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I figured I'd create a new thread so I wouldn't "necro" an old one. Here goes. :)

I see some gorgeous pictures throughout. (especially in How Does Your Avatar Look Today,) and I saw the part in that forum where lighting was explained. Anyway, I thought I would show you this picture, then tell how I did it. Zero post-editing work, 100% SL viewer and no "photo tools" or any filter-trickery, (not even so much as cropping). This can be done in the Official LL viewer. :)
Here is the finished picture:

01%252520Final.png

Here is how I did it:

First, I've created a "Photo Lights" attachment I can attach to my chin anywhere. It uses the standard three-light set-up: Main, Fill, Backlight. If anyone wants this attachment, IM me here or in-world: I'll give it to you (or you can make your own):

02%252520Light%252520Plot.png

(Yus! My typo: in the third image, the light to the lower-front of me is the *FILL* light - so much for my attempt at a perfect post) ~Groans~

After I select a pose, I edit the lights and turn on EDIT LINKED - I position them how I want them to be. In the properties I usually change the color, I think I have the intensity, fall-off, and that stuff set about right. Then I may play with changing the colors of each light, in my finish example I set the Main to blue and the Back to red, and left the fill as white.

Once my lights are set, I turn off EDIT LINKED then just set the texture to transparent. Now I deal with camera angle and *Field of View*.
FOV is what we always call "zoom" and people don't understand what it does. So I'll tell you: It removes (or adds) *lens distortion*. It's easier to show you:

This is the "default" camera view. Looks normal, right?

03%252520Default%252520Camera.png

Now look at 8x "Zoom" (hold CTRL and tap 0 eight times)

04%2525208x%252520Zoom.png

The differences are in the legs and head: no distortion; this is my true shape. And if we go the opposite: (CTRL+8 three times from default)

05%252520-3%252520Zoom.png

FYI: CTRL+9 always sets your camera back to default view. So now that I have my camera angle the way I like it (foreground, background, lighting, etc.) - I turn on my "Focal Length" - a.k.a. "Defocussing Background" (It's not called Bokeh, by the way - Bokeh is the Japanese word to describe defocussed dust and other particles in the foreground; FYI) :)

06%252520Defocus.png

The problem with the way this works is that you have to ALT+[CLICK] to focus something, everything else gets defocussed. This creates the dreaded "Bullseye" framing. So the way to move your camera to position your subject off-center (such as the "rule-of-thirds," etc.) is to use the key commands:

ALT+arrow: move forward/back and left/right around
ALT+CTRL+arrow: - Rotate up/down and left/right around
ALT+CTRL+SHIFT+arrow: raise/lower and crab left/right without changing the camera angle.

In this case, I did ALT+CTRL+SHIFT and tapped the left arrow a couple times. This is how I put my subject off-center:

07%252520Off-Center.png

For my final image (above) I also selected the "Auto-Contrast" filter built into the snapshot tool. Also, I left all lights white so you can see their effect directly.

So there you go. That's how to do great "photography" in SL without relying on expensive HUDs or viewer tools like FS Phototools. These pictures, including the final one, are 100% viewer-created, no post work in any off-line apps or anything. :P

ANYWAY: What tips or tricks do YOU have to share? Include pictures (and it's okay if you use Phototools or whatever else and even post-editing in your offline app) - but explain to us how you did it! (No need for step-by-steps or anything, just tell us what you did :) )

Edited by Alyona Su
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4 hours ago, Alyona Su said:

Anyway, I thought I would show you this picture, then tell how I did it.

Thank you for this, Alyona! It's really very useful! Interestingly, as I've got (a little) better at doing the work in-viewer, I've found I've needed and wanted to do much less post-processing in PS.

I'd offer tips if I had any. (I'm still too busy trying to remember to do the basics!) But I do hope others have suggestions to make here!

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14 hours ago, Scylla Rhiadra said:

Thank you for this, Alyona! It's really very useful! Interestingly, as I've got (a little) better at doing the work in-viewer, I've found I've needed and wanted to do much less post-processing in PS.

I'd offer tips if I had any. (I'm still too busy trying to remember to do the basics!) But I do hope others have suggestions to make here!

Thank you for your comment!

I see a lot of wonderful work done and I know some people put a lot of use of the Phototools in Firestorm and there's a newer viewer that is really "pimped" for doing fancy things with snapshotting, I think it's Black Dragon or something. I always try to stick with only composition and lighting in-viewer and anything else I save for post-processing - primarily because then I always have a "clean original" I can revert to if my experiments go too far (less is more, after all). 

I don't use Photohop anymore, but rather a great tool designed specifically for Photographers called On1 Photo RAW (2017) - they also sell one part of it called Photo Effects, the module I use most. I plan to show some of that also a little later.

Edited by Alyona Su

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thanks for that that will help some people. IMO I would say you might need to play with the positioning of the lights and intensity/radius/falloff some more....  it is always difficult as avi skins don't do a good job of feathering out a light source. I don't know if you had any sunlight at all (assuming there by the shadow), but there still seems to be some harsh uneven shadows and light transitions. Your lights were for the most part classic 3 light set up, but local lights on a avi can be a bit touchy, especially if you have a little sunlight coming through

Lighting 101 How to Light a Promotional Video

I did this quick no sunlight, one main light, and one fill. main was on the left front fill right front. main was set to color e8bf78 intensity 1 radius 3 falloff 2 and fill same color intensity .302 radius .7 falloff 2
 1aa77d5602aeb288554c6a49a4d32134.png

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Thank you for this, now I remember, instead of "main" they call it "Key" :)

I had default midnight going, which isn't very dark at all and SL shadows are a funny thing (remove every attachment you have except your invisible-alpha, even though you are invisible, you still cast shadows LOL). Some of the light-clipping was intentional (the red backlight) but the "Key" (grins) was blowing out at my forehead. This tells me (even before your reply) that you are very right: I'll need to tweak the intensity slider a touch.

Unfortunately blue has always been the most difficult color to light with, so I may have overdone it in my haste.

My next experiments will be to start playing with Gobos.

For those unfamiliar, a "Gobo" (stage term) is a stencil cut-out placed in front of a Fresnel light to cast a shadow pattern, a.k.a. in SL" "Projectors". It's now something built into your viewer, from LL all the way through most third-parties. You can buy Gobo textures (search MP for "Projector" and look in textures category). Once I get a little practice in, I'll add a little tute for that, unless one of you would like to take that up? :)

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falloff on the local lites will give you the smoothest transition of lite between 1.5 and 2 and then i usualy set the main, or key lite where i want  it, then add the fill low power and radius close in with high falloff and move it around till i get a smooth light effect. course I use photoshop so sometimes i know i can 'fix it in post' lol. But works best adding one lite at a time  I find

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I used three projector lights (key, fill, back) in this snapshot. No ambient light at all. The background is a dark blue prim plane.
It appears that, what comes to lighting the avatar's skin, there is not much difference (if at all) whether using ordinary local lights or projector lights.

2018-11-19_three-projector-lights.thumb.jpg.c4f8a394f94971f5c7520f11b1c2fdcf.jpg

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