Believe!

Believe Image
Believe!

I had begun to doubt the day would come when I published this image. It is very much a composite that was plagued along the way by many instances of “oh! it would have been easier if I just….”  So, when the opportunity came to create a profile image for Pattie and her new head, it was a welcome break.  Believe!

Even while working on the other image I was considering just starting over with the original photograph for this scene and then do it as I realized I could have done it much easier.  That was interrupted by my new interest in the viewer Black Dragon after learning that one can also set poses from within the viewer.  Were I to use Black Dragon, Aedan would not have to be composited into this scene…  However, Black Dragon may become a post of it’s own. In short, I’m struggling and may have to actually read the manual!

However, after over a week away from the image, when I opened it again I realized it was very close to being done…too close to start over.  At that point, it required only some shading on his palms and a level adjustment for the entire image.

Getting to that point included taking two photos – one for the primary night scene and a second daytime image to be illuminated by the three sources of light. I didn’t realize that getting such a bright moon near the horizon is not an option in SL these days so to achieve the full bright moon and it’s subsequent moonlight, I used a curves adjustment.

Aedan was shot in the studio using AnyPose and then carefully painted in behind the fire pit.  The fire was added so suddenly that the snow hadn’t even had a chance to melt from the stones or pots 😉

I hadn’t chosen a name for this image until I found a tune I wanted to associate with it.

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Pattie – YFMB

Pattie's Mesh Debut
Pattie's first mesh photo

Since returning to SL, Pattie has been appreciating the details that mesh introduced to SL in her absence. Not yet ready to take the plunge into a full featured and detailed mesh body or head, she did come across the “Your First Mesh Body” offering which comes at the very tempting price of ….FREE.

Of course, Free has it’s price. What you get for free is both a body and head which are not high detailed though do have all the correct parts. In addition, it comes with huds to implement transparencies in the body where practical and apply skin tones. YFMB also comes with a selection of shapes and hair. Finally, free clothes are provided so there is no need to leave the place naked in your new body.

After a bit of tweaking, I managed to create a new shape that I found pleasing and hoped she would too. No complaints.

There are two glaring issues with the head when you put it on. The first is the head to body joint. They don’t match and no amount of fiddling that I did with the neck size would make them match.  The second is that unless your cheeks are flat, they are blocky and rough.  That however, is just a challenge for me and my developing photoshop skills!

 

Pattie Close Up - YFMB Issues
Pattie Close Up - YFMB Issues

From the original photo for this shoot, the above images shows the lack of detail in the face.  This is actually quite subdued because it was in shadow for this image. In full bright light, it is painful.

I found it necessary to use frequency separation and address both the high and low frequency layers to smooth the cheeks out. In hindsight, I could have removed a bit more of the darker color from beneath the nostril but I was being cautious about removing too much shadow while removing the blocks.

Pattie Close Up - YFMB Processed
Pattie Close Up - YFMB Processed

With the high and low frequency layers available, I also took advantage of the opportunity to smooth the eye openings and clean up the lips – more short comings of this body.

As shown in the original photograph below, I’m often amazed at what I over looked – like the full bright necklace that is nearly as bright as the sunset 😀

It took me quite a while to tone that down using a mask and adjusting the exposure level then finally adding a little shadow detail.

Pattie's Mesh Debut - Original Photo
Pattie's Mesh Debut - Original Photo

Finally, highlights and shadows were added. Because she was in full shadow, adding too much highlight was easy to do. It just didn’t look natural so in the end, I had to dial it way back to the point that it is very discernible though it is every where…face, hair, chest, arms and dress. The eyes that came with the YFMB body were very flat and lacking detail though I did add a bit of highlight to those too. Subtle is the lesson of the day.

Except for that necklace 😀 

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Friends

Taya, Belinda and Pattie Collage
Taya, Belinda and Pattie - Pattie as she logged in after a 7 year absence in SL.

Friends – we often take them for granted or forget what they contribute to any particular moment. I am guilty of that.  For some time now I have enjoyed the solitude of borrowing images from SL and then bringing them home to caress the lines and shadows for hours…even days…until I feel they’re acceptable to show to anybody else.

Last week I set out to find a new place to take more pictures and just as I was about to logoff, an acquaintance from the SL forum, Belinda noticed me in the vicinity and said ‘hi’. It was a pleasant surprise which lead to a gathering that would likely include others from the forum that I had spoken to through the forum but never met. Taya was another that I knew in the same manner.  Both have beautiful avatars so my camera addiction took hold during the next hour.

The last week has been spent editing those two images – in solitude, of course 🙂

Taya on point
Taya on point
Belinda dances while the house burns down
Disco Belinda - Burning Down The House

Last night I had been logged into SL @ 30 minutes when the notifier mentioned that Pattie had just logged off. I had to take a second look and then pull up the profile to make sure I wasn’t confused. Pattie hadn’t been on in years. We actually go back a long way – to 2007, I believe. We went in different directions after a few months and some time after that her RL and SL partner passed away so we had a few last words before she just disappeared. Of course I sent a message to her hoping she would get it offline. I don’t know if she got it offline or not but she logged back in just as I was about to log out again….of course!

We met and she was well preserved…just as she had logged out so, so many years ago. Same classic avatar, same prim clothes and flat nose. After so many years, that same connection seemed to still be alive as we spent the next hour trying to re-familiarize her with Firestorm and some basic settings like not typing in the air while chatting. I am hoping she will stay around for a while so I can happily help her update her avatar.

Oh…the history….she and Christiana were models …or more correctly, mannequins together back in the day – along with her husband. Lots of fun was had by all. They are good memories. Hopefully there will be more.If Pattie stays around and takes up modeling again, I’m sure you’ll see more of her so here is one last image to embarrass her 😉

Pattie returns after a 7 year hibernation.
Pattie returns after a 7 year hibernation.

Within SecondLife, there is so much to get lost in.  It’s easy to forget one aspect or another. Socializing is but one of those but certainly not the least important.

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Lonely Sunset

Lonely Sunset
Reflecting on recent events and those yet to come...maybe

Recent events in US politics and the second of a more personal nature put me in a state of mind that I have been avoiding for the most part.  I started a PS project unrelated to SL and as of yet unfinished. Rather than jump back to it this morning I went for a virtual walk to Hazardous Inc which I had first visited two days ago and determined to return.

There is yet another shoe that could fall in the next few weeks…or maybe the following month or maybe it won’t fall at all. In the end it does little to worry about the things we can’t change …and so we won’t today!

This is a composite image only because I used lumipro for the face light. Obviously I wasn’t thinking straight at the beginning this shot and could have dialed back the luminosity to better isolate the light to my face.  I did recognize the extra light at the time and took a second shot with Aedan nowhere in the view to better capture the diminished light on this dark side of the swing.  Aedan was then set back on the swing with a mask to eliminate the background of the original shot.

The Lumipro also added light to places I didn’t want it – such as the front of his torso, arms and back of the right leg so shadows were introduced using the curves method mentioned a couple posts ago and similarly, the hair and eyes were highlighted just a little.

Finally, a few strand of hair were added around the edges in addition to filling in the beard.   A nice relaxing way to spend a morning full of questions 😉

 

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