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Hi All,

I've been in SL for about a year and a half and am very interested in doing some photography.  I've started doing some here and there, but really want to know what things have helped you take your photography to the next level? I love shooting on creative sims, so Im not really looking for much in way of studio advice (yet). Any products that you've bought that are must haves? Any advice? Models? Everything is much appreciated.

 

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Yay! Photography can be a lot of fun, and there are lots of ways to approach it.

First thing I would recommend is considering your viewer. If you are using LL viewer, you may consider switching to a 3rd Party Viewer that offers more flexibility with graphic and windlight adjustments! I personally use Black Dragon, because I get unreasonably excited for good Depth-of-Field controls lol! Also there is a built in poser, extreme graphic settings and many other helpful tools for photographers/machinamists.

It sounds like you are mostly interested in doing Landscape and Location photography! You are already going to be saving time and money if you are not doing portrait photography. The investment for modeling can go through the roof if you fall into the hole of "Fashion Blogging", constantly paying out for new gacha outfits to take new photosets! This means you really need to be more concerned with investing time rather than money! At the very least, keep a couple well-dressed friends in reserves for when you want to add a body or two to your compositions ;-)

For someone just starting out, I would recommend simply experimenting as much as possible and see what sticks! Take pictures of everything! Experiment with Windlight settings and shadows! Take pictures to your desktop and use tools to process and edit your images! Upload your creations to Flickr! Grab a random-teleport script and cruise around the grid for interesting locations you might not have thought to photograph! Take advantage of your natural creativity and have fun with it ( ̄▽ ̄)

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Honestly, you don't NEED to buy anything unless you want to invest in making your own poses for posed photography. I spent an obnoxious amount on the LumiPro HUD, which is fantastic, but 9/10 times I'm rezzing out prims and making my own projectors that way regardless. Get yourself on Flickr and find some good secondlife photography sims, and that's a great place to get started. Additionally, if you need a model, I am more than happy to volunteer my avatar if you're wanting to do anything testing other skin types, etc. 

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Learn how to use, adjust  and make your own Windlight setting. The Linden viewer is NOT good for this (but the new "Windlight" may change that) so right now a 3rd party viewer with more and better controls is a must. I use Firestorm. 

I have some old but still useful Windlight tutorials here. Here is the first in the series.

https://www.slartist.com/windlight-getting-started_f3beaf8ee.html

 

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Strawberry Singh has some great tutorials on her blog page - https://strawberrysingh.com/ - I use the LumiPro and EsPose Fix HUDs all the time as i shoot out in the world, if you do mostly studio work dont much need the lumi pro. But if you shoot models you will need either the esposefix or the anypose system to adjust your subject on the pose

One other thing - Wren Noir - runs a multi week photography course - its expensive but it covers everything. It's a god investment if you really want to learn photography

 

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Yes! Welcome to SL Photography!

The primary factors for beautiful SL Photography (in my opinion) is your computer's capability and your viewer.

If youre shooting people, I'd suggest looking into the pose world. I havent used poses for a long while (and usually the people I shoot are using their own poses). Landscapes are easier because you don't have a 2nd party to coordinate with.

I'd suggest to start by playing heavily with your graphics preferences and windlight settings.

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For me it depends on what you are looking to actually trying to do. If you are just trying to capture moments and experiences then leaving your graphics & phototool settings where they are is fine because your not trying to make a piece of art but more trying to capture a memory.

 

if you are trying to increase the fidelity and uniqueness of your pictures, then depending on you pc specs i would try to make your own windlights and change a lot of the phototool settings and even some debug setting, and also changing the resolution in the snapshot tool depending on the type of shot you are going for.

and if you are trying to get extreme with it and dont want to use photoshop, you can use a tool called ReShade but when you take pictures you have to use a different form of screen capture or you wont see the effect and you also have to use CTRL+ALT+F1 and ALT+SHIFT+H to hide all of your hud elements or else they will show up in your shot. When using reshade i would recommend have the viewer in full screen and even using dsr to achieve higher resolution shots

 

EX 1: is the my photo and the kind i take amateurish but i just take pictures for fun, it still is a bit of work thougha05cee3542d5edddc48e8eedd789f1c3.thumb.jpg.a087bfaf711531e0c548a2e6a5dfdc96.jpg

EX2: is a photo of that someone else took and they use reshade no photoshop at all in the picture

  • bd1ee36956cfe96d5dea63a20dbffcfb.thumb.jpg.cecc7f2258daaaca1ab93f8c1f10715c.jpg
  •  

  • Edit: ps, I almost forgot view angle, the standard view angle kinda fish eyes everything so setting it to a more narrow one using the hotkeys and or through the depth of field section of the phototools can make a big difference
Edited by germ0742
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On 6/2/2018 at 8:46 PM, germ0742 said:

For me it depends on what you are looking to actually trying to do. If you are just trying to capture moments and experiences then leaving your graphics & phototool settings where they are is fine because your not trying to make a piece of art but more trying to capture a memory.

 

if you are trying to increase the fidelity and uniqueness of your pictures, then depending on you pc specs i would try to make your own windlights and change a lot of the phototool settings and even some debug setting, and also changing the resolution in the snapshot tool depending on the type of shot you are going for.

and if you are trying to get extreme with it and dont want to use photoshop, you can use a tool called ReShade but when you take pictures you have to use a different form of screen capture or you wont see the effect and you also have to use CTRL+ALT+F1 and ALT+SHIFT+H to hide all of your hud elements or else they will show up in your shot. When using reshade i would recommend have the viewer in full screen and even using dsr to achieve higher resolution shots

 

EX 1: is the my photo and the kind i take amateurish but i just take pictures for fun, it still is a bit of work thougha05cee3542d5edddc48e8eedd789f1c3.thumb.jpg.a087bfaf711531e0c548a2e6a5dfdc96.jpg

EX2: is a photo of that someone else took and they use reshade no photoshop at all in the picture

  • bd1ee36956cfe96d5dea63a20dbffcfb.thumb.jpg.cecc7f2258daaaca1ab93f8c1f10715c.jpg
  •  

  • Edit: ps, I almost forgot view angle, the standard view angle kinda fish eyes everything so setting it to a more narrow one using the hotkeys and or through the depth of field section of the phototools can make a big difference

To anyone interested in more work from the second example

https://www.flickr.com/photos/124454595@N03

Name is John Garrison and he does some amazing work with second life and reshade

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3 hours ago, germ0742 said:

To anyone interested in more work from the second example

https://www.flickr.com/photos/124454595@N03

Name is John Garrison and he does some amazing work with second life and reshade

This is actually pretty simple-simon stuff, no Photoshop required. For anyone interested ($60)

https://www.on1.com/products/effects/

It's the best-kept secret of photographers (RL and SL) the world over. (Well, Photo RAW is, but I digress)

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10 hours ago, Alyona Su said:

This is actually pretty simple-simon stuff, no Photoshop required. For anyone interested ($60)

https://www.on1.com/products/effects/

It's the best-kept secret of photographers (RL and SL) the world over. (Well, Photo RAW is, but I digress)

looks like a pretty easy tool to use

reshade is a bit more complicated but once you get the hand of that and things like enb its a easy tool to use.

and not only that you can constantly use it to enhance the graphical appearance of second life without really effecting lag and frame rate since its not streamed and its only on your end

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I've been wondering about this, too.

I understand that people use Windlight and photoshop and poses and all that -- and I'm not prepared to do all that just yet. First things first.

I just want a photo that is good enough to submit to the Photo of the Day contest or the SL Flickr that has high resolution.

Just clicking off the option "Hi Res Snapshot" on the "Advanced" menu on the regular SL viewer doesn't do enough of this.

I read about "this one simple trick" by an SL user on YouTube. Change the number on the big photos saved to disc to "4".

OK, will do. That does help somewhat.

But this (below) is about as good as it gets. That is, ok, for my own blog or my feed inworld, but not good enough for that "photo of the day" stuff. Or is the point that unless you are prepared to use third-party programs and photoshop and such, you can't be in an SL contest with the regular SL viewer? I guess that *is* the point. Or maybe the point is you need a much better graphics card, although I have one that is better than the recommended SL specs at the moment, as it happens. 

Notice I don't mean how you set up the photo, the angles or anything like that. That takes skill. I just mean the quality of the resolution. I don't mean special effects on a "free trial" of something like ON1. I mean using the regular viewer. What else can be done?

Retreat_001.jpg

Edited by Prokofy Neva

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@Prokofy Neva

well firestorm has photo tools where you can mess with different settings

its not really special effects it lets you change certain quality settings

 

firestorm you might be able to get better performance out of (is what everyone says) and it adds a lot more functionality to certain things

that aside

the only two things that will really bog down your system when taking pictures are draw distance and shadows

people take amazing pictures with and without shadows, so i would say that's a real optional thing

you really don't need a really powerful pc

SL can never really perform amazing with certain graphical setting turned up, except for those people who have their personal homesteads and regions

i have 32 gigs of ram, a I7 4790k, and two Titain x's in sli and i'll get frame rates in the single digits when i set up shots

i'd set a graphics presets, one for when your going about your day to day, and another that has things turned up for when you take pictures

other than adding windlights and messing with the photo tools setting in firestorm and using thrid party programs, add ons, and editing tools, there isnt too much i can think of to change

i personally dont really care to edit my photos its not my goal to make the best pictures, i just think it's fun to take pictures to begin with.

other than to just be proud of your work regardless, and also see it as progress. Its a learning experience, you have a goal already now its just learning and building up the skill and know how to reach it.

ex pic: with shadows no photoshop or editing, just a basic sunset at a high resolution

42465618791_7d63d54b13_b.jpg

ex pic: no shadows no photoshop or editing, using a portrait resolution

42496028772_37539b8c5b_b.jpg

ex pic 3: shadows wide and narrow resolution, and viewing angle set all the way up (I mention viewing angle in one of the posts above)

Vip Quad Life

id also take note that some buildings and objects are meant to be viewed with shadows turned off as well so it doesn't really hurt having them off at certain locations

Edited by germ0742
because post was craptacular and might still be
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@germ0742 I appreciate your thorough answer and your nice pictures.

But this is a matter of principle for me: if what you are saying is that you cannot get such a good picture AND be able to enter the "photo of the day" UNLESS you use Firestorm that has "not special effects" but which lets you "change quality settings" then there is something fundamentally wrong. It means a key feature of the SL community -- this photo contest -- is not something you can enter with the regular SL viewer, but can only enter if you use third-party programs of various types. And that's wrong. That is, LL and their contestants are free to do whatever they want. But they should tell the truth about it. That their own viewer is not good enough to enter a photo contest with. That doesn't bother me -- I'm happy to go on taking photos for my own enjoyment and not be in any contests regardless. But I think it has to be pointed out.

Draw distance is obviously something you can change in preferences to the extent your machine can stand it, and I do that.

Windlight is something you have to go learn, that is, sure, you can just go on the viewer menus and pick various presets like "Pirate's Sunset" or whatever but I know that there are all kinds of resident-made windlights, and many of my tenants go to the trouble to insert these into the land description to use them. I assumed that when they do that, it is viewable on the SL viewer, I just never bothered to figure it out. But maybe it's not.

In any event, Windlight -- another thing I find as kind of an exotic add-on when the regular problems like grey squares when you land aren't solved -- is "nice to have" for pictures. Yet you yourself say that you don't need to fiddle with shadows to get a good picture, and you prove that -- on its own, there are shadows anyway in SL.

I can't tell whether the clarity of your photo is from your use of Windlight or Firestorm. In any event, I'll look into Windlight. I'm not willing to use Firestorm for many reasons. 

 

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@Prokofy Neva

Yeah what i was trying to get at was you shouldn't really need firestorm or a ridiculous computer to take good photos

 

I think clarity is more attribute to high quality textures and meshes and using a higher resolution in snapshot

The first pic is at 6144x3286

Second on is at 4480x6144

Third is at 6144x1440

Between my first and second example you can see a pretty big difference in the quality of the objects and stuff

Not because of particular graphics setting but just due to the fact that those objects are at the best they will look

So that definitely plays a role

As far as windlights i don't really mess with them too much i only change the position of the sun so i can get the proper shadow angles

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There is really nothing you need to "buy" in SL in order to take fantastic pictures, but their are some thing you should have.

I am not a Black Dragon viewer fan boy, because it is not great for day to day use, but it takes better quality pictures than any viewer out there, hands down. The tone mapping and built in poser alone make it worth having on your computer.

I also agree with Alyona about the On1 tools being great to have. They are a full effects system with great effect free here:

https://www.on1.com/products/effects10/

Also, build yourself a nice Windlight library. There are some great ones out there by Strawberry Singh, Jay Battlescars and other that are totally free. (Not sure if i am allowed to share here?) I tend to delete most of the Torley  and Firestorm windlights and replace them with WL settings i have collected. I am currently at around 200.

And take LOTS of pictures! =)

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On 9. 6. 2018 at 2:01 AM, germ0742 said:

I think clarity is more attribute to high quality textures and meshes and using a higher resolution in snapshot

The first pic is at 6144x3286

Second on is at 4480x6144

Third is at 6144x1440

Between my first and second example you can see a pretty big difference in the quality of the objects and stuff

Not because of particular graphics setting but just due to the fact that those objects are at the best they will look

So that definitely plays a role

As far as windlights i don't really mess with them too much i only change the position of the sun so i can get the proper shadow angles

I would be careful to talk about size. Above you mentioned ReShade, I work with that for years (I beleive I inspired other photographers in community for that too), and it makes our work size-limited. With ReShade we can't use the snapshot button in the viewer, we are forced to take external screenshots - means to hide HUDs and viewer UI and to make classic snapshot - limited by size of the used resolution of display. (And we are usually forced to crop out top Firestorm menu, because it stays visible even with "hidden UI".) It means we speak about relatively small sizes, I currently use 2560*1340, until last year I had older display, my pictures were 1920*1100.

You also mentioned John, I guess he has display with limit 3800max.

We cant reach 4-6K sizes with ReShade. (At least not as mere mortals who don't have 5K or 7K monitors).

I don't think its obstacle for "hobby photographers". As long as the pictures aren't printed in RL, as long as they are displayed on Flickr, blogs and other websites, most people never see the original size, because they are comfortable to see smaller previews shown as default and never click on zoom to see the original. And even with our smaller sizes, then don't see the originals at all. If you don't plan other use than this, smaller pictures are perfectly fine.

You are right, if your goal is to show the inworld stuff (to show objects /meshes - for the instance - because you are creator and want to show them in RL or something like that). Then you need the big resolution. But this thread is about the photography itself, not about "technical screenshots of inworld object", we talk with focus on different goal.

ReShade user's pictures are "technicaly worse and smaller", but does it matter for the purpose as we use them? I don't think so.  So please lets not make new photographers confused that size does matter. It does -  if we talk about size of coffee you need to drink to practice your skills. 

Not to just talk, but to proove visualy - if you are interested take a lot look on my small-pictures-Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/loverdag/

 

 

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@loverdag

I don't know what the viewer resolution limit is for second life, but if you use dsr via nvidia control panel (idk what the amd equivalent is) and use full screen mode you should be able to set the viewer resolution much higher than 4k regardless of your monitor. You can change the resolution in the debug settings for full screen resolution.

*note, i have not actually tried this but in theory it should work

also you might want to try taking the screen shot using a different screenshot tool depending on how the one that comes with reshade works

if the reshade screenshot tool doesnt work with the dsr I'd just set your desktop resolution beyond 4k with dsr and change the viewer resolution to match

so in "theory" if you have sl in full screen and match the desktop and viewer resolution in fullscreen mode you should have no problem taking photos at beyond 4k with reshade

they all would be in a 16:9 aspect ratio though

[Ctrl + Alt + F1] to hide the viewer hud and [ALT+SHIFT+H] to hide the hud attachments, I'm sure you already know but if anyone else was wondering.

Your photos are sick by the way, can tell you have been doing this for a long time.

Edited by germ0742
Forgot to add compliment
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46 minutes ago, germ0742 said:

@loverdag

I don't know what the viewer resolution limit is for second life, but if you use dsr via nvidia control panel (idk what the amd equivalent is) and use full screen mode you should be able to set the viewer resolution much higher than 4k regardless of your monitor. You can change the resolution in the debug settings for full screen resolution.

*note, i have not actually tried this but in theory it should work

also you might want to try taking the screen shot using a different screenshot tool depending on how the one that comes with reshade works

if the reshade screenshot tool doesnt work with the dsr I'd just set your desktop resolution beyond 4k with dsr and change the viewer resolution to match

so in "theory" if you have sl in full screen and match the desktop and viewer resolution in fullscreen mode you should have no problem taking photos at beyond 4k with reshade

they all would be in a 16:9 aspect ratio though

[Ctrl + Alt + F1] to hide the viewer hud and [ALT+SHIFT+H] to hide the hud attachments, I'm sure you already know but if anyone else was wondering.

Your photos are sick by the way, can tell you have been doing this for a long time.

But whole point of my post was - why I should want to have bigger pictures, for what purpose? To show them as small prieview on my blog and Flickr? Do they need to be bigger ... not to be show in original size at all?

(I don't know if its technically possible, and if I would make it work this way,  but I have no need to try - for the reasons I wrote above). ReShade is not commonly used when someone need HQ pictures as "technical documentation of meshes / objects / textures shown inworld". And hobby photography - the way I show it on websites - has no use for bigger files. So why?

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58 minutes ago, germ0742 said:

 

[Ctrl + Alt + F1] to hide the viewer hud and [ALT+SHIFT+H] to hide the hud attachments, I'm sure you already know but if anyone else was wondering.

 

I dont think that "hide HUDs" in viewer can work for me, because my work (see on Flickr) is based on use of cinematic HUD. I keep that setings as "visible" and then I hide others HUDs manually. Its not comfortable, esp. not when I use HUD to pose my avatar, but its doable and the discomfort is matter of habit.

I'm not sure for 100%, because as said, I dont use built-it snapshot button, but I beleive the use of cinematic HUDs in some cases (surely with mine -  taraFAB Cinema Screen HUD) prevents to use the bigger sizes of snapshot as well - if some photographer will try it, maybe will find out this limitation.  (In other words, if you can't save your default snapshot in bigger size and you are using any type of cinematic HUD, try to detach the HUD - if it will work, its because of the HUD limitation, its not "broken", not bug of the viewer).

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