Archive for March, 2009

Prim Doodling

The other evening I surprised Ando!

While waiting for him to show up at our appointed hour, I did not, repeat, did not . . . . drum roll . . . go shopping. Yep! You read that right. Until fairly recently, my pastime of preference was to scan the blogs and then fly about to snag the latest pair of jeans, or go on the current sim-wide holiday hunt – right now it’s all Easter eggs, or take in a fashion show or a new store build. Ando had gotten into the habit of asking on log in not what am I doing (he knew the answer – SHOPPING!!!) – but where am I doing it?

Lately, though, something has shifted. Call it a change in my learning curve (seems a bit less steep these days), a new addiction – I am seriously hooked on flow (see last entry) – or an evolution in my avatar consciousness, but I have been staying home . . . or rather, staying in the studio/workshop the Symphony lighthouse has become for me.

And engaging in my new favorite pastime – prim doodling.

Prim doodling is easy and fun and absolutely free! My Linden balance loves that last part! Here it is in a few easy steps:

First rez a prim . . . a cube is fine.

Then begin altering its shape by playing with the various sliders on the edit menu.

Twist it and torture it, change its size and rotation. Give it some siblings. Change their basic shapes from cube to cylinder or prism or torus ~ the wildest of all ~ and continue playing with the sliders. Seriously, this is a great jog to creativity! One of my prim doodles gave me a single prim object that looked like a door handle, which led me to build an entire armoire around it.  Another gave me a Market Basket, for which I used a free texture available from http://www.cgtextures.com.

Made while killing time waiting for a lucky chair to come up A

A great way to pass the time . . . and furnish your house!

It gets even more fun when you move from the edit tab to the texture tab and begin adding textures to the various faces of the prim, and tweaking those sliders as well. Try adding glow in various increments or some degree of transparency or shine. Give it color. Rotate and repeat. And use as textures anything from your own SL snapshots to metals, woods or fabric. Some are even included in your inventory’s Library. Again, all free, as you can also easily import images from outside SL to become textures (10 lindens per download) or pick up free textures from various locations in Second Life.  There are also some amazing texture shops, which will be the subject of future blogs.  And the textures, full perm, and usually bundled as sets, are well worth their cost because textures can be very versatile . . . again thanks to the edit features SL provides.  

The final tab I’ve been playing with is the Contents tab. A simple slow rotation script can give movement to your prim doodles and produce absolutely mesmerizing shapes, providing hours of creative play and relaxation.

A single prim with a slow rotation script can yield beautiful results.

A single prim with a slow rotation script can yield beautiful sculptures.

What I come up with is not great SL@art, but it is helping me become a better SL builder and providing inspiration and starting points for new projects. Give it a try! Play with your prims!


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I love taking a running leap into a new building project. I always feel a little rush of excitement and curiosity, once I have an idea for something to make. My latest is a wood floor lamp inspired by a really classy one I found on a Google image search. That one retails for a whopping $2,800 in Real Life! Mine will cost far less . . . considering most of the tools are free. Gotta’ love SL! I’ll probably buy some textures and a sculptie light bulb, but I doubt any of that will even come to $2.80.

Sometimes an internet image can spark an idea for a building project.

A cool project sparked by a Google search.

My previous project was a set of bangle bracelets with various metal and stone textures that allowed me to play with the texture tabs and experiment with the difference various rotations and repetitions of textures makes. Sometimes I make something to wear because it’s quicker than running all over the grid trying to find what I have in mind. The bangles were like that, as was a belt I made when the bottom of my shirt and the top of my skirt just didn’t look right without one. What’s an av with a bare midriff to do?

Each project leads to new learning and greater facility with the tools of Second Life, as long as we challenge ourselves a bit, so I’d like to share three things I’ve learned in my building journey to date.

1. Unless you are totally self-reliant or completely introverted, find someone you can turn to for help. Perhaps you have a friend who makes clothing or is a builder. Find a mentor if you can (Thanks, Ando!) . . . and your local sandbox might just offer up a likely candidate, if your friends list doesn’t.
2. Take a class. There are lots of classes on building offered through several organizations in world, and most are free. SL residents are very generous about sharing their knowledge with others. To find classes go to Search and click on the Events tab. Scroll down to Education and hit search. You’ll see a wide variety of classes, with weekends tending to have more offerings than weekdays. And YouTube offers lots of tutorials on Second Life building, many done by the incomparable Torley Linden.
3. Pick a project that is just a wee bit beyond what you’ve tackled in the past. The best projects for growing as a builder are neither too easy nor too difficult. They strike a balance. Here’s where “flow” comes in.

Mihaly Csíkszentmihályi, the author of  the book Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, says that people are most happy when they are in a state of flow— a state of concentration or complete absorption with the activity at hand. In an interview with Wired magazine, Csíkszentmihályi described flow as “being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz. Your whole being is involved, and you’re using your skills to the utmost.”

You can see a great talk on flow here:  http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/mihaly_csikszentmihalyi_on_flow.html

Somewhere between your skill and the challenge of the project, you’ll find the magic of flow. If the task is too easy or too difficult, flow cannot occur. But when it does, it sure feels great and it’s one of the benefits that can come with learning to build in Second Life.

So, go with the Flow!


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