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Its not only about the photos, it's also about how your avi looks (skin and shape and all), your avi should look realistic.

And for the photos, the windlights should be awesome, they should not be unrealistic like most of the default ones in the viewers are. Then there is lighting setup too. Lighting has a big effect on how your picture will turn out... lighting effects the shadows, which play a key role. Also, you have to be very good at Photoshop.

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One of the steps that makes things look more real is to start with a hi-rez image. Capture at 4k or better. Many of the high quality images that look photo-realistic are captured at 6000px wide or more.

Another is to remove computer perfection. Images from virtual worlds capture perfect computer rendering. In post production one has to add noise to the image. In RL light is coming from every direction. THe result is digital and film images from RL have a degree of noise. Plus surfaces in RL have irregularities that computers don't produce. Those irregularities need to be added in production or post-production. 

Learning how to make things look realistic requires studying both RL and SL images to understand why one looks real and the other computer generated.

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100 percent what Nalates said. If I were to add anything, I would say to also make sure you are using depth of field and ambient occlusion.  Pictures in SL can look really flat without them . If you want tutorials for pictures I would recommend checking out  Strawberry Singh (Linden) and Anya Ohmai's series on photography on youtube. Both ladies are very talented, and I specifically like Anya's because she really digs in deep on explaining how to take great pictures in SL with the authority of someone who makes their living as a digital artist. Just be prepared as this is several hours of tutorial.

Good luck on your pictures!

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Lighting is super important. Not only do you want to manually set your windlight (EEP) settings but you also want add more lighting sources with prims using point lights or projector lights as needed. Manipulating light and shadow is a really important part of photography. If you go to a photo studio they have all these lamps, flash bulbs, light diffusers, etc. You need to recreate those lighting effects within SL.

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Actually the pictures can look nice and crisp on your HD. But after upload to SL they get a blurry touch. That's because they get compressed and resized. What Nalates wrote if you upload high resolution pictures, the quality loss might be not so strong.

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Beginner question: do you actually need a 4k monitor to capture photos at 4k? I have a standard 1080p monitor, when I try capturing at 4k I see visible seams on the photo, roughly at the places where I'd expect my monitor to run out of pixels.

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17 minutes ago, MelodicRain said:

Beginner question: do you actually need a 4k monitor to capture photos at 4k? I have a standard 1080p monitor, when I try capturing at 4k I see visible seams on the photo, roughly at the places where I'd expect my monitor to run out of pixels.

 

May I ask which viewer you are using?  That was a bug in Firestorm.   

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7 minutes ago, AdminGirl said:

I've always been confused about this - doesn't setting the size at 6000px only impact the size of the image rather than quality?

In this context, size and quality are highly correlated. The field of view doesn't get any bigger when you increase the snapshot size, but the resolution of the image does. If you disable anti-aliasing and take two snapshots of the same view, one at 6000px, the other at 1500px, then view them both at 1500px, the 6000px image will look noticeable better, as it will effectively contain 4x antialiasing as a result of the scaling from 6000->1500. If anti-aliasing was enabled for both snapshots, there will be very little difference between them when viewed at 1500px. The 6000px image will, of course, allow you to zoom in to see more detail.

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38 minutes ago, Doc Carling said:

Actually the pictures can look nice and crisp on your HD. But after upload to SL they get a blurry touch. That's because they get compressed and resized. What Nalates wrote if you upload high resolution pictures, the quality loss might be not so strong.

Capturing provides and uploading requires different images. Uploading 1024x1024 TGA or PNG provides the best quality image possible in SL. Larger images are downsized in the SL upload. Photoshop does a WAY WAY better job of down sizing than the viewer-SL-system. Uploading a 1024x1024 JPG will have less quality as JPG is a lossy format that oses on your side then gets converted to JPG2000 another lossy format and loses more quality.

29 minutes ago, AdminGirl said:

I've always been confused about this - doesn't setting the size at 6000px only impact the size of the image rather than quality?

Depends on what you are thinking of as quality. Images are made of pixels. Each pixel is made of 3 colors, RGB. In some formats an alpha makes up each pixel which controls the transparency. This much is true in ALL images regardless of format. How each color value is represented changes from format to format. GIF images use 8-bits to represent the 3 colors for each pixel. In PNG 24-bits are used for RGB color and 32-bits for RBGA color and transparency. Color fidelity is affected by how the color is represented.

The number of pixels  in an image affects the resolution. How we show an image on a computer screen or print it to paper requires specific resolutions to produce a sharp crisp image. Using too few for the presentation media results in a fuzzy or pixelated image. The quality of the final presentation depends on the size and number of pixels.

25 minutes ago, MelodicRain said:

Beginner question: do you actually need a 4k monitor to capture photos at 4k? I have a standard 1080p monitor, when I try capturing at 4k I see visible seams on the photo, roughly at the places where I'd expect my monitor to run out of pixels.

No. You need a 4K monitor to see a 4k image at a 1:1 presentation. On a 2k monitor you could see a quarter of the 4k image at 1:1, meaning you would need to scroll to parts of the image. 

Your monitors specs do not control the image you can capture. That is controled by your video card and the viewer.

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I am not good at explaining technical stuff, but I believe the 6k is in reference to the resolution of picture which is the density of pixels in a given image. The higher the number of pixels in an image, the higher detailed  the image will be.  Its great for photography , things you'd post to your Flickr,  but not something you'd do specifically for in-world art .   I don't think you could even upload an image that large if you wanted to due to the restrictions on size. The point of shooting such a large image isn't for it to stay so big in the end. Its just a starting point that gives you a lot of wiggle room for editing while maintaining high fidelity. I usually end up cropping an image, or scaling it down in some cases. With an image at much smaller resolution, you have less options for the amount of things you can do to it ( for example scaling it up will often look blurry and bad). So if you are trying to produce high quality images that will be seen outside of the viewer on Flickr or maybe even the forums, shoot at the highest resolution your computer can safely handle. If 6k sounds too high, try at 3k or 4k. But that is just one part of creating high quality images, and as with all things there will be exceptions.

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