Thursday, April 26, 2012

A New Generation of Ears, Day 3: Elfin and Drow

Over the past two days I've been releasing my brandy new mesh elven ears, from the adorable Fairy Ears to the regal High Elf ears.  Now I'm putting out the final ears of this series, did I save the best for last?

The Elfin ears are an old favorite.  By far, the most popular of my ear shapes from my first series, the Elfin ears seemed to have hit the sweet spot of the right shape and size for most of the elves out there.  I feel I've captured the spirit of the originals in the new and amazing detail that mesh allows.  The new pair is a more refined shape, obviously, but sure to satisfy fans of the old ones!

Now these, though, are something new. 
While in my first series, my Drow and Poison Ears we're sadly the least popular of the collection, I'm sure these will break the mold.  The old Poison and Drow ears were stiff, with the Poison ears being almost huge for all but the bravest pixies.  These new Drow ears are a far better shape, and a fantastic way to make sure your elven pedigree is obvious, no matter what hair you're wearing.  They come up well past your head in an elegant curve, and just as well if you have a big foofy hair style. This new incarnation is sure to do this sort of elf justice now.

Even though this is my final release of the series for now, I'm certainly open to hearing suggestions for more before I start creating add-ons like jewelry and other decor.  This is the time to speak up!  If you feel I've missed a style, please do send me concept art, sketches or other material to inspire!  I'm looking specifically for elven ear shapes that could be made from the same models as these.  People have already suggested torn up ears, mer ears and a few others but they would require an entirely new mesh and texture.  So, if you have a shape you feel is missing, do let me know before I start releasing jewelry sets.  Send me a notecard or IM in world, or a PP on Plurk!

Out now at the store: 300L

Elfin Ears on the marketplace
Drow Elf Ears on the marketplace

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A New Generation of Ears, Day 2: High Elf and Brownie

Yesterday I released the first of my new generation of elf ears, the Seelie and the Fairy ears.  But that was only release two styles.  How could I possibly only release two, when my old series of ears had five different sizes?  Because there are more coming today!

First off, I noticed that a lot of people enjoy the droopy sort of elf ear shape.  It succumbs to gravity, and has a sweet sort of pathos too it.  It looks quirky but can also seem almost "gobliny" on the right person.  I'm not a fan of the ones that droop too much like animal ears, so my take on it is a sweeping curve with an almost aerodynamic feel.  If you're running through the woods you can't have those ears catching on anything!

Next up is my personal favorite:

The High Elf ears are the height of elegance.  If you wish to be an aloof, regal elf such as those in Lord of the Rings, these ears are perfect.  With delicate points and a refined shape, perhaps your home is in the fairie court rather than running with the wolves. 

Once again, these ears are HUD controlled with customizable shading and highlight layers.  You can resize, input RGB values, or use the color picker if you get a color close to yours through the thirty two different presets.  Finding a match is easy, especially with the soft blurry edge around the ear to help cover any imperfections. 

Another awesome thing is that if you purchased the Seelie or Fairy ears already, your HUD from either of those will be able to control these!  You can effortlessly transfer your saved skin tones and settings, after you've found a good match for your skin.

Another two pairs are coming tomorrow, so keep an eye on this blog and on the release notices!

Out now at the store: 300L

Brownie Ears on the marketplace
High Elf Ears on the marketplace

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A New Generation of Ears, Day 1: Seelie and Fairy

 If you weren't in Second Life before sculpts were introduced, let me tell you, it was the best kind of revolution. In 2007, it was still the early days and there were a lot of things that hadn't been made well yet.  Elf ears was one of those things, and when I made mine they were one of the very first sculpted pairs. I was absolutely delighted and amazed when they became more popular than free pancakes on a college campus, and there was a time where if I saw any elf ear on anybody it was one of mine.  Oh, those glorious days!

But, all good things come to an end, and as more people made their own pairs of ears, mine naturally fell into one of many choices.  I thought of making new ones, but as I was making a new texture for all of the dozens of colors I supported, and even doing custom skin tone matching, it was frightfully inefficient and I simply couldn't and wouldn't put myself through that again. 

However, mesh has made it irresistible to revisit them.

 Mesh allows me to put geometry exactly where I need it, making neat tight squares in all of the right places.  Sculpting in the delicate details and curves of a human ear, with an elven flare, was almost effortless compared to struggling with sculpts.  Over the past four years I've had plenty of time to stew and think about what I would like to do with my ears.  If I made that new awesome mesh shape, what would make them perfect? How could I offer everyone a perfect, seamless match without putting myself through making dozens and dozens of unique textures again for each skin?  The obvious answer was a color picking HUD.

As I was going to go with tinting for my new set of ears, I chose to customize and reskin the Encogma Advanced Color Picking HUD, as it is intuitive and had all of the control I needed.  But, the problem with items that use color picking is that with high quality textures you lose their depth when they get tinted.  They never seem natural or look as good as an untinted version because the highlights and shadows get drowned out.  This has made other people, who make tintable body matching items, have to carefully make their textures without strong highlights, making their items seem sometimes flat and dull.  But, highlights are crucial for truly matching the look of the lustrous skins that are available.  My solution?  Making the highlights and shadows customizable layers.

So, finally, we come to my new generation of elf ears.

With precision color matching, soft lustrous highlights, and customizable shadows that can also be hand tinted, playing with matching new skins should no longer be an ordeal.  Not only do you now have thorough control over your skin tone match, but you also have a little lee-way through a softly blended alpha fuzz edge around your ear.

The Seelie Ears in particular are a style that is both whimsical and wicked.  They have a curve of mischief to them, and whether that mischief is for the good fairies or bad fairies is up to you.  And speaking of fairies...
The smallest of the six different ear styles I'll be releasing in the next few days, the fairy ears are a subtle way to show others you're not just another human.  With a cute and elegant curve, you can show them off with a short bob or let the little pointed tips speak for themselves under your hair.

If you're thinking of waiting on getting these until I make my inevitable awesomely decorated earring sets, don't worry!  I plan on doing them as ear add-ons, allowing you to keep your ear and coloring without having to customize a new set for every look you might want.  Any jewelry or other add-on I do with these will be sold separate from the ears, with the possible exception of occasional "deluxe" packs.  So if you like the shape, go for it!

Another note, (because I'm so nice), is that if you purchase multiple pairs of ears, the same HUD will be able to control all of them.  You will be able to effortlessly transfer your saved skin tones and settings to any new pair of ear your purchase with your old HUD. 

So, what are you waiting for!  Try them out, there are fully scripted demo versions in the store now!

Out now at the store: 300L
Seelie Ears on the marketplace
Fairy Ears on the marketplace

Friday, April 20, 2012

Illusions @ Fantasy Faire 2012

Fantasy Faire is finally here! And as usual, despite my starting work so early I still had a last minute scramble to get everything ready in time.  Unfortunately, I was unable to finish my new release in time but at least I'm set up!  The sims this year look fantastic, so while you're exploring you can come find me on the Shifting Sands sim

Since Fantasy Faire is to benefit the American Cancer Society, I've put up some special items for RFL this year.  I've had some flops and some items that are better left forgotten at these things, but I don't think you're going to want to miss this one.

I only released my Semer/Semeret set in white, as it made a beautiful contrast with the black of the gods, however, I can't resist having more black in my wardrobe.  The metal accents really pop and black adds an air of dark mystery.  I especially love how the Semeret gown looks now, it could even be worn as an evening gown if you wanted to remove the belt.  They're up for the same prices as their white counterparts, but all proceeds of sales go to benefit the American Cancer Society.  I hope you'll come by and support a good cause, and there will be more to come!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Volto Pierrot and Pedrolina

I've been busy working on something exciting for Fantasy Faire (coming up April 21st - 29th), which distracted me from finishing and releasing a couple more mesh masks. I meant to get these out shortly after the Volto Altezza and Altezzoso, but better late than never!

There are some beautifully painted volto masks out there in the real world, with elegant patterns and creative looks, but all of them start with a simple white mask. That's what I found myself with, and so I set to work playing with designs. I did my own take on some classics, and invented some entirely new ones too.

Pierrot, as a Commedia Dell'Arte character, was a sad clown. He was the lovelorn and naive innocent who pines with unrequited love. Traditionally dressed all in white with black, his was a human face with either white makeup or a human mask. His character was more human, he was an underdog and had more flexibility than others who had set roles. One day he would be a tragic patsy, the next a crucial catalyst of action. But, he was always in black and white.

This let me play quite a bit with patterns, especially with the male version. I admit I got a little carried away, the "Tribal" and "Noh" patterns you see in the male previews (lets just say the spiky one and the dramatic one) are my having a bit of fun. The female version features changing lips, in six different patterns with a black and red option for each. It's a lot of fun mixing and matching the different patterns with the different lip styles, and it changes the attitude of the pattern entirely.

Speaking of which, for a mask like this I'm so glad I have a bit of extra space in my vendor images now. It allows you to see the various patterns at a glance when its more than just a recolor, so that even if the one the model is wearing doesn't catch your eye, one of the other patterns just might.

Out now at the store: 295L
Volto Pedrolina (f) on the marketplace
Volto Pierrot (m) on the marketplace