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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

WISHING YOU ALL A VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR


As we look forward to 2015 ( and some of us to having a stable internet connection again!) I am also thinking back to this time last year when we were tentatively releasing the Silver Edition of The Artiste.
Things didn't go the way that we expected and although that was initially disappointing, I now firmly believe that this was a very good thing.
During the last year, Yummy has come up with so many new innovations and the pieces that we have worked on have driven a lot of changes and improvements that I feel have made The Artiste a much tighter and more desirable product than ever before.  I am therefore looking forward to 2015 with much enthusiasm and positive energy.  In particular seeing what new users are going to come up with as they let their imaginations run riot and how that will help define The Artiste as the premier performance (and production) assistant in SL.

So I raise a glass to:

Yummy for her clear sighted vision, genius and razor-sharp wit
Thad for helping shape our work into some beautiful videos that have been much admired
MJ and Nancy for joining us in the campaign with such enthusiasm and creativity
Kat for taking up our banner and waving it proudly in her blogs

And also to all those who have purchased TPT products and are already incorporating them into
their productions..(including those of you with orders pending!)

I look forward to meeting our new "Artistes" and may you all have a Joyous and Prosperous New Year.


Aura

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Introducing the Artiste Smart Curtain


Watch the video: ==> The Artiste Smart-Curtain


"Ok ready, curtain. CURTAIN! Whose got the curtain?"

"Who clicked on the curtain again. I already clicked on it. Now its opening an closing. Then i have to open it again. This is all messed up"

"Hey I wasn't ready. Who told you to open the curtain?"

Wow. Talk about having been there and heard that. Catfights and blame-laying.
Ruined performances.

 I also felt sorry for new troupes who aren't aware that with certain minimally configured curtains, anyone can touch their curtain and operate it, ruining a performance either accidentally or intentionally.

So after a lot of back-stage drama over the years, I came up with the Artiste Smart Curtain.

A curtain is meant to hide the stage crews preparation of successive scenes so that it is a surprise and that there is cohesion in the presentation of the 'parts', actors, sets, costumes, starting cues, etc. It also serves as punctuation signalling the beginning and ending and is a separator of show segments like a paragraph.

1 - There are currently two styles: Flat and Split.
2 - There are 4 actions: Sideways, Fade, Raise(move), and Scrunch.
3 - They are mod You can apply your own textures.
4 - They are mod so you can adjust them to your stage size
5 - Their fade times are adjustable.

6 - The open/close time is adjustable
7 - The raise time and raise height is adjustable
8 - You can disable touch.
9 - Six ways to operate a curtain: 
     a) by touch
     b) via Performance HUD(autofx)
     c) via Director
     d) via curtain-Panel
     e) via Curtain Relay
     f) via Stage HUD

10) Only person logged into Director can operate the curtain

11) Current operator must be in same group as director and added to a nc access list.
12) Tipjar is automatically logged into and out of upon Director login.
13) Owners and Managers can 'force logout' on a crashed and frozen avatar.
14) Raised curtain has a bottom-lip view-able only to stage for easy touch access to lower. (Thank you, Wiz).
15) Scrunch has adjutable no. of steps

16) Sideways has adjustable min width.
17) You get an in-progress notice and a completion notice when it has completed its operation. You also get a warning when it is double-clicked before completion. Double clicks ARE NOT cached. The 2nd click is DISCARDED.

18) The Smart Curtains come with both Producer and Performer Series. The backstage stuff comes only with the Producer series. 
19) The Performer series does contain 2 Directors so performers can practice without needing to intrude on a venues resources.

Lat "Yummy" Lovenkraft



Tuesday, December 16, 2014

First New ARTISTE GOLD User Success Story!

A big shout out of CONGRATULATIONS and SUCCESS to our 1st new Artiste GOLD user  Kat Feldragonne with her 1st completed routine! She was the 1st official owner of the Artiste. She'd been asking for it for a long time and I kept telling her no. From her experience with the SILVER edition I didn't think she would hang in there with the GOLD that was more involved by a magnitude. I was wrong. I stand corrected. Here's to 'second chances'. And it may well be that at the time, the SILVER didn't have enough bells and whistles to command sustained interest so I will put that on me.

Here is a link to her blog which has a video of her routine.

https://akatandamouse.wordpress.com/2014/12/16/success/

What can happen when you hang in there. There is really a light at the tunnel. No its not an oncoming train.

While it may not seem all that whiz-bang visually, realize it forms the foundation of the Artiste and from a performers perspective it was/is a very rewarding experience due to the advanced control. That of coordinating activities with events so that things happen when you want them to with associated significance.

She used 2 Palettes for the dancers and 4 Palettes for the gingerbread men.

1) Also note that this is just one HUD on her screen.
2) Her fade times were adjustable and chosen by her.
3) He speed of rotation was chosen by her.
4) Her speed of the tip-ups were chosen by her
5) She combined tipping up with rotation all in the same Palette but triggered by the HUD to happen at separate times.
6) Curtain was controlled by her. No more depending on others to open the curtain when you want. Curtain has built-in unqueued double-click prevention, filtered-user control, and also gives a busy status and completion status. 
7) She controlled 2 dance sequences (2 groups) using our AB sequencing methodology.

This was a very ambitious first time attempt. Big Kudos. I don't expect everyone's first routine to be this intricate but it does show what drive, determination, and dogged determination can do. And I really must add emphasis and the significance of  her ability to sit down and actually 'read' most of the manuals from cover-to-cover prior to touching any part of the Artiste. I in no way expect that to be the norm. But hats off. Here's to the added rewards of being an English Major. Salutes! That must have helped to fill in a lot of gaps.

So know that...it can be done.

Yummy


Monday, December 15, 2014

Simplifying the Artiste Learning Experience

Well we've  had  a lot of new 1st-time users. Different types of users. 

I've had time to reflect as different people struggle with different learning hurdles. 

The seasoned users sort of grew up with the Artiste. There wasn't as much content ..way back then. They didn't have to learn everything from scratch...way back then. They already knew some basics more easily learned because there wasn't  so much to learn....way back then....and so it was easy to slowly build on what they already knew. 

The seasoned users had in common the need to do a lot of different types things; emoting, stripping, dancing, adorning, to name a few. Most were accustomed to a screen full of HUDS. They were looking for a more simplified solution. Their minds were already accustomed to function-juggling. The  concept of "events" or a "timeline" back then was a an undeveloped mental construct.

Todays users have more material to peruse over. More choices to make without knowing why they should make one over the other. There are books, videos, blogs, reviews, one-on-one chat logs. Its a lot to take in at once. But most are very motivated to adventure into new areas. Those with a 'what-ever-it-takes' 'for-as-long-as-it-takes' will likely do well if the past is any indication.

********************************
What things have I learned from helping those newcomers who've struggled?

1 - Baby Steps!!!  Take small incremental baby steps. Digest it in very small bites. Reward yourself with praise each day you learn one new tiny thing. That is what has worked as people have 'thrown up their hands'. We find something small that they can do. Something easy. Bite-sized. And then we build on that.

2 - Don't try to put a routine together out of the gate. Their reason being that creates more opportunities to do things wrong...to get confused about events and timings. More areas to create typos.

3 - Skip menus. Skip over anything in the books that talks about menus, with the exception of menus and buttons related to dancing. They are indispensable.

Avoiding menus will create less clutter in you mind. I think most current avid users use note-cards. It is faster and easier to grasp and grapple. The menu approach to configuration I thought, way back when, would be easier but I think I was wrong. There is no need to learn them 1st, if at all. If you get to a menu and are not sure which note-cards it is associated with then ask me. Send me an IM. Lets try and fast-track your learning past the menued-examples in the book.

4 - Choices - I will now TELL YOU which choices to make based upon a consensus of user history and preferences:

 a) Event Method - Choices are: Specific, Calculated, Custom. Use CUSTOM! Don't spend time learning the others. Save yourself some learning time. Its what everyone uses. 

b) Event Type: DURATION or ELAPSED?  Use ELAPSED. People always end up using ELAPSED, deciding that its easier to manage, even if they started with DURATION.

c) Event #0.  DONT USE IT. PERIOD. (Sorry Kat) It throws timings off. It confuses people. It is an anomaly. It was a created way back when ..when we only had 10 events. People complained so added 2 more events. Event 0 and event 11. for a total of 12. I know big deal. I should have just added 10 more. pfft. Well now we have 20 events plus event #21 for a total of 21 events so no need to scrounge for a 22nd.  Also if you really need more, use HUD-Chaining. HUD A can chain to HUD B and you can get another 20-21 events. HUD B can chain to HUD C and you can another 20-21 for a total of 60-63 events. For those of you considering an hour-ish-long musical production totally Artiste controlled. And there is zero delay between chains.

5 - Put final poses in your sequence.

6 - Put animations in your sequence not the palette, though you could. Keep that as an option. Keep palettes for walking/moving from A to B like you probably already do.

7 - Always keep your *orders01 filled with 20 "nones". That is how it comes so just don't change it unless you have a good reason to. Everyone uses it filled.
Then MaxGroupsOverride will ALWAYS tell you how many events will be fired. Why didn't I call it NumberOfEvents?. A holdover from ...way back then...when I could only imagine what the future would be..decided not to rename it.

    MaxGroupsOverride is the most important entry on your *config notecard cause if you try to do more events, it wont tell you you have too many,...it just wont do them and you will ask me why none of your events past #6 are working. Its because MaxGroupsOverride,6 is what is on your *config nc. So be sure to increase it as you add more events.

8 - Start small. Add ONE NEW THING at a time. That way if there is a problem then you know where the problem is.

9 - Avoid learning and worrying about Lead Times and Delay Times until you have a need for things to happen together or very close together. It will be a while before reaching that level of sophistication.

   One exception...consider using an AutoEmoteLeadTime say of 7 seconds. This gives people 7 seconds to read your emote that probably describes what you will be seeing (i.e. removal of an item of clothing) before seeing the actual strip. This will save on events too. No need to create an extra event for an emote that is associated with an event. 

10 - If you lose something off into never-never-land, do an area search. Sometimes you have to search neighboring regions, so untick that box. Once in a great while it might be in a linked item. That happened to me once. Expand your search criteria. Very often it will return to(0,0,0) of the region. And you may need to CTRL-ALT-T to see it. 

11 - If its Tuesday, no this is not a joke, there are often asset-server issues and changes you think you made, just don't stick. And sooooo many times, Artiste has taken the blame and yes its happened to me too. "I made this change and its not working. It used to work". Then they go back and realize the change they made isn't there. 

12 - Typos - 80% of the problems as to why things won't work will be due to typos. For you, me, and the world. Develop an anal eye. Missing commas is the biggest offender. Periods instead of commas because those 2 keys are next to each other on the keyboard. Using something other than $ to separate multiple autofx commands. Improper CaPiTaLiZaTiOn.

13 - TOO MUCH WAIT TIME. Too much Wait time in an autofx. Say you have 2 events. Event #1 starts 10 seconds in and event #2 starts 20 seconds in.
1,"Opening",10.0
2,"Closing",20.0

So many times people will do this

1,r=p%01_A%move0$WAIT=5$r=p%01_A%startrot%1%0%0%1$WAIT=8$r=p%01_A%FadeOnce

Whats wrong with this picture....? Well there is 10 seconds between event 1 and event 2 (20-10 = 10). BUT...you said you want to do 13 seconds (8+5=13) worth of stuff in 10 seconds. Can't be done. And the Artiste goes off into never never land. Essentially what happens is none of the *autofx lines after this one in error will execute and maybe other functions will NOT execute and you will come to me asking why. "It used to work, you tell me". I didn't put in a check for that. Maybe I will in the future but for now...whenever you do a WAIT, don't get carried away or remember to count and add them up.


14- EVENT GAP LESS THAN 2 SECONDS.  This will cause things to just stop working. The time between Opening and Closing is 1 second. Not good. Must be at least 2 seconds.

1,"Opening",3.0
2,"Closing",4.0

Change it to

1,"Opening",3.0
2,"Closing",5.0








Friday, December 12, 2014

Introducing the First Thrower Class

The 1st class on using the Artiste Thrower is being offered on Saturday Dec. 20th between 2:30 and 4:40pm SLT.

This class is reserved for paid Artiste Performer Series owners.

Where it will be held is still TBD.

Owners can view the course curriculum here as well is view or re-view the videos that demonstrate it. The curriculum currently closely follows the 45-page book. I will be tailoring the class content and order as I get feedback and feel my way thru the process. The idea is to go slow and leave no stones un-turned.

There are also 2 preparation blogs that also allow for comments and questions. These talk about quick ways to adjust a throw with basic discussions on Palette density and Palette gravity. 

We will start with the first 3 pages of the book and see how it goes. Take our time. Have some fun. I plan on providing working 'thower' Palettes you can experiment with.


Yummy

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Nancy Does Burlesque...OR NOT?!!!

Welcome to Burlesque by Nancy Toocool

I'd like to start of by thanking Yummy for putting together this video (first time any of my numbers get filmed, big yay for that) and of course for letting me use the Artiste Performance HUD & Palette, without which this number could not have been created.

About the Idea

Since humour, parody and ridicule are essential features of burlesque, I really wanted to dive into the core of burlesque and ridicule burlesque itself, namely the forms it has acquired in Second Life. While many SL burlesque dancers claim that they're trying to stay true to what they believe is the most important aspect of traditional burlesque (that is, sensual stripping that takes ages and does not lead to full nudity), they're at the same time compensating the lack of action by relying more and more to really extravagant sets and effects (such as humongous props and particle effects that at times can block the whole stage and completely hide the star of the show, the dancer), and this (combined with lazy use of movers that results in glide dancing all over the stage, one of my pet peeves), has led to acts that, as I joke in one of my emotes, really look more like a Disney on Ice performance than burlesque. God that was a long sentence.

I am also kind of tired of hearing the same songs (usually by Christina Aguilera or that Moulin Rouge song as in my number) over and over so I just had to mock that too. I wish people would think more what they want to do on stage and take their time to find their own style and voice, instead of concentrating on what they think the audiences expect from a burlesque show. You can do a song that's wasn't on the soundtrack of that Burlesque film (which, by the way, had little to do with burlesque, just saying...)!

Having said all that, I'm really directing most of the mockery at myself. There's nothing as fun as laughing at yourself. And believe me, I too once thought that SL burlesque can only mean clichés and that nipple pasties were mandatory. One of my first numbers was done to Aguilera's Candyman, for f's sake! Luckily, I soon found a crack in the box and was able to think outside it.

About the Production

After six months of playing with the Artiste Performance HUD & Palettes and creating four or five performable show numbers with it, I really wanted to test its boundaries. I had this old idea about a number in which I smash parts of the set as I "break free from the clicé", but I had no way of making the props fall down or anything like that before I got my hands on the Artiste.

There I was with one Palette functioning as an avi mover (11 individual moves in it) and another glued to the giant U that then made it first tilt slowly and then crash down. So I started to think what else to do. Hmm, stage lights of course. Those are always easy to create using a Palette. How about making those chandeliers rotate midway through the number, just to create some movement on the background and emphasise the lunatic feel of the number? Sure, what the heck, let's go crazy. Then I remembered I had these animated mesh statues I had never used before, so I thought they'd be the perfect tool to make fun of how some performances have twenty synced dancers whose only real task is to jump on a pose ball and let the lead dancer add them to their dance hud. Well, I'll let you in on a secret: you don't have to share your tips with these stage filler dancers. You're welcome.

Okay, so of course I wanted my mesh dancers to make their entry in a cool way, so I made stage lifts for them (using Palettes). And since they (unlike some dancers I've seen around) can't move through walls and floors (they're mesh, not ghosts), I made little hatches that opened and closed when they rose from under the stage. That meant two more Palettes.

Let me count... That makes 10 Palettes, all of which functions I timed and triggered using the Events and Auto-FX functions of the actual Artiste HUD (I know, this makes little sense to anyone unfamiliar with the hud). I have to admit, I was somewhat nervous about using so many Palettes and moves, especially with those animated mesh statues (that are potentially laggy), but hey, I like to rake risks.

Having used another mover system before and witnessing how it got stuck and delayed when there are more than one mover and/or when there are more than five avatars on the sim, I was very happy to see this number survive the actual show night with several avis around.

I think I've rambled long enough. I hope you enjoyed the show and be sure to come check us live some day - it's always better live!

-Nancy

PS: My intention was not to hurt anyone's feelings, just to make fun of some of the phenomena related to SL burlesque - and of myself. If we can't laugh at ourselves, we really can't laugh at all and should not be in this "business". Peace & love!

And now for the video...see the video==> “Welcome to Burlesque?”