Second Life Camera Position Tips

Some time ago I found a camera control Debug Setting I now change in all my viewers. I’ve mentioned it in several of my viewer reviews. Recently I read an article by Penny Patton and learned some more about changing the camera position and view. That inspired me to take another look at camera settings in the Series 2 viewers. Here is what I’ve learned and what may make your SL experience better.

Shopping with a New Perspective

Above is an image that shows my default view when shopping. You might notice I’m not staring at the floor. I did not have to cam around to get the view. I can press ESC a couple of times and come back to this camera position at any time.

This shopping area is in a region named Diesel and an area named The Island of Milk & Cream. It is an Adult area. Knowing that the idea of Milk & Cream takes on new meaning. The creativity and skill of the builder, Penny Patton, is obvious. So, is the humor. Notice the ad for It Figures, shapes for the top heavy.

Scale & View

If you are not into building houses, caves, vehicles, and other things that avatars need to fit within then the idea of scale and proportion is probably not one of your SL concerns. However, scale does affect your experience in SL.

SLV2.8.2 View Panel and Button

In 3D virtual worlds scale is about making avatars and all the things around the avatar work together. Our SL avatars are about 2 meters tall, which is about 6’-6”. Of course we can make them shorter and taller. With such an avatar a chair that is 10 meters tall is out of proportion and does not fit the scale of our avatar. The size of chairs is up to the builders. Our avatar size is up to us.

How We View the World

For many the default views are just accepted. But we can change them and get an entirely new look on the world. So, how do we do that?

Camera Concepts – by Penny Patton

Different viewers have different settings, or may be more accurately different Debug Settings. The Series 2 viewers pretty much have the same default or basic set of Debug Settings. Third Party Viewers (TPV) have additional Debug Settings. You can find the basic SL Debug Settings and their explanation in the Second Life Wiki. There are lots of them. Some TPV’s have a list of their Debug Settings in their respective wikis.

Also, we have a choice of views in the new Series 2 viewers. In the bottom menu bar there is a VIEW button. If it is not showing, right-click any empty part of the menu bar and enable the button. Open the View Control. This is the camera control that is supposedly for new users of the SL Viewer. The three buttons at the bottom of the panel reveal some of the advanced uses for this button.

Of the three icon buttons at the bottom of the View Control the left one opens a selection list of the different views; Front, Side, and Rear. The Rear View is the default view. Each of these views has a related set of Debug Settings to control the default camera position in each view.

Rear View

It is from the rear view that we see most of SL. If you press ESC the view returns to the default rear view. The Debug Settings control where the camera positions itself and where it points or looks.

Debug Settings for Default Views

FocusOffsetRearView – This setting controls where the camera is looking.

Debug Setting

CameraOffsetRearView – This setting controls the camera’s position.

CameraAngle – This is the field of view setting, what you see shown in red in Penny’s image. For those that know about photography it is like the lens size. Changing this setting is like changing between a wide-angle lens and a telephoto lens.

Front View

Unless you use the View Button control you will seldom see this view. I use it when taking photos or adjusting the Physics Layers. The settings that control the viewer are;

FocusOffsetFrontView – same as FocusOffsetRearView.

CameraOffsetFrontView – see above.

Side View

FocusOffsetSideView – same as FocusOffsetRearView.

CameraOffsetSideView – see above.

The Change

When you bring your Rear View to a setting that keeps you camera low the world starts to look really big. You can see that much of Second Life is not to a realistic scale. My little cottage has a very high ceiling. That is needed for the default camera settings. I can have a smaller house and not feel crowded if I use alternate camera settings.

Walking in tight spaces and shopping in malls is much nicer too. However, in some forests it can be a disadvantage.

The longer I use my altered settings the more I move the camera down. I had to get used to seeing things from a new perspective.

Try playing with the settings to get a view of the world that you enjoy. There is a button labeled Reset to default. It does exactly what it says. So, if you don’t like the changed settings it is easy to restore the original settings.

Enjoy. Click Penny’s image above to see more pictures comparing settings.


16 thoughts on “Second Life Camera Position Tips

  1. Oh nice, it makes me want to log in and try it. I used to do a lot of photography in world and this would have been a nice trick in some situations. Thanks for sharing!

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  14. Hi Nalates,
    I’ve been searching but coming up empty so seeing you talking about the camera in Blackdragon, I thought I’d ask.

    I do a lot of composites so I rely on being able to save the camera position and come back later to take another shot. That ability is obvious in Firestorm but I’m struggling to find it in Blackdragon. Could you point me in the right direction? Thanks!

    • I would guess BD has it. But I don’t know. Check out

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