night swimming

Hot summer night by the cool lake water

Dip your toe in, look around

Let your dress fall

Slip silently into the dark silky water

Miel Playa 02

Miel Playa Dress … made for night swimming

Dress ~ Miel Playa / ash, stripe natural, mesh (colour change HUD)

Tube Top ~ Miel Playa / ash, solid natural, mesh (colour change HUD)

Sandals ~ Maitreya Gold YaXkin / pearl, mesh

Hair ~ EMO-tions Lynn / blonde

Skin ~ Lionskins Zora / sk 13

Studio ~ Ananké MediaPhotoSpin Pro

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Winter Nights


In the bleak midwinter
Frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron,
Water like a stone;
Snow had fallen,
Snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter
Long long ago.


Little match girl Serenity, looking lovely, looking through the windows, wearing …

Jacket ~  Westwood Glitchtop / black (from LeeZu!)
(with arm attachments)

Shirt ~ LeeZu! Noir Efraims Daughter (from LeeZu!)

Pants ~ LeeZu! Noir Efraims Daughter (from LeeZu!)

Skirt ~ LeeZu! Magdelena / night (from LeeZu!)

Jewelry ~ Infinity Choker (from Mood)

Boots ~ Engineer boots / black (from J’s)

Hair ~ Rain / bluenight (from LeLutka)

Pose ~ Fluke

Studio ~ PhotoSpin Pro

Model/Photographer ~ Serenity Mercier

AMS PhotoStage and LeeZu! Textures 1

AMS Announces 15 New LeeZu! Textures with PhotoStage

Ananke Media Systems (AMS) has just released a new update to PhotoStage featuring 15 exlusive backdrop textures by LeeZu Baxter of LeeZu! For a taste of these gorgeous textures, here’s Serenity modelling Moonlight, the latest LeeZu! dress from the Noir collection, using the new LeeZu! Femme Fatal texture with three different colour enhancements.

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Each of the 15 LeeZu! textures have been optimized for the PhotoStage backdrop by LeeZu Baxter herself.

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By loading the texture into the PhotoStage backdrop and then using the colour controls, you can achieve a multitude of different looks.

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The Femme Fatal is one of 15 gorgeous textures from LeeZu! now available with PhotoStage. You can see all the new textures at the AMS store in Lady Vale and the new AMS store in To The Nines, right next door to LeeZu!

femmefatal_004-512 

Femme Fatal Texture © 2009 LeeZu Baxter. All Rights Reserved.

Check back for more posts featuring all the new textures, coming soon! Credits after the cut … Continue reading

Seven Seas Machinima

AvaGardner and Barbra Kungler opened their new store, Kunglers, on their beautiful new sim, Fashionate Island, just before Christmas. To celebrate they held the Seven Seas Fashion Show and Sim Opening, produced by Timeless Agency. In this machinima film, I tried to evoke the feeling of fresh tropical breezes and warm translucent skies that the Kunglers’ fashions and designs capture so well.

Watch the embedded video above, or go directly to my Youtube page to see a high resolution HD version. Be sure to click “Watch in HD” just below the viewer!

Making Eyes: controlling where your eyes look when photographing self-portraits

If you’ve ever tried to photograph a self-portrait in Second Life, you’ve probably encountered this problem: your avatar’s eyes just won’t look where you want them to look. You’ve found a killer pose, adjusted the lighting, and lined up your shot so that everything’s perfect – everything except the eyes! They’re either rolling into her skull, or dancing around like drunken party girls every time you move your mouse.

Here's an example: I want to model the new Suzana Pale 36 skin from LionSkins and I love how the Armidi Ginza hair looks with this skin, but how to keep the eyes from disappearing behind the bangs?

Professional SL photographers use a focus or gaze point to overcome this problem: models are asked to alt-click on a specific target, such as a coloured sphere, so that the direction their eyes are looking remains fixed. However, with self-portraits, this technique presents a problem. As soon as you alt-click on a gaze point, the camera instantly shifts to place that point at the centre of your screen. So now you’ve lost the original framing. But if you alt-click on your avie and use the mouse-drag technique to reframe your shot – zap! – there’s those shifty eyes again. A classic SL Catch-22!

So I've alt-clicked on a gaze point, and I think the eyes are good now - but the composition sucks!

Here's what I mean: I've alt-clicked on a gaze point, and I think the eyes are good now - except you can't see them anymore!

AMS PhotoStage and PhotoLite have some useful tools that will help solve this problem, allowing you to use gaze points effectively when doing self-portraits. Here’s how:

  1. Make sure your on-screen camera controls are open (View > Camera Controls)
  2. Rez a gaze point and position it where you want it. With the AMS PhotoStage and PhotoLite, this becomes a very easy process: once the gaze point is rezzed you simply use the Position Editor to place the gaze point precisely where you need it anywhere on the X Y Z axes.
  3. Compose your shot using the alt-click & drag technique to find the desired camera frame. This is just a preliminary framing, so be careful to note the camera position so you can return to it later.
  4. Cam or zoom out, find your gaze point and alt-click on it. You will lose the original camera frame of course – BUT, now your avie’s eyes will be fixed on the gaze point, and not bouncing around like ping pong balls.
  5. Use the on-screen Camera Controls and Keyboard Commands to reposition the camera on the model. I highly recommend using the Keyboard Commands for controlling the camera at this stage rather than relying on the on-screen Camera Controls alone. The Keyboard Commands tend to give you much more precise control over the camera’s pan, tilt, spin and zoom functions. The Zoom In (CTRL + 0) and Zoom Out (CTRL + 8 ) keystrokes are especially useful for framing close shots, since they allow you to move in much closer than the on-screen Camera Controls will permit. The Shift + Ctrl + Alt + arrow keys which pan the camera left, right, up and down are also extremely useful for self-portraiture. (I’ve listed the Keyboard Commands at the end of this post for any who may not be familiar with these highly useful tools.)
  6. If the direction of your avie’s gaze still needs adjusting, cam out again, adjust the position of the gaze point, and then reframe the camera. Once again, the AMS Position Editor greatly simplifies this procedure. You may need to go back and forth a few times to get things exactly the way you want. With practice and experience, you’ll soon learn how to place your gaze points accurately, then manipulate the keyboard and camera controls to get that perfect frame and beautiful eyes!

Voila - mission accomplished!

For more information on AMS products, please visit the AMS website, or stop by the AMS Demo Site or Metro Models store to try out the amazing PhotoStage and PhotoLite!

Camera Tools: Continue reading

AMS announces exclusive poses from Persona

One of Second Life’s most talented pose-makers, Myllie Writer of Persona has created nine exclusive fashion poses for distribution only with Ananke Media Systems (AMS). The new Persona poses are included in PhotoStand, the powerful pose stand packaged with AMS PhotoStage, PhotoLite and PhotoTools Pro.

When combined with the PhotoStand’s existing poses, the new Persona poses now provide AMS customers with a total of 52 high quality poses, most only available in the AMS PhotoStand. That’s a L$2600 value – free with the purchase of all AMS products!

PhotoStand allows you to add your own poses and to navigate through them efficiently. The stand also provides precision rotation and alignment. Menu and chat controls make it easy to cycle through poses, and then adjust or fine-tune your model’s position without altering the camera angle.

You can check out the new Persona poses at the AMS Demo Site or the Metro Models store, where you can also purchase your own PhotoStage, PhotoLite or PhotoTools Pro and start taking your Second Life photography to a whole new level today!

Other Credits: Continue reading

On-Location Fashion Photography

Second Life offers an abundance of amazing locations for great fashion shoots. Yet optimizing the lighting for an on-location shoot can be challenging, which is one reason why many SL photographers opt for studio shooting. I recently took Ananke Media SystemsPhotoLite toolkit to the beach to see how this highly versatile system can enhance the look of images you capture inworld.

This first photo shows our lovely model (none other than moi – of course!) posing on the beach with the existing night lighting. Nice location – what you can see of it!

Here’s the same location with lighting and effects added from the PhotoLite toolkit. I’ve used lights to brighten certain elements in the background (the pampas grass and palms) as well as the model (isn’t she gorgeous? — okay, I’ll stop). I’ve also added a very light mist with two effects generators to soften the reflected light from the sand and provide another colour detail.

After hiding all the lights, effect generators and the pose stand with a couple of quick clicks on the  PhotoLite HUD or menus, the scene becomes a vivid yet still natural looking setting perfect for capturing the romance of LeeZu Baxter’s Noir line!

Moving in for a closer view, I made some minor adjustments in the positioning of the lights using the PhotoLite HUD – all without ever changing the camera frame! One of the beauties of AMS products is the ability to stay focussed on the specific camera angle you want while using the HUD, menu or chat controls to adjust lighting, effects and even the direction the model’s eyes are looking.

And as a final reminder, here’s that close shot again… this time without the PhotoLite enhancements. By the way, apart from cropping and resizing for the web, none of these images have been photoshopped in any way.

So there you have it. With PhotoLite, you can take your on-location fashion shoots to a whole new level, anywhere on the grid! Stop by the AMS Demo Site to try it out soon!