Monday, September 9, 2019

Interview With Umber (Vermillia Urnestone)

By Cyfir (Cyfiremmerich Resident)

Umber (also known as Vermillia Urnestone) is a talented Second Life mod maker. She makes mods for multiple avatars, many of which are based on popular characters from series such as Pokemon and Digimon. I’ve known her since she first started her store in Fox Haven so I had to take the opportunity to interview her for the Second Life Newser.

Q: What got you started in creating things for Second Life?

A: I think the first thing I ever actually made in Second Life was a mod of my fursona on the Curious Felis avatar. It wasn't pretty! But it got me interested in working with textures. Then when I started taking 3D animation classes in college, I started experimenting with mesh. I figured, "Why not sell these things?" And MOOPA Inc. was born. We started as a little hole-in-the-wall store back when Fox Haven was still around, and I never expected to go this far with it.

Q: What have been the challenges of getting started and creating mods in Second Life?

A: The first time you ever look at a texture map for mesh, the first thing that comes to mind is "What am I looking at???" and that was my exact reaction. My first mods were very messy and minimal in what I actually did with them. Over time, though, it gets easier to understand how textures and UVs work.

Q: Is there any advice that you would give to new or experienced mod makers?

A: I've found that the most efficient way to texture for mesh is through trial and error and being able to preview your changes as you work. The Edit menu has an option for "local" textures - absolutely use it! This will save you a LOT of L$. I can't tell you how many times I have to test the seams of texture maps to understand exactly where they match up. That's just part of being a texture artist.

Q: You mention in your profile that you have social anxiety, which I do too. For those who may also suffer from this, do you have any suggestions for how to deal with it and still run a store or otherwise have a public image?

A: I think the idea of seeing customers so happy and satisfied with my work is a big part of what helps me work past that social anxiety. Do I still get anxious when I get a PM from someone who's mad or someone who found a major issue with a product and needs help? Sure I do, but those are few and far between and the idea that my brand is recognizable and loved by so many people helps me keep going! I guess my advice is to consider your limits when it comes to anxiety and not push yourself too hard. Put your stuff out there, but if you need some time away, then do it. Take a deep breath and take your time responding to messages.

Q: What are the inspirations for your work?

A: As can be seen in my current selection of mods, I've been really inspired by franchises like Pokemon and Digimon. I've seen it as a fun challenge to try to recreate these things using a premade avatar and my own (limited) mesh skills. Sometimes I just have a vision in my head and say "Yeah, I need to make that real." When it comes to clothing, it's just a matter of "I want this kind of outfit for my kobold avatar, let's make it."

Q: What have been you favorite mods to work on?

A: I think my favorite one that I made so far was the dinosaur mod for kobold. I love dinosaurs, man. That was also the first mod that I actually used specular maps for, after learning how to make them for a set of clothing me and my rigging partner had finished.

Q: How did you come up with the name for your store?

A: It's based on a really, really stupid inside joke started by a coworker at a club I used to host at quite a few years ago. My avatar glitched while changing outfits and I was a mix between a koopa and a cow. My nickname for the remainder of my time working there was "Moopa.” Fast forward to making my store. I needed to think of a name on the dot, and, inspired by the store DERP, I came up with the goofy store name of MOOPA Inc. and now I'm stuck with it! Hahaha!

Q: Are you currently working on any new products?

A: Right now, the only projects in progress are for the upcoming Gacha Guild Halloween event. Unfortunately, production of new clothing and mods has slowed dramatically since I graduated college. I've been busy with a part time job as well as commission work. I absolutely want to create more, and plan on releasing more mods in the near future. However, the future of our clothing line is currently unsure, as my rigging partner may no longer be able to keep working with us. I myself am unable to rig.

Q: What has been your favorite aspects of mod making and being part of the Second Life community?

A: My favorite part of mod making is just bringing my ideas to life and then watching others take that creation and make even more diverse and amazing things out of it with outfits and shapes and other moddable parts. As for the community itself, I just love how it feels like home. It's comforting and allows for and inspires so much creativity. I love seeing what other people do with all the possibilities on here.

Thanks for having me be a part of this. I hope anything I've said here has helped anyone even a little bit. Hahaha!


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