Special effects can really set your dance apart, make it stand out, and give it that WOW factor. You can also use effects to aid your story telling in your dance. The effects listed here are the primary ones I use. I am sure there are others, and as technology advances, there will be lots more to look forward to. Some of this we have already touched upon in Building but I want to emphasize it here.
This is one of the most important features of a set. Please light your sets! It is easy and it is free and it matters. Venues are always asking audience to set to midnight. Then dancers don’t light their sets and they are so dark, it is very hard at times to see their faces. LIGHT YOUR SETS, DAMMIT! All you have to do is, make a prim. Doesn’t matter the shape or size. Then right click Edit it, go to the Features tab. Down near the bottom, tick the box that says Light. See your prim light up? You can play with the Intensity (how strong it is), Radius (how far around the prim the light is thrown), and the Falloff (how far the light reaches). I usually use 1.000, 10.00, and 0.00 respectively. You also may tick the white box and make the light into a colored light, for mood lighting on a set. You can light yourself, other dancers, and objects. Be careful not to overdo it!! You don’t want to blow out your set. I seldom use more than three lights, and that is for a large set where my avatar is moving from one side to the other. I often only use one light. Always place the light for yourself at eye level and just forward of the farthest forward place you will dance to. So that you don’t dance out past your light, which causes your face to suddenly go dark.
Facelights are evil. They provide spotty, uneven lighting. I do not recommend wearing them in dancing. Light your sets and you won’t need them.
Fading things in and out is a fabulous effect. You can even fade entire sets in and out. This is how I do scene changes in my dances. To do this, you need to drop a fader script into the root prim of every linkset that you want to fade in and out. Now keep in mind, if you have an object that is semi-transparent, if you fade it in, it will come in fully with no transparency. And items that glow when you fade them out, the glow will remain. I get around this by trying to not use such items in my sets or by not putting those types of items in my rez box, and simply restore or take them when I want them to appear or disappear. Chewie Quixote has created a script that will also allow you to control glow on an item when fading it. But that is for advanced building.
The fader script I use is free on MP, and we usually send the generous creator a little tip when we buy it. If you can afford it. This is the script I use: ShowHideFade https://marketplace.secondlife.com/p/ShowHideFade/3925724
First thing you want to do when you get this script is to remove the hovertext. You don’t want some text over your items that says “here”. So, open the script and delete the word “here” that is between the quotes, but leave the quotes. Then, to use this script, drop it into the root prim of each linkset. Then type the command in local chat on the assigned channel. Example, if the assigned channel is 8, you would type /8 Hide. Or /8 Show, to make something appear. You can change the channel that the script listens on, which is especially useful if you have different items on your set that you want fading in and out at different times.
Animated Textures: There are a lot of scripts you can put into prims to animate them. You find them on MarketPlace or in a script shop. You can also buy animated textures, beautiful amazing ones. My favourite animated texture shops are Sanna and Sirius. Movement in your textures adds interest and beauty to your sets. I have included a few scripts here for you to experiment with. Drop one into the root prim of a linkset and see what happens. Some scripts affect only the prim it is in, some effect the entire linkset depending on if the script is in the root prim or not. Also if a script is modify, you can change it. For example, you can slow down the speed of a flowing water texture or change the direction of a rotating texture. Now scripting is advanced building, we will not go into that at this time. I just want you to know modifying scripts is an option. Pretty much anything you want to do, you can find a way with the help of scripting.
There are heaps of particle shops in SL. There are also particle HUDs you can buy, so that you can make your own particles. We will be having a class in this a bit later. I prefer particles that I can wear, so that I can detach them at will. If I use particles that I have to rez, I prefer ones that I can click to turn on and off. This is why I prefer to make my own. The HUD that I use to make particles is: [ Particle Studio HD v2.2 ] https://marketplace.secondlife.com/p/Particle-Studio-HD-Particle-Generator-Hud/964267
Making particles is an art unto itself.
There are a lot of lighting systems you can buy in SL, foggers, and all sorts of things to enhance the magic of your set. The system I use is OD Designs. They have a system that includes explosions, lightening, fog, sparklers, and steam. This all comes with a HUD. You rez the generator for the particle that you want, then click the HUD on the color that you want. You can also change the color of the effects. I usually change the color because I think the primary colors they use are too strong. You can make the colors of the effects any color you want. For example, a soft purple fog that changes to a peach color is stunning. There In Spirit also has some of the coolest trick lighting on the grid.
Note about scripted items: Sometimes you will get an item that is scripted and you do not want it to be. Example, it has a rotation script but you don’t want it to rotate. You delete the script. The object is still rotating. This is because, prims have memories. Linden Labs gave them memories. And sometimes, they will remember the last script that was in them. The only way to get rid of that memory is to give them a new memory. Usually placing a scrubber script into the root prim of the linkset will fix it.