Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Blogging about blogging...

I have never been the most consistent blogger around. Some of my personae are writers and love to chat, keep journals, use instant messengers, and otherwise socialize and spew their thoughts across the universe for all to see. Some of my personae would rather have their toenails removed with pliers than socialize or talk about much of anything, but especially themselves, That is kind of the basics of why I seem to blog for spurts and then have huge dry spells. Personae shifts and the whims of who is running the show at the time in my head.

One of the coping and survival mechanisms I have used for decades to ensure I continued functioning at least reliably enough to not starve in a corner has been to train myself into habits. The joy of having moderate OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) is that I can use my compulsions as a way to force most of my selves to stay in line, at least on certain important matters. Once I ingrain a routine, I am very very uncomfortable with ever deviating from it, regardless of which of us is at the helm. Mostly, I have used this for the big stuff, as training these habits isn't easy and takes a hell of a lot of serious energy and concentration from me over a good amount of time. I am obsessive about patterns, among other things, but getting a pattern established that my OCD will then latch onto is work.

So, what does my odd compulsiveness have to do with blogging? Umm...I am not even sure any more. Oh! Wait, I recall...I am going to try to train myself to blog more constantly by building a daily pattern that my OCD will help ensure I stay with. This hasn't been something I felt like trying before, nor wa sit something I could have managed on this blog alone, since in order to make this work, I would have to blog every single day, likely at the same time of day without fail to get a habit built up, and I just don't have enough business releases or SL business information to really justify blogging on here every day.

That is why you will now see a new link over on the sidebar under the temporary heading of "Odd Zoe Links" called "The Broken Doll". This is a personal blog, unrelated to Second Life, fashion design, any of my businesses, or other things of interest to those people who read -this- blog...all three of them. The Broken Doll is basically an online diary, a jumble of my thoughts, and the weird goings on in my head. I will be making posts in that journal every morning and every evening to train myself to be more reliable at this stuff, and hopefully that will also help me blog more consistently here as well.

Please do not feel any compulsion to actually read The Broken Doll. It has no relation to this blog other than the authour, and won't directly be referencing SL much. I put the link there for anyone who is curious, or who has those crazy voices that force them to watch train wrecks without looking away so that they can get a small peek into the insanity I live with. You are welcome there, but certainly not gonna hurt my feelings if no one ever clicks it either. It's a personal project for sorting my thoughts, charting my illnesses, educating the curious about DID, Depression and other such diseases and disorders, and a tool to an end as stated above. Be warned however if you do read it, it may contain triggers and disturbing thoughts and imagery at times. Mostly it will just be insanely boring I expect.

However, of more interest may be that I plan to do some revamping of the SL Fashion links on the sidebar over the next few days as well. I myself have long used Fashion World of SL as my daily dose of fashion information, relying on most of the big fashion designers and stores in SL to be syndicated there. However, I am increasingly finding so many neat labels and blogs that are NOT on that site that I feel I need to start hunting down some of the ones I really like and linking them on the side. A lot of people may even not have ever heard of or use Fashion World of SL the way I do...hard as that is to believe! So, look for more cool picks for designers and blogs over there soon.

Today I added Illusions, the blog of the cool mask lady Siyu Suen to the list. I was dumb-founded to realize I had not seen her amazing stuff before a few items got blogged recently on some other sites that do syndicate to Fashion World of SL. Her work is truly amazing, and her style and ads, her whole brand is just so well done. Definately check out her blog and her store! It has threatened to relive my childhood fascination (read morbid obsession) with carnivales and sideshows in a serious way...damn you Siyu!

There will be more links added as I track them down and edit them in. Likely I may reorganize the sidebar some too, maybe break the links into more categories...

So...that is this blog on blogging. Hopefully you will see more of me blogging here and updating stuff more often as I get this new habit up and going, so you have been warned and given time to hide. O.O

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The shape of things to come...

Yes, after three years of refusing to bother with making and selling shapes, I finally caved in. The main pressure came from customers asking for the male shape used in most of my ads, from Neko Skins to the Gothic skins and clothes in ~ broken ~, which I had originally made just as a stopgap shape until I could find something better. Oddly, people seem to actually like it, and I got IMs almost daily asking if it was for sale. Of course I have been getting requests for Zoe's shape too based on my ads for ages, but I refuse to sell my own shape, and will always stay firm on that. Mine! All mine! *mad look in eyes*

*cough* Sorry...

I have now released 6 new shapes at the ~ broken ~ store...3 male and 3 female. These shapes are only being offered as NO MODIFY / COPY / NO TRANSFER and can be found in a new side room at the store under the lava in the volcano. I am not taking any requests for custom shapes. Each shape does come with a notecard that details the skins, hair, and clothes worn in the advertising images so the "look" can be reproduced if you so wish, not just the shape. See Information and FAQ from the in world notecard tagged at the end of this post below for more info on my shapes and policies.

The shapes available so far include ::

Jiang Li - 5'5" tall Asian Girl -

Jiang Li is very loosely based on my own shape. She is however much taller, thinner, and has a newly redone face from scratch. The effect is nice I hope. Average height, and an A cup bust. She is the first of the "Kawaii" shapes. :3

Sasha - 5'6" tall European Girl -

Sasha is kinda your normal college girl. Average height at 5'6", cute round face that gives her a youthful look, medium build with a B cup bust.

Kimberly - 5'0" tall European Girl -

Kimberly is a little different than most of the shapes you see in SL. She is short for one at 5'0" tall, and in a sea of 7 foot amazons that is rare enough. But, I wanted a cute, but realistic look for Kimberly that was not model perfect. The girl next door sort. She has an adorable, innocent face and a slightly pudgy frame with wide hips and a bit of junk in her trunk. She has some belly to her and barely a B cup bust, but is not really overweight. Hopefully she will appeal to those who want something a bit different than the glut of supermodels.

Kiyoshi - 6'0" tall Asian Boi -

Kiyoshi was the second of the Bishonen shapes I have done. he is a bit taller than Masakazu with a somewhat rounder face and longer legs. He has a very thin frame, willowy and youthful. I used the female model to achieve a prettier face and thinner build than you can get with the male base, and I am very pleased with it. This is the shape I sometimes wear myself when I go slumming it as a bishie boi with friends. >.>

Masakazu - 5'8" tall Asian Boi -

Masakazu was my first Bishonen boi shape I made some time back. Based on the female model, he is a smaller version of Kiyoshi with average height and a slightly thinner and wider mouth and nose and somewhat shorter legs.

Jaquin - 6'2" tall European Boi -

Jaquin is the male model based shape you see in many of my advertisements at Temenos. I have used him for the Neko Boi skins, the Whispers of Night male skins, and most all of the ~ broken ~ ads. he is the most requested shape other than Zoe's shape, and releasing him was kinda the catalyst for this whole shapes thing. At 6'2" he is tall...but not monster tall like the 7 foot insanity you see in SL so much. he has an average build, with none of that bulked up hulk craziness.

More shapes will surely follow, though I do not plan to mass produce shapes. I want these shapes to be unique and a little different from the stuff you see most places, so I plan to take my time with them and craft shapes that have personalities that say something to me. I hope you will find them interesting.

That's all for the moment, but more will be arriving soonish as I have a list to work through of stuff to get out for all my brands and labels over the next few weeks as I also work on the new store build on the Temenos sister sim. So, drop into the ~ broken ~ store under the lava at the bottom of the volcano @ Temenos and check these new items out!

- Broken :: Shapes Information and F.A.Q. -

- Permissions -

1. What are the Permissions? - All ~ broken ~ shapes are sold ONLY as NO MODIFY / COPY / NO TRANSFER.

2. Why No Transfer? - I personally feel that offering copyable as opposed to transferable items, including shapes, is a preferable business model. By offering my works as copyable but without transfer, I can replace lost, corrupted and deleted items without question...something that simply can not be done with Transfer items.

3. Why No Modify? - With shapes, this is a simple answer unfortunately, and the same one as offered by any scripter as well...if the shape were modifiable it would be easy for an unscrupulous person to copy the settings to a new shape and sell it as their own, undermining the hard work I put into creating these shapes for you and stealing business and money from my pocket in the process. As this is my living which supports my children, that would be an unwise risk.

- Custom Shapes -

1. Do you accept custom orders? - No, I do not and never have accepted custom orders for any of my work, brands, or products. I simply do not have the time to devote to custom work, as I am kept far more than busy with 5 brands to design for as is. If cloning ever becomes a viable option, I may reconsider this stance. Until then, please, no custom requests.

2. Will you just tweak this shape some for me? - No, I am sorry, but I do not have the time available for tweaking or changes to the shapes. these shapes are offered as you see them. If you like the shape, I would be delighted to have you purchase...but if you only maybe like the shape, or like part of it, or almost like would honestly be best if you think a bit more before you buy. Shapes are a major purchase since along with skins they make up the foundation of how you present yourself in Second Life. I want you to be happy with any purchase you make and not later regret it. please be sure of your purchase before hand, as the shapes can not be altered afterwards.

- Other Shapes -

1. Are you planning to make X shape? - I honestly can not say what sorts of shapes I may or may not offer in the future. I try to put a lot of thought and effort into my shapes...most of which started as shapes done for myself or my models. But that also means I won't be cranking out masses of shapes. I do not do custom requests, but I am happy to hear of suggestions for future works...though making a suggestion is by no means a guarantee that idea will be made.

2. Will you sell me Zoe's Shape? - No, my own shape is not for sale now or ever. I crafted this shape on my first day in Second Life and it has changed very little in the past 3 years. It is unique to me and has never been shared, and never will be. I like it that way, and hope you can appreciate my attachment to my own shape. :3

3. Will you reproduce X's shape? - No. I will not even attempt to copy the shape of another Second Life avatar. I will, as mentioned above, happily accept suggestions from real life images as possible future shapes. But no requests or suggestions based on SL avatars or the works of other designers would ever even be looked at. Sorry, but I will not undermine anyone else's hard work.

- Miscellaneous -

1. Why are these shapes so expensive? - Honestly, I have two reasons for the prices I put on these shapes. The first and simplest reason is the amount of time and effort I put into crafting them. I don't want to churn out masses of shapes every other day. I would far rather spend more time on each shape and make shapes that have some real character than something done quickly that looks like everything else out there. The prices reflect that to a degree. The main reason however is rarity. I want the shapes I offer you to be something you enjoy and won't see every person you run into wearing. A 200L shape is cheap and anyone can have it. That makes it less distinct, less unique to you, and less special. I want to offer shapes that you can be proud to wear and that can help you define what is unique and special about you. To that end, keeping the price higher than most I hope to keep the shapes more rare and more special.

2. Hey! This guy shape looks kinda girlish! - Some shapes I offer are designed to be rather androgynous in look. The bishonen shapes in particular are supposed to reproduce a certain feminine style of male body and face as popularized in Japanese animation and pop culture and as such often use the female base model to design the shape...even though it is a male shape. This is a stylistic choice I make for some shapes as often the male sliders and base model are not capable of achieving the correct look. When worn with a male skin however, the effect can be very pleasing and while "pretty' remains very masculine. If you do not care for this sort of shape or do not want to use a shape that starts from a female base model, avoid the shapes labeled as "Bishonen" or "Androgynous" and you should be safe.

3. How come my skin looks bad on this shape? - It's just a fact that not all skins will look good on all shapes. A skin is simply a texture map laid over top of the 3D model that is the shape...if the skin you have was designed and painted to look best on a drastically different type of shape than you are wearing, then there is always a chance the skin won't look as good as it should. Different skins and shapes work well together or clash together and there is not real way to say which will be the case unless you try on a demo of the skin with that shape. The shapes I offer all come with a notecard of information that includes a listing of the skins, hair, clothes and other items shown in the shape advertisement so you can reproduce that exact or a similar look if you wish. But there is no way I can guarantee that any given skin will look its best with any specific one of my shapes.

4. Whoa! My eyebrows look funky! - The eyebrows on most Second Life avatars have two aspects. Neither actually is based on the shape, oddly enough. The skin you wear has eyebrows painted on it, and how they will appear on any given shape is hard to predict without trying on a demo first. This aspect is only controllable by the skin maker when they make the skin, and not adjustable in world. The second aspect that you CAN adjust is actually part of the hair base. I have included a bald basic hair base that is designed to work best with the shape and skin pictured to achieve nice eyebrows. However, a different skin may change how the eyebrows appear, and thus you may need to adjust the hair base included in the eyebrows section of the appearance tools to achieve the best look. The bald hair base offered in my shapes notecards is thus modifiable so you may change the shape and looks of the eyebrows as you wish.

5. I have a question not addressed here. - Any additional questions should be directed to Zoe Llewelyn in IM or notecard. My IMs may be capped most days, so if you do not receive a reply, please true again, I may not have received your IM at all. Notecards are more reliable, but please, if you send a notecard, put your name and something about the purpose of the card in the title. I get a lot of notecards in a day, please help me find yours quickly and easily. :3

Thank you so much for your consideration of one of my ~ broken ~ shapes. I hope you will be pleased with any purchase you decide to make.

- Zoe Lleweyn

Thursday, August 09, 2007

More Broken Stuff...

As I mentioned a few days ago, I released some new stuff a little while back and failed to blog it here, so I am now remedying that situation. This batch of stuff is a mash up of items with assorted sorted histories.

Harlequin -

Firstly, the newest of many makeups already designed and awaiting my patience to upload and fool with...the Harlequin. This was actually one of the first makeups I did for the Whispers of Night skin line, way back in January, but I didn't think it would be that popular, so it wasn't among the first bunch of options I put out. But, after one of my skin beta testers, Raven Pennyfeather used the beta version of the Harlequin skin in her ads at RFyre, I started getting a lot of requests for this makeup, so here it is...

It is available for males as well as females, in both tones, Spectral and Deathly, and I have expanded the lip colour palette to include three new colours, the deeper red of Crimson Kiss, the silvery Moon Glow, and the pale blue of Steel Blade, for a total of 6 lip colours in three lip styles.

Zombie Skins -

Secondly is the long delayed release of my first set of Zombie skins. These skins have a long and sorted, but otherwise boring history that I shall now relate much to your dismay. I started these skins waaay back, almost 2 years ago now. I got the idea to do limited edition zombie avatars because many friends at the time had taken to referring to me as "Zoembie", and of course I love zombies anyway. I had been toying with the concept of limited edition sales, and the zombies kinda fell in with that at the time. This idea was one I would later use in my Heart of a Doll store...that of releasing a complete, limited edition avatar that came with everything from shape, skin, hair to shoes, clothes and accessories for a complete look...each with a story associated who the avatar was, where they came from, etc. I had a whole background story written for my Zombies of the Apocalypse line, and had completed the first zombie, the one I had worn myself for months and thus named "Zoe", and was writing her personal story when I kinda gave up and ran outta steam on this idea. Zombies of the Apocalypse just sorta faded away from my randomly insane and rambling mind and none of the work was ever released.

Fast forward to the present and I found myself digging through my folders of old half-finished material and i stumble onto the Zombies again. No longer so fond of the "Limited Edition Complete Avatar" concept, I decided to drop the stories (as much as I loved writing them), and just release the avatars as parts. Thus the first of what may be several zombie offerings in the future...the old Zoe and Rob Zombie skins from long ago have been resurrected at long last and are now available to you of the more morbid mentality...

P.S. I also have released about a dozen Zombie eyes as well. You will find samples nailed to a board above the zombie skins...

Old Fishnets -

The torn fishnet clothing was a random thing I designed for myself one day outta the so many of the stuff I do. I wanted some torn up and ratty old punky fishnets to wear and couldn't find any for sale (I am sure they exist, just that I couldn't find them), so I made these. I have been wearing em myself on and off for a few months and finally got off my lazy ass to offer them up to you. So, here they are. The tops are mostly unisex, though the tights less so, thus I packaged em separately.

Coffin Jewelry -

The cute little wooden coffins for jewelry was another idea I made for myself back when I first started the ~ broken ~ line as an offshoot, but as I often do, I let it sit and languish a while before I have decided to sell it. The set comes with necklace and collar, bracelet and earrings. unisex if ya ask me, but make your own decision.

All the new stuff is available at the main ~ broken ~ store, underneath the lava in the bottom of the volcano at Temenos. Just jump in and I am sure you will find it. It's also available at the new Sleepy Hollow sim by Grim Misfit when it opens soon.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Where is Zoe? Update for August...

Yes, it's been since May that I last posted on the blog, but no, I am not dead or anything...though some may wish I was. I have never been much of a blogger even at the best of times, and recent months haven't been that great, so I usually stop and say..."I should post X or Y on the blog," then sigh and ignore the thought.

Even when my more energetic and aggressive peronas tend to be in charge of things I rarely remember to update the blog as much as I should, but when the lazier, more fucked up personas are running the show even that rare desire to post goes out the window. Just no energy for it at all. I will of course keep trying my best, but if i seem to fade away at times and not say much, just know it's likely cause I just don't have the motivation to sit down and say anything much. Not because I am dead, left SL or aren't releasing stuff. Though sometimes releases suffer too when I get far down in the cycle of my depression.

I have been working a fair bit, even if releases have been rarer than they should be. I am juggle a few dozen projects at once and at the same time taking a step back to ponder how to simplify the processes, brands, and stores my DID messiness has gotten me into to something a bit more manageable. So, lot of higher level management idea pondering going on for possible restructuring.

At the same time I have also started construction finally on the new store design where Boneflower, Jungle Voodoo, and most my other stuff will move too soon. the sim is open (Temenos Island...right next door to Temenos), so feel free to take a look and offer suggestions and ideas. It's a departure for me, but one I settled on and like...very modern, very artsy sorta build with blue glass and large open spaces, a skyscraper, and more. The design will offer about 16 times the space as my current store area above the volcano at Temenos, and hopefully be much easier to use and locate products in.

One thing I am doing with this build is to try to design it to look it's best with Renderglow turned on...since the Lindens have mentioned that eventually, after Windlight goes live, renderglow will be added to the main viewer rather than being an option in debug. For those who have never used the renderglow option (it is basically a Bloom effect you see in many other games), you can test drive it now from the debug client menu: Client -> Debug Settings -> Renderglow -> True. (You can also change the look of the renderglow effect using the Renderglow strength, resolution, etc settings.) You will need a video card that supports it, and not all do, so if you try it and crash, just leave it be or upgrade your video card! the effect in world is tunning, but will require some changes to how many people build and display merchandise as Renderglow turns any texture set to "Full Bright" into a glowing, shimmering light source. The images below are just samples of the early phase construction of the new store...still a long way to go.

Temenos Place -

At Midnight...

At Noon...

Distant view at Sunrise...

Main Entrance between Building One and the Tower...

View from inside the Central Plaza...

Looking down on the Central Plaza at Midnight...

The view from the Volcano top at the current store...

Once the new store is finished and everything is moved, I will concentrate the majority of my efforts on version 2 of my neko skins, ears, etc. But I will continue to release small batches of stuff along the way as I work on the bigger and longer projects.

I actually have put out a couple new things since I last blogged but failed to have the energy to mention them I will do so later just so people know what went up at the store in recent weeks. More info on the new build and eventual store move will also be forthcoming as we near that personal insanity allowing...