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Photorealism or stylized, what do you prefer?


Yuki Suki
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1 hour ago, Yuki Suki said:

I dont have any particular style I wanna recreate atm. I just thought maybe a stylized avatar would contrast a realism background for a certain look and feel.

That could be really cool and really wouldn't be that hard to do.. way back in the days of yore in SL I had a black and white /grayscale look that would really get comments and a few people thought I had some kind of special attachment or something. But it was just grey skin & eyes, black hair and black and white clothes. This may have been after tattoo layers were introduced so I might have had a red lip. Kind of like the sliver look here. There's no filters and no weird weird windlight.

 

 A couple stores to check out might be Wyrd and Nylon Outfitters. Wyrd has more handdrawn looking skins that photo realistic and Nylon Outfitters are even more so plus their hair would work for that kind of  look.

8c7ae1fec377a14e92a0f9b97fa4b832.png

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I definitely appreciate a well made realistic looking avatar, but I've always thought it would be nice to see more high end stylized avatars.  Fortunately with the advent of mesh and bento and a huge variety of mesh heads available, there's definitely a wider range of styles now compared to a few years back and people are making some stunningly detailed avatars of all shapes and sizes.

 

5 hours ago, Yuki Suki said:

2. Is there a way to deal with the alpha halo (attached screenshots) directly in SL when taking a photo without doing it in Photoshop? I usually do it in Photoshop.

I don't take pictures often so hadn't really noticed it before, and there doesn't seem to be an easy solution but there is a trick you can use that involves modifying the settings for Anya Ohmais Depth Map Windlight Preset to create a foreground/background mask for your photo.

Essentially it requires you to take 3 pictures.  One with alpha attachments, one without, and a third using the modified depth map windlight preset.

354dae3dddb9da1819205126e6476cf3.png.dff7189e6d8daf63b9c6dde1db9c8742.png

Then you load the first image into photoshop and load the second in as a new layer, add a mask to the top layer and copy and paste the third image into the mask layer.

Once that's done you just need to select the mask layer and use Image > Adjustments > Curves to adjust the luminance balance of the mask so it removes all the unwanted details while leaving as much of the foreground details intact as possible.

Before:

3585c00f0feb7e08a7d8a28ff8c2f6a1.thumb.jpg.a96703e8b11be3337e9caf66808ad52e.jpg

After:

0a693b6778a463f3435eaba2669fe16c.thumb.jpg.3641011bd577ce500e0968b921152fba.jpg

It's not exactly a simple, easy fix but it can provide a good base mask to work with and may save some time as opposed to trying to fix the alpha halos manually. 

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I don't use much what you call "photorealism" because I don't consider it photorealism but simply the graphics engine of SL which very often I don't appreciate very much, probably because it lacks that touch of Ambient Occlusion that would make it really photorealistic. Obviously by saying this I absolutely do not mean to despise the lovers of SL photography. Indeed many times I really appreciate what some people manage to get out of this function.
I've walked this route in the past myself and I have to say that you can get amazing results using weird things found in the developer menu for example.
So yeah, I'm absolutely for the stylized style.

Schermata 2021-12-31 alle 11.16.09.png

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9 hours ago, Marigold Devin said:

Don't be giving Linden Lab any ideas. It's bad (!) enough when I log in/teleport in to places and all the meshies appear little by little, eyes and teeth first, then body, boobs ahoy, then a l-o-n-g pause before all the clothes appear. There is no such thing as modesty any more in Second Life. (I do have photo evidence - but it would be moderated out of these forums!) 🤣

No, LL were the ones that taught me things about boots and hair up you bottom. *scared for life.

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8 hours ago, LilNosferatu said:

While there are some really gorgeous realistic-style avatars out there, I honestly prefer ones that are a bit more stylized. Not sure if it's the uncanny valley effect, or the fact that SL seems to have developed its own beauty standards that leads 80% of everyone to look exactly the same, or simply because I enjoy anime already. 😛 But to me it seems much easier (and cheaper!) to get a more unique, customized look with a stylized anime or furry avatar.

That said, as far as SL photography goes, the people who can make their realistic avatars super pretty and take nice shots?
Those are really nice to look at, and I appreciate the amount of work and L$ that must have gone into that.

yea. I can understand the valley effect thingie for some. I am ok with that tho.

I do enjoy anime and manga too. But anime and best-kin styled mesh are not cheap either. I've seem some that cost way more than the regular human mesh. From my experience, lighting plays a huge part for taking photorealism shots. As for the realism looks, it doesnt cost as crazy as some might think. you just need a basic head+body and a decent skin. The shape is the main factor that ties all these parts together to make it seem real. Tweaking the shape can be a really long process depending on the result you want.

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8 hours ago, MillyWH said:

A lot of that depends on how quickly things rez . The only way I know to get around that is to wear BOM underwear but..but I don't worry witht hat stuff anymore. I mean, people can derender your clothes and there are too many variables.

I wonder if it is possible to reorder the sequence what item render in-world first, like clothes first and body later? nvm i digress. 

Oh boy, one weird derender incident actually got me putting on tattoo underwear when possible. I was hanging out and chatting in some random social sim (cant remember the LM). After a couple of hours, one person shared a link in chat saying that "this is how I SL" - a screenie of every female chatting there were naked. it was funny, but it somehow weird me after that. Lol 😅

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8 hours ago, MillyWH said:

That could be really cool and really wouldn't be that hard to do.. way back in the days of yore in SL I had a black and white /grayscale look that would really get comments and a few people thought I had some kind of special attachment or something. But it was just grey skin & eyes, black hair and black and white clothes. This may have been after tattoo layers were introduced so I might have had a red lip. Kind of like the sliver look here. There's no filters and no weird weird windlight.

 

 A couple stores to check out might be Wyrd and Nylon Outfitters. Wyrd has more handdrawn looking skins that photo realistic and Nylon Outfitters are even more so plus their hair would work for that kind of  look.

8c7ae1fec377a14e92a0f9b97fa4b832.png

Wow, I love this monotone look! very Interesting, never thought of doing things this way. ima take notes.

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8 hours ago, Fluffy Sharkfin said:

I definitely appreciate a well made realistic looking avatar, but I've always thought it would be nice to see more high end stylized avatars.  Fortunately with the advent of mesh and bento and a huge variety of mesh heads available, there's definitely a wider range of styles now compared to a few years back and people are making some stunningly detailed avatars of all shapes and sizes.

 

I don't take pictures often so hadn't really noticed it before, and there doesn't seem to be an easy solution but there is a trick you can use that involves modifying the settings for Anya Ohmais Depth Map Windlight Preset to create a foreground/background mask for your photo.

Essentially it requires you to take 3 pictures.  One with alpha attachments, one without, and a third using the modified depth map windlight preset.

354dae3dddb9da1819205126e6476cf3.png.dff7189e6d8daf63b9c6dde1db9c8742.png

Then you load the first image into photoshop and load the second in as a new layer, add a mask to the top layer and copy and paste the third image into the mask layer.

Once that's done you just need to select the mask layer and use Image > Adjustments > Curves to adjust the luminance balance of the mask so it removes all the unwanted details while leaving as much of the foreground details intact as possible.

Before:

3585c00f0feb7e08a7d8a28ff8c2f6a1.thumb.jpg.a96703e8b11be3337e9caf66808ad52e.jpg

After:

0a693b6778a463f3435eaba2669fe16c.thumb.jpg.3641011bd577ce500e0968b921152fba.jpg

It's not exactly a simple, easy fix but it can provide a good base mask to work with and may save some time as opposed to trying to fix the alpha halos manually. 

OMG this is... why didnt I ever thought of this!? When I read this, I just facepalm myself so hard. Lol
I do not mind the extra steps at all. Removing the halo this way makes it look more natural than blurring it out in Photoshop. Thank you so much! Ima practice and make this a habit from now on. 🥰

Edited by Yuki Suki
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2 hours ago, Tama Suki said:

I don't use much what you call "photorealism" because I don't consider it photorealism but simply the graphics engine of SL which very often I don't appreciate very much, probably because it lacks that touch of Ambient Occlusion that would make it really photorealistic. Obviously by saying this I absolutely do not mean to despise the lovers of SL photography. Indeed many times I really appreciate what some people manage to get out of this function.
I've walked this route in the past myself and I have to say that you can get amazing results using weird things found in the developer menu for example.
So yeah, I'm absolutely for the stylized style.

Schermata 2021-12-31 alle 11.16.09.png

Most of us are in SL love SL for our own various reasons.  hmm I have not tried looking in that menu. I should explore.

yea, I hear you. I would love to see SL using a decent modern render engine too. For now, I am just try to see how far I can go within the graphical limitations of SL.

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13 hours ago, Yuki Suki said:

How do you prefer your avatar? Photorealism or stylized?  Photorealism has been my go to method for photography. But lately, I found myself wanting to experiment with stylize (cell shade or 'cartoony').

I prefer photorealism, even when my avatar is fantasy. Unless I'm furry, in which case more cartoony is fine, but cel shading is too hard, lol

 

13 hours ago, Yuki Suki said:

1. Are there any stylized skin creators for us regular human mesh bodies and head or is going anime and beast-kin mesh body the only way?

Try Fallen Gods, or Plastik/Petrichor.  If you are Bakes on mesh it's much easier. 

 

13 hours ago, Yuki Suki said:

2. Is there a way to deal with the alpha halo (attached screenshots) directly in SL when taking a photo without doing it in Photoshop? I usually do it in Photoshop.

The alpha blended hair is clashing with your Depth of Field. You will need to turn DoF off, and "fake" it in Photoshop.  Or find hair that has no alpha blending in it (though such hair would be old and ugly).

 

13 hours ago, Yuki Suki said:

3. Do you shoot raw (no filter) and touch up in imaging software or do all your adjusting in world (adding filter) and shoot once without further touching up externally. If the latter, what are some tips you can share.

A combination? I don't use filters much but I do use Black Dragon, and play with the settings and lighting a lot, so I don't usually need do a lot of post-processing. Sometimes I'll raise the contrast a bit, or add some faked Depth of Field, sometimes I need to remove some annoying thing in the background that I forgot to derender. 

 

13 hours ago, Yuki Suki said:

4. When taking photos in SL. Do you just crank up Ultra and shoot or do you have a preferred go to settings.

I don't crank Black Dragon up to max (my PC would melt) but I do have most settings up pretty high, depending on the effect I'm looking for. I have some favourite windlight/environment settings and I particularly like the light softening effects, but I'm generally changing it all on the fly and even if I did save the settings I probably wouldn't use the same one again. 

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I have high-ish graphics settings with shadows on all the time and I use the same for photos. I do process my best pictures (but only mildly) in Gimp. I correct any glitches, adjust brightness and contrast, add some very fine RGB noise then a very, very slight blur.

As for photo-realism, yes - that's what I strive for but it's difficult to get it 100% in SL. If I see dragons or unicorns and my travels, I'm more impressed by the 'realistic' ones !!!

Edited by Conifer Dada
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I prefer photo realistic. But I also do fantasy and animal looks.

On 12/30/2021 at 3:56 PM, Yuki Suki said:

I see, so there is no way around this halo thingie other than Photoshop or pick a different spot, hmmm...
Oh and i dont see you blog link at your profile page. May I have the link 😛

If items are mod-ok you can change their blend mode and that eliminates the problem you see. But, there are trade offs. If you play with it you'll see.

On 12/30/2021 at 6:23 PM, Yuki Suki said:

IKR! I swear someone is always messing with my shape whenever I am offline. It always look slightly off when I login.

If you edit a shape, come back and find it changed then you likely need to replace the shape with another shape to force a save. Replacing it will force the asset database to update. The idea is change, save, and remove/replace to get the new values into the asset database. You'll find this happen with lots of items.

The alternative is to Save as... after changing the shape. This is usually how I make my changes.

On 12/31/2021 at 4:46 AM, Yuki Suki said:

I wonder if it is possible to reorder the sequence what item render in-world first, like clothes first and body later? nvm i digress. 

Oh boy, one weird derender incident actually got me putting on tattoo underwear when possible. I was hanging out and chatting in some random social sim (cant remember the LM). After a couple of hours, one person shared a link in chat saying that "this is how I SL" - a screenie of every female chatting there were naked. it was funny, but it somehow weird me after that. Lol 😅

Changing the order is hit or miss. There is an order to the render progression. Consider the avatar has a skeleton with attachment points. Attachments can be stacked on the various attachment points. The order tends to spread out from the pelvis bone running to the extremities and processing attachments at each attachment point in order attached.

Many designers leave everything they make set to the default attachment point, the right-hand. You usually see attachment problems when lots of items are on a single attachment point.

The problem with sorting out the render order is outfits. They seem to have their own idea about the order in which things should attach. SO my experience is it generally remains unpredictable unless you manually attach things. Which I suspect is the reason we can often remove a hair, re-wear it, and problems go away.

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On 12/30/2021 at 10:45 PM, LilNosferatu said:

While there are some really gorgeous realistic-style avatars out there, I honestly prefer ones that are a bit more stylized. Not sure if it's the uncanny valley effect, or the fact that SL seems to have developed its own beauty standards that leads 80% of everyone to look exactly the same, or simply because I enjoy anime already. 😛 But to me it seems much easier (and cheaper!) to get a more unique, customized look with a stylized anime or furry avatar.

That said, as far as SL photography goes, the people who can make their realistic avatars super pretty and take nice shots?
Those are really nice to look at, and I appreciate the amount of work and L$ that must have gone into that.

I don't know anything about stylized but I can certainly say that photorealistic is very time consuming and can be expensive. It took me many hours of demos just to pick one particular hair!!!

Edited by Bagnu
spelling error
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On 12/31/2021 at 12:10 AM, Fluffy Sharkfin said:

I definitely appreciate a well made realistic looking avatar, but I've always thought it would be nice to see more high end stylized avatars.  Fortunately with the advent of mesh and bento and a huge variety of mesh heads available, there's definitely a wider range of styles now compared to a few years back and people are making some stunningly detailed avatars of all shapes and sizes.

 

I don't take pictures often so hadn't really noticed it before, and there doesn't seem to be an easy solution but there is a trick you can use that involves modifying the settings for Anya Ohmais Depth Map Windlight Preset to create a foreground/background mask for your photo.

Essentially it requires you to take 3 pictures.  One with alpha attachments, one without, and a third using the modified depth map windlight preset.

354dae3dddb9da1819205126e6476cf3.png.dff7189e6d8daf63b9c6dde1db9c8742.png

Then you load the first image into photoshop and load the second in as a new layer, add a mask to the top layer and copy and paste the third image into the mask layer.

Once that's done you just need to select the mask layer and use Image > Adjustments > Curves to adjust the luminance balance of the mask so it removes all the unwanted details while leaving as much of the foreground details intact as possible.

Before:

3585c00f0feb7e08a7d8a28ff8c2f6a1.thumb.jpg.a96703e8b11be3337e9caf66808ad52e.jpg

After:

0a693b6778a463f3435eaba2669fe16c.thumb.jpg.3641011bd577ce500e0968b921152fba.jpg

It's not exactly a simple, easy fix but it can provide a good base mask to work with and may save some time as opposed to trying to fix the alpha halos manually. 

This is a great technique for controlled circumstances!!!I can't do this with most of mine, because I can't just stop the action when it's happening. So use a number of different approaches, depending on the background complexity. One pic, I made 3 background copies. I shifted underlying layer to the left, and started erasing from top layer. Once it looked  decent, I merged the two top layers. Then I shifted the underlying layer to the right and repeated the process. Then merged those, and fine tuned with clone stamp and blur. This was because clone and healing brush didn't look good. In most cases clone stamp is my "go to", and works great!!!

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On 1/2/2022 at 6:36 AM, Nalates Urriah said:

If items are mod-ok you can change their blend mode and that eliminates the problem you see. But, there are trade offs. If you play with it you'll see.

 

Oh i need to try this too. Thank you!

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Posted (edited)
On 1/4/2022 at 10:58 AM, Bagnu said:

I don't know anything about stylized but I can certainly say that photorealistic is very time consuming and can be expensive. It took me many hours of demos just to pick one particular hair!!!

VERY time consuming but I like it. I find it very rewarding. I've been fine tuning my shape and it will never end. Lol
Ima stop here for today, for now.  https://bit.ly/3q7eL7H

Edited by Yuki Suki
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1 hour ago, Yuki Suki said:

VERY time consuming but I like it. I find it very rewarding. I've been fine tuning my shape and it will never end. Lol
Ima stop here for today, for now.  https://bit.ly/3q7eL7H

 I'm forever tweaking my shape.  I'll be trying on demos and while camming around my avatar will notice something that's "not quite right", then I spend the next hour tweaking different sliders until I'm either happy with the results or get bored and frustrated and go back to trying on demos. 😆

I really like how clean your shape looks, it doesn't seem to have any of the usual weird angles or other imperfections you might see when camming around and looking at an avatars face close up!

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39 minutes ago, Fluffy Sharkfin said:

 I'm forever tweaking my shape.  I'll be trying on demos and while camming around my avatar will notice something that's "not quite right", then I spend the next hour tweaking different sliders until I'm either happy with the results or get bored and frustrated and go back to trying on demos. 😆

I really like how clean your shape looks, it doesn't seem to have any of the usual weird angles or other imperfections you might see when camming around and looking at an avatars face close up!

IKR! Something is always off every time I check too! I can relate to that so much 🤭
OMG those tiny weird edges are evil! Those tiny thing is the reason why i spend a long time with the sliders. It can be done tho, each head has its limitations and I try to work within that for my head. If you know where to look, you will see it 🤭

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44 minutes ago, Yuki Suki said:

IKR! Something is always off every time I check too! I can relate to that so much 🤭
OMG those tiny weird edges are evil! Those tiny thing is the reason why i spend a long time with the sliders. It can be done tho, each head has its limitations and I try to work within that for my head. If you know where to look, you will see it 🤭

I think one of the main reasons I don't change mesh heads very often is because I know I'll end up having to spend hours and hours making a new shape and working out which combinations of sliders work best to create the shape I want for that particular head.

I only recently swapped from Genus to Lelutka and accidentally wearing my old shape with the new head results in something pretty terrifying, basically it looks like my avatar landed face first in a hornets nest! 😄  It really is surprising how much difference the brand of head you're using can have on how the shape sliders work.

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3 hours ago, Fluffy Sharkfin said:

I think one of the main reasons I don't change mesh heads very often is because I know I'll end up having to spend hours and hours making a new shape and working out which combinations of sliders work best to create the shape I want for that particular head.

I only recently swapped from Genus to Lelutka and accidentally wearing my old shape with the new head results in something pretty terrifying, basically it looks like my avatar landed face first in a hornets nest! 😄  It really is surprising how much difference the brand of head you're using can have on how the shape sliders work.

The brand is everything!!! I switched to Genus from Lel, because I had more luck getting the look I wanted. But then I helped my friend with her LEL, and it turned out great. But then she was the one in a actual control, I was just adding suggestions.

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I prefer somewhere in between. Not as stylized as say, anime-avatars, but not as photorealistic as can be either. I wear a lot of hand-drawn skins and "old" mesh hair with my fantasy-looks. Only my human form has a photosourced skin, and it took me quite a while to make that jump. But I'm nowhere near evox-levels of realism. I do like it on others, but for me, I have not found a look that was "me" enough to pull it off. I'm very particular about certain features, like lips. 

As for stylized skins - Matty already mentioned Fallen Gods, I'mma second that, as their Fangirl#1, lol. They're handdrawn, but mostly fantasy tones and paterns, but they also do have a human skintone line - Humanitas. (As well as some human tones in the Pure line).

As for the halo around alpha hairs - I either try to minimize it by doing less dof, or a different background, or I manually try to fix it in post-production. Results can be hit or miss. Fluffys solution sounds great, will try that next, even if it's more work.

I take pictures with shadows and dof enabled, a fitting windlight, and adjust in post-process. Mainly, I just do some colour-correction and balancing, cropping, fixing some flaws, adjusting or adding more lightning, sharpen/blur, grain, a bit of color-overlay in one or two corners, sometimes I add some effects, and lastly some light chromatic aberrasion, because I really enjoy that. 
Huh, that sounds more exessive than it actually is. 

I shoot with the same settings as I walk around in SL, but mine are already quite high. I'm too lazy to change the settings everytime I take a pic, and it'd slow things down for me. 

 

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