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Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Beautiful Olive Tree From Hayabusa Design

Hayabusa Design kindly sent me another beautiful tree this week. It's a large olive tree and it's really elegant and lifelike. The textures are soft and pretty and the branches sway gently in the breeze.  The tree has a hud with lots of options for the seasons including foliage, bark, movement, particles of falling leaves and blossoms and you can show the olives or leave them off, plus you can alter the sound.  For such a detailed tree the land impact count of only 7 prims is amazing. Many thanks to Hayabusa Design for sending me this lovely gift.

Janey Bracken

September 2017, Back To School At The HangOut!

There was a brilliant party at the HangOut tonight, it was a back to school theme and owner/dj Janis played all of our favourite school related tunes. the crowd looked great in their school gear, some even had satchels with them. Hibiscus, who was dressed as a teacher, even had an apple in her hand that one of her students had obviously given to her, they must have thought it would curry favours to get some high marks for their homework. The HangOut schoolroom, cleverly created by Janis, looked amazing, it was packed and around 37 people had called into the tiny Club for the party.

Away from the virtual world of course, lots of kids went back to school last week, some of them heading there for the first time in their oversized grow-into school uniforms.  I must admit I hated school right from the beginning, I was a gazing out of the window sort of child who just didn't want to be there in the confines of the classroom.  In my Secondary School, (yes, I'm proud to say that I failed my 11+ exam, too much gazing out of the window I guess lol), the Pink Floyd tune 'Just another Brick in the Wall' about summed it up for me and for some reason; I found it all so boring. My best friend in school and I were always a bit scruffy and not really part of the top kids set.  The brainy kids always had their clothes looking as if they had just been pressed, no threadbare cardigans, scraped shoes or crumpled pleated skirts for them in the 'all girls' Secondary Modern School.  Of course, they excelled in all the subjects too, Maths, History, English, Music and Sport etc. and the teachers loved them. But what we lacked in academia, my friend and I made up for in wit and humour, we sat at the back of the class joking around and making the other kids laugh.  I was lucky though, I was good at Art right from the beginning of my school days, so I caught up with the other subjects later on, finally enjoying English language, Literature and History the most.  We were allowed to be creative in those days too, something that seems lacking in the Common Core style of teaching now, but against all odds the kids seem to be shining through anyway, there are many bright 'star-seed' children out there whose schooling just doesn't hold them back.  I hope they have a great future after this chaotic period on planet Earth!

Janey Bracken
PS There will be another great party at Zorro's Tavern on Thursday (2-4pm SLT) when owner Rob Fenwitch will be dj'ing.  Be sure to book your cab for a smashing evening!)

Monday, 11 September 2017

16th Anniversary of 911 - We Will Never Forget

On this 16th Anniversary of 911 my thoughts are with the families and friends  who lost their loved ones on that dreadful day back in 2001. We will never forget and we will never stop asking why this planned crime against humanity happened.

Janey Bracken
Picture taken at the Stagg Island Memorial

Saturday, 9 September 2017

SL Mesh Sculpt Hills And Riverbanks Give Height To Boring Flat Landscapes

I've been indulging myself with terraforming my new SL parcel.  I couldn't wait to dig a trench for a new river and add drifts of grass and flowers for the ever changing landscape of my virtual home.  In the past I'd always found the edges of ponds and rivers quite tricky as I liked to make them look as natural as possible, so I often used rocks and plants to soften the outline of the water's edges.  Linden water is great, as you dig down into the sim with your SL land tools and the water appears, it looks so real, sparkling droplets of light and the gentle movement of the water gives it life. I like to create waterfalls, ripples and mists in the pond or river, plus adding the sound of running water adds to the magic.

You can't always terraform though, some places don't permit it and if you have a sky platform above your SL home you are limited to working with the prim base so using the land tools isn't an option.  I have a sky platform where I spend lots of my SL time, so I wanted it to look nice. I made the area as big as I could, the base prim is 64 meters by 62 meters, so I have plenty of room for a house and a garden.  The old platform house I had, even after taking it apart to save prims, still worked out to 188 prims without furniture, so I decided to shop for a new one.  I went to a great store called InVerse where there is an amazing amount of beautiful dwellings to suit large or small parcels of land.  I bought a modern mesh house called Destin, which, with all its furniture and fittings included, still only had an approx 90 prim land impact. Then I set about creating the garden.  I realised that I could still add height to the landscape by adding mesh sculpted hills which I found at a lovely store called HPMD. I bought 'Cliff Hill' there, which contained two different shaped mesh grass topped shallow cliffs.  You can change the texture of the grass and also the cliff faces, so it can fit in with the base grass texture of the platform. You can buy the grass textures at HPMD to match anyway, so it blends very well.

I also bought some mesh Gravel Ground edges at HPMD for my ponds and the river, which also look good at the edge of the ocean, each mesh edge blends in with the land and the water really well. For the sky platform I bought some riverbank mesh sculpts from another brilliant store called Studio Skye.  The riverbank making set includes the best water movement textured prim I've seen so far in SL, so I used the riverbank mesh parts on my platform with the water prim to create a stream.  I also bought a rustic stone wall from Skye to run at the back of the riverbank mesh making a semi-walled garden.  The modern mesh house actually looks good with the wild gardens and the old stone wall, a mixture of old and new that seems to work for me.

So the mesh SL revolution has added to my pleasure of landscaping with its hills and cliff mesh sculpts, plus the flowers the designers are creating out of mesh are so beautiful, my Hollyhocks from T-Spot look solid and real as well as exquisite. Also you do not have the texture clash with the background as you do with alpha textured plants.  I wonder what new digital  technology awaits us next in virtual reality. For me the fun is putting it all together to create different scenes, these designers are so talented, I am in awe of them all.

Janey Bracken