Firestorm 6.4.12 Shadows for Photography

I recently saw a video about getting Firestorm Viewer’s shadows to look as good as Black Dragon’s shadows. Huh? What?

The thing they were doing is getting hair shadows to render well on the avatar face. The video (4 min) I found has horrible audio. Luca The Guide, the author, was ill the day she made the video. So, I can’t complain too much. I don’t even try to make video tutorials when I am sick.

The video did get me looking and comparing Black Dragon and Firestorm.  I launched Black Dragon (BD) and took a couple of pictures, see below. Then Launched Firestorm (FS) and took a couple.

Black Dragon – My typical environment
Firestorm – Again my typical environment

With both, I used the same projector attached to the Center of Gravity attachment point aimed at my nose and in front and above my head. Both viewers were set to use the default environment in the Bellisseria region. Both viewers were using their default shadow settings.

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Catching Up in Second Life

I have survived CoVid-19. It took me down for about 15 days. Still recovering, I easily tire. My four-mile hiking is down to a half-mile.

What I learned about CoVid-19 is there is more confusion, contradictory information, and horrible reporting. The worst information and often deliberately injurious information is coming from California and New York. Even my doctors had little information and kept saying they would have to talk to experts and get back to me when I asked questions.

Being in California I was dealing with the state’s and country’s requirements and quarantine instructions. Most annoying was the followup contact tracing. It was obvious there is a political bias in the contact tracking. They only collect information related to those facilities the state wants to close down. Information for those facilities the state wants open is not collected.

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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 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 EEP Coming… coming… soon…

The Second Life Environmental Enhancement Project (aka EEP) has taken way longer than anyone at Linden Lab thought. I suspect the reason for that is the old render engine. It is an ancient (in computer time) engine and the original programmers long ago moved on.

Linden Made Panel v6.4.0

Some problems encountered in the project lead the Lindens to bring in some specialists. They have been working on resolving some complex problems. About a month ago, I’m not following viewer development as closely as I used to and my sense of time frames is shaky, the number of problems fixed exceeded the number being reported. So, we are likely to see EEP release soon, probably in April. I’ve missed my guesses a few times now… Lindens are more optimistic.

I am more optimistic because Whirly Fizzle hasn’t found any EEP bugs recently.

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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’.

Second Life News Week #40 & 41

Flickr

There are new changes over at Flickr.

Ebbe

Ebbe Altberg, the Linden Lab CEO, talks about what investors should consider and ignore when investing in virtual reality. See Three Things to Focus On, Three Things to Ignore (Podcast).

Third-Party Dev UG Meeting

There are 4 viewers out. Plus, the main viewer. The Ordered Shout Down RC is looking good. From that I would gather it is the current likely bet for the next promotion. The Maintenance RC is doing OK. The project viewer for EEP has a couple of bugs yet to fix. New employees specializing in graphics now available to work on those. So, hopefully… A Voice RC viewer should be out next week, maybe.

Voodoo Moon

Voodoo Moon

From the Firestorm peeps, the Firestorm release is going fine. No real problems found yet. Adoption is good.

There was a discussion about BoM adoption and use. The opinion seems to be things in the fashion community are still way disorganized.

Blogger Awards

If you are looking for people that blog, vlog, or photograph Second Life then you just hit found the pot at the end of the rainbow, Ballot for the 2019 Bloggie Awards. The ballot is 38 pages of categorized URLs.

Voting is open until Oct 19, 2019. But, you have to vote in every category… tedious… before you can submit any vote.

Also included is ‘best’ at photo-friendly. So, if you are looking for places that provide interesting backgrounds and gorgeous scenery this is a handy list. Continue reading