Friday, 20 October 2017

My life in lamps...

As I noted in my previous blog I finally got around to creating a set of items for sale. The Antique Radiators were the "sale item" for the Decennial event but I also needed a hunt item. The theme of the hunt is Timeless, the event and the hunt celebrate 10 years of Fallen Gods in Second Life, so I wanted something that also meant something in the theme of time and growth. The item I chose will be familiar to those who have known me for years or who have read my articles in Prim Perfect.

Back in 2007, I made myself a lamp, based on a rather lovely Arts and Crafts period design from the Roycroft movement. A simple but elegant design that could work as a low prim lamp for my undersea refuge in the Vernian Sea in New Babbage.






The very first version is shown here on the left. A gloriously extravagant 8 prims, 2 of which were a bizarrely flickering animated candle flame where the bulb should be. The rim texture cut from a photo of the lamp in RL and recoloured to look as though it was lit up.



As SL and I both grew, I rebuilt it in around 2008 using "the latest technology", reducing the 8 prim lamp to a glorious 3 prim sculpty based model (right).

The lamp was more or less identical in form to the prim version and created using an Inworld sculpting tool called SculptCrafter which in its way (despite being made by a different person) was a forerunner to tools like Mesh Studio, converting prims to sculpts, which it spat out in chat as a uuencoded text stream which you pasted into your preferred decoder to get the expected sculpt texture. A really neat solution to not needing an external service in fact.





Then in 2012, I was asked to write articles for Prim perfect, demonstrating that Mesh and prim building were not necessarily at odds, the articles built upon a blog post I wrote on inworld mesh creation for which I built the version on the left. The model was created using the excellent and highly under-rated Mesh Studio. The project was a little artificial I added heavy metal fluting to the sides of the stand giving it a more Art Deco feel than theo original RL piece having challenged myself (and the tools) to improve upon the 3LI sculpty in both looks and land impact. The lamp was also used to explain generated LOD models and how handmade LOD models are essential to really efficient and well-structured meshes.

The result was a credible (I think) demonstration of the tool, taking a detailed 110 prim model with all my metal fluting and additional details and producing an efficient 1LI Mesh with Strong LOD characteristics.

It's been five years since that project; we've seen the introduction of many new features, materials being perhaps top amongst them. And I have started to confront my personal daemons, tackling my insecurities around artistic ability to improve my texturing skills, face down the fear of Blender and it's mythically horrendous UI (hint: it really is not anything like as awful as people will lead you to believe, it just takes a little practice). And so it seemed fitting, that to celebrate 10 years of my friend Alia's wonderful creations, with a nod to my own 10 year anniversary too, that I should once again update the lamp.

The 2017 Roycroft style lamp is available as a hunt prize during the timeless hunt and may become available later from the Verdigris store, in a variant form.

At 1LI, we now have a lamp that retains much of the hammered effect detail of the Roycroft originals. The detailing employs Normal maps for those with Advanced Lighting, but also bakes and additional Ambient occlusion to the texture to give some of the effects to those without that feature.
Materials are used for the bakelite bulb holder as well as the metallic lamp itself, and the mica panels use the emissive mask feature of the diffuse texture to give a more realistic glow when the lamp is turned on. It was important of course that in an item of this scale it retained its shape and volume as the LODs decayed, which became a little war of attrition when the lamp nudging over the 1LI threshold.

The Decennial event and the excellent Timeless hunt are still open and I would encourage you to pay a visit.




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