Thursday, February 28, 2008

Alright, so I'm officially the proud owner of Carnivale. I'm also now the proud owner of the 250 usd a month tier fee. This wouldn't be a problem at all for most content creators, seeing as a lot of folks are casual creators who use SL as a creative outlet and mostly recycle their income back into the world. I... don't. What you pay me is what I've got. If I have a lean month or the market is bad, I turn my thermostat down and eat Ramen Noodles. However, I'm far too attached the old place now to let it go or resell it, that's going to be the last resort if I find I really can't afford this sucker.

So what to do with the place? I've been batting around some ideas forever, but never wanted to act on anything that would take over the entire island, since I felt that Vanessa still owned half of it and would be coming back for it. Here's my most persistant plan:

I have some pretty obviously varied things in my store, and a vague "organization" with the many little divisions in my store building at the moment that separate them. Pirate stuff on one section, next to elegant English lady things, next to jewelry, next to animal horns. Hmmm...

Well, I was thinking about making that separation and that division even more drastic, but having fun with it, and having an entire "zone" or area, or "den" of each theme. So imagine on a part of the island is a black and white Burtonesque dreamworld where there's a haunted Harlequin Hall. Not too far away is a luscious forest glade to find the roses and fairy horns in. A quick teleport, and suddenly you're in an elegant old English tea room perusing millinery, and then poof, you're on the Indigo Rose checking out the pirate booty.

There are definitely pro's and cons to this, and one of the cons being if everything is in one place, it's easy to manage and it's easy to find. Having them in other places could definitely get frustrating if you're after something specific and don't know where to look, and it could also be quite confusing. On the other hand, some of the pros could be that working on each zone would inspire me to make far more into the theme, and invite other vendors to contribute pieces that I found useful in my own outfits. I just can't tell you how often I get asked "where can I get the clothing you wore with that?" or "where did you find the skin for that?". Imagine being able to go the the Harlequin Hall, get my belt, marotte, hat... then scan down the wall and have Doc Eldritch's jester outfits, Nomine's Pierrot skins, and Artilleri's Wild Wendy pants all in one place? Seriously, how cool would that be? It'd be a whole harlequin themed mini-store.

The way I've been planning it in my head is that the telehub would be taken from Kriss Lehmann's idea of images of each location, with a brief description of what they held. Keeping the hall as my example, it would show an image of the Harlequin Hall, with text beneath it saying "Harlequin Hall: Gothic jester accessories and clothing". Then you'd be able to simply touch the picture, and poof! You're standing there waiting for things to rez.

With all of those ideas of change, I've decided that my current theme and architecture will be preserved for my event hall and my mask building (possibly for jewelry and the angel wings, too). Sort of the masks, and everything that doesn't fit the other very strong themes.

I'd still like to get some other people in to help pay the rent though. I've thought of a few ways to have that happen: One possibility is charging rent to the vendors I invite into each themed area, which hardly seems fair since I'd be inviting them and telling them what they could sell, and paying me for that seems like a rip off. Another possibility is an idea I've been batting around, but finding unlikely because it would be a lot of work, is having a home be in each area. so there would be a Harlequin Hall and a Harlequin Home, and a Fairy Grove and a Fairy Den, and it would be a furnished prefab built to the theme. (Prefab being the house building itself, then possibly having all of the themed furniture be for sale separately). I'm not sure if this would even work as far as renting it out to someone, since being that close to a store doesn't allow much privacy, and that's the entire reason most people in SL even have homes.

I could also do an apartment building style build, with a collection of apartments (I'm thinking maybe eight), with a community sandbox and community garden, and the same themed, furnished, decor. So instead of having the rentable home right there with the store, it would be a showroom for furniture made for the theme, and the apartment building would be the actual place where people would be doing their living and socializing. I've been thinking that with eight renters, I could keep rent at something reasonable like 4500L for 250 prims a month (not including provided furniture). That would contribute a nice, sizeable chunk of the tier, and make things much less stressful for this little Siyubug.

So there's my plans! Let me know what you think, I'll write more down as I think of them, but that's the general sketch of my machinations >:)

Monday, February 25, 2008

Crisis Averted!

So for the past week, I've had a really nasty headache, plus joint pain, tummy troubles, muscle weakness and a fever. And apparently the only prescription is more cowbell!

Today when I logged on, I had some IM's saying my region wasn't available, and that they couldn't get to my store. Sure enough, this was proved by my being dumped back at Orientation Island. Some very tense moments later, I was in a live chat session with a concierge to see what had happened. He couldn't comment on Vanessa's account, but I believe her account has been declared inactive, and he said that Carnivale had been taken down. He said it was possible for me to have it put back online for 24 hours so that I could claim my objects.

Well, I wasn't going to lose Carnivale that easily!

TJ Linden helped me out, and told me I could submit a transfer ticket, since the parcels were all in my name. I was able to actually claim ownership for the modest fee of $100USD and now... finally... Carnivale is mine. ALL MIINE!!! MUAHAHAHAHA!

I've tried to have Vanessa's account put on some sort of hold for her, so that her inventory didn't get purged, but sadly TJ said that all I could do is try to reach her. So I've tried sending her a couple of emails, and I'm crossing my fingers that her considerable investment in SL is still protected somehow. I hope she's alright, and checks her email ^^;

I'm very happy that I'll be throwing a sale soon, since the tier payment is going to make my finances take quite a hit. Right now my plan is to re-terraform the entire island, and open parts of it for invited vendors to rent. Either that or residential, I imagine a few people aside from myself might like to live here! Just something to take a bit of the burden of the place off of myself, since right now I would really hate to lose the place.

Now though, I don't have any trouble taking full control of the second half of the island, so for folks who really love the current layout, things might change. But don't worry, it's ME, so just trust it'll be gorgeous, whatever it is.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

I remain sick and unmotivated, sadly including blog updates. But I did get your comments on the hair textures, and thank you! I've decided I'll be doing four bunches of ten textures, sorted into naturals, tippeds, jewel tones and pastels. I'm also going to try and make it scripted to change texture on command.

I can has sleep now? kthxbai

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Mnr... I'm sorry, but I seem to have gotten some sort of nasty bug and I've gotten rather sick in real life over the past few days. It hasn't really effected my will to create, but it has effected my will to take pictures, perfect said creations and in general get them out to you guys. I do have some things you guys can look forward to.

Lately I've been on a pointy noses bint, as I was falling asleep the other night I drew a whole bunch of masks and I've been working on making them come to life in SL. So far looking very cool, but I have to figure out how many colors I want to do them in, what sort of textures etc, and yeah, like I said, unmotivated.

I've also done some hair recently inspired by Pandora Wrigglesworth, in the fun, crazy, cartoon stylized vein. I've done a big french twist inspired by the Fairy Godmother's do in Shrek 2, but still need a name and an idea of what colors to have it in. Come to think of it, let me know what colors you'd like crazy hair like that in. I'll probably be doing it, and others like it, in hair packs of crazies and naturals and possibly tipped ones.

Now I'm going to go crawl back into bed and de-evolve into a snoring, grumpy tossing beast. G'night!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Happy Belated Valentine's!

Sorry about having this be so crazily late, but I've been handling some RL accounting things and getting stuff ready for the almighty April 15th. Plus, my priorities for early February are quite obviously in other places. Late on the 14th, I finally realized that I did want to celebrate it in SL somehow, so I made my Valentine's 2008 freebie mask and a little someone to cuddle if you're single.

Sculpted Valentine's kitteh and mask (for both men and women, men's not shown but it's in opposite colors) was sent out to Masqueraderie, so if you like 'em you can join up and fish in the notices... I don't mind, honest :) (hell, I do it >.>)

Monday, February 11, 2008

Mardi Gras King and Queen

I could have danced all night! Oh wait... I did. And I was so tired the next day I didn't have the energy to post pictures, or post at all!

But now I'm awake! The party was truly epic in the hyperbolical sense. It raged on for ten... whole... hours, driven on by the insatiable Avery and Norathiel, who grandiosely claimed that my parties were their life. They certainly gave no evidence to the contrary. The party was set once again in the sumptuous event hall, which was hung with purple and green banners and the floor turned solid gold. The masqueraders arrived in the highest style, many of them (the majority actually) having planned their costumes from the day the party was first announced! I, of course, as the host, had to have a costume properly show casing the female event mask. In this case, the Mardi Gras Queen mask:

Yes, I made the hair. Yes, I'm selling it soon, haha!! No, it won't have the chunk of gold in it, sorry, that was just for me. Siyu is wearing the luscious Nicky Ree gown "Kelly", modified and mixed from the purple gown and the green gown. I also made myself gold body paint (which you really can't see), and a gold necklace that matches the mask.

The Mardi Gras Queen mask was awarded in the costume contest to the beautiful Sparkle Skye, and its counterpart, the Mardi Gras King was awarded to the unique styling of Belmakor Pintens... although apparently we have his date, Scar Ayres to thank for it!

Belmakor Pintens and Scar Ayres, Belmakor having been voted the King of Mardi Gras for Illusions '08

Sparkle Skye and Dominus Skye, Sparkle having been voted Queen of Mardi Gras '08 and taking over the title from the exotic Tomoyuki Batra

It was a very, very tricky vote. The costumes were creative, delightful, colorful and wild, everything they should be! But I doubt anyone could deny that the winners certainly earned their titles (after all, you voted for them!). I sent a notecard of various party pictures that I captured to the guest list, and I've posted some of my favorites here for the world to see the lovelies that graced my humble fete.Sai Pennell and Bats Mertel enjoying an elegant waltz

Candy Flanagan breaking it down clockwork style, with other dancers in the background

Docsisle Magellan in a beautifully modified mask, with others (and me! Hi!) in the background
When I first dreamt of the Mardi Gras mask I knew I wanted sumptuous golden accents, beaded edging, and a high crest, just pure luxury in prim form. It's an absolute devil getting masks to "nest", I'll just tell you that much. The effect of having one mask over the other, and having the crisp clear lines of not doing it in texture is well worth the effort, yet oh geeze the upload fees I spent getting both of these masks' nesting masks right.

As you can see, I had similar plans for the male version, simply in a reversed color scheme and with the usual larger, sharper feature accomodation. I also went for a less feminine look around the eyes. With all of the trouble I went through getting these masks to nest properly, you can bet your favorite pair of Shiny Thing shoes that these won't be the last masks you see like this... So keep your eyes peeled! (or open, which sounds less painful.. or better yet, "on this blog", which sounds the least painful of all of them!).

Thursday, February 7, 2008


No release today, I'm sorry... but qung hei fa choy! Happy new year! Today is the Chinese new year (the date may say the 8th, but I haven't been to bed yet, so it's still today to me, damnit), so happy year of the rat!

I've been doing steady work on the Mardi Gras king and queen masks for Saturday, but the male mask is slow going... The queen looks absolutely gorgeous though, I developed the idea from my late night pre-sleep sketch I mentioned earlier and it's become luscious and sinfully detailed. It's going to be darn tricky building an outfit around that under 200 prims!

I was asked recently when the Raven and the Faun masks would be coming back, along with some of the other more exotic animal masks. Currently I'm focusing more on the simple half masks, since as you've seen, I can crank those out almost daily. I've been getting them out in bulk so that I will have some nice lag time to really work on the more complex sculpts and details of creature masks!

Norathiel also has been helpfully poking me to get more demos out, and today I finally put out demos for the Voltos, Civetta and the Columbina. I've also put out demos for the Oberon and Titania. I'm actually planning on throwing a sale at the end of February to do quick remakes/retextures of certain sculpted masks. Yes, yes, I know, it's pretty soon after the last sale... but this one will include the first actual selling of the lucky chair items! Zomg! I've improved in unmeasurable ways since those first humble sculpts of May, and so my magical fairy wand of revision will touch more than just the ordinary primmed. A little hint for which ones will be revised are the masks that conspicuously do not have demos. I'm hoping to throw this lovely sale by the time that most of my remakes are out, so I can take on more.

I'm also planning on making new pirate boots, re-textured and re-feathered pirate hats, as well as new colors for the phoenix coat. But for now, more masks!

Alright, it's getting late and I'm getting tired. Hopefully I'll have one more last minute release before the party :)


I hope you guys had a wonderful and wild Mardi Gras (even though it's still coming up on Saturday for some people >.>), and that your hangovers, in RL or SL aren't too severe!

I have to just say that I am very flattered, and honored, that so many people chose me for their masks on Mardi Gras. I know a lot of people will flatter me and say that there really are no other choices, but I know for one that that actually isn't true. You took the time to find me, search me, choose me, and wear my items and that is what I'm thanking you for. That, and for making yesterday my most successful single day of business in the whole time I've been creating! Thank you!!

I'm very glad I managed to get so many masks out just in time for Mardi Gras, but I still am no where near done with them. Remade pirate boots and hats, or cloaks and other colors for the phoenix coat will simply have to wait a bit (heh, sorry). The next of my re-releases is an old favorite of mine:

You might not recognize its glorious makeover, but I just adore its richness now. The absolutely gorgeous mottled texture is actually from a raku ceramic glazed vase, which I heavily edited in Photoshop, then fit and molded to the shape, then baked into the Zbrush material shaders. With the beadery I completely discard the idea of using textures for, and instead used sculpted bead prims as well as hollowed transparent spheres to create the delicate looping and intricate appearance around the edge of the mask. The result is a mask molded for mysticism.

But with a mask so beautiful, it'd be a pity to limit it to just one incarnation!
I decided an elemental theme of color would be appropriate to the mask, and the colors being so rich decided it themselves. The beads are also varying metals to match my jewelry (or yours), and also you can mix or match for the best effect on the different colors. I picked my favorites for the color board (like the green and gold, or sterling and blue), but of course you can pick your own :)

This mask is 225L, and there's a big fat pack of all variations for 750L available as well :)

Come get 'em!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Play Dress Up!

Are you guys excited yet? Now? Now?

No, not about Valentine's Day. What a silly suggestion.

I put together a delightfully festive outfit, and I felt the need to share! I needed something to show my Mardi Gras spirit, and to show off and flaunt my group freebies! (by the way, if you didn't get them, and you want 'em, join Masqueraderie and check in the notice history!) This is quite the mish moshed hodge podge, and I have no respect for keeping designer names together nor outfits, so, rather than trying to copy this, just take it as a suggestion to put a bunch of purple and green things together with gold accessories!

Skin: Niobium in Ultralight by Nomine
Hair: Emo One in Fantasy by Armidi

Overshirt: Vivica Top (Jungle) by Last Call
Undershirt: Embroidered Shiny Halter: Violet by (iki)

Gaucho Pants: Satin Corset Jumpsuit Black Gaucho Pants by G.L.A.M
Tights: Medium Tintable Lycra Tights (tinted green) by G.L.A.M (Freebie!)
Leg Warmers: Leg Warmers Black by Reaction Girl

Gloves: Kelly Gloves in Purple (from the Kelly Dress) by Nicky Ree
Hat: Victorian Top Hat by Illusions
Necklace: Mardi Gras Beads by Illusions (Freebie!)
Mask: Mardi Gras Mask 2008 by Illusions (Freebie!)
Belt: Stoned Belt in Blue (tinted) by Shiny Things
Bangles: Makeshift gold bangles (not for sale, but thinking about it) by me
Boots: Kyoto Boots in Gold by Armidi

Mardi Gras Freebies!

Happy Mardi Gras! Or... Lundi Gras in this case. For once, I'm sending out my holiday freebie one day early! I figure this time, people might want to have a whole day to work out their outfits for whatever they're planning, or maybe some people wouldn't be able to get on on Tuesday 'cause they're gettin' too wildly drunk in their other life. Either way, take and enjoy!
A simple, elegant mask in the traditional colors of Mardi Gras! Purple for justice, green for faith, and gold for power. You also get BEADS! And you didn't even have to flash me!

All you need do is just join Masqueraderie (ah yes, here is where my wicked plot comes in), find it in the notices and grab it!

A random Discovery Channel moment:

Mardi Gras is actually descriptive of a season of feasting that takes place to get ready for the fasting or "sin deprivation" in the season of Lent. The whole Carnivale season actually begins on "Twelth Night", or twelve days after Christmas. Mardi Gras day is what is happening tomorrow, which is the final day so naturally the last big bangin' party before you have to be all pious and conservative. Masks are so synonymous with this holiday because you were supposed to be able to release all of your inhibitions without having to excuse anything to your preacher or your third grade math teacher the next morning. Go ahead and flash your boobies! No one is going to know who's behind 'em if you're wearing a mask!

Or you can go to England and have pancakes. Pancakes, or a night of partying, parades, and bare boobies. Of course, this would be completely dependant on the quality of the pancakes in question, and the possible hangover component of the partying. Like I said, pick one.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Beware the Woodsie Lord(s)

As anyone who's played the Thief games will recognize, this post is about greensies. Green things.

Besware the woodsie lord, for he be brewer of bloodroot, and eater of manfools! Or maybe he was a good luck charm to honor the dryads and other spirits unseated by the making of British churches? Or perhaps he was an effort on the part of the Christian church to convert pagans, by making him into a Jack o' the Greens, and carving likenesses of him into their edifices?

Well, whatever, he's a mask now! *brushes off hands*
As you can imagine, I'm very, very pleased (pleased as punch but punch has no feelings). I used a technique I recently discovered in Zbrush in order to especially wrap the leaf texture to my exceedingly warped sculpts, and it was so beautifully successful (after maybe ten to fifteen tries of course). The effect is, I think you'll find, startling. I certainly was startled! I keep looking at it and going "WHOA! LEAVES!". Since I modeled the leaves after English oak leaves, I'm not leaving out the possibility of more woodsie greensie masks taking on different trees or foliage. These are the Oak Green Masks. Or sienna masks as this variation goes:

I've made three greensie masks (building up to a crescendo here), all available in colors that correspond to the four seasons. Obviously this one is autumn, and the female one above is shown in spring. This is more late fall, but there's still some fire in the leaves. For spring, the foliage is delicate, new, bright and green, as opposed to the luscious full bloom of summer:

This is the Oak Lord, a glorious, resplendent male mask that is almost impossible to find hair for. I wore a convenient style by Armidi called Law, which has no bangs at all and so was very handy. This is my vision of a true green man mask, and while it was tempting to make it a full face with a big leafy beard, I preferred adding a bit of sex appeal by making the mouth and chin visible. This is the summer coloring, which is darker and more verdant than spring. I wanted something regal, primal, natural and almost chaotic, and so I'm very happy with this.

I also made a winter coloring, and instead of posting a boring old color board, I'm going to share it in a pretty picture instead:

Pretty winter dryad! I know technically winter never would have silver leaves (it'd look a lot more like that autumn one wouldn't it?) but I couldn't resist throwing in my old standby of black and white. What fun is making a mask that monochromatic folks like myself can't wear? The word winter is less of a description than an excuse in this case, haha!

That outfit is from Bare Rose by the way, and called "Snow Mummy". Very cool prim pieces.

Am I overloading you with awesomeness yet? I'm not done with my relentless releases. I don't know what will be next, but it might be a few old favorites. Don't forget that MARDI GRAS is frickin' THIS TUESDAY! So I hope you have a place to be and dress up! I'll be releasing a holiday freebie to my group Masqueraderie so if you sign up you'll have something to wear to all those flesh flashing parties!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Ebony Masks

Goodness... what a day! I have literally done nothing but work all day, from one in the afternoon to now, nearly midnight. This one day will excuse a nice little amount of time playing Pirates of the Burning Sea tomorrow if I get burnt out.

Today I packaged up and did the versions for the remake of Ebony, a very simple mask that now has some flare due to coming in the same color variety as my wings and the Seraphim mask.

Again, I'm trying to give the men a chance to shop, haha! It's certainly much easier to feel passionate about making things for the male gender now that I have an avatar I'm not horribly embarrassed to be seen in. These masks are elegant and simple, and are very flattering with hair that would normally never cooperate with my masks. Personally, I adore hair in SL that gets completely in my face, covers one eye, cups around my cheek etc, yet I could never wear some of my favorite masks with them. This one definitely is compatible with bangs for once!

Last night I had a vision right as I was falling asleep of the female Mardi Gras Queen mask... I was so intent on not letting it slip away, I got up to run and sketch it. It's going to be gorgeous. (Have you signed up for the Mardi Gras Masque yet?)

On an unrelated note, Masqueraderie (my update group) has just broken 400 people!! Imagine! 400 people want to hear about my new stuff! Wow...

I also slaved away a bit and accomplished something beautiful, which I've never been able to quite fully render anywhere near satisfactorily until now. I'm going to release it tomorrow, but I'm going to leave you with a tease: it's a very classical mask that was requested, and is a very common mask type but not in Venice.

Zanni and Owl Mask

I've been working my tushy off trying to get masks out for men and people with... you know, noses... and maybe I got a little carried away?

All kidding aside, masks with large and distinctive noses are a time honored tradition in Venetian mask making. Zanni is a commedia del'arte character who was known for his black face, very large nose and old looking features. "Zanni" is thought to be derived from a nickname for "Giovanni", and is actually where the word "zany" got its origins. He was a servant, an "every man" who had a tendency to give in to his baser urges and endlessly pursue either sex or food for comedic effect. In this case, my interpretation is hardly loyal to the character, but I felt the nose and the name fit. Supposedly the longer the nose of the Zanni was, the stupider the character. Seriously though, if you can manage to wear these and not feel stupid, you are truly secure in your own self character. If you can feel regal and imposing, then you must be the ruler of a small country (real or imaginary). These masks, unlike their original black progenitor, come in the same variety of eleven colors that the civetta and columbina come in, perfect for Mardi Gras!

If you don't feel comfortable with an enormous schnoz like that, or feel a little too stupid wearing them, then the fruits of my labors regarding male masks should suffice your appetite for elegance.
The owl mask has returned in sculpted glory! Now it's available in a darker version, but I think you can see that it's far more fitting for its name now. I was able to add the subtlety of owlish features into this loverly patterned mask, with luscious feathers. Definitely a grand improvement I feel, and it was the second most requested mask from the retirees. (tied with a few others I'll try to get out soon).

I'm sorry about abandoning you folks for a few days after Obscurita, my apartment needed some cleaning done and I kept doing really boring things when I did come on (like answering IM's or sorting my inventory). I'll try to be more productive :)~