Soft / diffuse lighting in Second Life – YouTube

Image Source:  simpleicon.com
Image Source: simpleicon.com

A great video on how to use projectors for softer, more diffuse lighting in SL.

The video may be slightly NFSW, though you may like the radioactive symbol pasties. 😛

I love the softer light achieved using the projectors; however, if you have a build with built-in light and/or shadows, your pics may look a bit odd if you don’t pay attention to the details.

Very useful info!

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Fantastic Second Life Lighting Tutorial

Image Source:  facilitiesscheduling.wvu.edu
Image Source: facilitiesscheduling.wvu.edu

I came across this tutorial video from Brookston Holiday about creating lights in Second Life.

Graphic resources are always an issue with Second Life – some are lucky to have super-computers that can handle anything SL throws at them.  Some are not so lucky and can find themselves slogging through mud (lag) sometimes.

The tutorial shows a great way to create fabulous lighting effects while minimizing the graphics resources needed to see the effects.

If you can’t see the embedded video, click here for the link.

He does a terrific job of explaining how the different light settings work and the affect they have on your lighting in-world.

The tutorial is only 20 minutes long, and it will have you itching to try your own hand at creating better lighting!

I know I will be trying out some of this when creating my sets for dances, and making sure that my set lighting is exactly how I want it. 😀

Best of all, there is he provides a link to his Marketplace store, where you can pick up some of the scene lights he shows for FREE!!

Go watch it now!!! 😀

The Secret to Shadows?

Shadows
Image Source: http://www.onebillionrising.org

Ok, people – somebody knows, and I’m not giving up til I find the answer.

*crosses arms and glares*

What is up with my shadows in SL?

Since a few recent upgrades to my computer, I’ve been running at Ultra with all the fancy shadows and lighting on and loving it.

It’s part of the reason I started taking photos in SL – because they no longer looked like the pixellated junk I’d been taking before.

However, I’ve noticed an issue, and I can’t seem to find an answer to the problem anywhere.

I’ve found a few places that mention the same issue I’m having, but I can’t seem to find where a solution is mentioned.

Up til now, I’ve just dealt with the problem by fixing it in Photoshop.

But I’m left with the feeling that there must be an answer *somewhere*.

Here’s the issue:

When I take photos, I generally wear my mesh body.

If I don’t wear my mesh body, I generally at least wear my mesh hands and feet.

Avatar feet are hideous, and although I resisted mesh hands initially, after wearing them for so long, I can’t stand the avatar hands anymore either.

I’ve had the issue in a few photos, but as I said, I just cleaned up the photo in Photoshop, or the photo was taken at an angle where the issue wasn’t really noticeable.

The other day I started to play around with using a projector to take some photos, trying to achieve some really dramatic lighting effects.

Here’s one of the shots I ended up not using:

ShadowIssues1I was really happy with the dramatic lighting and shadows I got using the projector.

Sometimes, however, I don’t notice problems.

Like the hand shadow.

Again, I usually end up either cropping out the problem area or fixing it in Photoshop.

Fixing it in Photoshop can be very time-consuming, so I’ve been trying to find a way to fix the issue when I take the photo.

Here’s a close-up of the problem area:

ShadowIssues2It may be a bit hard to see, because the photo is dark.

If you look closely, you can see the shadows of two hands – my mesh hand AND my avatar hand.

Now, I was initially confused by this, as my avatar hand is alpha’ed out, so it’s not visible.

Then I realized that the alpha just makes it invisible to me, not to the computer.

So it sort of makes sense that the computer renders both shadows.

The question is – how do I make it so it doesn’t?

Is that even possible?

I know I have seen photos by other people where the shadow in the pic doesn’t have this issue.

They could have just fixed in Photoshop (or some other photo-editor), but did they?

Is there some setting I can tweak that will save me having to do that post-processing?

In my research, I did come across an article by Honour McMillan about having issues with mesh rendering correctly.

In it, she mentions that sometimes she will derender avatars in order to get the shot she wants.

However, doing so may have unintended consequences.

The system sometimes considers mesh objects as avatars.

I’m sure someone out there with more technical knowledge than me understands why.

It does at least explain, when I go to crowded events and derender all the avatars, why other things can also disappear (like certain gacha machines at the Arcade, for example).

But back to my problem.

ShadowIssues3As you can see in this photo, there are clearly two foot shadows.

One from my mesh foot, and one from my avatar foot.

Soooo frustrating!!!

Someone please help me!!!

Any and all feedback welcome. 😀

Manic Monday

I have tons of stuff on my to-do list today and they will, unfortunately, keep me from blogging as much as I’d like to.  So while I enjoy my ‘Manic Monday,’ here’s a few thoughts for you to ponder:

  • Would you be interested in some kind of ‘tech-talk’ feature?  Where I ask people in the dance community specific technical questions – about HUDs, effects, particles, movers, etc. – like a ‘how-to’ series.  ??
  • I’ve been to several shows recently where I had issues with footwear not appearing correctly.  (Due to the lighting problem I covered here.)  Do performers not think about different lighting models?  Or do they assume everyone’s set-up is the same?  Would it be better if I turned off the advanced lighting when I attend shows?
  • I’d like to add some tutorial videos to the blog – what kind of videos would you like to see?

Today is also the 21st, so if you’re a shoe fanatic (like I am), be sure to check out the 21Shoe event today!