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[TIP] *experimental* depth of field camera blur effect... / @ @ \

Torley Linden


My Tips & Tricks are directly influenced by what you — Residents of Second Life — ask for (my inbox, comments, the forums, inworld itself) because useful + fun knowledge has a massive effect on your inworld experience. From "I wish I knew that earlier!" basics to "This should be a supported feature..." esoterica, it's my call of duty to keep you covered. I'm like your Vault Boy in times of the post-apocalypse, know what I'm sayin'?


Inevitably, I received requests to teach you (as a fellow artiste, hehe) how to do the experimental depth of field (DOF) effect that was introduced into a cutting-edge build of the Mesh Viewer. (Thanks for the heads-up, Runitai!) Long ago, I had a manual tutorial on such a thing, and while this feature doesn't let you get hearts-and-stars bokeh, it's still snazzy and BUILT RIGHT IN. Whether you take photos or make movies in Second Life or just want a more "gamelike" experience — since a DOF shader effect is in many hot titles, including the impressively bleak Metro 2033 that I recently soldiered through... "ARTYOM! SHSHSHSHHH" — depth of field is pretty. But it's not just eye candy, because creative expression is an ultimate power.

So yeah, obligatory video so you can cut through the claptrap and get to the good stuff:


Big red disclaimer that THIS IS PROTOTYPE, Resident-contributed videos, text instructions and more tips are on this help page, feel free to edit it. Make it awesomer. Let's show the world what we can do. You know the thrill:

Depth of field (DOF) help page

post ur pix and vids in comments plz ^^



Trivia: there are 6 references to games that use DOF above. Spot them all.


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Hey, if you play around with those settings, and set a low F-stop and high focal length, it should be possible to create a tilt-shift-like effect (you know, so that things appear to be really tiny). Somebody should try that! (not me, I can't run this, I'm sure) Should be cool!

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Thanks Torley!

I was going to refer a new resident using V2 to the wiki for info on how to take snapshots but then I realized the current page still refers to the 1.x series of viewer.  It would be great to have V2 specific information as well for the noobs. I'm sure it's on your very long to do list and I know residents can update those wiki pages but you're so good at it ... /me laughs and runs away.

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Thanks for posting this Torley. Sadly, my old Mac seems to be a bit too old to see the effect. Is there any information on minimum graphics card capabilities needed to see depth of field? For instance, if your graphics card is too weak to render shadows, you can't see it? Or is it that some other option needs to be turned on (like antialiasing)?

Regardless, shadows and depth of field are starting to make me think it's time to splurge on a new graphics card!

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Thanks Steve for pointing out that the latest mesh-development viewer build isn't the 2.4.0 version that is referred to in the video. How come that the 215872 build of the mesh-development branch is a 2.4.0, but the later builds (215879, 215883) are 2.1.2? ^^

Edit: The DOF effect is pretty cool, but what I find even more amazing are the texture projectors with realtime shadows - which are actually pretty fast and accurate The shadows are working quite nicely for me in this build in general.

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This is a really cool feature. I've been playing around with it for a few days, and generally like it a lot.

There is one thing I don't like about it. When you use a Space Navigator in flycam mode and move close to an avatar or an object, the object or avatar becomes blurry and whatever is in the background becomes sharp. I know you get the camera to focus by hovering the mouse over the objects you want in focus, but it still seems a bit wrong, especially when you first enter flycam mode and start flying around without moving the mouse pointer. The logical thing, it seems to me at least, would be to focus on foreground objects by default in this situation. This would also make it less necessary to mouse around the screen while using the fly cam.

Still; A great feature that I hope make it in to the regular viewer really soon!

- Luc -

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Hey Torley! Great Tip for machinamakers! That´d be cool for dramatic effects!

That link from the Wiki goes to Second Life 2.1.2 (215879) Dec  2 2010 11:19:36 (Second Life Developer), wich isn´t the same you have downloaded. I think one should get the Second_Life_2-4-0-215872_ProjectViewer-Mesh_Setup.exe to make it works. To get it one has to click on one of the Old Builds links below, or click HERE.

As for the trivia, I leave below my educated guess:

Mass Effect
Call Of Duty
Metro 2033

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Here are a few Snapshots using Camera Controls as noted.  See the NoteCard in the Snapshot for the camera setting for CameraCoC, CameraFNumber and CameraFocalLength.  The longer Focal Length does create a shorter depth of field, as well as making the CoC a bit smaller (0.30 as with 35mm file) The focus is either on the foreground object (cylinder) or in the distance (corner of the gridwall)  One thing seems the change from blurr to sharp image seems more abrupt from a blurry foreground


See this Jira  VWR-19244 for a discussion of this concept.  The Camera control settings work slightly differently than envisioned in that Jira.








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  • Lindens

Friendly greetings awesome Residents!


@Daedalus Ah yes, I LOVE how tilt-shift looks, I should try that with some monster trucks in SL. I did this tilt-shift experiment long ago:


@Steve The build I was using AND NEWER (as long as DOF is in it) should work. I see that confusion with the version numbers, so try this link instead to get "2.4.0 (215872)". Thanks for pointing that out.

@Joshooah I apologize I have no allocated time/plans for updating the massive "Taking snapshots" page, but anyone who wants to replace the old 1.x references should feel free.

@Opensource Excellent, I also added info about the DOF debug settings from davep/Runitai Linden himself!

@Loraan Let me see if I can get those details from Runitai. Also, antialiasing conflicts with these graphical effects, but changes to antialiasing are being worked on.

@Ochi Version numbers are confusing and I hope in good time, DOF will be included in the "regular" Mesh Viewer download so that trickiness becomes a moot point. Projectors are amazing for 70s-style psychedelic dance parties.

@Luc I haven't tried DOF with SpaceNavigator that way yet, but I shall. Thanks for bringing that up.

@Uni Right on! I've had "hit and miss" experiences too as I learn how to use DOF hands-on — what counts is you had fun, and it sure sounds like it.

@Leal Thanks for those examples! I'm glad you had requested DOF preemptively.

And I've noticed transparent particles and some objects can make DOF behave weirdly.

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This is such a great feature. I actually spent several hours the night before this blog post working on faking a DOF effect in After Effects so this new addition is more than appreciated. I have to say though, I'm equally as excited about being able to finally see shadows on my Mac. I wasn't sure this day would ever come but here it is and it's a fine day indeed. I am getting some odd results though depending on which computer I'm using.

On my Macbook Pro (i7 2.66GHz), shadows and DOF work perfectly. The frame rate is really low however but hey I'll take it! On my Mac Pro, an older 8-core (MacPro2,1 - 3GHz Intel Xeon) running an ATI Radeon HD 4870, the DOF works fine but shadows aren't rendering. I'm getting what almost looks like a giant Gobo projection over everything for some reason. I'm not complaining but I thought this might be of interest in case there are still some tweaks that can be made before it goes live. Also, if anyone has any suggestions for tweaking things on my end, I'm all ears.

Ok, so I tried my hand at recreating the tilt shift effect with the DOF settings but my results were mixed. Here's as close as I managed to get. Thanks again LL for this awesome new feature!



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While this is a cool feature, it is impossible to build with it. LL needs to add an off option somewhere. Going to debug setting is not a supported feature and if this is going to go into the main viewer, there need to be an off option and be set to off by default. Again, I want to say that I love this feature when I'm just hanging out. If you are shopping or building, this feature is a nighmare.

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Definitely needs an off option.  While I assume it's great for photography and machima (I don't do either), it breaks immersion and is a nightmare for building.  In RL my eyes adjust focus when I look at something different, so I'm unaware of any areas being out of focus unless I seek them.  With default settings, I'm constantly aware that my avatar is out of focus.

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@ Daedalus Young There is a way ro cheat if you want to create tilt shift images in Second Life. Use the Focus-Blur plugin for Gimp. This pluign can also be used to create the DOF effect for those whose PC isn't top end enough for the inbuilt DOF shader in the mesh viewer.

Here's a little example of a tilt shift image I created a while ago using the plugin, (it allows greater control than using the viewer):

Dublin-Tilt-Shift a.png

I have a few tutorials on my blog on how to use the Focus-Blur plugin to create the depth of field effect and how to create tilt shift images: Wu Gallery (exuse the shameless self promotion, but its seems relevant).

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I am having an issue where no matter what I do, the final snapshot does NOT show what I snapped with the depth of field.


Anyone know why this is? It just autocorrects the blury parts. It's very frustrating as I have some AMAZING shots ruined by the effect.

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Hi ^^ As a photographer in SL I work with DOF and lights and shadows too. I think this feature is really great and it makes the photos more realistic then ever before. Here 2 excamples of my works :

Annabel in the city.jpg

Annabel in the city


Coffee and white vine.jpg

Coffee and white vine

Created with Firestorm and GIMP

I love to work with it :-)



@ Cori: maybe you have to switch off antialiasing in the preferences. Antialiasing and DOF (or Lights and Shadows) don't work together. Hope this will help you :-)

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It still does not work for me. I can see it, play with it, but can't photograph it. Is there possible a tutorial or something somewhere?


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Tommy do you mind telling me whta you're firestorm graphic settings are for each tab? I'll match yours and see if that helps me at all.

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Hi Cori,

I use the highest settings for photos, ultra with all settings switched to highest levels.

In DOF i use the setting I need right in the moment for the pic, every pic is different.

Maybe you have to update your grafic-card-driver? I had to do it. After the update everything

worked right.

 Here is the link to DOF in wiki:


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I have it set to ultra and I did indeed try to update my video card but to no avail.  I was told that I needed Kristen's viewer to properly get it to work but her site is sending mixed messages. It says it's discontinued but they are continuing. Not sure what's going on there. So..guess I'll keep searching.


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