AWOL

I am closing this blog for a while.  I have learned to never say never so it may open again in the future but I do not think it will be about dancing in SL.

I started stage dancing in SL in 2014.  It has been a wonderful experience that kept my full attention for four + years.  But as a friend of mine said several times, if it stops being fun it’s time to leave.  Well I’m not ready to leave, I have dances I want to create, showing them may be another story but I’d like to create and film them at least.  The dance community used to be a wonderful, supportive place, full of creative and loving people.  Lately however, I know it is me, I have changed somehow I guess; but the bickering, the finger pointing, the egos, unfriendliness in the community has just depressed me so I am stepping back.  I am finding my happy place in SL and if it does not include you or your venue or whatever, well too bad.

My priority in the dance community is Men In Motion and the Movember foundation events.  Other than that I will participate in what I feel like participating and no longer by my warped sense of obligation.

1378145_10151952780362792_1476940987_n

 

Advertisements

A SERIOUSLY COOL FIND

Sorry I’ve been AWOL from this blog but my parents always told me that if you didn’t have anything nice to say then don’t say anything at all.  So that’s what I did.  However!

This new HUD is the BOMB!!!  A must have for all of us dancers who show at different venues and are constantly being reminded to change our tags.  I’ve been wearing it now for a while and gifted it to some friends, who all love it too.

This HUD will automatically change your group tag to whatever group you tell it to for parcels and regions.  You set it up one time and then every time you go back to that location your tag will automatically change.  So now Wiz and Kyra do not need to IM me about changing my tag all the time.  You can both still IM me for chit chat though.  LOL

I suggest it be a staple of every dancer who travels around various venues tool bag.

after I had mine set up with all the groups I needed in it, including my favorite stores, I slid it off the screen so I don’t even see it, it just works for me behind the scenes.  Oh and best part, it locks, so it will not change with your outfits!

From the market place listing:

This HUD will automatically change your active
group when teleporting into a region or simply crossing a sim boundary. It can be setup to change groups at the Parcel level as well as the Region level and if a Parcel within a Region and the Region itself are both listed, the Parcel entry takes priority. This HUD can also be configured to set a default group, or even unset active group, if no association is found for the region you just entered.

This HUD requires RLV/RLVa to be active on your viewer. You do not need a relay device however. The official Linden Labs viewer does not have this functionality and as a result this gadget will not work on that viewer. I have tested this gadget on the Firestorm and Singularity viewers.

The HUD can also attach items for a group when that group is set active, and detach that item when the group is changed out of. Handy for combat meters in combat sims, or a dance HUD at your favorite nightclub.

So go get it!!

https://marketplace.secondlife.com/p/BN-Group-Change-HUD/7199110

 

TROFF – Chrome App

Figured I’d follow Eva’s example and put this training here on the blog, especially since I keep telling her she needs it.  I of course am not as good at this as she is but I will put what I have here.

Disclaimer:
I am not paid by Google or Troff.  I do not profess to know everything there is to know about this program since I really only use it to create my PD notecard.

Download Troff at
https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/Troff-training-with-music/

So let’s get started:

Slide2

TROFF is a program designed to help musicians with their music.  It is a Music player that plays mp3s and mp4s and lets you loop a song or video, slow it down, and create markers with notes on the song timeline. It is a good tool to use if you need to practice something to music; if you are a dancer working on choreography; or a musician learning to play a song on an instrument.

Troff also lets you zoom in the time line, color the markers, and write notes for each marker.

Troff does NOT edit music.  Troff is not connected to GoogleDrive or the internet, it plays your songs from your local hard-drive, however it is a Google app and needs to be downloaded as such. This way it works as well offline as online!

Slide3

There are seven (7) sections on the Troff program dashboard when you first open it up.

Song lists are special lists you make to work from sort of like play lists. Personally I usually ignore this section and turn it off by clicking on its tab in the top row green tabs.  Click on Song lists and the column will not show up, click on it again to see it.

This is true for any column you do not want to see.  Personally I turn off all the columns I don’t need.

Songs is the next column where all your songs you have in a ‘selected folder’ are listed.

If you do not have songs in the list you must add a folder that contains music.  To do this you click on ‘Select Folders’ to add your music directory.

Choose a song from the list by clicking on it and you can play the song using the orange round play button in the top center of the screen.

Troff defaults to starting a song in three seconds, as designated by the very large 3 on the right side of the screen, however you can click the number buttons in the settings section and start it at any number of seconds you want.

States defaults to remember state which I like because any time I pull up that song all my markers are there saved for me any time I need them.  You can also click to hide this column once your preference is set to remember state or not. I highly recommend you leave it at the default of remembering the state of the song.

Settings is the important section as it holds all your menu items you need to configure the song to play how you want it.  We will be going through this as we progress.

The untitled column is the Timeline.  This is where the song itself is shown from beginning to end.  The purple bar along the left side shows what is being played.  You can change this by clicking on the marker names which we will cover later. And your markers will appear here after you have set them.

Info holds the information about the entire song or movie, yes it does movies too, and it also holds more in depth information on the marker that is selected.  I usually for the purpose of choreographing songs in SL remove this from my view as well.

And finally there is the Countdown.  The top number shows how many seconds until the song plays, you can set this to any number using the pause before number in the Settings column. The lower number shows how many times it will play which can be set from 1 to infinity using the number pad in the Settings column.  We will cover this more later.

slide4.png

You play the song you have  selected from the songs section by clicking the round orange circle at the top of the screen next to the purple countdown bar.

You’ll find information about the song at the top of the screen along with the countdown and the number of times to play it such as the name of the song, information on the Author and Album although these are pulled from your music list, which means if they are blank it is because you do not have those fields filled in your directory.  You will also find the quick notes on countdown to start, number of times played and the start/end time.

slide5.png

Using Markers

The best function of Troff are the markers.  These let you set information about the song where you want it along the timeline.

When you click the orange Add Marker block in the Settings column, a box will pop up and you can add information about that mark in the song. As you listen to the song you can add markers where you want your animations to change and where you want particles to initiate or scenes to change etc.  You can also just hit “m” while the song is playing and quickly type in a Name and hit enter, it will create the marker as the song continues to play and you can come back later to add more information.

Marker information can be as simple as just placing a marker with all it’s default information to naming it and giving more detailed information about it. You can see the information in the marker shows the seconds that this marker is pointing to and the color chooser at the bottom of the small marker window to color the marker for easier grouping.  The name of the marker appears in the timeline the information about the marker is for your personal notes.

Do not worry if you do not get all your note information in the marker the first time through the song.  You can go back and make more detailed notes in the marker when you need to, by clicking on the ‘E’ for Edit, next to the marker.

You can see that the markers are marked in minutes on the timeline itself, but when you go into the marker information, it is marked in seconds.  You can also change the seconds in the marker to move it to a different time for example a chorus starts and you hit the marker 3 seconds into the chorus, just subtract 3 seconds from the seconds section in the marker box, hit enter and the marker will adjust to that time.

You can also use these markers to start a song from where the marker is at by clicking the marker title or name.  The purple bar on the side of the timeline will jump down to that marker and the song will start from there.  Which leads us into looping.

slide7.png

Looping

1284f7a1548ceec7505505a81bfa6697The markers make it easy to loop parts of the song.  This is good for when you want to find a perfect animation for a specific section of the music or want to practice that guitar riff 80 times.  You can set the loop to play anywhere from 1 to an infinite number of times by selecting the number from the Setting column number pad. To choose the start of the loop you click the name of the marker and you choose the end of the loop by clicking the Stop on the last marker you want in your loop.  The purple line will adjust to show what will play when you hit the play button.

You can also loop the song to do this as well. I loop the song while I go through and order animations against the music. Then I sit down and match up my markers with my animations or my animations with my markers and write my HUD (PD/Barre/Huddles/Atiste/etc.) timing notecard.  This is great because I can then write up my PD anywhere.

slide6.png

Let’s look a little closer at the Settings column.  Along with your Marker box you also have other options.

3a75c9d8925f524a90ac73898bb664aaIn the Settings column you have options for how to play your song.  The I/E button is for importing and exporting song information to share with someone else.  You can look this one up in the Help for Troff which is very comprehensive and well written. But I have never had a need to use it.

Add Marker adds a marker where you hit it at in the timeline of the song as it plays as we have gone over already how to do this. See how the M is underlined it shows you can just hit that letter while in the program to do the same action.  Each option has it’s own letter underlined for this purpose.

Move markers is a way of moving all the markers in the song, say if you edited out the first 8 seconds and needed to move them all back by 8 seconds.  I have never used this since I usually edit the song in Audacity first.  If I need to move a marker I just change the seconds in the marker edit box and it moves to that location in the timeline.

Play full song is basically a reset for when you have your song looped and need to go back to playing the entire song again.  You can just click this and the loop will be removed to include the whole song.

Zoom out and Zoom are just what they say they are. If you have a reason to (and I have yet to find one) zoom into a smaller  minute amount than the entire song.  This is mostly used if you were for example looking at a soundtrack and only wanted to focus on one song in the soundtrack, or trying to get the exact second timing on when that certain sound happens in the back ground.

Start before tells the timeline that even though you have a loop created starting at 1:26 minutes the start before number when activated will start the song however many seconds appear here before 86 seconds.  You type your own numbers into this section.

Stop after does the same thing as Start before but at the end of the loop, stopping the loop however many seconds you’ve stated after the end of the loop.

Pause before is the large number on the farthest right column telling the song or loop to start however many seconds you designate prior to playing (In this case it is 3, the song will start 3 seconds after you press start) I like using this and not watching it so I can time my hearing the music with the start of the song which we know a lot of times plays a lot into the timing since our reaction time to push start is a second or three off at times. It helps give me are more realistic timeline in a lag situation.

Wait between tells the timeline to wait the number of seconds you specify  before starting the song or loop over again (in this example it is 1 second).  This can give you time to reset your PD and start over. You type your own numbers into this section.

The number pad gives you the ability to tell Troff to play your song more than one time up to infinity.  This is the lower number of the two large numbers on the far right of the screen.

And at the bottom of Settings you have the ability to adjust the volume and the speed of the song.   REMEMBER though… Troff does NOT edit songs.  This is just for listening and will not affect your mp3/mp4 and will not save your song at a slower or faster speed except for within the Troff program settings.

Slide8

Tying Troff into your PD or Dance Hud notecard.  As you can see you now have all your markers where you want things to occur such as animation changes, poses, particle emissions, etc. And each marker has the seconds already shown inside the information for each one.  You can now go through your markers and write your dance card.

When you play the dance through on the Dance HUD it will be very close to ‘Spot On’ (lil joke there) and only a few minor adjustments need to be made to start an animation one second before or after a point in the song depending on how you want it to flow.

Well hopefully this is clear as mud and you now know how to use the Troff – Training with music program to help you with your choreography needs.

————-

Any suggestion on improvements on Troff can be mailed to slimsimapps@gmail.com, submitted at the Chrome App Store or at GitHub.

Troff is open source; you are welcome to make any changes to the program.
The source code can be found at https://github.com/SlimSim/Troff

I Want To Dance With Somebody

Some one asked me once where I find my music. Well I’ve always been rather eclectic when it comes to the kind of music I like. I was raised on Big Band, Lawrence Welk, and Glen Miller. When I was a bartender I worked for large parties which included dance parties and weddings, lots of music there. Growing up in the 60s,70s, and 80s I listened to a lot of music. I also traveled the world when I was younger and was introduced to all kinds of foreign and traditional music as well. I was in chorus and theater throughout High School. So as you can see my entire life was filled with music. I even have a form of tinnitus that causes me to hear music in silence. I also listen to the top 40 on Spotify or their Discover Weekly channel. And my son especially keeps me abreast of the music he is into currently. My favorite music is Blues, Swing, and Jazz. I was in a band but we sang pirate dittys and 12th century bawdy bar songs.

So when it comes to creating dances in Second Life I have a lot of songs I’d like to do, even before I begin. Sometimes it starts with a stage, like for Sweet Dreams. Or it can start with a costume, such is the case for Kuzu, Mr. Pinstripe, and a future dance regarding pearls.

But this is about Bebe Rexha – The Way I Are (Dance With Somebody) feat. Lil Wayne. I found this one on YouTube while viewing videos of the top 40 hits of the last week. I liked it’s up beat tune and the message, “Love me the way I are.” I wanted to show a lot of different dance types in the dance to show that we all dance to the beat of our own drummers. 15 people and 11 dance types were shown in 3 minutes. Types of dance included, Ballet, Bollywood, Belly, Breakdance, Tap, Krump, Popping, Tap, Irish step, Country step, and Hip Hop.

So if you have the chance, I hope you dance. And if you dance, I hope you dance with Somebody.

Slacker

Yeah I slacked off on writing here. I’m really not good at keeping this kind of stuff up. But someone mentioned I should put the video of Glitter here and I had some funny things about it to share too. Jo gave me a dog for Christmas last year. It’s one of those AK dogs with an AI. Coovey really is the funniest thing and does some really interesting and weird stuff all on his own. While I was working on the trapeze moves, Coovey was trying to do them too. Like these:

So as you can see Coovey was working on his own moves below me the whole time.

And as requested here is the video of Glitter: Thank you Ayita for your video skills.

Until next time…

Glitter in the Air

18837040_303599640093103_6369431641634151120_o

Glitter in the air all started from watching the video of Pink’s performance at the Grammy’s.  Jo likes to do ballet and I could not figure out how to do the scarf dancing in Second Life but the trapeze part looked doable.  I told her to create the choreo for her ballet on the stage and I would take care of the rest.  I built the stage simply with a highlighted spot for her to dance in and thinking of ‘glitter in the air’ the whole time.  I even had a huge cloud of glitter descend on the audience toward the end of the dance showering everyone in glitter.

That left the trapeze.  At first I had to find the animations which I managed to do from several trapeze photography poses and some trapeze’s themselves.  Then I wanted to do three people on it at first and I started using waypoints… Scrap that, in order to have all the animations and poses work based on their center roots and also move around and around in the air it would take a phenomenal amount of waypoints and a lot of that thing we all hate so much, maths.

Next I tried the old SexGen bed system however that brought up a new issue.  It rezzes poseballs and they do not move around with the trapeze.  Scrap that.  My friend Fukuju told me about AVSitter.  Figured I would try it.  Begin a huge learning curve, lots of cussing, a few virtual throwing of materials, and a lot of blood, sweat, and tears.  Took me almost two weeks to get a fuller understanding of how it worked and what to do and how to make two people work on the trapeze system.  The AVSitter also has a routine option so I set that up to run during the song.

Here is how the trapeze works.  Two trapeze bars with balloons are décor as well as the stars that hang between them.  Invisible is two pyramids. One on the top above the balloons and one between the bars.  The one on the top handles the Spot on Mover and the rotation script which is inside the mover attached to the pyramid.  The one between the bars holds the animations and the AVSitter scripts.  The routine allows for one click action.  I see Jo start to dance below us and I hit play.  Sit back, watch the show.  I do also have to click play on a PD hud as well but only has emotes in it to control the movers that move the trapeze into place before the dance and bring the glitter down over the audience.

Jo has all the hard work below us.  She uses her PD and mover to dance her ballet to the music.  And finding the particle scarf to represent the scarf dancing as much as we could was icing on the cake.  A team effort for sure.

Glitter in the Air - Jo.png

To me it became our voice for Cancer awareness. This was a dance that I lost when I lost most all of them.  I was asked to be in the BE ART opening dance show and had already had “Hey Sexy Lady” by Shaggy ready.  But to me, Glitter was an artistic dance and I wanted to show it for this show.  So, begin again…

In two days I recreated the dance.  About 2 hours before the show I was ready to throw it all out because the sequencing routine was not working for me and I was stressed from pushing myself on this.  But I went off to one of Eva’s workshops and came back and it all slid into place. Fifteen minutes before show time I was throwing the rezzer out getting everything aligned.  Pushing poor Zach to find clothes I no longer had a style card for and in the rush of getting everything in place, getting Jo to get her pad out, and let Cara know (who I did warn before this) that I had indeed accomplished it and was doing Glitter for the show.  Zach and Ame were troupers and found the fit while I freaked out and helped save the day.  It was a success and wowed the audience like it did the first time is was shown.  I was so happy to have Glitter back.

I do have in my plans to make a version of trapeze dance to Pinks, “Sober” along with drunk ballerina and aerial acrobatics.

 
 Songs mentioned are copyright of their respective creators, I take no ownership of the songs, only my interpretation of them in dance in Second Life.

The DOL Challenge

2013_04_22_08_earthdaynai.28961

I just finished updating the dance I created for the three hour DOL challenge. The challenge included being given a song and then complete a dance for a show within three hours. Well to begin with, the song I got was not one I would pick. I’m still not really sure why I got the international earth impression on it. I think because at the time our country was in turmoil. Being an American I had a bit of an American-centric take on it originally, which I have since cut out.

My interpretation of this dance was to assume that the subject of the song was the earth, or rather the earth’s population. The two things that took the most time during the three hour challenge was finding stage material and boxing the dance. It was the first song I redid after my losses and even when I tried to use better dances they did not seem to fit. So it still has the animations used during the challenge. I removed the USA reference and made it even more global. Overall I’m pleased with how it turned out.

If you’re interested in how other people interpret this somewhat vague song, you can read through several here: https://www.lyricinterpretations.com/jason-mraz/im-yours

I’m Yours
Jason Mraz

Songwriters: Jason Thomas Mraz
I’m Yours lyrics © Goo Eyed Music