Kyashi

Kyashi faces a dragon
Don't back down.

With this image, Aedan’s work associate Kyashi, or as her parents call her, Kathy, is introduced.

I took my first attempt at writing a story for this format over the summer. Like everything else, it was a learning experience…one that told me I had much to learn before continuing.  In fact, I am currently regrouping a bit.

However, being Aedan’s work associate, she will be in the story early and often so over the last week I spent quite a bit of time developing her character. I now feel I know her quite well and so it was time to put a face on her. Once she has her own wardrobe (she can’t stand sharing clothes with Noel), I’ll start working on Aedan’s supervisor, the DA but right now, this is Kyashi’s moment…and he never backs down…

As for the image, it is one of the most simple images I’ve done in quite a while. It is a composite but only because I’ve never had much luck with Field Of View in the Firestorm viewer. Windlight was changed only to get a little sun on her face. The biggest editing of this photo was in creating a more realistic eye for the dragon statue.

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The VReam Team

Aedan and Christi, back to back.
The Team

It was at about this same time a year ago that the great amount of creativity of SL that had found a home on Flickr really hit home for me.  At that time, I knew I wanted to participate in that creativity even if I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. If I did nothing else, learning to use the tools available to capture images similar to what I saw others doing would be enough for me.

As I followed more people and saw even greater variety I got pulled in further even as I wandered aimlessly looking for an answer to a problem that didn’t exist.  Overnight, that changed for me in an event that changed my life in several ways, including a desire to truly jump into a creative mindset.

Besides creating images, I felt a desire to start writing.  There was a story that I wanted to tell, complete with illustrations from SL. After it became clear to me that this would be a solo project, Christi, whom I had created for assisting in setting poses for furniture that I built so long ago, was pulled back out of the closet. In the illustrations for my stories, she would ‘play’ the female roles while Aedan would play the males.  And so was born the VReam Team.

Until today, I’ve struggled with how to deal with images created of them that weren’t part of any story. Christi has her flickr page and Aedan had his.  This brings awkwardness and repetition on top of the concern that some people are offended by ‘alts’ and feel they are a tool of deception. As of now, any images either of them create, whether it is related to a story in progress or not, will be shared on this account.

As for this particular image, it is actually a composite of 5 images but that was the easy part. Most of the time creating this was spent trying to make Christi’s hair more realistic. I can only say, it is getting better and like everything else I’m doing, I expect it will get better with practice.

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Touching The Face

Though not nearly as technically challenging as the previous image, this one was very enjoyable to create in both the planning and the finish.

Part of the motivation for this image was a sentence I heard in a youtube video. I had to find out where it came from and found this poem:

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds, –and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of –Wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air…
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark or even eagle flew —
And, while with silent lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

–John Gillespie Magee, Jr

The other factors behind this image are more personal.

The background image is obviously not something from SL but it was what I wanted to be the center of attention. I searched for the right cliff to be standing on and looking up for quite a while. Once I located it, I created the poses for Noel and I and then returned to get the foreground image dialed in using windlight.  It had snowed!

I hadn’t planned on snow and the clothes we were wearing was inappropriate so this meant it was time to get some winter clothes.  Once I had clothes for both of us I realized that the barren cliff I had chosen was now too barren when covered in snow so the search for a new place was in order.

Thanks to a very good friend who has her own amazing Flickr page and whom I knew would have snow scenes that weren’t barren, I found what I thought was the perfect spot.  I just had to de-render a hundred or so prims that were a house and it’s contents behind the tree 😀

A huge white screen was rezzed to aid in the creation of a mask that would help isolate all of the bare tree branches and I had my base image. Noel and I were added after photographing in the studio under similar lighting and the sky was added. Finally, a lot of time was spent adding ambient light from the lamps on the left edge of the image. I don’t know that it is noticeable but like to think this is one of those things that would be noticed more if I hadn’t taken that extra time.

‘Ghosting’ Noel was the intention from the beginning.  She is ‘here’ but she’s not.  It’s a reflection of a personal note that is part of the theme of this image. Watching several youtube videos of different methods of attaining the effect I had wanted failed me. I had hoped for a more ‘wispy’ effect, similar to a cloud though the low light probably made that unlikely from the beginning.

In the end, I was quite happy with this – though I let Christi post the image without Noel ghosted on her page because I felt others might not appreciate the intention behind including a mostly transparent person in the image.

Once complete, I used the image for a new video featuring the music of Rameses B named “Night Sky”

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