Posts Tagged 'trees'

Kohelet

Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity.
What profit has a woman of all her labor which she takes under the sun?
Ecclesiastes/Kohelet 1.2-3

So, perhaps you remember my garden? Remember my project leader J??? Remember how J always ultimately undoes my garden? *smile* Whether by making me pull the plants, or by removing the region or by returning them to my lost and found, J has a way of reminding me that all is vanity, nothing lasts. Funny, I never pegged J as a traditionalist, but this IS the season when we read Kohelet. And this is the season when J has yet again begun to remove my gardens, my trees, my work.

“Your object ‘Weeping Cherry Tree’ has been returned to your inventory lost and found folder by J from parcel ‘Room A’ at Room A 42, 242
Your 7 objects have been returned to your inventory lost and found folder by J near parcel ‘Room A’ at Room A 3, 179.
Your 4 objects have been returned to your inventory lost and found folder by J near parcel ‘Room A’ at Room A 2, 221.
Your 8 objects have been returned to your inventory lost and found folder by J near parcel ‘Room A’ at Room A 61, 249 due to parcel owner return.”

Sigh. Mene mene tekel upharsin. My trees have been weighed in the balance and found wanting. Maybe if I’d learned to make better shadows? /me mutters several things under my breath that I’d prefer not to have overheard. *grin* Okay. Everytime J does this to me, she ultimately finds a better project for me. Or gives me a garden of my own in which to play. So I’m going to hope for the best here. And remember that I not only have my own region elsewhere, but I actually have my own opensim grid.

BUT. On one thing I stand firm: Touch my ducks, J, and you will be very very very sorry. 🙂 After all – YOU are the one who insisted on arming me. *grin*

4Q09

As most of you know, I spent a good part of the 4th quarter working on landscaping a major project. I wish I were a better photographer. I wish I could show you everyone else’s work. I really REALLY wish I could bring you all into my world so you could experience it yourselves. The folk who built that world did an amazing job. But you will have to make do with my pictures and you will have to trust me as to the rest. Perhaps sometime photos will be released and I can direct you there.

My first assignment (after the team song) you might remember was to landscape an island overnight. I’ve already posted about that and Dale riding to be my companion in creation. I did not have my full inventory of textures at that point so I did go back at a later date and add to it. Please note the ducks. *grin* You will know you are at an authentic Ahuva build when there are ducks in the water. I learned a lot on this, as I did on everything I attempted on this project. I am quite pleased with the rocks in the water. They were one of my first attempts at creating my own texture. Yes, I see areas now where they could be improved, but as a beginning effort, they are not that bad. The chairs and table were already posted, but you can see the overall effect now. This was to be a garden social area – for relaxed meetings and a place for conversation. I had a lot of fun working with rocks. Actually, I always have a lot of fun shaping and placing rocks. And yes – I really do place every rock and plant individually and turn and rotate each one. I almost never take groups and repeat them.

We tried to make every place interesting as we figured newbies would end up all over the world – whether intentionally or not. *grin* We had many interesting sites under the water but alas – most were not my build and so I can’t show them to you here. I can tell you that the ruins and the diner were big hits. I added some benches and a tree in case anyone found themselves lost and in need of a rest as they tried to find their way back to the main action.

There were many big open spaces. There was one that I nicknamed The Great Lawn. There was another area that I thought of as the Lesser Meadow. That is what you see here. The Lesser Meadow inspired me to figure out a way to have meadow flowers. Okay – this is an area where I did indeed make clumps of flowers and copy the clumps. But uneven ground forces you to place each clump somewhat differently. I’m not sure that I like realistic terraforming anymore. *grin* I didn’t want to cram every inch with flora – life doesn’t work that way. Also, there were some nice views – I didn’t want trees blocking the sight lines. I tried throughout to balance small clumps of flowers, as you might find in rocky terrain, with larger groves of trees.

We had what we called the House of Wonders. A phenomenal build. It was intended to help people master SL keyboard and camera skills. I had the job of landscaping the outside. Again, I did not want to do monumental landscaping. The building and its patio spoke for themselves. I reused the meadow flowers. They are even MORE annoying to place on a sloping hillside, trust me. I created the benches, thinking of Greek antiquities and relics. Somehow the cool white and simplicity seemed in place with the steep mountain. Likewise just the scattered rocks and a few weeping cherry trees. When the trees were still allowed to be flexi (let’s NOT revisit that horrible decision), I imagined the sea breeze blowing up the hillside, rustling the tree limbs and the flowers.

To the side of one of the major theaters was some lawn and then a sharp drop to the sea. The theater itself was very reminiscent of Greek amphitheaters or a Maxfield Parrish picture. It made me think of romance and myth. I decided that a rowan grove was appropriate. The rowan tree has been considered magical by many cultures. Celtic tradition held that a rowan tree could offer protection against evil spirits. We all know that our computers are prone to attack by malicious malignant spirits. I did what I could to assure the success of this build. I’m not sure what my teammates would think if they knew my reasoning, but it’s too late now. The grove is planted. AND to the best of MY knowledge – all the presentations in THAT theater went well. So there, too.

This landscaping was my absolute favorite of the project. The build itself underwent several texture changes. It was originally wood, then stone and finally copper. The copper was perfect. I love copper. I have a lot of it in my fl home. Once the structures went to copper, I knew exactly what I wanted planted: fire. I wanted flowers on fire. Red. Orange. Yellow. My favorite colors for flowers. I took time with this but it went very quickly because I was so in love with it. You may not like it, but for me – this may be the best landscaping I’ve done, as far as suiting the environment and the colors. I KNOW that it was a good job because my project leader, who very rarely had any comments, actually said “This is nice”. /me closes eyes briefly in pain at “nice”. But the point was that it was worth comment. *grin* You have to learn to read between the silence.

There was much more. I’ve tried to show you the areas that were special to me in one way or another. Or, How I Spent My Autumn Vacation. *grin*

Building 101

my working nurserySo. I’ve been building. Wow. There’s a lot more to this building stuff than just rezzing a box. As I mentioned a few posts ago, I have joined the Impossible Missions Force. *grin* The Incredible Metaverse Force? The Intrepid Magicians Force? Actually, our mission is not impossible at all – there are some absolutely amazing builders/scripters on this team (present company excluded) It’s just that I keep hearing the IMF theme song playing in my head as I login to face that day’s “mission”. I rather doubt I need to worry about being captured or killed in the line of duty, but I do wonder why they were never warned of death by exhaustion and lack of sleep. *grin* I wonder if this post will self-destruct in 5 seconds?

My 2nd tree - the small chestnutI whined to you about the textures. I can’t do that anymore. I have been supplied with some magnificent textures. It’s up to me to do them justice. I started with the landscaping assignment. (Technically my first challenge was the scrum song but, sigh, no one actually wanted those results. Bigger sigh. You and I – we did SUCH a great job on those songs.) Anyway, landscaping that island went well. I was asked to make trees. Sculpty trees. I have never worked with sculpty anythings before. weeping willowSo, back to my good friend and unofficial mentor, Honour. HELP! 🙂 Crash course in tree building. Here is something that I suspect many of you will not believe or understand. I have GREAT difficulty in visualizing 3D. I know SL gives us arrows, etc. Sometimes I understand and the object moves as I suspect it will. But mostly – it is totally hit or miss. If I am not in the groove – I can over shoot my target repeatedly for 10 minutes or more. The mega rowanI just can’t SEE it. I can only see one dimension at a time. So sometimes building is incredibly frustrating. Editing is frustrating. Believe me when I say that building a 3D object is a major challenge to me visually, not just creatively and technically. So I built a tree, a weeping Japanese cherry, under Honour’s eye. Because SOMEONE needed to be able to see. *Grin*. It was not bad (you can see it front and center in the first picture above). I showed my tree. It passed El Exigente’s approval. *grin* So – the verdict was delivered: build more trees. my 3rd tree - the oakGulp. I foolishly promised 3 trees within 2 days. Tree 2, a small chestnut, was okay. Went relatively smoothly. Then, as several of you know, I was building like crazy and getting nowhere. I put up a very snarly “busy”message. Kudos to Oura here. She broke through the snarl and offered to help. She served as my eyes because I was in one of my blind to multiple dimensions states. I managed to build the frames for a weeping willow and for an oak. I got the oak done by the deadline. I had a weeping willow done. But it was “eh”. It looked good head-on, but if you camm’ed up, and looked down, oh my oh my. Anyway, I managed to get that done the DAY I said it would be done (rebuilt that foliage 4 times) but I didn’t make it by the daily team meet. So what was my reward? “Ahuva – keep building sculpty trees. And if you could do some mega-sized ones as well, that would be awesome”. Awesome. mega chestnutHow can you resist a challenge like that???? I can’t. Sigh. So, I returned to churning out trees. As you may have noticed by a prior post, *grin*, it had its ups and downs. But – I learned to build trees. I did get better. Yes – I see things that need to be fixed on the weeping willow. Yes – of course J found the one bare branch in my beautiful oak. But… I am learning, I am getting there. My mega-chestnut is, imho, beautiful. The rowan is quite spectacular, but I did have people critique it along the way. So I don’t consider it 100% “mine”. Only the mega-chestnut. That is “mine”. *grin*

ahuva's_chairsI’ve learned other things as well. That trying to build what you see in RL is not as easy as you might think, no matter how simple the form appears. I took a picture of a chair that I thought would be perfect for the first island, a social gathering space. I did indeed build something very close. Ahuva-built garden furnitureThanks to PatriciaAnne for advice about the arms. I actually stumbled on one answer as she was responding, but she saved me much time by explaining the other issue. *grin* Love you, PatriciaAnne!!! I also learned that it really makes a difference where you put the root prim. 🙂

How it looked it edit modeBadges. LOL. I am making handouts and freebies for the people, too. I am not just a gardener anymore. I worked on a conference badge. It’s not that easy to make a shape that fits about a neck. Just think on that a bit. It must curve and bend and shape. It must be a tortured prim or a sculpti. Yes – I got help learning how to do that too. *grin* But I was extremely pleased with it. I figured out the textures all myself – got the logo on the lanyard, oriented correctly. 🙂 Then I wore the badge. Edited it to position it properly. Looked fine. Came out of edit and…. oh wow. I must not have SAVED my changes??? The badge went flying through my shoulder, instead of staying positioned in front. Repeat the edit, looked fine, come out. Repeat the badge through my shoulder. how it looked when my AO took overI sat and stared. And watch as the badge MOVED. ROFLMAO. I was trying to be clever. MANY items get attached to the chest of the avatar. I wanted to put the badge someplace it wouldn’t interfere, in case the people were wearing an attachment. So I attached it to …….. my nose. *giggle* Which was fine til my AO moved my avatar’s nose. The badge followed the nose. LOL. Okay, that just wasn’t going to work. At the moment – the badge is attached to the chest. *grin* I’m hoping that will be okay for most folks. It’s those little things that get you. The kind of thing that once you “know”, you never do again. But if you don’t know, it can be quite baffling.

shadowsJust for good measure, while I was still struggling with “more sculpty trees”, I was told to add shadows for realism. I had never seen/done a shadow. I got that it was a texture, but, confession: I have been really bad at making my own textures. I spent hours figuring out how to do an alpha texture of just TEXT!!!! It can’t get any simpler than that. Sometimes I really wonder if I should have stuck to scripting. Anyway, I was up til 12:30 am the other night struggling with 2 sculpty trees (hence my Apology to Joyce Kilmer. That post has a subtitle but I suspect my life is forfeit if I print that.) I woke at 4:30am to continue working. I made 2 shadows. Look – they might not be the best shadows. But they are mine. I made them. By myself. one good, one not so good shadowBy the meeting deadline. In the picture that shows trees with shadows – the shadow on the right foreground is not mine – was given to me by a teammate. The shadow on the left distance is one of mine, layered and copied. You can see that my shadows have a way to go. But, I AM doing this. I may not be the best and there might be flaws, but I am making my deadlines and meeting my commitments. I am doing the best I can. It seems to be okay.

So, for your viewing pleasure, I have included here my chairs, tables, badge, shadows and some trees. Happy Trees to you, until we meet again!

Apologies to Joyce Kilmer

Building a tree
I think that I shall never see
A thing I hate as much as trees.
I used to love them, this is true.
But now tonight I build and rue
The day I said that I would play
At building flowers, trees all day.
I cannot quit, nor can I stop
And still my mind whirls like a top.
You’d think I’d learn, perhaps grow wise,
And not keep giving in to pride.
Poems should be the work for me.
Who thought I should be building trees?

My Day Job: Grounds Crew

birds' eye view

flower box and tree2Sigh. I don’t seem to have much luck with gardening for work. J gives with one hand, takes with the other. A few weeks ago I mentioned she gave me a sandbox, flowers, plants, EVERYTHING and told me to go plant. And I did. I will make this painful and sad story very short: J told me she had to take pillars2down that sim. In other words – bye, bye garden. LOL. Can you believe it????? Okay, J was totally apologetic and sorry. But still – yet another garden bit the virtual dust. This is a bit better than the first time – at least if she brings back the sim my garden will come back too.

lecternDo you read Charles Schultz’s comic strip “Peanuts”? Do you remember how Lucy will hold the football for Charlie Brown to kick? How she always PROMISES that THIS time she won’t pull the ball away? But she does. Every time. Yet Charlie Brown falls for it everytime. J went and found me a landscaping job in our virtual world. *grin* Yep, she volunteered me out to another group to landscape THEIR sim. Oh my goodness – I fell for it. They said they would love to have me landscape, I was delighted to have the opportunity. I said yes. Start the betting pool NOW, folks. How many weeks til J comes to me and says regretfully – Um, Ahuva, I’m so sorry to tell you this, but, your gardens have to go. LOL. I’m starting the betting at 4 weeks. 🙂

pillars and plantersAnyway, I have been landscaping a sim where technical meetings are held. It is a monumental build: huge 20 meter columns. Very formal – marble, columns, stark. I started off just putting some flowers at the lectern and trying to get some flower boxes and greenery up. I wanted to get something done quickly so that my client would know that I was serious about working on her sim. (The picture at the top of this blog is how the build looks at the end of today. The next 3 pictures are the first pass at landscaping.) The first flower box has something I called fire tulips (when I was given them they were called “object”, so I figure “fire tulips” is an improvement. *grin*) and yellow lilies. I used red lilies at the lectern.

close upI knew that those columns were crying out for climbing vines, however. At first I thought that I would create a texture that combined the marble and roses and I would re-texture the columns. There were a few problems with that idea. First, the columns were locked – I needed J to give me the column and she was busy. Secondly, the roses would have been flat against the pillars. Both Honour and Hell suggested building a cylinder to encase the existing columns and to put the roses on that cylinder. I did one pass that way but I used too many repeats of the texture. On further discussion with Honour, I redid the cylinder – only one vertical and horizontal repeat. The encasing cylinder is actually 3 linked cylinders. As I placed the climbing roses, I could rotate the cylinder vertically so that the texture would vary. I also rotated the cylinder horizontally so that each pillar has a different look. I’m quite pleased with the final result. I hope you are also.

peering thru the pillarThe pillars have signs on them. I wanted flowers there as well. Now one thing I learned from J was that it’s not really the quantity of prims that I use – it’s more that fact that I use so many different textures. So I have tried to use the same textures in this build, but modify them so that they look somewhat different. This is probably totally obvious to all you REAL builders out there but I was pleasantly surprised to “think up” the idea of copying and stretching the textures in a given plant and so changing the look that way: number of prims, rotation, size. I was a little stumped at first about the hanging baskets – I couldn’t figure out how to drape the flowers over the top and down the front. Honour to the rescue again. She pointed out that I should use a different style basket and the plants could grow from the basket itself. So the hanging baskets are more cascading roses, daisies and bacopa.

hanging basketI was having a very stressful day at work last week. *grin* Nothing awful – just LOTS of it. So at lunch I retreated to my virtual garden and created a second flower box. It was so amazingly soothing and fun to do. 🙂 I made this one larger than the first. I felt more yellow was needed. I love yellow in a garden – so bright and cheerful. So this flowerbox is yellow lilies and daisies.

Guest lecturerOnce the climbing roses were up, I didn’t like the look of the trees between the columns. The green was too dull. And there was too much vertical-ity, if there is such a word. So I consulted with Honour, my landscaping mentor, and pulled the trees and moved the flower boxes. I think that tomorrow I will send a note to my client, asking her to take a look. I’ll be happy to add more flowers – I’d love to stuff the whole platform with multitudes of different colored flowers. But I figure my purpose here was to enhance the meeting area, not steal attention from the presenters. I’m very interested in my client’s feedback.

Oh, and of course….. I’m waiting to hear when I lose THIS garden!! *grin*

Election Night ’08

So last night I was hanging about inworld, listening to RL news about the election results. I was by myself, thinking about landscaping, planting some big trees. Darcey logged on and I invited her to join me. She tp’d in and we planted another tree. Then we decided we’d worked hard enough so we changed into our suits, stretched out in relaxation chairs, poured ourselves some iced lemonade and listened to the waves and the sea gulls. Oh- maybe I should tell you where we were? 🙂 We were hanging out at MY house. 🙂 That’s right – I now own land. With a house. With 3 trees. LOL. With WATER!!! But no ducks yet. That stupid work sim is holding my ducks hostage. 😦 I’m going to have to login there today and WEAR a duck and hope that I can smuggle it out that way!

But in the meantime – here are Darcey and I enjoying my new Home Sweet Home! Notice that I’ve not really figured out how to landscape. Although after we’d sat there awhile I realized the shore line was a little too stark for my comfort and I didn’t want to burn. 🙂 So I rezzed some palm trees and banana plants.
sunbathing-beautiesin-the-shade-of-the-palmhome-sweet-home

Details

Love and Sex are the 2 big draws in SL blogging (maybe in all blogging). 🙂 I’m busy landscaping. But if you want the serious conversation, go to Bailey’s blog. She’s talking about lying and sex and love. 🙂

It’s the attention to details that makes SL such a wonderful place to inhabit. After days and days of planting flowers and trees and landscaping, that fact has been driven home. I’ve been having fun and learning a lot. I’ve been learning about rezzing objects, moving objects, stretching, shrinking and rotating objects. I’ve learned that I am a bit obsessive and compulsive about my work. 🙂 Maybe some of you knew that already. I cannot walk away and leave the plant as it rezzed. I NEED to tweak it. I need to scatter the placements so that the plants are not in a straight line. I rotate each plant slightly to different angles so that the tops have a more natural look. I change the size of each one – some larger, some smaller. It takes me forever. But I can’t not do it. I tried to simply put a bunch of flowers in and walk away. I couldn’t do that. I HAD to make tiny adjustments to each one to differentiate it.

I have finally finished with the 6 flower beds. Now I’m making my way along the river. Ahuva Appleseed!!! 🙂 I am planting weeping willows and weeping crab apple trees. I have cattails for along the shore. I have rocks to size and move and pile. I have weedy water plants along the shore (hey – maybe some lily pads????). Thank goodness there are some other people doing some landscaping as well, because at the rate I’m going, I’ll be done sometime in the spring of 2009. 🙂 And the conference is next week. But trees and shoreline go much faster than tailored flower beds. Less tweaking is needed. Large open space is acceptable. But even so – I am compelled to fill in spaces with little touches of color or rocks. I went in this morning to take some pictures for this blog and I see that J and J have been very busy planting trees. And you know what – it looks great! Obviously they understand the macro view and are not obsessing about tweaking each leaf. There are trees all over. I couldn’t help but notice, however, that they all look the same………. Bad, Ahuva!!! Get with the BIG picture!!!! 🙂

I am sure that there are still more tricks to this than I have grasped. I have learned to group objects to copy but I’m not very good at it and I still feel compelled to change them. I’ve learned to flip plants in the middle of a group of plants in order to change the look and feel even though the individual flipped plant doesn’t show. There are things that happen when I try to move a plant or rotate it that I don’t know why they happen or how to stop them (note: these are not “good” things that happen LOL). I definitely need to get a building lesson (Hey Bailey – I’m going to take you up on your offer) and I need to learn about textures.

It would have been easier perhaps if I’d had more time to learn the nuances before the conference. LOL But I didn’t know that I was going to jump under that particular bus. 🙂 It will be quite a relief when the conference has begun and I am done with this pressure to plant, plant, plant (that’s pressure applied by me to myself, by the way – no one else is “making me” do anything). I miss my life – both RL and SL life. I dream about this project. I think about it most of the time. LOL. I wish I could pull a Tom Sawyer and get someone else to logon as me and do some planting! I can’t wait til I can kick back, put my feet up, go into SL and NOT feel obliged to head to the work sim and plant. 🙂 Soon, soon. And yet – I am so grateful that I am having this experience. It is great.

So there are many many many places in SL where the builders and creators get all the details right. The pictures in this post come from the library at Midsomer Island. If you go back and look at the picture of Darcey stretched out on the floor reading, you will see one black kitty sitting there watching you, and one black kitty reading its own book. But there is a third black kitty – a naughty black kitty sitting on the shelf, trying to catch itself a fish! I stood one night for awhile and watched her play.


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