Archive for September, 2007

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SceneCaster

September 29, 2007

The idea of a 3D web creeps closer everyday. Robert Scoble recently interviewed Mark Zohar, founder of SceneCaster. In a 35 minute interview Mark explains what SceneCaster is, and its advantages over current 3D worlds such as Secondlife.

SceneCaster is aimed at the average user and allows them to build a room or scene in 3D and accomplish this in a browser. They can then furnish it from SceneCaster’s rich database of objects or 3D objects that already online by simply importing and placing them in a scene. Because 3D objects can be sourced from existing 3D object libraries this means that learning curve for average users is not so steep.

For those who are already using 3D software you can create and import objects to your scene but it was obvious to me that the main strength of this service is the fact that people do not have to be 3D software experts to create a scene. So users personalise a scene rather than building a scene

SceneCaster connects objects to large eCommerce sites such as eBay and Amazon. Mark Zohar also explained how there would be product catalogs from leading manufacturers and retailers added as the site matured.

I have not been able to try it as at the moment it is only available for those who use a PC. Mark Zohar said that a Mac version was being worked on so I my impressions of this service are based on the interview.

I can see uses for it as a visualisation tool. For instance if you were decorating your home or if you are an interior designer you could layout and work out what it would look like and get a feel for what works before committing big dollars to a new look. I can see virtual shopping being a big thing too because you can see a model of the product before you buy. As I watched the interview my mind was running through possible self contained art projects that could be created. So there are plenty of applications that this service can be used for.

SceneCaster is also connected to social network sites such as FaceBook and Flickr but you can not have in-scene avatars. In other words you can not meet your friends for a chat and to socialise. I think this is the big downfall as it is fine being able to create a scene but most people will want to share and socialise in that scene.

A 3D scene is fine to look at but it will not hold people if the world simply contains objects. Even if they a very interesting objects an empty room is just that empty. For me without people ie avatars the immersive experience that is so addictive in virtual worlds is simply not there. Life online for me is about that ie life (other people) not things online particularly things online to buy. Although I do shop online it would only be a 2 or 3% of my time spent online. For me the net has always been a communication tool first. It is like this very important aspect of virtual worlds has been forgotten by SceneCaster.

For me without people a 3D scene is empty and for the majority of average users fairly pointless. What do you think?

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Photoshop Brushes

September 27, 2007

Stephanie Shimerdla of Obsidian Dawn has recently released some more great Photoshop Grundgy and Dirty brushes and some patterns which you can download for free.They come in either brushes or seamless patterns.

When ever you download free brushes from the net it is important to read conditions the creator has released them under so check out the terms of use. In the case of brushes and patterns from Obsidian Dawn, Stephanie Shimerdla asks for a link back to her site.

The site also houses some good Photoshop tutorials. For students in textiles if you have not encountered Obsidian Dawn before check out her Lace Photoshop brushes and her seamless Lace patterns. Another brush set designed by Stephanie Shimerdla is her paisley brushes. Poke around there is alot of free stuff on her site just remember to give credit where credit is due if you use them.

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Illustrator tips

September 23, 2007

I picked up my copy of the Adobe CS3 suite yesterday. I have been playing about and having fun. One of the first things I tested in Illustrator was the ability to extract swatches from artwork. It was fresh in my mind because I had just read Illustrator CS3: Extract Swatches from Selected Artwork from Bittbox.

It works and its great! Simply put if you select either a part or all of the artwork and then click “New Color Group” from the Swatches Palette Options, Illustrator will extract all of the colours in your selection, and they are added to your swatches.

I often see a range of colours in a photograph that would be fantastic to use in a textile design. So I first used live trace on a placed photograph and traced at “Color 16”. I then used the Bittbox tip to create a swatch palette from the artwork. Bingo I have my colour scheme for my next project!

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Gardens at Stray Light

September 16, 2007

The other evening a small group of intrepid explorers ventured in the atmospheric gardens at Stray light. Aiji and iAlja both accompanied me down dapple lit paths through a forest. As we ventured deeper into Botanical at stray light with each twist and turn of the path there were delightful scenes and discoveries to made in this magical build. Tumbling waterfalls, wonderful prim trees lit by sun beams kept us all entranced and marveling at the detail.

From the ground textures to the trees, from the lighting to the waterfalls and scripted creatures everything has an intense level of detail.

Kriss Lehmann is the creator of Botanical at stray light. The build is like a cross between a nature reserve/park and shop as you can purchase her beautifully modeled sculptie trees, some textures and garden accessories. It is the long amble to the retail area that makes a visit worth while and there is also a freebie of environmental sounds to be collected.

For more images check out the Postcards from straylight flickr group

SLURL: Straylight. Sculpt, Straylight (197, 12, 37)