The River of Forgetting-Featuring Silas Merlin’s Funerary Ship for Slartist@UWA Machinima Challenge 2017 -Art of The Artists

Where to begin?

I think I will begin by showing you our movie:) This is the 25th collaboration for Randt & Hoisan,also known as The Team:) Please enjoy it in HD and Fullscreen and then if you are interested in a bit of the history on making it.. keep  reading below.

I could write a book about the making of this movie..but I think I’m too lazy; nevertheless, there are things that need to be said about this one..for the record and just to look back on years from now and remember the trials and errors and breakthroughs and near breakdowns we all lived through while making it.

I have revisited some of my other posts about our entries for the UWA and it seems I am always saying..that this one or that one was the most complicated etc etc, but objectively, I think “The River of Forgetting” wins that prize hands down! It was soooooo complicated to make this movie..that sometimes I felt really crazy..I would lose my concentration and would just stand there thinking…whaaat?

One of the factors that made this difficult was that we filmed about 95% of this machinima on Kitely-Virtual Worlds on Demand. It is a a great compliment to the Kitely machinery, that it was even possible. OpenSim in general, and Kitely in particular is stable enough and powerful enough to be able to shoot a movie of this caliber, get ample fps and be able to fill a world with many prims. It would not have been possible, even a few years ago.

The Beginning The River of Forgetting (131, 126, 22)

The Beginning of an idea..and a world…July 2017

The other very complicated thing we had with this movie, is that Nat made the mesh clothes for the avatars to wear. The avatars themselves had to have the same body shape, height, hair in Kitely as they did in the intro shot and also backstory scenes that were shot in Second Life. We had to have rigged mesh clothes to wear and unrigged mesh clothes to throw. We had to have some unrigged clothes to throw that were physical, but we also needed non-physical unrigged clothes to add my swirling textures and make them disappear with a script. Just keeping this wardrobe together, remembering what had a script, what had textures, what was to go into a cannon and be catapulted in an arc into the water just as an avatar was throwing it folded up… was all very complicated to say the least.


No littering of the river….everything that fell in was dissolved by little river creatures

pants sparkle_001 2We had some textures that were triggered by just landing on the water, others, we had to write /99108 and others we had to write /99107.We had to bring in bvh motion capture animations and alter them and make our own tossing and throwing animations that would look close enough to the real thing. The main thing is that all the fading and disappearing and swirling were done in real time. Each had to be coordinated to the ship, moving away, the cannon lobbing clothes, the avatars dropping their backpacks or tossing their jackets. We never used particles…all the special effects were done with rotating textures…and I think in the end, it worked! Dale and I earned our SFX credit by working closely together and texturing each piece of clothing, each picture, each knapsack that fell into the water.

It doesn’t look like a lot,  when you see it in the film, but it got so confusing, our workshop was scattered all over a lawn, and half the time I didn’t even know what was what..linked? unlinked? scripted? unscripted?
We even had a hard time figuring out when we could get our little foursome together for shoots and it was what started us using the expressions “rigged and unrigged time”  that everyone learned to understand somehow..and we managed to pull off our shoots in both Sl and Kitely with some kind of schedule….and much laughter…and much unrigged time:) I think we went through daylight savings, but then some of us (the unrigged ones..didn’t)
Apart from almost coming unrigged myself during the process, it was a lot of fun too and Nat got to do some very innovative filming. I hope you will agree.

Now to the star of our video! The undisputed star is Silas Merlin’s gorgeous and colorful pastel boat entitled “Funerary Ship” Silas made this movie possible by allowing us to take his SL Art Work off the grid and permit us to import it into Kitely, where I had the possibility of building a sim just for it and our UWA project.


Silas’s Ship arrives on Kitely – Virtual Worlds on Demand


It was a moment of rejoicing for Nat & I

Nat, meanwhile, was building an SL set for the beginning of our film, while I was making the Kitely set.

Funerary Cloud Forest & Virtual Gallery, LINC ISLAND (123, 88

Nat’s beginning of her set for our film in SL

We worked closely with Silas and he was willing to give us the textures he used on the ship, so Nat could make avatars from them, and I could make a landing ballet tent for the final dance. This movie would have absolutely been impossible to make, if it weren’t for Silas’s total cooperation and willingness to help.

Interestingly, when I first saw the Ship at the UWA and told Nat about it, I thought we could use a poem I already had that I recited to the music of the composer, David Darling. It was about that final ride, down the river Lethe, and it was about death and crossing over to the final shore. Before I read Silas’s “About My Entry,” we had begun to work on this idea and I even wrote to David Darling and asked permission to use his music “Untold Stories” (which miraculously he gave me:) but by then..I read Silas’s motivation and….well it changed EVERYTHING. I had to find new music, write a new poem and align our movie with the artist’s reasons for creating his art piece. This was something so new for both Nat and I..but we flowed with it and I am so happy we did.  The music,”Between Worlds” by Roger Subirana Mata gave me “goosebumps” the first and the 100th time I heard it. It is an amazingly emotional and beautiful piece of work, and I bought a license to use it on YouTube from Jamendo for this project.
Once again, Dale Innis was instrumental in moving our boat and all the scripts we used to make our special effects. Without his help, we could not have pulled this off.
I’d love to have a $ for every time I said, “Nat, you’re going to kill me..but…butt…” We literally changed horses (or ideas) in midstream and listened to the soundtrack and tried to just…”let it go”

Photo leaving River

Negotiating with the Captain

Last but not least, a very heart-felt thank you to our wonderful cast. They showed up when we needed them and most importantly, were so much fun when we filmed them, both in SL and Kitely in both rigged and unrigged Time too:)
Nat and I have it very clear and agree on this last point. No matter what happens as far as the judging goes; if Silas is happy with what we did with his Funerary Ship, then we are happy too.
This one is for you Silas, your talent and your generosity of spirit!! It is our
hope that we have honored you, with our entry..


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37 Responses to The River of Forgetting-Featuring Silas Merlin’s Funerary Ship for Slartist@UWA Machinima Challenge 2017 -Art of The Artists

  1. Suzanne Walker says:

    What a powerful and incredible piece of art… kudos to all involved!


  2. Joey says:

    Oh my, this is so beautiful, playful, soothing … all the hard work and worries (and the laughter 😉 ) very much worth the while! What can I say – I guess we all have come to expect wonderful, powerful art from THE TEAM, and yet you surpass once again. The poem, the music, the filming, the colors and scripting, they all go hand in hand. Absolutely amazing. What ever happens next, you’ve won me over with this – Hugsss!


    • Awww joey..thank you for your beautiful comment! You were so much a part of it all and experienced rigged and un-rigged Time too:):) Yes so much work, but so rewarding. The reward is in the feeling we accomplished what we set out to do….and Silas Merlin loved it too:) So…whatever happen next.. happens..but we are so happy to have pulled this off.Thank you again for all your help and your responsibility as our actor and friend:) Big Hugs Joey

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Before I forget, Nat made the gorgeous poster for our film that is also the YouTube thumbnail!
    I love it Nat!


  4. daleinnis says:

    Another wonderful work! You and Nat amaze every time. Your voice, her camerawork, all the ideas that come out of your interactions… And so happy to have been able to contribute a few scripts that helped it all come together! Everyone will be able to identify with the feelings here… and you capture them so well.


    • Thank you so much Dale..for all you did and do for our Team. You are so very much a part now and truly, many of the innovative moments of this film, would not be possible, without your scripts and programs. Thank you for “waking up” too at the end:) Hugs


  5. daleinnis says:

    Reblogged this on Dale Innis’s Weblog and commented:
    Seems like I have mostly forgotten I have this here weblog. 🙂 But I will again reblog one of Karima-and-Natascha’s amazing machinimas, to which I had the pleasure of contributing some scripting. Watch and enjoy!


  6. Scottius says:

    A dizzying trip down the old river Lethe. So much emotion and power captured through your wonderful visuals, music and poetry!


    • Thank you Scottius for viewing and enjoying it.. This river Lethe has a happier ending I think..then one I used to go down in my poetry years ago:) Silas was a great inspiration for us both:)


  7. Ilan Tochner says:

    Thank you Karima,

    It is lovely as usual and it’s great to see it was almost all done inside Kitely 🙂

    The behind the scenes description is also interesting, so thank you for that as well.


    • Thank you so much Ilan for your continual support of our Art and also for Kitely – Virtual Worlds on Demand. We are so proud too, that we could film almost all of it, 95% on Kitely. As I said in my post above, this says so much about the stability and possibilities of working on Kitely. I am sure our next one will be filmed here too:)


  8. ronald174 says:

    This is an amazing creation by some amazing artists, writers, digital artists, a poetess, and several dedicated creative people who contributed. These are old themes with a fresh pastel take and storyline. The colors, images, music, and unebelievably complex motions and visual angles make a living painting of the human story with the backdrop of a haunting, gorgeous musical score. It is a story of shedding what is not needed and the resurection and rebirth of life. In a splash of whirling colors and dance! Must be seen! This is world class work by world class artists. Please see this video!


    • Ohh my..Thank you so much Ronald for this beautiful comment.. You gave me tears..of joy:) I will pass it on to Nat, or maybe you can copy it to my blog, so she can see it too.. Wow..thank you once again..for your depth and your appreciation of what we do.


  9. Minetheree says:

    “Nat and I have it very clear and agree on this last point. No matter what happens as far as the judging goes; if Silas is happy with what we did with his Funerary Ship, then we are happy too.”

    On several levels, this speaks to the phrase “It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.” ― Ursula K. Le Guin, The Left Hand of Darkness”

    I had to leave opensim so I appreciate the IM you sent mentioning this ♥


    • Hi Constance,
      Thank you for viewing our film and for your comment and yes we agree the journey is the reward in the end. I am sorry you had to leave OpenSim, but glad you still received my message.


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  11. Nat wrote such a fun and interesting post about our production. Google Translate does a great job. I recommend anyone who wants to hear “the other side of the story” to read it. It’s really great!


  12. Henri Godenot says:

    Amazing work!


  13. Hoyt Heron says:

    This is one of the the most moving, profound pieces of art I have ever seen. Karima and Nat are not in it for fame or monetary gain. They reach across the continents and create because they are true virtuosos of communication and expression. I will always carry this arrangement close. My new mantra for 2018, as you know ruca, is “Let it go!” Happy New Year to all!


    • Thank you so much for your comment Hoyt. Oh my…I was moved by you were moved by our movie.. Happy New Year Hoyt…you know us well and have always been our great supporter. Yes…will also be my mantra too..Just…Let it go….. Hugs, Health and Happiness for the coming year!


  14. lunabranwen3 says:

    Hats off to you, dear Karima, Natasha, Dale, Silas Merlin and all! What a wonderful way to convey this time-honored message told in a way that pulls in the reader/listener with the gorgeous visuals depicting the need for forgiving, and letting go, in a way that is fresh and accessible from the imaginations of clear artists who are immersed, and learned, in the the possibilities of Virtual Reality’s pixel artistry. Really beautiful! My best to you in the UWA, and congratulations all around, everyone! xoxo Luna~


    • Thank you Luna for this amazing comment that I know will inspire all involved in our production. I am so pleased I could give you a tour today of River and have you be part of the set that put Silas’s boat on the River of Forgetting..downstream and accesible now for all who would like to come visit. You have always been so supportive of our collaboration and I thank you so much for your good wishes and your enthusiastic response to our entry. It means a lot Luna. Big Hugs and hope to host you again soon:)


  15. Maria Vought says:

    This is such a beautiful and inspired piece of work – I am moved to tears every time I watch it. It is perfect storm of inspiration, creativity, talent and skill – you’ve taken the beautiful ship, the music and added your vision to create something so much more than the sum of its parts. This is machinima at its breathtaking best – simply magical!


    • Maria Vought says:

      drat there’s a rogue apostrophe in there! Please ignore


    • Aww thank you sis for your beautiful words. You did forget one thing..smiles, the very important part you played in our production as one of our actors (our blonde:) who rode the river with us all. It was so great to have you again in one of our Randt & Hoisan Productions:) Your sense of humor and your gift of remembering the visible pose balls before the camera rolled..were both loved and appreciated:) You were a part that was summed up into one of my personal favorite projects to date too. Thanks again sis for your willingness and your loyalty.


  16. Steve Rogers says:

    Interesting that the forgetters apparently lose their individual identity – or is it only the outward appearance of individuality, the false ego, which was attached to the past? At the start, the funerary boat looks as if they are being taken to oblivion – but in the end they are carefree and dancing. A very spiritual vision.


    • Sorry it has taken me so long to reply to your comment Steve. I think it can be interpreted in many ways, and you have mentioned two that are very perceptive. What we know for sure, is that they leave “heavy” and arrive “light” Unburdening ourselves of thoughts and traumas holding us down and back, is always so liberating. Thank you too for fishing while we were boarding..Did you catch anything?


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  19. calmkate says:

    absolutely awesome … now remembering that I know absolutely nothing about this type of visual art please excuse my ignorance … so this is filmed in real life and then made into this fantastical creation?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ohh thank you Kate…wow so glad you read this post!! Actually all of this was done in virtual worlds.. Second Life (the Intro scene) and Kitely the rest of the movie.. I built the world you see in the video all virtually. It is a type of 3D digital modeling where you can create things while you are in your avatar body… All the people in the video are avatars and they are all at their computers from different parts of the world at the same time we say in “Real time” If you don’t mind me pointing you to another post this will give you a good idea what I am talking about.. Nat and I have a small cameo part in it too:) I hope it helped bring it clearer how these kind of videos are made..It IS fascinating really: I hope you enjoy it.


  20. I must admit I am lost but just listening to the complexity is amazing here. Thank you so much for sharing this. It certainly gives me an appreciation for the kind of hard work and close collaboration that is required to do this kind of filming. It is something everyone involved with should really be proud of. It was truly beautiful. Big hugs and lots of love Karima. Get well dear friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Awww thank you for reading this piece Joni….yes it is a lot of machinima geek talk hehe but this movie was very complex to set up. You’re so sweet to have taken the time to do this. Thank you so much Joni and also for your get-well-soon Hugss and much love, Karima


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