Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Just for Laughs!

School Photo - Me Aged 9
Grandma Gallagher, Sister, Mum, Me and Brother
Me (10) and my friend Alison
Ken Dodds Called, he wants his Teeth back
So my Dad is going though the photos and he's slapped them on Flickr (much to my horror) I mean there are some real gems on there, seriously.

Anyhoo, this pic here is the 17 year old me on my wedding day, 3 months pregnant and totally unaware of how everything came together on the day. My parents of their generation insisted I marry the father, I didn't love him ( I was 17!) but went along with it.

Nine months later and I asked him to leave.

Never been married since.

Here are some other "gems"

1986 Wedding Day - Grandparents
My Brother, me and my Sister

1988 My Daughters Christening - Dad, me and my sister.
My whole Family, the guy in the middle with the shades is Wayne Scott, Ex BF

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Wonderful Wood Volume III- 3D Texture Maps

I love these wood textures and how they come out when displayed in 3D.

The Wonderful Wood V2 has been really popular on Contentparadise.com.

Not as much from the Second Life market perhaps because the whole use of 3D software is still in a minority.

I want to be prepared and at least have the option available for SL content creators who plan on uploading meshes when the feature is available with the main SL client.

It's still in closed beta with an open beta due to be released fairly soon.

I can't work out how to add them to the new Second Life market place, they don't appear when I add them to the magic boxes and Xstreet appears to have removed the ability to add new products altogether.

So you can get them from our in world store here or from Content Paradise here.

Back in the game

Back in the game and back into creation again.

It feels good to be in Photoshop again, I have finished updating the 240 listings I have on the Second Life New Market Place only to find they have just recently added a "quick fill" button which lets you fill your description field with the same text as any other listing of your choice.

Great, had I waited that would have saved me hours of time! lol

I guess that's what you get for not following blog announcements.

Brilliant Brick Volume 3 is now available from the TRU main store in SL and as always from content paradise.

It will be available on the TRU Textures website for purchase under the various "external licenses" in due course.

We have decided to add the ability to buy textures under the external licenses by Linden Dollar and that should be ready in 6 - 8 weeks.

It was an oversight really, it makes sense as I am pretty sure the bulk of  Xstreets purchases are done using the Linden Dollar and many merchants want/need to be able to spend the Linden Dollar they generate from in world sales on other purchases.

I have been having a case of the "But what ifs?" now that the euphoria has passed regarding the recent possibility of TRU Textures working with a UK game studio.

I have a number of concerns and questions that I will be able to bring up in our next meeting/phone call, but I need to be realistic about how many hours I can commit and also I need to get an idea of the kind of artwork that would be expected from me.

I am self taught after all and undoubtedly have weak points which will present themselves in due course.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Meeting To Discuss Contract With UK Game Studio

The last two years have been very hard both in terms of workload and associated stress which was linked to Second Life politics and economy issues but also emotionally for me.

My job/role defines who I am as a person and I felt like I was loosing myself and my sense of purpose.

It seems we have turned a corner as I am excited to announce that following a conversation today with one of the UKs bigger game studios, a meeting is to be arranged to discuss a retainer contract with TRU Textures Ltd to offer texture creating services for any of several incubator studios they are about to launch/set up.

I don't think it's "correct" to be dropping names certainly not before any official agreement has been made but also I will need to see how they feel about me making mention of who they are as, when and if the time comes. 

In addition, we will be given a free stand at major game related road shows such as Eurogamer,  DevelopGDCGame Connectionwith all marketing materials and products provided and paid for.

We are basically being taken under their wing from what I can gather and what a wing to be taken under! Of course it's a two way street but I know what my role is and that's perfectly fine be me.

If everything is agreed from both parties, both TRU Textures and iSourceTextures will be introduced to a network of new, old, small and large game developer studios which no amount of "marketing budget"  could buy! 

Nothing is set in stone or finalised yet but they have kindly offered to come to my home town to meet in person and I will keep you all posted on progress and details as and when I know them.

I am very excited and flattered indeed of course.


Monday, 20 September 2010

Spinning Plates

Over exposure and "Beer Goggle Blurred" hides a multitude of sins.

Well, I'm back from the Scotland break, still not 100% recovered from "the virus" but getting there, slowly.

Two steps forward, one back.

The good news is AT LONG LAST! (lol) TRU Textures now accepts PayPal payment and direct download of textures under the "Any World" license, which in a nutshell means people can buy and use TRU textures for other grids and virtual worlds IF they pay by PayPal and download from the website.

Textures bought in Second Life via the Linden Dollar are still licensed for Second Life only, as has always been the case.

Here's a post I published about it this morning at AVW.

The website looks so much better and we've had some encouraging feedback and action in the short time it's been live, but I am keeping my feet on the ground.

No such thing as a "sure thing" even if the demand seems glaringly obvious.

I've also had some negative feedback from an artist with TRU who was dead against our decision to offer external licensing.
She said she thought other texture stores would also resent our actions but after a chat we sorted things out and they are happy to include their work under the outside license options too, which is nice for both is us.

The thing is, in my opinion, (and some other texture stores) if you don't at least offer a legitimate solution to this growing issue, then people will self justify and take the textures anyway by telling themselves  "Well, they gave me no choice!"

Our license has always been clear, if you buy textures in Second Life using the Linden Dollar then you cannot use them outside of the same place you bought from form and for, that being of course Second Life.

This was never an issue until such time came when there was a reason to want to use them elsewhere and then suddenly texture stores were being "greedy" and unreasonable.

"But, I've paid once!" being the popular complaint.

Concept of ownership, it's a massive delusion and one I have made errors and assumptions on in the past too.

Sometimes if someone spend money on something, subconsciously, that purchase makes those items "theirs" and as such they feel they have every right to share them, export them and even resell them.

I think the most appropriate evidence of this belief is a letter I got was a guy from SL saying how if he bought a bed in New York he should be able to take it to any other city or country he liked, so why not textures he bought from SL?

User License are much like TOS, very few people take the time to read them.

Despite some hard ball ideas, it's really an educational issue.

Copyright is by most new SL residents perceptions, just a word they see on the back of a DVD.
They have no reason to learn about it, its a "legal term" that had never popped up in their normal real day to day lives, so why assume they will understand the concept and all the grey areas of it when they sign up for SL?

For most new Second Life merchants the SL permission system is the "law" as that's the only thing they learn, there are no options in a texture or prim properties to chose the type of License they want to sell  their content under so in short, they are not introduced to Copyright, and if they are not introduced to it, they won't learn about it and mistakes and assumptions are made and made often.

It's taken me a long time to really get to grips with the various license types and in all honestly, I didn't know what "Creative Commons" meant until 18 months ago.
Royalty Free is another weak link, people assume that because it says "free" that means "free to do as you wish" (yet another assumption I have made in the past)

If Linden Labs had given texture artists the same permission options to protect how their content was used, the same options that most other content creators have, there would be no reason to sell full permissions and people wouldn't have the ability to share, sell and save textures to their PCs. (To perhaps share and sell outside of SL, who knows)

Clothing, skin and fashion designers don't get criticised because their customers cannot export the clothing/hair/skins/AOs/houses/dogs/cars they purchased in Second Life to other worlds.
It's just a "given" that that's the way it is.

Texture artists and stores have to sell full permissions to allow commercial content creators within Second Life the ability to sell what they create.

If textures were sold as "No Transfer" then that same No Transfer texture when applied to a single prim (building block) would render that prim (and all prims linked to it)  as also No Transfer,  meaning they could not sell what they created.

It's a technical oversight Linden Labs have ignored for way too long.
After all what would SL be without textures? They are as essential as the building blocks (prims) used to create content.

I got my bank account statements to the accountant at last. (It was really playing on my mind, I hate admin) I am now just completing the tedious task of re creating all of the 200 listings I have on Xstreet.com which will be migrated to the new Second Life Market Place in Oct.

I swear, 85% of my listings had text totally or partially missing leaving information that bore no relation to the product itself and images were not displayed correctly.

I have already spent 20 hours and have only got 2/3s completed.
More admin, but it has to be done.

Sales on Contentparadise.com have gone through the roof this month breaking previous sales records for July which is nice.
Discounting products does help but if you have them constantly discounted people stop seeing them as a special offer.
So, I have one month full priced and very few sales and one much discounted and have good sales.

Also, you need to always have at least one product on the first page (which is displayed in order of creation) to get the traffic so its very important to keep churning good stuff out... and that's a whole different PITA. More later on that subject.

I have a telephone meeting with the gentleman from the game studio some time today. Not sure exactly what, if anything I can offer him or vice versa, it's 4.10pm now and no phone call as yet.

I have already been asked if I was going to the European Game Convention in London (4-5 hour drive)
Sadly I don't have time to spit these days, much less travel to London.

"I am a small town girl, living in a small town world" ....world meaning virtual or online only lol.

I have worked from my home PC for 10 years now, and that comes at a price.

I joined Train2Game.com to learn 3D art to better my chances of maintaining an income in the future but on a self employed basis.
Sure, I would be happy to work on a sub contract basis for game studios but no, arriving at 9am, sitting at a desk with all of the external noise and distractions really doesn't appeal to me anymore.

I like the peace and quiet of my own home, the freedom to work my own hours (even if that does mean sometimes 50+ a week and until 3am) because it's "my" choice.

I am self motivated to the extreme but just recently I have been spinning plates to keep an income coming in this economy which has been really stressful.

It's funny how having a couple of websites and a registered trading company can throw some people into some deluded idea that I own some multi million dollar company with 100+ staff.

To some in SL, TRU is seen almost like IBM is in real life,  when the reality is, it's a "one woman band", who sits at her PC all day and most of the night in the spare bedroom come office and who is very lucky to have 2 people who are willing to work in their spare time to support TRU.

Linden Labs I ain't!

Oh, and my training course, don't remind me, I don't need reminding, it's constantly nagging at me.
I haven't been able to sit down with it for over 2 months give or take a few hours here and there.

I am just waiting for a quiet spell but it doesn't ever seem to come at the minute.

I had fully planned on working with it whilst we were away in Scotland but I had that horrid Virus which left me lead on a sofa in Scotland 80% of my waking hours.

When did it all get so hard? It used to be all about making textures uploading textures, wash and repeat.

These days I have so little time to create and more recently that's because of the Xstreet - New Market Place migration and a bad flu like virus.

I have always felt the need to make new content - if I am not working then I feel it's only a matter of time before business declines. Makes sense to me at least but you know, 80,000 textures is a lot of stock to get through if you're a customer.

The websites finished now, I just need to finish the Second Life Market Place migration and then in theory I have no further time consuming commitments. But yea, I'm feeling the stress.

You have heard of writers block? Same thing happens for artists in all genres.

Well, must dash! The plate in the far left looks like it's about to wobble and fall!

Harvey - Mini Dachshund - Scotland 2010



Scotland 2010 















Sunday, 12 September 2010

Social Networking Verses Social Climbing

Harvey & Me Loch Lomond.


I am currently away on a 10 day holiday in Scotland until the 15th Sept (hence the photos) but as luck would have it, I'm stuck inside writing this post due to an horrendous virus that keeps on coming and going.

My back and legs ache, I am hot and cold, head aches a little and I feel weak, weepy and off my food.

I can't tell you how depressing it is to be on holiday and too ill to enjoy it. 

With no coffee machine, no cable TV and limited WIFI, I can see cabin fever on the horizon!

The photos in this post we're taken the day after we arrived at Biggar in South Scotland.

I love this Parker Jacket by Firetrap 



The plan was for me to concentrate on my game art diploma whilst I was away and get some new texture photos for isourcetextures.com which I co-own. 
But having only been "out and about"  for two days and house bound since, things haven't gone according to plan.

On the upside, I received some very exciting news in the form of an email and phone call from quite a prolific game studio.

I have been invited to their offices in Milton Keynes for a meeting to discuss several ways to offer TRU Textures Ltd and/or www.iSourcetextures.com support, networking with other studios, help with generating extra revenue and possibly direct investment as part of a scheme to aid game and game related studios in the UK. 
(I think? I need to chat with them on the phone before I can confirm the in's and out's)

Either way, it's very exciting and I am deeply flattered that we were noticed full stop, if nothing comes from it at all, it's a compliment at the very least.


Loch Lomond 
I am not a "social climber" and never have been. 

I don't "attach" myself to other people to better my exposure or inflate my ego and that's been a weakness  as a business owner if I am honest.

The only people I talk to are customers and other artists with TRU and 3 months ago I turned down an invitation to do a 10 minute speech on texture use and creation for Second Lifes,  Burning Life. 

Oh, I am happy to "brag about it" here but I wouldn't have the courage to "talk" to a group of 100 people on the subject at all! 
Plus I figured at least one "crazy" would be there ready to heckle me. 

Still, it was nice to have been approached and not the other way around.

Honestly? I would rather just be left alone.
Mind my own business and make art than "schmooze" with those I deem to be higher or better than me or who may offer me better exposure.

But this attitude has it's disadvantages.

The adage: "It's not what you know but who you know" without doubt, has some truth in it.

However, I do not feel comfortable brown nosing my way to the top and yet it happens a lot and all in the name of "ambition" 

I would rather be judged on merit than association alone.

So anyway,  I decided to take a less aggressive route and created a portfolio, got on YouTube and joined a few business type social network sites and that's how the recent potential opportunity came my way.
It may be nothing or it may be huge, time will tell.


I am back home on Wednesday and have the mind numbingly boring task of gathering bank and PayPal statements for my accountant to do my TAX return...Oh Joy.

Harvey & Me.