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How Second Life Light Wreaks Havoc on Your Face (And What to do About It)


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All Second Life Avatars (short of mesh headed ones) have a flaw. In some lightings the flaw is revealed for the horrific sight it is, in others it's concealed. I'm talking about smile lines, the biggest affront to avatar beauty that you simply can't do anything about. There are two things that can make an avatar ugly. One of them is entirely user-controlled (how the user configures the face and body sliders in Edit Appearance.) The other is completely out of user-control (the fatal flaw found emanating down from the sides of your nose.) Let's show the problem before highlighting the solution. You would think that Ultra Graphics would show your avatar in the best lighting, the best graphics, the best...err   everything, right? Wrong. Ambient Occlusion and Advanced Lighting RUIN your avatar's face, although they make the sky and the general landscape look wonderful. Not a trade-off I'm willing to make, honestly.


(Here is my face on Ultra Graphics using CalWL settings)

Ultra Crappy!


Pretty disgusting, right? I agree. This shouldn't happen. Those lines are part of the shape of my avatar and no matter how I change the sliders they won't go away. I could fool around with my face sliders all day and not get rid of them, unless I made my nose gigantic enough to cover the lines, which nobody in their right mind would do.

Now if you're a Firestorm user, you may be aware that you can change your Sky Settings to some custom pre-installed Windlights (fancy name for sky settings). I normally use CalWL because it tends to not cast harsh shadows on my face. However, bad sky settings are not the only culprit against your face looking good. Local lights also have tendencies of showing the smile lines flaw. The next picture clearly shows this.

(On Mid-Level Graphics with Local Lights ON. A little better, but still shows those disgusting lines.)

Local lights on (Mid graphics)_002.jpg


Now, finally, the cure. To get your avatar looking the best it can possibly look I recommend Mid-level graphics and those evil, evil local lights turned off. I also recommend getting Firestorm, if you don't have it already, and changing your Sky Settings using the Environment Editor. After this last picture I will post some of my favorite Windlights on Firestorm that show your avatar in flawless lighting (given those pesky local lights are turned off.)

(Perfection: Mid-Level Graphics with Local Lights OFF on CalWL Sky settings.)

Local lights off (Mid graphics)_005.jpg


Here's the Windlights that put your best face forward: CalWL, Nam's Optimized Skin & Prim, Nam's Optimized Skin 2, Ambient Grey, Nam's Beach Scene.

Here's some places with native region settings that put your best face forward: Giggles Beach, Essences & {S0NG} Mainstore, Noodles Mainstore, Insilico, and Magic of Trance Club.

Never settle for less than perfect lighting for your avatar. Let others know about this, too. Until SL deals with the issue of these lines as a part of our shapes, we can do nothing but hide the flaw.

(How we were all meant to look) V


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VioletCities wrote:

Ambient Occlusion and Advanced Lighting RUIN your avatar's face, although they make the sky and the general landscape look wonderful.

It's not the Ambient Occlusion nor the Advanced Lighting Model which show the ugly lines on the sides of the nose. It's just the Windlight setting and the time of the day. Some Windlights show the lines, some don't.

The proof:


Advanced Lighting Model: on; Ambient occlusion: on; Shadows: on.

(I forgot what Windlight setting that place used.)

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Thats a matter of personal preferences. The OP's priority is the face and mine is the quality of teh whole scene.

CalWl and Nam's WL settings destroy the atmosphere of many places, so thats absolutely no general solution.
I made a few own WL settings (which work with every viewer including LL btw.) I use for different situations. The lines in the face I have to live with in some scenarios.
In general the WL settings with a high ambient lighting and few directional lighting will make the lines vanish, but that settings are not good for all places.
Facelights will help too but I switched them off and will not see them since the side effects are one of the worst annoyances of SL.

Whatever someone will do, I will not see it. :D I have my own solution and settings.

Shared experience - why did that come to my mind? :D

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On a side note, it's not the lighting in SL that's the problem, it's the avatar mesh model. Certain lighting just emphasizes the flaws in the model. LL should have fixed/replaced the avatar mesh long ago. And by that I mean, when they first started, they should have hired an artist to handle things like this instead of leaving it up to programmers with spare time.

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UncommonTruth wrote:

Sorry I guess I haven't looked back in in a few days so I didn't see your query lol. You can dowload additional windlights, google pulls up tons of them. I beleive I've downloaded Strawberry Sigh's and Torley's. Sooo, if it's not in there already, you can find it 

Thank you for posting that! I was wondering about that too.

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