Monday, 10 October 2011

Thoughts and Rambles...

Its difficult writing in a blog when your livelihood is based on the internet because you have to maintain a professional veneer and come over emotionless and politically correct. Some people can do that very well and you only get to see the real human, “Warts and all” in private conversations, but I struggle.

I am by nature opinionated and not the type to bottle it up.. if something ticks me off, makes me sad, or happy or laugh I want to talk about it, write about it, shout about it.

I was once given some wise advice from the owner of Textures Unlimited  ( SL’s very first texture store and where I got my inspiration from in 2004 ) that she felt forums were a place that no matter what you wrote, someone would disagree with you and in business that someone may be your customer and so she kept out of them.

I ignored her at first but I soon caught on and that’s why I have less than 200 forum posts in the official SL forums since April 2004.

That person isn’t in SL anymore and neither is her store, which I do feel partly responsible for sadly... but thats another story and again, I am not sure it would be “PC" to write a public blog about it.

Back in the day, Textures Unlimited was "the" texture store in SL and it must have turned over a lot of sales because of that. (my assumptions nothing more)

I remember going to the forums to respond to people who were looking for specific textures and all the  replies were: “Textures Unlimited, best store in SL!!”  whilst me and a few others would be at the bottom of the thread squeaking “I sell textures too!” lol

Back then, a texture stores popularity was never about what they created but rather what they found!
And that is no exaggeration.
Everyone kind of knew that textures for sale were freely available off the internet but the skill was finding them  and if you were really professional, adding an alpha channel (lol) and the cost of uploading them.
Very few people raised an exception to this fact.
No one knew any better at the time.

People were happy to pay for the convenience and few people owned paint programs much less knew how to add an alpha channel or make something seamless.

Of course, PNGs are allowed in SL now so no need to play around with TGA alpha channels.

Second Life in 2003 - 2005 was in its "Tribal Stage" of evolution and it's members were learning and growing just as SL was.
What may seem obviously wrong today was really no big deal back then and people learnt by example.

I would often find textures on the net that I had seen in my inspirational texture store but had no reason to question it. I assumed it was “the done thing” and to be perfectly frank, so did about 95% of the other texture stores around that time.
There are still today 1000s of people selling freebie scrapbook kits on the SL Marketplace, they don’t know any better, they believe if people are giving them away on the internet then they must not care what happens to them and so they make a quick buck from them.

I have done that in the past. I am glad to say, I don’t do it today.

Since having my own Googled ass dragged through every gossip mongering forum and blog with hundreds of absolute fantastical stories written and read about me, I have become a real self righteous pain in the ass on the subject.

I am anal about where I source my materials from these days.
If I need permission from the author of a photograph I would like to use, I not only ask for it, but I send checks and keep a copy of the permission and make sure 100% that he/she knows that I need a commercial license because I intend to use it for commercial distribution.

But, unless you have been burnt at the stake of copyright infringement and learnt the hard way, 99% of people will happily continue down the road of ignorance is bliss. That’s human nature.

SL is a totally different world today. Sure, we still have the ignorant opportunists and people who think they can shit in a box and someone will buy it,  but we also have very professional designers who have come to SL to do business and it’s scary.
They know how to make their own websites, they know how to make 2D and 3D content and they know how to market it and navigate the maze of SEO.

I am starting to feel like the owner of Textures Unlimited must have felt like once upon a time.... behind the times.

3D scares the Hell out of me and it’s not something that I can just learn in a week.

By the time I get to grips with it,  SL will be introducing Smell-o-Vision  so I just keep honing my 2D skills and telling myself one day I will go back to the course on "Game Art and Animation" I paid a small fortune for,  but in the meantime.. I must make more and better textures!


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