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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