All it takes is an inspiration to post a blog. I'm not inspired every day, but usually at least once, maybe twice, a week. Today, I was inspired by House of Rfyre's new Germaine set, especially the plum color, and so, the process began. The outfit was easy, but choosing the right skin and hair can be tough. What look am I going for? After trying on about 20 skins and 10 different hairstyles, I settled on a couple of my favorites, Clawtooth hair and Tuli skin.
Then, I had to decide where to take the picture. Do I take it in my skybox and photoshop in a background or on location. I started with the skybox option, but just couldn't find a background that complemented the outfit. So, off to find a location. I tried out Mayday Island because Helena Stringer blogged it, but it just wasn't the right atmosphere for the dress. I had to try something, so, on a whim, I checked "Search" and look what I found:
Lunamaruna! And it is purple! I had to go there, it looked so cute! You have to take the shuttle up when you land on the sim. And, when you arrive, you will be surrounded by whimsy. There are flying fish, floating islands, and city streets. Once there, I flew around searching for scenery and trying to find poses that highlighted my inspirational outfit and didn't put my hands into my butt. That took at least 45 minutes to an hour just to take the pictures.
It takes multiple pictures, poses, checks, and double checks to get it right. Maybe I'm just not good at this, but it's not easy work for me. So, I took my pictures - one full outfit, one mid shot, and one close up.
Isn't this build cute! I love the hand drawn textures and the crooked buildings.
Another thing I always try to work with are windlight settings. You can do amazing things with sky color and lighting. Because the sky was part of the build, I only had to worry about lighting. The pre-made windlight settings that come with the Emerald viewer are invaluable. I used .Ana-Lu. studio6 for these pictures. It's one of my favorite because it softens shadows without being too bright.
After I've taken the pictures, I snap a picture of the worn tab in my inventory so I remember all the items for my credits. It helps if I don't manage to finish the blog right away, make the mistake of logging in using SL2.0 and find myself wearing something completely different in between taking photos and blogging.
Once I have my pictures taken, I go into Photoshop or Gimp, depending on what needs to be done. I'm much faster with Gimp and still haven't figured out alpha layers in Photoshop. Photoshop, though, has liquify, which I think works better than iwarp, and Gimp is much slower with handling brushes. I didn't feel like I needed to do much to edit these pictures. I erased a small alpha overlap with my boot and the water in the 1st picture, and that is all I did. I probably could have smoothed and rounded the edges in the close-up...hmmm...now that I look at it more, I think I need to...brb.
Here's the before - click to see a larger view if you want to compare the before and after. I took away the square edges of the boobs and shoulders, softened the edges, and erased some distorted buttons. The top actually has drawn on buttons that go all the way to the bottom, but the avatar mesh, of course, terribly warps things in certain poses.
Next, I uploaded the pictures to Flickr. I always edit my photos using Picnik and often just play around with them. I like to see how they look with a vignette and with the lomoish, ortonish, and cross-process tools. Then, I check out boost and vibrance. I'll play around with those settings until I find a combination I like. For these photos, I actually did nothing. I thought about increasing the vibrance, but when comparing the before and after, I liked the original colors better. So, I just created a 5 pixel border around the pictures and added a drop shadow.
The final step, of course, is to write it all up. I just write what's on my mind. Sometimes, I'm too tired to think and just post the pictures. In either case, I hope you enjoy reading my blog or at least looking at the pictures. What is your process for creating a blog post? Do you have any tips or tricks you'd like to share? I'd love to hear about them!
Outift: House of RFyre - Germaine Women's Plum (R)
Hair: Clawtooth: Velvet Moon - Softest Black
Skin - Tuli - Hope (goth) 06
Eyes - Curio - Rita Eyes - Purple (Medium)
Shoes - Nightshade - Victorian Heels
Blogger's Chair & Laptop from What Next