The Drax Files: World Makers [Episode 6: Abramelin Wolfe] – Animating Second Life

In the sixth episode of his excellent series titled “The Drax Files”, Draxtor Despres turns his attention to Edinburgh-based  Abramelin Wolfe, proprietor of the well-known among Second Life residents Abranimations store. Please note that one of the categories under which I’ve filed this post, like some others in my continued coverage of “The Drax Files”, is “Art”, because a technique extensively used in Abramelin’s work – motion capture – not only comes directly from the movie studios, but also because the quality of his work makes it easily classify as art.

Abramelin makes money from his SL business; he is one of the most important and prominent makers of animations and I’m willing to wager that very few users out there have never purchased anything from his store – be it an animation overrider (AO) or a number of animations (dance, walking, etc.). He has also invested rather heavily in this job: his first motion capture rig £14,000 ($21,300).

In explaining what inspired him to start creating animations, Abramelin says “Body language and human motion is something that we see every day. If we’re very rigid and not moving, it stands out like a sore thumb; it’s very unnatural, there’s lot’s of subtleties. I mean, if you say to someone ‘stand still’, they’ll probably in their head think that they are rigid and not moving. But in reality, people are actually moving a lot; a subtle shake of arms and the way that weight displaces. So I think that by having a very fluid motion which is very life-like helps people feel immersed in that universe.”

Abramelin at work

Abramelin at work

Abramelin and his wife’s primary market is Second Life and offer not only animations, but also a range of avatars and other creations (including bumper cars). They are basically a team; he makes the animations, she makes the avatars.

For Abramelin, Second Life is “mostly about creativity, and seeing other people’s creativity too.” He views it, as a frontier, with its users being the pioneers that explore it and make it their home: “Pioneers? Yeah! We want a universe we can step into and actually be there!” His enthusiasm is obvious, and it’s the same as when he started out back in 2004.

Now, we all use animations in Second Life. We use them to walk, to dance, to hug, to kiss, to cuddle, even to entangle our avatars in intimate and sexual encounters portraying the desires (and perhaps feelings) we, the Real Life persons behind the avatars have for each other. But really, how many of us have thought about the effort and creativity that goes into them? So, this episode is a very interesting and fascinating look into the workings of a brand that is practically a household name within SL and also lets us see the creative process that goes into developing a business like Abranimations. And, of course, it is another insight into what makes Second Life so exciting.

Closing my post, I want to point you to the way Exotix (Inara Pey) has covered this segment on Her excellent blog – one of the reasons being the second part of an ongoing discussion with Draxtor, which I consider a must read.




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