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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The Firestorm Viewer and EEP

EEP is the Enhanced Environment Project. I consider this a step in the Lindens rebuild of the render engine. Whatever it is, the Firestorm team has released a Beta version of their viewer with EEP.

Photoshop Play Time

Beta, in this case, means the software is not yet ready for prime time. It also means it is your choice as to whether you install this version. And for those of you using a version three versions back, this does not count as one of the three allowed versions. So, you aren’t going to have that 3rd old version blocked from the grid. Yet…

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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’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 News Week #42

General Second Life News

BoM

See the feature… change… request BUG-227585[BOM] Display the new Universal wearables between the Skin and the Tattoos ones.

Gael Streeter (of GA.EG products) has pointed out a possible problem with the use of the Universal Layer added with BoM, Bakes on Mesh.

As it is now, most are familiar with the original Classic layers provided by the SL system pre-BoM and pre-Mesh, Skin, Tattoo, Underwear, and Clothes. These stacked respectively from bottom to top. Each layer could cover the layer below.

10,000 Hours

10,000 Hours

The Universal Layer added a new layer between the Tattoo and Underwear layers. The order of layers doesn’t seem all that important as layers other than skin can be used for any purpose. The problem comes in how people think of the layers and figure out how to use them. So, using a tattoo layer for anything other than a tat is confusing until one learns what is going on.

Skin makers for bodies and heads have run into the problem of adding shiny and wet looks. With the Universal above the Tattoo layer, things get a bit complicated and require way more textures and layer-items to get the look possible if the Universal were moved down one layer.

Think of it as a tat maker having to make their tats for the Tattoo, Universal, Underwear, and possibly the clothes layer so we can dress as we want and stay mix and match. Continue reading

Firestorm 6.3.2 Released – BoM is here!

Firestorm has their new viewer out as of 1 AM (SLT?) Oct 1, 2019. The announcement is here Firestorm 6.3.2 Released. This is a major update and good news for Second Life™ users. However, it is a mess for OpenSim users as this version crashes OpenSim servers. It is explained in the FS announcement.

BoM Viewer Comparison

This version of Firestorm is a mix of current Linden Viewer features and features from RC versions of the Linden Viewer. So, this would be a viewer actually ahead of the Linden Viewer feature and bug-fix-wise. That hasn’t happened in a long time.

This version is a must-have update. Without this update, you will start to see avatars with blue and yellow textures poking through their skin and clothes. Over time the problem will get worse as more people move to BoM attire. Fortunately, most of the third-party viewers have implemented BoM support. Singularity does not yet have BoM support. I think it may be the only one. Continue reading

Second Life News Week #39

General News

Blender 2.80 released a few weeks back. I am waiting for AvaStar to update before seriously trying to use it. And now I see a version 2.81 is planned for release in November 2019.

Blender Nation is doing a series of articles and videos that show the planned new features in 2.81. Look for the Blender development watch.

Bea's Portrait

Bea’s Portrait

Photoshop  updated and added new features recently. See What New? There is nothing that will be earthshattering for Second Life™ designers. There are features that will make those into SL Photography happy.

What’s Next – The Lab has a blog post up on what is coming for Second Life. See What’s Next for Linden Lab? There are notable changes to Sansar. The Lab says they are ‘reimagining’ Sansar. See Your World Is Waiting: The Makers Of Second Life Reimagine Sansar As An Immersive Destination For Gaming, Commerce & Live Events. I didn’t get how this ‘reimaging’ is different from the initial ‘imagining’. Whatever… If you haven’t been in Sansar for a while, it may be time to look again.

Move to Cloud – The What Next article (above) touches on what is happening with the move to the cloud. Inventory and the maps-website have already been moved to the cloud. Continue reading