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Black Dragon alternative (photography viewer for mac)


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I wasn't sure whether to post this in viewers or here but it seemed the viewers thread was more troubleshooting/tech based.

I have a Macbook Pro so I can't use Black Dragon. What are some other viewers good for photography?

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Except for BD all the other EEP viewers (basically every popular one) are roughly equivalent in graphic quality (unless someone who knows better than me begs to differ). If you really want to try BD, it might work via wine emulation.

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I make EEP adjustments in SL on FS.  I looked at BD, but they said on the web site BD is not user friendly, so I passed on downloading it. 

 

As I said, I make adjustments in SL with EEP, phototools, and shadowing. Then I make final editing in RL with Photoscape (free).  I know others who use GIMP (not a fan) and  Photoshop (I'm too cheap to buy it).

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On 8/3/2021 at 7:45 PM, Doris Johnsky said:

I make EEP adjustments in SL on FS.  I looked at BD, but they said on the web site BD is not user friendly, so I passed on downloading it. 

You shouldn't believe everything people say somewhere on the internet. Especially something so user-specific.

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On 8/3/2021 at 10:45 AM, Doris Johnsky said:

I make EEP adjustments in SL on FS.  I looked at BD, but they said on the web site BD is not user friendly, so I passed on downloading it. 

 

As I said, I make adjustments in SL with EEP, phototools, and shadowing. Then I make final editing in RL with Photoscape (free).  I know others who use GIMP (not a fan) and  Photoshop (I'm too cheap to buy it).

Oh I'm very familiar with PS, but I don't want to have to manually draw in every shadow T_T
I've noticed all viewers except for BD really suck at doing ambient occlusion.. no matter the settings.

If the viewer could just do the shadows correctly in the first place it would just save me so much time

I'll try WINE, but I remembered trying to instal WINE before for another game and it was a headache 🤔 Time to buy a windows computer LOL

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6 hours ago, Nightingalia said:

:o I think NiranV themself is the developer..?

I haven't been back to look in some time. You seem to be correct.  I know at one time I read a disclaimer that BD wasn't as user friendly as other viewer's.    Having read the latest info, I may look into it.

 

Thanks. 

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10 hours ago, Nightingalia said:

Oh I'm very familiar with PS, but I don't want to have to manually draw in every shadow T_T
I've noticed all viewers except for BD really suck at doing ambient occlusion.. no matter the settings.

If the viewer could just do the shadows correctly in the first place it would just save me so much time

I'll try WINE, but I remembered trying to instal WINE before for another game and it was a headache 🤔 Time to buy a windows computer LOL

What's the Viewer not doing correctly about shadows?

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3 hours ago, NiranV Dean said:

What's the Viewer not doing correctly about shadows?

which viewer?

I don't know much about the programming side of things, so I don't mean the viewer's shadows are "not working correctly". I'm an artist so I mean it in the sense that it isn't realistic. And I meant viewers like Firestorm and Alchemy at their highest settings. 

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3 hours ago, Nightingalia said:

which viewer?

I don't know much about the programming side of things, so I don't mean the viewer's shadows are "not working correctly". I'm an artist so I mean it in the sense that it isn't realistic. And I meant viewers like Firestorm and Alchemy at their highest settings. 

Ah, it sounded like you were talking about bugs in Black Dragon.

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My defender went off when I downloaded the newest Firestorm.  Black Dragon is a well respected viewer.  I've never heard anyone having a problem with it as far as download safety.  And you know the forums.  If there was any issue, we'd hear about it.

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I've tried Alchemy Viewer in the recent past, and gotten really nice photos from it, plus good framerate. The only reason I didn't stick with it was an audio dropout issue that made it impractical for my DJ-ing and broadcasting work, plus attending music events. :( However, there's a test project version in the works that should hopefully fix that. 🤞

Catznip is another option to look into, and again they're currently testing a new version, I've not tried it yet but it's on my to-do list.

General issue to be aware of with any viewer on the Mac, enabling support for Retina display (HiDPI) will impact framerate to varying degrees depending on the viewer. Oh, and you'll need to go into System Preferences > Security & Privacy and allow the viewer to launch the first time, as most aren't signed or notarised and will trip Apple's security system.

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Been playing secondlife on a Mac for years, and doing secondlife photography for a good long time too and I can confirm there isn't much of a difference between viewers for us Mac users unless you're willing to either use Parallels, Wineskin or run Bootcamp (not available to apple silicon M1 Macs) to get into the Black Dragon viewer.

However, I think the choice is mostly between Alchemy and Firestorm for us.

Alchemy has the best fps hands down, it's much more optimized for Mac users however it  doesn't work on M1 Macs and hasn't been updated to EEP, although I find standard wind light to be just fine for photography. If EEP is a must, Alchemy has a project viewer that is somewhat regularly updated called Shrewdshepherd, which has EEP and runs on M1 Macs through rosetta, you can request access on the Alchemy discord. 

Firestorm has EEP but is less optimized for Macs, I find I get less FPS, particularly on older Macs. However if you got a newer model that can push through the poor optimization, I've found I get just fine fps and my photos look just a little better. Firestorm gets the edge as well because the amount of sliders and customization you have available is quite a bit more, particularly with shadow quality and ambient occlusion. The latest update also has the neatest depth of field focus lock, so you can move your camera away from your subject and still remain focused on them. 

Lastly I will say Black Dragon isn't exactly /not/ user friendly, but has a learning curve. It offers an extensive amount of sliders and customization for your photography, so if you make the effort to get it running on a Mac, be prepared to spend some time on it to get the most out of it. It certainly is the best for photography though.

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On 8/7/2021 at 2:43 AM, Doris Johnsky said:

So just ignore Defender and carry on.

Defender, like most protection/antivirus apps or systems is just an algorithm based detection service that compares something's behavior to common malicious behaviors, so for instance a self-extracting (e.g cheap-man's) WinRar package like my Viewer uses it goes haywire because self-extracting WinRar archives are a common behavior that some malicious software might use.

Also Defender in particular (since its part of Windows) checks for any certificate (which my Viewer doesn't have either) and will potentially warn you about that too. You can scan Defender and send in a report that its a false positive (so can i as developer) and after a while they will have it added to their library as clean software but by that time its already Christmas (or the next update and i'll have to repeat this procedure again).

So yea, "basically" ignore it. Although just for the sake of common sense you should still have something like TotalVirus website have a scan over it, they will scan it with lots of AntiVirus apps and it will quickly show if its a false positive or not. There is always a real chance that you might have downloaded it from a website that is not the official link or that a virus sneaked in somehow (websites or redirects can be hacked you know).

  

21 hours ago, CoralineO said:

Lastly I will say Black Dragon isn't exactly /not/ user friendly, but has a learning curve. It offers an extensive amount of sliders and customization for your photography, so if you make the effort to get it running on a Mac, be prepared to spend some time on it to get the most out of it. It certainly is the best for photography though.

Most of these sliders are settings all other Viewers have too (and even in their preferences) because they are the standard settings that each graphic option has (and needs in order to function, unless you were to fix them but in that case there wouldn't be much photography). They will most likely just have different names because i tend to use either their correct name or whatever comes closest, see "Advanced Lighting Model" -> Deferred Rendering (Wiki

Edited by NiranV Dean
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I did install BD. It was ok, but everything seems muted.  I'm not sure how it enhances my photos from SL. I'll play with it more.

Moving is a far different challenge than FS or SL viewer.  It's more like a 1st person shooter like Call of Duty where moving and turning are 2 different functions as opposed to FS where the arrow keys move and turn and the same time.

This is on PC, not a MAC.

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4 hours ago, Doris Johnsky said:

I did install BD. It was ok, but everything seems muted.  I'm not sure how it enhances my photos from SL. I'll play with it more.

BD by default uses Tone Mapping and Color Correction some colors will look "washed out", the overall look is intended to have a crisper and more based look than the weirdly dark (or greyish if you use limited color range) that SL has by default. Unless you are taking very colorless shots (bright lit shots for instance) it should look a lot better. It's a really weird case where showing them in direct comparison it looks like Tone Mapping and Color Correction looks worse but in action (such as in shots) it produces a much better image. This is due to what Tone Mapping is originally intended to do which is compressing colors down into a displayable spectrum, essentially pushing "HDR" into the limited colors we get without, this allows overall much more colors to be in the displayable spectrum which also makes color transitions finer at the cost of colors appearing possibly washed out (due to a larger spectrum of colors having to fit into the same limited spectrum)

Default

Snapshot_270.thumb.jpeg.c1a7c45f2dcf590ab23547967309b9b5.jpeg

BD (Tone Mapping + Color Correction)

Snapshot_271.thumb.jpg.63b5903226764e795a112fb5230b2849.jpg

Make sure that both Tone Mapping and Color Correction are on, you'll quickly get used to it.

I find it makes the overall look of SL a lot more enjoyable and less all over the place.

 

4 hours ago, Doris Johnsky said:

Moving is a far different challenge than FS or SL viewer.  It's more like a 1st person shooter like Call of Duty where moving and turning are 2 different functions as opposed to FS where the arrow keys move and turn and the same time.

Controls can be freely changed in Preferences - Keybindings, i highly suggest looking into that first. Just like with games (like Call of Duty) looking into the controls should be one of your first actions to A) see the controls and B) change them if necessary.

image.png.b3b948f48e498517332016bed33fcb02.png

 

 

 

Edited by NiranV Dean
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On 8/3/2021 at 10:45 AM, Doris Johnsky said:

I make EEP adjustments in SL on FS.  I looked at BD, but they said on the web site BD is not user friendly, so I passed on downloading it. 

 

As I said, I make adjustments in SL with EEP, phototools, and shadowing. Then I make final editing in RL with Photoscape (free).  I know others who use GIMP (not a fan) and  Photoshop (I'm too cheap to buy it).

User friendly... I think Black Dragon is as user friendly as any viewer.

If we dig into it, I would have a hard time debating someone that said BD is user friendly. We would have to have a good definition of user friendly.

I find learning where things are in BD is a challenge. If we learn the SL Viewer or Firestorm first and then change to Black Dragon, we have a learning curve. But is we would have learned BD first, we would have the same challenge with SL Viewer or Firestorm. In our first learning would it be easier in the SL Viewer or Black Dragon? I can't really answer that question. I think they are similar. But, I am inclined to give BD a small edge for first-time-SL use learning.

The basic stuff I do is similar enough between BD and other viewers that I can use BD without trouble. It is when I start to change things I change now and then, I have to stop and search for the setting. The settings in FS' Phototools and BD's settings are in radically different places. So I tend to tweak Windlight/EEP in FS and import the settings into BD.

But the Poser in BD is totally awesome. If I plan on taking photos, I start with BD.

Try it. You may like it.

 

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1 hour ago, Nalates Urriah said:

User friendly... I think Black Dragon is as user friendly as any viewer.

If we dig into it, I would have a hard time debating someone that said BD is user friendly. We would have to have a good definition of user friendly.

I find learning where things are in BD is a challenge. If we learn the SL Viewer or Firestorm first and then change to Black Dragon, we have a learning curve. But is we would have learned BD first, we would have the same challenge with SL Viewer or Firestorm. In our first learning would it be easier in the SL Viewer or Black Dragon? I can't really answer that question. I think they are similar. But, I am inclined to give BD a small edge for first-time-SL use learning.

The basic stuff I do is similar enough between BD and other viewers that I can use BD without trouble. It is when I start to change things I change now and then, I have to stop and search for the setting. The settings in FS' Phototools and BD's settings are in radically different places. So I tend to tweak Windlight/EEP in FS and import the settings into BD.

But the Poser in BD is totally awesome. If I plan on taking photos, I start with BD.

Try it. You may like it.

 

I've already discussed this with Niran, but thanks.

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