Learning as I go…

It’s been a few days since I posted because I was having major issues with trying to take high rez snaps in Firestorm…for almost a week.  I have no idea what the issue was and I tried the several suggestions that came via the SLU forums…to no avail.  So after the last major freeze then crash, while trying to enable shadows, I switched over to Niran’s Viewer.  I’d heard it was excellent for SL photography.  Still not sure about that…as it is a HUGE learning curve just trying to acquaint myself with the viewer set-up. (AND the sky preset windlight choices are far fewer in Niran’s).  For now I am bouncing between the two hoping to either resolve the love-hate relationship my video card is having with FS or to fully commit to Niran’s.

Anyway, on Monday I had shots (taken in Niran’s) all ready to post for a mash-up dress I’d composed out of two hunt items…but I couldn’t make up my mind which shots to edit/use and finally decided 99% of them were pure crap shots.  Soooo I decided to just start with editing the head shot I took to show the Glam Affair skin (from the WomenStuff Hunt) and the new group gift ChiChickie Iris hair.

This is a the first crop of the raw capture:
test niran's_006PM4

One thing led to another and this post morphed into showing the process and progress of how I am learning to edit my SL photography.  Let me qualify now…I KNOW I am NOT the best photographer…I KNOW I have a LOT to learn…and I KNOW that I make a lot of mistakes.  BUT, through all the mistakes, frustration, lack of editing software skills and pretty much self-teaching…I am enjoying discovering how I can approach SL photography in my own unique way.

First draft of editing…cropped it a bit tighter, rebuilt the crappy nose and tried to maintain the original texture of the skin:
test niran's_006PM3

I wasn’t quite satisfied with the end result…I’d messed up the lovely texture of the skin while trying to fix a few blemishes…which left it splotchy looking. I struggled with going further in editing the face.  After all, there is a point at which the skin no longer looks like the one you will buy.  If I were a fashion photographer and were highlighting the skin for you to run out and grab…I’d leave it as unedited as possible.  BUT, I am NOT a fashion blogger/photographer…I am just someone in SL who enjoys fashion, shopping, photography, art and exploring new places. So I have more creative leeway when it comes to how much I can edit my pics.

My “finished” pic:
Learning as I go...
It took me several hours to edit this pic (on and off…a girl has to sleep eventually)…and I’m sure that someone with mad PS skills could have done it in only minutes.  I did all the editing for this photo in Picmonkey…where I hunt and peck for things…make a LOT of mistakes and learn a great deal from those mistakes.  I break a lot of rules (mostly because I don’t know that I have until I do)…I don’t own PS (That’s a LOT of cash to lay out!), and my skills with Gimp are extremely limited (I can open it…does that count for anything?). I ask as many questions as I can (without trying to be a pest), take classes at Builders Brewery and study other SL photographers work.

In the end…EVERYTHING is open to individual interpretation, we all learn on our own curve and there is usually always more than one way to approach anything in life…including photography and editing.  I’ll continue to make mistakes to learn from and I welcome any help/constructive advice someone takes the time to give me.

Here are several resources that I tap into to try to continue to add new skills, learn and grow:

  • Builder’s Brewery often has excellent classes on photography from beginner to intermediate…check the schedule (online or inworld) for times and dates.
  • Youtube (just enter the search term for the tutorial you are interested in…e.g. “Photo Shop Tutorials”)
  • Strawberry Singh has fantastic tutorials on SL photography. I don’t know her personally, but I am thankful for her kind spirit in sharing what she does.  Study her work…she is fantastic!
  • Cajsa Lilliehook, from It’s Only Fashion, is very knowledgeable in fashion,  photography, blogging and marketing.  She generously shares that knowledge with her readers on the Tutorials & PSAs tab.
  • I belong to over 90 Flickr photography and fashion groups; where I can study fabulous SL photography and post my work for feedback.  If you go to my page, you will find a list of the groups I belong to.  Click on the group link to check it out and to join the group.  While you’re on my page…check out the people who are on my contact list…I am constantly adding people to that list…people who’s amazing work I have noticed and want to follow.  I add them as a contact so I can be alerted when they post new work.
  • In-world I have truly wonderful artist friends who patiently answer my questions.  I also attend in-world art exhibits; to study the work and to support the hardworking artists.
  • Finally, I recently became actively involved, in the SL art community, by organizing/hosting the upcoming Autumn Art Walk that will be running from November 17-Dec 15 at The Beguiled Art Gallery & Studio.

Art and Life are fleeting…stay captivated!  <3<3

Eyes:  Curio Tragic Eyes, Neptune (Large/Shine) (Prim eyes) Sadly not available at this time…HURRY back PLEASE Gala! <3<3

Eyeliner:     LpD  Prim Eyeliner (black)

Prim Eyelashes:  *REDGRAVE* Eyelashes- 11-Showgirl

Mesh Eyelashes:  ::BB:: (Beetlebones) Mesh Lashes V.01 (SLEB Black)

Beauty Marks:  [:T:] Beauty Marks tattoo layers (layer option 2) [:Tuli:]

Teeth: KIKI (Came with a skin I bought from them)

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She’s a Love Zombie {dollle*} with a Paper Heart…

Love Zombie {dollle*}

I absolutely LOVE Halloween..and I look forward to when October rolls around so I can start putting costumes together and decorating my place.  One of the best things about Halloween in SL is that I don’t have to wait until the 31st to start wearing my costumes and the decorating isn’t limited to my small First Life apartment.

{dollle*} just sent this fantastic Bloody Bandage Dress to their subscribo members. *It is a mesh item so you will need a mesh enabled viewer to see it properly.  I paired the outfit with this fabulous Bride of Frankenstein Hair from Paper Heart; available on the Marketplace for 1L and the Blood Blaster Heart from A Folf in Sheep’s Clothing; also available on the Marketplace for 1L.
Love Zombie {dollle*}

I finished off the costume with a deep crimson colored lip tattoo, that I scored for 1L from cStar Limited, at The Boho Culture Fair, Bloody Tears III Face tattoo (5L) from REPULSE , and Dead bloody eyes from Sicknessthesia…(FREE) on the Marketplace.  The Liane Goth skin in silver, from Amacci, was featured by Renee here.

I went all out decorating my sim for Halloween and I saved buckets of Linden by taking advantage of the wonderful hunts taking place around the grid and by scouring the Marketplace for freebies.  The Zombie Mausoleum is a prize for the SL’s Top Haunted Places Tour & Hunt from Post Mortum Designs, the crows are actually Walking Skeleton ACTION auto-rezzers from Another Fine UGH Design  for 10L on the Marketplace and the tombstones are free…as part of a Halloween Decor set from Diavolo Creations. The black pumpkins are a  group gift, 50L to join, from ::PM:: Purple Moon Creations.

Hunting for freebies on the Marketplace can be quick and easy when you use a few tricks to filter what you are searching for.  I always search the Marketplace with a key word for the item I am interested in and then use the “Category” and “Price” filters in the side column.  The category column can be filtered down to a fairly specific group and I usually search for items priced between 0-10L.  There are other ways to search for freebies on the Marketplace, but I find this to be the quickest route.  Just remember to only take freebies that are from the creator of the item and that you write a kind review if you like the item.  Creators really appreciate the positive feedback and it is a great way to thank them for offering something free to everyone in SL.

Additional Info:

The pics were shot on my private home sim, which is part of SL’s Top Haunted Places Tour & Hunt…so stop in to hunt for your FREE gifts!! (Made by my fantabulous husband <3)

The facial expression is from AnyPose Expression, available for FREE on the Marketplace, from Phate Shepherd Creations.

The pose was created by myself using Animare Pose & Animation System (NOT free), available on the Marketplace, from YT Recreant.