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Tips and Tricks (and Hacks)


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I'm not sure if it's been discussed before (my apologies if it has).

One of my favorite tricks is using the zoom controls:  View > Zoom In, Zoom Default, Zoom Out (or ctrl 0,9,8 respectively) when taking pose stand and greenscreen shots to drop into a background scene later.  It flattens out the subject nicely and makes for a more balanced figure and silhouette.

It also works very well for correcting some snapshots; for instance, your subject is standing in a room inworld and the converging lines gives a sense of imbalance or vertigo.  Zoom in a couple/few clicks and the problem goes away.  :smileywink:

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Oh how marvellous! They created an Art & Photography subforum. Thank you LL!

One simple tip from me to start with - get yourself some windlight presets. It will make your photogrpahy so much better.

Ana Lutetia has some good ones here (particularly for making avatar skin look better on snapshots) and Torley has many here for great, moody skies.

I have a ton of tips for photography I could share, so I'll definetely be back here to add more :)

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I don't know if this is a trip or just a reminder for residents (as me) with a not powerful graphic card.

Usually I must use SL setting my Graphics in Low Quality. But not taking a photo!!

Many times the photo is a "static" situation, without movement of mi avatar or others avatars. So, I can compose my photo using (only for that moment) the Ultra quality. Slower, yes. But much higher quality :)

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Undoubtedly a LOT out of my depth in this particular category of forum, being a snapshot kinda gal, as opposed to artistically creative photographer, but lighting can make or break a moment, that's for sure. Arriving in the heavens and this sim looked bizarre and messy, but set to midnight, it added atmosphere.

arti 10 - arriving - lighting is everything.jpg

arti 5.jpg

But a lot is in the eye of the beholder when it comes to art, whether photographic or otherwise.  My own personal preference when taking photos of a lot of my ghost finds was the windlight presetting, Nam's skin and prim, which, to me, added an extra "cartoon" feel, exaggerating how nutty being ghosted in SL seemed, rather than being spooky!

Below example shows more of how a change of lighting can alter totally the way a photo looks.

Testing windlight settings.jpg

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Combining facial expressions

Here's an example of a quick and easy method for combining SL's default avatar facial expressions.

Find a good pose and lighting, then lock your camera and take one or two snapshots for each facial expression:

Janelle_s545_emote1.jpg

I like using the "mouth open" expression, then cancelling it and capturing a screenshot so the mouth is somehwere between wide open and fully closed.

Janelle_s545_emote4.jpg

Paint in some clenched teeth.  :smileymad:

Janelle_s545_emote2.jpg

Then grab the "sticking out tongue" expression for the narrowed eyes.

Janelle_s545_emote3.jpg

Erase the mouth area from the "sticking out tongue" layer, and...

Janelle_s545_emote5.jpg

...drop in the "clenched teeth" layer behind.

janelle_sword_2d.jpg

Then drop in the background and resume fighting dragons in some faraway land.  Or something.

:smileywink:

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Janelle Darkstone wrote:

One of my favorite tricks is using the zoom controls:  View > Zoom In, Zoom Default, Zoom Out (or ctrl 0,9,8 respectively) when taking pose stand and greenscreen shots to drop into a background scene later.  It flattens out the subject nicely and makes for a more balanced figure and silhouette.

YES!!! This is one of my alltime faves — some Residents don't realize that these zoom controls work differently than the "regular" camera zoom. It used to be possible to Zoom Out to bizarre, wide-angle degrees where the world would appear warped. That was removed because it wasn't broadly useful, but insofar as artistry, I sure did enjoy it. Zoom In a lot is kinda like sniper or binocular vision.

One of my fave things to share in recent days is: if you're a frequent SL shutterbug (or machinimatographer) and get annoyed using your hands to both position/control the camera and start/stop recording, then offload some of the work onto your feet and get a USB pedal! It's soooo much easier to simply stomp, not unlike some of those vintage cameras that had pedals for flash. I have more details here, along with mention of the SpaceNavigator which is a great timesaver for gliding into a specific angle.

 

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Torley Linden wrote:

 then
offload some of the work onto your feet and get a USB pedal!

One can also use the GlovePIE input emulator (which is free) to simply bind one of those mouse thumb buttons that SL doesn't make use of to your recording softwares start/stop key. :smileywink:

The software can, in fact, bind any input (key, axis, motion, macro, combo, etc..) from any supported input device to that of any other, and the list of supported devices is almost awe-inspiring (Kinect support very soon, if not already.. i haven't looked lately). Anything from a simple "keyboad.left = keyboard.A" to using the advanced built-in scripting engine to create your own nested loops and conditionals. I use it to bind that useless zoom toggle in the middle of my internet keyboard to the ctrl 8-9-0 zoom. I also have the left / right scroll features of my MS mouses 4-way scroll wheel bound to a bunch of other stuff as well, and I have it scripted to all turn on/off with a simple ctrl-alt-home. Endless possibilities.

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Dana Hickman wrote:

One can also use the
input emulator (which is free) to simply bind one of those mouse thumb buttons that SL doesn't make use of to your recording softwares start/stop key. :smileywink:

Ahh! I haven't heard of that before, so thanks for making me aware. Earlier, I found Microsoft's own driver software able enough to map my Intellimouse Explorer 3.0's thumb buttons to various shortcuts — it sounds like GlovePIE is wayyyy versatile, though.

 

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Janelle Darkstone wrote:

janelle_sword_2d.jpg

Then drop in the background and resume fighting dragons in some faraway land.  Or something.

:smileywink:

I love what you have done here.  Very nice with the perfect expression.

The same technique is often used to fix the "hand through skirt" artifacts.  Take one picture normally and the second without the skirt.  Then layer them with the normal shot on top, the erase just enough to expose the hand from the bottom layer.  This is something I have used but it seems so mundane compared to your marvelous creation.

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Rhonda Huntress wrote:

The same technique is often used to fix the "hand through skirt" artifacts.  Take one picture normally and the second without the skirt.  Then layer them with the normal shot on top, the erase just enough to expose the hand from the bottom layer.

That is a neat idea!  :smileyhappy:  It never occurred to me to try that with uncooperative hair.  :smileysurprised:

 

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Janelle Darkstone wrote:

 

Rhonda Huntress wrote:

The same technique is often used to fix the "hand through skirt" artifacts.  Take one picture normally and the second without the skirt.  Then layer them with the normal shot on top, the erase just enough to expose the hand from the bottom layer.

That is a neat idea!  :smileyhappy:  It never occurred to me to try that with uncooperative hair.  :smileysurprised:

 

 

I've also used this to some effect where there are issues with long flexi hair buried into the avatar body. Take one shot without the hair, then take a second shot with the hair. You have to drag the hair out of your body and take the shot (remember to position it back though!) It's not ideal becuase when you come to overlay the hair on the snap you took without the hair, parts of it will be out of position. With some clever jiggerypokery* with layering though, you can get it to work so that hair flows properly over the body in your shot.

(*techincal term for playing around with stuff in Phtoshop until it woks how you want it to work! :smileytongue: )

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Suella Ember wrote:

I've also used this to some effect where there are issues with long flexi hair buried into the avatar body.

 

In some cases I just tilt the pose stand so the hair falls (or blows) as I need it.  Depending on how things need to react to "gravity" I'll sometimes rotate the entire set.  :smileytongue:  This is some good jiggerypokery at work here!

Rotating the pose stand so the avatar is facing up is also a good way to get more detail from the avatar (if you then shift 90 degrees and snapshot from above using the entire screen width as "height").  Depends how much you need detail, I suppose.  :smileywink:

rising_400x530.png

zombiellamas_400x530.png

^^ That's a not-so-subtle attempt to get Mari to post about the pose HUDs/stands we use.

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Well, blow me down, Janelle Darkstone - I just the very same moment you were posting this had clicked the "send" button on an email to you! I'm glad you put these photos here, they were such fun to make. 

The Anypose HUD is such a lot of fun to play around with.  Ready made poses are fabulous, and you can often get the one you want on Marketplace, but often I want to be able to have my head at a slightly different angle, or bend my leg in a slightly different way, and the Anypose HUD enables you to put your avatar is any position you want, just like you can in real life.

But time sure does pass really fast when you start tweaking your bits for photos.

lyon 6.jpg

sister gail.jpg

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