Sunday, July 6, 2014

Nara Pendant

Work on the sim has been irregular, I had an unfortunate spat of "I hate everything!" and tore stuff up to redo and then got overwhelmed and then collapsed with some ice cream so I said to myself... Let's take a break.

We Heart Roleplay is a nice way to get me out of my funk and keep me making something new even when everything is telling me "you know, you should be working on your sim right now" and I can say "no!  I signed up for this so I get to work on something fun!"

Jewelry is a nice compromise between working on something that needs to be done ASAP and yet I can't stand to work on, and doing something new, because by its nature it has a limit to the scale of the project.  I can't get stuck on it or carried away too far so it's nice to have something that's relatively "easy" time wise.  People have asked for more jewelry using my new stones, so I'm happy to oblige.  So for this month's We Heart Roleplay I've put out a new pendant I've called Nara.

While looking for elven jewelry for inspiration I came across a talented Deviant Artist named Drakonaria. She beautifully balances showcasing a stone with having intricate and engaging settings, and I love all of her swirls and curls because, if you hadn't noticed, I'm obsessed with swirls and curls. If you hadn't noticed this, I don't think you've been to my store.  Inspired by that balance, I decided to see if I could make my own and I'm very pleased with the result.

Nara is available at 25% off its sale price at We Heart Roleplay through the month of July.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Joker & Jolli Musica

I'm working hard on the new sim, and I hope to have an update about that soon.  In the meantime, I got into We ♥ Roleplay for June. Since I needed something new, it gave me the opportunity to make a variation on the Joker and Jolli I had planned since the start.  When I originally made them, I had wanted to make a "musica" version as well.

 They look so sinister with the eyes hidden, which is one of the things I love about them!  That's an option you can toggle on and off with the other Joker and Jolli masks as well, and it adds a certain mystique to them. 

They're currently only available at We ♥ Roleplay, and for 25% off of their price!  You can pick them up for 400L each, and they include my usual metallic selection of colors which includes sterling, antiqued and tarnished silver, and bronze, copper and gold.

We ♥ Roleplay @ Evanda Island

Monday, May 5, 2014

Joker & Jolli

It's been ages, but remember my Mardi Gras Masquerade? I've been sitting on my event masks for that party, working on colors and tweaking them mercilessly.

I like to do traditional Venetian masks for Mardi Gras, and this is no exception.  This year, I decided to do Joker and Jolli masks!

The jester motif is a popular one amongst mask makers.  It's playful, ornate, and beautiful but irreverent.  It's based on the medieval tradition, the crest emulating the classic "ass's ears" hats of jesters.  They often have a chin piece as well that emulates a pointed collar, however I felt it would be awkward when actually worn by an avatar so I didn't bother.

The male version was a pain in the ass's ears!  I completely remade this guy from the ground up after the party.  I had a lot of trouble balancing the exaggeration and stylization I wanted with my natural instinct to try and make things more realistic and flattering.  The first mask I didn't take far enough, and some other pieces that ended up on the chopping block went too far.  This, I feel, is a good balance.  I wanted it to be sly, mischievous, almost evoking a goblin.

Both of these masks easily change from being playful and whimsical to rather mysterious and sinister with the "eye blanks" I put in.  I made it so you can have the option of blacking out your eyes, and it makes for a spooky effect:

I went overboard on the colors for these, doing nine colors for each color accent (gold and silver) as well as three extra colors each which are mixes, like gold, green and purple for mardi gras!

I especially love how the texture for the crest came out.  I printed on that luscious damask with alphas in Zbrush and it was so worth it.  I also utilized specular and normal maps to bring up the details so the damask shimmers a little and the metallic trim on the mask shines when the light catches it.  Have I mentioned how much I love having specular and normal maps?

Anyway, the mask is currently available at Fantasy Faire, and on the marketplace.  It'll be out at my store on Carnivale after the faire is over!

Out now at the faire
On the marketplace:
Joker: 550L
Jolli: 550L

Friday, May 2, 2014

Illusions @ Fantasy Faire 2014

It's that time of year again!
Fantasy Faire is open! 

This year, Illusions can be found on the astoundingly beautiful Sanctum sim by Alia Baroque.  I specifically requested to be moved here and made sure it happened because when I saw a preview of the sim build it felt just like home!

Columns? Arches? Cathedral ceilings and beautiful stone edifices?  Where else would I be!  Alia has really outdone himself and done a beautiful job.  If the other sims are as lovely as this I can't wait to explore.   I've been holed up working last minute on things and haven't gotten a chance to look around.

For RFL, I've put out a special metallic version of my Alato mask in gold as well as silver.  They'll only be available for a limited time during Fantasy Faire, and all proceeds will go to the American Cancer Society.  They're only 95L, so you have no excuses not to nab one!

I hope if you find yourself the time you'll come join us at the fair, and if you end up on Sanctum come find my store!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Carnivale will be closing May 15th

I have found a buyer for Carnivale.  I'm both excited and sad to share this news with you, as it makes the closure of the sim solid reality.  I'm pleased with the deal we've struck though, and I can tell you that it's going to a kind person who agreed to my terms and who is a fan of my work.  The build will be cleared with the transfer, but it gives me comfort at least to know that it wasn't going to a a "Rockefellian" land baron.

The official date of the transfer is May 15th.  On that day, Carnivale will be closed, moved and transferred to its new owner.  In the meantime, I'd like to announce the Goodbye Carnivale Contest.

The rules are simple: take a picture or series of pictures on Carnivale.  They can have a theme or not, they can be of people or not, but they have to showcase the build of Carnivale. The only other rule is nothing sexually explicit as the sim is rated G.  Beyond that, your imagination is the only limit.

What's your favorite place on the sim?  Where did you used to love to sit with your friends?  Where did you like to be while you shopped in the marketplace or wandered the halls?  Where is your favorite memory?

Submit them to the Illusions store group on Flickr.  I will be judging the pictures on May 15th, and awarding prizes of Angel Cards to my favorites.  They'll range in value from 100L up to 1000L if something really blows me away!

On May 10th I will be throwing a Goodbye Carnivale party at 3pm SLT.  Wear whatever you like, we'll be there to see the sim off in style.

I'm sad to bring this era of my Second Life to a close.  But I'm excited to see what will happen in the next.  Thank you for sharing this piece of my heart with me, and I hope you'll trust in me that I will make my new home even better.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

About Carnivale

Back in 2007, I had an honest to goodness patron of my work.  An extremely wealthy fan who loved my masks, gave me commissions, and even bought a sim to give me free reign of.  For a while I had fun on my completely rent free section of Second Life and I delighted in running rampant with it. However, after a year or so that patron left Second Life, and left me the sim.  Since then, I've been paying upkeep that I can't really afford and trying to use rentals in order to help out with the cost.

Things I've learned about myself are:

• I am too much of a softie with my friends to actually enforce rent
• I am too absent minded to keep track of who's renting when and for how long or how much they've paid, even with a rental system
• I am too lazy to keep an entire full size sim up to date with a build that suits my vision for it

Simply put, I'm not getting $295 USD a month worth of value out of it, and the pressure to do so is not something I want to deal with anymore.

After letting my friends know about this, the wonderful Kala Bijoux stepped up and offered me a place on her grandfathered tier sim called the Winged Isle.  I wasn't sure if I wanted to take it, since I know I'm a bit of a control freak and I didn't want to step on her toes, but she has promised me full creative control and is even open to changing the name to fit our new vision of it.  My new costs for maintaining my store would be a mere fraction of the former and I would still have control to manifest my imagination.

So Carnivale is officially for sale.  I'm looking for someone who will pay the transfer cost of $100USD, or someone who might be interested in purchasing the sim with a custom build on it.  If you're willing to buy my sim, I'm willing to build what you envision for it.  Depending on the build the cost would vary, so I'd charge an hourly rate but you would have a build made by me from whatever concepts you provide.

The only other condition I would have to ask, aside from the fee of the transfer, would be simply that you help Surreal and I redirect our traffic via a sign left up at the teleport hub.  Not forever, but hopefully for a couple of months to help with the upheaval.   If those terms sound amenable to you please feel free to contact me via IM, email or notecard.

This probably won't be happening in an immediate time frame, more likely over a month or two, but you should take some time to enjoy the build on Carnivale while it's still there.  Take a walk over the bridge, sit underneath the tree in the marketplace, maybe dance in the event hall.  If I do find a buyer and set a date for the transfer, you can be sure there will be a party the night before!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Alato Mask

After the Luminous Masquerade I had some people asking whether or not I was going to sell the mask I gave out as a party favor.  I usually don't, to keep the masks unique, but I really liked the shape so I decided to revisit it and turn it into a simpler, classic and versatile mask.

Alato means "winged" in Italian, but of course when I read it I keep reading "a lot o'" mask, heh.  However, the name suits the shape.  The points coming down the cheeks are flattering on both men and women, and I went for a soft, gritty metallic look with the texture, with muted colors. 

This is actually the first mask I've made utilizing the specular and normal maps,  and I love the detail and effect they add.  My items from now on will be using them, so that's something to look forward to!

Out now at the store
On the marketplace: Alato Mask: 185L

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Mardi Gras Masquerade 2014 (Aftermath)

If you didn't manage to make it on Saturday, I forgive you.  After being gone for so long I was kind of surprised anybody came at all.  But I was happy to be in good company with so many old friends and some new faces!

Freyja Nemeth and Ran Garrigus

Darlingmonster Ember
Cayenne Republic rocking two amazing outfits

 Of course I played some of my favorite swing and big band songs and we all danced and chatted the night away.  And after dancing and admiring the beautiful costumes, the king and queen of Mardi Gras were chosen for this year: Panarroway and Ravenna Soothsayer. 

 Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to grab a picture of them together in their prizes, so the event mask will have to be a surprise!  Don't worry, I'm working on it. I need to work my magic and finish up some details before I'm willing to share. 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Civetta Musica

Happy Mardi Gras!  Or Pancake Tuesday, however you want to look at it.  Today I had pancakes while wearing a mask so there's no reason you can't celebrate both.  Today is the actual day of Mardi Gras but of course I'll be celebrating with you guys on the 15th

To ease back into working after my absence (which I do owe you an explanation for and will probably write something up later) while not having a huge project with potential to run away with me, I browsed through my inspiration folder and found a simple and elegant mask in the musica tradition of Venetian mask making.

There's a tradition in Venice of making some masks with old sheet music.  Very often it's Italian opera, perhaps because it's romantic.  Personally, I think it's because if you're making masks out of paper anyway you might as well make it pretty paper.  But in any case, it was high time that I made my own "musica" mask.

  I love the baroque look of so many detailed curls and swirls, here I used some PS brushes turned alpha by the talented Coy Dreamer, whose work I also used in my Volto Altezza and Altezzoso masks.  But, I also love the three-dimensional look of my usual curlicues and sculpted filigree that I think I've become known for.  With this mask, I tried to marry the two so they could blend together to compliment and enhance each other.  Plus, it lets me add stones! 

Twelve different stone colors

Six different mask colors

Happy Mardi Gras!  Maybe I'll see you wearing it at my masquerade.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Mardi Gras Masquerade 2014

With winter starting to decline, animals start to come out of their holes and so, too, am I.  Let's get through the remaining cold with a party, yes?

Mardi Gras is this Tuesday, but I hope you'll forgive a bit of flexibility when it comes to the date.

You're invited to the Illusions seventh annual Mardi Gras masquerade.  It should be my eighth, but regretfully last year I didn't hold one.  We'll just have to make up for it this year!

As with all of my masquerades, there will be a vote to decide the King and Queen of Carnivale and the winners will receive a pair of new, unreleased event masks and 1500L gift cards!  Even if you're not planning on trying for the costume contest, at least come for the free mask: the one shown in the invite will be available for all of the attendees.  Oh, and of course come for the music!

The theme is more formal, so think Venice rather than Rio, but beyond that let your imagination soar.  If you're not sure where to begin, purple, green and gold are a good start!

This year rather than having rules around prim limits etc, since mesh kind of throws those out the window, I'll just say please keep your script usage as low as you can, 100kb or less is ideal.  You can find your script info under Place Profile→About Land→Script Info→My avatar.

I'm looking forward to dancing the night away with you, come join me!

Illusions Mardi Gras Masquerade
March 15th, 4pm SLT
Held at the Illusions Event Hall on Carnivale
Costume contest winners will be announced at 6pm SLT