Posted in Before & After, Photography, Second Life

Breakfast at Tiramisu

I finally had the muse on me to pop into Second Life to take some photos. Whilst I was there I bumped into my friend Abby, who I have known almost as long as I have been in SL. She is the owner of the Heroes club (which has been going for 6 years) and also the designer of Heroes Clobber. She’s sadly closing down Heroes and relocating Heroes Clobber, and has asked me to take some photos of the new place. So stay tuned for those!

Whilst in SL I visited the lovely Cheeky Tiramisu Café & Forest, where I took this photo:

“Breakfast at Tiramisu” on Flickr
Before & After
Before & After (click to enlarge)

The picture needed quite a bit of post-processing. For a start there was some nasty clipping of my arm against the dress. I noticed this when I took the picture, so to make correcting it easier I took two photos – one with the dress and one without, which allowed me to composite them post-production. What was less easy to solve was the clipping on my left shoulder (your right as you look at it) on the sleeve of the dress, so I had to clone another part of it and fill in. Another thing that needed attention was the colour of the right sleeve (your left as you look at it) which needed to be lightened and blended. There was also some clipping on the hair, which I also corrected. Finally, I got the glow settings wrong on the Depth of Field when I took the picture, and rather than going back and re-shooting, I corrected this post-production.

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Posted in Exploring, General, Second Life

Lest we forget

Lest we forget
Lest we forget

My friend Rorrim Wrigglesworth has built this wonderful Garden of Remembrance, which includes The Cenotaph.

Please do visit it to pay your respects. It is located at RoBeck land in Second Life (click here for SURL)

The Two Minute Silence is at 11:00am 11th Nov 2011 (UK time, which is 3am SLT/PST) and Remembrance Day will be on Sunday 13th Nov this year.

www.britishlegion.org.uk/remembrance/the-nation-remembers/remembrance-sunday
www.bbc.co.uk/news/11734920
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Remembrance_Day

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.

Update: I was at the Garden of Remembrance for the Two Minute Silence, and was very moved that there were 11 other people there at the appointed time (11am UK time).
We were all silent and then just after 11.02am somebody said something appropriate. I added the quote in italics above and someone immediately echoed “We will remember them” (which is the correct and traditional response).
A few more very appropriate things were also said.

It doesn’t sound much, but it was very moving and very special. Possibly the most special thing I have experienced in my 4 years on Second Life.

Posted in Exploring, Fashion, Photography

Konnichiwa



Konnichiwa, originally uploaded by Becca Ashbourne.

The creativity and ingenuity of the residents of Second Life never ceases to amaze and delight me, and none more so than sims that have beautiful attention to detail and are a visual treat.

I was exploring, looking for Japanese sims for a photo shoot I wanted to do, and came across the simply wonderful Japan Dream Kenjin. This sim is so worth a visit – it’s a seaside fishing town that is just crammed with visual detail and atmosphere.

Skin: Sophie by DrLife
Hair: Holly by KeeLee Designs
Outfit & shoes: Hentai Hottie 2.0 (Classic Version) by Danika
Backpack: Randoseru Japanese backpack by House of Curios

Posted in Fashion, Flickr, General, Opinion, Phoenix / Firestorm, Second Life, Viewer 2.x

Mesh

Slink Mesh Boots!!, originally uploaded by Nana Minuet.

I have to say I was getting very excited by Mesh, especially with the recent announcement that Phoenix is going to be supporting it (thanks to some dedicated work by Henri Beauchamp of the Cool Viewer).

These boots are a great case in point – imagine how wrong the knees would look in that pose if those were sculpt boots!

However, all is not as good as it seems; I’ve learned that the current implementation of Mesh is worse than useless, for clothes at least. It would seem that a mesh object attaches to your skeleton, not your “flesh”, and cannot be resized in-world. That means that if you are slim like the model in the above pics, those boots would look great. However, if you are any other size than her they won’t fit. Oh, sure, an alpha layer will mask out the bits of you that the boots cover but if you have bigger thighs than her you’re fresh out of luck.

One of the biggest benefits of Second Life is you can be who you want to be. You (or, rather, your avatar) can be exactly as you want it – it’s the overriding expression of your individuality and what makes Second Life so wonderful. But if Mesh clothing is going to force us all to resize our avatar to the clothing, rather than the clothing to the avatar, then this is a bad thing.

There is a JIRA running on this. It’s rather technical but the gist of it is “change Mesh to resize to your flesh not be fixed size and attached to your skeleton”.
See https://jira.secondlife.com/si/jira.issueviews:issue-html/SH-2374/SH-2374.html

Posted in Fashion, Flickr, Photography, Second Life

Mixing it up

I love my digital art, and sometimes I like to mix things up a bit. The foreground is from Second Life, of course, but the background was taken in Crysis: Warhead.

I spent ages on this pic, what with fitting the hair to the beret, finding the pose, doing the snapshots in both SL and Crysis, and then all the post-processing (not least correcting SL’s various clipping issues) . I’m quite pleased with the result.

For reference, the various parts of the outfit are:

  • Skin: Tess by Laqroki
  • Eyes: Laqroki
  • Hair: Hunter by Magika (customised by me)
  • Beret: British Para beret by SA Quartermaster
  • Top: Jungle Camo Tank Top by Reasonable Desires
  • Trousers: Woodland Camo Pants by Breach
  • Boots: 9″ Combat by Adi Cat Designs
  • Hand gun: Heckler & Koch USP by Breach
  • Rifle: part of the background
  • Background: Crysis Warhead

Dog Tags are from the SL Library

Posted in Photography, Second Life, tips

Second Life Photography tips

As many of you know, I’m a keen Second Life amateur photographer with almost 700 pics on my Flickr photostream.
Along the way I have picked up a few useful techniques which I will share with you here.

First things first, if you haven’t read Torley Linden’s guide [link] to high quality photography then you should have a read. Specifically on turning on the High Resolution Snapshots option and also Quiet Snapshots to Disk (which disables that annoying “click-whirr” sound effect that lets everyone know you have taken a pic)

As Torley mentions, whilst you can use the Camera Controls window (View -> Camera Controls) to control the camera, it’s very clumsy and imprecise. It is far better to use the mouse camera controls, as follows:

  • Alt and clicking something focuses it to the centre of the screen.
  • Alt and dragging the mouse zooms the camera.
  • Alt+Ctrl and dragging orbits the camera.
  • Alt+Ctrl+Shift and dragging pans the camera.

That may sound a little complex, but when you get used to it then it is amazingly intuitive and fast. It’s so natural to me now that I don’t even think of it when I use it.

Now, on to my tips.

Shoot from the hip

The first thing I use a lot, and I mean a LOT, is a technique that lets you shoot first and aim afterwards. As a Street Photographer who is always looking to capture that split-second ‘sneak attack’ moment this is really essential.

Take a snapshot using the Snapshot button on the bottom menu bar (on a 1.x Viewer) or use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Shift+S (under Windows). This brings up the Snapshot Preview window.
For my technique to work you must have the “Freeze frame (fullscreen preview)” checkbox ticked. And you should NOT have the “Auto-refresh” checkbox ticked.

So, with those checkboxes set up that way, take a snapshot and note that everything seems to be frozen in time. Now, move the camera around using the mouse controls I mentioned earlier… Yay! We have ‘Bullet Time’ from The Matrix!
Use the camera controls to reposition the camera angle so that everything is just how you want it and then click the “Refresh Snapshot” button. You can then save as normal.

Under some circumstances when taking snapshots of people, SL can glitch up and the person can move but all their attachments (including their hair) can stay still and it ruins the snapshot, but it happens rarely enough that this technique is still very useful.

The Dolly Zoom

If you know anything about film, you’ll be wondering what the Dolly Zoom (a.k.a. the “Hitchcock zoom”, “Vertigo effect”, “Jaws shot”, “zoom in / dolly out“, etc.) has to do with stills photography, but bear with me.

If you zoom right in on something in Second Life you’ll notice that everything gets a bit distorted and perspective is altered.
Now, not many people know that there are additional zoom controls accessed with the keyboard shortcuts Ctrl+0 (to zoom in) and Ctrl+8 to zoom out. Ctrl+9 resets it to normal.

One or two presses of Ctrl+0 will correct the distortion.

But there is more! And this is where the Dolly Zoom effect comes in. If you get a bit more extreme and press Ctrl+0 a few more times and then pull back with the Camera Controls (Alt+mouse as previously mentioned) then you get the characteristic foreshortening effect. This can give you some really interesting effects.

Don’t forget that when you are done to use Ctrl-9 to reset to normal.

Posted in Flickr, Photography, Second Life, tips

Second Life Photography

[Originally posted 19-Mar-2010 here]

Photography is one of the many things I enjoy in SL. At the time of writing I have over 660 pictures on my Flickr account

Torley Linden has a great wiki page on various tips and tricks here:
wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/Snapshot_Help

One trick I use a lot is to take a snapshot using the dialog and then use the mouse-based camera controls to get the angle just right and then refresh it again. There’s a simple tutorial on it here. If you’re into SL photography then it’s a great technique to master.

Something that has annoyed me for ages is the foot shadow. I’m forever trying to correct it in post-production because the invisiprims on a lot of my boots cause the shadow to come out wrong. This problem will start to go away with the new alpha masking for feet in Viewer 2.0 but it will still be around for a while. So imagine my delight (and annoyance that I only just found this out) when I discovered you can turn off the foot shadow!
It’s Advanced menu > Rendering > Features > Foot Shadows
D’oh!

For my next set of photos I’m planning on making use of the depth and object matte capture modes and introducing depth of field in post production. Should be a new challenge for me and I’m really looking forward to it. Watch this space!

Continue reading “Second Life Photography”