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Tutorial – Second Life Viewer 3

First, before I start, I hope all my readers on the East Coast are safe from Hurricane Sandy. I’ve been watching the coverage and it’s absolutely devastating. My heart goes out to you guys. <3 Tutorial - Second Life Viewer 3

In the past year, since the release of Viewer 3, I have been getting a lot of questions regarding windlight settings and taking snapshots so I thought a quick video tutorial about all the questions I get about this viewer was definitely in order. I’m using the latest Second Life Viewer 3.4.0 and this tutorial’s main focus will be the photography aspects of this viewer. I will be sharing the video here, but I have also written out all of the information that’s in the video in this post as well.

I am embedding the video below, but you can also view it on my youtube channel at this link: This video is better viewed at the highest HD quality in full screen mode.

This is what I have covered in the video:

Viewer 3 Sidebar:
I get a lot of questions from people asking where everything is and why they can’t find the snapshot button. You can actually set which buttons you want displayed in the sidebar by right-clicking on it and then selecting toolbar buttons. Once in there, you want to make sure the snapshot button is enabled so you can see it.

The next thing people always ask me about is windlight settings. They changed them around a while back but I know a lot of people still struggle with them. I’m one of those people actually but I am starting to get the hang of it. Luckily I have a lot of pre-made windlight presets from before and that helps me a lot. Basically what I do to play around with windlight is go to: World > Environment Settings > Sky Presets > Edit Presets once I’m in there I select a preset of my liking. I have filled up my folder with some of my favs from Torley, Annan Adored, Ely, Tanaquil and some of my own. (You can download and install any and all of these settings from my Windlight Settings Page). I usually pick one that I like best with the scene I’m trying to create and then play around with it more. There’s lots you can do once you’re in there. Play with the Atmosphere and Lighting tabs. You can change the colors of the Horizon, Density, sun/moon color and Ambient to change the mood of the lighting. I always play with the Sun/Moon Position and East Angle to get the shadows just right. Once you have the setting to your liking, don’t close the box or you will lose your settings. You can’t save the setting either because you had used one of the previous settings and it won’t let you overwrite it. I just usually minimize it so it’s out of my way.

Once you have your windlight all setup, it’s time to take that image. Hit the Snapshot button and you will get a window with 4 options:
“Post to Profile Feed”
“Save to my Inventory” and
“Save to My Computer”
I always use the “save to my computer” option because I love to play with my pictures in Photoshop. But one thing I also like doing sometimes is sharing the raw shot on my profile feed here. There’s a big community of people that use the profile feeds and they are all very encouraging. So many of them share their images on their profile feeds as well. You can see some of the people that have been commenting on my statuses and pictures and follow them if you’d like to socialize on the second life profile feeds more often.

Anyhow, back to snapshots, I usually go to “Save to my computer” and in this window is where you can finally set the resolution you want to take the image at. First I go to “custom” then I make sure “constrain proportions” is checked and then I type in 5760 because that is 3 times the size of my desktop resolution. Finally, I refresh and hit save to save my snapshots.

To save a picture to my profile feed, I usually like to save it as a square. Whenever I want to save it as a square I hit “post to profile feed” I go to custom, then I uncheck contrain proportions and I type in “1024×1024” and I hit refresh and then I type in a caption and hit post.

Depth of Field (DoF):
I get this question so much regarding Depth of Field. The depth of field you see in my photos is usually photoshopped in. The only way you will get Depth of field to work in your final snapshot is if you take it at your desktop resolution and that’s something I don’t like doing because I feel the quality of the image is not the same when it’s done that way. When you hit snapshot, you’ll notice Depth of Field disappears right away and the only way to grab it in your images is to take your picture by pressing (CTRL and ~) together.

GridLines & Glitches:
One of the biggest complaints people have about taking snapshots are the gridlines they get on their images. Here are a few tips I’ve picked up to reduce the gridlines.

  1. Take a snapshot that is the exact multiple of your resolution. My computer’s screen resolution is 1920×1080 so I take all my pictures at a resolution of 5760×3084. I rarely get lines and glitches in my images since I have started doing this.
  2. Decrease your draw distance as much as you can. Go to: Me > Preferences > Graphics and then on the right hand side you will see Draw distance, bring that down as much as you can and you’ll notice a lot less glitches in your final snapshot.
  3. Use a WindLight setting that does not have clouds scrolling or lock them if it does. You will see the “clouds” tab in the environment editor when you are setting up Windlight, just take a peek in there and lock the clouds and that will also help with glitches in your final image.
  4. Finally, even after doing all this, you can still get gridlines in your images, so here’s a great video tutorial by Elysium Eilde showing you how to get rid of them quickly and easily using photoshop:

Debug settings:
I’ve done a full tutorial on Debug Settings and the ones that help me the most with photography so I’m not going to go too much into this since I’ve already covered it in this post here:
However, I know some people don’t have the best shadows in viewer 3 as they do in other 3rd party viewers so I thought I would recommend that you guys go to this debug settings page on the sl wiki and then hit (ctrl-F) and search “shadow” and play around with some of the settings that pop up for that. I also asked my friends on plurk and they also had a few helpful suggestions which you can read in this plurk here:

I think that about covers what I know about Second Life Viewer 3. If you have anymore helpful suggestions or tips for photography then please do share them in the comments, I’m always looking to improve my photography!

» For more of my tutorials, check out my tutorials page.

Thank you and stay safe! <3 Credits: *Skin: Al Vulo– julia * peacock Hb bronze by Hlin Bluebird
Eyes: Mayfly – Liquid Light Mesh Eye (Midnight Hazel, w4) by Arkesh Baral
*Eyeliner: –Glam Affair– Couture Eyeliner no.03 (MESH) by Aida Ewing
*Eyelashes: Miamai_Catwalk Lashes_Glitter 01 by Monica Outlander
*Hair: >TRUTH< Cheyenne – clove by Truth Hawks
*Sweater: DRIFT Cozy Boatneck Sweater [Mesh XXS-S] Chocolate by Kallisto Destiny
*Skirt: DRIFT Cozy Sweater Skirt [Mesh] S – Chocolate by Kallisto Destiny
*Shoes: Maitreya Gold Mesh – Suave Wedges by Onyx LeShelle (not released yet)
*Necklace: MG – Necklace – All Seeing Eye – Long by Maxi Gossamer
*Bangles: Zaara : Ramya wood bangles *gold* by Zaara Kohime
*Earrings Zaara : Sarayi wood hoops *gold* by Zaara Kohime
*Pose: aDORKable Poses by Adorkable Peapod
Location: {Zaara}


Strawberry has been a Second Life Resident since 2007 and a Linden Lab employee since 2019.

14 thoughts on “Tutorial – Second Life Viewer 3

  • Win Enfield

    Thank you so much, it was nice to review and get some hints. You made me test one thing, though. At least in Niran’s Viewer 2.0, when you take large pictures, the Depth of Field setting still works.

    It still makes grid lines, though, even with exact multiples. 🙁

  • “Once you have the setting to your liking, don’t close the box or you will lose your settings. You can’t save the setting either because you had used one of the previous settings and it won’t let you overwrite it.”

    I always save the default setting I’ve amended under a different name; this is how it will allow you to save. Usually the outfit I’m wearing, or the location so if I crash midshoot, I can come back and use the same one. So my WL settings are full of [WINTER] LWL Flamebra, or [WINTER] Bukkake Bliss for easy return access.

  • Great tutorial! Thank you very much

  • “When you hit snapshot, you’ll notice Depth of Field disappears right away and the only way to grab it in your images is to take your picture by pressing (CTRL and ~) together. ”

    I take snapshots with DoF and they dont disappear. So that might be a setting you have on conflicting. That’s never happened to me and I’ve always used the Official viewers.

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  • You’re very welcome you guys, I’m glad you found it useful!

    @Winter, oh I never even thought of that! LOL That makes life easier, will definitely be doing that next time and prolly end up with a thousand new windlights like you. LOL TY <3

    @JoMac, actually someone left a comment on the youtube video here: and stated that the reason my dof is not working is because I use freeze frame. I need to try it out and see if that’s the setting that’s doing it. I hope that’s it! Thanks for your help too. <3

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  • Opal Rae

    I can’t even begin to express how grateful I am for this tutorial. I don’t have Photoshop so I just have to be happy with the raw shots I take, lol. Before they were grainy, blurry and I wasn’t very happy, but after adjusting pic sizes etc according to desktop resolution it has made the world of difference. Thank you so much!

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