Perseverance

Winter image for contest submission
Perseverance

“Spring passes and one remembers one’s innocence.
Summer passes and one remembers one’s exuberance.
Autumn passes and one remembers one’s reverence.
Winter passes and one remembers one’s perseverance.”

― Yoko Ono


Once again winter is upon the north hemisphere. Despite an unusually warm end of the year holiday season, 2022 has come in with a vengeance for many. Just as some begin to recognize that global warming is not a myth, the quick turn around in January filled the need for some to say it was just a fluke and it’s just as cold as ever. Memories are short. Perseverance often serves only when it’s convenient, or when it’s necessary. I won’t even mention the perseverance of political lies… This image was in Le Monde Perdu of Second Life. The group of sims that are Luane’s world are always beautiful and inspiring. This winter phase of Le Monde Perdu did not disappoint. The aurora borealis and falling snow were added in photoshop and the light was twisted just a bit to keep some detail on the mountain but the sim is a joy without these touches.
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Welcome 2022

Happy New Year 2022

Each passing year amazes me. The accomplishments, the failures and the surprises. Even more shocking is how quickly they pass. It seems that only months ago we were saying Happy New Year to 2021 and now here we are once again.

Honestly, I did not accomplish all I had hoped to last year. The low number of posts here bares witness to that fact.  Sure, there were everyday obligations not related to my creative aspirations that interfered but I would be fooling myself to believe that my biggest obstacle wasn’t my own tendency to get excited about so many new things. I am not so naive to try convince myself or anyone else for that matter, that my wide array of interests will disappear for 2022.  I will say that I believe I have at least identified my interests and the tools needed to further explore them..barring any more surprises.

This last year did see a blossoming collaboration between Noel and myself. Please consider visiting her site “Returning to Oneself“. Though she will deny it, I believe she is more focused than I am even as she grasps all of the possibilities that are available to us. I truly believe that this partnership will bring renewed focus on my part.  Making commitments does have a way of bringing focus. Additionally, working so close with someone as talented, observant and enthusiastic as she is a great motivator.

I am more excited about the coming year than I have been for several years now and look forward to sharing that.

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Character Development

Aedan is back to writing

Please don’t think I am writing from any position of real experience since I’m still poking around with the idea of writing my first novel. The fact is that like most anybody starting down this road, I’ve never had anything beyond editorial letters published. However, the little experience I do have tells me there is nothing more important than properly developing a character.

Solid and deep characters present tons of material to write about and perhaps more importantly, provide background and context to assist in deciding how a character will react when the story takes a turn you didn’t expect.  The story heading off into uncharted waters was something that caught me by surprise when I first set out to write a novel nearly 2 years ago. That was when I realized the importance of taking the time to do an extensive character development despite initially thinking the work sheets I’ve seen were just fun exercises.

Currently, I am working to a development sheet that has grown over time from both my own experience and from that of others.

If you would like a copy of this form, you may download it here:  Comprehensive Character Attribute Form

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Sticks in the Fire

Too many sticks in the fire

Sticks in the fire.  I suppose one might think of marshmallows and fun evenings when they hear those words. Then some of us might feel the weight of being overwhelmed when those words are muttered.  I’ll raise my hand to be included in the latter group.

Creativity has a way of consuming us. I suspect that is why it is so easy to get lost in it and sometimes lose track of the reality around us. Over the last few months I have struggled had many moments in which I stopped and asked myself what exactly it was I was trying to accomplish. At the same time I was struggling with the long list of things I am ‘trying’ to do while accomplishing very little, the primary drive of my computer held up the white flag and walked out on me.  A week later, I am still finding things that i need to re-install and settings to adjust.

What, you might ask is trying to overwhelm me? Not only are new RL work pressures and making little progress in non-creative efforts adding to my love playing with images captured in SL, but the joint effort with Trina has both opened new doors and brought new challenges.  I now have a use for OBS Studio and Davinci Resolve and need to create poses and animations using Blender and the Avastar addon. It is all so necessary for what I want and enjoy doing but there is also a decent learning curve with each of them.

On top of all of this I am also feeling a desire to start writing again. Not too long ago, well, actually about 4 months ago now, a tune I heard generated images for a story that was begging to be told. I anguished over this because I didn’t feel I yet had the skills to do a video story yet, nor the time to invest. I feared it would just wither away. Recently, while watching and listening to a youtube video about storytelling and film making, (another time sink while doing chores around the house), something was said that brought me back to this story begging to be told.

While re-examining the characters in the story I realized that I had already started a story that included one and bringing this new character into that same story could be a perfect marriage. These thoughts were new inspiration to begin writing again – to go back and edit the story I had started. This was a push to start writing something every day. A week has passed with nothing more than half of a character sheet completed on this new character. 

This week I am making an effort to identify the best times for me to work on different things, to determine which creative juices flow at which times of the day and give them a chance.  Being a morning person, I’ve always felt that writing early in the morning is ideal for me…and here we are.

 

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Venus

Lazy Day

“Please be careful today, honey. I worry about you when go out.  Why can’t you just stay here with me?  There is so much we could see and do together… “

The words of her mother were still in her head as Venus swam lazily just beneath the surface of her world. The warm light of the sun poured over her back and sent tingles to the tip of her tail as it fully embraced her.

Yes, mom had warned her about the dangers of the other side, especially the humans that fascinated her so much but what did she know? The draw to the surface was so powerful. Venus saw the many creations of humans and many even up close. She could only imagine what else they might create but she longed to know and even fantasized about it.

She often found herself dreaming of being some place else..another world, another life.  This one was so mundane, so boring…

 

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Returning To Oneself

Returning To Oneself Image
Returning To Oneself

I’ve resisted the temptation to mention where I’ve spent much of my time over the last couple of months but now that it has been publicly released, I think it’s safe to bring light to it here also.  “It” is the introductory video for Trina’s “Returning To Oneself” effort.

My contribution was simply  recording the footage taken in Secondlife and of course, helping to bring her back up to speed in SL since so much has changed since she was last there. The story, all of the real life video, the video editing and production and of course, the inspiration are all Trina’s. I am very excited for her and hope to continue working with her as this develops.

For my part, this has been a great way to become more familiar with OBS Studio and the 3D Connexion Space Mouse that I purchased shortly before learning that we would be working on this together. Of course, there is no better way of learning what you don’t know than to try to share what you think you know with someone else. This really has been a great experience and I’m looking forward to learning more.

In fact, learning more is already in process. Since this first video is now behind us and we have a myriad of proposed projects to choose from, we settled on one and have begun putting things together. Everyday is a learning experience. I don’t know that SL can every get old when most anything is possible – if you but know how to do it.

Currently my major effort is in creating poses and animations for our scenes. After many starts at Blender – some more successful than others – I have come back to it with the Avastar plugin. In previous images, I relied on in world tools such as Anypose along with body and head animations available. Sometimes they were too constraining and the Black Dragon Poser was a lifesaver.  With Avastar, I now have another tool that I believe will play a larger and larger part as I learn my way around that.

..and returning to Blender creates so many other possibilities too.

This isn’t “returning to myself” but it is the re-opening of a half-closed door.

On the subject of “opening doors”, do yourself a favor and visit Trina’s site, Returning to Oneself.

 

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