Archive for the 'Photography' category
Whilst showing off her latest amazing “raw” (non-post processed, that is) snapshot from Second Life, Shoshana also promises us a write-up of in-world lighting tutorials for Second Life photography. Let us all poke her a lot, so she doesn’t forget! ;)
But the nature of Second Life photography is that - even with a top-notch graphics card and well thought off lighting - some things will always be ‘fail’. Take a look for instance at the ear being more ‘reflective of light’ than the metal earring, the breasts that are strangely squared and a full bright necklace/lack of pearl necklace. So I asked for permissions to “brush up” Shoshana’s raw “low-key”* file and see what I could make of it. Those permissions were granted:
Most of the image was tweaked, to much small alterations to mention, but a few very personal ideas on this & tips I wish to share:
- Start of with duplicating your layer, and put it to ’screen’ as layer style. Then merge & start manually darkening the appropriate areas again using “burn”.
- Portrait photographs are often shot with a prime at small aperture. This makes that not all parts of the body will be as sharp. Usually, the part of the photograph most in focus is one of the eyes (side portrait) or both eyes (front portrait). (I blurred out the hands a lower waist a bit to much here, but this was mainly to camouflage the bad job Second Life does at rendering & lighting hands.)
- To get the blue black & whitish feeling, don’t use “desaturate”. It would kill to much of the different colour tones. Rather on your final edit of the colour file, activate the red channel only, and copy paste this to a new document. Copy paste it back into your working file, and use that as black & white layer. Colourize at will - using layer overlays, photo filter, … - but make sure a little tiny bit (about 5%) of the original colour edit shines through still, so I doesn’t become to monotone in colour.
- Don’t use Sepia colours. Whilst it _may_ have some charms left on printed paper, on LCD screen, Sepia is the suxxors.
* Low-key lighting is a style of lighting for photography, film or television. It attempts to create a chiaroscuro effect. In traditional photographic lighting, three-point lighting uses a key light, a fill light, and a back light for even illumination. Low-key lighting requires only one key light, optionally controlled with a fill light or a simple reflector. Low key light accentuates the contours of an object by throwing areas into shade while a fill light or reflector may illuminate the shadow areas to control contrast. The relative strength of key-to-fill, known as the lighting ratio, can be measured using a light meter. Low key lighting has a higher lighting ratio, e.g. 8:1, than high key lighting, which can approach 1:1. (from Wikipedia)
The “collateral damage” of the Openspace pricing & policy change is enormous, that can not be denied and almost used to saying “nice sim, we’ll miss it, but ah well, there are others”, but when renowned “virtual art” sims such as The Princeton Voids fall victim too, then the gears in my mechanical, virtual heart just stop rotating for a few seconds… . This week it was “last change to vistit Poid Mahovlich & AM Radio’s The Quiet” at Princeton South. So I went to say my goodbyes…
… and of course, take snapshots. All of a sudden, I slipped and fell, which launched my camera under the icebergs and uncovered the ocean. My mind went “Woot! Reflections!” until it realised… water in a frozen landscape does not really make sense. But Lindens gave us WindLight, and everything is possible with WindLight, right? If it can turn water into wine, or blood, or jelly it can definitely turn water into flat ice with the right texture and settings? Sure it can! (For the WindLight water settings to pour over your virtual water, click the thumbnail.)
How do I access the WindLight Water settings? Go to World > Environment Settings > Environment Editor and then click “Advanced Water”. The advanced water editor will pop up, with the tabs “settings” and “image” that you see in the Ice Settings example above.
Which Ice Texture did you use for the water texture? I used Torley’s “Ice Shelves“. His “Ice kapades” does the job too, but is more uniform thus more flat. When using ice kapades you’ll get less the “this ice is transparent and this ice has part of the ice is white” effect, which creates depth. In your library you’ll also have “Ice rock”. Try this one for yet another effect.
Thus, AM Radio’s “The Quiet” on Ice. Because… well… “freeze” is the best way I know off to make something last forever… . And this is how it looks without ice. ;)
December 30, 2008 5:56 pm
One of the best ways to ‘brush off’ frustrations for me is to dive into Photoshop, preferably after 3AM. I must admit I had a completely different end result in mind when I put the Imagen Mannequin Skin* on. I wanted contrast between the dark neighbourhoods that are Midian and a soft white, pearly, innocent ‘nude’ mannequin doll look**. Guess what? I’m not good at ’soft white, pearly, innocent’ it seems. :)
So err… may I present to you:
(800px width version on Flickr linkie)
I worked with a 3000px wide file and the original unedited version you can see on your right. Pixel torturing included - but was not limited to - liquify, layer modes, manual dodging & burning (for shading and highlights), dismembering limbs, spraying graffiti, adding a crowd, artificial lighting, … . Shading/lighting directions aren’t 100% perfect, but at least better than in the original? :)
* Imagen Mannequin Skin available for 1L$ in the Imagen shop, complete with WindLight settings. See the momola’s blog. (This skin is based on the templates released by Sezmra Splendor.)
** I even recruited Veyron Supercharge as stylist, but as the pictures took a different turn, I need to apologise to her as she’s not in the photograph.
According to common beliefs, a Second Life inhabitant is at least one - but most likely all - of the following: ugly, fat, socially retarded, old and male. Even I dare to think ‘that’s probably just a frustrated old hag‘ sometimes. So… is that true? Let’s take a look, shall we?
The following ’spontaneous’ self portraits of Second Life players give a good idea of who’s part of the SL Flickr community. Collected in the Flickr Group ‘Spontaneously Me by - amongst others Rob Danton, Kean Kelly and ColeMarie and inspired by Nebulosus Severine this is a Second Life photo meme that makes a statement!
Instructions ‘Spontaneously Me’ Photo Meme
- Take a picture of yourself (that’s your human in this case!) right now.
- Don’t change your clothes, don’t fix your hair… Just take a picture.
- Post that picture with NO editing.
- Post these instructions with your picture.
- Submit that self portrait to the ‘Spontaneously Me’ Flickr group.
- Post a link here in the comments to your spontaneous human self. (optional)
Oh yeah, here is my human.
September 17, 2008 10:13 pm
In ‘A different view on Second Life‘ I asked how that amazing stereo 3D machinima of Second Life could have been created. Was there a stereo Second Life client I knew nothing about?! Kippie Friedkin from The Grid Life was quick to point me in the right direction: the UM3D lab from Michigan University did develop such a thing - and other interesting stuff such as a Virtual Jet Ski Driving Simulator: ‘… the 3D Lab added support for stereoscopic viewing. Wearing low-cost stereo glasses, users can now experience the 3d world of Second Life in full stereo. Objects pop out of the screen and terrains stretch into infinity, a truly unique enhancement for exploring 3d worlds. Linden Lab will soon provide the stereo function as a standard feature of its viewer. Using anaglyph technology or polarized light, Second Life can be experienced in stereo on laptops or desktops as well as on advanced projection systems similar to IMAX theatres‘.
Dale’s 3D Stereo Viewer
‘Linden Lab will soon provide the stereo function as a standard feature of it’s viewer’ is a rather dubious statement, depending on your definition of soon, but yes, they are working on it. In the mean while, for all your stereography delight, you should try Dale Glass’s 3D Stereo Client which comes in both Windows as well as Linux version. Binaries as well as source files, FAQ and a whole lot extra can be found on Daleglass.net.
Not only the stereographic capabilities - anaglyph (the red/green thingie), passive and shutter glasses - are interesting, but also a different download and update system then we are used from Linden deploys of the client: ‘This version features an improved installer that automatically grabs files from existing SL installations, and only downloads what can’t be obtained from the user’s system. This drastically reduces the size of the download: Instead of the 35MB or so of the official viewer, each update only needs to download about 5MB.‘ For Visa users, beware, this - probably - caused my install to file the first time. Second try all went well, so don’t give up! ;)
Even if you’re not to keen on Second Life ’snapshottery’, you can still enjoy this viewer: zoom in a bit (ctrl+0) and just start running (ctrl+r to toggle ‘run’ on) around the grid! Mind that you can get seriously dizzy from doing that! ;)
How to work Dale’s Stereoscopic Client
You’ll find that the client - based on 1.18 - feels like a jump back into time, and that the graphics tab feels strangely uncomfortable. Regardless, that’s where you need to be:
- Go into Edit >Preferences > Advanced Graphics Tab.
- Located ‘Anaglypic System’ and turn that one one.
- In the Graphics Tab set your draw distance to beyond 200-something, as it is standard set to a boring and ineffective for stereography 64 meters. (I had it on max. for my stereo images here.)
- Locate ‘anti aliasing’ and turn that on.
- Save & close the Preferences Settings.
- Start taking stereo Second Life images!
Tips for great stereo images
- Get a neutral or big same coloured areas as background, this makes your front image ‘jump out’ more.
- Shoot a scene with not to much colour in it. To much different colours will lessen the stereographic effect.
- As with RL photography (and normal SL photography), frame your image to have a a clearly divided ‘foreground’, ‘in-between’ and ‘background’. This will enhance the stereographic effect. A good example is the image of me at the Darklands Cemetery. You can place an object on the foreground by clearly cutting it off with your frame.
- To have larger ’stereographic differences’ (red & cyan zones are bigger), thus a better effect, you need to fool your Second Life camera. Zoom out a lot (scroll mouse) and then zoom in again using ctrl+0. (Ctrl+9 will restore your settings to default. If using the number pad does not work, use the numbers on top of your keyboard.) Sometimes you will want to do the reversed with ctrl+8 though. Experiment! ;)
- RL rule that goes for SL too: bright & heavily coloured items will appear closer, dark ones farther away. Perfect example: my (lovely, no?) pink skirt in the Darklands Cemetery stereo image that really ‘pops out’.
- Don’t shoot your scenes to dark. The red/green glasses you were for viewing stereo images filter out certain temperatures of light, and thus make that less light gets to your eyes, thus that things appear darker.
- Personal taste, but I ’stereo thingies’ looked best at ’sunset’ settings.
Dale’s 3D Viewer drawbacks
Most of these drawbacks are because the client build is based on a very old official Linden client: 1.18. This means that there’s no glow, no WindLight, alpha textures don’t always render that well (see the carrots at greenies lawn) and it tends to dislike sculpted prims. Regardless, it’s an impressive client to play around with! I just don’t think I’ll use it full time for dizziness reasons! ;)
September 1, 2008 8:50 pm
When news on the ‘Shadow Draft’ of the Second Life Client first came out, I was thrilled beyond normal Vint-levels. But… it did not work for me. Regardless what I tried - amongst others, buying a new laptop ;) - I could not get it to work. Now, Kirstenlee Cinquetti has a Shadowdraft available of the ‘Kirstens Viewer’ (of which I never heard before today, I feel so ashamed!) - which works ‘perfectly’ for me (and a lot of others)! Behold, this lovely shot taken at Carnival of Doom (TP):
How to get Shadows yourself?
First huge question is which graphics card you have. You should be OK with one of the following: NVIDIA 8800 and 9000 series and the ATI HD cards 3800 & 4800’s. If you have another one, well, believe me, the shadows are worth giving a try regardless of your chance at success!
All the necessary files & info you can find on Miss Cinquetti’s blog, but it’s spread over a few blogposts, so I’ll spare you the trouble of searching for it:
- Download (Kirstens SD2-R5.exe) and install the Kirstins Viewer Shadowdraft 2 REV 5.
- Preferably install it somewhere far away from the normal SL clients, so avoid confusing situations. With me they are on another disk than the usual c:/.
- Boot the client, set your graphics settings to max.
- Press ctrl+alt+d to enabled the ‘Advanced’ menu.
- In the ‘Advanced’ menu go to ‘Debug Settings’.
- Find ‘RenderDeffered’ and make sure it is set to ‘FALSE’.
- Find ‘RenderUseFBO’ and set that one to ‘TRUE’.
- Go back to ‘RenderDeffered’ and set that to ‘TRUE’ also.
As Kirsten puts it very well you have now three possible outcomes:
- No Change
- Lotsa Cool shadows and eyecandy
- Spectacular Crash !
Option 2 is for the lucky ones, and option 3 we might be able to fix. That is, at least, if you run into the same problem as I did:
NVIDIA GeForce 9650M-GS & Hardware Antialiasing
Something I normally ALWAYS have activated can be found under the Preferences > Graphics > Hardware Settings in your menu. It says ‘Hardware Antialiasing’ and - although normally obliged for the sake & quality of the snapshots - you want this disabled now, as it makes your newly acquired shadow viewer crash! So reboot the client, turn ‘Hardware Anti-aliasing’ OFF and go through steps 4 to 8 of ‘How to get Shadows yourself?’ again. I hope this works for you! (And else, well, at least we gave it a try! ;))
Some interesting and less interesting notes on Second Life shadow throwing capacities
- The atmosphere seems to be overly bright in this client. Go into ‘world’ > ‘environment settings’ > ‘environment editor’ > ‘advanced sky’ > ‘lightning’ tab and lower the ‘Scene Gamma’. Better, no?
- This might sound obviously, but err… you make your shadows longer by lowering your sun and moving your sun moves the direction of your shadows! ;)
- This might sound obviously, but err… you get harsher shadows by lowering the amount of ‘ambient light’ and upping the amount of ’sun/moon color’.
- Your avatar limbs even throw shadows on each other! So you can have the shadow of your arm on your leg.
- The farther away your camera focus (alt+click) is from an object, the less harsh/strong it’s shadow is. If you move away to far, the shadow totally disappears.
- Alpha textures drop a shadow. So do prim trees. So you get a really life like leaves shadow on the ground.
- Worn attachments cast a shadow on your avie. So we now have more or less realistic shading created by our hair!!
- Shadows on sculpties are funny.
- Shadows do not work on water. They merely stop reflection from happening.
- Shadows do not work on full bright floor.
- … I have so much shadow-exploring still to do!!!! :D
And the whole of this post shortly summarized? WOOT! Shadows!
The Kirstins Client ‘Home Blog’: KirstenLeeCinquetti.Blogspot.com.
Hat tip for this fine discovery: Rob Dantion via Kean Kelly (who was as nice to IM me this juicy shadow goodness!)
For the upcoming Virtual Worlds 2008 conference in LA, Adam Frisby and some of the other OpenSim contributors and developers have decided to sponsor a large booth, and they would like to cover it with screen shots of the best and most innovative uses of OpenSim out there today.
Theyneed high resolution screen shots from your builds, ideally these should be captured at a minimum of 1600×1200 pixels (if you are using the Second Life™ viewer, the “High Resolution Screen shots” option works well)*. All settings should be set to maximum, ideally with anti aliasing, screen shots should have a minimal amount of adjustment (limited to cropping, brightness) and originals should be provided.
* (You can also go into ’snapshot’ and then change the dimensions of the screen capture there. Normally, you should be able to go up to 3000px at ease.)
Do mind, preferably NO POST PROCESSING! And errr… the deadline passed a few hours ago. But I assume good images of OpenSim areas are welcome always. You just won’t get a prize! ;) A good place to - for instance - showcase your shots is the Flickr OpenSim Group.
OpenSims? Errr.. how to get there?
An overview of a few of the OpenSim grids - multiple sims connected together - can be found on opensimulator.org. Login information and a quick ‘how to login’ is also provided for. Have fun exploring and snapshotting!
More specific rules:
- High Resolution - We’re printing onto a 300 DPI surface, this means we absolutely need the highest possible resolution when printing to make sure we have crisp clean non-blurry images. While there isnt a definition of what is or isnt high resolution - try submit screenshots at least 1600×1200, higher is preferred.
- Submit in a lossless format - We need images provided in either 24-bit PNG, TIFF or BMP. As these files tend to be rather large, please zip or rar them with maximum compression.
- If you are submitting a manipulated image, the original is required as well. There is no guarantee that the manipulated version will be used. (We are trying to provide accurate but nifty portrayals of what OpenSim can do.)
- Deadline - submit your images before Wednesday, 27th August 2008. Sooner is appreciated as they will begin incorporating images into the layout as soon as they are received.
- How to submit images - Please use a service such as yousendit.com to transfer the archived files, send your message to “email@example.com”. His inbox will reject files larger than 10mb, so please do not send these directly.
- Judging will be done by Adam Frisby in conjunction with the other people sponsoring the booth. Decisions whether to utilize an image will be based on constraints such as whether or not we can work them into the larger montage and do so in a way which highlights OpenSim in a positive way.
- Some tips - People/avatars always look good. Eye candy is always a plus. Showing scenes where this is in production and potentially useful for people interested in using it are also going to be in demand.
What ‘ya getting for it?
Nothing anymore. Contest deadline has passed, if you shoot, it’s just for the fun. ;) Accepted and utilized images will get 6 months free standard-class region hosting from DeepThink to a grid of your choice. The Judges may provide hosting for images of excellent quality which are unable to be used, however this is soley at the discretion of the judges.
The Village Voice - ok, probably not the best source on the web, but still - is reporting that pr0n finally goes into the direction of 2.0. As we all know, pr0n was seriously stuck in web 1.0: the best way to get it is still using torrents/p2p file sharing and it is definitely not something you’d invite your RL friends too, as - let’s say - facebook: ‘Everyone from adult content fiends to Avenue Q puppets (?) know that the internet is for porn. But according to tech experts like Wired.com’s Regina Lynn, the internet not only exists for porn, it exists because of it. The trouble these days, in Lynn’s opinion, is that the adult industry is lagging. Consuming porn on the internet is still a passive experience, says Lynn, and the recent Web 2.0 movement has passed over porn entirely. Even NPR posits that the adult content industry may be losing “its techno mojo.”’ Right.
TubePorn might have been a nice attempt, but there is nothing returning - or not much, except for ultimate fame on the internetz for that creepy ex-gf of yours - to the people that share & upload their errr.. materials. Enter Zivity. Zivity calls itself a community-powered showcase promoting female beauty. What makes them special - according themselves? Zivity models and photographers enjoy the privilege of a free Zivity membership. Zivity is an exclusive, invite-only community with real models, real photographers, and real votes. These votes convert to real revenue (aka CASH) for models and photographers. Oh and: Zivity’s collection of models from every walk of life is uncensored, advertising-free, and different from online photo sites because you can actually interact with the real models and photographers you’re voting for. Connect with stars, become a top fan, and chat with photographers about upcoming photo shoots with new models. Essentially, Zivity is a site where women can post photos of themselves and get paid according to their popularity. The system works like this: for the right to access Zivity, members pay $10 a month. Every month’s subscription comes with five “points,” which members use to vote on their favorite photos. Then the points translate back into dollars. For every point a member gives a model’s photo, she gets 80 cents. So in effect, members determine how much each model makes. Village Voice author Bonnie Ruberg ask an interesting question:Whether or not Zivity is porn per se, it’ll be exciting to see what the site can do for adult content. Will it be the sexy new MySpace? Will it crash and burn? Does porn even lend itself to building a community? In Second Life, it definitely does. But there the avatars interested in pr0n have their anonymity - and virtual female sex - to comfortably hide behind, and most are not willing to give that up.
Now, anyway, I applied for beta membership. Out of curiosity, and because I have some RL photographs - if the friend agrees - I would like to put up, just to see if Zivity’s concept actually works. (And if I’m any good. At all. ;)) But even more happily, I’d like to test out how the ‘Second Life Community’ would be accepted here. God knows we have gorgeous female avatars. And it’s a whole lot less work shooting in Second Life than IRL. (And less cold for the model too. *waves at the RL friend and nods when she remarks February is not a good time to shoot outdoors*) And then you have all those beautiful, almost real 3D ladies that come are born from 3D software such as Poser. One can hardly see the difference with ‘real’ woman anymore: take a RL person and put tons of make up on it, or a mesh with a skin upon it, what’s the difference, right? No where on Zivity it states that the models must be human, any hot female avie willing to give this RL career a try? ;)
Certainly once, you have felt surrounded with reality in SL… a true moment of emotion, a real expression on a friendly face…. is the tagline for Koinup’s ‘One Second of Reality’ photography. The aim? Right, you can guess it already: To capture an instant of reality, and have viewers believe the photo was taken in RL. The challenge here is to share with the community what for a second seemed real to you. We hope you will go beyond still-life shots and try to show us emotions that are real, no matter where - Second Life - or what is happening. ‘One second of reality’ aims to find out where reality begins for you. Try to mesmerize the jury and make us believe the photo was taken in RL.
The winner of the “Jury Prize” will receive his/her work printed and framed in high quality format and the winner of the “Community Prize”, the coolest work in Koinup, will receive a complete package from Never 30 including a N30 studio, poses kit, lights… and more. Both winners will have the chance to participate to an exhibition in a RL gallery: LaCantina, located in the center of Paris. Winning photos will also be displayed on Orange Island (Orange 1, 195/134/30) for a minimum of three weeks.
Winners of the “Jury Prize” will be picked by a contest jury composed by Margharita Balzerani (curator at “Le Palais de Tokyo”, Paris, contemporary art museum), Marco Manray (photographer SL and author of the book “IO, REPORTER IN SECOND LIFE”) and ‘moi’.
- In order to take part in this contest, you must have an account on Koinup. Registration is free.
- The theme of the contest is “One second of reality”. The aim of the contest is to capture an instant of reality, and have viewers believe the photo was taken in RL. (As far as I care, this means you can have a Neko in there, as long as it looks real.)
- The challenge here is to share with the community what for a second seemed real to you. We hope you will go beyond still-life shots and try to show us emotions are real, no matter where they happen.
- Photos can be taken in-world using any available means (such as Second Life photo studios) except RL photographic backgrounds.
- Photos can also be post-processed using programs such as Photoshop.
- You are allowed to use tricks, and encouraged to share your technique. SLURL are welcome.
- Photos should be submitted to the contest by posting them on Koinup. To submit a photo to the contest, please insert the tag ‘orangephotocontest’
- Photos already posted on Koinup before June 9th cannot be submitted to the contest. Please submit new works.
- The contest is restricted to Second Life residents and is a photography contest; artistic media other than photography are not allowed.
- No brand logos or hidden advertisement. No sex, violence or offending contents. Black and white accepted.
- Each participant can submit up to three photos.
- Photos will remain on Koinup after the end of the contest.
My definition of ‘Real’
Of course, the ‘reality’ of a SL photograph lies in the eye of the beholder, and this beholder spends way to much time inworld, so I’m having problems with the real / not-real border. ;) BUT there are a few things that help me convince things are real:
- Convincing shadows. Even when shooting with a softbox IRL, there _are_ shadows, they just are subtle. Regardless if they are subtle or over-present (film noir), make those shadows match! Second Life gives you total control about where the sun comes from (the height your avie finds itself, the time of the day, location of the sun and the height of the sun.) Use that! You even want to consider testing if the ‘Shadow’ branch client runs on your system.
- Second Life tends to oversaturate things, giving them their comic/3D animation look. Try to start of with a hazy, foggy setting, and lessen the fog/haze until it’s just perfect. Better not enough gamma brightness than to much gamma brightness! It happens IRL photographs too, bleached out areas, but it’s not something that looks good most of the time.
- If you are shooting indoors, you definitely want to put your ’sun’ strength to almost zero and the ‘ambient’ light up to compensate. Harsh shadows almost exist inside. Except if you have only one hard lightsource (extreme spotlight, or one sunny window.) If you have multiple light sources, you might want multiple (soft) shadows.
- COLOUR TEMPERATURE! Back in those old real life photography days, you used to have separate sets of film & lens filters, depending on the colour temperature. This is - although or brain filters it out IRL - each type of light source emits a different coloured light. A good example is: shadow areas are blue, sunsets are yellowish. A good article about this can be found here. You can give a slight hunch of the colour temperature, but SL pushes it. Also, when doing for instance ’sunset’, it forces that colour temperature in extremis on the complete photograph although that does not necessary need to be the case, were it shot IRL. If you have two different light sources, you’ll need two different colour temperatures.
- Reflections! Almost every object reflects in real life. Wearing a bright green sweater? Not a good idea! It will probably make your face look green. Your eyes? Right… they reflect light. If you have a metallic, shiny object, it is bound to reflect parts of the environment around it, and it’s colour on the environment.
- Sense of depth. Depth Map + Lens Blur. Or manual blurring. Does not need to be exaggerated, though. This happens IRL when you shoot either a) Macro stuff or b) in Dark areas.
- Motion blur. Definitely something that needs to be postprocessed. Only if you’re up to it! ;)
- Step off the standard viewer wide-angle lens. Standard RL photography lens is 50mm. Press ctrl+0 twice. At least. (ctrl+9 to reset)
And there are more: round shapes should be round, shadow on clothing textures should match the atmosphere of your photograph, … . Guess you can’t include them all in one photograph, but I’m damn curious what people will come up with! Here are already some of the entries. Oh, and one final thing, obviously fake photoshop sun reflections in your photograph, are NOT the way to go! ;) To participate, go to the Koinup contest page.