Showing posts with label Art. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Art. Show all posts

Lusus-art Rooms Exhibition at SL19B


As every Second Life resident will know, the 19th birthday celebrations have begun, and this year I've been granted exhibition space. After over 15 years in Second Life, I've finally got round to participating. Although the theme for SL19B is steampunk, because I work slowly (and procrastinate a lot), I went with my already mostly built project called Rooms.

What Is Rooms?

The basic idea behind the project I've named Rooms, was to look at space in a 3D environment, see how different it is from space in the real world, and see how it can be manipulated. Add to this the ability within Second Life to create 360 degree panoramas and that is the template for Rooms. Click on the images in Rooms to see how these two facets work together.
Like many people in Second Life who like to explore its potential for art I've previously uploaded images I've created, added them to prims and exhibited them at parcels that call themselves galleries. This is fine in itself, but I became increasingly uneasy with the suspension of disbelief this involves. 
Part of the solution I've began to explore is to create an environment where images are not the sole focus, but are an integral part of the whole. No gallery, no person effectively roleplaying as a gallery owner and no person roleplaying as a curator.The upshot of this instead is to utilise the nature of the virtual world of Second Life as the medium.
This short video gives an idea of what to expect when visiting Rooms.


When arriving at Rooms, you'll see there is plenty to engage with. Click on each image and follow the link to enlarge them. Also, each window has two buttons. The red button changes the scene through the window, and the blue seamlessly scrolls the view. (Some observant visitors may recognise the sims used to create the scenes).

There is another button by the sleeping cat. Click this to rez a transparent platform over the gap. Standing on the platform allows visitors to create their own 360 degree panorama images if they want, or to use it as a place to take standard pics. (Just a quick heads up - stitching the images to create the 360 degree panorama from this build can be a little tricky. Hugin is the best software to use. Start with a HFOV setting of 85 or so and go from there. See this tutorial for more info). The platform is also a good vantage point to grab your avatar with the cursor and drag it around for a cool 360 degree view. Keep in mind however, that the platform deletes itself after 10 minutes.

One more set of buttons, under the cat clock will rez a female or male ball that contains wall walkers. Once the ball is rezzed, hop on it and walk anywhere within all three rooms. Using mouseview with the wall walker is highly recommended.

Be Part Of The SL19B Celebrations

The SL19B celebrations has a huge amount to offer visitors, so if you have some time on your hands do go along and be part of whats happening. The official Flickr group has lots of images to give you a flavour of events and more, and this Second Life blog post will tell you all you need to know. To visit Rooms at SL19B hit this SLurl and enjoy. Once you arrive, hit the Teleporter to visit Rooms.

In the meantime, have fun below with the 360 degree view of Rooms. Click the square within a circle icon to view fullscreen, and click the hotspots to open images, videos, and information. 
If you like this project you can now create your own using the templates I've made available. Find out more here.
Happy birthday Second Life!

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Creating Glitch Art With Second Life Images

One of the current trends in digital art is the intentional corruption of image files to simulate interferences, or a broken image. Rather than throwing one's arms in the air in frustration at a corrupted file, glitch art embraces these errors and turns them into art. This is of course possible to do with images taken in Second Life, and if you'd like to turn your preciously refined snapshots into a different kind of art form thats all the rage, then follow this tutorial on creating glitch art with Second Life images.


To create your glitch art you will first need a snapshot saved as a BMP file and edited to your liking. Secondly you'll need to install Audacity, which can be downloaded for free by following the link. Although Audacity is an audio editing software it works well for opening BMP image files and using its features to add errors to the image.

I took the above image at The Great Fissure in Second Life, which I then cropped and tweaked a little in Gimp. Once you have downloaded Audacity follow the steps below. You can click on the pictures to see full size.

1/ Start up Audacity then select File > Import > Raw Data.

2/ Navigate to the BMP image you want to use then select Open. In the window that opens (see above), select U-Law from the first drop down menu and Little-endian from the second. Now click Import.

3/ The image will appear in Audacity as if its an audio file, and if you want you can press the play button to listen to it (it will probably sound terrible). Drag your cursor over part of the 'audio' wave (highlighted in red), avoiding the beginning as this contains important information that allows the file to be opened.

4/ Now click on the Effect menu and from the drop down list select one of the editing options. There is some trial and error here to find which of the Effects options creates distortions to the image that you like.

6/ In this example Change Pitch has been selected and in the opening window shown above I randomly played with the settings before hitting OK.

7/ Drag your cursor over another section of the 'wave' to select another part of the file, and then select another option from the Effects menu. In this example Wahwah was chosen. When you have tweaked the settings hit OK again.

8/ Select random parts of the file and then select other options from the Effects menu. Its probably best not to do this too many times to begin with, until you have an idea how the image will be affected. There will be some trial and error involved, although the whole process doesn't take too long, so creating new images from scratch if you need to isn't too time consuming.

9/ When you are ready, select File > Export and the window above will open. Name your file and give it a BMP extension, highlighted in red. Navigate to the folder where you want to save your image and click Save.

12/ If everything has gone to plan you should see a window as above. Click Yes.

13/ The above window will now appear. Click OK and your image will be saved to your PC.

This is how the image from Audacity looked when I saved it to my PC. Sometimes when you try to open the image in Window's image viewer it may not recognise the file. If this happens try opening it in Gimp or Paint and saving it again, maybe as a PNG file. Sometimes unfortunately you'll just have to start again.


Using Audacity is not the only way to create Glitch art. In fact there is an online resource at which can be used to further work on an image after exporting it from Audacity, or the website can be used by itself. The above image shows the Audacity image after being worked on further at Snorpey.

Using the website is quite intuitive. First you'll need a PNG or Jpeg image to upload (not a BMP file this time), and then its a matter of adjusting the four sliders above the image to get the result you want. There is also a Randomise button to experiment with.

Once you have finished editing the image hit the download button and then click on 'download bitmap file', to save it to your PC.

The above image shows the same subject edited entirely on  Snorkey without using Audacity. Although the website is very effective and easy to use, the end results are different to what Audacity produces, so it will be a personal choice what you use and whether you mix and match both approaches.You may also find Snorkey has a limit on uploaded file sizes.

Thats all there is to creating your own glitch art, so have fun experimenting with your Second Life snapshots and if you feel like it do share them with me online.
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Creating Animated Gifs With Second Life

In a recent post I described how to create animated gifs for Second Life and how to add them to a prim. In this follow up tutorial I will explain how animated gifs can be made using the basic features of Second Life. The results can be very similar to those created in 2D or 3D software, but will take just a fraction of the time.

What you choose to turn into an animated gif is really up to your imagination, but I have chosen to use for this example a quite simple item constructed out of a number of flattened and hollowed cubes, designed to imitate an animated gif that might be created in 2D software.

There are two principle ways of generating animated gifs in Second Life. The first is to use the lightweight and easy to use program called Gifcam. The Second is to use video capture software and Gimp with its GAP plugin.

If you need to, you can click the images here to view full size.


Gifcam is a very handy free utility that will create an animated gif from any movie or animation on your screen, and is very easy to use. You can get the software here. Once you have set up your creation in Second Life ready to turn into a gif, follow these instructions.

1/ Start up Gifcam and it should show on top of your Second Life viewer. Hold down the left mouse button and drag the edges of Gifcam's image window to frame the item you have created.


2/ Click the down arrow to the right of the Rec button and select a frame rate for your animation, (see image above).

3/  Click the Rec button to start recording your gif. Try to start and end at the same place in the animation of the object to allow smooth looping of the final gif animation. 

4/ Click the Rec button again to stop recording.

5/ Click the down arrow next to the Save button to see save options, and select what you feel is best for your gif animation. As this example is mimicking the optical illusion of flat white squares rotating I have selected Monochrome, but if you aren't sure what to select stick with Quantize.

6/ Click Save, name your gif and Gifcam will start to process your animation. Once its finished your gif will be created and saved to your hard drive. You can view it before uploading it to the web with Quicktime.

7/ If you are happy with your animated gif then you are finished, but if you feel it needs tweaking Gifcam has a few built in options.

8/ Click the down arrow next to the Rec button and select Open and load your gif animation. Now click the Edit button. A new window looking similar to the above will open. Don't worry if all the frames in your gif look green here.

9/ Using the slider to the bottom of this window you can scroll through the frames of your animation. If you want to delete some frames from the beginning scroll through to the last frame you want to delete. 

10/ Right click your mouse and from the drop down menu select Delete From This Frame To Start

11/ To delete frames from the end of the animation scroll through to the first frame you want to delete, right click on your mouse again and select Delete From This Frame To End. These two steps are a quick and easy way of ensuring your animation loops seamlessly.

12/ Now save your animation again and you are done.

Alternative Method

As you can see creating animated Gifs with Gifcam is quick and easy although there are a few downsides. The finished animation may not be as crisp as you'd like, and if you intend to add it to a prim face in Second Life this will become more obvious, since gifs tend to run slower once added as media on a prim.

The alternative method is more involved but on the whole produces better quality gif images. There are three stages to this method:
  • Capturing the animation. For this you will need video capturing software such as Fraps. Its not free but is relatively inexpensive.
  • Video converting software. You will need to convert the video captured in Fraps to an MP4 file. The best free option I have found for this is WinX Video Recorder.
  • Converting the MP4 into a gif animation. For this you will need Gimp installed, along with the GAP plugin, which can be downloaded here.

Capturing The Animation

1/ Position your camera in Second Life ready to begin capturing the animation or scene (or whatever the subject of your gif is).

2/ Start up Fraps and hit the F9 key on your keyboard to begin capturing. Press F9 again to stop recording.

3/ Your video will automatically be saved to your hard drive. You can now close Fraps.

Converting The Video

1/ Start up WinX Video Converter and then click the Video button to the top left. Navigate to where your video is located on your PC and open it. WinX should now look something like the image above.

2/ You can tweak the quality of the converted video by adjusting the slider in the smaller window. When you are ready click OK. Now hit the Run button. It shouldn't take too long for WinX to convert your video to an MP4 file.

Converting The MP4 File To An Animated Gif

1/ Start up Gimp, and assuming you have the GAP plugin installed select Video > Split Video Into Frames > Extract Videorange. A window similar to the above image should open.

2/ Click on the button to the top right and navigate to your MP4 file and open it.

3/ Click on the Video Range button and the window will extend as above. Move the slider at the top right of the window all the way to the right. If a window opens offering you the libavformat option click OK to accept.

If your MP4 is quite large it may take a while for all of the frames to be loaded, so its best to be sure they are all there before moving on. You'll be able to tell because of the number of frames. If it seems low, wait a while.

4/ Set the Audiotrack option to zero.

5/ Click the button just to the right of Basename and navigate to a folder where all the frames of the animation will be stored. Its a good idea to create a folder specifically for this before you begin.

6/ To the right of the window tick the Loop and Selection Only boxes.

7/ To the top right, just under the slider there is a window that shows the number of frames of the video. To the right of that is a button. Click it so that all the frames are selected. To the top left you should now see the From Frame box set to 1, and the To Frame box set to the last frame.

8/ Click OK.

9/ Now select Video > Frames to Image and wait whilst Gimp proceeds. When this step is complete Gimp will open a new image window and you will see each frame of the video loaded as a layer in the Layers panel.

10/ Since Fraps captures the entire screen the frames will need to be cropped. Drag the Rectangle Select Tool over the part of the image you want to keep, then select Image > Crop to Selection.

Its just as well to keep this step in mind when you're capturing the video with Fraps in Second Life, because if you zoom too closely to the scene or the object the animated gif will be too large, but if you zoom out too much it will be too small.

11/ If the frames are too large you can now scale the image by selecting Image > Scale Image.

12/ You can now view what your animated gif will look like by selecting Filters > Animation > Playback.

13/ If your animation doesn't loop seamlessly you can work out here which frames to delete by using the Step button. The area below the view window will show you what frame is presently being viewed. If this is the frame you want to start on, make a note of it. 

You can follow the same process to find the last frame you want to end with. Both the start and end frames should be a very close match in appearance for the animation to loop well. Once you know the start and end frames, you can delete the layers of the frames you want to get rid of.


14/ Your Gif animation is now ready to be exported. Select File > Export As  and name your animation with a gif extension:
A window similar to the above will open. Tick the As animation and the Loop forever boxes and then hit the Export button. It may seem as if Gimp hangs at this point, but be patient and it will get there.

Your animated gif has now been created and you can view it in Quicktime before uploading it to the web.

This is the animated gif I created using this method, and it pays to compare it to the gif created with Gifcam. Whilst the shapes are better defined here the white isn't as pure as with the Gifcam example. Also the animation is a little slower.

Adding Your Completed Gif Animation To A Prim

There are pros and cons to both these methods of creating animated gifs. Whilst the first is quick and easy, the second tends to produce a higher quality image. 

If you're not too concerned about image quality and intend to add your gif to a prim face then using Gifcam will probably suit you. However, if you want the best quality gif then using the Fraps and Gimp method is probably better. If this is what you decide then you may find you need to tweak the animation along the way. 

Since gifs can run slower in Second Life you will have to keep this in mind and be prepared to adjust things like frame rates, the delay between each frame and the size of the image. It has to be said there is a certain amount of trial and error to get an animated gif to look just right within Second Life. In the final analysis however, Second Life is a good tool for creating animated gifs, and they work very well on a webpage.

You can see a few more examples of animated gifs I created in Second Life on my other blog,

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How To Create A Droste Effect With A Second Life Image

Second Life photographers experimenting with the Droste effect is not something I have come across before so it was intriguing to see what was possible and how this technique could be applied to an image taken in SL.  Needless to say the Second Life image could be replaced with a real photo although this may involve a little more preparation for the photo used.

For this tutorial I use Gimp but it is also possible to create Droste images with Photoshop. If you prefer to use Photoshop you will need the Pixel Blender Plugin. For Gimp users you will need the Math Map Plugin.

What Is The Droste Effect?

If you are new to Droste images then a little explanation may be useful. The name Droste is taken from a Dutch Cocoa company whose packaging showed an image of a nun carrying a tray with another cocoa carton showing the nun carrying the same tray. That tray also has a carton showing the nun carrying the tray, and so on. In short, the Droste effect is an image appearing within itself again and again.

Installing The MathMap Plugin 

Before we begin to create a Droste image using Gimp you'll need to install the MathMap plugin. You can find the download link above. If you're using Windows 7 and above with Gimp 2.8 you may find that your first attempt to install the MathMap plugin was unsuccessful as it instals to a default Gimp 2.6 folder. To make sure it is installed correctly:

Download the plugin using the link above. During the instal process, change the directory from "C:\Users\your name\.gimp-2.6" to  "C:\Users\your name\.gimp-2.8". Start up Gimp and you should find the plugin under Filters > Generic > MathMap.

If after doing this MathMap still hasn't installed correctly then you can manually move the MathMap plugin files from the 2.6 plugin folder to the 2.8 plugin folder. Then move the mathmap folder to the 2.8 folder.

Creating The Droste Image

Now that the MathMap plugin is installed (hopefully without too much trouble) we can start creating a Droste image. The first thing you'll need is a good Second Life image. I took this picture at Neufreistadt - a very picturesque location and a good place for Second Life photographers to visit.

When you take your snapshot it is a good idea to make it as large as possible because the process of creating the Droste effect tends to produce a smaller finished image. The size of this picture was around 3060 X 1266 px. A wide image as above is also recommended.

1/ Open your image in Gimp and do any editing you want such as cropping etc.

2/ Right click on the image in the layers panel and select 'Add Alpha Channel' from the drop down menu.This is so we can autocrop the image later.

3/  Select Filters > Distorts > Polar Coordinates. This will open another small window as below. Make sure your settings are the same as in the image with 'Map from top' unchecked.

4/ You should see something similar to the above image in the Polar Coordinates window. Click 'OK' and then select Image > Autocrop Image.

5/ Now Select Filters > Generic > MathMap > Map > Droste (see above).

6/ You should now see a window similar to the image above. Under the User Values tab there are plenty of options to play with, but the principle sliders to create your Droste effect are the Inner Radius and Outer Radius sliders. The Periodicity slider is also useful as well as 'TilePoles' and 'DoNot FlattenTransparency'.

7/ The best way to create an image that appeals to you is to experiment. The image above shows the settings I used in this example, although as you'll discover the settings will be different for each image. Once you are happy with your image click 'OK'.

The example Droste settings shown above result in this image which I then cropped  a little and overlayed a few grunge textures just to add more character. This picture reminded of a Medieval manuscript image so one of the textures I added gave it the appearance of old creased paper. The final result of all this is the image at the top of the page.

There are a number of variables when creating Droste images and I have shown just one way of producing them. It may be that the image you used didn't suit this particular way of creating a Droste effect, and if this is the case you could try ticking the 'Map From Top' box when opening the Polar Coordinates window.

You could also try cutting a transparent hole in a section of your image to see what effect that has as well as playing with the 'StartingLevel', 'LevelFrequency' and the 'Strands' sliders in the Droste window. 

Another variable is to skip the polar coordinates step and just use the MathMap plugin - this works best when you create a transparent hole in part of the picture.

If you would like to see more of my Droste images you are very welcome to visit my gallery spaces at Timamoon Arts and the Avalon Art Centre, or you can view them on my Marketplace store, (if this link doesn't take you straight to the Droste images on the Marketplace, close the window and click on it again. There is a bug in the wires somewhere). I hope you enjoy creating your own Droste images and hopefully sharing them in Second Life.

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Rusting Flower

Rusting Flower is one of a number of digital images I created as part of a series of 3D fractals, some of which can be seen inworld at WU Gallery. Fractal imagery is quite wide spread in Second Life, but once I saw the possiblity of doing something different the temptation to experiment was too much to resist.

Like all digital art, software is need to create it, and in this case the software used was Mandelbulber, which is not entirely intuitive and can lead to something of a learning curve. The results for each person will however inevitably be unique. For more information on fractals I have written a post on my WU Gallery blog called Creating 3D Fractals With Mandelbulber. As well as explaining something about fractals there is some useful information and links about the software with an overview of how to get started for those who may want to create their own 3D fractals.

Using the Jigsaw Puzzle

Using the jigsaw puzzle couldn't be easier, simply click on each piece in turn and slide it into position. There is also a timer so you can see how quickly you can complete it. If you need more space for the puzzle simply click on the thumbnail which will take you to where jigsaw is stored.

Rusted Flower Jigsaw Puzzle

Add the Jigsaw Puzzle to Your Own Website

To add this jigsaw to your own website just copy and paste the code below to your webpage editor. This can be a good way to entertain your visitors. You can also have your own favourite Second Life images converted to jigsaw puzzles. More details here.

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