Friday, 26 August 2011

Animated Haunted Horror Vintage Portrait Textures

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I really enjoyed working with this one, and I think it shows.

I have found the tools I used the most were Photoshops Liquify tool, various cracks brushes, the Burn Tool and some scars, stitches and bruises from 3DTotal.com Creatures texture collection which is also available from the TRU textures store and website.

This is my favourite because the distortion of the face when she opens the mouth is natural and fluid which was achieved by tweaking parts of her jaw and chin, cheek bones and eyes using Liquify tool.




Animated Haunted Vintage Portraits Halloween

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Available from the SL Marketplace for 350 Linden Dollars:
https://marketplace.secondlife.com/p/TRU-Textures-Animated-Haunted-Horror-Portrait-Textures-No-5/2624760

DOH????!

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I cant believe what a dizzy cow I am.

I’ve just spent an hour photo manipulation the portrait above into the horror version, went straight to creating a sample GIF (just for display purposes) and then closed all the layers down without saving the final JPG draft meaning, all I have is the watermarked animated GIF above!

I couldn't recreate that "to the exact” no matter how I tried!

:( I liked that one too.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Animated Horror Face Picture Textures - Work in Progress Part 4

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Now available from The Second Life Marketplace L$999 for 4 designs (8 textures) and script included.

Also available from TRU Textures in world store  L$350 each design (2 textures plus animation script)

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Animated Horror Face Picture Textures - Work in Progress Part 3

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Thats better, same image as the last post but it seems “less is more” in these things, the transition should be subtle I think.

It’s all trial and error, more you practise the better the result like most things in life.

Animated Horror Face Picture Textures - Work in Progress

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Animated Haunted Pictures Work In Progress Part 2

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Here’s todays attempt.

Still not feeling like I am “there” yet. Just need to practise with liquify tool a bit more...

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Animated Haunted House Horror Vintage Portrait Textures - Work In Progress

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I remember seeing some really cool animated vintage frames in Second Life which displayed an old photo of some child or person from the 1800s and then it quickly changed to a creepy horror face.

This was years ago but they had been created with someone who clearly had a lot of creative skill.

Last year I wanted to try and create my own as I have only ever seen that one collection and they were “objects” rather than textures, ready framed with the animation script, but for some reason, I struggled finding vintage photos from the public domain (So to avoid breaching copyright)

I was approached by a good customer who asked me to make some dripping blood and some versions of the animation haunted house picture frames.

I made the blood that morning and explained it would take me a few weeks to create a collection of 10 separate photo manipulated vintage photos but I started playing this morning (above)

At this stage, its really a very rough draft as I have not been working in Photoshop on a serious level for a couple of months with my holiday and other work commitments but for a first effort, I am encouraged I can end up with some good quality animated Halloween picture framed textures.

Work in progress...

Monday, 15 August 2011

Thank You.

Me & Harvey on a windy beach! 
I am not sure how many people will see this or indeed whether those that do, give a fig,  but I am going to make it public anyway.

It’s a letter, a thank you letter to be more precise, not to my parents or to my partner.

No, it’s a sincere heartfelt letter to people I will never meet or talk to in person much less know their real names or the in’s and out’s of their real lives.

I want to thank every single person who has ever purchased my textures or any digital content made by  other authors on the internet or in places like Second Life.

In these crappy economic times, I realise that human nature will often make us lean towards cheaper or "free" methods of obtaining stuff we want and that goes ten fold within the digital goods industry when content is not tangible,  it doesn’t feel real,  if we can’t hold it in our hands it seems to hold a lesser value  I guess its natural to lessen its worth or value “because” we can't touch it.

But to me and indeed many very real people, digital content is very real.

We make it and we hope others buy it so we can put food in the cupboards and pay the rent.

And thanks to people like “you” we are motivated to continue to create more and better content in hopes that that too will be purchased by people with ethical moral fibre.

For make no bones about it, when it comes to Second Life or any type of digital content available on the internet, it’s down to honest, ethical and educated people that understand the value of its worth and in turn, this allows creators to continue to create.

For if everyone was stealing and sharing digital goods illegally, the whole digital content community would eventually grind to a halt.

I watched with some interest the recent news footage of youths in the UK running around on a “free for all” bender looting shops and setting cars on fire, stealing from one another and bragging about it on social network sites like Twitter.

Justifying their behaviour with immature excuses about how the current economy had forced them to stoop so low.

So, if people feel it’s  “OK” stealing tangible goods and indeed smashing windows to do so, how easy must it be to just hit a keyboard button to “share” or “download” illegal (stolen) digital content that requires no identification or physical force?

I also accept that a lot of the time (if not most of it) it’s done in ignorance and again this falls back to the whole “Physical verses Digital” perception.

Copyright and IP is not taught in schools and generally, unless your on the other side of the fence, we have no reason to learn or even care about it.

I have been on both sides of that fence in my life and acted and thought from both views,  so I do understand how easy it is to make incorrect assumptions to suit our desire to “own"
It’s a massive educational issue.

So my thanks goes to that small minority that for what ever reason do understand IP and copyright and care about being honest and upfront about other peoples digital work.

And I know my counterparts feel as thankful as I do.

It’s often only the bad or negative things we read about whilst the good goes unrecognised, so I am recognising it here and now. Thank you.

*Stands down of soap box*










TRU Textures Collections Now Available On the Second Life Marketplace

2500 Texture Sets To Be Added
Its been a year in the making but I am delighted to say the texture sets made by myself an my clients, 3DTotal.com, Texturama.com, 3DRender.co.uk, Ambientlight.co.uk and CGenie.com are now being added to the Second Life Marketplace 

We’re about half way finished with another 1500 sets to be added.

Whilst I have had my own store on the SLMP, it only stocks collections I personally made over the last two years.

Thanks to Thorian Pennell and Elizabeth Tinsley, we are now running a program that automatically adds the pre displayed collections we have in the in-world store, onto the Second Life Marketplace and these include the artist companies listed above.

The commission/royalties owed to artists of the textures I didn’t make are paid directly into their SL accounts at the point of sale.

To do this manually would have taken me 12 months of full time work and it was very frustrating for me because as soon as Linden Labs purchased what used to be Xstreet.com and made it their own, I knew it was vital to get the thousands of products we have available in world onto the marketplace.

But after 7 years of added 1000s of texture collections to our in world store, I couldn't have done it alone.

To visit the main TRU Textures store on the SLMP please click the link in this post (above) or the SL Marketplace link at the top of this blog.

Thanks!

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Contentparadise.com - TRU Textures

Featured on Contentparadise.com Home Page 
I know I am showing off but hey, if you can’t blow your own trumpet, who’s gonna blow it for ya?

So anyway, I went to contentpradise.com to grab the URL for a forum post I was writing and noticed they had made another banner for me!

I don’t sell anywhere else like I do with CP, I have a hand full of sets on a few agent based websites but none of them give me the same attention, support or sales as CP does and this banner thing makes me feel valued and that’s very important to any content seller.

So thank you CP! Means a lot to me.

On the same theme, as I posted a few weeks back, The 3D World Magazine will be featuring isourcetextures.com in their magazine this month.

I tried pushing TRU Textures when they contacted us but so far no reply! loL I will have another push soon :P

The release date is 21st August and if you buy a copy there is a free disc of 50 free and commercially licensed textures up for grabs off the website.

Friday, 12 August 2011

Return Holiday - Betws Y Coed - Snowdonia

Me & Harvey - River Side Betws Y Coed.
Just some random photos from one of the best holidays I have had in years.

Had a four day withdrawal from the PC as there was next to no ISP but in hindsight it was better because old habits were left behind, I spend way too much time sitting staring at PC monitors.

The meal at The Royal Oak Hotel in Betws Y Coed was amazing, we ate there two nights and as the main meal cost £22 (extra for vegetables!) then a further £7.90 for desert it soon lead to a heavy bill but the food is to die for.

I ate there many years ago with an ex, we were staying at the Hotel and the food was good then with a good ambience in the restaurant so I was a little worried 7 years on that the standards would be as I remembered.They were if not more so.

The weather was great the first week which we made the most of with the garden of the hired 3 bedroom cottage which was positioned next to the river with a massive pine forest directly behind.
I would love to live there. It was remote but only 10 minutes drive into the village. Perfect.

The news about the recent economy concerns put a bit of a downer on my mood as its always a worry when things effect consumer confidence, as if it wasn’t effected enough,  but upon my return I had some good news.

Thorian and Elizabeth have started putting the 1000s of texture sets we have for sale in the SL store on the SLMP.

I have around 2500 collections created by myself, Texturama.com, 3DTotal.com, 3DRender.co.uk, CGenie.com and Ambientlight.co.uk which I have been desperate to get onto the Second Life Marketplace for 12 months.

I have noticed there seems to be a dying trend towards in world shopping in general since Linden Labs bought Xstreet and so for textures,  it’s little wonder that people prefer to view them LAG free from the SLMP website instead of contending with the LAG and slow rez delays commonly associated with texture stores within Second Life.

They have already boxed my older sets up and have been loading them onto the SLMP website for the last few days with TRU Timeless being the store owner.
(TRU Timeless is our banking account that owns all of the vendors containing all of the different artists textures. All payments go through that account and are then paid to the artists)

So in a month or so there will be 2500 texture collections made by myself and the above companies who I am contracted as their sole agent in Second Life.
I am hoping it “Keeps the wolf away from the door” so to speak.

I really had hoped the economy would have started to show signs of recovery three years in but apparently it's going to be at least another three years before that happens so its simply a matter of working very, very, very hard and keeping your fingers crossed because despite some peoples misconceptions, owning 2 websites is not a reflection of financial success... lol.. if only!

It’s a constant grind and worry just to keep my head above the water not to mention keeping the motivation ticking over.

I think I am the only person dropping new texture sets off at the store these days. Most artists have given up and some don’t even log in much but as me and Tim from 3DRender.co.uk discussed recently, what are the options?

If we throw the towel in now, that’s a sure path to failure so keep on plodding on and remember that despite the negatives, I am still very lucky to be able to make any kind of income at all from doing something I love.
Swallow Falls - Betws Y Coed.

Me, Mum, Dad & Malcolm The Royal Oak 




Video - Breakfast in Betws y Coed

On that subject, here’s a free texture I made for a customer today as a replica for one she wanted that was ripped from some game I suspect.
It tiles left to right.

Please do not redistribute it for free or profit in any capacity. Many thanks.

Click to enlarge. 



Gaggia Coffee Machine Repair Service - Buyer Beware - Gaggiaservice.co.uk Review

http://www.gaggia-service.co.uk/

I strongly suggest you do NOT use this company for ANY type of service or repair of your coffee machine.
Here’s why:

I contacted the above website/company on the 19th April 2011 to fix the milk foamer on my Gaggia X2/ Gaggia XTwo coffee machine.

Andrew, the owner arranged for a collection as I am from the North of England in Lancashire and they are based down the south of the UK. They collect and deliver on Thursdays from the North of the UK.

The machine was collected fast enough and that’s the only positive thing I can say.

A week after my machine was collected, I telephone Andrew the owner and asked how long it would take.
They said they would “Bump me up the list” and would telephone me BEFORE they did any work to inform me of the work that needed doing and the associated costs.

I heard nothing so telephoned again 3 weeks after collection and Andrew, explained (in a flustered and almost hostile manner) that they had moved premises and he was unable to locate my machine because their computers were not connected.
He demanded the date it was collected and finally found it and said the bit of paper that was stuck to my machine displayed that it had not been in the workshop yet and that he would get it dealt with asap.

I heard nothing.

5 weeks later, several angry emails of which none were replied to,  I telephoned again.

We went through the same sequence of identification.
Andrew asking me what model it was, when it was collected and again I was told that nothing had been done yet but this time he would fix it.

He asked me to email him from his website listing the machine make and the faults so he would be prompted to remember.
I did and heard nothing.

7 weeks later and I telephoned again.
Each time I telephoned, Andrew seemed to forget our previous conversations and emails and I had to go through the same process of identifying who I was, what machine he had of mine and the fault that needed looking at.
At this stage I was livid and yet its worth mentioning that in the 7 weeks previous, I had made less than 5 phone calls and 4 emails.

But it became obvious to me that this company were incompetent and unreliable and their customer communication skills were non existent.

Finally, 8 weeks after my machine was collected I got my very first email from them informing me that my machine had received a full service and I needed to pay £270 before they would return it to me.

It’s funny how proactive about communication Andrew is when it comes to collecting payment.
Also, remember how they said they would telephone me BEFORE they did any work?
Well, they didn’t.

To be fair, I did say right at the beginning of our communication that whilst they had my machine, they may as well give it a full service.
But the only reason I contacted them at all was because of the fact my milk foamer was not working. Everything else with the machine worked fine, it probably didn’t even need a service.

We paid via debit card over the phone and the machine was returned 8 weeks after it was collected.
All was forgiven from me at this stage,  I was just glad I would have my coffee machine back and working again.

The invoice was provided by the delivery man who delivered the machine back to me and I noticed that written on the invoice was “Milk Foamer N/A”

Guess what? The milk foamer was still not working!

So I had paid £270 for a service I would never have had if not for the milk foamer fault and 8 weeks later, several angry emails and telephone calls,  my machine was returned with the exact same fault I had contacted them about originally.

At this stage I was so angry with the piss poor communication, the sense that Andrew didn’t seem to know his ass from his elbow when I enquired and now the fact that he had charged me £270 and returned the machine with the same fault it had when he collected it!

I telephoned him again and he mumbled:
 “It worked when we tested it in our work shop, it must be the CPU, email me the details of this conversation, keep hold of the machine and I will order a CPU in, collect your machine when we have the CPU, fix it and get it back to you the following Thursday so it's not in our work shop for weeks"

Again, I emailed him as instructed and again I heard nothing for 3 weeks.
The machine was not collected, no apology was made in writing or on the phone and no offer of a refund was made.

My final telephone call was made on the 19th July 2011

Andrew (again) asked me what machine I had, when it was collected and had they collected it.

I reminded him he had asked me to email him to arrange a collection. He said he had not seen any email.
He went on to say they had 10 Gaggia machines in the workshop and all needed CPUs so the CPUs they had in stock were taken” (Despite that fact he had told me 3 weeks ago that he would order one in for my machine)
He added “Gaggia machines are a pain in the behind, they are rubbish and thats why Gaggia went bust"

He was snappy and raised his voice as he almost screamed at me:

“.....and before you start accusing me of fobbing you off and criticising me you ought to think yourself very lucky that I am going to provide you with a free CPU AND under warranty which we don’t normally do, we never provide CPUs under warranty. They cost £270 and I am going to give you one free! Your machine will be fixed by the end of the month! ”

I was speechless. I had not once raised my voice to Andrew in this or indeed any phone call.
Whilst my emails may have been written with anger and frustration I had actually apologised because I soon realised that screaming and shouting at this man was not going to get me what I wanted.

Again, I emailed him as instructed only this time I added how inappropriate I felt it was to shout down at his customers and reminded him that at this point it was hard to feel “lucky” when I was £270 out of pocket and stuck with the same fault on my machine as I had when I contacted him months previous.

It’s now the 12th August and the “end of the month” has come and gone.
Andrew from Gaggiaservice.co.uk has neither emailed me, text me, telephoned me and obviously not collected or repaired my machine.

I have telephoned Philips who bought Gaggia out. They offer a collect and repair service for around £170 and a turnaround of 7 working days.

This is the link to Philips repair for Gaggia Coffee Machines

Here is the link to a forum discussion about GaggiaService.co.uk from other people who seemed to have had very similar experiences to my own.

http://coffeeforums.co.uk/showthread.php?2682-Gaggia-Service-uk-any-experiences

And more negative experiences with people on the Amazon forum:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/forum/coffee/Tx2DF2MV5XVW8OM?_encoding=UTF8&cdForum=Fx38NSUWDB0312B

NB: When I contacted the above company there was no mention of 8 weeks waiting time on their website. It was only when I asked on the telephone that I was told.

Disclaimer: This is written based on actual events from my perspective and taken place between myself, Elizabeth Gallagher and the owner of the company of www.gaggiaservice.co.uk





Tuesday, 9 August 2011

UK Riots & Looting -- Kids!!! ... Who'd Have em?!

So I am on my annual holiday in North Wales and watching the news on the TV displaying all the riots and looting in the main cities of UK.
In particular the footage of what looks like an injured, bleeding foreign (Japanese) boy who is initially helped by some street thugs to within 2 minutes the same thugs calmly and with no sense of urgency just peep into his rucksack and start pulling out items which they unwrapped and walked away with leaving the poor guy stunned and confused.

I have also read some Tweets on an account named: "Da Hud" (snorts with laughter) were what appears like bits of kids and teenagers are tweeting comments like "Yea da feds dont ave a clue man"

Da Feds??? LOL Where are we?? Chicago?

So whats the self justification?
Whats the reason?

We hear from youth workers saying how young people in the UK do not have anything to do and how the government has made so many cut backs these poor youths feel forced to "act out"

What a load of crap!

Kids do not have mortgages to pay for, most of them are living at home so their bellies are full, no mouths to feed and so on.
They have NO genuine sense of pressure as they sleep in warms beds at night and have nothing  more to worry about other than the "pressure" of wearing the latest designer gear.

There is NO justification or excuse for smashing windows of shops and grabbing flat screen TVs

Its nothing but boredom and desire for attention and fame.

Get the army involved the rubber bullets out and abolish the law that protects under aged criminals from being imprisoned.

Just my one sided and probably ignorant POV