Bastet Hazelnut - Fashion and lifestyle blog about Second Life


24 November, 2010 - 17:47

When there's a hunt in Second Life, there tends to be all sorts of heat around it. Most often the heat is about cheating, such as announcing direct locations in (local) chat or posting them, even with pics, on blogs. And sometimes someone asks what's wrong with cheating. First of all cheating may take the fun of the hunt from those who actually are there to hunt and explore and not just to hoard freebies. For a store owner hunts are (besides of some other things) also a way to create traffic. And traffic is not created unless an avatar stays at the same parcel for at least 5 minutes. Hunts are supposed to be fun, not to create fights, drama and bad blood.

(Read on for hunting tips.)

So what to do when you've spent an hour in a store and still can't find the item? Here are some hints so you have no need to resort to cheating:

  • Many hunts have a website. Check it for a list of hints, store's and even SLurls to the stores. If SLurl from browser don't work for you, you can always copy and paste the SLurl to the chat and click it from there. If there's a group for hunt hints and other help, don't be ashamed to ask. Just don't ask or announce the actual locations of hunt items.
  • It's a hunt, not a race. Most hunts last more than a day, so you can come back tomorrow or even later. Skip to the next point (if possible).
  • Remember to breathe and calm down. As said, it's not a race. And if you don't find something at all or don't find everything during the first day it's not the end of the world. If you feel getting angry or anxious, it may be a good time to have a little break. If you are experiencing a hunt exhaust or hunt blindness (it happens), do something else for a while. I've heard sleeping is a good way to reload the batteries.
  • Some hints are really hard to understand. Your english skills may be limited or there's some strange cultural reference you cannot possibly understand. Read the hint through again. Is that a typo or a hint within the hint? Try googling it or that strange part of it. Dictionaries and translators are also a great help. You might learn new words, new ways to say stuff and even interesting bits of other cultures.
  • Things rez slow? Try and tweak your preferences. Antialiasing, shadows, lighting options, reflections etc. may slow your viewer and computer down. Check out the draw distance and particle amount. The higher they are, laggier it is. Wearing many sculpts and other prims or lots of scripted stuff may add to the lag. Yes, some sims and stores have so much awesome (and sometimes not so awesome) in them they are a lagfest. And if there's lots of other avatars around, there's lots more lag too. Try come back another day, cause the lag may be really bad today. Hint: Sundays seem to be often very laggy and strange in SL.
  • Team up! Go hunting with a friend or a fellow hunter. It's twice the fun and you might make a new friend. And two pairs of eyes see more than one.
  • Finess your camera control skills. Often hunt items are hidden behind, under or between stuff. Cam around. And go closer. Sometimes the item won't rez until you are close enough (it may be because of your viewer and it's settings too).
  • Have fun! If the hunt isn't fun it's not worth it.

Have more hints? Do give them in the comments of this post!

Want to know which hunts Kis Kis (SLurl) is taking part of? Check out the side of this blog. Under the title Kis Kis Hunts is a list of hunts and their dates.

16 October, 2010 - 01:48

Us GIMP users tend to be left a bit out of help, cause most use Photoshop for their image manipulation. However GIMP is a pretty powerful and freely distributed raster image manipulation program. Not long ago I found a tutorial for compositing with Photoshop. The tutorial is pretty good, but obviously it doesn't help all the way with GIMP.

In the following I will describe how I removed a background with GIMP from an image I took in SL. You can see the before and after shots below.

How to remove a background on GIMP

First of all I took the pic, using a slightly grey, full bright background. I used the grey one, because often a white one doesn't play nice. Some like to use a bright green background. This is one of those things you need to try yourself to see what works best. Next I created a black and white version of my image. To do this you can use the windlight settings from the tutorial I mentioned earlier. I did this a bit different way. I duplicated the background layer of my image and chose Colors > Desature... and clicked OK.

How to remove a background on GIMP

Then I chose Colors > Brightness-Contrast... and moved the contrast slider to it's max (127) and the brightness slider to -79. Please notice the amount of brightness depends on your picture, so you need to try and see which setting is the best. Now I had created a black on white image.

How to remove a background on GIMP

In order to make my evil plan to work I did need it to be white on black. So I chose Colors > Invert. After creating this image with white silhouette on a black background, I copied it and made the layer invisible by clicking the eye next to the said layers thumbnail.

How to remove a background on GIMP

After this I made the original image layer active by clicking it and chose Layer > Mask > Add Layer Mask.... From the pop up I chose White (full opacity) and clicked Add.

How to remove a background on GIMP

I could see the mask appearing on the layers list as a white rectangle next to my original image. Right after doing so I pasted the white on black image I had copied before, which now appeared on the layers list as a Floating Selection (Pasted Layer). The image had now a transparent background. I right clicked this floating selection on the layers list and chose Anchor Layer from the menu that popped up.

How to remove a background on GIMP

The white on black image replaced the white rectangle on the layers list. I right clicked on that layer and chose Apply Layer Mask.

How to remove a background on GIMP

After all of this I could copy and paste my image on a background of my choosing! Oh, by the way, the style credits will follow later.