Saturday, June 13, 2015

Storybuilding Walkabout Paths with "Hudson Valley River" Lights

Today's 6/13/2015 Did You Know That? is about where to place the objects we make with Blender or any other mesh/prims in our worlds, and how to set  up lighting conditions (within **limitations of Open Sim/Viewer rules) that spotlight our hard work within the story.

**1) one prim's light reflects off another object's surface, 2) a beam can be intentionally built to direct a separate light source (particles) over another object,  3) light glow yields apx results, 4) windlights are only reasonably effective, 5) every glow, emission, bump, texture added or directionally changed affects interior and exterior lighting, 6) interior lighting is affected by moon/sky and challenging to accommodate, 7) worlds have any number of horizons to consider  - is the center of a world the front of the world, since the gateway is not?

Without getting too technical I wanted to discuss the issue of lighting Open Sim Worlds.  Yes, we have windlights, yes we have "bulbs," we have a sun/moon day/night cycle and we have a few lighting options, if our graphics cards will tolerate their use & avoiding the annoying flicker. 
What we don't have is a flat canvas to paint, or even a rendered game, where we can force our visitors to walk down one path, through one gate, or focus on our points of view.  What we do have is a lateral build challenge to set a mood and immerse.  It is a challenge that many are not willing to take.  These naysayers continue to tell me it can't be done.  Why don't I give this nonsense of trying storybuild up and retreat to the game engine where I have more control over my storyline and the progress of the user.

Nope, I won't give up.  Not yet anyway.  I want to continue to explore ways that we could use lighting know how to better illustrate our worlds.  Now that we are building with mesh, and surfacing lighting into our mesh, how can we best use that mesh in world to tell our tales?

The first phase is comparing.  Since the outset of my storybuild, Midtown Arts Museum, a central hub to all my other storybuilds mostly finished or discarded, I've been talking about the Hudson River.  I've seen it several times while in NYC, rode across it on a few ferries, and finally seen drove over it, while visiting the Hudson River Valley.  I didn't decide to write about the river, because I knew the history of the river, although it does interest me.  I decided to include it in my storybuild, because my mother loved the artists who painted in that style.  Not photo realism that becomes a one canvas story.  And that is how I think of worlds with a lot of extra bells and whistles added to the soup.

Over the next few days I will be working on my little in world light table, along with my 16 region Brantley build that did not grow out of a "lighting plan" like I wanted to use.  That build started as a one region, then 4 region and finally 16 region build that will need some revision work for awhile.  It is still going to officially open on July 1, 2015, but I admit the off sim hills and dales not only need some resurfacing work, but some lighting adjustments too.

While I am working on those scenes, and another a scene dedicated to my own lesson one region lesson in Vickery's "fantastic believability," I will share what happens here - not to inform - instead to start a discussion about what we could do about off sim perspective, horizon lines that circle our illustrations, fake lights and bringing focus to our stories.  Lighting is as important to me as pathways into a story.  In fact I will follow the light before I watch where my feet will go.