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Photoshop | VintFalken.com
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VintFalken.com

Archive for the 'Photoshop' category

Adobe should pay this guy!

April 18, 2008 11:08 pm

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I first stumbled over Bob Ricci at thesixtyone.com, listening to his ‘depressive rock song‘. A steady rock song, about an artist that wants to write a depressive rock song, but has the huge problem, that everything in his life is ok, and he has no depressing story to tell. It’s _hilarious_. As a bonus, the riff sounds indeed very nice - he sings ‘it would be such a pitty to waist this riff’ - and he can actually sing.

One of his more recent song creations is ‘Photoshop‘: an ode to the power good knowledge of Photoshop gives you. Please sing along with me (and fill in the blanks that I could not understand):

I used to be the biggest loser, I never could do anything right. I wet the bed until I was 14. Could never hold my own in a fight. But suddenly everything got changed. My whole life story rearranged. And all my friends they think that I’m deranged, but they don’t understand the godly powers that I gained.

I have got Photoshop, and I just can’t stop: I just copy, paste and I drag and drop. And everything in my life seems so much better! Ah, that faithfull day, at CompUSA, I was picking up a copy of GTA, and they were having a two for one special if you bought them together.

I got all A’s on my report card. At least the one I showed my dad. And here’s a note of Cameron Diaz, saying I’m the best she ever had. I got the girl of my dreams, to finally break up with Eugene. When she saw those pictures - so obsene - of Eugene all tight up in bed with her dear aunt Eline.

I have got Photoshop, and I just can’t stop: I just copy, paste and I drag and drop. And everything in my life seems so much better! Making fake ID’s, ???? breeze, just a couple clicks and I’m 23. Oh, and here’s a picture of me with my friend Eddy ????.

It shouldn’t be a mystery, that I go down in history, as one of the most famous photoshoppers over century, but I’m just hoping, nobody could possibly be on to me, while I’m still alive and kicking, because they will haul me out to jail. Then I’ll go on regrettably to work for a federal agency, helping pigs in suits with cracking down on other forgeries and when I’m finished up in there, they’ll strap me to an electrical chair to serve as an example to you noobies everywhere.

The Greenday’s concert is all sold out now, but I just got a backstage pass. And here’s my brand new SAT scores, the college board can kiss my ass. Here’s my check from MTV, and it’s all made out to me! And it will probably take an eternity before accounting finds out that I’m not an employee.

I have got Photoshop, and I just can’t stop: I just copy, paste and I drag and drop. And everything in my life seems so much better! Like this girl I date, thinks I’m 28, little does she know that I’m ????. And she even thinks I’m certified to forecast the weather.

Hilarious, no? Also very agreeable are ‘Unhackable on the tones of ‘You are Beautiful’ and ‘an Internet Love Song‘.

Thank God for The 61! ;) (And see, I don’t bump only Second Life artists! ;)

And for the photoshop-nerds reading this, what was the most evil thing you ever did as it came to ‘forgery’? Or what was your best attempt at doing something evil with photoshop-forgery? With me it was a few report cards (used), messing with friend’s photographs (used) and a fake bank transfer paper: changing the bank account number where the money for a 1 week not obligatory school trip should be transferred to, before handing it to the parents. Anyway, we never used that. The conscience - and fear to get caught - timely kicked in.

Boudoir Rouge

March 31, 2008 12:40 pm

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Boudoir Rouge™ PerfumeDoes it show that I met Codie last night? Sadly enough, I logged on to late for the Second Life Blogger’s party hosted by Mr. Crap. But time with Codie made up for it. Really! So, Codie has this Boudoir Rouge thing going on….

When I think of ‘boudoir’, I think of a dressing room, of soft, sensual and girly stuff. I associate it with sweet smells and feminine items all over the place. So I decided upon giving Miss Codie her own perfume… with a tiny Codie inside in stead of a flower. Thank you for a lovely evening night, your Royal Red Highness! ;)

Aviary’s Phoenix, a web-based image editing application

February 28, 2008 12:06 pm

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Aviary's Phoenix Splash ScreenWe’ve seen those before, right? Paint-like on-line, web-based image editing applications. But never have I seen something like Phoenix before: it has layers, overlay modes, layer functions (drop shadow, blur, bevel, …), efficient gradients, different brushes, artistic filters, and so on and so on and so on … .

On top of that it saves overviews of your work stages - and of course, you can load previous ones -, you can access your files from anywhere and share them with about anyone. Share them means not just that they can look at it, but that they can actually allow other people to edit the layered file!

At the moment, Phoenix allows you to export to .jpg .png .bmp .tiff and some other file formats to your hard drive. No .tga, but .bmp will do just as well, no?

An example of a quick test drive with Phoenix:

Little Birdie - Testing Phoenix
(I was inspired by the beta invites,
which they call ‘early bird’ previews)

More examples on the Aviary website a.viary.com. Make sure to take a look at Meowza’s mechanical frog!

I have 3 beta invites for the Phoenix image editing application still available. Who wants them? Just leave a comment here with a valid e-mail address and I’ll send the invite to that address. All taken. Look into the comments for people who can get you some.

There’s a whole suite of Aviary AIR applications planned, - All of our tools are based right in your browser or as downloadable AIR applications. Our tools all communicate and relate to each other. To illustrate an example: You can import a swatch from Toucan into Phoenix, while doing complex bitmap processing of a 3D object developed in Hummingbird. Finally, you can take your finished artwork and lay it out in Owl as the DVD artwork for a music CD you and your friends put together in Roc and Myna and offer it for sale in our marketplace, Hawk. - as there are:

  1. Phoenix - Image editor
  2. Toucan - Color swatches and palettes creator
  3. Peacock - Computer algorithm-based pattern generator
  4. Raven - Vector editor
  5. Hummingbird - 3D Modeller and skinner
  6. Myna - audio editor
  7. Roc - Music generator
  8. Starling - Video editor
  9. Owl - Desktop publishing layout editor
  10. Penguin - Word processing software geared towards creative writers
  11. Pigeon - Painting simulator
  12. Tern - Terrain generator (minitool)
  13. Horus - Font editor
  14. Woodpecker - Smart image resizer using seam carving (minitool)
  15. Rookery - A free, unlimited distributed file system network that anyone can connect to and store data in. It also powers our file search engine.
  16. Hawk - Digital content marketplace
  17. Crane - Custom image product creator
  18. Eagle - A smart online application that can identify complex data about an image based on the pixel patterns (i.e. which specific camera an image originally came from)

Short Story on Getting Rid of Jagged Edges

February 8, 2008 2:02 pm

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Someone from Topaz Labs kindly contacted the VintLabs CEO - yeah, he passed by the receptionist and communications manager, wonder how he did that - and asked if we would include his Topaz Vivacity plugin in one of our tutorials. She ordered our VintLabs Rats to work and they soon found out that this Photoshop plugin is great at cleaning up and smoothing skin without loosing any details in the edges: Vint’s human now has a skin that make her look come out of a fashion magazine. But our CEO was not that enthusiastic. We spend ages on making sure our skin textures, eye textures, clothing textures, … are as detailed as possible‘, says Vint. ‘You futile Vint Labs employees will only blur those lovely details over my Ruthed body!

Bugger. So we answered Eric Yang from Topaz Labs that we really love his plugin, but the boss only cares about easily getting rid of the so-called ‘jagged edges’ that are so typical to Second Life snapshots. To our surprise - and saviour probably, Vint was still furious about our blur suggestion - Mr. Yang told us that was an interesting question, and Topaz Clean(YCrDb) could probably do the trick.

So the VintLab Rats set back to work, trying the settings suggested. It was a beautiful moment, when suddenly screams of joy erupted from the labs. Scream that enthusiastic that our - beloved, may I add - CEO came to see what was going on. Proudly the VintLab Rats showed her the latest results: tests done with both the Topaz Clean and Photoshop Blur. Pointing at the dagger on the testing picture they whispered: Look, Your Majesty, Topaz Clean gets rid of the jagged edges better and loses less detail than Photoshop Blur does.

Silence fell. After a few minutes Miss Falken spoke: ‘Yes, yes, so I see. But what’s wrong with manually blurring them all?‘ Despite her criticism and old-skool suggestion, we saw in her eyes that she was proud of our great discovery and thought we did well at further exploring the Topaz Vivacity path.

Later that day, a memo went around that Vint would take us all - even the VintLabs Rats - shopping for shoes this evening. So I think we really found out something great, and that although she would not say this out loud, the discovery of this plugin was a glorious day for VintLabs.

If you know of other ways to - easily - get rid of jagged edges, feel free to share that precious information. We will suggest them to Miss Falken, and who knows, maybe we will get two pair of shoes tonight! (You’ll just get the VintLab Rats’ eternal gratitude and stuff. ;)

If you want to try this plugin yourself, you can find a 30 day trial of Topaz Vivacity at Topaz Labs. It works with Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro and the GIMP. Topaz Labs also has a freebie DeJPEG plugin to get rid of JPEG artifacts available. The settings we used for Topaz Clean(YCbCr):

  • Treshold: 1.19
  • Clean Radius: 3.73
  • Sharpness: 0.77
  • Sharpness radius: 1
  • Line accent: 1
  • Iterations: 1

Keep your paws off the other settings! ;) And here are the test files we showed to Miss Falken:

Topaz Vivacity vs. Jagged Edges

Update: Miss Falken told us to mention that, of course, in the first place you need to take care about getting as few jagged lines as possible when shooting in Second Life. The best way to do that is - besides shopping for great graphic gear with anti aliasing functionality and stuff - shoot your SL photographs in as high a resolution as your client will bear. Shorly summarized: the bigger the resolution & filesize, the smaller the chance your photograph will suffer from jagged edges.

Eye Texture Orientation Tutorial

February 2, 2008 6:08 pm

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When creating eyes for myself - and sales - I found that although they are perfectly straighty oriented and well-positioned in Photoshop, the avatar wearing those imported textures soon suffers from Strabismus or ’squint’.

Is this a eye disorientation a bad thing? Although they say woman which suffer from a minor form of strabismus are more attractive to men, still, yes!

Eye Texture Orientation - Tutorial

Why eye texture orientation is important

When making an eye textures just from two circles - the iris and the pupil - the eye looks dead any no has no where near the fascination of RL eyes, more on this in a next tutorial. ;) Eyes are moist, round and contain a lens, thus reflect light: just compare the eyes of a dead bird with those of an alive one. The shape and size depends on what kind of lighting there is one the eyes - but always - eyes show highlights and shadows. For use in Second Life, the highlights and shadows need to be added to the texture, as the software will not recognize the eye as a ‘glassy, shinethrough but reflecting’ object. Either that, or it does a lousy job at displaying such objects. ;)

If your texture is wrongly oriented the eye’s highlights are out of place and the avatar wearing the eyes will squint beyond attractiveness. Because, really, eyes almost never have highlights on the ‘below right’ part of the eye, which makes them look artificial - not necessary a bad thing - and ‘out of scene’ - definitely a bad thing. Just check OnRez and the in-world shops: the best eyes in Second Life are those where a lot of attention went to detailed highlighting and shading.

What’s the right orientation for eye textures?

Eye Texture Orientation - Testing textureDecided to - for once and for all - find out what is the correct orientation for Second Life eye textures, I took the Linden’s basic eye template and added some marks on it in Photoshop:

  • Up, down, left and right.
  • Lines for distance measuring.

I then uploaded this testing texture to Second Life and created myself a pair of eyes with it. (Create new body part ‘eyes’, go into appearence, wear the eyes, change the texture for those, safe.)

Taking a alt+0 look at my eyes, I quickly saw some things seriously wrong with my eyes:

  • Although the pupil seems to correct in size, the iris is huge, disappearing behind the eyelids beyond attractiveness.
  • The mark saying ‘up’ finds itself where the mark saying ‘right’ should be. So the texture is rotated 90° CW, clockwise.

Eye Texture Orientation - Testing

Luckily both problems are easily fixed in Photoshop, even without butchering your eye texture all to bad.

Resizing the eye texture

Eye Texture Orientation - Scale DownAs the rendering in Second Life clearly shows that the iris & pupil are to large - else they would not disappear behind the eyelids, we need to scale those down a bit. Iris & pupil need to become smaller compared to the complete eye texture.

Select your iris & pupil and scale them down to 75%. If you want huge eyes, maybe even 80% or 85% will do the trick.

If you did the effort to texturize/colour/paint the ‘white’ of your eye too, you might want to just scale down the whole texture and then use canvas size to bring the canvas’ size back up to the original 256×256px size.

Rotating the eye 90° CCW

Eye Texture Orientation - Rotate 90 degrees CCWAs Second Life - when applying it on eyes - rotates your texture 90° clockwise, we just rotate our texture 90° counter-clockwise. That’s to the left.

As it’s more easy to work on an eye texture that actually looks like how it will display in Second Life, I suggest you safe this step for the last, when everything else on your eye texture is finished. As your eye texture is perfectly square with the eye positioned in the exact middle, you do not distort anthing with rotating it 90° CCW.

Et voila, an eye that does not look squint. Now, according to your liking there are a few other minor thingies you can do: not making your iris & pupil completely round to get a more catlike look. Or moving the iris and pupil a bit up before rotating it 90°, so that those are positioned a tiny bit higher up the eye. Looks stunning to me! But of course, such things are beyond maths and tutorials, and are just a matter of personal taste. =)

More tutorials on texture creation, Second Life photography and SL tips and tricks in general can be found in my Second Life tutorial section. Happy browsing and learning! ;)

My diffuse glow story, thoughts and confessions

January 3, 2008 11:24 pm

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Welcome, dear follow SL photographers. Take a seat, lean back in the desk chair, release the drawing pens and touch the scroll button for a fantastic, amazing and for some probably even shocking ride through the world of diffuse glow with me as your guide. ;)

Vint's Diffuse Glow Travel Map

The Diffuse Glow Story Prologue

I sometimes wonder if the photoshop filter Diffuse Glow is something like nuclear weapons: some say they should be abolished, others say they should be used. But even the latter folks do not agree on where and when to use them. And even then, what at first glance seems like reasonable use would only be abuse.

Although I would not put capital punishment on the use of the Diffuse Glow filter and I know there are genuine, good reasons to apply it, only to often I have to shake my head when seeing this powerful tool, given to us by the Adobe Gods, abused. The same goes for it derivatives as there are for instance the Beautify filter. Although Bella thinks I’m an enfant terrible, I’m not going to name the offenders here or point to their respective Flickr streams, but I think you surely know who you are!

As it draws attention to a photograph and gives it a feel of ‘liveliness’ a normal Second Life snapshot does not have, the Diffuse Glow filter is mainly used to ’save’ photographs that are else lousy or average at max. Yet, one can find some major reasons for Diffuse Glow abuse:

  1. To make up for lack of composition.
  2. To make up for lack of content/idea/story in the photograph.
  3. To make up for lack of creativity.
  4. To make up for lack of time spend on getting the lighting in Second Life correct.
  5. Because one does not know better.

See where I’m going?

Yet I do not claim Diffuse Glow is evil, only that one needs to think on as to why one is using it and if it _really_ adds to the photograph, in stead of just making the snapshot look a bit more catchy.

So if I claim it can be used without ‘overdoing it’ and well thought trough, then why do I not prove it? Aha! Here it comes. Sit back, relax and feel free to mention so if you disagree. ;) When you read carefully you will find at least one alternative way to use diffuse glow.

My Story of Diffuse Glow

We all know I have a tricky skin: as it is white, major post-processing or boosting the contrast makes me loose all zits and detail. Yet this original snapshot does look like it could use some boost in ‘liveliness’.

My Diffuse Glow Story: I

Now, as Diffuse Glow is the answer to all boring photographs, let’s do that! At the same time this might help fix what bothers me most about this photograph, the harsh edges between my dark hair, my pale face and the red background.

My Diffuse Glow Story: II

Hmmm. Looks way better, but the harsh edges problem is not entirely solved yet. I think it needs some more diffuse glow and it will be _just perfect_.

My Diffuse Glow Story: III

Yeey! The harsh edges are gone. Does it not look awesome? And this way it takes up even less disk space! This photograph will surely catch attention now it’s glowing almost entirely. Let me quickly submit it to Flickr. A shame it does not contain any boobs. I’m sure I would get even more views with that. Ah well, the boobs - of course with diffuse glow on them - are for tomorrow.

No, maybe I was wrong. Maybe I just lost all detail in my light tones and did not make my photograph any better or interesting, but just more glowing. Let me try something else: I’ll return to my background layer and invert that. Yeah, that’s a great idea!

My Diffuse Glow Story: IV

Now. Hmmm. What do I do next? I know! I know! Diffuse glow, the solution to all.

My Diffuse Glow Story: V

Strange, now all my details in the hair are gone. Let me undo this one and try again with a higher clear value and a lower diffuse glow one. Way better!

My Diffuse Glow Story: VI

Maybe the inverted image is a bit over the top, I wonder what happens if I press ctrl+I again?

My Diffuse Glow Story: VII

Oh my f*cking god! The harsh edges are gone. What I just did made the black hair blend in with my face texture and the background texture more. Geeh, that I did not expect. Diffuse Glow can be used for something else then just casting a white glow?! W00t!

Yet, the eyes are a bit dark. What if I return those to normal by using a mask? I must take care to leave a bit of the upper part of the eye dark, as that’s the natural shadow the eyes casts. Let me try…

My Diffuse Glow Story: VIII

Awesome! Who would have thought… . Yet, it does not catch the eye as much as a diffuse glow photograph and now I’m scared that people will not look at my photograph. Wait, I’ll just Diffuse Glow it to make it catchy again!

My Diffuse Glow Story: IX

More catchy, indeed. Let me quickly submit this one. Or.. ow… wait… something just does not look natural. My face is way to white compared to my neck, and all my detail is gone again. Now, which retard stole my detail yet again?!!!

But yet… some glowing is natural, nah? But… yeah… got it! I am genius! What if I mask out the entire layer, and then use the white masking brush to only show highlights where they are supposed to be, as on my - cute - nose, my - sexy - lips and my - elegant - cheekbones?

My Diffuse Glow Story: X

Hmmm. Sweet! But some of the edges are a bit to hard, and do need some retouching. And oh, no! I know by now that Diffuse Glow does not _really_ solves that problem. My god, would I dare? Would I actually do some local spot correction which takes 5 times the time applying the Diffuse Glow filter? My Adobe Gods, I’m scared. I don’t know if I can handle this. Blur the edges manually?! Do some cloning? Manual labour?! No way! How the hell could that solve my problems and fix my self portrait?!!

My Diffuse Glow Story: XI

Strange. Apparently manual spot correcting does solve a lot of the problems. Who on earth would have guessed that!

Moral of the Diffuse Glow Story

There’s more in life than just Diffuse Glow. There’s even more in Photoshop than this particular filter. Using Diffuse Glow once in a while is not a shame, but go easy on it, and know why you are actually using it and what you are trying to achieve - if that is not a quick and dirty cheap diffuse glow effect. Take the time to get your photograph exactly how you like it and for the love of the Adobe Gods, once in a while, dare to experiment - with something else but diffuse glow.

Diffuse Glow is like dry shampoo, it’s good once in a while if you are in a hurry, but at least a few times a week, you need a decent wash and need to lick every paw and ear that you have.

cordialement,
Vint

This ‘enfant terrible’ posting is dedicated to Bella March, who - despite what she thinks - keeps inspiring me, puts me with my two paws on solid meta-ground once in a while, is one of the best conversation and discussing partners I know off and has enough creativity in her virtual body - and thus probably also in her human - to be a great SL photographer with an eye for awesome scenes, a good scripter and an always interesting person. Even in her bad moods. With letting her go, Avatrait made probably the worst decision in their career and I’m glad I never accepted their invitation. Bella, meid, respect! ;)

Disclaimer: It could be that this Diffuse Glow Story is not totally truthful and that for some diffuse glow applications I knew from the beginning what they would result in. Surprise may be faked.

Barbie’s UZI

October 29, 2007 3:52 pm

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Well, no excuse here, sauf que Veyron challenged me. This gun does look better than the My Little Pony M4, no? I figured even cute little Barbie girls would want to look decently tough, hence not all in pink. And I’ve put the VintLabs logo on it to make sure there is no mistake about this not being an official Barbie release.

*rolls the drums*
*may I present*
*my Barbie UZI*

Uzi (Barbie release)

New tutorial: adding depth to SL clothing textures

September 20, 2007 9:45 am

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Tutorial: adding depth to clothing textures ISo, I was to silent for y’all? Hmm. *ends silence* This time not to rant about Second Life’s society, though. :p

I’ve gotten a lot of ‘what do you think of my clothing design’ questions recently. And quite often I had to answer: ‘I love the shading on the butt & breasts, but euhm… what about shading ‘in’ the texture?’ It’s neat to see people get the shading of the human/avatar correct, but only to often that leads to neglecting the textures itself:

Tutorial: adding depth to clothing textures IMistakes in light source / bad photo-sourcing. Not having any sense of depth/play of light withing the clothing item itself, etc. Now I know, wrinkles are fashionable at the moment, but believe me, a well shaded button or collar works too. So, I decided that besides only complaining, I should give people a clue about what I do want to see. And the ‘adding depth to SL clothing textures using photoshop’s layer styles’ tutorial was born.

I hope it will be of use to some avies, and decided to be a good neko girl for once and to not link to some so called ‘top notch’ Second Life designers that could really benefit from taking a look at this shading tutorial. *grins*

Tiessa Montgolfier, Shadows Inc.

September 10, 2007 2:49 pm

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Recently, and a while ago, there has been some discussion around if ‘photoshopping’ Second Life snapshots and calling it SL photography is trickery or not. Imho, photoshopping Second Life snapshots is no more trickery then the photoshopped First Life images you see in every fashion machine. Believe me, those real life models do not have a seamless, smooth skin either. ;) Neither are RL light circomstances always perfect or is the appropriate setting present/affordable.

This snapshot I took from Tiessa Montgolfier at the SL Bloggers officers’ meeting gave me the necessary cleavage opportunity and inspiration to play around with shadows a bit more than I normally do. And yes, I did mention to her there is no limit on the ‘hugeness’ of prims on OpenSim. Just imagine: megaprim boobs! ;)

Post processing fun

Amongst others:

  • Different layer modes + opacity (on whole layer).
  • Shadow/highlights.
  • Do liquify.
  • ‘Drop Shadow’ blend (all different settings, but I kept the light settings constant) mode on
    • complete Tiessa.
    • the prim breasts.
    • just the top.
  • Manual dodging and burning on the details: collar, limbs, stockings, face, … .
  • Gaussian blur 1px on the whole layer (masked out some of the details).
  • Some overal spot correction (clone stamp with 0% hardness).
  • Color correction on the prim breasts.
  • Grew a rainforest to improve the view.

And the results?

Impressive cleavage.

Tiessa Montgolfier at SL Bloggers officers' meeting: shadow post processing

Dynamic reflections, my ass.

September 3, 2007 12:46 pm

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Render Dynamic Reflections =Partly True IIIFirst Bella March gives dynamic reflections a try and lays a very interesting egg. Then Smiley Barry takes - with the help mysterious CPU computing forces - that egg a bit further, cracks it open and gets a Second Life house, road and tree that far that they are willing to reflect in a shiny panel. Though he reports that we, the avies, do not have a mirror image. Yeah well, I always assumed some of the SL residents were vampires.

Of course I could not stay behind and had to try enabling Dynamic Reflections in the debug menu too.

What was in my DynamicReflections surprise egg?

  1. Broken altcamming (Bella reported that too).
  2. ‘Shifted’ snapshots results which included the UI although it was not ordered to include that.
  3. User interface pants that appeared out of the blue. (Check them covering my boots!) (UI up ass?)
  4. Shiny surfaces reflect all right, but only my user interface. I must admit that the UI was mirrord though. So it did do something correct.
  5. Editing objects was no more possible until reboot.

My advice? Kids, do not try ‘dynamic reflections = TRUE’ at home! ;)

PS. Bella, I’m curious about how the dynamic reflections will look with your ‘new gear’. Please try it again? Just for once? Until we have WindLight back?

Render DynamicReflections = Partly True II

Render DynamicReflections = Partly True I