Pet Peeves

Bonus points if you know what movie this is! :-P   Image Source:
Bonus points if you know what movie this is! 😛
Image Source:

Everyone has their pet peeves, in RL and SL.

In RL, I don’t like people who throw lit cigarettes out of their car windows, for example.

In SL, I have a few pet peeves that I seem to see over and over, especially at dance shows.

I have an extreme dislike for what I call ‘glide dancing’ – when you see a dancer move, but the animation doesn’t include foot movements.

So it appears they are ‘gliding’ over the surface of the floor.

It really takes very little time and effort when you are moving from point A to point B to either add in a walk animation, or to change your timing slightly and find a place in the dance animation with foot movements, thus making the movement across the floor look more natural.

Something else I’ve run into several places lately deals with physics vs. mesh.

If you are wearing mesh clothing, don’t wear physics.

Otherwise, when you are bouncing around and dancing, your boobs are playing peek-a-boo with the audience.

And while I suppose there are those who enjoy the odd flashes of breast(s) and/or nipple(s), it’s distracting and it ruins the realism you are trying so hard to achieve.

One of the other things that drives me batty is broken ankles.

Broken Ankles 1When you wear mesh feet, sometimes animations do weird things to your ankles, making them bend at odd and/or extreme angles.

This picture is an example.

The right ankle seems to bend more than normal, and the left ankle should be straight, not bent.

There’s a simple fix for broken ankles.

An ankle lock.

You can find them pretty easily and they do wonders.

Broken Ankles 1 NOTAs you can see here, with the ankle lock on, both ankles/feet appear in a much more natural position.

You can get a free ankle lock at the SLink mainstore and SpotOn gave out a free one as a group gift recently.

If you have one, please use it when you dance.

If you don’t have one, get one.

There are a whole slew of dance animations that make your ankles look ‘broken’ and all it takes to fix it is wearing an ankle lock. 😀

Since I have been running SL on Ultra graphics, I have noticed several dancers/performers wearing facelights.

For a while now, venues have been asking audience members to remove their facelights.

However, if you’re a dancer/performer, please light your set rather than wearing a facelight.

If you light your set, everything in the set (including the dancers) should be clearly seen by the audience.

If you wear a facelight, it lights you up, but makes everything else darker.

In addition, as you dance, the facelight moves, so the light moves, creating odd shadows.

No FacelightJust as an exercise, I found an empty stage and did a little experiment.

This is me on the stage with no facelight.

It is a little dark, so I would need to light a set for this stage.

If I simply wear a facelight, it does odd things.

Soft FacelightIn this picture I am wearing a ‘soft’ facelight that isn’t overly bright.

It does light me up, but it also lights up an area of the front of the stage, which may not be desirable, depending on your act/set.

It also changes the color of my dress slightly.

The facelight makes it appear much lighter than it actually is (grey rather than black).

Bright FacelightIn this picture I am wearing a brighter facelight.

As you can see, it lights up much more of the stage.

The walls and ceiling appear lighter and the lit area at the front of the stage is larger.

And the color of my dress is still slightly off.

Halogen FacelightThis last picture shows me wearing the brightest facelight I could find.

With this halogen version, everything is blown out.

The walls and ceiling are grey rather than black, and my dress is so blown out you can’t really tell the color.

The front area of the stage is entirely lit up.

If I danced wearing a facelight like this, the effect would be very distracting for the audience members, as it would move with me, creating crazy lights and shadows.

When you go to all the trouble of creating a routine, doing the choreography, and spend time building an amazing set, it’s a shame to ruin it by wearing a facelight.

Light your sets instead of your face – please!!

17 thoughts on “Pet Peeves

  1. For years I wore an ankle lock called Boot fixer which cost L$50. Sadly it didn’t work on mesh feet and I have no idea why it took so long for the ankle lock for mesh feet to come out. Sassy Scarborough has one that works on both system feet and mesh feet.


    1. I’m constantly amazed that people don’t notice the weirdly angled limbs – I’ve already seen it repeatedly in photos on Flickr. It’s such a quick and simple (and FREE!) fix, I’ve no idea why everyone isn’t using them. 🙂

  2. . . omg yeahhh , my pet peeve too. . . gliding . . or sliding as I always call it . .
    . . But face lights ? . . yeahh . . hmmm . . to wear or not to wear , is the vexed question here .
    I recently did a performance where my set was deliberately low lit for dramatic effect and so , being slightly darker skinned , I wore a facelight practically on the end of my nose , set to a short radius and low fall off , but received several IM comments from members of the audience telling me I needed a brighter facelight .
    Time and time again I find myself mentally screaming out , for gawds sake wear a facelight ! when I see performers who are almost impossible to see on their dramatically low lit sets . .

    1. It’s very hard sometimes to know how to build/light your set so everyone sees it as you want them to, given that everyone has different computer settings.
      I didn’t used to be bothered by facelights, but now that I am able to run graphics on Ultra, they seem much brighter than I remember.
      I find it easier to adjust my settings if things are too dim – I can’t ‘unlight’ the facelight.

  3. HI kat !
    It’s misse! I enjoy your articles very much 😀
    I wear a facelight during the performance though we have venue lights in front of the stage but if I am far away from these lights, or if someone in the audience is wearing a bright facelight then it makes my entire set dark.
    So,I wear a very small light just to lighten up around the dancer’s area or wear it on the avatar center so it wont affect while I am moving(but it moves with me if the mover moves)
    *wearing on avatar center is very useful since it wont move while you are playing your can wear various things such as particles and props.
    at our venue I am a facelight police. I hate to tell people to turn off their facelight during the show.. I just don’t like to IM them each time. I don’t want to make them feel bad 😦
    But we do IM you because we want you to see the best effect as possible and your facelight affect people around you too ..
    I don’t usually wear facelight anymore in SL except I am on the stage performing.
    I see more people in SL generally not wearing facelights these days ,, because the windlight setting will make you look perfect without them.

    1. Yes, that’s a very good point about windlight! And I don’t think I mentioned in the article, but I remember reading somewhere that you can only see 6 local lights in SL, so if those closest sources are facelights, you don’t see any others. Which means if a dancer has gone to the trouble of lighting their sets, you miss the effect.
      Don’t feel bad about reminding people – most people simply forget. 🙂 And that’s interesting about wearing it on the avatar center – I will have to try that and see the difference!

      1. Don’t know if this is still valid but you’re correct about 6 local lights, 2 of those are (or were) reserved for sun and moon which only leaves four lights to play with, only the closest lights to your camera focus would be visible to the viewer so one person in the audience could negate any stage lighting effects completely. Stick to a bright windlight without shadows and local lighting and you’ll see everything.

        1. I wonder if the sun/moon still count if you are inside a building? Then again, how does SL know if you’re inside a building? I think my head just exploded. 😛

    2. That would be me that she IMs telling me to not wear my facelight. I confess. Guilty. I think I am better now and have learned how to see lights easier. I don’t’ get mad cause she shares her donuts with me. Well she used to.

  4. Me back again. I dance duets with Roni (above) so facelights are an issue for me because I am much lighter skinned and get blown out by the same double bodylight she wears to perfom, even when I turn it way down. But if she is lit and I am not it also looks odd. I’ve gone to a darker skin for dancing but not as dark as she wears. She wears a low level facelight always because of her dark skin. For performance we are still figuring this lighting business out.

    I use as my default setting an Analu Studio WL and I look perfect. But only to me of course. I did a poll one time of all my friends and acquaintances and was amazed at how many use default which makes most people look horrible. I will use a facelight for photography with some windlights but never in general.

    The other day I was at a rehearsal and there was a group dance with a male soloist and 4 female back up dancers, one of whom was wearing a facelight. You can imagine how weird that looked, just one in 5 lit up. But when I checked her in transparent, she had 6 tiny balls surrounding her. Who knows if the others had facelights or not because she was hogging the total number of local lights. Someone must have said something to her because at the performance none of them was wearing a facelight and frankly the lighting was fine without.


    1. I can see how avatars with darker skins might have issues with lighting – it is a tricky business.
      For me, I prefer that performers not wear facelights, but light the sets. If the set lighting is not enough, I can generally change my own settings and/or manipulate the lighting somewhat in Photoshop.
      If there are facelights and it looks blown out/overexposed, I have yet to figure out a way to ‘unlight’ the dancer and have the picture/performance look good.
      I could try derendering the facelight, but that might be tricky, especially when it’s a moving target!

  5. . . . wearing a light on your center can be problematic . . When you’re dancing your center doesn’t move and turn with you , which means you can often dance out of the range or focus of any light worn there .

    1. I’m curious, so I’m going to have to do some testing. I still think that lighting a set is a better option – you know where you are going to be at various points in a dance (if you created it), so placing a few primlights at those points should be easy enough. Although, as you said, you need to be careful that you won’t dance beyond those lights (in front of them, for instance) and ruin all that hard work!

  6. I totally agree with you Kat that to light a set in such a way that all the dancers are well lit as they move around , without the need for face or body lights , is the ideal . . But this is only possible if the overall lighting of the set is intended to be high key . If you want a dimly lit set with dark areas for spooky or romantic effect having a bunch of prim lights even placed carefully around the mover path/s isn’t really an option . . also bearing in mind that you only have six prim lights available and possibly more than one dancer’s mover path to cover . . and that most dances will be moving you in and out of any fixed prim light no matter how carefully it’s placed . . With a single facelight on the tip of your nose , adjusted so that it only lights yourself , you’ll look good from any angle no matter which direction your dances may face you .
    When I build a set I always assume , rightly or wrongly , that the average audience member knows little or nothing about WL settings and will be set to either default midday or midnight . . . or switching between the two to see which looks best .

    1. I do generally set my lighting to midday when I go to a show, and it’s always worked pretty well for me.
      Since I started using Ultra graphics however, I’ve noticed facelights more and more. If it just lights the dancer’s face, then perhaps I’ve not noticed it. The ones I have noticed tend to make a ‘halo’ around the performer and light the ground under/around them weirdly, so maybe it’s an issue of what type of facelight – intensity, falloff, etc.

Comments are closed.