Photoshop 2020 June Update & Tips

Adobe has released a new set of updates. For those of us in Second Life, there isn’t a lot to get excited about in this update. There is enough to be interesting.

I suspect the most useful update in Photoshop is to the Select Subject feature. Jesús thinks its better. The example used in the video… leaves me undecided. I’ll have to get some experience with it before I decide. I suspect he is right. And the Adobe examples do make it look better than Jesús’ example.

On to the updates…

Lens Blur – They have improved this feature too. I often use it. The viewer’s Depth of Field does some nice blurring on its own. While the viewer’s DoF is simple and more than adequate, Photoshop’s Lens Blur is awesome… and complex offering many controls.

If I think I want to blur a background, foreground, or combination of the two in a photo I’ll snap both a Color and Depth image. Then I use Lens Blur to get the look I want.

It will let you blur just background, just foreground, or some combination of both. One uses the Set Focal Point in the tool to select what is in focus. That selects a shade of gray in the depth map to consider in focus and progressively blurs other levels of gray as they go darker or lighter.

Watch this video to see a comparison between the old and new Select Subject and some other features.

Select Object– This is now a tool in the tool’s pallet. It is different than the Select Subject tool. Adobe explains the difference this way:

The Object Selection tool is useful when you only need to select one of the objects or part of an object within an image that contains multiple objects. While the Select Subject command is designed to select all the main subjects in the image.

From Adobe Make Quick Selections

I was annoyed that it was often hard to find Select Subject when working in an image. I had to select some specific selection tool to get access to Select Subject. The first thing I find when I go looking for this ‘Object’ tool is that I don’t have it. So, off to find out why. Adobe explains how to find it here.

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Second Life: Moving/Positioning Avatars

In 2013 Strawberry Singh posted a couple of articles (here & here) about positioning and moving avatars when setting up snapshots. This was needed for those areas where you do NOT have rez rights. Over time viewer upgrades broke those processes.

Avatar Positioning with Black Dragon

Every so often I would check to see if the problems with those processes had been fixed. With Firestorm 6.3.9 (May 2020 release date) I can move the avatar again sort of with her process.

Strawberry explained the process for moving your avatar. (Ref)

  • Open the Develop menu. Top menu, press Ctrl-Alt-Q to reveal it.
  • Then enable Develop->Avatar->Character Tests->Allow select avatar.
  • Press Ctrl-3 to open the Build Panel.
  • Right-click the avatar. Move arrows appear. Move.

Here is a video showing how it used to work. If you have a mesh avatar, right-clicking the avatar likely is not going to work. Instead, you have to right-click on your name tag. Then it works.

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Second Life: Black Dragon’s Poser

How does it work?

Cassie Middles made a 12-minute video tutorial showing how to use it. It is sort of a “Poser” beginner’s tutorial. Not every feature of the Poser is covered. The important stuff regarding posing for pictures is the focus.

Black Dragon Viewer’s Poser

I think it is a nice video. The intro is a bit long but that seems to be a YouTube fad.

She skipped the save-a-pose features. They are intuitive so no biggie.

Before clicking MORE… the next page is not entirely safe for work.

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Second Life: What Improved Camera Controls?

The Linens have released Second Life Release 6.4.2.541639 – Camera Presets. See the Release Notes for all the details.

It took me a second to figure out which camera they were talking about. Well, there is only one camera in the viewer. There are a number of ways to look at it. So…

Graphics Settings – these controls in Preferences->Graphics do control the camera. I suspect most of us think of these settings as controlling the render engine, which they do. But the render engine is the camera. So, most of the labels tend toward describing what we are doing with it.

This isn’t what changed.

Snapshot Panel – I tend to think of this as more the camera than Graphics Settings. This, also, is not what changed.

SL Viewer’s Improved Camera Controls

Camera Controls – This is the thing they changed. I almost never use it. I consider it the newbie thing. I use and Alt-LM-click-drag and Ctrl-ALT-LM-click-drag to control my “camera”. My last guess as to what changed was this.

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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.

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Second Life Name Changes

As of April 13, 2020, we have last names… again. The Name Change feature has gone live. The Lindens say it is WAY more popular then even the most optimistic Lindens expected. At US$39.99 per change, I am surprised. But there is ten years of demand stacked up. So, I probably shouldn’t be.

Isles-of-Scotland - Aaaaw
Isles-of-Scotland – Aaaaw

If you haven’t heard the feature is live, check out the official announcement, Now Available: Last Names in Second Life.

The interesting bit of news in this regard is from the Third-Party Devs’ user group meeting. It was suggested that a Premium Member be allowed to change their alt’s name via their Premium account. It would be a PITA to have to take an alt to Premium, change the name, then revert to basic… and expensive.

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Second Life’s Firestorm Viewer April 2020

Everyone is interested in when Firestorm will release a new viewer with the EEP feature. Me too. However, it isn’t urgent for me as I may use the new Linden EEP viewer for a bit as it is said to have a really low crash rate. Something that has been an issue for me with this version of Firestorm. But, I am addicted to some Firestorm tools that keep me coming back to Firestorm.

The Takeoff
The Takeoff – Shergood’s EC-135

Whirly Fizzle says Firestorm has just branched their code tree. This is something they do in preparation for releasing a new version. Sort of a feature and fix lock to allow items in the build to be cleaned up so it is ready for release. They stop adding stuff in. The new stuff goes into the new branch of programing code.

I am usually overly optimistic about Firestorm release dates, but I’ll say probably in the next 2 to 4 weeks.

NOTE: Flying often results in a crash from network and region issues. This version of Firestorm has contributed its share of crashes often poofing and dropping me to desktop. So, I am looking forward to the coming Firestorm update with the hope the crash rate improves.

Second Life Viewer News 4/23

There are some interesting bits of news floating around. Nothing spectacular.

In The Wastelands

Viewers

We now have Linden viewers with controls and intelligence for the new Premium Levels and EEP. The release of EEP is a big deal as it has been holding other viewer releases back. With its release we will see new versions of the viewer releasing faster.

The way the Lab develops software is to release a viewer version. Then add all its features to the other release candidates. This merge often causes problems that have to be resolved. Other viewers were held back so EEP could finish and release by having fewer problems to resolve.

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