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  • Environment editor


    Jeremy Linden

     

    What are environments?

    The Environment Editor gives you a fine degree of control over Second Life's sky, water, and atmosphere. Imagine a strange alien planet with a purple sky, or a smoggy, overcast city! This guide will help you to understand the many controls at your disposal, and set you on the path to becoming a weather-controlling mad scientist.

    You can also use subtler lighting effects to make your screenshots look fantastic, like adding a rosy glow to a sunset sky or golden highlights for your beach photos. Feeling the seasonal spirit? Add fog and clouds to give your environment a wintry chill, or increase the ambient light and ditch the clouds for a hot summer sizzle.

    Note: In order to see all of the sky effects you will need OpenGL 2.0 or higher. If you have the latest drivers for your graphics card and still cannot see certain atmospheric effects (such as clouds) try enabling Basic Shaders and Atmospheric Shaders in the Graphics tab of your Me > Preferences menu.

    The Environmental Enhancement Project (EEP)

    The Environmental Enhancement Project (EEP) is a set of viewer- and server-based tools which not only allow Residents to customize their environments even further, but to create objects with their favorite settings to share or sell with others. Instead of a complicated process of downloading settings files from websites or adjusting settings one by one, Residents can trade or buy custom environments and use them on their parcels, just for themselves, or on a full region (if they're a private region owner or estate manager). 

    EEP also introduces personal lightinga quick and easy way to temporarily adjust environments wherever you go. While these adjustments can't be permanently saved, they're wonderful for making tweaks to your lighting or environment to get that perfect screenshot on the go. 

    In addition to the new settings objects and personal lighting, EEP has added new environmental settings which allow you to add spectacular effects like ice halos around the Sun and Moon and most dazzling of all  rainbows! 

    How to customize your environment

    World - Environment Menu.png

    Because the viewer determines how to display the sky, water, and day cycle to you, environmental settings allow you to change how the world looks in several different ways. 

    • The Personal lighting window allows you to set quick, temporary changes to your environment no matter where you are. These changes are only visible to you, and they go away when you log out and back in again.
      • Want something a little more permanent? You can create or customize a sky or water preset with the Sky Preset Editor and save it to use later. Many great presets are already available in our Library, and can be applied to yourself, your parcel, or your region. You can also copy them to your inventory to edit for that special, custom look.
      • You can also right-click and choose Apply Only to Myself on any settings object in your inventory to update your personal environment at any time. 
    • If you own or have permissions to change the environment on a parcel of land, you can set custom environmental settings on the World > About Land > Environment tab. Other visitors to that parcel will share the same environmental experience by default.
    • Private region owners or estate managers can also set custom environmental settings for their entire region through the World > Region/Estate > Environment tab.
    • The Sunrise, Midday, Sunset and Midnight options from World > Environment will set your sky to 
    ✏️

    Tip: You can apply any settings object in your inventory or the Library by right-clicking on the object and choosing Apply Only To Myself to test out how it looks. To return to the parcel or region's shared environment, select World > Environment > Use Shared Environment

    Personal Lighting

    Personal Lighting settings window

    The Personal Lighting window can be opened from World > Environment > Personal Lighting. In one window, you can customize many of the most important environmental settings in one place, based on whatever environmental settings you're currently experiencing.

    For example, if you visit a spooky haunted house region, the environment may be customized to be very dark, foggy, and mysterious. When you load the Personal Lighting window, you see the spooky settings loaded into the options, and can adjust them as you like. You cannot save these adjusted settings, though, and they'll go away once you log out and log back in again. 

    For more information about the various settings options, see the Sky settings, Water settings, and Day Cycle settings sections below.

    Apply Only to Myself

    Inventory - Settings Folder - Right Click Menu - Cropped.png

    To apply any saved environment preset from a settings object, locate the settings object in your Inventory > Settings folder or the Library > Environments folder, then right-click Apply Only to Myself. This will instantly change your environment to reflect the settings you've selected. 

    You can reset your personal environment at any time by clicking World > Environment > Use Shared Environment 

    Pause Clouds

    The Pause Clouds option from World > Environment > Pause Clouds stops the animation on clouds and waves, freezing them in place until the option is unchecked. This is only visible to you, and can be checked or unchecked at any time.

    Parcel environment settings

    About Land - Environment tab

    You can set custom environments for a parcel by opening the About Land's Environment panel from World > About Land > Environment. From here, parcel owners can choose to use the region's settings, to apply settings objects from inventory, or to customize the current settings on the parcel. For group-owned land, members must have a role with the ability Modify environment settings and day cycle in order to change these settings.

    If you right-click on a settings object and select Apply to parcel, the setting will be applied to all available settings options. For a sky setting, this would set the same sky at the ground, Sky 2, Sky 3, and Sky 4 altitudes. If you apply a day cycle setting to a parcel from inventory, it will apply to all available options — water, ground, and all sky levels.

    Sky Altitudes allow you to set different skies at different heights, creating specific areas. This is particularly useful if you have a skybox or use multiple levels of your land or region for different purposes, but it can also create a lovely visual effect. Imagine taking off from a foggy ground-level airport and climbing to a clear sunrise above!

    For more information about the various settings options, see the Sky settings, Water settings, and Day Cycle settings sections below.

    ✏️

    Note: Region owners may choose not to allow parcel owners to change their environment settings. If your parcel is in a private region, you may wish to speak to the estate manager or region owner if you have questions about setting custom environments on your land.

    Region environment settings

    Region Estate - Environment Tab.png

    Region owners and estate managers may set custom environment settings on through the Region/Estate window by opening World > Region/Estate > Environment. Much like the About Land window, this allows region owners to set different skies at different altitudes as well as selecting the specific environmental options they'd like for their regions.

    Region owners can also check or uncheck the Parcel Owners May Override Environment box. If checked, owners of parcels in the region can set their own custom environments through the About Land windows. If unchecked, all parcels in the region will use the region's default environment settings.

    For more information about the various settings options, see the Sky settings, Water settings, and Day Cycle settings sections below.

    Environment settings objects

    EEP provides 3 new inventory assets called settings. Settings may be created and destroyed through your inventory, and they may be given to other people or sold through the Marketplace. You can view your current environmental settings objects by checking your Me > Inventory > Settings folder, or by opening the My Environments window from the World > Environment > My Environments menu.

    Skies EEP_Skies_Icon.png

    Sky settings define the look of the sky. They control the color and direction of the ambient light, the images used to display the sun and the moon, and their positions in the sky. They also control the atmospheric conditions, like the color and density of clouds or how much moisture is in the air.

    Water EEP_Water_Icon.png

    Water settings define the look of Linden water. Some of the settings include the water's color, how reflective the surface is, and the shape and direction of the waves. From a crystal-clear tropical sea to a murky, apocalyptic lagoon, custom water settings allow you to match your water to your mood.

    Day Cycles EEP_Day_Cycles_Icon.png

    Day cycles are collections of skies and waters that blend together to form the environment for an entire day. You can set a foggy sky for the morning, a bright sun for the afternoon, and a cozy rainbow for sunset; the quality of the light, the colors, and the clouds can be adjusted to change throughout the day cycle. Different water settings can be applied throughout the day to change the appearance as time progresses, too.

    My Environments Inventory List.png

    Environment settings permissions

    Environment settings objects have a few special behaviors when it comes to object permissions. Aside from these special behaviors, they can be shared, sold at :  shops, or sold on the Marketplace like other object types. Please note that environment settings objects can't be set to no-copy — sorry, gacha fans!

    Copy and No-copy

    Environment settings objects cannot be set to no-copy. The owner of an environment settings object may always make a copy of it in their inventory.

    Transfer and No-transfer

    The no-transfer permission is persistent. For example, if you import a no-transfer day or water settings object into a day cycle, that day cycle will also become no-transfer. Once saved, this permission change cannot be altered. The day cycle will always remain no-transfer.

    Modify and No-modify

    Modify and no-modify permissions behave as normal.

    Creating and editing settings

    Creating a new settings object

    Inventory - New Settings from Button

    To create a new settings object (like a new Sky or Water), click the plus button () in your Inventory window, then select New Settings > New Sky, New Water, or New Day Cycle.

    You can also access the Settings folder from the World > Environment > My Environments... menu.

    My Environments window

    Editing settings objects

    To edit a Settings object, select the item in your inventory or My Environments list and click Open

    Inventory - Settings Folder - Right Click Menu - Cropped.png

     

    Depending on the type of settings object, an editor will open. The Sky Editor allows you to customize skies, the Water Editor allows you to customize the appearance of default water, and the Day Cycle editor lets you assign specific sky and water settings to different times of day.

    For more on each of the editors, see the detailed sections below.

    Saving and importing settings

    After you've made changes to a settings object using the editor window, you can select Save on the lower left to save the updated settings to your inventory. Please note that using the Save button will override your previous settings, if you had any.

    If you'd like to save a new copy of the item instead, be sure it has a unique name in the Name box at the top of the editor, then click the up arrow to the right of the Save button to choose Save as.... This allows you to create a new copy of the item with your newly selected name.

    Importing existing Windlight settings

    If you've already customized your region, or you have saved personal Windlight settings that you like to use, you can import them to the viewer directly via the Import button. Once you've imported a Windlight file, it turns into a settings object that you can edit in the editor window

    • Open World > Environment > My Environments...
    • At the bottom of the window, click  (+) to Make new setting
    • Select New SkyNew Water, or New Day Cycle 
    • A new object is created in your inventory's Settings folder, called New SkyNew Water, or New Day Cycle
    • Double-click or right-click and choose Open to open this new item for editing
    • In the editor window that appears, enter a name for your setting in the Name box
    • Click the Import button on the upper right of the editor window
    • Navigate to your chosen existing Windlight .xml file and select it in your computer's file selection window
    • Your custom settings will be imported. Click Save to save your settings as a new object.
    Import Button

      Clicking the Import button will open your computer's file selection window, just like uploading a texture or snapshot. To locate your existing Windlight files, you may need to do a bit of searching, depending on which operating system and viewer you use. 

      Importing Windlight settings on a Mac

      Your existing Windlight settings are saved on your Mac in a Library folder which is generally not visible by default. You can open this folder by using Finder. For convenience, it's often easiest to drag your Windlight folder onto your Favorites list temporarily. This will make it easy to find from the file selection menu later.

      • In Finder, from the menu bar, select Go > Go to Folder…
      • Paste the following link into the entry box: ~/Library/Application Support/SecondLife/user_settings/windlight/
      • Click Go
      • If you like, drag your SkiesWater, or Day Cycle folders onto the Favorites bar to the left to find them again easily when you use the Import button inside Second Life.
      • Your skies, water, and day cycle settings will be located inside the folders of the same name.

       

      Importing Windlight settings on a Windows computer

      Your Windlight folder location may vary depending on which version of Windows you have, and whether or not you’ve installed the Second Life Viewer in a different location than your primary hard drive.

      In File Explorer, navigate to the following folder: 

      • C:\Program Files\SecondLifeViewer\app_settings\windlight

      Some earlier versions of Windows, like Windows 7, may have the settings located here: 

      • C:\Users\USERNAME\AppData\Roaming\SecondLife\user_settings\windlight
      💡

      Tip: Having trouble? It’s sometimes easier to search for a folder than to locate the folder directly. Searching for Windlight in your operating system’s search menu should direct you to the right folder if you can’t locate it. This will also help you find Windlight settings from any third party or alternate viewers you may have installed, too.

       

      Editing a Sky setting

      The Sky Editor contains detailed controls for modifying environmental effects in the sky, as the name suggests. It is where you make visual changes to sky settings objects, altering the color and intensity of the light, the density of the clouds, even what the Sun and Moon look like. It contains three tabs, each with a number of sliders and color selection boxes for manipulating the sky's appearance. You may also save, import, and load sky settings to use in Day Cycles or to apply to yourself whenever you'd like.

      The Atmosphere & Lighting tab

      The Atmosphere & Lighting tab of the Sky Editor controls the color of the light, the haze and moisture levels in the air. 

      Sky Editor - Atmosphere & Lighting

      Ambient Color: This is a universal light that applies color across the region equally. It casts no shadows, unlike the sun and moon. In traditional film or television, this effect is often created by placing colored filters across lights to create a gentle, even wash of colored light. Generally, set your ambient color to the color and brightness you want your darkest shadow to be. 

      ✏️ Tip: Cloud cover also affects your ambient light. If your cloud cover is set to 1, your environment will be brighter, with a more intense ambient light effect.

      Blue Horizon: Use the color picker box to adjust the color of the sky. In meteorological terms, this setting affects "atmospheric scattering", which is the scientific answer to the age-old question, "Why is the sky blue?"

      Blue Density: Blue Density affects the overall color saturation of your sky. If you move the Saturation slider (right) down, your colors will become brighter and more vibrant. If you move it all the way up, your colors will become duller, eventually fading to black and white. If you'd like to fine-tune your sky's color balance, you can control individual elements of saturation by using the color picker to adjust the color details, like Red, Blue, Green, Saturation and Luminosity.

      ✏️ Tip: Blue Horizon and Blue Density are particularly closely related. Imagine Blue Horizon as the base color for the sky, and Blue Density as the sky's color intensity and color balance effects. Try turning Haze Density to zero and playing with these settings for yourself to get a better feel for how they interact with each other.

      Haze Horizon: This setting affects the height of haze on the horizon. At higher settings, the haze will reach up into the sky and obscure the actual horizon. Haze on the horizon can help to accentuate the sun, and create a dusty, smoggy, or humid effect. This setting will not work if Haze Density is set to zero.

      Haze Density: Haze density affects the amount of haze you can see in the atmosphere. At lower settings, this can make for some great outdoor views in dusty or tropical environments, and at higher levels it can create a thick, vision-obscuring fog. If you set Haze Density to zero, the Haze Horizon setting will have no effect.

      Moisture Level: The moisture level in the atmosphere contributes to creating visible rainbows. The maximum value for the moisture level setting is 1.0. To see a rainbow, set your Moisture Level to 1.0, your Droplet Radius to 600, and adjust your Sun position to the horizon. Facing the sun, turn all the way around to face away from it, and your rainbow will be visible on the opposite horizon!

      Droplet Radius: The droplet radius setting influences the visibility of rainbows; adjust the droplet radius to change the intensity of your rainbow.

      Scene Gamma: This control adjusts your environment's distribution of light and darkness. Lower settings will cause everything to appear dim or extremely dark, while higher settings may make the scene look white and "washed out", depending on your ambient light color. The default setting for scene gamma is 1.0. Adjusting the scene gamma is one way to make an environment more vivid or more gloomy.

      Ice Level: Increasing the ice level will create a halo-effect around the Sun and Moon. Like rainbows, you must have shadows enabled in your Graphics preferences to see a Sun or Moon halo. Fun fact! If both the Sun and Moon are visible at the same time, only the Sun will show a halo – the halo is formed from direct light bouncing through tiny crystals of ice in the atmosphere, and the Moon's light just can't compete with the Sun.

      Density Multiplier: The Density Multiplier can be used to affect the overall atmospheric density. At lower settings, it creates a feeling of "thin air", and at higher settings, it creates a very heavy, smoggy effect.

      Distance Multiplier: This setting affects your perceived distance within the atmosphere. To make everything look hazy and distant, move the slider to the right. If you want to completely remove the Sky Settings' effects from terrain and objects, set the slider to zero.

      Max Altitude: Adjusts the altitude calculations Second Life makes when it is computing atmospheric lighting. At later times of day, it can be useful for calculating how "deep" a sunset appears, while at noon it can be used to achieve proper brightness values.

      Creating rainbows

      To create a rainbow in your sky, you need a few things:

      • A Sun that's low on the horizon (near sunrise or sunset)
      • moisture level of 1.0
      • droplet radius of 600
      • A camera angle facing away from the sun

      You can adjust the moisture level and droplet radius to change the style of your rainbow once you can see it, creating a sharper or fuzzier band of colors. Play with the settings until it looks just right!

      ✏️ Tip: You must have Atmospheric Shaders, the Advanced Lighting Model, and Shadows enabled under Me > Preferences > Graphics > Advanced Graphics to view rainbows.  

      The Clouds tab

      Sky Editor - Clouds tab

      This tab gives you control over the clouds in the sky:

      Cloud Color: This affects the color of your clouds, if you have any. Use the color selector to choose the color (Red, Green, Blue values), the Luminosity, and the Saturation of your clouds. 

      Cloud XY/Density: Use the X and Y sliders to change the horizontal position of all clouds in the sky. The D slider affects the overall density of the individual clouds; at low settings you will see thin, wispy clouds, and at higher settings you will see thicker, more solid clouds.

      Cloud Coverage: As the name implies, this control sets the amount of cloud coverage. At zero, there isn't a cloud in the sky, but at higher settings, you can get a completely overcast effect.

      Cloud Scale: This setting affects the perceived altitude of the clouds... if you slide the control to the right, it will make the clouds appear to be higher in the sky.

      Cloud Detail (X, Y, & D): These settings affect the detailed image of your clouds. The X and Y sliders shift its horizontal position, and the D (density) slider controls how puffy or fractured your clouds appear.

      Cloud Scroll X & Y: These settings affect the direction and speed at which the clouds float in the sky. 

      Cloud Image: This selector lets you choose a new image map for your clouds. For best results, make sure your texture is seamless; the Library has a Default Cloud Map texture available if you need to reset your clouds for any reason.

      The Sun & Moon tab

      Sky Editor - Sun & Moon tab

      This tab controls the sun, ambient lighting, and the stars:

      Sun Color: This setting affects the color of the light your sun and moon produce. Keep in mind that the color of your sunlight/moonlight will affect the color of your sky! To change Sun/Moon Color, use the color selector box.

      Sun and Moon Position: The Sun and Moon Position boxes adjust where the Sun and Moon appear in the sky, projected onto a sphere. By rotating the sphere, you can change where the Sun (or Moon) is in the sky.

      ✏️ Tip: Click the Show Beacon box to set a red beacon arrow pointing at the Sun or Moon. Even if they're below the horizon or hiding behind terrain or buildings, the beacon will show where they currently are.
      Image: This option allows you to set a custom texture for the Sun or the Moon.  Custom Sun Image - Heart

      Scale: This determines how large the Sun is in the sky.

      Glow Size: This setting defines the size of the sun's glowing aura.

      Glow Focus: This setting adjusts how much the sun blurs over the sky. At very high settings, Focus can cause the sun to completely wash out a portion of the sky with brilliant light, and at zero, it will cause the sun (but not the light it casts) to disappear from the sky.

      Star Brightness: Star Brightness defines how visible the stars are in the sky. If you play with this slider while the sun is up, you can see stars in the middle of the day!

      Editing a Water setting

      Water Editor

      Some of the water settings you can edit include:

      Water Fog Color: This changes the color of the particulate matter in your water, essentially defining the color of the water itself. If your water has no fog, it will appear crystal clear and colorless.

      Density Exponent: Controls the density of your water fog; this setting defines how far you are able to see into the water.

      Underwater Modifier: Controls how the fog density changes when you are underwater. Useful for creating far-seeing views when underwater while keeping the surface fairly opaque. For example, at a setting of 0.25, the water fog is 1/4 as dense while underwater as it appears from above the surface.

      Fresnel Scale: Determines how much light is reflected at different angles; increasing this slider reduces visual reflection effects on the water's surface.

      Fresnel Offset: Determines how much total light is reflected; increasing this slider increases the amount of light reflected by the water's surface.

      Normal Map: Controls the normal map used for determining reflections and refractions. Any texture may be used for this setting, but true normal maps work best. Second Life's wave effects are generated by superimposing a large normal map image over a smaller version of itself. Try snake skin, tiles, or any other normal map for some wacky effects!

      Reflection Wavelet Scale: Controls the scale of the three wavelets that make up the surface of the water.

      Big Wave Speed: Adjusting the crosshairs box controls the X and Y direction and speed of the large wave image.

      Little Wave Speed: Adjusting the crosshairs box controls the X and Y direction and speed of the small wave image.

      Refract Scale Above: Controls the amount of visual refraction you can see from above the water's surface; this is the "wobbly" effect you can see when you look at an object that is underwater.

      Refract Scale Below: Controls the amount of visual refraction you can see from below the water's surface. This is the "wobbly" effect you can see when you look at an object that is above the water.

      Blur Multiplier: Controls how waves and reflections are mixed. Increasing this setting increases the amount of distortion you see in reflections as a result of wave activity.

      Editing a Day Cycle setting

      Bring up the Day Cycle Editor by selecting an existing Day Cycle settings object from your inventory Settings folder, or by creating a new settings object. You can open up the My Environments window to easily view your existing environment settings and the Library's collection of settings by opening World > Environment > My Environments...

       

      The Day Cycle Editor gives you control over the sky during Second Life's day/night cycle by setting keyframes along a timeline representing times of the day. These are nodes (represented by dots on the timeline) that have associated sky and water presets. As the time of day progresses, the sky "animates" as it shifts between these keyframes. This is useful for creating everything from photorealistic day/night cycles to strange alien environments.

      For each keyframe dot on the timeline, you can set a different Sky Setting for each altitude level on the left (Ground Level, Sky 2, Sky 3, and Sky 4) as well as the Water

      For example, you can create a day cycle that has a foggy sky setting at 6am, a clear sky at 12pm, and a warm sunset at 6pm. To do that, add a keyframe node at 6am on the timeline and choose a foggy sky setting for it from the Load Sky button. Then repeat the process for noon and sunset. 

      To create a basic Day Cycle:

      • Type a new name in the Preset Name box, or click the Import button on the right to import legacy Windlight settings.
      • Move the yellow arrow slider to a time of day, for example, 6am.
      • Click Add Sky to add a keyframe node dot to the timeline.
      • Click the dot to select it; it will turn green.
      • On the right, click Load Sky, then select the sky preset you'd like to use at this time of day from your Settings folder in your inventory.
      • Continue clicking Add Sky at various times of day, selecting the sky you'd like to use at that time of day.
        • If you're on the Water track, the button will say Add Water. It works the same as Add Sky, allowing you to select an existing Water settings object from inventory and applying it to that specific time of day.
      • When you have a day cycle timeline that you're happy with, you can use the Clone Track button to copy it to the other altitudes.
        • As a tip, set your Ground timeline first.
        • Then click Sky 2 and select Clone Track to copy the skies and nodes you added to the Ground level to Sky 2. 
        • Repeat for Sky 3 and 4.
        • If you'd like to change the sky based on different altitudes, you can click the button and make any adjustments you want.
      • You can drag the yellow arrow along the timeline to preview what your day cycle will look like at different times.
      • When you're finished, click Save to save the preset.

      The yellow arrow above the timeline represents your current view, based on time of day. Click and drag it to see how your day will animate. You may add or delete keyframes by pressing the Add Sky and Delete Sky buttons to the right of the timeline. 

      You can adjust the time position of a keyframe by dragging it along the timeline or by entering the time in the Time box with your chosen keyframe node selected.

      Sky and water tracks

      There are four Sky tracks in a Day Cycle: Ground Level, Sky 2, Sky 3, and Sky 4. There is one Water track. Why so many? Having multiple day cycles for different altitudes lets you have flexibility for what your environment looks like in different places. If you have a lovely farm down at ground level, but decide to open a spooky castle on a platform at 2000 meters in the air, you can have a sunny day at the farm while the spooky castle is foggy and dark.

      Frames and the timeline

      The dots on the timeline represent a time when the sky (or water) changes; it might be as simple as the light changing to pink and orange at sunrise or sunset, or as complex as a dozen atmospheric changes to represent storms moving across the region. 

      Previewing your Day Cycle

      Click the ▶️ (play) arrow to play your day cycle. The yellow indicator will move along the timeline, showing what your day cycle will look like as time progresses. Click the tab forward or back button next to the play arrow to move to the next or previous dot on the timeline. 

       

       

      Legacy environment controls

      Some Second Life Viewers may not have implemented the new Enhanced Environment options yet. For those Viewers and for older Viewers still in use, the legacy environment controls can provide customization to the Viewer's skies, water, and day cycle. 

      Note: You will not be able to edit some environment settings with legacy controls, and in some instances, viewers that do not support the Environmental Enhancement Project (EEP) changes may display the environment differently.

      The Environment Editor (Legacy Controls)

      To edit the sky and water, you must first open the Environment Editor. You can do this by selecting World > Environment Settings > Environment Editor > Environment Settings.

      Environment Editor Menu.png

      In the Environment Settings window, you can choose between Use region settings and Customize my environmentUsing region settings will display the region's shared environment, which is what everyone else in the region would see by default. Choosing to customize your environment will allow you to select custom water, sky, and day cycle options that are only visible to you. 

      Environment Settings.png

      The Sky Preset Editor

      The Sky Preset editor contains detailed controls for modifying environmental effects. It is where you make visual changes to sky and atmosphere presets, also known as "keyframes" (see Day Cycle Editor for more about keyframes). It contains three tabs, each with a number of sliders for manipulating the sky's appearance. You may also save and load sky settings when you find a view you like.

      Opening the Sky Preset Editor

      The Sky Preset Editor is located in the Environment Editor:

      1. Go to World > Environment Editor > Sky Presets
      2. Select New Preset to create a new Sky Preset.
      3. Alternatively, select Edit Preset to edit an existing Sky Preset.
      Environment Editor Menu
       

      Editing a Sky Preset

      The Atmosphere Tab

      Create a New Sky Preset - Atmosphere Tab

      This tab controls elements of the atmosphere itself:

      Blue Horizon: Use the color picker box to adjust the color of the sky. In meteorological terms, this setting affects "atmospheric scattering", which is the scientific answer to the age-old question, "Why is the sky blue?"

      Blue Density: Blue Density affects the overall color saturation of your sky. If you move the Saturation slider (right) down, your colors will become brighter and more vibrant. If you move it all the way up, your colors will become duller, eventually fading to black and white. If you'd like to fine-tune your sky's color balance, you can control individual elements of saturation by using the color picker to adjust the color details, like Red, Blue, Green, Saturation and Luminosity.

      Tip: Blue Horizon and Blue Density are particularly closely related. Imagine Blue Horizon as the base color for the sky, and Blue Density as the sky's color intensity and color balance effects. Try turning Haze Density to zero and playing with these settings for yourself to get a better feel for how they interact with each other.

      Haze Horizon: This setting affects the height of haze on the horizon. At higher settings, the haze will reach up into the sky and obscure the actual horizon. Haze on the horizon can help to accentuate the sun, and create a dusty, smoggy, or humid effect. This setting will not work if Haze Density is set to zero.

      Haze Density: Haze density affects the amount of haze you can see in the atmosphere. At lower settings, this can make for some great outdoor views in dusty or tropical environments, and at higher levels it can create a thick, vision-obscuring fog. If you set Haze Density to zero, the Haze Horizon setting will have no effect.

      Density Multiplier: The Density Multiplier can be used to affect the overall atmospheric density. At lower settings, it creates a feeling of "thin air", and at higher settings, it creates a very heavy, smoggy effect.

      Distance Multiplier: This setting affects your perceived distance within the atmosphere. To make everything look hazy and distant, move the slider to the right. If you want to completely remove the Sky Settings' effects from terrain and objects, set the slider to zero.

      Max Altitude: Adjusts the altitude calculations Second Life makes when it is computing atmospheric lighting. At later times of day, it can be useful for calculating how "deep" a sunset appears, while at noon it can be used to achieve proper brightness values.

      The Lighting Tab

      Create a New Sky Preset - Lighting Tab

      This tab controls the sun, ambient lighting, and the stars:

      Sun/Moon Color: This setting affects the color of the light your sun and moon produce. Keep in mind that the color of your sunlight/moonlight will affect the color of your sky! To change Sun/Moon Color, use the Red/Green/Blue (RGB) sliders, or use the Intensity (I) slider to move all three RGB sliders at once.

      Sun and Moon Position: The Sun and Moon Position setting affects the vertical position of the sun and moon, from sunrise (0.0) through noon (0.25), sunset (0.5), midnight (0.75) and back to sunrise (1.0). Note that this setting is different than Time of Day in the Basic Environment Editor. The Time of Day setting shifts through your WindLight keyframes (see The Day Cycle Editor), while the Sun and Moon Position setting only affects the physical location of the sun and moon.

      East Angle: The East Angle affects the horizontal position of the sun/moon, and is similar to azimuth. At settings of 0.0 and 1.0, the sun will rise in the East and set in the West. The settings in between define the entire circle of the horizon; at a setting of 0.5, the sun will rise in the West and set in the East, at a setting of 0.25 the sun will rise in the South and set in the North, etc.

      Sun Glow: There are two settings under Sun Glow: Size defines the size of the sun, and Focus adjusts how much the sun blurs over the sky. At very high settings, Focus can cause the sun to completely wash out a portion of the sky with brilliant light, and at zero, it will cause the sun (but not the light it casts) to disappear from the sky.

      Ambient: This controls the color and intensity of ambient light in the atmosphere. This is used for simulating how the light from the sun is scattered by the atmosphere and other objects once it hits the Earth. You can create a very bright sun, and a relatively dark world (think of a sunset!) with an Ambient setting of zero, but if you want to simulate mid-day illumination while the sun was low in the sky, you need to increase the Ambient setting.

      Scene Gamma: This control functions similarly to the Gamma setting in the Graphics Hardware Settings (formerly Adv. Graphics) tab. It adjusts your screen's distribution of light and dark output. Lower settings will cause everything to appear dim, while higher settings may make the scene look gray and "washed out". Scene Gamma is more precise than the older Gamma in that it only affects your rendered view of the SL world- not the menus and rest of your computer's screen.

      Star Brightness: Star Brightness defines how visible the stars are in the sky. If you play with this slider while the sun is up, you can see stars in the middle of the day!

      The Clouds Tab

      Create a New Sky Preset - Clouds Tab

      This tab gives you control over the clouds in the sky:

      Cloud Color: This affects the color of your clouds, if you have any. Use the individual Red/Green/Blue sliders to change the color, or the Intensity (I) slider to drag all three at once.

      Cloud XY/Density: Use the X and Y sliders to change the horizontal position of all clouds in the sky. The D slider affects the overall density of the individual clouds; at low settings you will see thin, wispy clouds, and at higher settings you will see thicker, more solid clouds.

      Cloud Coverage: As the name implies, this control sets the amount of cloud coverage. At zero, there isn't a cloud in the sky, but at higher settings, you can get a completely overcast effect.

      Cloud Scale: This setting affects the perceived altitude of the clouds... if you slide the control to the right, it will make the clouds appear to be higher in the sky.

      Cloud Detail (XY/Density): These settings affect the detail imagery of your clouds. The X and Y sliders shift its horizontal position, and the D slider controls how puffy and/or fractured your clouds look.

      Cloud Scroll X and Cloud Scroll Y: These sliders affect the direction and speed at which the clouds float in the sky. You may also check the Lock checkbox to prevent clouds from moving on the selected axis.

      Naming and save your Sky Presets

      Enter a name for your new sky preset in the Preset Name box and click Save at the bottom of the window to save your preset for future use. Sky Presets are essentially snapshots of WindLight slider settings you can re-load later or use as keyframes in the Day Cycle Editor. Creating presets is useful both for re-loading your favorite settings and for creating day cycle animations using the Day Cycle Editor.

      Edit Day Cycle

      Edit Day Cycle Window

      Bring up the Day Cycle Editor by selecting World > Environment Editor > Day Presets > New Preset or Edit Preset (to edit an existing preset). 

      The Day Cycle Editor gives you control over the sky during Second Life's day/night cycle by setting keyframes along a timeline representing times of the day. These are nodes (represented by dots on the timeline) that have associated sky presets. As the time of day progresses, the sky "animates" as it interpolates between these keyframes. This is useful for creating everything from photorealistic day/night cycles to strange alien environments. For each keyframe dot on the timeline, you can set a different Sky Setting in the box below the timeline.

      For example, you can create a day cycle that has a foggy sky setting at 6am, a clear sky at 12pm, and a warm sunset at 6pm. To do that, add a keyframe node at 6am on the timeline and choose a foggy sky preset from the Sky Setting dropdown, then repeat the process for noon and sunset. 

      To create a basic Day Cycle:

      • Type a new name in the Preset Name box, or choose an existing day cycle preset to edit by choosing it from the dropdown menu.
      • Move the yellow arrow slider to a time of day, for example, 6am.
      • Click Add Key to add a keyframe node dot to the timeline.
      • Click the dot to select it; it will turn green.
      • From the Sky Setting dropdown menu, select the sky preset you'd like to use at this time of day.
      • Continue adding keyframe nodes at various times of day, selecting the sky you'd like to use at that time of day.
      • You can drag the yellow arrow along the timeline to preview what your day cycle will look like at different times.
      • When you're finished, click Save to save the preset.

      The yellow arrow above the timeline represents your current view, based on time of day. Click and drag it to see how your day will animate. You may add or delete keyframes by pressing the Add Key and Delete Key buttons to the right of the timeline. 

      If the Add Key button is grayed out, you may need to move the yellow timeline slider to a different time; when a valid time is available, the Add Key button should light up.

      You can adjust the time position of a keyframe by dragging it along the timeline or by entering the time in the Time box with your chosen keyframe node selected.

      Edit a Water Preset

      The Water Preset window contains detailed controls for modifying water effects. Here you can modify water fog, reflection properties, refraction, and reflection normal maps.

      Opening the Water Preset Editor

      Advanced water settings are located in the Water Preset window:

      1. To create a new water preset, go to World > Environment Editor > Water Presets > New Preset
      2. You can edit an existing water preset by clicking World > Environment Editor > Water Presets > Edit Preset
        Edit a Water Preset Menu

      Some of the water settings you can edit include:

      Water Fog Color: This changes the color of the particulate matter in your water, essentially defining the color of the water itself. If your water has no fog, it will appear crystal clear and colorless.

      Fog Density Exponent: Controls the density of your water fog; this setting defines how far you are able to see into the water.

      Underwater Fog Modifier: Controls how the fog density changes when you are underwater. Useful for creating far-seeing views when underwater while keeping the surface fairly opaque. For example, at a setting of 0.25, the water fog is 1/4 as dense while underwater as it appears from above the surface.

      Reflection Wavelet Scale: Controls the scale of the three wavelets that make up the surface of the water.

      Fresnel Scale: Determines how much light is reflected at different angles; increasing this slider reduces visual reflection effects on the water's surface.

      Fresnel Offset: Determines how much total light is reflected; increasing this slider increases the amount of light reflected by the water's surface.

      Refract Scale Above: Controls the amount of visual refraction you can see from above the water's surface; this is the "wobbly" effect you can see when you look at an object that is underwater.

      Refract Scale Below: Controls the amount of visual refraction you can see from below the water's surface. This is the "wobbly" effect you can see when you look at an object that is above the water.

      Blur Multiplier: Controls how waves and reflections are mixed. Increasing this setting increases the amount of distortion you see in reflections as a result of wave activity.

      Big Wave Direction: Controls the X and Y direction and speed of the large wave image.

      Little Wave Direction: Controls the X and Y direction and speed of the small wave image.

      Normal Map: Controls the normal map used for determining reflections and refractions. Any texture may be used for this setting, but true normal maps work best. Second Life's wave effects are generated by superimposing a large normal map image over a smaller version of itself. Try snake skin, tiles, or any other normal map for some wacky effects!

       

       

       

       

      Edited by Maggie Linden
      updating for Environmental Enhancement Project



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