later.

The present boxes are out now, in the main Kick the Can store, in Livingtree. If you're an SL Kid, come and get yours! I think you'll like what you find inside.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Head Template with Eyelash Alpha

I keep getting people asking about the eyelashes in Second Life; specifically why, when they make a skin, are the eyelashes opaque disks of solid color, instead of being the normal eyelashes.

The answer is that you need to use an Alpha Channel, so that the skin texture is transparent where the divisions between the eyelashes are.

Someone today, though, pointed out that he's using Photoshop Elements, and can't simply paste an image into the Alpha Channel. So I've just posted a head "template" with the correct Alpha channel for eyelashes already in place. You can find it on my website at this link. The download will start as soon as you click (it's not a page, just a zipped file) so be warned.

I'll be putting the link to it on the appropriate page on my website later tonight.

Hope this helps!

Friday, March 14, 2008

New Wedding Gift Box

Another week has gone by, and I have another gift box for sale in Second Life. This time, it's for use at Weddings, Bridal Showers, and so on. (There are a lot of those things in SL, and they, too, are prime gift-giving occasions.)

Image of the Gift, both closed and open, with swatches of the 11 paper designs. Blurb says 'Scripted Gift Box! Mod/Transfer, 11 paper colors, 11 Box Colors, Sound & Particles, Menu System for Setup.'

It uses the same scripts as the Gold Star Gift Box in the last post, although it's a different box, so it's a different size, and the top comes off differently.

I spent several days designing gift wrap for weddings; but I'm pretty happy with it, (especially the Wedding Bells,) and I hope that other people like it too. When this box opens, it plays a few bars of Mendelssohn's Wedding March, and white roses from a vintage postcard explode from it. Very romantic. :D

Also in Second Life, spring has definitely come to my island. The cherry and plum trees are in full bloom all over the place, the ducklings and cygnets have hatched and are swimming around with their parents, and there are bluebells blooming here and there.

In Real Life, on the other hand, Spring here in Michigan is a bit slower; but it does look today like it might get here. It's almost 50 out, a good deal of the snow is gone, and some of the early bulbs are peeking out of the ground.

And there was much rejoicing.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Scripted Gift Box in Second Life

One of the things that people do a lot in Second Life is throw parties, frequently with gifts.

The problem has always been that the gifts had to be put into prims to be given. Nicely textured prims, made to look like wrapped packages, with more prims to look like ribbons and bows on the top, to be sure. But just prims.

Which meant, when the time came to give the gift, it had to be picked up, and dragged onto the other person, who then had to rez it in world again to actually open it, or it had to be sold to them for zero Linden Dollars, which meant there was a risk that someone else would buy it, for free, before the person who was supposed to get it could.

The scripts in this box change all of that, and they're really fun, too!

Image of the Gift, both closed and open, with swatches of the 11 paper designs. Blurb says 'Scripted Gift Box! Mod/Transfer, 11 paper colors, 11 Box Colors, Sound & Particles, Menu System for Setup. Tons of fun!'

Now, you can set the Gift to be given only to the specific person you name, on the date you say they can have it. Their name, a message, and the date are all displayed in Floating Text above the box, in one of 11 colors you can choose (or you can choose not to show it, if you're not fond of Floating Text.)

When the person named touches the box, on or after the date you've specified, they get a menu letting them open it, or wait a bit.

If they choose to open it, it really opens! The top slides off, the ribbons fall away, the gift tag lands next to the box, and at the same time a trumpet fanfare sounds, and gold stars explode from inside the box, while it says whatever message you've given it to say, in Open Chat.

While all this is going on, the box also offers all its contents to that person (except the scripts, sound and particle texture that make it work.) Even things that are no-copy! (This is a big deal in SL, since objects normally only give copyable stuff, and most of the things you can give people are no-copy.)

Then the box closes itself again, and the owner can pick it up, and use it for the next occasion.

As if that wasn't enough, the menus also allow you to choose from 11 preset paper designs, to mix and match with 11 different ribbon colors.

If none of them suit you, you can just use your own textures for the paper. The box is Modifiable, so you can retexture or resize it, or tint the ribbon any color you like. (You can also put something inside the box, and link it, so that the box doesn't look empty when it opens.)

There's a tag on the box that you can personalize, too. Or you could just remove it (or make it transparent) if you don't like it.

At the moment, there's just one design; Gold Star paper, in eleven colors, with a brilliant bow on the top. But I have lots more planned, now that I've gotten the scripts hammered out!

If you are a Resident of SL, you can see it in the Party Tent behind Kick the Can, on Livingtree Island. See my picks (Robin Sojourner) for a Teleport.

(Thanks to Eladon Galsworthy, who wrote the base script that makes the box open, and to Liandra Ceawlin, who gave me the script that lets it check the time, so it would open not just on the date set, but any time after that date, as well!)

See you there!

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Striped Sets for Second Life

I just got some striped sets done for Second Life Women and Girls, in new Spring colors.

Girl with striped tights and top in two shades of green.

This is what it looks like on a kid (because the kids are cuter.) If you'd like to see it on an adult, I have that too.

There are eight colors combinations in the new set. If none of them suit you, you can also IM me in world, and I'll be happy to make whatever two color combination you want for L$200.

On a related note; one of the things that's been holding up production for the last... well, since I started making clothes in SL, really ... is taking the necessary shots to make the Vendors.

In the past, this has always been a process of setting up the shot, and then waiting for a minute or two (literally) for the clothing to rez in, blur out, and rez in again. (For those not familiar with the terms, the textures in SL aren't always visible. Sometimes, the thing you're looking at is just gray, and sometimes it has textures, but they are completely out of focus. As they load into the Client (your computer) they go through several steps of increasing focus, until they are sharp and clear. We call this "rezzing." Since there are three different texture areas on the Avatar, (head, upper body, and lower body) there are three different textures that need to rez. For some reason, though, they don't always stay rezzed. So stuff would go in and out of focus, and I'd have to wait for the moment when all three areas were in focus simultaneously to snap the picture.)

But now I have a new computer, and things rez in completely in the time it takes to choose the pose and angle! The series of shots for this outfit, with three usable images for each of eight outfits, would have taken several extremely frustrating hours before. This time, it took less than 45 minutes! So, yeah, it looks like the new machine is really going to boost my productivity.

Because, after all, a lot of the reason I haven't done more stuff is that the vendor shots were so tedious and time-consuming. Which, it seems, is no longer the case. :D

And there was much rejoicing.