SL Photography: Controlling the angle and length of your shadows.

With real life photography, I sometimes feel I’m chasing the light. If it’s a nice day or the light is especially fascinating, I know I’m missing some great shadows, so I better grab my camera and get outside before the sun moves on and the shadows fade.

There’s only so much time to get the photo.

Well, that’s real life, and we all know it is full of challenges. Not being able to control the sun is one of them.

But in SL, this isn’t a problem. In SL, you can control the sun and moon and the way your shadows are cast. The sun and the moon move at your bidding… If you know how.

You have to edit windlights, but don’t be afraid.

How to control the angle and length of your shadows:

1. In Firestorm, Ctrl+P to bring up Phototools.

2. Select the WL tab. (It’s the default, so it’s probably already selected.)

3. Under Windlight presets, select Edit Sky Preset.
This brings up the Edit Sky Preset window. It might look a little scary, but you only need to know how to use two of the settings here.

4. The yellow slider controls the length of your shadows.
This is the slider under the graphic with the sun and moons and stars. It’s the time of day, which controls the arc of the sun or moon in the sky. The higher it is in the sky, the shorter your shadows–not much of a shadow at noon; the lower the sun is in the sky, the longer your shadows. Just slide the time back and forth–you’ll see how it changes the length of your shadows.

5. The slider that’s labeled Est Ang controls the angle of your shadows.
This slider controls the angle of the sun or moon in relation to the horizon.

Just knowing these two controls, gives you a lot more control over your photos. You now control the sun and the moon and the length and angle of your shadows.

It’s that easy… in SL. Now, if I can just get this to work in real life.

SL Photography: Should you enter contests?

There are lots of photography contests in SL. It’s not hard to find them: You can find them advertised on Flickr or in some of the art groups (SL Art is a good one to join.).

Is it good to enter these contests?

Well, the answer to that is yes and no.

A photography contest can be good to enter for several reasons:

  • Contests keep you working.
    It might seem obvious, but a contest will get you out and taking photos. As a photographer, you should be creating as often as can.
  • Contests usually have a reward of some sort.
    Contest usually have a prize, either lindens or merchandise. That provides a little extra motivation for taking those photos and doing a good job.
  • A photography contest can break you out of a rut.
    There’s usually a theme or restrictions on the type of photo you can enter. The contest photo often has to be taken in a particular sim or featuring a vendor’s merchandise. These restrictions can lead to different types of photos than you have taken, before.

But there are also a good reasons not to enter contest, especially if you’re easily discouraged or you don’t have a thick skin.

  • You probably won’t win.
    The contest judge or judges won’t have the same taste as you. That’s almost a guarantee, so the simple fact is they might not like your work. This doesn’t mean your work is bad or the judges don’t have any taste; it just means another contestant’s work appeals to them more.
  • Merchant contests are usually looking for a specific type of photo.
    Merchant contests are often looking for a photo that shows off their product or products. That’s a particular type of photo that some bloggers do very, very well. That just might not be your creative style.

If you’re easily discouraged, don’t enter contests. Your goal is to keep working, keep creating.

But if you’re looking for motivation to keep working or something new to do with your work, a photography contest might be just what you’re looking for.

5 reasons you should be on Flickr

People in Second Life love taking photos. Whether they’re capturing their memories or doing fashion shoots for their blogs or taking photo for artistic reasons, it’s safe to say photography is one of SL’s most popular activities.

There are lots of ways to save your photos in SL. You can save the directly to your inventory or to your hard drive. You can upload them to gyazo or imgur or  instagram. But those options are limited, especially for sharing with others on SL.

The Second Life profile feed is an option, but it’s not where most SL photographers post their work–Flickr is. If you’re an SL photographer, whether you’re casual or more serious about your photos, you should be on Flickr. Here are 5 reasons why:

1. The SL community is there

Flickr has a very strong SL community. It’s probably the first place SL residents go to post their photos. Your friends will easily be able to find your photos and you’ll be able to find theirs, too.

2. Flickr keeps your photos organized

The SL feed does a decent job when it works; it’s had a bit of a glitchy past. These days, the SL feed is more reliable, but it doesn’t have any organizing tools. Post a photo, an it’s just added to a scrolling feed.

If you’re looking for a place to just post your photos, the SL profile feed will do. But the photos aren’t organized and finding any image more than a few days old can take a while.

Flickr organizes your photos in an easy to see grid. Even if you have hundreds of photos, you can readily see them and page through them. Flickr also allows you to tag your photos, making it easier to search through your entire collection. You can also put your photos into personal albums if you wish, further organizing your photos.

With Flickr, you can easily organize your photos. Your photos are there for everyone to see, and as long as your images are G-rated (Admittedly, a barrier for some in SL.), people can see your work even if they don’t have a Flickr account. To look at photos of nudes and more adult photos, you’ll need a Flickr account.

The ability to keep and organize your photos, alone, is a good reason to post your work to Flickr.

3. Flickr provides positive feedback on your work

Flickr is a very positive community. The feedback you’ll receive on your photos will be mostly affirming.

Flickr’s review mechanism focuses on creating a positive environment. People show their appreciation of your photos by giving them little stars, and if they really like your work they can give it an award or leave a comment. There’s no down-voting mechanism, so the experience is positive.

That positive experience is very encouraging for people who are just starting out. If you’re just beginning or you’re unsure of your abilities (A live-long affliction for more than a few of us.), nothing will make some of us curl up and give up faster than a few mean and nasty reviews.

For the most part, people on Flickr, especially the SL community, is wonderful and kind and encouraging.

4. Flickr will help you grow as an artist

Almost every Second Life artist is on Flickr. There are some absolutely incredible talents doing amazing works. I can’t possibly use enough superlatives. The remarkable images created by people from Second Life will floor you.

And they’re all there for you to see, peruse, and study.

They will insprie you, give you ideas for your own work. They will make you a better artist.

5. It’s fun

On Flickr you’ll meet new people and make new friends. You’ll share your work with others. This will lead to talk about events, taking photos, the creative process, and life in SL.

Being on Flickr, adds to the wonderful experience of SL and that’s just fun.



SL Photography: JPG, BMP, or PNG?

Saving your photos to your hard drive is a handy option, allowing you to save your photos to your PC for easy cataloguing or editing. Second Life allows you to save your photos as either JPG, BMP, or PNG. Which file format is best for your photos?

When you take a snapshot in SL, either by pressing the camera icon or using the keyboard combination Ctrl+Shift+S, you will be presented with the snapshot dialog window. On left of the Snapshot window are a variety of options.

Under the Profile section, there’s a button called Selection. If you click on this, it gives you a variety of ways to save your snapshot: to your inventory, Flickr, your Profile feed, etc.

There’s also an option to save your photos to disk, locally on your PC.

Saving to disk you can save your photos in three different formats: JPG, BMP, or PNG. Which is best?

  • JPG is a compressed file format. Unfortunately, while it will save disk space, that compression costs image detail.
  • BMP is uncompressed and maintains image quality and accuracy.
  • PNG is also uncompressed and also maintains image accuracy and quality. Its file size is smaller than BMP, though.

The choice for photographers is PNG. It delivers the highest image quality and a smaller file size than BMP.

JPGs can be very good, though. If disk space is an issue for you, you won’t be giving up too much quality, but just be aware you are losing some image quality.

If disk space isn’t an issue, choose PNG when you save your photos to your hard drive.

SL Photography: The problem with profile photos

Kultivate contributor Myra Wildmist is back with a new tutorial! This time she discusses the problem with profile photos:

Do profile photos look stretched or compressed to you?

You’re not alone. There’s a good chance a large part of the Second Life (SL) community sees your profile photo wrong.

The problem is Firestorm (FS) – and probably some other third-party viewers – or rather the way Firestorm handles profiles.

FS profile pic on left. Same pic as it appears in LL viewer


The problem: Linden Labs web profile photos use a different size and aspect ratio than the Firestorm profile photos.

Several years ago, Linden Labs (LL) revamped their profile system and went to web profiles. When they did they changed the default sizes of profile photos. Before transitioning to web profiles, profile photos were a weird size and a non-standard aspect ratio – 178×133 pixels, almost, but not quite, a 4:3 aspect ratio.

[Note: Using standard aspect ratios is super important for ease of use and ready sharing of images. You can read more about aspect ratios in this article.]

When LL went to web profiles, they changed the default size of profile photos to 300×300 pixels. 300×300 pixels has an aspect ratio of 1:1, a standard aspect ratio that lends itself easily to the SL default upload size for snapshots – 512×512 pixels, which is also a 1:1 aspect ratio.

Firestorm maintained the old, legacy profile and didn’t migrate entirely to web profiles. By default, Firestorm uses the legacy profiles which means your profile photo has to fit into the old legacy size of 178×133 if you want it to look nice on the Firestorm profile view.

The problem: Linden Labs viewer uses 300×300 pixels for its profile photos while Firestorm uses the legacy size of 178×133.

When you look at a profile pic made for LL profiles in an FS profile it will appear stretched out, but when you look at a profile pic made for FS in the Linden viewer it will appear compressed.

Why did Firestorm continue to use legacy profiles?

If this is an issue why did FS stick with the legacy profiles?

  • FS legacy profiles are faster. Web profiles take longer to load.
  • Web profiles sometimes fail to load, at all.
  • Legacy profiles are better organized and have a couple more features (e.g. online status) than web profiles.

Unfortunately, while there are good reasons to continue to use the legacy profiles, it does create this problem with the profile pictures.

It is impossible to take a profile photo that looks good on both LL and FS viewers.

Because of the difference in aspect ratios, LL profile photos will look bad in the FS viewer, and FS profile photos will look bad in the LL viewer. FS will stretch a profile photo that looks good in the LL viewer, while an image that looks good on FS will look squashed in the LL viewer.

Is there a solution?

Is there a solution to this discrepancy between the two most popular viewers?

The best solution would be for Firestorm to change the default size of the legacy profile pictures. The burden is really on Firestorm since the legacy profiles use a non-standard aspect ratio for their profile photos.

Aside from that, there’s not much you can do. You can use web profiles in FS (Avatar – Preferences – User Interface – check “Use web profiles by default”), but, as mentioned, they’re a little slower among other things.

What format should you use for your profile picture?

Should you use the Linden viewer dimensions or the Firestorm viewer dimensions for your profile photo?

This might seem like a dilemma, but it’s really not. Make your profile photos for the LL viewer.

Advantages of taking a profile photo that fits the LL viewer:

  • It’s a standard aspect ratio. You can easily use your profile photo elsewhere without it looking distorted.
  • More people use the LL viewer, so more people will see your profile photo correctly.
  • If an FS user wants to see your profile photo correctly, they can just click on it. That will bring up another window showing your photo in the 1:1 aspect ratio (This doesn’t work with your profile photo, though.).
  • You can easily use a SL snapshot without having to crop it to fit into the weird FS profile photo dimensions.

For these reasons, even if you use the FS viewer, use a 1:1 aspect ratio for your profile photos.

1:1 aspect ratios sizes. Some examples:

72×72 pixels, 300×300, 512×512, 1024×1024, 2048×2048, and so on. Just make a square.

Want to take better profile photos? Check out these other articles I wrote:

SL Photography: Taking your profile picture

SL Photography: 6 ways to take a great profile photo


Everyone is an artist

Do you want to be an artist but don’t feel you have the talent?

That’s not unusual.

You might tell yourself you have to be able to draw or paint. You might tell yourself you have to be talented, born gifted, or you need to go to art school. You can’t chisel the Pieta from a block of marble or paint the Mona Lisa. How could you possibly call yourself an artist?

That’s your human nature talking, “creating” artificial barriers, false walls, walls so high and imposing why bother trying to climb them. There’s no higher wall than the fear of failure, is there?

Well, get out the ice axe and crampons, because it’s time to scale that illusory fear-of-failure wall.

No, you don’t have to be a brilliant painter or a skilled sculptor to be an artist. You don’t have to be “gifted,” whatever that means. An artist has to create, make something new, but the way you create is up to you.

Do you think you’re not creative?

You’re probably more creative than you realize. In fact, daily life is full of activities that, while mundane, require you to be creative. Writing a report for school or work is creative. Taking a snapshot of your friends is creative. Cooking a meal is creative. Every one of these activities requires you to create something new, something no one has ever seen before. These activities might not rise to the level of “high art,” but they are still creative.

Everyone is creative.

And everyone is an artist.

To create something artistic, you simply need an idea, a different way of looking at the world, or something to say.

You have ideas, every single human has ideas. You have a different way of looking at the world simply by virtue of the fact that you’re a unique person – no one else is you. And is there anyone birthed from a woman who doesn’t have something to say?

Let the world hear you, see your ideas, your singular way of looking at life. You just need to choose your medium, your way of expressing yourself. You don’t need to draw or paint or understand photography. You just need a way to create your art.

Your choice of medium is up to you. Whether it is stone or charcoal or PhotoShop or Blender or dirt, you can create from anything. Work in what feels comfortable, what works for you. How you create and what you create is up to you.

Sol Lewitt, a minimalist and conceptualist, often had others create his work. He provided the idea, the instructions for making his work, but let others build “his” works of art. Dan Flavin made minimalist sculptures from fluorescent light tubes, sometimes nothing more than a single tube on a wall. But Flavin’s work explores light and darkness, and demonstrates the beauty found in even the simplest of objects. Barbara Kruger creates collages of typography and images from mass media, but her work addresses and highlights important cultural issues. Warhol took images from mass media, copied them, and made silk screens out of them, barely changing them in many cases.

The list goes on and on. There are almost endless examples in contemporary art of brilliant artists creating important work that doesn’t use paint or pencil or stone to create their art.

The idea is important. What you have to say is important. Your ability to draw or paint or mold clay – while helpful – is not so important.

Art can be easy to create. Pick a medium, whatever you can use, and make your art. Will it be great art? You’re not the best judge of that. That’s a judgment best left to history.

It’s human nature to come up with reasons why you can’t do something, why there’s no point in trying. Don’t do that. You’re an artist. You might have something important to share with the world, perhaps something revolutionary, but if you don’t scale your personal fear-of-failure wall, the world will never see your art.

And that’s a real pity.





Are your Flickr images art?

Can one make works which are not works of ‘art’? – Marcel Duchamp

If everyone isn’t beautiful, then no one is. – Andy Warhol


Are your Flickr images art? Are your social media photos and images art?

Recently, I asked a friend of mine to submit some of her Flickr images to an art exhibition in Second Life. To my surprise, she declined because she didn’t think her work was good enough, that it wasn’t art.

Her perspective is not an uncommon. Posting on Flickr, Facebook, Instagram or wherever is one thing, but declaring your work as art… Well, that’s quite another. Whether it’s insecurity, modesty, or you have a too high opinion of what art is, something stops you from declaring your work as art.

This isn’t a phenomena exclusive to the many photographers or graphic artists on the Web. It’s just as much an issue with anyone who hasn’t had their work formally anointed as art, and in some cases, even established artists.

Norman Rockwell throughout his life insisted, “I’m not a fine arts man, I’m an illustrator.” Just as with my friend’s work, some people disagree with Rockwell’s assessment.

So what makes something art? Does it have to be anointed by the amorphous art community? Does it have to be exhibited in a gallery? Do academics have to give it their snooty seal of art quality approval?

If you say it’s art, is it art? If I say it’s art, is it art?

Yes. (Don’t you love short answers? Article’s finished. See ya. Kidding.)

If you say it’s art, it’s art.

From the most mundane snapshot of your cat to the crassest closeup of your genitals, if you proclaim it’s art, it’s art. Who am I to argue?

Art history is filled with examples of artists who insisted their work was art before anyone was ready to accept it as art. It is not our place – no matter what we might think of your work – to tell you whether your work is not art.

Marcel Duchamp was trying to make exactly this point with The Fountain. In 1917, Duchamp anonymously submitted an upside down urinal entitled, The Fountain, as a work of art to the Society of Independent Artists, a society which Duchamp helped found.

[Image: fountain.png, Caption: Replica of the Fountain by Marcel Duchamp]

Duchamp did not reveal he was the creator and the urinal was presented to the board as being from new artist, R. Mutt. The urinal was rejected as art and never formally displayed. The only surviving photograph of it was taken by Alfred Stieglitz.

The Fountain would later be accepted as art and seen as one of the seminal pieces of 20th century art. Hurray for Duchamp.

There are two important things to take away from this story:

  1. The Fountain was rejected and never exhibited.
  2. It was submitted anonymously.

The original Fountain was lost and never exhibited. It never saw the formally saw the inside of an exhibit room of a gallery or museum (It might have been photographed by Stieglitz in his gallery, but it was never exhibited.).

Context does matter. Formally displaying a work in a gallery or museum does have an almost magical transmogrifying effect – what was once a simple painting of a soup can takes on a whole new meaning once it’s hanging in a prominent New York gallery.

If special people say it’s art, it must be art, right?

But this never happened with The Fountain. It never got a gallery show. Except for a few friends of Duchamp’s, who were probably in the know, it was rejected and relegated to the store room.

Duchamp was, of course, challenging the notion of what art is. In particular, by submitting The Fountain anonymously, he was avoiding having the work accepted simply because he had done it. He wanted the work, as challenging as it was, to be accepted as art not because the approval committee said it was art, but because the artist had said it was art.

So if you say it’s art, it’s art.

Duchamp would agree with you.

Note: If you want to learn more about The Fountain, read the Tate Museum article referenced below. The Wikipedia entry is a bit of a hash.

If I say it’s art, it’s art

But what if you don’t think your work is art?

Too bad. If I say it’s art, it’s art.

If I’m a gallery  owner or a museum curator or an art critic, you might be more likely to accept my word on it. A knowledgeable opinion is a little more likely to sway yours. At the least, you’re probably more receptive to them.

But what if I’m nobody with no art background, but your work “feels” like art to me?

Maybe I just like the pretty colors in your photo or something about your work really connects with me. Maybe I think what you’ve presented as a casual snapshot of your dog sleeping has a deeper meaning.

Is my response and opinion valid?

Of course it is. And there’s more proof from art history.

In 1953, Robert Rauschenberg exhibited a series of canvases called the White Paintings. (Follow the link to see the white paintings.) The White Paintings are plain canvases painted entirely white. Rauschenberg intentionally wanted them to look as plain as possible.


Because he was making one of the most revolutionary points in art history: Every one of us brings our own experiences with us when we view a work, imbuing what we’re seeing with a meaning special to us. Whether its Michelangelo’s David or Rauschenberg’s blank, white paintings, that meaning is personal.

Every one of us, sees a work differently because we are all different.

If I see art in a plain, white canvas or in what you think is just another snapshot of your sleeping dog, then it’s art.

Duchamp once asked, “Can one make works which are not works of ‘art’?” I think he meant the question rhetorically.

Our lives are art. How you document that art is up to you, but what you post to social media and the work you post on Flickr is very much art.



Norman Rockwell: Artist or Illustrator?,  Abigail Rockwell, American Illustration,

Fountain, Marcel Duchamp, Tate,

Marcel Duchamp: The Readymade As Reproduction,

Alfred Stieglitz (1864–1946) and American Photography, Lisa Hostetler,

White Painting [3 panel], Sarah Roberts, SFMOMA,





SL Photography: Using a 300mm telephoto lens

Kultivate Contributor Myra Wildmist is back with another SL Photography tutorial. This time she discusses how to use a 300 mm telephoto lens.

In real life, a telephoto lens is often used to in situations where it’s difficult to get close to your subject, such as sports photography or wildlife photo.

Getting close to your subject in Second Life, isn’t usually an issue. The likelihood of being mauled by a tiger in SL is fairly low.

That doesn’t mean a telephoto lens doesn’t have uses in SL. A telephoto lens still gives your photographs that zoomed-in-from-a-distance appearance, which yields an appealing, real-life effect, especially if your subject is an action scene or animals.

Settings for a 300mm lens

For my 300mm lens, I’m using the specifications from the Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 300mm. Open your Phototools (Alt-P). Select the DoF/Glow tab. Check the box by Enable Depth of Field (DoF). Use the following settings:

View angle – .143
FOV- 8.2 degrees
Foc Length – 300
f-number – 2.8-22 (Recommended range.)

View angle, FOV (Field of View) and Foc Length (Focal Length) are the important settings. These three settings “attach” the lens to your camera. Once they’re set, there’s no reason to adjust them, again, until you want to return to your default.

View angle is the the FOV expressed as radians.

The f-number controls the depth of field effect. Lower numbers yield more bokeh, blur.The range of 2.8-22 is a physical limitation of the real world lens. It’s just a recommended range in SL. If you want to mirror the effect you get with the Nikon lens, stay in this range; however, feel free to go outside of the f-number range if it fits your purposes.

WARNING: Do not fuss with View angle, FOV, or Foc Length, once you set them for a lens. These parameters are all dependent on each other and should correspond to the specs of the lens you want to use.

Settings for other popular lenses can be found in my previous article, Simulating Popular Lenses in Phototools.

Sample photos taken with a 300mm lens:

Antelope in the wilds at TerpsiCorp art sim
Bunny on windmill at Bryn Oh’s, Hand
Portrait taken with 300mm lens. That’s another Bryn Oh installation in the background


SL Photography: Leonardo knew a little about portraiture

Kultivate Contributor Myra Wildmist is back with another tip, this time on how to create the perfect portrait:

If you want to be an artist, you have to look at art.

If you want to learn how to create a great portrait, look at the work of those who have already done great portraits.

Remember those portraiture hints I gave you last time?

Those hints didn’t spring from my brain like Athena from Zeus’ thick skull. For years before I took up Second Life photography, I  looked at the works of artists, great and small, and read quite a bit about art. My ideas about what makes a good portrait – e.g. a profile photo – were formed from all that reading and from looking at the work of other artists.

The techniques for creating a good portrait have been understood for hundreds of years. You need look no farther than what is arguably the world’s most recognizable painting, Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, to realize this.


[Image: monalisa.png, Caption: Leonardo could take a great profile photo. © RMN, Musée du Louvre]

Almost all the portraiture techniques I mentioned in my last post, can be found in da Vinci’s portrait of Mona Lisa (Thought to be Lisa del Giocondo):

  • Mona Lisa fills the frame, almost as if Leonardo used a telephoto lens.
  • In my opinion, the eyes are the focal point of the painting. The viewer tends to see the eyes, first – She’s looking at you!
  • Leonardo used his bokeh.
    Of course he didn’t have photographic lenses or know about depth of field blur effects, but look closely at the background. You almost have to force yourself to look at the landscape surrounding the Mona Lisa. The background compliments the Mona Lisa, but it’s barely noticeable. That’s essentially what bokeh does – it compliments the subject without detracting from it.
  • Leonardo used light and shadow to bring out his model’s face.
  • And, of course, the Mona Lisa is doing something special. She’s smiling that world famous smile.

It’s safe to say, Leonardo da Vinci knew a little bit about portraiture.

If you want to improve your art, look at art. Look at the work of artists who came before you. There are lessons to be learned from every artist, great and small. You just have to show up for the lecture.


Mona Lisa – Portrait of Lisa Gherardini, wife of Francesco del Giocondo,
The Louvre


SL Photography: 6 ways to take a great profile photo

Kultivate Contributor Myra Wildmist is back with more ways to enhance your SL Profile Photo:

Time to get fancy.

Last time, in the article, Taking your profile picture, I focused on the technical aspects of taking a profile photo – changing your image size, changing your lens settings, etc. In this article, I’ll focus on more stylistic issues, things you can do to take better portraits.

A creative disclaimer: Art is a creative process. There are no hard and fast rules, and great art often breaks accepted rules.The following “rules” are meant to help you take better portraits. If you follow them, you’ll probably end up with a good or even great profile photo. But feel free to break them.

Continue reading “SL Photography: 6 ways to take a great profile photo”

SL Photography: Taking your profile picture

Kultivate Contributor Myra Wildmist is back with another photography tip. This time she demonstrates how to take your profile picture in Second Life:

Today, we’re finally going to take a profile picture. Yay! I’ll walk through this step by step, hopefully making it easy to understand. If you have any questions or need help, feel free to contact me in world – I want everyone to take the best profile pics your system will allow.

Continue reading “SL Photography: Taking your profile picture”

SL Photography: The problem with SL image defaults.

Kultivate Contributor Myra Wildmist is back with another SL Photography Tip, this time she discusses what is wrong with SL image defaults:

Before I move on to portraiture and profile photos, it’s worth taking a look at the default sizes and aspect ratios of the images used throughout Second Life (SL). These have been gone over by others in numerous blogs and forum post, but I think it’s worth reviewing.

To its credit, SL allows you to associate an image with almost everything you’d want. You can put an image on your land, your profile, your profile picks, and lots of other things. That’s really nice and handy – a picture is worth a thousand words, and all of that.

Continue reading “SL Photography: The problem with SL image defaults.”

SL Photography: Wide-angle effects

Kultivate Contributor Myra Wildmist is back with another tutorial! This time she demonstrates how to create wide-angle effects:

In our last few articles, we’ve been focusing on wide-angle lenses – the 20mm and 24mm lenses. As I mentioned, since they open of the field of view (FoV), widen it, they’re great for landscapes and capturing interiors.

Continue reading “SL Photography: Wide-angle effects”

SL Photography: Simulating a 24mm lens

Kultivate contributor, Myra Wildmist, discusses how you can simulate a 24mm lens in Second Life:

Last time we looked at how you could use Firestorm (FS) Phototools to mimic a 20mm wide-angle lens. This time we’re going to look at simulating a 24mm lens.

Lenses between 20-24mm in focal length are considered ultra wide-angle lenses. In real life, they’re often used for landscape, architectural, and interior photos. In Second Life, they’re useful for the same tasks, plus they’re good for capturing an entire sim.

Continue reading “SL Photography: Simulating a 24mm lens”

Simulating a 20mm lens in SL

Kultivate Contributor Myra Wildmist is back with a new tutorial. This time she demonstrates how to simulate a 20 mm lens in SL:

Last time, I showed how to change your Phototool settings to mimic different types of lens. I’m going to review this, again, because using different lens isn’t at all intuitive to people in Second Life. It’s very confusing, in fact. But if you learn to do this, it’s a very powerful photography technique.

You can mimic any real life lens in Phototools by looking up the tech specs for the lens you want to use. For the 20mm in this example, I use the AF-S NIKKOR 20mm as my guide, but the specs from any 20mm lens will do fine.

Continue reading “Simulating a 20mm lens in SL”

SL Photography: Simulating popular lenses in Phototools

Windlight Contributor Myra Wildmist explores how you can Simulate popular lenses via the Second Life PhototoolsL

When you take a snapshot in Second Life, you’re essentially using a 50mm lens: The default settings are almost the same as a standard 50mm lens. I say, almost the same, because most 50mm lenses in real life have an angle of view around 48 degrees. The SL default camera angle of view (View angle in Phototools.) is set to 1.047 radians or 60 degrees. They probably do that because 60 degrees is the focused field of view of a typical human eye, so it’s more comfortable to set the angle of view of SL at 60 degrees for normal viewing.

Continue reading “SL Photography: Simulating popular lenses in Phototools”

SL Photography: Focal length

Windlight Contributor Myra Wildmist is back with another SL Photography Tip. This time she explores Focal Length:

We’re back to depth of field, again, picking apart the parameters a piece at a time. This time we’re looking at focal length.

What is focal length?

According to Nikon (Who should know), the focal length of a lens is defined as the  “distance between the lens and the image sensor when the subject is in focus”.  The sensor takes the light coming through the camera lens can converts it into digital image or, in the case of analog cameras, a film negative. There’s no sensor in Second Life, of course, so the focal length is simulated.

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SL Photography: Simulating a 85mm lens

Windlight Contributor, Myra Wildmist is back with new art and photography tips! this time she explores how you can simulate a 85 mm lens:

In my previous post, I mentioned some lenses are better suited for specific types of photos than others. For instance, if you’re taking a landscape or close-up or portrait, it’s best to choose a lens best suited for the task.

One of the most popular lenses used in real life photography is the 85mm lens. In particular, it’s a popular choice for portrait photography.

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SL Photography: Keyboard commands

Windlight Contributor Myra Wildmist is back with a new SL Photography tip! This time she discusses some handy keyboard commands in the UI:

Many of the tools the User Interface (UI) provides, such as the camera controls, have corresponding keyboard commands serving the same function. Sometimes these keyboard commands are more precise or easier to use.

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