Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Styling to "Flash It"

Well it has been sometime since my last post, after loosing interest in the modeling profession. I took a long over due break from many of the activities I once involved myself in. There have been many major changes made during that time which not only affected my Second Life but my Real Life as well. After my rest I decided it was time to get back to doing what I enjoy doing the most, photography and well being a male dancer. The erotic arts are not well looked upon in the modeling world but then again it should remember it is those who entertain and patron such places that do in fact purchase their products.

Any hoo again I could care less, I love fashion and I love entertaining. Having been an erotic and sensual story author for many years it is such a creative outlet for me to be able to create a visual image into someone’s mind through mere words allowing him or her to escape into their own fantasy. Fashion and a great look play a big role in entertaining and with my return to the stage this coming week gave me the inspiration for this blog post.

As for myself I like to plan out in advance what I will wear to perform in, so one of the idea’s I pondered is this one I put together. I usually try and go for a rugged well-fashioned look that will capture the patron’s attention. This one gave me the edgy, well groomed as well as a hint of that hunky, bad boy look.

Honestly folks a high fashioned look doesn’t mean everything has to be high fashion. For example the glasses I have on are “Freebies” yep free the Optimo K2 sunglasses I picked up way back in the first weeks of my Noob days. They contain a full functioning menu with raise & lower features as well as tinting and lens color changing. And they look pretty darn good. The suspender’s came from an Emoa’s World complete outfit I bought early on as well. They worked perfectly for the look I wanted to achieve as well looking good. I don’t know why but I like raised tanks and this tank came from SZD it is of good quality and well looks sexy on. One of my more favorite items to wear is the wide band watch from Balani. Being a Harley guy in RL well I had to throw on my V-Twins Biker Gloves with the fingertips cut out. V-Twin’s another one of my favorite places to empty my SL wallet at. They do fantastic design work and some extremely sexy looking clothing for the ladies….woooooo oh my! Naturally I have on my Red Grave Biker boots, it would take some serious convincing to get me to change to another boot, nough said. Sadly these awesome jeans come from Phoenix Rising, which was in its final days of closing its doors as I write this post. If you get the chance boy’s and girl’s zip over, last I knew everything in the store was on sale for a mere $100 linden.

Well a male strippers outfit wouldn’t be complete without a final article of clothing, which is displayed in the next pic. With this outfit it needed something more than just your basic boxer shorts or briefs. After thinking and searching long for the right item I discovered the one item that would put this outfit over the top for me. Jungle Wear’s “The Tube Sock” Jock Strap. The jock well is hot looking on, great quality and as far as prim bulges go has to be one of the best looking one there is as well as easy to size and place for a perfect looking fit.

Well that’s it for this post, you can see on the stage dancing and emoting at Heavenly Male or maybe on the runway at one of the few select shows I will be modeling in. Until next take care, remember to mix up that wardrobe and create your own look your own unique style.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Green Screens

before and after
I’ve been asked many times, especially since I work almost exclusively with green screens these days, how do I get rid of all the green tint and get a nice clean cut out with feathers, semi-transparent skirts, hair etc. The technique that I use, I learned from Ryker Beck’s great blog post about how to handle it with Photoshop and with Gimp. You can find her post here, it was very invaluable to me when I was in the learning process. I only do one slight modification when it comes to correcting colored areas that aren’t black or white. So go off and follow her tutorial and then come back to check out my change. I’ll wait. :)

Now that you understand the process, the change that I do is in Step 4 - Removing the green from blond hair. After I create a new layer with the blending mode set to “Color” above my avatar pic and painting in the color of the tutu that I want to replace the green tint with; I set the Avatar layer to be a clipping mask for the color layer by moving my mouse to the line between the two layers and alt-left click with my mouse. This lets you have a little bit more flexibility to see immediately how the color you selected blends with the original color and you can still adjust it with Hue and Saturation. Or add slightly lighter or darker tones for highlights and shadows. Once you’re happy with how it looks, go ahead and merge the color layer down to make your life easier and no more green tint! \o/

For those that don’t have the masking options that Photoshop CS offers you, such as Photoshop Elements (which I used for a year before breaking down and buying the full CS suite), I unfortunately have lost track of the blog post that gave a really good but complicated technique to make yourself a mask for cutout. If I ever find it again or if someone knows of that blog and lets me know what the url is and I’ll update this post.

Once you have a good cutout and background to use (i'm using one I took at Cetus from the previous post), you have all sorts of options of how to compose the picture, make the avatar larger or smaller, offset from the center of the background (try it, you might like it), group multiple avatar’s into a group and the list goes on and on. A good composition can bring a picture to life or just leave it flat, so I recommend reading a book about photography composition; it does translate very well to sl photography.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Stylin' And Profiln'

Hey all! Well seems Eira got the jump on me here so just a brief intro and then onto the first Stylin’ article. Our goal with this is to not only give others great photo tips and info but to hopefully instill creativeness in them in both facets. The other thing I would love to see come from this is that more designers would start producing more men’s wear. Down the road I hope to showcase work from new up and coming designers as well as some from the main staples currently designing in SL today. So this is an open invitation to all to drop me an email or a nc in SL that is interested in having their designs showcased here on Style & Flash.

Just like everyone else my noobie days were filled with finding as many things as possible for free as I could. The thing about it was that one, there just isn’t that great of a selection of free clothing items and on top of that men’s wear being in short supply grid wide anyways. So one had to mix n match items to even look half way decent. Then as time in SL progressed linden’s started coming in and we were able to start shopping for our clothes. Still being new and like many do, we went out and bought complete outfits which is mainly the normal way clothing comes.

That being said, we would roam SL strutting around in our fancy new duds looking all proud like. All that pretty much changed for me one day when I needed to find something new to challenge me and I decided “I’m gonna be a model”. Call it fate or luck but I ended up applying and getting into GLANCE Model Academy. So happens that I met some wonderful and talented people in the Fashion/Modeling arena that would change how I looked at things from a fashion point of view. People such as Arsia Ashmoot, Wicca Merlin and my trainer/mentor Rico Racer Flux, Topaz Joubert from Maniera to just name a few.

It really wasn’t until I got to the part of the training that involved going and selecting poses that it hit me what styling really was. Rico I think was getting flustered with me trying to get me to understand what it meant to style, LOL! So there in the store, he said, “Ok watch me” and so I did. He was getting preparing for the Mr. Virtual World contest so he had been working on his attire for it and right there in front of my eyes he transformed into what had to be the coolest looking outfit I had seen to date. The mish mash of various pieces of clothing and prims and accessories were outstanding. And opened my eyes to the world of styling. In my opinion Rico is one of the best if not the best at styling there is. So that’s basically how I got involved in this and am truly hooked now because of it. To me my avie is a blank canvas and all the clothing, jewelry, accessories and tattoo’s are my ink in which I use to create. My style is from one end of the spectrum to the other end, it varies so vastly lol. Sometimes it is simple to outrageous to down right funny and goofy, but that’s what makes it all fun. So today I chose something simple to put together that one could wear anytime any place almost. It is casual but yet is very chic. It is a mix from various designers around SL, so enough of my blabbing and onto some stylin’ and proflin’.

The outfit consists of some nice looking textured items. The jeans are from funkstar, these are some very rockin’ jeans. Great shading and texturing abound in these jeans they are so detailed and look great with anything. Seed is sporting a casual open jacket with a white shirt. With my shape I was wearing I didn’t even have to adjust this jacket prim nor the prim cuffs. This is probably one of my favorite jacket’s to wear in SL, I haven’t checked lately to see if Klam has come out with other styles and colors of this jacket but if they haven’t I would so love to see more like it from them. I love the fit of it, the texturing and overall look of it. I also wore my old faithfuls in this outfit, my biker boots from Redgrave. Nothing beats a Redgrave boot, but I could have worn any number of different types of shoes with this and they would have worked well with my overall look. Rozoregalia formica sunglasses were chosen for my glasses, with the opacity set to almost minimum.
Rozoergalia sells some of the best and some of the most intricate looking items in jewelry and accessories. I could have went and finished there leaving a bare chest exposed and added a tattoo but I happened upon a nice shirt from Argrace called Holiday Surfer in army silver. With the addition of this shirt it really just added something to the whole outfit, maybe a more casualness about it. But in any case I liked how it worked with the outfit as a whole and kept it in. Finally I needed something else and I didn’t want to go with a watch or just a ring so I threw on the Crest bracelet from Gabriel’s, which also has the ring, attached to it via a chain. After looking at what I had I realized I needed a belt, but what kind of belt had me puzzled for a moment. Roaming through my semi-organized inventory there it was a nice elegant black leather belt that came with suit I had also purchased at Gabriel’s. This gave it the look of yes I am casually dressed but I do mean business lol! It is a great looking outfit to go clubbing in or to just hang out with friends or even conduct business in. No matter the occasion you will be Stylin’ N Profilin’.

Next post would you believe it or not, How to be stylish in your undies, OH MY!

Seedus Aldrin

Friday, August 13, 2010

Flash Intro & Backgrounds

Hi, I just want to give a little quick introduction for the photography side of this blog, Seedus will be handling the Style section and I'll leave it to him to provide that intro.  :) I’ve been a SL photographer mainly focusing on fashion for the last year and half or so. Second Life has really allowed me to explore a real life interest of mine in photography, of course the love of fashion and so a new hobby was born. For the “Flash” part of Style & Flash, I will be musing about my process of doing photography in SL from setting up the shot to maybe a few Photoshop tricks I’ve learned along the way.

For the first post, I decided I wanted to talk about backgrounds. Whether you shoot on green screens, studio backdrops or on-location, backgrounds can add as little or as much you want to the picture. Lately, I’ve been shooting more and more in my studio on a green screen for the fashion pics, mainly to keep my sanity if the background needs to be changed and I won’t have to painstakingly cut out the models from an on-location shoot. It’s happened.

But since I can’t bring myself to pay for access to good stock backgrounds in RL, I focus on zipping around SL and taking background shots of my own. There are so many beautiful builds in SL and by shooting my own backgrounds I can get the angle and lighting exactly right that I would need for the picture. Also having the background separate from the model, I can more easily have different processing steps for the two to usually bring the model and the clothes more into focus. Add the factor that many of these gorgeous builds don’t allow rezzing of posestands and/or running of scripts, which means that it’s just easier to shoot in the studio if the picture involves models.

For example, for an upcoming issue the theme is modern art. I’ve already seen pictures of the clothes so I have an idea of what I will be working with and I then opened up the SL Destination Guide and started poking through the entries to see if anything strikes my interest. After a few “oh that’s interesting but won’t work” spots, I landed at Cetus.

I’ve been to builds like this before and I might have even been to Cetus before but still it took my breath away and I just started snapping away (generally a good sign that I really like the spot). I’m still debating on whether I will be able use the snaps I took at Cetus for the upcoming shoots, of whether or not the background will be too busy and I usually don’t post the snaps I take for background use on flickr, mainly to keep things fresh when I do use them. This has led to a large amounts of files that I’ve had to organize into subfolders on my harddrive so that I can easily find them again. At this point Senna’s voice is telling me that I really need to create a backup system for my harddrive because now that I think about it, it would be upsetting to me if I lost all of those. Some of the builds no longer exist and so I would not be able to recreate the snaps. Hmm.

So I just want to encourage all the SL photographers out there, to explore SL more and use more SL backgrounds in their pics. There’s a huge variety of really well done builds that can fit most needs.