New Bougainvillea Pergolas now available!

It’s been a while since I worked on some bougainvilleas – recently I had the opportunity to buy one of my own and to see the extent to which they can grow (they are not native to Canada, where I live) and this prompted me to see what I could come up with.

These pergolas are 9LI each at packaged size, which is 7.4 by 6.9 by 5.5m. They’re  the perfect shape and size for covered walkways, a patio, or that perfect hidden nook at the back of your garden!

Check them out in-world here or on the Marketplace, here!

 

If you enjoy what I’m doing here or think someone else might also find it of use, please feel free to share this blog with them. If you’d like to keep up to date with posts, the RSS for this blog is here, I can also be found on Twitter and Plurk. The Discord server is here.

If you really like my stuff, perhaps consider donating to my Patreon? Your continued support helps to produce regular content (written, modelled, animated or otherwise) and helps to keep original content creation in Second Life!

Thanks for your support!

New Mesh Plants and Hedges!

New this week are a couple of great additions to your garden!

New Mesh Plants and Hedges!

Flowers aren’t always necessary to introduce colour to your garden – Begonias come in a wide range of looks and here are a handful of them to start with. Included are both the individual plants as well as a version of them potted in a wooden planter. Each has a unique set of materials, featuring detailed bump maps and hand-painted diffuse textures, so please do be sure to enjoy these with Advanced Lighting Model turned on in your viewer.

Available as singles or in a fatpack, mod, copy, no transfer, both on Marketplace as well as in-store.

Additionally, here’s a new set of hedge pieces made for carefully groomed gardens! Mingi Mingi are dense bushes from New Zealand that feature small leaves and small berries. Pieces range from 1-3 LI ea, materials optimized, and are mod, copy, no transfer. Available both on Marketplace as well as in-store.

New Mesh Plants and Hedges!

Additionally, both the calathea plants as well as the new Altadore bedroom set are now available on Marketplace as well!

 

Organica region now reopened, plus new releases for Home & Garden Expo!

Hi Folks,
I’ll start off with some housekeeping – It’s been a busy couple of weeks for me, moving the shop, setting up a whole new vendor system, making new content for the build as well as upcoming events…

So it’s it’s with some satisfaction that I can say Organica region is once again open. I’ve opted to stick with open and organized for the moment, some areas are still undergoing refinement, and a new store directory is in the works, but all vendors are now functioning.

I was able to port over all existing store credit from E2V to Caspervend, so you should be able to spend your remaining store credit at your leisure. There HAVE been some significant changes as the result of the vendor service swap, however:

– Gift cards are now available in L$250, L$500, L$1000 and L$2000 denominations. For other denominations, please contact me directly.
– Redeliveries are now available by clicking on any vendor and clicking on ‘Redelivery’. Please note: ALL gacha items still reside on the original gacha vendor service, which is seperate from Caspervend offerings. Fresh, updated, mod/copy gacha items are still available by rezzing your item in the exchanger circle.
– Store credit can be increased through the use of gift cards. It will no longer accrue by the purchase.
– A permanent 5% discount WILL be applied to your account (and credited back at time of purchase) after a minimum of L$5000 in purchases has been accrued. Additional discount tiers may or may not exist 😉 ( Customer Rewards Program )
– Because they do not share the same vendor service, all gacha items are exempt from the customer rewards program.

Organica is now set up at Home & Garden Expo (a day early even… woot!) with a few new releases!

Organica region now reopened, plus new releases for Home & Garden Expo! Organica region now reopened, plus new releases for Home & Garden Expo!

The Altadore Bedroom set includes bed, nightstand, drapes, lamp, rug and chest of drawers. The bed includes single and couple animations, the nightstand and chest have drawers which open/close, the lamp turns on/off on click.  Pick up the classy and conservative Charcoal edition or the sassy and creative RFL edition! 1-8 LI, Mod, copy, no transfer, with some copy-only scripts.

Organica region now reopened, plus new releases for Home & Garden Expo!

These new raised grow boxes have been serving me well in terms of display and they would work well in anyone’s back yard, whether you intend to use them for vegetables or any other sort of plant material. 1 LI ea, mod, copy, no transfer.

Organica region now reopened, plus new releases for Home & Garden Expo!

Calatheas are stunning tropical plants with a great degree of variety. I’ve chosen a small sampling for this first pack – please let me know if there are particular calatheas you’d also like to see. I tried to keep this initial pack small just to start, but may be open to offering more.

Each of these mesh plants are 1 LI each and they are mod, copy, no transfer.

These two RFL exclusives are also available – ONLY for Relay for Life events, so do be sure to pick them up while you can!

These new items are available at Home Expo  for the duration of the event, then most will make their way back to the main store and Marketplace!

Organica may be found at Home Expo 3 region this year. Home & Garden Expo runs May 19 from 8AM SLT thru June 2 at 12AM, SLT. Do drop by and say hi!

 

The Sale is On!

As I touched on last week, Organica, Wilds of Organica and Akimeta stores on Organica region are now participating in a 25%-off sale across the board (with the exception of gacha machines)!

The sale will proceed until May 5, after which the region will be temporarily closed in order to facilitate a vendor system switch-over and to reassess existing offerings.

Just a reminder – Some older items will be retired from active display (to be made available only on the SL Marketplace) and other items will be removed from the Marketplace entirely.

Drop by today to take advantage of the discount and be sure to check the credit terminal (indicated below) to see how much credit you can apply to your purchases.

The Sale is On!

You can use your credit on any non-gacha purchase from Organica or Wilds of Organica by left-clicking the vendor and clicking ‘Use Credit’. You will be asked how much credit you want to use and any remaining balance will need to be paid before the vendor will dispense the item.

Click here for a direct SLURL to Organica Region!


On an unrelated note outside of the sale, Organica will be appearing at the SL Home and Garden Expo, beginning May 19th. Please keep an eye on this blog for new releases, which will make their debut there!

In the mean time, I’ll continue to document my process and development here on the blog on a weekly basis.


If you enjoy what I’m doing here or think someone else might also find it of use, please feel free to share this blog with them. If you’d like to keep up to date with posts, the RSS for this blog is here, I can also be found on Twitter and Plurk. The Discord server is here.

If you really like my stuff, perhaps consider donating to my Patreon? Your continued support helps to produce weekly content (written, modelled, animated or otherwise) and helps to keep original content creation in Second Life!

Thanks for your support!

Vendor Changes, Gift Card and Loyalty Credit, and SALE!

By now, some of you may have heard that a fairly major vendor service is closing its doors. On April 11, DavidThomas Scorbal announced, to existing E2V customers, that the service would be closing on May 31.

Organica, Wilds of Organica, Kitheres, and Akimeta have all been running on this system for years and it’s with significant reluctance that I undertake any move to another system. Nonetheless, in order to continue offering perks such as gift cards and loyalty points, this is something that I’ll need to do.

What does this mean for Gift-card and Loyalty point-holders?

First off, ALL gift card holders MUST expend their credits by May 5. I cannot guarantee that any remaining credit under the E2V system will transfer to the new vendor system, although I will ascertain who has what upon close.

Secondly, as of current accounting, Organica and Wilds of Organica customers have amassed a non-trivial amount of store credit from the Loyalty program. Several hundred of you have at least L$100 or more! Please come use up your credits before they expire(Also May 5)! Again, I cannot guarantee that any of these store credits will transfer to the new system, so drop by soon!

You can check your remaining credit by visiting the shop and clicking on this kiosk graphic on-site:

Vendor Changes, Gift Card and Loyalty Credit,  and SALE!

To apply store credit to a purchase, *left* click the vendor you’d like to purchase from, then choose ‘Use Credit’ and follow the instructions from there.

Additionally:

The need to switch over to a new system is also a great opportunity for me to take some time to shelve old material and to revisit the store layout, which I have been meaning to do for the better part of a year.

What this means to you is that, starting from April 25th thru May 5 2018, ALL items being sold from Organica, Wilds of Organica and Akimeta (excluding gacha vendors) will be on sale at a 25% discount, to help prepare for an extensive shutdown and switch-over to the new vendor system.

Once the sale concludes, the sim will be temporarily closed to help finalize the vendor switch-over. Purchases can still be made on the Marketplace as normal.

Yes, this means some items will be retired from active sale. While they’ll still be available on the Marketplace (and Yes, I’ll still be able to rez things upon request for viewing), this will be your last opportunity to check out everything rezzed in one place. There will also be some selected old material, which at this point is currently MP-only, that will be removed from the Marketplace entirely.

I’ll send out an updated sale notice as we near the event! Please keep your eyes and ears open either via this blog or the in-world subscribers or via the Wilds of Organica group.

Upcoming Events:

Bloom – April 16 thru 30 – Check out my new release for this event!

Fantasy Faire – April 19-29 – Blog post coming soon!

Home & Garden Expo – May 19

 

Bloom 2018 – New release!

Prism Events’ Bloom event begins April 15 and runs thru to the 30th –

From the creators of Tannenbaum and Salem, Prism Events brings you Bloom.

Rich in flora, fauna and foliage, Bloom warmly welcomes spring with over 100 vendors and 2 ways to shop!

Stroll through Bloom’s Springtime Market and connect with artisans across the grid, selling seasonal goods. Or try your luck in the Gacha Grove!

Bloom opens on April 15th and promises to be a wonderful shopping experience, sure to put a spring in your step!

and just to give you a sneak peek, I thought I’d let you know about this new release ahead of time!

Bloom 2018 - New release! Bloom 2018 - New release! Bloom 2018 - New release!

These are slightly oversized armchairs intended for both singles and couples seating.  They are 4LI each and feature 7 single animations and 4 couples animations. They are mod, copy, no transfer. Best viewed with Advanced Lighting turned on!

Check these and many other new spring-themed items out at Bloom, starting on Sunday!

Cochrane – Rustic kitchen island with accessories

New this week is a new addition to the kitchen department!

Cochrane - Rustic kitchen island with accessories

This decor item includes a rustic wood island great for every-day food prep. It comes with various accessories suitable for any modern kitchen! There are 15 pieces total, packaged as a coalesced whole and some items can be de-linked where desired.

All items are mod, copy, no transfer and many are materials-optimized.

Drop by the main store in Organica Sim or visit the Organica Marketplace store to pick this up!

Fresh Cut Roses

Right in time for Valentines Day, these fresh-cut roses are now available in-store and on Marketplace and they are great for both buying for yourself or gifting to others!

Mod, copy, no transfer. To gift, left-click the vendor and choose the ‘gift’ option (or buy on Marketplace).


If you like what you see but don’t think it’s quite right for you, perhaps consider donating to my Patreon? Your continued support helps to produce weekly content (written, modelled, animated or otherwise) and helps to keep original content creation in Second Life!

New Flowers this week at Organica!

This week, we turn to Spring! Sorta.

New Flowers this week at Organica!

It’s still pretty solidly winter here in Canada, so I figured we could use some flowers to brighten things up.

This week, you can pick up one or more gerbera varieties in store or on the Marketplace!

2LI at packaged size, these flowering plants feature vibrant colours and detailed materials – perfect for any outdoor garden! Pick ’em up now seperately or as a fatpack!


If you like what you see but don’t think it’s quite right for you, perhaps consider donating to my Patreon? Your continued support helps to produce weekly content (written, modelled, animated or otherwise) and helps to keep original content creation in Second Life!

Willow Tree Process (Part 4) – Rigging and animating

A small amount of downtime over the past couple of days has given me the opportunity to move forward with my Animesh Willow experiment.

At this point, I have to mention that this is all it is – an experiment. In the course of playing with animating a tree, I ran in to a number of hurdles which I’ll have to consider whether I want to get around before any possible release. (I’ll go in to these a little later).

From the hint that animesh might be a thing, I’d been thinking about using it for more efficient modelling of animated vegetation. Willows are the most obvious candidate for me, since I’ve long avoided creating more.

Original solutions for willows have historically included flexiprims and while these may still prove useful, I wanted to see what I could come up with that wouldn’t be so taxing on the viewer. The opportunity to create something that isn’t so heavily dependant on SL wind is also promising.

My willow tree armature required  some significant modification of the default Bento avatar armature.

Willow Tree Process (Part 4) - Rigging and animating

Currently, Avastar allows a user to select and move bone joints for either the blue/purple SL armature or green Control Bones in edit mode, then to align them to their counterparts. This is what I did and (so far) I haven’t needed to adjust any of the parenting for this rig.

I opted not to make use of the lower limbs (for now) because doing so can present some orientation issues due to how bones are parented. If i need to in the future, I may put in more time to figure this out, but in this particular use case, I chose to just use the bones from torso up, arms, hands, wings, neck and head (no face), simply because these would handle the geometry sufficiently.

The result is, in a very general sense, positive.

Willow Tree Process (Part 4) - Rigging and animating

For the most part, the trunk was parented to bones which are logically closer to the middle of the skeleton. So it got torso, chest, collarbones, upper, lower arm, neck, head, etc. Most of the fingers got assigned to equidistant areas around the trunk for foliage.

In hindsight, I would probably rig and model concurrently. Because there was a significant amount of foliage geometry mixed together, selecting appropriate foliage and assigning it to its nearest bone was a bit tedious. Doing this a bit at a time to ensure proper movement would have been the better way to go.

Willow Tree Process (Part 4) - Rigging and animating

Fortunately, Avastar offers a means of checking for unweighted verts, so this process was made a bit easier as a result.

Weighting was undertaken mostly using the weight painting brush, but occasionally I would also hold down Ctrl while making my brush strokes to create a gradient of weights for my selected vertices.

Because there were so many vertices in relatively close proximity, I selected the bones I wanted in weight-painting mode, then hit ‘V’ to show vertices. I then selected the vertices I wanted to paint (rather than painting on everything)  and brushed on only the areas highlighted by the selected vertices.

Animating the tree:

Once all of the vertices in the geometry were assigned, it was time to try some basic animation. So far, I’ve just put together a basic sway animation as a test case, but I may continue to create a variety of other animations the tree can play on command.

Willow Tree Process (Part 4) - Rigging and animating

In order to create an animation, I split off a window pane in Blender and switch it to ‘Dope Sheet’ view. This gives me a frame-by-frame listing of bones for which location and/or rotation* has changed, over time (in frames). There are other more detailed and useful views you can use for animation, but this is the most basic view you’ll need right away.

(* Scale changes are ignored by SL, both on the armature and animation side.)

The Dopesheet operates mostly from left to right, although it does list off bones which have been weighted, on the left hand side as ‘channels’. When a bone is selected in 3D view, the appropriate channel will highlight in the Dopesheet view. On the flipside, you can also left-click the name of the bone in Dopesheet view to select the bone in 3D view.

To animate, we need to ‘keyframe’ a set of changes in rotation and/or location and have Blender interpolate these transitions from keyframe to keyframe. In this case, the chief translations we need to make will be rotational.

Willow Tree Process (Part 4) - Rigging and animating

To begin, I select every bone in the armature and keyframe the current rotation as a keyframe (Hotkey I, select ‘Rotation’). This will be my starting frame.

Next, we need to create the second position for the appropriate bones. Since I am only moving the hanging foliage, I select the appropriate bones (mostly just finger bones) and rotate them in the general direction I want.

Willow Tree Process (Part 4) - Rigging and animating

Then, since I just want to test and loop motion between these two keyframes, I select all of the points from the first keyframe, duplicate them and move them to where I want my end frame to go, allowing the animation to seamlessly move from the last frame to the first when it loops.

Willow Tree Process (Part 4) - Rigging and animating

 

Next, we need to define our export settings to convert these keyframes to a full blown animation that can be used in Second Life.

Willow Tree Process (Part 4) - Rigging and animating

Of note: Normally, frames per second (FPS) is set around 24. This particular animation has been slowed down significantly such that only two frames play per second, for a much more subtle effect. This can be played with depending on application – sometimes I will tinker with this to speed up or slow down walk-loops for avatars.

By default, I export .ANIM files instead of .BVH files – I don’t play much with the system morphs that come with .BVH and in this case, such morphs (system avatar-based facial expressions, hand gestures) are not applicable to this sort of content.

Once I have defined the start and end frame for the animation as well as the start and end frame for the loop (not always the same!), I click ‘Export: AvatarAction’ and save it with an appropriate file name.

In-world, I enable my willow as an ‘Animated Mesh’ object and drop the animation in to the mesh. Some additional scripts are needed to make use of this animation – some sample scripts to get you started can be found on the Animesh regions on ADITI grid currently. Hopefully we’ll see some more sample scripts on the wiki soon too.

The result:

Willow Tree Process (Part 4) - Rigging and animating

Current downsides:

  • Animesh currently can’t be resized. They make use of the armature, where the size is defined upon upload. It may be necessary to create several different sizes for variety and, depending on application, special attention to scaled animations may be necessary as well.
  • Transparent textures placed upon Animesh-enabled geometry currently do not cast a correct shadow.
  • Base 200LI – this is likely to change for the better. Vir Linden has always maintained that the current 200LI base is boilerplate and mainly intended to be more restrictive than the ultimate release. Once I have a better idea of base cost, I’ll have a better idea of whether I’d like to move ahead with further LOD optimization and more detailed animations.

So for now, this willow will be on my backburner until we have more info from the weekly content creation meetings (Thursdays at 1PM SLT, Animesh 4 region on ADITI grid).

In any case, I wish you all a very Happy New Year!

I’ve had the fortune of being able to pick up more work in the past year and also the opportunity to present my thoughts and new releases with you lately here on the blog – I’m really looking forward to keeping the ball rolling in the coming year and hope to have more to share with you soon!


If you found this or any other of my articles helpful, please consider becoming a Patron! Doing so supports further articles of this kind and my content creation in general.  Alternatively, if you like the sorts of things that I make for Second Life, drop by my Marketplace listing or my in-world stores and check out what I have to offer!

Unless otherwise noted, I (Aki Shichiroji) and this blog are not sponsored in any way. My thoughts are my own and not indicative of endorsement by any associated or discussed product/service/company.