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MelodicRain

How do you take super realistic photos like this?

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Posted (edited)

This is the type of photo I mean: https://imgur.com/a/kOKsmUs, credit to whoever took this amazing photo

I have a pretty high spec computer, yet no matter what windlight or graphics settings I try (graphics settings completely maxed out of course) mine never looks anywhere near as good. They all end up being either blurry and have terrible anti-aliasing, resembling something from a pre-2010 game. Now the photo above, that's something you see in a 2020 triple A game. Of course, I know most people PS their shots afterwards, but it doesn't seem like this kind of photo was completely PS'd? I mean you pretty much have to repaint the entire photo to make it this realistic just with brushes or something. Specifically the areas I wanna point out are:

  • Hair: I own a lot of hair yet I've never seen a hair this smooth and CG-like
  • Skin: again the details are much higher than what SL seems to support, almost like they're 2048x2048 or something
  • Facial features: for example the eyelids are really really smooth, whereas every single head I've tried in SL including Genus have really distorted/blurry eyelids

So what's the secret here? Maybe super high resolution screen or something? My monitor's the regular 1080p, not sure if you can render 4k photos in SL on this.

Related question: what's the trick to having crystal clear profile photos? I know what the aspect ratio is and crop my photos according to that, yet they still end up looking absolutely butchered, all blurry and distorted. Is it due to the 1080p resolution again?

Edited by MelodicRain

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there are a number of tutorials floating around on doing high res photos for SLsearching google or youtube is helpful. strawberry Signh has  a blog with tutorials on that to name one

The basic to start wih is 

1) ctrl+ 0 to zoom in to remove the fisheye lens look of the default camera

2) make sure in prefs you have antistropic filter on and antialsing on

3) a minimum of double your screen resolution for image size when you capture an image here (alot go 5k + pixel size)

4) getting correct lighting in world, and no, you don't always need 'shadows' on

5) in many many cases - PHOTOSHOP - or equivalent. Ive seen amazing pics from SL sans post retouching, but in most case 'perfection' requires post processing

6) on Hair, there are some really good vendors out now, but some of the best SL pics you might see, people will draw the hair in from scratch or enhance the SL hair in post process . Again, lighting and camera angle has alot to do with how well in world hair looks

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What makes these pics realistic is the focus of the main object (blurry background) almost unnoticeable as we are use to this effect, its the full focus pictures sl makes that tips the balance to being "unrealistic".

The firestorm and other 3rth party viewers have Phototools that let you set focal length, F-number View angle, Field of view etc. i don't know if the official SL viewer has these tools though.

These tools, and the tips Jackson gave you, make realistic photo's in SL

good luck :)

Dargo

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For me the keys are

- good quality of all components (skin, eyes, hair etc)

- realistic avatar shape and good proportions

- simplicity - less is more

- good WL 

- and of course only a few out of many are really good, so practise, practise, practise 

I never photoshop or edit my pics more than occasionally adding a filter using Windows built-in tool to browse and slightly edit pictures. I know maybe my pics are not superrealistic but as for no photoshop and not very high end laptop (it's almost 5 year old now) they are quite ok :) 

 

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Posted (edited)
19 hours ago, MelodicRain said:
  • Skin: again the details are much higher than what SL seems to support, almost like they're 2048x2048 or something

The photo you're admiring has a resolution of 528 x 625 pixels.

Edited by Theresa Tennyson
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Posted (edited)
On 3/14/2020 at 6:34 PM, Theresa Tennyson said:

The photo you're admiring has a resolution of 528 x 625 pixels.

Not sure if just some attempt a joke or actually serious. You do realize I shrunk the photo to post on this forum right...? And also resolution of a screenshot has nothing to do with the resolution of the texture that fits over the skin UV and how good it looks on the 3D model? Oo

Edited by MelodicRain
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Posted (edited)
On 3/13/2020 at 8:32 PM, MelodicRain said:

This is the type of photo I mean: https://imgur.com/a/kOKsmUs, credit to whoever took this amazing photo

I have a pretty high spec computer, yet no matter what windlight or graphics settings I try (graphics settings completely maxed out of course) mine never looks anywhere near as good. They all end up being either blurry and have terrible anti-aliasing, resembling something from a pre-2010 game. Now the photo above, that's something you see in a 2020 triple A game. Of course, I know most people PS their shots afterwards, but it doesn't seem like this kind of photo was completely PS'd? I mean you pretty much have to repaint the entire photo to make it this realistic just with brushes or something. Specifically the areas I wanna point out are:

  • Hair: I own a lot of hair yet I've never seen a hair this smooth and CG-like
  • Skin: again the details are much higher than what SL seems to support, almost like they're 2048x2048 or something
  • Facial features: for example the eyelids are really really smooth, whereas every single head I've tried in SL including Genus have really distorted/blurry eyelids

So what's the secret here? Maybe super high resolution screen or something? My monitor's the regular 1080p, not sure if you can render 4k photos in SL on this.

Related question: what's the trick to having crystal clear profile photos? I know what the aspect ratio is and crop my photos according to that, yet they still end up looking absolutely butchered, all blurry and distorted. Is it due to the 1080p resolution again?

 

The simplest answer (and not a complete one) is that they likely took the photo at a very high resolution. I take mine at 5000 and then resize down to 2000 to 2400. Many SL photographers take their raw shots at WELL over that resolution.  Depending on your computer and your viewer you may be able to take larger resolution shots. 

 

The more complex answers have to do with how good your graphics card is as the power of your computer.   

 

If you CAN take photos at a higher resolution then do some tests and you should see a marked difference.   Honestly I have seen much more realistic photos than the one you pointed out :D.     

 

image.png.f26e34b2390bc610d8e168b404812387.png

Edited by Chic Aeon
adding info
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Posted (edited)

Ok. I like photography and I like this photo. I like both raw shots and heavily edited photos. I’m not a pro photographer or retoucher but I know many of my basics and I can give my impression (this is my opinion, so please don’t come for me because it is merely an assessment, not a ‘judgement’ about the photographer’s vision, skill, talent ect.) Anyone is free to give a similar assessment on my own photos, in fact I welcome it and like to read them. 

So...IMO, the hair is extensively brushed over with a heavy hand and a chunky ‘hair’ bush, the dodging and burning on the face don’t match the light sources in the photo. Parts of the face have had a smoothing filter applied, other parts have had more texture added. The eye color and shine have been selected and contrast, saturation and highlights amplified, maybe selectively, maybe just grabbing all in curves. So learning some of these techniques may help achieve this look.
 

Cassie Middles covers many good SL photography retouching skills in her YouTube videos. When I first started watching compositing and retouching edits, I found that it helped me to watch at .50 or .25 speed.
 

edit: sometimes it’s easier to just ask the photographer to give you some tips on their technique, and many are good about sharing and most people will at least disclose that their photos are edited, but there are a few that are both very touchy about it and also some who are just disingenuous about it too, for various reasons. 😉 For me the quickest and easiest way to sidestep the entire situation was to take both photography and photo editing classes. Personally, I think a lot of people spend a lot of time in Photoshop or Gimp doing what is much easier and faster to do in Lightroom too.

Edited by Fauve Aeon
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Posted (edited)
On 3/16/2020 at 5:17 PM, MelodicRain said:

also resolution of a screenshot has nothing to do with the resolution of the texture that fits over the skin UV and how good it looks on the 3D model?

Actually here you are 100% wrong. The resolution of the screen or the captured image determines how many pixels are used to display the skin and if the skins resolution at the size it is displayed exceeds that, all those extra pixels in the skin texture are wasted - they have no effect at all. In displaying them, they are averaged down to the resolution the image is displayed or captured at.  A full-frame 4k cinematic display (or a 1.9:1 aspect ratio 4k snapshot - there are viewers can take these even if your monitor can't display it) is 4096 × 2160 pixels (DCI 4k as used in cinematic projection - slightly wider than the UHD tv standard). A 1024x1024 texture occupying less than 10% of that image is wasting data. On a standard HD display at 1920x1080 to not be wasting data that same 1024x1024 texture has to occupy nearly half the screen. Now, you'll get to this level with close up portraiture and will actually use most of the data in the visible parts of a models (multiple)1024x1024 skin texture(s) but you will never approach the resolution that would justify 2048x2048 textures in SL, or make any visual difference if they were used. Never. Not unless/until our viewers are rendering SL in resolutions far beyond UHD.

 

This is why the "optimization hawks" - which admittedly, does include myself - rant so hard about the folks putting 1024 textures on things like jewelry that are displayed in an area only a few dozen pixels square at the very most, where a 128x128 would look exactly the same, because it is shrunk to match the image resolution anyway.

 

I'm truly sorry to nitpick, particularly since it's kinda off-topic for your discussion, but it is a really important thing that way too many folks looking to make themselves "look good" in SL never think about. They get marketed ultra high resolution, memory-intensive stuff as "better" and never realize that they are actually just throwing more data at their hardware than it (or, indeed, any other available hardware) can handle at an acceptable framerate without any visual benefit whatsoever.

Edited by Da5id Weatherwax
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Also this image doesn't seem like it was taken in SL at all. It looks like a completely different program that it has been rendered, probably Maya, Blender, ect. 

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Just a quick note about the image it's of Iryna Ilyna (wiredexperiment) creator of Lab737. If you check her profile inworld she has information about her rig.

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On 3/18/2020 at 11:23 AM, Da5id Weatherwax said:

Actually here you are 100% wrong. The resolution of the screen or the captured image determines how many pixels are used to display the skin and if the skins resolution at the size it is displayed exceeds that, all those extra pixels in the skin texture are wasted - they have no effect at all.

 

Actually here you are 100% wrong. If you take, say, a 1920x1080 screengrab, and only 40% of said image is showing avi-skin, as it were, then sure, super-highres skin texture is naturally a waste. What you're missing, however, is the screen capture size. When you take a grab at, say, 6000x3375, suddenly the highres skin texture matters greatly. See, an ultra high screengrab is actually not a 'screen' grab at all,  but rather a newly (internally) rendered image at 6000x3375. On such a large surface, the quality of the textures used matter significantly.

In a typical situation, you will eventually want to scale back the image for the final product. But every intermediate post-processing step benefits greatly for the basis being at super high-res. And that is because our 6000x3375 image is not just a dumb, linearly upscaled screengrab (which would look horrific, btw), but a newly rendered image at said resolution. Thus, even the eventually rescaled-down image will look much better than had you started with just 1080p. Not in the least for Anti-Aliasing (this 'bigshot' trick is very old, and existed already in Doom: grab at very high, then scale back for a less edgy look).

Essentially, you are conflating 2 entirely separated things: the (often unnecessary) use of high-textures on, say, jewelry, and the use of high-res textures for photography. 

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