GIMP 2.9.2 Released – Warp Tool at last?

Great to see that the next stage in GIMP is here, as the lack of a good warp tool had frustrated me some time ago. Looks like an upgrade is in order. While I’m at it, time to upgrade Blender, as there’s a bug fix that reportedly affects rigging attachments, and I may be playing with that soon.

New and Improved Tools
All tools in GIMP are now GEGL-based and fully functional in up to 32bit per color channel precision mode.

GIMP 2.9.2 also introduced two new tools that we consider mostly complete:

Unified Transform, designed by Peter Sikking and implemented by Mikael Magnusson, combines rotation, scaling, skewing, and adjusting perspective in a single tool.
Warp Transform, implemented by Michael Muré, replaces the old iWarp plugin and provides its features in a tool that works directly on images, without a preview window.

via GIMP 2.9.2 Released – GIMP.

Blender Resources For The Deeply Befuddled

This page will hold links to some of the tutorials I’ve found helpful, illuminating, or have bumbled across numerous times in search of answers. Also found here will be stuff relating to OpenSim, as it is useful to have a locally hosted OpenSim private grid as a test bed for uploading meshes and textures.

Added these only because I need them all in one handy place…

Blender Cookie
Blender Nation
Blender Guru
Haven Ditko’s YouTube channel – beginning Blender series hereCanned Mushrooms Blender TRL Tutorials on YouTube – in depth series
Blender 3D: Noob to Pro
Blender 3D Design Course by Neil Hirsig. See below for link to textbook.
The Complete Guide to Blender Graphics (Computer Modeling and Animation by John M. Blain

Second Life or OpenSim Content Creation

Machinimatrix – Avastar paid add-on for Blender creation for Second Life
Nalate’s Things N Stuff – Blender category Anything here is useful!
Loki Eliot’s Digital Mischief Maker blog – Making a Mesh category When frustrated, remember Loki’s advice and “have a play.”
Kats Bits Blender and other content management tutorials
Aine Caoimhe’s OpenSim blog – really useful Blender tutorials!
Ferd Frederix’ Blender Workflow steps – Open Sim and Second Life
Diva Canto’s Metaverse Ink blog
Sim on a Stick maintained by Ener Hax
Hypergrid to Go – an alternative OpenSim method using SUSEStudio (better security)
Previously I used NewWorldStudio but the files became corrupted; no longer updated.
Maria Korolov’s HyperGrid Business blog – How To’s for Blender, etc.
Aquila Kytori’s SL Community thread on Ambient Occlusion
Ashasekayi’s Clothing Tutorials for Blender
SL Community thread on TopologySL Community thread on Rigging
Zadaroo – repository of free Linda Kellie content for OpenSim

GIMP discussion of InsaneBump plugin for GIMP

Pini Shop Closed: Rebranding

I sent out a group message but need to re-write and re-send it, also need to send a notecard to a couple of marketing groups: the Pini shop has been closed.

I sold the land on to someone who’s working on a big railway project and needed some space. I checked with an acquaintance in the old Cafe Wellstone group (most of us used to hold almost the entire sim in Pini, in smallish parcels).

To do: need to set up the building I’m renting in St John as a shop, or substitute something in period that would do. It needs open doors and a bit of a verandah on both ground floor and second level. It’s on the trolley line (right where the trolley turns) and I believe it’s also on the Mardi Gras parade route. Also to do: something new for Mardi Gras, which is very early this year.

The St Helens Dry Goods brand will be retired. I may go with something as simple as ~SHDG~ which I’ve used on ad banners at SLU before. It would be a bit of an ironic twist on the name of an old-fashioned department store from my misspent RL youth, so that has appeal.

Dhughan’s outlet shop in Tweddle is open and all my vendors are there. My Marketplace needs to be revamped, with some very dated stuff needing to come down and go in the burn barrel. And new stuff needs to be thought up and made and textured and photographed… so many steps to be taken, any one of which can be interrupted by any damn thing, including an overpowering desire to cheat at solitaire.

And oh, shit-oh-dear, all the item pages have to be updated to remove the old links showing St Helens, on my pages and on Dhughan’s as well. WHAT fun.

Do What Now?

A few weeks ago, I started to write an entry. I left it unfinished for so long, because my mood lately has been so… unsettled. I wrote:

So, weirdly, the Steelhead sims were still up last night, so I went in and rode a bike around for a while, and played with Tobias Catmow’s steampunk tanks; his shop was down the street from Dhughan’s, which he burned “for the insurance” for the official closing. That’s been a month ago. I haven’t checked today but the Marshal of Steelhead (the community continues) says the sims are queued for deletion.

Most stuff is gone, but there’s a lot of items of Lunar’s that’s no-copy… it’ll all disappear. So awful.

I just checked, they’re still there. I tidied up a few things and deleted the barrel of no-copy items I didn’t want. There’s a few trees that may find their way into my lost and found folder after the Big Delete.

Meanwhile, what to do next? I’ve taken a rental in St John Parish, the home sims of Radio Riel, in a nice building just off the central square. There was probably a community tea tonight to lay out the plans for their new sim, but… I like the spot I’m at, I don’t know if I need to sign up to help open a sim.

Awkwardly, tentatively, reconnecting with old friends; last night I ran into one of my very oldest friends in Second Life, Dani. It turns out she’s now doing some DJ stints at Cafe Wellstone – that is, where the old Cafe Wellstone crowd hangs out now that the big place in Pini is gone. Currently they have music and dancing events almost nightly at Red’s place (/me waves at one of my only readers). And speaking of Pini, that’s my long-time shop parcel, but nothing much is happening there now, although a few friends still hold parcels on the bluff above the old Cafe Wellstone/Jackson Bookstore party parcels.

Earlier today, I actually opened up Blender and messed with an exported object I built last winter; and then I started up my local grid to import it. After a few false starts, there it was. I’ve been making a list of the many, many unfinished or half-baked projects and ideas. I’d still like to maroon myself on a pimple island and start building my way off of it (I imagine this is done with a palletful of duct tape and a palletful of… pallets. I looked around my little OpenSim grid and thought, well, I like building. I like tinkering. I’m not so much a fan of building becoming a chore, though. But lately I’ve been working through some good Blender tutorials, I’ve got GIMP set up with some good tools, and in the winter, I have more time. I miss out on watching the aetheric idiot box, but on the other hand, I have a new-to-me laptop so I can log in to SL from anywhere again.

It’s so hard to settle myself on a course of action. There are so many distractions and impulses pulling in different directions, but always there’s a pull to be in SL, interacting and chatting, laughing and dancing. In RL I’ve been busy all summer with cycling and travel, with plenty of down time, too. And now it’s the time of year when it’s good to reconnect, burn off the old stuff that isn’t doing me any good, and think about new things.

I went back to Steelhead St Helens several more times since then; as recently as last Sunday (November 19) the sims were still up, but Bixyl Shuftan at the SL Newser has reported that the sim names were no longer shown on the map, and he had heard from Sheriff Fuzzball Ortega that they weren’t in transporter range. And yesterday when I searched for them on the map, they’re “not found.”

It took two months for the place we called home to be deleted after it was declared closed – I believe Lunar was still unable to get inworld, although some alts were able to get in. It’s just… ended.

I’ve been working on my new place in St John, moving things around. And I’ve been watching a lot of Blender tutorials and putting together a half-baked plan. Dhughan has taken a reservation for a shop in the new sim in St John and is also thinking about new products and fresh ideas.

St John is the home of Radio Riel, which I listen to constantly during the day. All summer, when I wasn’t logging in to do anything in Second Life, I was listening to music streaming there. It made me feel like I was always connected. I follow a number of SL blogs and dabble with discussions at SLU so I’m relatively current.

I haven’t done anything with High Fidelity, I don’t plan on doing anything with the new “SL 2,” Project Sansara or whatever it’s called. It’s interesting, but would require a completely new compu-beast and I’m literally not going there.

I’m here, wherever that happens to be, in Second Life for the duration.

Tweekly Digest: 19-Oct – 25-Oct

My Private Island Paradise

I’ve been considering a creative project for years now – making my own island paradise from scratch, as an OAR in OpenSim, in narrative format as I work through various problems and challenges in virtual survival and content creation.

The ultimate inspiration is a mixture of Hawaiian, Victorian, and Steampunk aesthetics and values.

Because that’s how I roll.

This Is Where I Came In: Second Life Thriller Optioned By Reese Witherspoon’s Production Company

Bunny Love Etopia 2010

I’ve been thinking about this for a few days, and not seeing any mention on other SL blogs:

Warner Bros. and Reese Witherspoon’s Pacific Standard are developing a film adaptation of SECOND LIFE. Written by S.J. Watson (Before I Go to Sleep), Second Life is a psychological thriller about a woman who creates an online persona to find the truth behind her sister’s violent murder. Once a devoted wife and mother, Julia starts to lose herself in the lies she creates, jeopardizing not only her marriage, but her son’s safety.

via {TB EXCLUSIVE} Psychological Thriller “Second Life” Set At Warner Bros. With Reese Witherspoon’s Pacific Standard | The Tracking Board.

It’s not clear who will star or if the project has been cast; Witherspoon might not take on the role but defer to others as to how to cast it. It’s not a good sign that the blurb on Amazon for the actual book doesn’t actually Second Life, the virtual world.

How well can you really know another person? And how far would you go to find out the truth about them?

When Julia learns that her sister has been violently killed, she knows she must get to the bottom of things. Even if it means jeopardising her relationship with her husband and risking the safety of her son. Getting involved with a stranger online. Losing control.

Perhaps losing everything.

Set in Paris and London, Second Life is about the double lives people lead – and the dark places they can end up in. Tense and unrelenting, it is another brilliant novel from S. J. Watson.

One of the other blip-blurbs just says “‘Watson has hit on something sinister and true with Second Life.’”

Oh, boy. Just when everyone was all pleasantly surprised about the recent positive coverage in the Atlas Obscura article.

It’s all so, so familiar. Just when you think it’s safe to go inworld, somebody gets murdered in a book and the flying penii (and dead smexy bronies) get all the press.

Despite promises to the contrary, I’ve barely been inworld in a couple of months, as the monkey took up cycling for fitness and to raise money for diabetes research. And she’s done very well, having lost almost 30 pounds. Still, I consider myself a Resident and keep up with SL news, even though I’m pretty inactive. I read every Blender tutorial that comes out, including the excellent ones by Aine Caoimhe geared for an OpenSim audience.

I’ve really, really, really been thinking about dipping a toe, but am held back by fear of abject frustration yet again. I feel like I’m standing at the landward end of the diving board, if only I had the time to both ride my new bike 15-20 miles of a weeknight, AND play around online before sleep. See the monkey’s blog for some idea of what she gets up to on two wheels.

Meanwhile, there’s this “thriller option.” I haven’t read the novel that this imaginitively-titled movie will be based on, but the plot as described is making me have a sad.

Because on October 24, 2007, I watched the “CSI:NY” episode that was partly set in Second Life, and that very night I logged in for the very first time. I’d been watching the hypewave a bit as a reader of BoingBoing, which had helped to spread the word about Second Life, and I’d read “Snow Crash” years before, which continues to be a favorite.

Isn’t this where I came in? The plot premise is different, but it’s still “Down The Rabbit Hole,” with murder, intrigue, and blurring of the lines between fantasy and reality.

Crossposted at my other other blog,, because reasons.

Photo: The Bunny Army, taken at Etopia in 02/04/2010

Tweekly Digest: 09-Mar – 15-Mar

DJ St Paddy Style in Second Life

Second Life DJs for St Patrick's Day

My friend DJ Pb Recreant has a regular gig playing tunes at the Blue Booby Bar in Escanes, mostly for members of the Cafe Wellstone politics and news chat group. He always has a pretty eclectic mix and takes requests.

On a whim I sent copies of the new St Patrick’s Day mesh vest for men that I put together from a kit to him and some of the other Cafe Wellstone guys, after he sent out a group message announcing the gig. Very kindly he sent back this screencap showing off the vest! That was really nice of him.

So of course I wrapped up the stuff I was doing and headed over to relax and listen to some not-quite-Irish remixes and interesting cuts of Celtic goodness.

It was a fun evening, always is as the Blue Booby Bar, whose motto is “My Eyes Are Up Here!”