Second Life Photography w/Black Dragon & DoF & Photoshop

This is a tutorial on how to use Black Dragon to capture DEPTH information for use in Photoshop (PS). The techniques can be used in GIMP and Paint.Net. The buttons are just in different places.

The reason you may be interested in using PS rather than a viewer’s built-in DoF is to get more control. Viewers tend to provide a perfect render of a scene. Our eyes pick up the texture and dust of real-life so a computer image usually doesn’t fit our experience of how the world looks. Making a photo-realistic is about adding the subtle noise of real life to an image.

Nal @ Port of Senses
Nal @ Port of Senses

This image raised some questions in the SL Forum thread How does your avatar look today? (About 1,300 pages) Mostly, I think, because I pointed out I did the Depth of Field out of focus thing using Photoshop with a Black Dragon Depth map.

Most viewers provide Depth Maps. You can create Windlight settings that will create a depth map too, but that is a PITA. It is easier to use a viewer that has the feature. So, Firestorm or Black Dragon or the Linden Default Viewer. I haven’t checked the others. I assume most have the feature.

Continue reading

Another Photoshop 2020 Thing

There are a number of things in the new Photoshop. This is one I don’t remember seeing mentioned by others. I think it is handy for making pattern backgrounds.

While I am pointing out somewhat ignored features I’ll include this WordPress-Facebook feature.

In WordPress when posting there is a feature section labeled Open Graph and Twitter Card Tags. You may have to go into WP’s settings and enable Open Graph display on the editor. Whether in the Classic or Block editor the section will appear below the bottom of the editor.

There are two fields in the section, Use this image and Use this description. These are for automated systems that pick up on articles in your blog. The image field needs to be set to avoid Facebook, aggregators, and other automated systems grabbing the first image they find to use with their display of an article on your blog. If these systems comply with web standards they will use these two fields, if available, in whatever they post. Continue reading

Photoshop 2020 Releasing

Today I got my update to Adobe’s Photoshop 2020 (v21.0). It has several very handy new and improved exiting features. I’ll let PiXimperfect’s guy explain them.

This is a handy video to bookmark as it has links into the video for the various features. These are the links you will find on the YouTube page.

  • 01:24 Object Selection Tool
  • 03:37 Much Better “Select Subject”
  • 05:18 Blazing Fast New Document
  • 05:32 Pixel Layer Properties
  • 08:15 Zoom To Layer Content
  • 09:10 The “New” New Layer
  • 09:15 Changes To Content-aware Fill
  • 10:59 New Text Layer Properties
  • 12:38 Animated Gif Support In File, Save As
  • 13:20 The Updated Lens Blur
  • 14:16 Covert Smart Object Back To Layers
  • 15:29 Import From Iphone Or Ipad
  • 15:39 The “~” Key For Easy Erasing
  • 16:39 The “~” Key For Brush Tip Rotation
  • 16:58 Close Others
  • 17:19 Changes To Free Transform
  • 19:37 Enhanced Transform Warp
  • 21:33 Changes & Additions To Presets
  • 24:07 Support For Cloud Documents
  • 25:49 The Fancy Crop Tool
  • 26:26 Additional New Features

Be warned there are ads in the video stream. A few too many for my taste, but I understand he wants to get paid for his effort and talent.

Who is having SL Photo fun?

Fun Photography – Every so often I mention the SL Forum thread ‘How does your avatar look today?’ (page 665 – Looks for short) In it, someone (name withheld to protect the guilty) posted a picture with their avatar in bunny custom… not the furry kind, the Playboy kind. So sexy.

The picture started a thing… my tail is cuter than your tail… no… not competitive just fun… people curious to see how they looked as bunnies and some probably were influenced by a bit of exhibitionism and took the opportunity to show off. I suspect some measure of that fun and look-at-me stuff runs through those all peeps posting in the thread. My hand is up.

The Bunny Pictures

However, there is a thing in the group about getting together for group photos. Probably one of the more fun things people in the thread do. I think of it as girls behaving badly… I’ll leave the interpretation of the term ‘badly’ up to you. Those older and younger than I seem to have different meanings for it. I intend this as the fun type ‘badly’.

Whatever, that ‘get together thing’ got Saravendi thinking (post). Seems things weren’t working out for people to get together in their bunny outfits. So, she very nicely PUT them together from the photos they posted. That was a hit. The idea grew, lots of Me-Too-Please posters followed. So, lots of additions and a growing picture which Saravendi was neat enough to keep editing. Continue reading

Second Life: Photo Backlighting

If you have a Flickr account, you know how popular photography is in Second Life. So, photo-how-to’s are popular too. Then there are the peeps with a bit of exhibitionist in their blood posting in, How does your avatar look today?

Hamlet just posted an article with a couple of video tutorials on backlighting in Second Life. See Cassie’s Clips: How To Use Backlighting & Projectors.

Hamlet is featuring videos by Cassie Middles (Flickr URL). The video shows how to use Cynefin’s Projection Lighting Kit (L$650) (Video below). Mixed in is how to use your Windlight settings and adjust the sun to get the lighting you want.

Cassie also made a video showing how to use the resulting image and improve it. Below. Continue reading

Photoshop CC 2019

A new version of Photoshop is out. Here is a video explaining 20 of the more interesting new features. They include mention of a couple of performance improvements, which I don’t think much of… but, I will pay attention when I try the tasks next.

Some basic key operation has changed. Undo (Ctrl-Z) is one. I think the new behaviors are more logical. But, I will have to unlearn the old ways now committed to muscle memory. The changes affect a number of things. So, I’ll be bumping into them.

And there are sort of small changes that will make using PS much nicer.

Continue reading

Photoshop: Masking Impossible Hair?

Even in SL I run into this problem. The tutorials I usually see are elementary typically masking only high contrast images. This one is an exception. The basics and easy stuff is shown. But, the painful, tedious stuff is too.

Along the way there are some neat shortcuts he uses. I had to back up a couple of time for ‘How did he do that?’ things.

If you like his video, give him a thumb up on YouTube.

Photoshop Luminosity Masks – The easy way

We often spend considerable time selecting parts of images we want to change. Quite often we want to enhance the sky and clouds. Tress and other finely detailed objects in the image can make that a real time-consuming pain.

An example:

Complex Selections – Tedious and detailed

In early 2017 I was working on this image. I have since learned several ways to accomplish the selection task. All easier than what I was doing.

Following is a tutorial where Nemanja Sekulic is teaching the ‘standard’ way of creating luminosity masks. He explains what a luminosity mask is too. Nemanja assumes you know the PS basics. He is also showing you the classic method of making luminosity masks shown in most videos on YouTube. The second video her, PiXimperfect’s, shows an alternate method, which I prefer. Continue reading