Saturday, October 18, 2008

Carrah Rossini and the Fleet of Floating Palaces


The Steampunk Dreamliner...

I get endless flack from the male members of my avatar family about my excessive shopping habits. But whenever I do, I firmly stand my ground and immediately point out their little extravaganzas in this department as a return salvo. I mean, when I go shopping I tend to return with a modest little hair piece or a new belt or some nice new boots. (The fact that what I have accumulated is probably adding up into the terabytes I find completely irrelevant by the way. I am sure that when the server finally bursts at the seams, I will get a nice and friendly little note from the Lindens asking me to correct the error of my ways. And until that day I will serve metanomics as best as my strength will allow...). Anyway, where was I? Yes! When the boyz go shopping they do not return with just a pair of boots - oh no sirrreee! With them it is vehicles! And not that I am complaining, mind you: Thanks to their prowess I have ended up being more knowledgeable about Second Life® planes and cars than I would ever have been had I been left to my own devices. Admittedly, when it comes to the handling of the darned things I am not exactly the brightest bulb on the chandelier but other than that, at this point, I do tend to know a good vehicle when I see one.

So, I owe MosMax Hax this discovery (I actually call him Mossy but since the NPIRL blog is a domain of high visibility I will call him by his full name here, he will like that much better ;-). And what a discovery it is too: When MosMax called me over to show off his latest acquisition I was quite simply speech struck upon walking in. This beauty is nothing short of a floating palace...








The Nereide...

Carrah Rossini is the creator of a number of airship. Besides the Victorian beauty Nereide there is the Oriental inspired Selene, the Steampunk Dreamliner and then Phoebe, the small floater which seats 5 comfortably. All unbelievably detailed in prims and texture, one more appealing than the other, each displaying a good knowledge of art history, while at the same time giving vent to the amazing imagination and inner world of Ms. Rossini.

Carrah Rossini is the kind of Second Life content creator that I wholeheartedly applaud: "A lot of my builds started out as things I made for personal use or to be used by my friends" she says, and this is a mindset which I can truly identify with since Syncretia too has been built precisely upon the same premise. Play! Pure and simple... This to me is the utter magic of Second Life and the creativity that it generates. Needless to say not all rezzing activity that evolves around play and games will have the level of quality that Carrah Rossini manifests in her aircraft. But conversely I would also dare to say that for me artistic output that has been generated solely for exhibitional purposes lacks the essence of what makes Second Life creativity meaningful, unique, compelling and vital; falling far short of the complexity of narrative that these stunning vehicles convey.

Ms. Rossini describes her background by saying "I can't draw a straight line with a pencil, I can't paint. I don't have any formal art degree or training. I wanted to be a marine biologist when I was young, then got scared by the mitochondria, and ended up getting a degree in math and computer science instead...

However, most of my family members are artistic in one way or another. My father is an engineer, my uncle an architect, my mother was an art teacher in a high school. Then there was the extended family; they painted, sculpted and drew. One even designed fonts. I grew up with a lot of architectural drawings and a drafting board in the living room. I still have a drafting lamp on my desk by the computer. My dad and uncle built a lot of models out of foam core and cardboard. So I'd try to help them build, and eventually would, running around with scissors and inhaling lots of glue ;) In the process I got to understand how to convert 2d drawings into 3d models. Finally, I used Photoshop for my photography hobby.

Second Life, almost magically, allowed me to combine all those skills together; to make things that aren't just static, but could also be interacted with in a 3d environment. And perhaps most importantly, experienced by others."







Selene Cloudhugger...

One of the things that I was really very curious about was Carrah Rossini's sharp eye for historical periods of design styles as well as the spell binding translation of these, particularly into the interiors of her air craft:

"There was a time when I was fascinated with Anime in general (I still am, just don’t have time anymore). My favorite themes were stories about solo or small teams of heroes, aided by a magical (robot, vehicle, being) fighting the forces of evil. Then, of course there are the movie classics. I do take stylistic queues, after all, a castle has a certain look. But I quickly found out that its easier to make something in style, than try to replicate an object that exists in real life (independent of if the object is real or imaginary). This applies to both textures and prims. It also avoids lots of possible copyright issues.

I'd like to believe I don't have a set style but people tell me otherwise. For almost all of my builds, the style did follow the function or a general idea. There was a time when I tried to make things appeal to certain groups; I've even included "Steampunk" in the name of the Dreamliner. That was around the same time when Linden introduced the new search. Looking back it was a bit presumptuous of me, but I've kept Steampunk in the name. The Nightshade was supposed to be a sci fi ship but it never really became purely that. The Nereide is probably the closest that I can think of making something in the Victorian style.

Selene was a gamble, giant prims, the wings around the outer hatch window initially were a transparent grid like antennae, and the hull was going to become a mix of brass and wood. It became a fantasy ship, one that's probably not for the purists out there. In the end, I feel the gamble paid off and made me consider experimenting more. And I probably will…"


And I so know that she will!

You can teleport to Dreamfall, to gaze and wonder at Carrah Rossini's airship directly from here, as well as view further, huge sized images of her air ship here.

4 comments:

Thaumata said...

I have one of Carah's ship and I promise you it's one of the most exquisitely crafted items I've ever had the pleasure of playing with in my three years in SL. It's absolutely gorgeous and if you inspect it a bit, it's genius how she lined up some of the textures. She's very clever. So nice to read about her work here and get to learn a little more about the thought behind it. Thanks!!

Bettina Tizzy said...

These "floating palaces," your pics and this blogpost are epic, Ms. Auer. And what a discovery! Hoo! Carah's work is extra-extraordinary.

Tsai Jie said...

My partners and I have 2 of Carah's ships, the Selene and the Nereide, which inspired up to move up into the sky over our land. We love our floating palaces and have added floating gardens and waterfalls and walkways to connect them to our other (glass) blimp. It is becoming one huge multi-roomed home in the sky (http://tsaijie.blogspot.com/2008/10/moving-on-up.html).

The greatest thing about SL is that it allows us to think outside the box. To use a steampunk airship as a bedroom, to put a pleasure bathtub, or a living room suite, on a hunk of floating rock, to dance inside a waterfall.

Thanks for the post on Carah and thanks, Carah, for your lovely builds and textures!

Mako said...

I have three of her ships and they are all incredible. I am not a land owner, but thanks to these ships, I have a home in the sky. They are amazingly detailed and everyone I've brought aboard has been dazzled -- they really are amazing things. Glad to see them getting press and I join the others who are highly recommending them!