CHOREOGRAPHY

WELCOME

Welcome to the Dawn of Dance! This is the dawn of your dancing in SL, a new adventure in creativity! I am Babypea, or Pea or P or whatever else you want to call me. To get started, I first want to stress, these classes are being taught by ordinary people who have a lot of experience with dance in Second Life. A candle loses no light by lighting another candle, thus we are happy to share what we know with others. However, we are not teachers and are not all-knowing. The adventure of SL dance is that the learning never stops. We are also still learning. Thus the information we share is not all there is to know. And we are not the ‘be all/end all’ authorities on SL dance. So please bear that in mind. We will tell you how we do it. You may find ways that work better for you.

We will try to give you a solid foundation from which to start dancing in SL. We will try to not over-inform and overwhelm you. We will try not to forget anything. And we will be here as you go along, in case you have questions, please IM us. If you miss a class and want a NC of it, please IM me when you return. During class, if you have a question or comment, please type a @ symbol and then I will get to a good stopping point and call on you to post. When you are finished with your posts, please type ‘done’ so I can know your question has been answered to your satisfaction or your comments are complete, and I can know it is time to continue with the lesson. Of course, your questions and comments are part of the lessons! So please don’t hold back!

Please don’t feel overwhelmed by the slaughter of information that will be thrown at you. You will have the text in local chat to reflect back on, so please don’t feel you must absorb all of this right away.

I have been dancing in SL for close to three years. I started in Gorean dance and moved to mainstream, because Gorean is too limiting and too reliant on emoting. I wanted to build sets, wear costumes, and be able to dance to all genres of music. So, I started in burlesque 2 years ago. I opened my own venue and created my own dance troupe in December of 2012, Elysium, because I wanted a place where I could perform anything I wanted. No limits. I also dance at a variety of other places. I have found dance is a great way to meet kindred spirits and form friendships, and friends often dance in each other’s troupes. The reason I dance is, I love music. I can’t sing well or play any musical instruments, so I express myself musically through dance.

What are the elements of a dance? Music, choreography, costume, set, emotes if you use them. Which element is the most important? I think they are all equally important, as they each contribute to the presentation. They each have an impact in how your dance is received by your audience. If care is given to each of these elements, you can draw the audience into your world and give them an experience. Tell them a story, take them on an adventure, affect their feelings, entertain them, and at times, bond with them. Dance is about connection. It is about the human spirit. I do not believe a dance is truly finished until we have shared it with another. Our audience, even if it is one person, breathes life into our dances, they complete our creations. Dance is one way souls connect.

MUSIC

There are many ways to go about creating a dance. Some start with the set or costume, some start with the music. For this class, we will start with the music. So first thing you need to do is, pick out a song that you love. Something that excites you, something that touches your heart, a song that inspires your imagination. When I pick a song, it is a song that makes me feel: I MUST dance to this. I NEED it. It does not have to be something that will change the world or something powerfully emotional, it can simply be something that is fun. It CAN be something that is simply fun, not every dance has to be something emotional or deeply touching that is going to make people cry. It is alright to excite them and pump them up, or even to use dance to make them laugh. The important thing is, we want to make them feel SOMEthing when we dance.

Music must be submitted to a DJ in MP3 format only. Most players can only use this format. WAV files are too large to email. MP4 files are video files. So! You may need a way to not only download music, but to convert it to an MP3.

I use: DVDvideosoft
http://www.dvdvideosoft.com/

It is free to download. With it, you can DL videos from YouTube, convert them to MP3 as you DL if you wish, and it has an audio converter so that you can convert various audio files to MP3.

There is another option which is a very quick and simple convert to MP3 then DL:
http://www.youtube-mp3.org/
I use this when I am sure I do not want the video with my DL. Also if one will not work for some reason, the other usually will.

What if you want to edit your own mix? Or remove some ugly noise, applause, static, or dead air from a music file? What if it is too soft and you want to amp it a little? I use an audio editing system that is free and easy to use:
http://free-audio-editor.software.informer.com/3.2/

SEQUENCING and ANIMATIONS

Now we will discuss: THE DANCE SEQUENCE
A dance sequence is the foundation of your performance. It is the movement, the dance animations set to music. It usually consists of a Notecard. On that NC are the names of the animations you are using and their run-times. Most animations run for a set time, then loop… which means, they repeat.

Once you have selected your song, you need to create a choreographed dance sequence that compliments the music. You need to select animations that go well with the tempo of the song, and when possible, that compliment the words or the feeling of the song. Example, you don’t want happy happy joy joy animations if the song is sad. Selecting animations is very time-consuming and can get expensive. You need to designate some time to visit dance stores and try the animations. Make a NC of the ones that you like. You can even rate them on just how much they appeal to you. Everyone has their favourite animation shops. My favourite is A&M, but I also like Henmations and Abranimations. You will find your own favourites.

I will pass you a NC with a lot of LMs to my favourite animation places.

When shopping for animations to suit a specific song, and especially if you wish to not waste money, expect it to be time consuming, and just have fun with the exploration. What I did before I owned a lot of animations was, I would go to the different animation shops, play the song over and over, and just keep trying different dances. I would make a list on a NC of ones I thought were great for the song I was doing. And then I would go back and review just those animations, rate them, narrow them down until I had perhaps five on my NC. And those are the ones I would buy. This can keep you from over-spending, and also make sure you buy animations that you will actually use in your dance.

Do not buy packs! It may seem you are saving money, but the tiny bit you save is not worth it, because if you are like most dancers, you won’t use half of them. Ever.

As you acquire more and more dances, selecting ones to use in a particular song will get more and more overwhelming. What I do, because I have several thousand animations, is, I make a folder for the song I am doing. I then play it over and over as I go through my animations. I copy/paste the ones that I think suit that song into the folder. Then, I have my animations narrowed down that I will be using. Next, it is only a matter of plugging them into the best spots in the song.

Once you have your animations selected, it is time to decide where in your song you will use them. Then it is a simple matter of playing the song over and over. Starting at the beginning over and over, try each animation with it until you find the perfect one to begin your dance. Start a NC for that song, listing each animation that you will use in order of when you will use them. Beside the name of each animation, type in how long that animation will run. Then noting the time into the song that animation covers, say it is 28 seconds long… playing the song over and over from 28 seconds in, trying each remaining animation until you find the one that works best for the next stretch of music. And so on, until you have all your animations lined up on a NC with the times each one will run. This is time-consuming. It does get faster and easier as you get to know your dance animations. My very first dance I ever created took around 40 hours to choreograph. Because I did not know the animations very well, I had to try all I had as I went through the song bit by bit, fitting in the animations that suited the music. Now I can choreograph a song in perhaps two hours, only because I know my animations, and usually know which ones will work with certain genres of music.

I do recommend, for your first dance… just to keep you from feeling overwhelmed… to limit the dances you will buy to one store. Most animation shops offer an enormous variety of animations, more than enough to choreograph any one dance. If you limit your animation shopping to one shore, it will keep your brain from exploding (hopefully) by having to select from between hundreds of animations instead of tens of thousands.

It is also good to select a few still poses or standing type of animations for the open and close of your dance. Some dancers want to be dancing when the curtain opens and still dancing when it closes. This is how I was taught. But I think it looks better to open the curtain, you are in a still pose, the music starts and off you go. Then at the end of the song, you finish in a still pose, then the curtain closes. I think that looks really awesome. It is personal preference, of course. Also, don’t hesitate to use still poses or even animations from AOs and other non-dance type of animations in your dances. These can provide a pause as you wait for your music to transition. They can affect the mode of a dance, as a sudden halt into a still pose can be very dramatic. It can appear contemplative, or convey some emotion. So do use non-dance animations in your dances if you feel they enhance your dance.

TRANSITIONS

Transitions!! This is extremely important. When one animation ends and another starts, it is very important that the transition is as smooth as possible. If you have ever seen a dancer suddenly shoot across the stage or move from one animation to another, and it was not smooth… a bad transition stands out like a sore thumb. It looks jagged and abrupt, most of all, it looks sloppy. Most animations start and finish in the same spot. Most of them have a run-time. Most offer the opportunity for a smooth transition. There are some exceptions, and you may find some animations that simply do not end back where they started, so they are bumpy to get into the next animation. There is a database on Dance Queens website that offers a lot of dance animations with run-times. Some creators put the run-times for an animation in the properties or even in the title of the animation. But I do not use any of these methods to find the run-time of an animation, as they do not seem completely accurate to me.

TIMING

However, let me give you the link to the database. Here is how to find the database, and also links to the pages mentioned. From the Dance Queens blog main page http://sldancequeens.blogspot.com.au/
On the right column menu, click Dance Database http://sldancequeens.blogspot.com.au/p/blog-page_28.html
At: Click HERE for Google spreadsheet of dances/info/times click the blue word HERE to go to the spreadsheet https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AohZI4XRY-bwdEQ2ZkxHVWlJSTJNLTNpY043aENLYWc#gid=0
In column H if the time for that dance is known, it will be listed in this column. If you cannot find a runtime for an animation, you will have to find its time yourself by using a stopwatch or similar method of timing the dance.

Here is what I do. I start the music on my VLC player. That’s the player that I use to play music on my computer. I click the start of the animation where I want it to start in the song. I then pause the VLC player when I see the animation end. I then note the play-time on the music player. That is how I get my animation run-times. Example, if I start the player and at 28 seconds in, I click an animation cause I want it to start at 28 seconds into that song, and then I see that animation finishes its loop and I hit pause on my player… the time on the music player is say at 50 seconds into the song… then I know, I want that animation to play for 22 seconds. Because 50 – 28 = 22. The animation runs for 22 seconds and then it repeats itself because it is looped. Looped animations keeping repeating their loop over and over. Most animations are looped.

I then slide the player back a bit and play it again, start the next animation at the end time of the previous (which for this example is 50 seconds into the song), then again pause the player at the end of this next animation and note that time. I do the math to get the run-time of that animation.

What I am doing is, using the seconds count on my music player to find the run time of each animation. Then I line up the animations on a notecard in order that I will be using them. And I include how many seconds each animation runs. It would look like this:

Animated sit (bored)|9.3|
*05_DnB|22.3|
*Backseat Driver|29.1|
*Free Spirit|26.5|
*Fancy Free|28.7|
*Heat Wave|23.8|
*PYT|23.4|
*My Sassy Girl|12|
Tt Desirable girl – fem still pose – 06|30|
stand

When you finish your dance and play it, you may need to adjust the time of some of the animations. Some may run too long, and you may notice the loop starts to repeat. Some may need to run a bit longer to make the transition from one animation to the next smoother. If you want to use only a part of an animation, you need to make sure you will transition at a time that it can look smooth, and that will be when your avatar is in the general area of the start position.

Now you can use even hundreds of a second to adjust an animation. You can have an animation run, for exmaple, 22.384 seconds. I think that is getting a bit silly, I usually use tenths of seconds only. I don’t believe the human eye pays much mind to hundredths of seconds. Once you get your dance sequence completed, play it through and watch it. Check the transitions from one animation to another. If it looks jerky or odd or like you are standing in one spot then suddenly shoot across to another, you may need to adjust your run-time for the animations. It can be that you are ending one too soon and need to add on a second or even a tenth of a second. You may see you let an animation run too long, and there is an awkward pause in an animation that then starts to repeat. You may need to cut the run-time down on that animation. It is all about tweaking the run-times, watching the results, and doing this until the dance animations flow, one smoothly into another. It requires patience and dedication.

Allow me to demonstrate some sloppy transitions.

Now, please keep in mind that lag and other SL glitches can still mess with a person’s animations and cause them to freeze then suddenly bolt back into action. So just because you may see a dancer appearing to present sloppy transitions, it could be lag affecting the animations or stalling the HUD. So let us not think harshly on another dancer, and always give the benefit of the doubt, let us not judge other dancers cruelly. As, a dancer may give every best effort to choreographing a smooth, tight dance sequence, and the lag sleen may still come in and tamper with it. If/when this happens to you, try to not get upset. It can make you RL cry when you have worked so so hard on a dance and then lag or a SL glitch messes up your performance. I understand this, I have been there, yes I have RL cried when a dance was ruined. I don’t cry anymore. Because, we can always do our dance again, another time, another show. So please don’t let this upset you.

CACHING

Caching! If you are not familiar with caching, you must get familiar with it. Have you ever seen a dance where, the dancer constantly pauses between each animation? And it looks so odd and unsettling. Not smooth at all. This is because, the dancer’s animations were not cached in your viewer. Before performing a dance, you need to run through each animation so that your animations load into the audiences’ viewers. I usually cache several times before performing. And always my final cache is right before I perform, so that my animations are cached in the viewers of any late-comers. To cache your animations, you only need to play each one for a second. Though I feel more secure with five seconds. You can play through the entire dance. But even clicking through and running each animation for one second will cache them. This is extremely important and is a vital habit to get into, if you are going to perform. Then your dance will run smoothly, without the icky pauses between each animation.

HUDS

We will now talk about dance HUDs. You do not have to use a HUD to dance in a show. You can open each animation, line them up across your monitor, and click each one in turn. This is the ultimate freestyle. However! You must know your animations extremely well, to know when to start the next one so that the transition is smooth. It is stressful and could look sloppy. I do not recommend it, unless you are performing only once in a while. A dance HUD takes the guess work out of transitions and with one click of a button, your entire dance runs. There are a lot of HUDs available in SL. We do not have time to discuss each one. I will tell you, the most popular dance HUDs are Barre and Spot On. These two HUDs are very different. I use both at different times, for different reasons. I will not go into great detail at this time with these HUDs. As, should you purchase one, they each have their own support to help you learn it. But, I will give you a basic idea on how to use these HUDs so you can at least not fear them.

This is the Barre HUD. I have rezzed it and made it very big so you can see it. To use this HUD, you must rez it on the ground and put your dance animations into it. Right click it, select edit, and go to the contents tab. Then drag and drop your dance animations from your inventory into the HUD. Pick up your HUD and wear it. Click the bottom left icon that looks like a piece of lined paper to load your animations. You should now see them listed, up to ten per page. You can arrow through the pages. Click an animation to start to dance it. The ME button must be highlighted for you to dance. If it is not highlighted, click it to turn it on. If it is on and you want to dance another person but NOT yourself, click the ME button to turn off you dancing on it.

Notice the bar that runs across under the list of animations, that has breaks in it. Clicking a break will cause your animations list to jump ahead. This is if you have hundreds or even thousands of animations in your HUD, and you want to jump way ahead to locate a certain animation. Those hack marks will jump you ahead in the animation listings, as the animations are ordered alphabetically. How many animations can the Barre hold? We have yet to find a limit. But it can hold thousands. Though, bear in mind, the more you have in it, the more it may be affected by lag. I use a main Barre with almost all my dances, and then make individual ones for each dance that I use it for.

The two lines || icon is to pause the HUD. The square is to stop it. I seldom use the square. I usually just use pause. The icon with the two people is to invite others to dance on your HUD. You click it, then get a list of available avatars that you can invite. Then click their names. If you click Invite All, an invite to dance will be sent to everyone within range.

You can do a dance routine by simply clicking on the animations you want to use in turn. This is called freestyling and is useful for impromptu dancing. But this is risky as far as smooth transitions go. Most performers use sequencing for their acts. We select the animations we want to use, we define the length each animation has to run in order to transition smoothly, and we put this sequence on a notecard. This NC is then loaded into our HUD. When we want to dance a certain sequence, we load that NC, click play, and the entire sequence runs. This is what a Barre sequence looks like:

Animated sit (bored)|9.3|
*05_DnB|22.3|
*Backseat Driver|29.1|
*Free Spirit|26.5|
*Fancy Free|28.7|
*Heat Wave|23.8|
*PYT|23.4|
*My Sassy Girl|12|
Tt Desirable girl – fem still pose – 06|30|
stand

You will notice each animation and then the time each one is to run for. The end of the dance we put stand, otherwise the last animation plays indefinitely. You can load a lot of dance sequences in your Barre. You can park up to four on your HUD’s sequence menu at a time. From these four, you can load, and dance, one at a time.

After creating your dance sequence on a NC, you must put that NC into your Barre HUD so that it can read it. To do this, right click edit your HUD (while wearing it on your monitor, you do NOT have to rez the HUD to drop a NC into it). Go to the contents tab. Then right click hold the NC in your inventory and drag it to the HUD, dropping it into the contents. Now you have put the sequence NC into the HUD. Now you need to tell the HUD you want to perform that sequence. So you must now load that NC into the HUD. Putting it in and loading it are two different things. Putting it in means, it is IN the HUD. You can put a thousand NCs in your HUD. It will store them for you. Loading a NC means, you are telling the HUD, out of all those NCed dance sequences, I am getting THIS one out to dance to. Loading the NC is like, going to a file cabinet that is FULL of files, opening it, and taking out ONE file and carrying it to your desk.

Loading a sequence NC in Barre is a two-step process. You have to get the file from the file cabinet. Then you have to open it. Think of it like that. So that your brain doesn’t explode. You may open up to four files at a time, and place them on your desk. To get the NC out of the file cabinet, you click the floppy disc icon. Then you click one of the four sequence slots, which will either say Empty or will already have a sequence loaded. Next, arrow through until you find the sequence you want in the file cabinet. Click on it. This will take that file and put it in one of the four “on my desk” slots.

Now you have to open the file. So!! Click the oreo cookie icon. Click whichever of the four waiting sequences you want to dance. The file will open, so to speak. The sequence NC will load. You will see its list of animations and their run times. To start dancing, click the first dance in the sequence. The entire sequence will play. If you decide for some reason you want to jump ahead, or go back, to an animation, just click it… you can click around on this list. You can go back to select an animation from all your animations loaded into the HUD by clicking the page icon, and then come back to your sequence by reloading it from the oreo cookie.

Whose brains have exploded? I know it’s weird, the loading and loading again, all this clicking. But you must think of the Barre as a mini-computer, and well this is how you give it commands and let it know what you want it to do. Don’t try to understand it, just accept it.

Adding slots! I believe the default for the number of people you can invite to dance on your Barre HUD is eight. If you want to have your HUD set up so that you can invite more people, you must add dance slots. To do this, rez your Barre tool box. Then rez your Barre HUD. Click the tool box and follow the instructions from the drop-down blue menu. It will prompt you to click to add dance slots. Then you arrow through and click on the number of people you want to be able to dance on your HUD. Now, adding slots does increase the lag on the HUD. I use a special HUD for dancing crowds. I do not routinely use that HUD for my solo routines. I make a separate HUD for each of my solo routines.

You see many many buttons on this HUD. Please click through them if you get this HUD. Explore what each button does. There is a support group for Barre and people who can help you learn all the possibilities with this HUD. You can use it to post your emotes, to dance a group of people who are each doing different animations at the same time, to post chat commands for effects and such. There is a lot you can do with this HUD that I won’t go into at this time, as your brains have already exploded.

MOVERS

Now let’s talk about movers. It is one thing to dance standing in one place. But moving around your set when you are dancing adds interest. Walking down stairs, dancing from one side of the stage to the other, or even rising up to dance in the air all require the help of a mover. There are several mover systems in SL. The one I use is Spot On. It is very easy to use, super user friendly, and there is excellent customer support if you have issues and need some help. You can also use Spot On movers to move objects.

Spot On has four primary dance aid systems. For our purposes today, we will talk about two of them. One is the Choreography Design System, which is the movers. You can use this with any dance HUD. This system does not run your dance sequences. It does not hold dances animations. What it does is, it moves you from point A to point B. It all starts with this black designer ring. I will do a brief demonstration of it, so that you can see how simple it is to use.

Let’s say I want to dance from the bench to the tree, pause there for a little while, then move on to the car. How do I get there? I can use my arrow keys. But that can look sloppy. Using Spot On will allow me to completely control how and when I move.

First, rez a designer. You will get a drop down question of, Link and delink from other objects Is this okay? Click YES. Then point the ring in the direction you want to face when you are on stage. The tiny white line on the black ring is the pointer. So rotate the ring to have this pointing in the direction you want to be facing when your dance starts. I recommend going to the objects tab of the edit window, on the bottom left, make sure the rotations are all at 90 degree angles. The rotation X Y Z should each be at 0, 90, 180, or 270 unless you want to start off at an angel that is not straight on.

Next, click the ring. You will get a blue drop down menu with a lot of options. Click AddWaypoint. You will see an arrow appear. Now right click edit the designer, tick the box in the top section of the edit menu that says Edit linked, then left click the arrow to select only it. Now put that arrow at the first position you wish to move to.

Now again click the black ring and again, AddWaypoint. Again, edit linked and put this second arrow, or waypoint, where you want to go next. Do this a third time and put another waypoint to the final location. Now your path is mapped out. Each waypoint is a destination in your travels. Some paths for some dances have dozens of waypoints. Some only have a few. Going up and down stairs requires a lot of waypoints to make it look natural. Use as many as you need to make the movement look natural and smooth.

Next let’s set the times for the waypoints. I choose my times to compliment my music and animations. I will put two seconds to get to the first WP. I then want to pause and dance there for 30 seconds before moving on. So! I click the WP, I get a blue drop-down menu, I select Time, I enter 2 into the box. You will see the hovertext of WP1 now says Time: 2s. Next, I click the WP again and this time select Sleep Time from the blue drop-down menu. I think type 30 into the menu box and click submit. You will now see the hovertext over the WP has a third line that says Sleep: 30s. This means, it will take me two seconds to dance to this WP and then I will stay there and continue to dance in that spot for 30 seconds. I will then repeat setting the times and any sleep times I want for the rest of the WPs.

When my route is finished, I will then click the black ring. I will click GetNotecard. This will post a series of coordinates in my local chat window. Next, I will click the ring one more time, and this time select RezMover. A purple disc will appear in the center of the ring. That is the mover. That is what you will stand on for your dance. That is what will move you. But first, you must tell the mover where to go!! So, go to local chat and copy/paste all the info from the GetNotecard. Right click edit the mover, go to the contents tab, and there you will see a Movement Card. Double click the movement card, then paste the GetNotecard information here. Save it, close it, it will update and say Ready! in local chat. You are now ready to move.

Get on your mover and try it out. The mover has its own HUD. You will start it usually directly after you start your dance HUD. You hear your song start, you click PLAY on your dance HUD, you click the green button on your Mover HUD. You may find that you need to adjust your WPs or your times. For example, you may find that you are dancing into or through props. You may need to move a WP farther away from an object. You may need to add WPs to make a route smoother. You may need to make a time faster or slower, or extend or shorten a sleep time. When you adjust your route by making changes to it, you will have to GetNotecard again, and copy/paste the updated info from local into the Movement Card of the mover.

What if you find you need another WP in the middle of your route? Do you have to start over from scratch? No! Click the next WP in line of where you want to add one. Then click, AddWPBefore. You will see the colors and numbers of the WPs change as a new WP appears in the black ring that is the number of the one you wanted to add. Edit it and drag it out, put it where you want it to go. And, what if you decide you don’t want a certain WP anymore? Just click it and select DeleteWP and it will be gone.

When we move from one point to another, one thing we want to make sure of is that our feet are moving. Some animations have more arm movements and less feet movements, so please select an animation that has the feet moving at least a little. It looks just weird to slide across the floor with the feet not moving, unless you are doing something magical and are deliberately sliding as part of your dance interpretation. Try to use times that work well with the tempo of the music and movements. Try to not do sloppy things like, walking backwards with an animation that clearly shows the feet are moving forward. If you have that situation, then rez another waypoint and turn your avatar around to face the direction he or she is walking.

A few words of warning. Never unlink your WPs and ring. Once you are happy with your mover route, label the Designer (the black ring and WPs) with something so you can easily identify it and what dance it is being used for. Example, I will label mine SOD Smooth Criminal Lead. (SOD = Spot On Designer). If you ever have a reason or need to make further changes in your route, you can simply restore your SOD to last position and make your changes. You do not have to start over with a whole new designer. Take it into your inventory and put it in the folder with all your stuff for that dance. You DO NOT put the designer in a rez box or use it during your performance! It is only to identify the coordinates and times for the mover. It is a designer. It designs the route. Then its work is finished. You could just delete, but that is very foolish. Save it in case you need to make more changes later.

The mover, the purple disc, that is what you will use on stage. I label my movers in the description of the General tab to identify whose mover that is. Example, Mover Baby, Mover Backup 1, Mover Cowardly Lion, Mover Lead Male. You rez your mover, stand on it, and now I will rez my Mover HUD so you can see what it looks like. Click the green button and off you go. At the end of your routine, always always always click the red button. This is to reset your mover back to start position. If you do not do this, it can cause the mover to think of it’s last known position as it’s new start position. When using rez boxes this can be a disaster. Imagine, rezzing your set, getting ready to perform, you have perhaps two minutes to get ready, and your mover rezzes in its ENDING position rather than it’s starting position. Can we say “PANIC!!!!”? So always click the red button to reset your movers back to start position before taking them.

About the Pause button on the Mover HUD. I don’t like that button. I don’t use it, I use sleep times. But it is there if you find it useful for your routines.

There is so so so much more I can tell you about Spot On Movers. This is just the basics. You can put people’s names over them in hovertext so that people in group dances know which mover is theirs. You can change their colors and say girls on purple, boys on pink. You can put the dance invite script from the Barre HUD into the movers so that people get automatically invited to your HUD when they stand on them. Spot On has a user friendly, easy to read website that gives a ton of information on how to maximize their mover system, and get the most out of them.

What if you want to move an object in your dance? For this, you map out a route with the WPs just like you do when you are moving a person. Then when you rez your mover, you right click edit the item you want to move. Hold down your Control key and left click the mover. Now the object and mover should be outlined in yellow. Click Build at the top of your monitor, then go down and click Link. Your object is now linked to your mover. When you play the hud, the mover will move the object. One important thing to note: the mover MUST be the root prim, so always click it last, as when linking a series of items, the last item you click becomes the root (controlling) prim. Also, if the mover shows when you link it to your object, please make it invisible by typing @invisible at the top of the mover’s Movement Card.

If you buy this system, please take ten minutes and look at that website, even just to skim it and see what information is there. This is your responsibility as a consumer. They have videos on YouTube that are quick and super easy to watch, that explain things and make them so very simple to understand. Please get a coffee, take a little time, and educate yourself. Use your resources. Please don’t IM others asking them to explain how to do things if you have not at least made an attempt to empower yourself with knowledge by reading the website and watching the videos. If then you still have questions or problems, ask for help, and it will be given. But it is honestly annoying to be asked to type things that are already there solely because some are too lazy to be bothered reading the website. I know none of you would do that.

Also, Spot On is offering classes in their systems on Saturdays at 2pm SLT starting next week. I will pass you a NC with the info on them. Here is the YouTube on how to use the movers, it is 6 minutes long and will show you just how easy it is to use this system: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SwPTt_zSZ1w
And here is the Spot On website with heaps of user friendly info: http://www.spotonsl.com/

SPOT ON DIRECTOR’S HUD

Spot On makes several dance HUDs. The one I use the most is the Director’s HUD. I would be lost without it. It is amazing. This one simple HUD can run your entire dance, including animations, movers, posting local chat commands, posting emotes, and it can dance multiple dancers doing different dances at the same time as well as synced group routines, and mixes of both. It is extremely easy to use. As with Barre, you rez this HUD to load the animations into it. Then you wear it and create your sequence NC, put it in the HUD. Then click it to load the HUD, press play, and off you go.

The sequence for this HUD is written differently than it is for Barre.

Here is an example of a sequence NC that I made:
0|Abstract Dance 1|
30|Contemporary2|
37|Zombie Hip Hop 4|
67|Abstract Dance 5|
96.5|Lady Gaga 5|
122|Abstract Dance 6|
146|Rave14|
176|Lady Gaga 1|
184|HelaMiyo_Butoh_5|

So:
0|Abstract Dance 1| – runs for 30 seconds (starting at 0 secs into the song and ends at 30 secs in)
30|Contemporary2| – only using 7 seconds of this (starts at 30 secs in and ending it at 37 secs)
37|Zombie Hip Hop 4| – runs for 30 seconds (starts at 37 secs into the song, ending at 67 seconds)
67|Abstract Dance 5| – runs for 29.5 secs
96.5|Lady Gaga 5| – runs for 26.5 secs
122|Abstract Dance 6| – 24 secs
146|Rave14| – 30 secs
176|Lady Gaga 1| – 30 secs
184|HelaMiyo_Butoh_5| – finishing pose

Do you see the difference between this HUD and Barre? Barre has the animation and how long you want it to run. Spot On Director’s HUD has how many seconds into a song you want that animation to start and then the name of the animation. There is so much this HUD can do, it would be an entire class to itself, so I recommend taking their class on it specifically. Or, just do what I did… I watched their instructional video on YouTube, took six minutes to watch, and I was off and running with it.

ORGANIZATION

I would finally like to advise you all to start a folder system for your dances. Have a primary Dance folder and then sub-folders, one for each dance. In the folder for each dance, include everything for that dance including a folder with the costume, the set, and anything else that you use for that dance such as your Spot On Designer, Movers, etc. I also always include a NC for EVERY dance I create that has the following info:
Song:
HUD NC:
Costume:

I then add to that NC any special instructions that I need to remind myself when I am performing that dance, any emotes I have written for it, etc. Because six months or even a year later if you decide you want to perform this dance again, you would be surprised how much you forget pertaining to it, such as the name of the NC that has the sequence on it, or what you wore for it. Organization will save your sanity and preserve the integrity of your dances so that you can return to them down the road, and still have everything you need to perform them with minimal stress.

INSURANCE

I will advise you of one more thing. Only buy copy animations. Make a box and put a copy of each animation into it. If you have land, rez that box somewhere on your land. Here is why. I have known of SL eating entire folders from peoples’ inventories. It happened to a friend of mine. She never found her folders. The folder with all her dance animations was ate. LL will NOT replace the lost inventory and neither will the sellers. So always always always put a copy of each animation in a master box, and park it on your land. Park another copy somewhere special in your inventory. That way, if the SL inventory eater ever strikes you, it won’t get your animations, or HUDs, or anything else that you have made a copy of, boxed, and parked some where safe. You can always go and take that master box into your inventory, unpack it, and still have your hundreds of dollars worth of dances. It is unlikely this awful glitch will happen to you. But it happened to me. I was lucky, LL was able to help me find my lost dance folder. But my friend and some others were not so lucky. So protect your investment… make a copy, rez it, park a master box with copies of all some place safe.

 

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