Be Happy

I’m slowly getting back into SL and taking photos. I’m also slowly getting back into Photoshop and editing photos.  Sometimes, though, you get lucky.

Last week I was wandering around Yorkshire, a sim I have visited before.  Changes have been made, of course, so I went back to see what it was like now.

It’s still beautiful, though in a different way than previously.  Before, it was bleak and dark (but not in a depressing way).  Now it’s more light and sun and relaxation.

I do edit my photos, but I play around a lot with windlights and focal lengths and effects in-world as well.  And sometimes, I manage to find a combination that works.

I found this little scene in Yorkshire and was immediately enthralled.  I’m not sure why, because I’m not a pickup truck or outdoorsy girl.  But it spoke to me in some way, so I stopped to take some photos.

And I got lucky.

I’m thrilled with the way this photo came out.  So happy, in fact, that it is now my PC wallpaper.  I don’t care if any one else likes it – this photo makes me happy.  🙂

Soft / diffuse lighting in Second Life – YouTube

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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!

Photoshop Tips/Tricks: Dodge, Burn, and Shadows

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I’ve gotten behind in watching all of the great videos Daeberethwen Arbenlow has been putting out for using various tools in Photoshop. 😦

The following two videos go together – the first is on using the dodge and burn tools to add highlights and shadows to your SL photos.

The second is a follow-up video, with more information on how to use the dodge and burn tools to contour your photos.

I’ve not had a chance to experiment with these yet, but I can’t wait!

I’m sure it will take time to develop a feel for when ‘enough is enough,’ but in the meantime, I plan to pull up of some old photos in Photoshop and start playing. 🙂


Tutorial: Highlights and Shadows with Dodge and Burn using Curves:

Tutorial: Contouring Photos (beginner to intermediate):

If you can’t see the embedded videos, click here for the highlights video and here for the contouring video.

Tutorial: Creating drop shadow effects on greenscreen photos – for Second Life – YouTube

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This is a great tutorial on how to create drop shadow effects on your green screen photos.

I’ve used this method successfully on several different photos now, and it’s completely opened up new ways of doing my photography in SL.

Rather than trying to create complete scenes in SL itself, I can take a few green screen photos and create effects using the skills I’ve learned from these tutorials.

Especially helpful for those who might not have the ability to run Ultra graphics with all the fancy shadows in SL.  😀

Tutorial: Adding shadows to Second Life photos in Photoshop | honeyjunkies

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Another great tutorial from Daeberethwen Arbenlow on adding shadows yourself in Photoshop.

I admit, I prefer to use windlights, because I’m not that good at deciding where shadows should go and making it all look natural.

Definitely a skill that requires practice.  I’ve always wondered how some photographers got such clear photos of skin and makeup – now I know!

Source: Tutorial: Adding shadows to Second Life photos in Photoshop | honeyjunkies

The Secret to Shadows?

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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. 😀

Graphics Whore

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My husband bought me a new graphics card a while ago.

I was still running on mid graphics and complaining.

I wanted all the fancy shadows and light effects I saw everywhere else.

So over the holidays he also added some RAM to my PC.

After he did, we bumped everything up as high as it would go to see what happened.


I wasn’t crashing left and right, and I could actually walk around at events (even with the cool shadows on) and didn’t find the lag too terrible.

Since I now can see all the fancy lights and shadows, I started taking photos and playing around with windlights and such.

I’ve been having a blast.

Recently, a friend told me about an art installation at LEA29.  I HAD to go, she said.

When I arrived, I realized I had seen the artwork before in other photos.

But some of them were sooo cool, I just had to try myself.

I was so busy playing around and messing with settings that I finally did crash, lol.

I am planning to go back, because I didn’t get to spend nearly enough time there exploring, but what little I did see was amazing.

Here’s a little glimpse of what I did get taken before the crash:

BlueI love this sculpture.

I immediately thought of the story of the birth of Athena.

I liked it so much I took several different pictures of it.

Here’s the second one:

RedIf you like the photos, be sure to visit the sim and check out the artworks.

It’s on LEA29 and the artist in residence is Mistero Hifeng.

There’s something amazing everywhere you look!