Site Changes

Things are much lighter now at N30 Studios! Due to heavy server load and platform updates, many of the optional features of our website have been removed. We’re working on a more straightforward and informative user experience. After all, the joy of Second Life isn’t found on a website, but in-world and we’ve found that it is easier to communicate in SL! For the moment, logins are disabled. The knowledge base will remain available for reference. Please request any updates you might need in-world. Thank you!

Posted in Blog

v4.04 Improvements

Version 4.04 of the N30 Deluxe Modeling Studio is a must have if you are a prop lover!  The new prop mode gives you powerful control over your props.  With v4.04, you can disable or enable props, rez them and have them (a) de-rez when another prop is rezzed or when  you kill them, (b) delete themselves after xx minutes, or (c) stay put so you can move them around in edit mode while working with your scene.  You can also call a prop by its’ nickname as specified in the ++PROPS notecard (i.e. /2 rezz prop1 will rez the vintage bathtub if you have channels enabled (Click home button > Maintenance > Channel))

This version ships with three more cool skins: ‘OXmas Tree’, ‘Toonville’, and ‘Eco Friendly’ which will only be available separatley after v4.1.  These fun skins are 3 of 9 that have been created specifically for the N30 Deluxe Modeling Studio.

See all of the improvements in version 4.04 at http://www.never30.org/blog/?page_id=1257

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Posted in Featured Articles, In the Studio

New! Preset Directional Lighting

The N30 Deluxe Modeling Studio v4.02 has been released with preset directional lighting.  We added 5 more light settings which allow you to add directional studio lighting to your portraits.  Light from lower left, upper left, overhead, upper right, and lower right are now available by clicking the 6,7,8,9 or 10 button on the control center.

You’ll also find that the changing the front and back light settings gives more choices for intensity and radius.  For instance you can turn front and rear lights on while using a directional setting to over expose your shot, or just turn on the rear lighting set for a very soft, subtle light…or anywhere in between.

The Studio comes equipped with individual lighting controls, however using this method concentrates all of the lights in the studio to one task which is creating powerful directional light.

Check out these portraits:

These images appear in order of the preset lighting controls. The first 5 use presets 1 through 5 at moderate intensity which are primarily designed for full body photos while the last 5 are the preset directional light situations best suited for portraits.  As you can see, this feature yields dramatic results!  Check out other improvements in this verson of the N30 Deluxe Modeling Studio at http://www.never30.org/blog/?page_id=1257

How Do I Get an Update?

You can get your update by rezzing your v2.9 or v3.0 studio, clicking the control box and selecting Help > Updates.  If you have version 4.0+ simply click the N30 logo at the base of your control center.

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Posted in Featured Articles, N30 News

Feeling Blue? Three New Skins for v4!

No we’re not sad, just a little blue!  3 new blue skins to complement your N30 v4 Studio are shipping with the next update.  True Blue, Executive Blue, and Sea Blue are all deluxe skins which will only accompany the studio in this alpha release.  Once v4 is completed alpha phase deluxe skins can be found at N30 Headquarters, New Paris in Second Life!

Got a suggestion for a new skin set?  Post your comments below!

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Posted in Featured Articles, N30 News

Follow Us! …On Twitter!

With so many social networking sites to use, who can keep up?!  We check out various sites that offer additional ways for our customers to stay connected and have found that Twitter saves time for us and you!  It’s simple, to the point, and very user-friendly.  There are a host of Second Life related “Tweeters” who constantly update their status and provide valuable information.

When you use Twitter, you can “follow” any number of Tweets so that you are getting the information that is valuable to you all in one centralized blog-style account.  Twitter is a great way to inform you, our awesome SL family, customers, and friends what’s going on with events, new products, and in-world development without having to make dozens of blog posts!

Using Twitter is not necessary to keep up to date with N30 news, but we’re extending the invitation to “follow us” for those who enjoy using the service.  Our blog will continue to be updated while we also send important blog posts to Twitter as well.  So if you have a Twitter account, follow us!  If you need a Twitter account, you can sign up for free at your leisure.

Posted in Featured Articles, N30 News

Slap Me Some Skin!

v4.01 of the N30 Deluxe Modeling Studio is now available.  One of the many improvements is the ability to select a skin.  When you rez your studio it will load the settings, language, and then the skin.  Prior to loading the skin it will ask you to select the skin of your choice.  Each studio currently ships with Basic White, Classic Black, and Silver.  If you do not choose a skin, it will default to Basic White.

To change your Studio’s skin, click on your home/menu button and select “Reset”, then “Skins’.

We’d like to reiterate that the Basic White does not replace the previous Wedding Edition.  The Wedding Edition will be reborn once the prop module is re-launched.  To view a complete list of improvements from v4.0 t0 4.01 and to view upcoming improvements, please visit N30 Deluxe Modeling Studio v4

Current v4.0 users, please click the N30 logo at the base of your control center to grab the update!  Look for more skins after alpha development is complete!

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Posted in Featured Articles, N30 News

N30 Foundations: HUD Map

The new basic HUD that accompanies the N30  Deluxe Modeling Studio v4.0 (Alpha Release) is light weight and packed with features.

We’ll most likely add some more basic functionality to this HUD and develop a more advanced version in the future similar to that of the v3.0 HUD.

Mouse over the buttons on the left to see what they do. Come to our Flagship Store in Second Life to take a test drive!

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Posted in N30 News

N30 Deluxe Modeling Studio v4.0 Alpha Release

N30 Foundations is now available to current users of the N30 Deluxe Modeling Studio.  The update can be accessed through the control box menu (Help > Updates).

For now during this Alpha release, all versions revert to the same 4.0 model.  When we release future updates, we’ll begin releasing the various models (classic, silver, wedding).
[8:32]  MadamG Zagato: The concept is a bit different, so we thought it would be a good idea to get everyone acquainted with the new layout :)

For now during this Alpha release, all versions revert to the same 4.0 model.  When we release future updates, we’ll begin releasing the various models (classic, silver, wedding).  The concept is a bit different, so we thought it would be a good idea to get everyone acquainted with the new layout and provide valuable feedback.

What is “Foundations”?

You keep hearing us refer to the N30 Deluxe Modeling Studio as “N30 Foundations”.  We have had significant feedback about previous versions causing too much lag (especially when several features are being used at once).  So what we decided to do was to remove all scripts from the studio and start fresh.  We carefully implemented the most used features into the studio (i.e. backgrounds, lighting, layers, etc.) while evaluating their use and gave them more functionality.  We’ve added some essential features such as languages into the feature list to provide our friends in other parts of the world better communication when using the studio.  We are working to implement various languages into the environment.  Currently, there are 8 (English, Spanish, Italian, German, Korean, Japanese, Chinese, and French).

We left our popular modeling table as is for now because the feedback we received on it has been mostly positive.  But we did optimize the scripts to work more smoothly with the studio.  There will be new features introduced into the modeling table as well in future updates.

So in retrospect, we’ve come a long way with SL Photography, scripting, and various aspects of SL that affect our work as models, photographers, fashionistas, and hobbyist in our virtual workplace.  What hasn’t changed is our common goal which is to create awesome photos within SL and to be professional with our craft.  We’ve taken our product back to its’ “Foundation” to breathe new life into it, and undoubtedly into your creative efforts.

Where’s my Classic, Silver, Wedding, or Pink Edition?

Don’t worry, it’s coming!  We are starting with an “unskinned” version to familiarize everyone with the basics of the new concept.  Version 4.0 introduces skins to the studio…which brings us to the next question…

Oo We can Skin our Studios?

Not just yet, but soon enough!  The skin file is locked for now while we improve and progress with our Alpha Phase.  Once we’re ready to dive in to skinning, we’ll make that announcement.

I don’t have an N30 Deluxe Modeling Studio yet.  How can I get this new version (v4.0)?

You can’t!…. No just kidding.  You can purchase the current release v3.0 (Build 4.0.1.0) from our in-world shop or on XStreetSL.  We will be including it in the packaging.  If you received v3.0 without the new studio, simply rez it, click on the control box and select Help > Updates from the blue menu.

Why are you still providing v3.0 if v4.0 is available?

4.0 is in Alpha Phase which means it’s still in development.  Our goal is to include the majority of features that v3.0 includes but we want to introduce them back in carefully so as not to cause unnecessary lag.  Some may not be comfortable switching to the new studio which is a different concept.  Especially those who do a lot of photography and need more time to become familiar with the new layout and features.  So providing both gives you a choice as to which you would rather use (or both).  Keep in mind that v4.0 is under development and you’ll be receiving updates more frequently than before.

So to summarize, v4.0 is more grid-friendly and easier to use than previous versions but doesn’t yet hold all the features as version 3.0.  So if you need to use v3.0 then you are able to do so.  If you are ready to try the new version, go for it!

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Posted in Featured Articles, N30 News

N30 Foundations: Control Center Map

While developing N30 Foundations (N30 Deluxe Modeling Studio v4.0) we expanded the control box which is now called our “Control Center”.  It’s very user friendly and gives you quick access to the most used studio functions.  The simplistic design is very easy to use making less use of menus and more use of visuals which we know our customers will appreciate!

Mouse over the buttons on the left to see what they do.  Come to our Flagship Store in Second Life to take a test drive!

Currently, this product is in Alpha release which means that it is provided to current users of the N30 Deluxe Modeling Studio as an update/upgrade through their control box menu:

(Help > Updates)

During this Alpha release period we will be gathering feedback and further developing the studio.

Please note that Layer Installation is not yet implemented in the latest release as of 11/6/2009.

Posted in N30 News

A Peek at N30 Foundations

N30® has been around since the dawn of SL Photography. The N30 Deluxe Modeling Studio was the first full featured photography system in Second Life and has remained a top seller. Over time, SL has changed and with it came new features and new ways to photograph avatars, objects, and landscapes. What we’ve done is to completely rewrite the scripts in the studio to give it a fresh, new personality. It is now more light weight and even easier to use than before! We began incorporating those things that were an issue for us with previous versions, such as height and width adjustments, HUD and Modeling Table connection, and layers.  We took our users top complaints and made them our number one priority in this new version.  (We even made it SL-Kid-Friendly!)

Currently, the HUD is being developed and is near completion.  The Studio itself is completed.  There are features that were removed which will be re-introduced back into the studio once we have positive feedback from non-BETA users on the current functionality.  The Modeling Table scripts have been optimized, but not rewritten.  We removed excess functions that were not needed or used by our customers and left all the good stuff!  We’ll further develop the Deluxe Modeling Table in upcoming versions.  The feedback received about the table was that our users like it as is, so we’ve been careful to keep the popular functions.

If you are currently an N30 Studio Owner, you can look for an announcement very soon about your free upgrade.  It will be available through your current version 2.9 and 3.0 Studio Menu.  We are positive that you will love your new N30 and that you’ll be very pleased with the work that has been put into its’ development.  We thank you for your patience and are working diligently towards its’ release.

Posted in Featured Articles, N30 News

Mastering Brushes in Photoshop

All Photoshop Brushes are based on a flexible, sophisticated system which you can use to customize existing Brushes or to create new ones from scratch. When you select a tool, its corresponding options will become accessible in the upper tool bar. Being quite complex entities of Photoshop though, Brushes have a separate palette dedicated to them, as well. You can toggle this palette by relying on the F5 hotkey, or, alternatively, you could invoke it directly using the option bar of the Brush tool.

 There are numerous attributes that control and define how a Brush behaves when you create a stroke with it. The level of this control could range from simple to extremely sophisticated, depending on the result you are looking for.  The essential attributes of Brushes are the shape, the size and the hardness of the tool. Apart from these properties though, you may also need- or want to control optional values exclusive to the Brush system. As you will see, a wide range and fluent customizability of options are available to form the type of control you need to achieve the results you have in mind.

 Accessing Brushes

 Photoshop comes with rich libraries of Brushes, inviting you to organize a virtual jar containing the tools that you use most frequently in your current work. While the Brush system is infinitely flexible, the basis of an effective jar consists of the default Brushes Photoshop comes with. Regardless the unique sets and types of tools you will use and create, the most frequently used tool in the software will be the standard Brush with the shape of a circle.

 To access a Brush Library, you need to activate the flyout menu of the Brush palette. Flyout menus are easy to spot on all Photoshop palettes. They are located in the upper right hand corner of every palette that has this function associated to it. The flyout menu of the Brush palette is quite rich in its contents. Notice that the menu is divided into numerous parts. The bottommost section lists the available Brush Libraries, while the upper sections give you straightforward controls of Brush management. Once you click on an available library, Photoshop will ask if you want to add these new Brushes to the jar, or, would you prefer to replace the previous Brushes with the contents of the selected library instead. Libraries can be saved out with the .abr – Adobe Brush – file extension to them and this is the file extension you will find downloadable libraries with, as well.

 Brush Customization

 The Brushes section of the Brush palette hosts all the optional attributes you could utilize to form virtually infinite types of control to define Brush behavior. To see these in effect, pick a Brush Tip of your choosing that has well defined characteristics. Tips resembling grass are good candidates to see the effects of various options on. Brush customization happens via six main categories and all of these have a separate set of controls. To see and understand how custom attributes do work, select the Shape Dynamics category and put a checkmark next to it. You have just activated this optional set of attributes. Now click on the word „Shape Dynamics” to access the attributes themselves.

 The values you currently see on the right side of the palette are context sensitive and they are exclusive to the Shape Dynamics category. Try and adjust the different sliders and see how they affect the Stroke preview. This preview is a precise representation of what the stroke will look like if you amend the current settings.

 Once you have established values for a category that you are happy with, you have multiple choices. You could lock these values in by clicking on the tiny padlock icon. Locked values will be remembered by the software and the visual results they yield will not be altered by any subsequent changes. There is one exception though, as you could deactivate the effect of the category by removing the checkmark. This will not remove the effect, but will toggle its visibility. These optional attributes are stackable, meaning that they will react to each other non-destructively to create the stroke you are looking for.

 Essential Brush Shortcuts

 There are multiple methods to access the most essential Brush attributes like the size of the tip and the hardness. A quite effective technique is to press right click with the Brush tool activated. This will grant access to a dialog panel you could define the Master Diameter – size – and the hardness from. You could select a fresh tip from here, as well. Once you are confident with the shape of the Brush though, you may want to gain even more effective control of the size and hardness attributes.

 One of the most comfortable pair of hotkeys in Photoshop is activated using the bracket keys. Once you have a Brush in your hand and you press and hold the bracket keys, the diameter will change “on the fly”, giving you direct feedback on the size of the Brush. Keep in mind that the Brush cursor is not necessarily rendered by the software. In case you do not see the Brush cursor, then there is a good chance that you have it deactivated. To display the cursor and the shape again, press the hotkey “Caps Lock”. This is the shortcut to toggle the visibility of the Brush tip.

 Being able to alter the size of the Brush intuitively is a valuable ability, but the hardness of the tool remains almost as essential as the previous property. To alter the hardness of the Brush, you could rely on the bracket keys once again, but press and hold the SHIFT modifier key while you set the new value. These four, comfortable hotkey maneuvers will make your work flow much more swift and fluent.

 Creating Custom Brush Tips

Create or open up an image and select an area of it which you would like to use as a brand new Brush tip. Keep in mind that your selection will define the Brush tip itself. Once you are happy with the selection, go to Edit – > Define Brush Preset. A dialog will pop up, inviting you to name the new tip. You could do so or you could skip that step, as well. Regardless of your choice, the new tip you have just created is added to the current jar of Brushes. You will find the new tip as the last component of the jar. In case you would like to keep any of your custom Brushes, you could save them out as a variant of an existing Library, or you could create a Library from scratch. To remove and/or rename individual Brush tips from a Library, simply right click on the Brush tip’s thumbnail image in the jar and select the function you need.

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Posted in Featured Articles, In the Studio

Colorizing Black and White Images in Photoshop

A focal trait of Photoshop is the program’s inherent readiness to achieve a desired result in numerous ways. Colorizing and re-colorizing are robust aspects of image editing for which the software gives you a massive set of tools and options, but, even the simplest of those will offer tremendous flexibility and predictability.

In this illustrated example, we will use a black and white photograph of silent movie star Louise Brooks, and will set her into a more colorful existence than the era’s technology could originally perpetuate her in.

Black and white images may have a Grayscale color profile assigned to them, which will translate every color tone you select as a shade of gray, ranging from pitch black to pure white. You want to rely either on the RGB – Red, Green and Blue – or CMYK – Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black – color profiles to manipulate colorized images. Though Photoshop offers a set of other color profiles as well, the RGB and CMYK models are considered as dominant standards. One thing to keep in mind though: the color tones you see with a CMYK color profile assigned to your image is a much more accurate representation of a printed result.

To change the color profile of the image, invoke the Image palette from the upper menu bar, and select the Mode sub-palette, which is, comfily enough, is the very first option. We can assign an RGB color profile here to our Grayscale image. The 8 bits/channel option essentially means that the resultant RGB image will be capable to accurately represent more than 16 million colors. Images with finer bit depth than this are often referred as HDR – High Dynamic Range – images. Since a setting of 8 bit RGB will give absolutely crystal clear results for the naked human eye, it is a safe bet to rely on this selection during work, not to mention that it will give you much smaller data size if you choose to maintain the profile all the while.

Once we have the image converted to an RGB color profile, we are ready to add colored pixels to the canvas.

Go ahead and select the Brush tool with the image activated. The upper menu bar changes, offering the various focal options that are relevant to this particular tool. Click the small arrow to access the core settings of the Brush tool. You may want to set a relatively high amount of hardness to the Brush, as this will prevent loose pixels from popping up on areas you will definitely not need them at.

An important side note: it is possible that you will get no direct visual feedback about the size of the Brush, depending on your Cursor Settings. If this is the case, then go to Edit – Preferences – Cursors. My experience is that setting the Painting Cursor dialog to the Normal Brush Tip option makes life easier. There is one advice I would like to give you yet: sometimes you may notice that your Painter Cursor have disappeared. This is the result of you pressing Caps Lock accidentally, – or deliberately, in which case I am ashamed to interrupt – which is the default Hotkey of turning off the layout preview of the Brush.

Now you are free to add color information to the image, yet the default, Normal behavior of the Brush tool will yield absolutely radical results. The pixels you paint in will have no regard to their surroundings at all. Essentially, you paint a new layer of pixels atop the originals. What we want to achieve here though is to keep the shading information intact, clean and uninterrupted. The Brush tool has a long row of behaviors defined in its Mode dropdown menu. Set this behavior Mode to the Color option and add some more pixels to the canvas. Since these newly added tones are sensitive to the lighting conditions and shading information you paint them on, it is but a matter of selecting sober prime colors to re-colorize the entire source image. As you will see, this is a very intuitive and comfortable way to colorize the original pixels. Have fun!

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Posted in Featured Articles, In the Studio