This is the fourth installment featuring Second Life® creators discussing their work and the limitations that determine what is possible. Again, I thank the following designers for their generous gift of time and willingness to participate: Cyclic Gearz (CG), SySy Chapman (SS), Tyr Rozenblum (TR), Siddean Munro (SM), Anya Ohmai (AO), Shai Delacroix (SD).
Why do so many designers use really bad templates? Isn’t that in some way considered cheating? If you do use them, why charge so much when i can find the same outfit on marketplace for less?
CG – This is a pretty contentious area, there’s a lot of for/against when it comes to templates. They can be very good starting points for creators who aren’t confident with mesh skills, in learning how UV maps work, and learning about texturing. There isn’t really anywhere you can go further than that without learning mesh and making it yourself though. ‘Bad’ templates are usually seen as bad because of the rigging being a rush job I guess, but they’re often cheap and thats an easy in for new store owners.
TR: No, it isnt cheating, in the real world if you worked in a studio, you would be doing one or two jobs max. You would be a texture artist, an asset artist, environment artist, animator, character modeler and so on. While I do think that everyone COULD learn to model if they wanted, I know people have their strengths and sometimes its just not learning a complicated UI that on some occasions feels like a 3D math test. It comes down to customers do not care. They want a hot looking item, with good texture, they don’t think about who made it, who took the time to be a unique snowflake. They want to pay their lindens and go. And really it shouldn’t matter to creators either. Everyone starts somewhere. I was a mesh snob when I finally learned, and that isn’t okay, because I went from templates in 2011 to doing it myself. I think the only problem with templates isn’t the templates themselves. I imagine it gets hard with events to see the same template recolored. Which is the ONLY reason I really suggest people learn, or maybe find a store partner who knows how, and then do texturing.
SD: As a consumer, I prefer to pay for items who are made by the artist themselves. SL is for me is about the artists and being true to your craft. I feel like I cannot ask someone to pay for something I didn’t fully create myself. At the end of the day, your audience will have confidence with your work as you find your unique look. They know how you failed at this part of the construction, feedback is instantaneous in SL. When you use templates, that feedback and responsibility falls on a third party. Art, anatomy, and mesh proficiency is developed through time and consistency. There are no shortcuts.
Why have some hair vendors not upgraded their super fake/shiny looking textures since 2008? Great hairstyles, but I simply won’t wear it if it looks full bright, even when full bright ISN’T turned on.
TR: No idea, let me learn2hair and I’ll let you know. But, my guess is, if its popular, why change it?
CG: It’s entirely possible they have an established customer base who doesn’t really care about the textures, or prefers them that way.
Why when I buy a fatpack do I get a box in a folder and inside that box are several more boxes of all the colors?
TR: Because fat packs are tools of the devil and by the time any creator gets to the fat pack area of their project, they’ve likely taken 10 trillion photos, filled 234,234 boxes, and have gone through a half bottle of whatever liquor is in reach. But jokes aside, this is why we’re trying to move towards doing HUD fat packs. Either way the cards fall, ads, vendors and box filling is just so time consuming.
SS: That. It’s hideous work, however i myself try to avoid the “box in box” thing, but especially if an item consists of sooo many different colors and variations, i’m going to do it. Also, not every customer is annoyed by a box in a box, some even prefer to have items boxed over getting it in a folder to it sorts more nicely and they can save the boxed item for later use.
CG: I avoid putting individual items inside fat packs because SL has a nice habit of just eating random things inside it if the planets aren’t rotating at the right angle or whatever. It is also better organisation for most, if theres one colour out of a fat pack you hate, you can just delete the box instead of deleting all 5 sizes and whatever else there is for it.
Why are there never clothing demos with a color/texture change hud so we can try them all out?
CG: Using a HUD kit isn’t ‘hard’ per se, but it is tedious to have to make x amount of demo textures, and upload them, and set them when they’re never gonna be used outside of the context of the demo. If you have 16 colours, and depending on how many textures per item you have, that adds up over time.
TR: ^ HUDs are a nightmare, while I might be willing to move into them for clothing in general because the times call for it. I think I’ll always be the old codger offering out old school demos. Sorry! HUDs just end up taking…………………so long.
SS: Time, and effort for little extra for the customer. HUDs are imo hard to fiddle with (i personally take a long time before i get mine working because scripts panic me out lol), plus indeed, extra texture upload, but not only that, you’d have to write demo on the actual textures etc.etc. which is taking more time then its worth for the customer, imo.
Why do 1 linden demos exist?
CG: I think it’s a holdover from the past when 0L items didn’t show up in inventory, some people like to have all of their items including demos in their vendor system so they can track demos to purchases? I can only really speculate, as I never bothered with 1L demos.
TR: I don’t know, I’m surprised now when I see them.
SS: i see no reason whatsoever to have 1L$ demo’s. The tracking is always provided in the LL transaction history, no matter what system a vendor uses.
SD: SL Scripted payment systems don’t allow 0L transactions. All vendor systems pay back that 1L to the consumer so technically its still 0. This also allows for redeliveries to work without having to personally log in and manually hand out demos. On a good SL day, transaction history works well. Until you have random SL hiccups, rapid gacha transactions/freebie items that could break/disappear from your list. I’ve opted to organize this in my scripted vendor.
If all the events closed tomorrow, do you think you would have the same success releasing items at your mainstore?
CG: I think it would be harder if you don’t release like, weekly or even more often than that – events are advertising. Not advertising when you have a store won’t get you the same amount of sales, if any. I see potential customers complain about event saturation, but all things point to residents being more likely to shop at an event than a mainstore unless you are a store able to release every week or something, to keep fresh in people’s minds. There are so many stores to keep up with, you really have to go above and beyond to make sure people will remember your store, no matter what you make.
TR: Yes, but like Cyclic said, it would be harder. If you are treating it like a job (even if it isnt your JOB), you would have to work double time to get frequent releases out, and get marketplace going. That said, if all events just stopped tomorrow, people would adapt and go back to the old way and shop at sims again. So it wouldn’t be any different than how it was before. You would probably also see a lot more dedicated releases, gifts and freebies. Because time would allow it.
SS: Exactly as i said on plurk: it would be way harder for me, but then again people wouldn’t have events to shop at no more, so they would flock back to main stores , like it was before. The reason why so many creators join in events, isn’t anymore alone because it’s fun, it’s because its THE place to shop for a lot of people now.
Why do some blonde hair textures look green?
CG: Could be that they like it that way, ,maybe their monitor isn’t correctly colour calibrated, or your monitor isn’t correctly colour calibrated. Having your monitor calibrated means that colours will appear ‘correctly’ rather than coming off as bluer, pinker, or greener, depending on your monitor.
TR: Also to cool blondes down from warm brassy tones people add in blue. What happens when you add too much blue over yellow? Blond I’ve heard is one of the hardest tones to get right.
AO: For me when I make hair textures, my base color is always a brown before I adjust/change to the other colors. In the past I started with greys and got better blondes, but when I start off with brown I do occasionally end up getting either too orange blondes or blondes with green in them. Turning brown to blonde requires me to push it towards the yellow/green spectrum. Sometimes yellows and greens fall so close to one another the eye can’t notice it after starring at the screen for hours.
Why do people make so many big, curly and long hair and not as many short styles?
TR: Popularity, purely trend based. I think this is an important note to make, people are following their sales, and what they see people wearing. It’s just like RL really and how fashion works.
AO: ^ that and preferences of each creator. Perhaps they just like… big, curly and long hair.
Why do some hair stores not do true black textures? or grey?
TR: Because there is no true black or grey. Just like with blond tones, you have to add other colors in (just like RL has other colors), otherwise you just get a really muted dead looking color. Thats why you’ll see hints of red and blue and brown attached to a lot of blacks. Similarly whites/grey tones will get blues
AO: Yes, like in real life naturally black hair isn’t completely jet black unless it was dyed that way. In art we’ve always been told never to do completely black, try to use blues/purples to get to black for example. That might be an ingrained practice that comes into play when creating these colors as textures. I personally don’t like completely desaturated black for hair, it turns the highlights ashy, like too much dry shampoo has been applied to it. But thats a personal preference.
Why are so many reds so bright – and not from full bright?
TR: Preference maybe? Or someones monitor set up.
AO: I would say personal preference yet again. Please bear in mind when creators are creating textures and hair colors they usually do it to their own preference to what they think looks good. It’s a signature for them and perhaps the color isn’t something that you like, but unfortunately our eyes and tastes are all differing including the people who create items for SL.