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Porky Gorky

It's about time for another survey. Topic: shadows

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We've not had a survey for a while and I know you all luuuuurve a good survey. 

Today I want to know what you think about shadows. Answer the following questions please, or feel free to moan about surveys. Either is good with me.

1. Do you have shadows turned on in your viewer? If so what do you think of the shadows that your viewer displays in SL?

2. If you were to buy a tree or chair today, would you want or expect a ground shadow texture (on a prim/mesh) to be included?

3. What is your opinion about textured shadowing inside buildings? For example should the shadows from the window frames be built into the floor texture or do you think the viewer should be rendering all shadows nowadays?

4 Any other opinions or issues you have with shadowing on textures or shadows rendered by your viewer?

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1. Yes. They actually look pretty good.

 

2. I hate those ground shadow prims. I won't buy stuff that has them if I can't remove it.

 

3. They look ugly, especially with shadows on, when you wind up with conflicting shadows from the same object.

 

4. Most textured shadows are bad. Before the viewer could do shadows, they were acceptable, although I still didn't like them. These days, they only tell me the builder is on an obsolete viewer or doesn't look at their object in anything but noon light settings. Or both.

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1.  It depends on where I am, and who is there. There are a few sims where the shadows look just spectacular.  Others, not so much.  And  several sims where I turn off advanced rendering entirely, they look garish with it enabled, nice with it off.  Also, a few people with bright facelights can ruin an otherwise well lit scene.

2. I've never paid much attention to ground shadows on my furniture

3. No opinion

Mostly because of garish facelights, but also because of some of the lighting in some of sims I hang out in, I have lighting and shadows turned off.

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1. Do you have shadows turned on in your viewer? If so what do you think of the shadows that your viewer displays in SL?

   I will often have shadows turned on.  I like to use point lights with projectors in my builds. I like shadows as an ambience, an extra environmental element that makes the immersivity deeper (for me, anyway). As such, I don't closely inspect them. They do have a bit of pixellated fuzziness around the edges. They could be better, but at an additional expense of computing power I'm sure.

2. If you were to buy a tree or chair today, would you want or expect a ground shadow texture (on a prim/mesh) to be included?

   I have built shadow prims into the things I have created, but have included the ability for someone to turn them off. Not everyone can use the viewer shadows. Generally, I like things to have options like that.

3. What is your opinion about textured shadowing inside buildings? For example should the shadows from the window frames be built into the floor texture or do you think the viewer should be rendering all shadows nowadays?

   While baked on shadows in a house are an artistic addition, and helpful for someone who cannot use viewer shadows, they are not dynamic and, especially in the case of those that simulate light coming in through windows, will conflict with viewer shadows.

4 Any other opinions or issues you have with shadowing on textures or shadows rendered by your viewer?

   I like the viewer shadows. But sometimes, due to poor builds, many high poly meshes, lots of high resolution textures; rendering shadows on top of everything else within draw distance just isn't feasible.

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Ivanova Shostakovich wrote:

1. Do you have shadows turned on in your viewer? If so w
hat do you think of the shadows that your viewer displays in SL?

   I will often have shadows turned on.  I like to use point lights with projectors in my builds. I like shadows as an ambience, an extra environmental element that makes the immersivity deeper (for me, anyway). As such, I don't closely inspect them. They do have a bit of pixellated fuzziness around the edges. They could be better, but at an additional expense of computing power I'm sure.


That will create a hell lotta ugly looks if you wear one of those mesh shoes/feet/hand that come with a blending layer as the color calculation then is wrong and basically you look as stupid as if you were wearing invisiprims in deferred. Of course there's already a JIRA for this (or better was), as LL closed it with "Expected behavior due to performance reasons"! :smileyfrustrated:

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Christin73 wrote:

Shaddows are ok. I have them in my house. It looks cool to have shaddow effect with the windows.

Do you also have shadows enabled in your viewer Christin?

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I run shadows but don't use them all the time, depending on what i am doing and where I am.  I like them though,,much better than the shadow prims and baked textures.

I still use shadow prims under the furntiure i build, but they are removable and I expect as time goes on the demand for them will fade out.

Baked shadows on builds are obsolete now IMO.  I never liked them anyway since they never moved and look unrealistic at night.  Now they look even worse because mostly they conflict with the dynamic shadows.

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1. Do you have shadows turned on in your viewer? If so what do you think of the shadows that your viewer displays in SL?
Sometimes I have them on.  Shadows look quite ok (acceptable) and they add realism to the scene.

2. If you were to buy a tree or chair today, would you want or expect a ground shadow texture (on a prim/mesh) to be included?
I don't like anything (furniture, vehicles, trees, etc,) with built in shadows.  So I would expect the objects to be without made up shadows.  When you turn on shadows in the viewer the built in shadows are just a nuisance.

3. What is your opinion about textured shadowing inside buildings? For example should the shadows from the window frames be built into the floor texture or do you think the viewer should be rendering all shadows nowadays?
The viewer should take care of all shadows.

4 Any other opinions or issues you have with shadowing on textures or shadows rendered by your viewer?
The only annoying problem what I have had with shadows that I have not been able to get antialiasing to work so well (smoothly) as without shadows.  I have tried viewer's own antialiasing, I have tried graphic card's various settings overriding viewer antialiasing.  Always the antialiasing is better with shadows off than with shadows on.

(Graphics card: NVidia GeForce GTX 560 Ti/PCIe/SSE2)
(Graphics driver version: 9.18.0013.0697)

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1. Do you have shadows turned on in your viewer? If so what do you think of the shadows that your viewer displays in SL?

Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't. It depends entirely on where I am and what I am doing. I don't exactly have the most amazing pc in the world at all times(I use multiple machines and could be on any one of them at any given moment). I play it by ear.

2. If you were to buy a tree or chair today, would you want or expect a ground shadow texture (on a prim/mesh) to be included?

In most cases, yes. Though the ability to remove it if I so choose is also something I'd want. I tend to prefer mod items anyway.

On a related note..As a builder I would not exclude a (rather large imo) portion of the userbase by eliminating all prim shadows and making them rely entirely on viewer shadows if I wanted my item to have a shadow or thought it needed one. It's just a bad idea, to me. Though other builders are obviously free to do whatever they like, I see no point in not taking advantage of the system capabilities(or otherwise) of the userbase whenever possible. For instance if a seller did not want the item to be mod, they could include one with a built in shadow and one without. It just seems to be a smart business decision with such a varied audience.

3. What is your opinion about textured shadowing inside buildings? For example should the shadows from the window frames be built into the floor texture or do you think the viewer should be rendering all shadows nowadays?

I have mixed feelings. Sometimes it looks fabulous under just about any lighting. Sometimes it looks fabulous under most lighting. Sometimes only under some. Then we have the cases where it just looks bad no matter what. So again, this is situational for me.

4 Any other opinions or issues you have with shadowing on textures or shadows rendered by your viewer?

I think they both have their place and as I said, I believe merchants who use both to their advantage are in a better position than those who choose only one or the other. That's just my personal opinion of course.

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ImaTest wrote:

 

3. What is your opinion about textured shadowing inside buildings? For example should the shadows from the window frames be built into the floor texture or do you think the viewer should be rendering all shadows nowadays?

I have mixed feelings. Sometimes it looks fabulous under just about any lighting. Sometimes it looks fabulous under most lighting. Sometimes only under some. Then we have the cases where it just looks bad no matter what. So again, this is situational for me.

 

Question 3 is a real quandary for me right now and the main reason I started this thread. Like you, I try to accommodate users regardless of their hardware setup or preference for shadows, however when you are dealing with a building it's not so easy for a user to remove unwanted shadows as they are baked in, as apposed to something like a tree which is just a case of removing a prim with a shadow on. 

I'm beginning to think it may be more prudent to release 2 versions of a build, one baked and one not. So the end customer has both in the box and is free to make the choice.

Anyone aware of prefab builders that do this already?

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This question, asked six months from now, would likely get much different answers. Once Materials are in common use, people will turn on deferred rendering, and I think most will go all the way to full shadows.

Now that I have a graphics card that can render them effortlessly, I leave shadows on all the time. They're not perfect, but for me, it's universally better with them on than not.

I've been trashing stuff with baked lighting, and removing ground shadow prims when I can. The ground shadows always looked silly, but to me, baked lighting is even worse: I find it disorienting and immersion killing when it doesn't match the direction of light sources in the scene.  That's a problem even without viewer shadows, but especially with them enabled.

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1. Do you have shadows turned on in your viewer? If so what do you think of the shadows that your viewer displays in SL?

Deferred rendering is always on for me. Shadows only on those of my PCs that can handle them well. I do like SLlighting and shadows a lot, in fact I play with it a lot in my builds (which aren't meant for sale).

2. If you were to buy a tree or chair today, would you want or expect a ground shadow texture (on a prim/mesh) to be included?

No. Ground shadow looked wrong even without shadows - the only time they looked right to me was midday for about 15 minutes. :)

3. What is your opinion about textured shadowing inside buildings? For example should the shadows from the window frames be built into the floor texture or do you think the viewer should be rendering all shadows nowadays?

It depends. Simulating light from windows usually just looks wrong. On the other hand, small shadows emphasizing wood beams or cracks, akin to bumpmapping, enhance the scene IMO. Materials support should obsolete that, though it'll be years before it's widespread enough.

4 Any other opinions or issues you have with shadowing on textures or shadows rendered by your viewer?

Shadows just make a scene more believable, more real. Even with unreal places like space ships it's incredibly different if the builder has used lighting to good effect. I've rarely seen builds with spotlights but the few I've seen (and some I built) are pretty neat. About the only thing that sucks the atmosphere right out of a good build are inane facelights. Luckily there's a toggle for attached lights.

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"Do you have shadows turned on in your viewer? If so what do you think of the shadows that your viewer displays in SL?"

Absolutely.  I'm always running with full shadows, DoF, AA, and Ambient Occlusion, no matter where I am or what I'm doing, and the option to turn them off is forbidden.  To me, the realism and depth added to any scene cannot be done without.  As for the quality of said shadows, I've been using Niran's viewer since his first release and (when used with Ambient) they come crisp and clean.

"If you were to buy a tree or chair today, would you want or expect a ground shadow texture (on a prim/mesh) to be included?

No.  Every now and then when I'm out taking a few snapshots, I'll come across a 'textured' shadow, and it can be a real pain to get the scene shadows to match the 'textured' shadow's direction.  Nothing wrong with textured shadows, mind you, as they have thier advantages in certain scenes.

"What is your opinion about textured shadowing inside buildings? For example should the shadows from the window frames be built into the floor texture or do you think the viewer should be rendering all shadows nowadays?"

(see above).

Again, (especially when snapshotting within a building with a doorway or windows) I'll usually want the window's shadow cast into a room, as well as to be able to change the direction of the said shadow.

Any other opinions or issues you have with shadowing on textures or shadows rendered by your viewer?

None, but thanx for asking.

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Porky Gorky wrote:

1. Do you have shadows turned on in your viewer? If so w
hat do you think of the shadows that your viewer displays in SL?

Yes. I think they're a reasonably good implementation of c. 2007 shadow maps, which admittedly is exactly what they are. There are better ways to do shadows now, but we all know how fast LL moves.


2. If you were to buy a tree or chair today, would you want or expect a ground shadow texture (on a prim/mesh) to be included?

I hated prim shadows long before the viewer supported shadows itself.

 

 


3. What is your opinion about textured shadowing inside buildings? For example should the shadows from the window frames be built into the floor texture or do you think the viewer should be rendering all shadows nowadays?

I don't mind baked in shadows and highlights for interior lights that are part of the building, anything other than that just looks horribly wrong.

 

 


4 Any other opinions or issues you have with shadowing on textures or shadows rendered by your viewer?

 

Less is more.

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Porky Gorky wrote:

I'm beginning to think it may be more prudent to release 2 versions of a build, one baked and one not. So the end customer has both in the box and is free to make the choice.

Anyone aware of prefab builders that do this already?

I recently purchased a home from a designer that included two versions of the build, one with baked in shadows and one without.

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Charolotte Caxton wrote:

I recently purchased a home from a designer that included two versions of the build, one with baked in shadows and one without.

Who was the builder Charlotte?

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Porky Gorky wrote:

We've not had a survey for a while and I know you all luuuuurve a good survey. 

Today I want to know what you think about shadows. Answer the following questions please, or feel free to moan about surveys. Either is good with me.

1. Do you have shadows turned on in your viewer?
No.
 If so w
hat do you think of the shadows that your viewer displays in SL?

2. If you were to buy a tree or chair today, would you want or expect a ground shadow texture (on a prim/mesh) to be included?

3. What is your opinion about textured shadowing inside buildings? For example should the shadows from the window frames be built into the floor texture or do you think the viewer should be rendering all shadows nowadays?

4 Any other opinions or issues you have with shadowing on textures or shadows rendered by your viewer?

 

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I do not use shadows on my Viewer 3, no.  They look okay, but do not give enough improvement to be worth the loss of FPS.

I buy stuff with prim shadows, yes.  They look the same regardless of what viewer one uses.

I create my own shadowing since so few can do a good job of it.  As this depends on placement of furniture and lightsources, I cannot see how good shadows can be created for a one size fits all building.

 

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Porky Gorky wrote:


Charolotte Caxton wrote:

I recently purchased a home from a designer that included two versions of the build, one with baked in shadows and one without.

Who was the builder Charlotte?

Scarlet Creative (Charlotte Bartlett)

The Vintage Petite

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Porky Gorky wrote:

Why don't you use shadows Phil. 

Afraid of the dark?

:)

Shadows can only be turned on if the graphics level as high enough - halfway between Mid and High. I've recently gone down from 100Mb BB to 30Mb and, at 30Mb, with the lowest graphics level that can use shadows, movement becomes slightly less smooth with shadows on.

Besides, I don't move around much in SL so there's no point in having shadows on for me.

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Porky I asked the same questions a while back as there are now so many different viewers / set up / machine grades etc it was hard to know where to pitch a model.

The link kindly put above was one example I took forward.   Both techinically are baked, but one with visible sunlight and the other with just soft lighting and a little AO and bump mixed in.  Both have used global illumination to create a little more "interest" into the materials.    I also did the meshing so people can retexture the build per their own preferences.

One model I scripted the baked lighting to come on and off - but it was a LOT of work (and I was worried about having scripts all over the place) on a complex build hence I went to the two model option.  I may switch back to the scripted option once I have more time to test the performance.

I think this will change again once we have normal maps etc but for now people have been quite positive to the two options so hope this helps you for your own choices :)

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