Monday, November 24, 2008

From Glitch to Glam: Second Life Bug Serendipity (slightly NSFW)

I dropped into Second Life on Saturday afternoon for the opening of my good friend Nightflower's Artist's Cooperative. I quickly noticed many avatars in the crowd wearing cool-looking black skin.

nightflower shadow screenshot

I was intrigued. Was this some new fashion trend I'd missed? In local chat I asked something like, "Who started the black skin avatar craze?" Silence. No response at all.

Of course, it turned out it was just a software glitch causing a few avatars to render improperly on my screen. The dead air after my question was likely because no one had a clue what the hell I was talking about. Or they thought it was a racist remark related to our ebony-skinned DJ, GoSpeed Racer. Oh well.

Later that night, I decided to try duplicating what I'd seen by creating a solid black texture and applying it to my skin and eyes. It worked! I took a few photographs like the one below and went to bed.

shadow crop1

I woke up way-too-early-for-a-Sunday-morning and couldn't get back to sleep. On a whim, I decided to jump inworld and grab a little video. Nightflower was online so I asked if she'd join me for a "ShadowPlay" shoot. She was kind enough to agree and we had a good time messing around on a rooftop in the middle of Extropia Core. I spent a few hours editing that afternoon to create the video I posted yesterday.

Here are a couple of still shots from Sunday morning. They are unretouched except for cropping.



Finally, here's a shot taken with CodeBastard Redgrave's cool FilterCam HUD.

filter hud

I really like the black avatar look. It's kind of like being a walking infographic character. New fashion trend? What do you think?

VIDEO: Nightflower Submits to the Dark Side

ShadowPlay from Botgirl Questi on Vimeo.

Next time: The embarrassing story of how I stumbled onto this idea, plus shadowplay erotica.


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A beautiful thought experiment personified through the imagined perspective of a self-aware avatar. My creator's site can is at