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 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 Images/Pictures

The Lab has a very interesting image on display in  Home > Blogs > Inworld > Second Life Pic of the Day 02.06.2020. I found it interesting because of the avatar poses.

From Second Life’s Blog

Getting poses is sometimes hard. In some cases, one has to make their own. I suspect Madd Flair did some manual posing to get this shot. Or it could be built into the coaster, I have not checked. However, it looks very posed, unusual for built-in poses.

I doubt the image is taken from the Black Dragon viewer. Would be nice if they said. However, Black Dragon gives a ‘prettier’ render by default, thus my doubt.

From the How’s your avatar look today? thread Scylla Rhiadra spun off the thread Making Avatars Look Good in Black Dragon! Share Your Hints and Advice! (Link) This thread explains how people get those perfectly posed shots you have been wondering about.

NiranV the author of Black Dragon has been posting in the thread, so there is some good information and ‘how-to’.

The FaceApp and Second Life

Browsing a Second Life™ Forum thread I was impressed with a photo by SL resident Opal Gustafson.

Opal Gustafson – The Smile

What a cute avatar (click to enlarge). CLICK… gotta like that one. A bunch of other people liked it too. Started a bit of a thing.

Seicher Rae saw it and commented none of her heads or AO’s had such a smile. Hmmmm… neither do mine. Seicher asked how she got the avatar to smile like that. The answer was FaceApp. The smile was made in post-processing, not in SL.

I have seen what I thought were SL avatars will big smiles. Even some profile pictures with smiling faces. Now I know where they come from.

So, what is FaceApp and where does one get it? It is an app for mobile devices. Google Play and Apple Store. Free and paid versions available.

If you know how to move images between your mobile device and your desktop the quick way to get these smiles is to put the app on your device and moves files back and forth. Continue reading

Where is the Porn? Erotic? Just Sexy? A view from Second Life

Whether in RL or Second Life™ people are interested in beauty and beautiful things. I am of the opinion SEX and the sexy can be beautiful… gorgeous, and/or stimulatingly erotic. Sex can also be crude, vulgar, and/or violent. While often being an expression of caring or love, flipping the coin over we know it can also be devoid of any caring for another and totally about self-centered gratification and control.

Gallant: Spring Romance (Photo 4)

Gallant: Spring Romance (Photo 4)

Whatever the case, it is hard to classify art as either erotic or pornographic. Those issues rage worldwide. You can decide what is which. I don’t care how you decide. Just don’t load your opinions on me. I just want to see what I consider titillating erotic art. Preferably without gallons of dripping body fluids. But sometimes that is just what I want. Continue reading

What is Second Life’s Focus Magazine?

FOCUS Magazine

FOCUS Website

If you like looking at pictures of Second Life™ or making them or want to learn how to make them, Focus Magazine will likely be of interest. If you are posting SL images to Flickr then it is very likely of interest, as they have a group on Flickr named, I’m too sexy for this group. And a similar group name in SL, Too sexy for this group (SLURL).

It is a monthly magazine published in SL. You can also find it on the web at FOCUS Second Life. To subscribe to the in-world magazine join the SL group. Angela Thespian and PINK (PinkLady2) are the owners of the SL group. People are often posting links to Flickr images in the group’s chat.

The group is pretty active all week. It picks up on weekends.

Flickr Group

Interesting Stuff

If you want the current issue of the magazine, join the group and ask Angela to send you a copy.

The magazine has the events-schedule for the month, 2 or 3. This includes their photography classes.

They now have a gallery in-world, FOCUS Magazine building (Map URL). There are the gallery and classroom. It is a very modern gallery-feel build. Well done.

I encourage the Too Sexy people to join in the SL Form thread, How does your avatar look today? and vice-versa.

Bits and Bites of Second & Real Life 2019 w07

Focus Magazine is for those of us that enjoy taking snapshots in-world. This issue their featured Second Life™ photographer is Sari. Some of her nice images are in the magazine.

Cover Focus Magazine – Feb 2019

The magazine covers things related to SL photographers’ interests. Some homes and stuff, clothes, poses, backdrops, photo locations, skins, places, and even an advice column.

You can join the group Too Sexy for This Group to get your monthly copy. This group is the complimentary part of the Flickr group Too Sexy for this Group! Second Life. These are sexy groups. Less lewd and more erotic than most.

The Linden event Special Valentine’s Day Hug and Dunk has been announced, Wednesday 2/6. See the announcement here. On Thursday, February 14th from 10am-12pm, drop by the Isle of View (SURL) for a chance to hug and/or dunk some Lindens.

Russia – By April 1 of this year the Russian government plans to have taken full control of the Internet within Russia and to test that control by disconnecting the Russian Internet from the rest of the world. There is no announced date for the disconnect. It is a test and the connection will be restored. But, for a time Russians will be isolated. (Ref BBC)

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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