Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Alpha Basics book in the Texture Library in SL™!

If you are a resident in Linden Labs' Second Life®, and you have ever wondered about Alpha Channels in Photoshop®, I finally have all the answers in a handy book form, in the Texture Library next to the Texture Tutorial in Livingtree.

Cover of the new book


The book is based on the lectures that I gave in October about Alpha Channel Basics, but it's expanded a bit, because I wasn't limited to an hour. :D

Inside, you'll find 36 pages of information explaining what an Alpha Channel is, why an RGBA image is 32 bits, how to make Alpha Channels in Adobe® Photoshop®, how to eliminate all trace of the dreaded "white halo", information about using .png instead, and when you might want to use .tga with a full alpha, instead of .png.

There are 40 colored images, and it was all laid out in Adobe® InDesign®, so it's like a real live book. Except, of course, you can have it in Second Life, where it's easy to refer to while you're working.

Come check it out! You can read it for free, and if you want to have a copy of your own to take away with you, it's only L$100. So you really can't lose!

Once again, you'll find it (along with the book about Making Gradients in Photoshop, and placing textures accurately Inside Hollow Prims) at the Texture Library.

See you there!

Monday, November 10, 2008

New Prize in the Kick the Can Lucky Chair!

In Second Life® you can find, scattered around the world, chairs that give you a prize if the first letter of your first name matches the one that the chair has randomly generated.

I have one at Kick the Can Main Store right inside the door.

From time to time, I change the prize in the chair, and I just changed it.

Picture of the chest, from two angles


From now until I change it again, if you sit in the chair when it's showing your letter, you'll receive a Treasure Chest. It's not big, and it's not bitsy. It's just the right size to hold a kid's treasures!

It's made of rough wood, with ornate iron corner protectors on all the corners, and iron banding, held in place with rivets. On the top is a Celtic knot design, burned into the wood. On the front is a plain brass latch, with a loop to put your lock into.

When you touch the chest, it opens to reveal a green interior with gold stars; but only if you are the Owner. Otherwise, it does nothing.

It's Modifiable, so you can put your treasures inside as actual prims. If you have mod/transfer privileges on them, you can even link them, so you can carry your box around, or move it from one shelf in your room to another, or tuck it under your bed, or take it into your Inventory, or whatever you like. When you pull it out and open it, your treasures will be intact. (There are full instructions in the Chest Contents, that tell you how to do this and other things.)

It's also Transferable, so you can tuck something special inside, in the contents, or as Prims, or both, and give it to someone you love.

However, you can't buy it. I hope to have other treasure chests; but this one will never be for sale. You can only get it from this Lucky Chair, and only until I replace it with something else.

So come soon, and try your luck!

Friday, November 07, 2008

All Season Maple Saplings in Second Life®

Are you a Second Life® resident with a home or store in world? Do you want to change your land as the seasons change in the Real World, but you're tired of having to take up all the trees for one season, and put down new trees for the next?

Then my new All-Season Trees are for you!

Image of all the trees


Put one of them out, touch it, and choose the season you want from the blue Menu. You can choose Bare, Bare branches covered with white lights, Snow covered branches with white lights, Snow covered branches, Early Spring, Spring, Summer, or Autumn.

Once you've chosen, Select the tree, go to Tools > Set scripts to not running in selection, and the scripts will become dormant, so they won't contribute at all to your sim overhead.

When the season changes, Select again, set the script to running, change the season, and turn it off.

Since these are Maple trees, in the spring they will drop "helicopters" and in the Autumn, they will drop colorful leaves.

The trees with lights are FullBright, but not actual Local Lights. However, since they are all Mod, you can set them to be Local Lights if you choose, and even set how much light they are giving.

At the moment, there are 5 Maple Saplings available, simply called Maple Sapling 1, Maple Sapling 2, Maple Sapling 3, Maple Sapling 4, and Maple Sapling 5,. Each one has its own unique coloring for Early Spring, Spring, and Autumn, and each also has its own shape, so even in Summer, or when the trees are bare, they won't look identical.

They are available now from the Robin Wood Home and Garden Store at Livingtree (85, 128, 24), behind the AV store. They come in several different packs, ranging from single trees at L$150, to packs of three (yellow or red) for L$375, a pack with all five colors for L$500, or the Estate Pack, with 3 of each (15 trees) for L$1250.

Since each one is really 8 trees in one, that's like getting a single tree for L$19 or less!

Come and check them out! Full size demos are at the store.

See you there!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Clothing 101 Lecture at Livingtree

The first of the Clothing 101 lectures in Second Life® tonight was a great success!

We had about 25 people in attendance, which was far more than I anticipated, as I showed people how to make clothing using the Appearance Dialog, explained what the Avatar UV Map is and how to use it to design clothing, and showed people about the problem areas.



I also gave out 3 handouts; one with a t-shirt, in tucked and untucked styles, in the section on making textures into clothing, the UV Map Suit, and a Test Suit.

It was a great audience; but I had only scheduled the class to run for an hour, and the first part, with the Appearance Dialog, took longer than I expected. So, sadly, there wasn't time to go into how to make wrinkles on clothing.

I explained this to everyone, offered to stay late and give that section, since it was in the listing, if anyone was interested in it. Several were, and seemed to enjoy it. But since there wasn't really time for it, I'm going to expand it a bit, and give that as its own lecture. At the moment, that series is planned for February 2009. (January is going to be Seamless Textures.)

So, next week, when I give the same lecture, I'll be skipping the part about Wrinkles, and instead briefly touching on the various Clothing Layers, and which ones overlap which. (Something which Immy reminded me that not everyone is familiar with. Thanks, Immy!)

If you missed it, and you'd like to attend, I'm going to be giving this one every Wednesday at 6 PM SL time, in the lecture area behind the Texture Tutorials.