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Live Second Life Photography Discussion

Kultivate Magazine is having their 2nd annual Art show from April 3rd till 9th, 2017. Over 50 artists are participating in this week long celebration of 2D and 3D art. This year’s event will also feature a new series, “Art Talks,” which will feature informational sessions on a variety of topics such as photography in Second Life, copyright and Creative Commons, Photoshop and GIMP tips, and more. You can see a whole calendar of events on this page.

Live Second Life Photography Discussion

On Tuesday, April 4th 2017 at 7am SLT I will be giving one of the Art Talks on Second Life Photography. You can join this talk inworld at this location and I am also going to try and live stream it to my youtube channel at this link.

This discussion will mainly cover the basics of Second Life photography, the setup and execution of picture-taking. I will not be covering post-processing in this discussion. My goal is to share my knowledge with you so you can achieve the highest quality image your computer can handle.

UPDATE: The discussion was live streamed on my youtube channel and now the raw video has been uploaded. Because it was live streamed, the first 5 minutes or so I was still setting up so the actual discussion starts around the 5:50 point in the video:

I’ll be focusing mainly on the Firestorm viewer, but I will try to give options for the Second Life viewer as well. The topics I’ll be covering are:

  1. Graphics Settings
  2. Phototools & Windlight
  3. Depth of Field
  4. Snapshots Window
  5. Computer Specifications

Now I will share some highlights on each topic, but I will try and go more in-depth during my live discussion whenever possible.

Graphics Settings:

To access the graphics settings in your viewers go to: 

In the Firestorm Viewer Menu: Avatar > Preferences > Graphics

In the Second Life Viewer Menu: Me > Preferences > Graphics > Advanced Settings

There are two settings in this menu that are very important and I want to highlight those, but I will of course talk about the rest of the settings in my discussion as well. You can get a full detail of all the settings on the Firestorm website at this link but here are the important settings that I want to highlight:

  • Quality and Speed slider: To capture a high quality image, you want to make sure you have the slider as close to ultra as possible, keeping in mind that the higher the quality, the lower the performance; you’ll feel more lag and things will be slower.
  • Advanced Lighting Model: Although enabling this may cause instability and performance issues, I would still suggest that everyone enable this because it allows shadows and other features, such as materials, to be enabled. When this is enabled not only are you able to turn on shadows and choose which light source you want to use for shadows (I suggest Sun/Moon+Projectors) but using these light sources you will then be able to see materials enabled mesh properly. If you are not sure what Materials are, they are basically just a texture property with two main aspects: specular maps which add a gloss or shine aspect to the mesh and then we have normal or bump maps which are like a cloth texture map that simulate the impression of a detailed 3D surface. None of this will be visible to you if you do not have your advanced lighting model enabled.

Once you have gone through all of your settings and got them to your liking, I highly recommend you save this graphics preset for future photography by clicking the save preset button at the bottom. Then the next time you are ready to shoot, you can easily just choose your photography preset for quicker access.

Phototools / WindLight:

To access Windlight settings in Second Life viewer or Phototools in Firestorm, go to: 

For Firestorm: World > Photo and Video > Phototools

For Second Life Viewer: World > Environment Editor > Sky Presets > New or Edit Preset

WindLight is a revolutionary atmospheric lighting and rendering system within Second Life that can assist photographers of all skill levels to create stunning visuals. What does that all mean? We have a powerful mood-setting tool at our disposal and we should definitely take advantage of it.

In the Firestorm viewer we also have a powerful set of tools in the Phototools menu which was specifically designed for Second Life photographers and machinima makers. It combines a large number of settings from many places, into a single, muti-tabbed window, basically bringing all of the options to our fingertips.

A lot of the settings we discussed in the graphics menu can also be found here for easier access. I will go through some of the settings in my live discussion, but my main focus will be on sky presets. Don’t be afraid to go in there and play with the sliders to get the lighting to your preference. 

Depth of Field:

First enable Depth of Field in the following viewers: 

For Firestorm: World > Photo and Video > Phototools > DoF / Glow

For Second Life Viewer: Me > Preferences > Graphics > Advanced Settings > (DoF button)

Depth of field simulates real life blurring that occurs when things are not in focus. For example, if you are taking a photo of a person, then typically things in the background will be blurred. If you shift your focus to an object behind the person, then the person will, in turn, become blurred.

With Phototools in Firestorm, you are able to adjust the settings in the DoF tab to mimic real life camera effects. As far as I know, you are not able to adjust the DoF in the Second Life viewer. I will go over the settings in this tab during my discussion to show what they do, but again, don’t be afraid to go in there and play with the sliders.

Snapshots Window:

To open the snapshots window in both viewers: 

Shortcut on both viewers is: CTRL + SHIFT + S

For Firestorm: Avatar > Snapshot

For Second Life Viewer: World > Snapshot

The Snapshot window gives options which allow you to control where to save your image, how large the image should be, and many others.

When you first open the window, you want to first choose where you want to save the image. I usually save to disk so I get it in the highest resolution possible on my computer and then I can process it in Photoshop (or another photo editing program) and then upload it to my social networks on my own after processing, cropping, resizing, etc…

Sometimes I also “Upload to Profile” if I want to share the image on my profile feed, but in my discussion I will just cover saving to disk.

The photo settings I use are custom and then I make sure constrain proportions is check and then I take the biggest possible size so you get a very high resolution image. The higher the resolution, the better the quality. When you crop and resize it smaller in your photo editing software, you will notice it will look even crisper and sharper. So always start out with the biggest possible size that your computer can handle.

Computer Specifications:

Keep in mind that in order to run Second life and then be able to take a very high quality image, your computer system should be as close to the system requirements recommended on the Second Life website as possible. I also have a list of my computer specifications on my website at this link.  Just to let you know, these are the following parts people often ask me about:
Video Card: Asus GTX 970
Memory: 16GB (Linden Lab recommends at least 4GB or more)

Question and Answer Session

That pretty much covers everything I will talk about in my discussion tomorrow. After that, if there is time, there will be a question and answer session so you guys can come join the discussion and ask any questions about Second Life photography that you may have. Once again, the discussion will be on Tuesday, April 4th at 7am SLT at this inworld location.

If I am able to get the live stream going, you can watch it live on my livestream link and after that it will automatically be uploaded to my youtube channel for future reference. I will embed the video of the discussion in this post once it’s up on youtube. (UPDATE: I’ve posted it near the start of this post ^)

A big thank you to Kultivate Magazine for inviting me to do this. I will also be live streaming a bit later today to show you guys around the Kultivate Spring Art Show a bit since tomorrow’s live stream will mainly be my discussion. The Art Show is quite spectacular with so much variety of beautiful 2D and 3D RL and SL art. There is also a hunt going on in the sim too for some great prizes. Once I get that live stream up on my youtube channel, I will also embed that in this post. You can also check out Inara Pey’s detailed blog post about this show.

This is a quick live stream I did today on the sim showing a bit of the Kultivate Magazine Art Show:

Future Discussions

I will be having another live discussion inworld next week, this time for the Blogger & Vlogger Network. The topic of the discussion will be Creating a Social Media Presence. I will share more information about the discussion and the Blogger & Vlogger Network early next week.

What I’m wearing in this post and during discussion:
Shape: Catya 2 Shape by Strawberry Singh
*Mesh Body: Maitreya Mesh Body – Lara V3.5 by Onyx LeShelle
*Mesh Head: CATWA HEAD Catya v2.10 by Catwa Clip
*Skin Applier: Insol: Diana by AlMercury (@ Uber)
*Eyes: Catwa Mesh Eyes by Catwa Clip
*Eyes applier: Bold & Beauty :: Classic Eyes by JourdanMcMillan (Powder Pack Catwa Feb 2017)
*Hair: TRUTH HAIR Cheri by Truth Hawks (@ Uber)
*Hairbase: Insol: Pony haibase by AlMercury (@ Cosmopolitan)
*Mesh Ears: [MANDALA]STEKING_EARS_Season5 by kikunosuke Eel
*Necklace: MG – Little Memory Locket – Short by Maxi Gossamer
*Bento Hands: VISTA PROHAND V.1FINAL by Vista Barnes
*Bento Ring: ~~ Ysoral ~~  .:Set Luxe Rings Wedding  Eternel:. by fenixdragon Rau
*Dress: ISON – sahara wrap dress by Harry Hyx
*Shoes: Addams // Selene Sandal Heels by AmaliaRainwood
*Lingerie under my dress: {Luxuria} Fleurette Lingerie by Roslin Petion
*Camera: Tee*fy Vintage Grandpa’s Old Camera HandHeld (Rare) by Azure Electricteeth

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