Tuesday, May 29, 2007


Just a quick post to say that I downloaded the new First Look Viewer today to check out the new Windlight feature . . . and it is amazing. I tried to go to Svarga to take some snapshots to show here, but some guy there wouldn't leave me alone. It figures. Usually, I would like to meet more people in world and no one says boo to me. Tonight I wanted to be left alone. So I went to Washtown and took two quick snapshots. One n the new viewer with WindLight, another from the same location in the regular viewer.
Oh, I also updated the earlier tattoo tutorial blog. The method I had originally worked fine, but I figured out a small improvement.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Furry Monkey

As a disclaimer, let me first state that I am not a furry. There are a lot of furries in Second Life, though, and many of them look amazing. While I don't pretend to understand the whole furry fandom thing, I do have an affinity for cats and monkeys. So, awhile back I decided to buy a furry avatar just to try it out. The cat was easy. Nearly every furry avatar vendor in Second Life has cats. Big cats, little cats, purple cats, and pink cats. I ended up buying two completely different looking tiger avatars. One was purple, because . . . well, I like purple :) The other was red and black and a little scarier looking. I don't use them often, but I do like the look.

What I really wanted, though, was a monkey. I have been to every furry avatar vendor I could find, and no one has a monkey. I did find a chimp . . . but a chimp is NOT a monkey. I did a little research on the furry fandom in RL, and discovered that monkeys and apes are almost unheard of in that lifestyle. Apparently because they're primates and humans are primates. So I suppose the thought is that monkeys are too close to human to be worthy of being furries? Have you ever seen a picture of a tamarin or a marmoset? Not very close to human. I don't understand, but as I said I'm not a furry. I don't intend any disrespect to anyone, I just really don't understand. If anyone can explain it to me, I would appreciate it.

Also, I really, really want a cotton top tamarin avatar. I am not yet a talented enough builder or texturer to make it myself. I guess that gives me a goal to work towards.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Funky Fractal Dress

I made a dress I really like, although most people will probably think it's a little . . . well, loud I guess. I was messing around with fractal patterns in Gimp, and came up with a pattern I thought would make a good dress. You be the judge.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

The McGough Clan

Ok, this blog is supposed to be about my first life too, and all I've posted about so far is Second Life. It's almost 1 in the morning, my cat has the midnight crazies, and I can't sleep. I can't think of a better time to post about my first life :)

I have an uncommon last name. McGough. Its pronounced kinda like "mug you" . . . more or less. It is NOT pronounced like the blind cartoon character, Mr. Magoo. But most people pronounce it that way. I usually correct them, but I have devloped a sense of humor about it, as you can see by the URL for this blog.

One of the nice things about having an uncommon last name is tracing your geneology. I haven't ever done any geneology research, mainly because I didn't have to. My parents and grandparents did all that, I think, or maybe it all just kept getting passed down from generation to generation. Either way, I've known the names of my ancestors who first came to America for about as long as I can remember. Robert and Sarah Matilda Carson McGough. Some sources say er name was Mary instead of Sarah. Whatever . . . they came here in 1773, so a little confusion over a first name is understandable.

There are a couple of excellent websites covering McGough history. If you're a geneology buff (or a McGough) check them out.


The first one was created by Hugh McGough, who I am probably only very distantly related to. The second one is by Edward McGough, who is a less distant cousin, although I don't know exactly how we're related.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Tattoo Crazy in Second Life

I've always loved tattoos. I have two in RL, and I'm wanting to get another one as soon as I figure out what I want and where I want it. I think they are an amazing art form. The only problem with them is that if you get one and don't like it, you're kinda stuck or in for some expensive cosmetic procedures to remove it.

Enter the magic of Second Life! You can tattoo your entire body if you want to and go hang out at a club, showing off your body art to friends and strangers. Then zip off to a business meeting (I've heard people do real business in Second Life anyway), and remove your tattoo in seconds. Get a tattoo you don't like? Not a problem, just take it off as easy as you can take off your shoes.

I really like the tattoo I made yesterday, so I decided to try making another one. This one was more complicated, because I started with the photograph on the left. I had to play around with the image in Gimp quite a bit to turn this into a tattoo, but after a lot of trial and error (thank God for CTRL-Z!), I finally got something that I thought would work. I didn't write down all the steps I went through, and I sure don't remember them, so I thought I'd just show you the final result.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Making a Second Life Tattoo Using the GIMP

Edit (10/24/2008) - I will leave this post here for awhile, but it will be moving to my new site

There are a lot of ways to customize your avatar in Second Life. You can play around with shapes pretty easily, but skins, clothes, and hair take some talent. Tats, on the other hand, are super easy to make. To do this, you'll need some sort of graphics editing software that has Alpha channels. Photoshop is great, if you can afford it. I can't. Actually, I could . . . but there are a lot of other things I'd rather spend my money on. I use the GIMP . . . cause it's free!

Anyway, here's how I made the tat. First, I found an image I liked. I found this one on DeviantArt. I don't know how copyright laws apply to this sort of thing, but I'm not planning on selling the tattoo in Second Life, so I think it's ok. Try to find an image that's flat on a white background. Don't use a picture of an actual tattoo on an actual person, unless your some sort of super Gimp Goddess and can figure out how to separate the tat from the body and flatten it out.

If you just upload this image into Second Life as it is and try to make a tattoo out of it, it'll look like a big white patch on your back with the image on the white patch instead of your skin. We don't want that. So, open the image in the Gimp. What we need to do is replace all the white parts with transparency. If the image is grayscale (mine was), this is easy. Go the the Filters menu, chose the Colors submenu, and click on "Color to Alpha". A window will pop up showing a preview of what's about to happen to the image. If it looks right, just click on "Ok". All the white parts should be replaced by a checkerboard pattern. This pattern is how the Gimp represents transparency. If you're trying to make a checkerboard tattoo, this would probably make things confusing :)

So now you should see something like the image to the left. Save it as a native Gimp file. I'm not going to explain how to do that, cause I'm assuming you know how to save stuff, or can figure it out for yourself. Now, you'll need the clothing texture templates from Second Life for this next part. Rather than explain where to get those and how to use them, I'm just going to refer you to the tutorial on Natalia Zelmanov's blog here and here. I'll wait here while you go read that . . .

By the way, Natalia has several really good tutorials on all kinds of things in Second Life, as well as a great list of things to do and places to see. And she posts a new blog almost every day.

Ok, I'm going to assume you've now got the clothing templates and know the basics about how to use them. Open the Upper Body Template in the Gimp. I like to add a white background layer to this to make everything easier to see, but it's not necessary. Next, open the tattoo image you saved earlier as a new layer. Just click on "Open as Layer" from the File menu and find your image and select it. Now you'll need to resize it and position it where you want it to be on your body. Make sure the new layer you just created is the active layer when you do this. I decided my image would make a nice back piece, so I scaled it down a bit, and centered it on the back of the upper body template, using all the lines as a guide. Zoom in if you need to to get the image exactly where you want the tattoo to be. Once you upload the image into Second Life, you won't be able to reposition it. This is what mine looked like once I had it where I wanted it. Now, turn off all the layers except the one with your tattoo image on it.

Update - 4/28/08

Due to several questions and requests, I realized I needed to add a little detail here about how to turn off the other layers. First of all, make sure you have a window open in GIMP called "Layers, Channels, Paths". GIMP's window system can be a bit confusing to people new to it, and a lot of times this window gets closed before you understand what it's for. I know I closed it when I first started using GIMP. Unfortunately, when you close it, it does not automatically re-open the next time you start GIMP. If you do not have this window, go to File .. Dialogs .. Create New Dock .. Layers, Channels, Paths to reopen it.

Once you have that open, you should see a list of all the layers in your file. To the left of the name of each layer is a symbol that looks like an eyeball. This means that layer is on. Click on the eyeball to turn a layer off. You need to turn off every layer except the one with your tattoo on it. See the figures below for a before and after of what the layers window should look like.

We need to save this image as a Targa file so we can upload it into SL. Just choose "Save As" from the File menu. Name the file whatever you want and choose where you want to save it. Click on the little plus sign next to where it says "Select By File Type (By Extension", scroll down and pick "TarGA image". Then click the Save button. A window will pop up with a bunch of words on it. Ignore them. Just click the button that says "Export". Then another window will pop up. Click on "Ok".

Now we can upload the image into Second Life and make a tattoo out of it. Log into Second Life, and upload the TarGA image you just saved from the Gimp. This will cost you 10L, which is about 3 or 4 cents in US$. Use the preview as upper body option before you click on the Upload button so you don't waste Lindens if it doesn't look right.

Next, edit your appearance. You'll have to create a new piece of clothing for the tattoo. Unfortunately, you can't use the tattoo layers on the skin if you're wearing a decent skin, because these are already used for the body shading and makeup. I just created a new undershirt, because I wasn't already wearing one. The shirt and jacket layers will also work. You might want to make undershirt, shirt, and jacket versions of you tat so you can wear it with different outfits. Once you've created the new undershirt (or shirt or jacket), click on the Fabric square. Browse through your textures folder until you find the image you uploaded and select it for the fabric. Because of the transparency (Alpha channell) in your image, the only thing that should show on your new clothing is the tattoo. Now save it, close the appearance window, and go show off your ink!

Monday, May 7, 2007

Ugly Sim

I live in an ugly sim. A really ugly sim. Okay, so it's probably not very different from anywhere else on the mainland, but it's still ugly. My land is in a little parcel along the south edge of Harisine, and Harisine is ugly. If you don't believe me, go look for yourself. It wasn't ugly when I first bought the land, but nothing at all was there yet. Now it looks like something out of a zoning nightmare. On top of that, there's a 12 Monkey Casino in one tiny corner of Harisine that always has at least 20 people in it. I tried to sell my parcel, but couldn't get any takers unless I wanted to sell it at a loss . . . which I didn't.

Anyway, the point of all this is that I decided to hide the eyesore of Harisine from my parcel. I put up several walls outlining my property, and found a nice landscape to put on the inside surfaces of the walls. I had to tinker quite a bit with the repeats per face and offsets to make it look right, since I had to use several prims per wall. Here's what it looks like now from inside my land.

I put a transparent texture on all the outer surfaces. And I made the walls phantom, so anyone flying through wouldn't crash into a wall they couldn't see. Here's what it looks like from the middle of Harisine looking back towards my parcel:

See, I told you it was ugly.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

First Outfit

I just made my first prim dress in Second Life. I used the LoopRez Generator by Ged Larsen. I found out about it on Natalia Zelmanov's SL blog. It's very useful if you want to make a prim skirt or necklace or anything in a loopy shape. This is not the best dress ever made, but I don't think it's half bad for a first attempt.