Making animated Second Life Gifs

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Recently I spotted a lovely little animated picture on Loki Eliot‘s Twitter stream, one of those fun (and/or annoying) Gifs that you can find all over the internet.
He shared a link to the software he used to make them and now I’m making them myself all the time.

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In a way they are moving screenshots, or short videos you can very easily shoot within Second Life.
We would of course love to make wonderful machinimas and show everyone with ultra graphics what our sims and our virtual world looks like, but alas, for this you need a pretty strong computer and it often involves setting up and running complicated and demanding software.

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And right in the middle of a crowded events, our poor computers have to work hard enough already to simply make everything look half decent.
Anyway, this software is easy to figure out and works very well.

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It is called Giphy and you can find it by clicking here.

Next time you’re in SL, activate Giphy, drag a window over your screen and click record.
Once done, edit it if need be, save it and upload it directly to the Giphy website.
Done!

I just love these little tiny films I can now make, but more importantly, they are such a great way to share your virtual adventures all over the internet.
I’ve been making a lot of them and people love seeing them, even friends and family who have never been in Second Life or don’t understand or even like it.

So I thought I’d go and share this nifty gadget and maybe you’ll like it as much as I do.
I look forward to seeing more and more animated Gifs from Second Life on Facebook, Twitter and even here on WordPress.

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Ebbe Altberg’s SVVR video (from last April) now online.

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Last April, Ebbe Altberg (CEO of Linden Lab) spoke at the Silicon Valley Virtual Reality convention.
The full video has finally been uploaded to Youtube.
And although Ebbe’s chat has been discussed plenty since then and has no real news, I thought I’d share it anyway, just in case.

Make your own interactive panoramic pictures in Second Life

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Illiastra Ascendent (nvzn Resident) (aka James Reichert) who has been experimenting with 360 degrees videos and photography within virtual reality and specifically Second Life, has now developed a system that allows you to make interactive panoramic pictures yourself.

The Illiastra Panoramic Camera System (click) will allow you to record and then edit screenshots you take in Second Life into one large panoramic picture that allows you to interactively look around with your mouse.
A wonderful way to give people an impression of what your sim in SL looks like without them having to download the software, setup an account, create an avatar, find your sim, etc.
And not only will people be able to see your sim without downloading Second Life, they can also see it with the graphics and windlight setting you had in mind when you recorded the picture and no lag.

You can upload these panoramas to Facebook or even look around with your VR headset or Hololens, as demonstrated here;

I think this would look really nice as part of the destination guide or just as general promotion.
I’ve shared a few of these on the 1920s Berlin page.

Illiastra has now put all this information together into one kit that you can buy on marketplace (click).

I look forward t seeing lots of these panoramas popping up online soon.

For more information, check out Illiastra’s Facebook page here (click).

Second Life releases new Fantasy themed starter avatars

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Linden Lab just announced (click) a new set of starter avatars with themes such as “steampunk, vampires, sci-fi, post-apocalyptic… and beyond!”
Not a theme I have much affinity with, perhaps next time we can have Time Travellers as a theme for starter avatars?
Victorian, Medieval, Roman… and oh I don’t know… 1920s!😉

They have the normal good old fashioned system bodies, which is a good decision as mesh avatars are something for more experienced users.

If only we could now also find an easier way to deal with alpha layers, can’t we connect them to the clothes so you wear them automatically?

Anyway, more choice of new avatars is a good thing although I still think it would be even better to have some sort of avatar creation tool on the SL website as part of the signup process.
Let new users play with how they want their avatar to look before they even start Second Life.

This is what the 10 new avatars look like;

Linden Lab made an internal video to introduce these new avatars, you can see it here;

Linden Lab begins inviting creators to Project Sansar this week!

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Linden Lab today announced that they are going to start sending out invites to people who have applied to be part of the Creator Preview this week.

So if you’re one of the people who have filled in the application form on the Sansar website, keep an eye on your mailbox!

I don’t know about you but my bags are packed.
Regardless of how enthusiastic you may or may not be about Project Sansar, I doubt there isn’t anyone in SL today who isn’t at least a little curious to what the lindens have been creating in their laboratory.

Over 6500 people have applied for the Creator Preview and a select group of creators who’s skills best fit the current capabilities of Sansar but who, I guess, are also the kind of people who will be able to build a few impressive experiences.
After all, Project Sansar will be mostly empty or filled with Linden created objects and it would be nice to have some user created experiences ready to show when this new virtual world goes public next January.

Addendum;

Inara Pey discovered that Linden Lab has decided to stick with the original name of Sansar, which for a while was just the working title as Project Sansar.
I assumed LL would think of a new name and only picked Project Sansar as a placeholder but started to think they might stick with Sansar last April as I mentioned in this blog (click).
Because I felt Peter’s answer to Inara’s question was a bit too vague (and because I’m just stubborn), I decided to ask as well, just to be sure;

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Well that is pretty clear.
I am not sure I like the name, it is short, easy to remember and on google generally helps you find this new virtual world, it is not very descriptive, unlike Second Life you don’t immediately get an idea of what Sansar is.
Of course if you google the meaning you will find that it fits rather well.

The full press release;

SAN FRANCISCO – August 31, 2016Linden Lab® today announced that the first invitations to the Sansar™ Creator Preview are being sent this week. Select applicants will be invited to create their own social VR experiences with the new platform, slated for public release in early 2017.

Sansar will democratize VR as a creative medium. It will empower people to easily create, share, and ultimately monetize their own interactive social experiences that can be enjoyed in VR with head-mounted displays like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, as well as via PCs and, later, other platforms. Sansar enables professional-level quality and performance, while also solving the complex engineering challenges that have previously made creating and publishing social VR experiences an extremely complex and costly endeavor.

“Since opening applications for our Creator Preview, more than 6,500 people have applied to use Sansar to create their own social VR experiences,” said Bjorn Laurin, VP of Product at Linden Lab. “To start, we’re inviting a select group of creators whose skills and projects are the best fit for Sansar’s capabilities today. As the platform matures, we’ll continue inviting more and more creators up until public release early next year. Feedback from this early community will help us improve the platform, and they’ll create a range of incredible social VR experiences that everyone can enjoy at Sansar’s public release.”

To apply to the Sansar Creator Preview program, visit www.Sansar.com.

I myself hope to be invited and get started on a little idea I’ve had for a while; an embassy for Virtual Time Travellers, in short a place for people who use VR to enjoy the past.

On top of the news, LL also uploaded 4 brand new Sansar Screenshots to Flickr;

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Ebbe Altberg speaks at Augmented World Expo

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A few weeks ago Ebbe Altberg, (aka Ebbe Linden) CEO of Linden Lab, spoke at the Augmented World Expo.

Ebbe talks about what Second Life is all about, mentions Sansar and shows screenshots and video from this new virtual wthat will be open to the public in January.

Emphasis was on creating experiences by assembling objects you buy or build with 3D software.

Ebbe repeats that those who have signed up for Sansar would be let in around ‘early August’.
Clearly that date has been moved or they have been letting people in but they made them sign a non disclosure agreement.

There isn’t much news or anything revealed that we didn’t know yet.
But just in case you want to see it anyway, you can see a video of his talk here;

Ebbe Altberg interview about SL & Sansar which is going public next January.

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Donnie SC Lygonis, Swedish business coach, currently working in Silicon Valley, recently interviewed Ebbe Altberg (AKA Ebbe Linden, CEO of Linden Lab) for his podcast on spreaker.com.

Ebbe talks about his career, how he ended up with LL, he brags a little about how awesome Second Life is, talks about the new Project Sansar, how users can create experiences there and the future of VR (Virtual Reality), AR (Augmented Reality) and MR (Mixed reality).

Nothing really new or earth shattering is said, but Ebbe did mention that only a few months ago people who tested Sansar gave it a fairly high ‘discomfort rating’, probably based on how dizzy they felt using a headset in this Virtual World, but that today this rating is very low after fine-tuning the speed of walking, tweaking the teleporting, etc.

Ebbe repeated that this August, more users (by invitation only) will be invited to come test Sansar, it already is August, so lets hope those invitations are about to be send!
Close to 5000 people have signed up to be allowed to become part of the August test wave, I am one of them and my virtual suitcase is packed.

My plan for Sansar is to first build an embassy for Virtual Time Travellers, nothing fancy, nothing big, just a place where people interested in using VR for historical purposes (education, entertainment, etc) can hang out, chat, make plans and wonder how long it will take before I can build 1920s Berlin there.

Ebbe also mentions that Sansar will open “to the world” in January 2017.
We’ve been told that Sansar would go public in 2017, even early 2017, but as far as I know, this is the first time an actual month is mentioned and January is quite soon.

Most important of all though is the mentioning of The 1920s Berlin Project at 43:10🙂

I love that Mr. Lygonis mentions how annoying it is that with all the experience we have in SL, it must be a bit annoying to have all these people re-inventing the wheel when they pitch something as original, unique and new… while we’ve been doing it in SL for over a decade.
Ebbe answers politely but I prefer to imagine him running around Silicon Valley screaming; “SL has been doing that for over a decade, and that, and that!”

After the interview Mr. Lygonis got to try Sansar and calls it “to date; the most interesting virtual reality environment”.

You can listen to the complete podcast by clicking here;
https://www.spreaker.com/user/constantinnovation/episode-7-ebbe-altberg-virtual-reality-s_1

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First Hololens experiment with 360 degrees footage filmed in Second Life

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After seeing the 360 degrees video shot in Second Life, Jim Reichert decided to see what he could do with this footage and his Hololens.
You may remember his name from a previous article I wrote about his attempt to bring an avatar into the real world.

The result is quite impressive, of course this is only a first test and as Jim explains he had to lower the resolution and the frame-rate is also not that great, but once you realise what you’re watching it becomes clear how impressive this is and that yet another milestone has been reached.

360 degrees video footage has been recorded in a virtual world and is now being projected onto a Hololens, live, while it is being worn in an office.
Combining virtual reality with 360 degrees video with Augmented Reality.

But you’ll see that the possibilities are huge, I look forward to more experiments that bring RL into SL and SL into RL!
As the song goes; “You ain’t seen nothing yet”.

First 360 degrees video recorded within Second Life

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Imagine being able to bring your 360 degrees camera into Virtual Reality, just set it up in the club, house, park or city that you’ve build yourself in Second Life, record it and then share it online with people from all over the world.

Let them get a taste of where you live in VR, let them look around and even give them the feeling they’re actually there by looking at it with their VR headset.

This is now possible!
Yesterday Electric Shepherd from Vimagine (who also worked on the ‘Virtualize it’ documentary for ‘Der Spiegel’) and Draxtor Despres came to 1920s Berlin to test out an amazing 360 degrees camera to film the, as far as I know, first 360 degrees video shot Live in Second Life in real time.

Snapshot_003The camera rig was made by Arduenn Schwartzman (of Warbug fame), it has audio and video syncing capabilities and all recorded tracks are then aligned in post production.Snapshot_009Even though this is still just an early test, it is already very impressive.

I can imagine short clips like these made in sims all over Second Life being used to show outsiders what life in our virtual world is like and the things that they can experience there.
Because these can also record busy events with lots of people and with many things happening at the same time!

Not only are these just fun videos on youtube, but they are very impressive when viewed through the Gear VR, the Cardboard VR or other headsets.
And not just that, it will also allow me to show off my sim in a whole new way to people who may not have tried Second Life, don’t know how SL works or who don’t have a computer that can handle SL.

And imagine making a full length machinima with this technology!
We could be making 360 films while people in RL have only just experimenting with it.
Once more the people in SL are groundbreaking.

You can see this pioneering footage here;
(not all browsers support 360 degrees video)

Some technical details send in by Draxtor;

  • We are simulating a goPro Rig of 6 cameras, filming each with 1080 by 1080 (which is already too low = SL can handle more but we need the screens for FRAPS to capture it that high, working on it!!)
  • I filmed this test myself so there is no syncing which means the Zeppelin dissapears into the cloud at one point: to do live action in SL we need to film at same time.
  • Syncing is no prob: we have an automated system made by Arduenn Schwartzmann which syncs the six cameras with sound and a visual cue. But again = we need to figure out higher resolution = who has the computers to make it happen, are the colors in sync as well, is the SL lag an issue when aligning the cameras later on (f.e. a dance or fast car race or airship battle etc).
  •  I am working with spatial audio on a RL project so next step will also involve inserting some sounds and dialogue which is spatialized.
  • All in all the workflow we have is SUPER FAST = plop down the virtual camera rig in SL and shoot, export, stitch, correct = DONE = faster than RL 360 !!!!!!
  • Big benefits of SL for this = inserting virtual sequences into a RL 360 video = much faster and easier than constructing it via other CGI options because you can film it in REAL TIME and the assets are all there. Yes maybe render engine less able than Unity or Unreal but a LOT easier and ultimately not worse than RL 360 at this point in the game!

And this article wouldn’t be complete without this earlier 360 degrees video in VR experiment by Zuza Ritt;