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Penny Patton

Getting Better Camera Placement In the SL Viewer

11 posts in this topic

This is in the old Blogorum archivem but the community search doesn't seem to find those so I'm reposting this to keep it more visible for all residents.

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Camera placement is important. In the videogame industry this is common wisdom. Game developers spent decades experimenting, improving and pretty much perfecting the art of camera placement in 3D videogames.

Unfortunately, the SL camera does not take advantage of any of that experience. As a result, the camera sits way over your avatar’s head, angled down. Not very immersive or engaging. More like you’re watching a character from afar rather than interacting with the world through them.

This has also affected how we build. It’s common knowledge that avatars are generally oversized, often close to 7 or 8′ tall, some pushing almost 9′. And yet, the environments we build and explore are larger still, often fully double scale compared to real life. 5m high ceilings instead of the more typical 2.59, 20x20m rooms instead of 10x10m or 5x5m rooms. We need to build so much larger to compensate for SL’s camera.

Some will point out that you need to compensate for any third person view. This is correct, however with a proper 3rd person view you’d only really be affected by a room as small as about 2x3m, like a bathroom or walk in closet. You’d easily be able to navigate a 5x5m apartment with a typical 2.59m high ceiling.

The irony of all this up-scaling is that it makes SL smaller. We can’t re-size our land to match, afterall, so we either need to buy more or settle for a “smaller” build.

These up-scaled builds also eat more of our alotted prims. A 20x20m room might take 16 prims where the same room done to 10x10m scale takes up only 1/4th the land area and can be done in a mere 6 prims (or even 3 prims if you build as efficiently as possible) because you don’t bump heads with that 10x10x10m prim size limit.

So here you are. Alternate camera settings you can easily enter into the viewer’s debug panel to get a better look at Second Life.



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CameraOffsetDefault (In Viewer 1 based viewers, including TPVs like Ascent/Phoenix/Imprudence)

CameraOffsetRearView (In Viewer 2 including TPVs such as Kirstens, Starlight and Catznip)
X: -2.000
Y: -0.400 (Make positive for a left shoulder view or keep 0.000 for a centred view.)
Z: -0.200





FocusOffsetDefault (In Viewer 1 based viewers, including TPVs like Ascent/Phoenix/Imprudence)

FocusOffsetRearView (In Viewer 2 including TPVs such as Kirstens, Starlight and Catznip)
X: 0.900
Y: -0.700 (Make positive for a left shoulder view or keep 0.000 for a centred view.)
Z: 0.200

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In addition, Viewer 2.1 on up supports multiple camera presets in the form of "Rear View", "Front View" and "Side View". The settings I name above are to overwrite your rear view, which is the default setting SL will always revert to. You can also overwrite the Front and Side views with whatever camera settings you find useful.

 

To find the other debug settings replace the "RearView" portion of the name with "FrontView" or "GroupView" to alter the front and side view camera presets. In your View window in the SL viewer you can switch between these views with the press of a button.

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Penny, do you know if there's any way to alter depth of focus, too?  I've noticed it in Kirstens Viewer, that there's near focus and far focus states for the camera--with some pretty cool effects that result.  Is there a V2.x debug setting that affects that or is it a feature of Kirstens Viewer?

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Now, are you talking about the "Depth of Field" effect LL recently introduced with the mesh beta viewer? Kirsten's has it too. the one where the camera focus makes foreground and background items blurry?

Or do you mean the camera angle effect you can adjust with ctrl+8/9/0 to narrow your view to tunnel vision or widen it like a fish-eye lense?

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Govindira Galatea wrote:

Penny, do you know if there's any way to alter depth of focus, too?  I've noticed it in Kirstens Viewer, that there's near focus and far focus states for the camera--with some pretty cool effects that result.  Is there a V2.x debug setting that affects that or is it a feature of Kirstens Viewer?

It's a feature in the Mesh Beta Viewer (that KL has used) that is not available in the current version of Viewer 2.  Sadly it is not available as a debug setting yet, I looked a few weeks back .  Hopefully it will appear soon.

 

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Depth of field, depth of focus, same thing so far as I know.  Kirstens viewer, near and far field apparent focus/out-of-focus, depending on what the camera pivot is.  Thank you both for replying.  :-)

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@Penny Patton!
You should include a link to the thread in the old Forum. That thread is most useful:)

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I was never able to find a way how. All links I've found to the old forum post are broken now. I did a search of the archive some time ago and couldn't find it that way, either.

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Is there a JIRA entry for this?  As a OS developer myself, I might consider creating a patch to change to new defaults (should be trivial) but a JIRA for that specific feature would be needed first. :matte-motes-smile:

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I thought I would mention that people can also zoom out the camera, which I am not sure if you settings do.

Ctrl+8 will zoom out, if you really don't want to go into setings and move the zoom slider a bit. This gives you a wider angle of view. We have a rathar large one in real life, though I will add that things stretch a slight bit at the edges, because this mimics a camera. The one they chose is usually the recomended for showing things in scale in 2D phtograph. But, you do get a more vast looking sim and can still interact well in regular camera mode or mouselook.

So, this might help us with scale and also can help especially in mouselook mode! Which also can have the avatar turned on in, since some do like to see thier avatar moving and doing it's motions.

Of course, a VR helmet would be nice!

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Simply fabulous, Penny. Thanks for the information. This stuff should really be exposed in a settings screen, rather than stuffed away in a debug setting.

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