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Blackdragon Viewer


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I only use BD for taking photos.  I can't explain it but it definitely is breathtakingly beautiful for photo taking with lots of very useful tools that no other viewer has.  Other than that, I wouldn't use it for day-to-day logging in and getting around especially since I've never been able to master walking in BD.  I use Firestorm for my general logging in (i.e., when I'm not taking a pic).

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I think you'll find that most users will answer as Blaise and Linda have, above. Graphically, it can occasionally be a bit glitchy (with shadows, or so I have sometimes found, and texture thrashing is a bigger problem, or has been in the past), but it is, overall, an excellent viewer for photographs. In addition to employing a better and more realistic tonal range of colours, the images are generally crisper, and there are all sorts of tools that take you beyond what is easily accessible in Firestorm's Phototools.

ETA: Forgot to add that BD handles materials in objects much more realistically than FS. With BD, you get reflectivity from shiny surfaces, something that FS simply doesn't do. If you look at the floor and marble walls in this pic I took using BD, you'll see what I mean. It's an effect available only in BD.
 

Ariadne at Naxos

It also has a truly amazing in-viewer "poser," that allows you to fine tune poses and animations (although only you can see its effects), or even create these from scratch. It's far more effective, powerful, and easy to use than the commercial posers available (with, again, the limitation that the adjustments are visible only to you). It is somewhat more demanding on your computer however; my current computer can't handle it well, and so I am (for the time being) back to using Firestorm (the image quality of which, however, seems to have much improved since the EEP update, at least to my eyes).

But, as Blaise and Linda say, few people seem to use it as their day-to-day viewer. I know lots of photographers; all of them use FS for that. The interface is not as intuitive as FS, and, although you can customize that to some extent (with custom keybindings and so forth) there are also some features, such as area search, that are outright missing entirely from Black Dragon. (As Nirvan will likely tell you, shortly, in this thread, that's not a bug, but a feature). Doubtless there are people who use BD as their everyday viewer -- but I've never met one.

Definitely worth checking out if you are interested in better quality photos. I'd suggest too that you ask around for people's favourite settings. There are so many variables, and they function so differently from FS, that it can be a bit daunting to set up your graphics from scratch without advice.

Edited by Scylla Rhiadra
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The Blackdragon viewer for sure is a bit of a strange beast. For photography it's an invaluable tool. The ability to adjust every node and bone of your avatar and the breadth of settings is what allows all these finely tuned shots where everything is just right. 

In terms of control I actually prefer Blackdragon to something like Firestorm as it's closer to the MMOs I am used to. Really the primary reason I'm not using it as my everyday viewer are some of the privacy/drama-magnet related settings.

That's not a complaint though. The dev can do whatever they want with their program. I'm happy that I also get to use it for photography while ignoring it for the rest.

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23 hours ago, ValKalAstra said:

In terms of control I actually prefer Blackdragon to something like Firestorm as it's closer to the MMOs I am used to.

This is the point that Niran has made before. Fair enough. But for those who don't play a lot of FPS or other MMOs, the movement system (unless you customize it) is just plain alien and weird.

23 hours ago, ValKalAstra said:

Really the primary reason I'm not using it as my everyday viewer are some of the privacy/drama-magnet related settings.

Now I'm curious. What settings are these?

Edited by Scylla Rhiadra
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Personally, if my computer could handle it a little better then I'd be using it more often.  It didn't take me long to figure out all the settings in it and I am excited to find features I didn't know about as well.   I have firestorm as well, not terribly fond of it but it's what functions well on my computer for mean time until I finish my new creation.

Edited by Mortified Wanderer
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   Nah, I'm a Firestorm user. The BD UI is so out of place for me, I can't be bothered even for photos. I don't see the point of moving some of the basic photo editor functions from an actual photo editor to the viewer .. Except for people to squeal about how their photos are 'unedited' or 'raw' because their photo editing wasn't done in an editor but in the viewer. Shrugs.

   The poser is a really nice feature, but since I make my own poses I don't really need to adjust them in-world .. So, meh. I guess the only thing left is the camera rolling feature, which is so over-used by now that every other blog pic is shot sideways. Sometimes being conservative is to be rebellious!

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I started using Black Dragon because of the photography stuff, but I also immediately took to the controls - used to do WoW, CounterStrike, and the like. Tried using the default viewer last week and it was hopeless - once you get used to one control system re-learning another is such a pain!

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7 hours ago, Scylla Rhiadra said:

Now I'm curious. What settings are these?

Perhaps I've worded it too strongly. Firestorm has the option to turn off camera pointers (the crosshairs) while at least a while ago Blackdragon took the stance that these stay in. Or more precisly it would be DIY, which I could not get working beyond creating grey ghost crosshairs. To me, unless I'm actively taking a photo, the camera is something I tend to zone out on and I've run into nasty trouble in the past because of it. Went to a shopping event with these on, chatted with a friend on the side and suddenly got a wall of hate about "ogling" someone's man. Just... no.

But I realise the other side of the argument and also respect the creator's wishes. If calling it a drama-magnet came on too strong, I apologize.

 

Edited by ValKalAstra
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I wholeheartedly disagree with those who say BlackDragon isn't suitable for casual day to day use. I prefer it over Firestorm in all ways except one: BlackDragon is lacking in quality of life features that other viewers have for builders. Like being able to rotate an object at it's root. So I switch to other viewers when I'm doing extensive building in SL.

As for people who keep crosshairs visible to see who is looking at them, they're crazy. I hate that Firestorm made it so easy to do. That's creating drama.

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It’s been my default viewer for the last 2 years except when I have to build or decorate, which I rarely do nowadays since I hire others to do it for me. The only thing I dislike about it is that you have to wear an AO because it doesn’t have a built-in AO like Firestorm.

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11 hours ago, ValKalAstra said:

Perhaps I've worded it too strongly. Firestorm has the option to turn off camera pointers (the crosshairs) while at least a while ago Blackdragon took the stance that these stay in. Or more precisly it would be DIY, which I could not get working beyond creating grey ghost crosshairs. To me, unless I'm actively taking a photo, the camera is something I tend to zone out on and I've run into nasty trouble in the past because of it. Went to a shopping event with these on, chatted with a friend on the side and suddenly got a wall of hate about "ogling" someone's man. Just... no.

But I realise the other side of the argument and also respect the creator's wishes. If calling it a drama-magnet came on too strong, I apologize.

 

No apologies necessary!

Weirdly, I don't think I've ever been involved in drama that stemmed from camera crosshairs. Possibly, most people don't see me as a potential romantic / sexual threat? 😉

Arguably, people will always be . . . people. And if there is something that carries with it even the potential for drama, we'll find it!

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10 hours ago, Anita61 Anatine said:

As with any viewer, opinions and use differ, depending on your machine, connection and preferences. You can install multiple viewers on your computer and try them out. Use what's best suited for your needs!

 

This is, of course, the sensible approach.

Clearly there are people who are more comfortable with the Black Dragon interface than with FS. That seems to have been Niran's assumption, and I've no reason to think he's wrong. I just don't know any of them! But, given that one can customize the movement system to bring it into line with that in use in the LL viewer and FS, this is at worse a bit of a hassle rather than a serious problem.

Black Dragon is a really powerful tool, and those of us, in particular, who do a lot of photography are much better off for Niran's development of it. Personally, I can't see myself ever using it as my day-to-day viewer, but that in no way detracts from its value to me, nor should it be seen as reflecting negatively on those who do.

Edited by Scylla Rhiadra
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1 minute ago, Scylla Rhiadra said:

No apologies necessary!

Weirdly, I don't think I've ever been involved in drama that stemmed from camera crosshairs. Possibly, most people don't see me as a potential romantic / sexual threat? 😉

Arguably, people will always be . . . people. And if there is something that carries with it even the potential for drama, we'll find it!

It does happen pretty often, I’ve seen it a few times at shopping events and other venues. It’s a special kind of person that does it and they do get loud about it. I don’t think it has anything to do with sexuality, it’s more to do with attention seeking.

That being said, I think there is a way to turn it off in BD. It’s just not as simple as clicking a button in FS.

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1 minute ago, Janet Voxel said:

It does happen pretty often, I’ve seen it a few times at shopping events and other venues. It’s a special kind of person that does it and they do get loud about it. I don’t think it has anything to do with sexuality, it’s more to do with attention seeking.

That being said, I think there is a way to turn it off in BD. It’s just not as simple as clicking a button in FS.

Well, now I just feel a bit insulted that no one has ever confronted me about it. Maybe I need to try harder to cam on people?

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I'd love to give BD a spin even if I only ended up using it for posing and pictures instead of my everyday viewer.  However I use Linux and there is no build for that.  Having to cope with the retrograde usability and problems that you get with Win10 negates any positives BD might have for me.

I have crosshairs turned off on FS too.  A few years ago almost everyone I saw around had them turned on still, nowadays I see a lot fewer.  A much better option in my opinion.  Nobody needs to see what you are looking at.

Edited by Gabriele Graves
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I love Black Dragon, and all of its picture tools. I have figured out how to get movement controls sorted for my use, and would use it full time if I had area search and the built in ao functionality. I use  area search a lot when decorating  as I am prone to send an object scuttling across the region when I am trying to move it into place. It's also helpful when I am at sales events, and I know what I want to find. Places like the skin fair are legit a nightmare without it. 

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It's a pretty good viewer. I've been using it more and more since, once you get it set up like you want it, it takes your SL experience to another level. It's missing a couple of QOL features that FS has which makes FS a little more user friendly and intuitive. I tried a couple of other viewers too and a lot of the features and buttons BD has are in the same places those are. So really, I think FS is unique in that regard.

The only down side if you start using it more: Since it reports complexity differently there are some sims you can get banned from because your body and head are reported at like a griefer level complexity. There's been a couple of sims I've been boomeranged back home while I was using BD. It's kind of funny, but a 24 hr ban isn't.

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44 minutes ago, Janet Voxel said:

Since it reports complexity differently there are some sims you can get banned from because your body and head are reported at like a griefer level complexity.

Wow. It hadn't occurred to me that BD was actually reporting its own complexity calculations to the platform untranslated. What on earth is the point of that? Other than to disadvantage the users of the viewer.

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15 minutes ago, Scylla Rhiadra said:

What on earth is the point of that? Other than to disadvantage the users of the viewer.

If I remember rightly it was something complex and important, like "reasons" and "not wearing pants. ever. even to Linden meetings"

Paging @NiranV Dean

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