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How to make a good fashion photo (part VII)

Take the shot

Are we now ready to position our camera and take the shot? Actually yes. At least almost. Let’s see what we should in this step before we finally click on “Snapshot”: choose the right light settings, choose your camera position, check once again if no flaws are visible and set the eyes to the right position.

  • What are the best rendering settings for a photo?

If I do a photo I’m not about to run around on a sim. So I don’t care for client side lag and set my graphics to the highest settings.


Edit/Preferences/Graphics/Hardware Settings:

Advanced/Debug Settings – RenderAvatarLODFactor:

Advanced/Debug Settings – RenderVolumeLODFactor:

  • What are the best light settings for a photo?

The light settings I use give full and direct light to the avatar without any shadings. In my opinion the shading by sl is just terrible and end even more worth if you have atmospheric shaders turned on (left).

My personal settings are shown below. Most important for me is that I have the sun set midnight and regulate the amount of light only by gamma value. However, play around a bit to find your own favorite settings:

World/Environment Settings/Environment Editor/Advanced Sky

  • How to choose the camera position?

Actually you already decide on a good camera position when choosing the pose. It’s always a combination of the pose and the camera position. But move your camera around and see what’s best.

  • What do we have to check once again?

Take another look at your attachments if they fit. Sometimes the fitting isn’t that perfect if you look from another position or with another angel. If you do close up shots keep an extra eye on the lashes. On the right the lashes are a bit too high. That comes out due to the low camera position. On the left the lashes are fitted, but only for this specific camera position.

  • What about the eye position?

In general your eyes of an avatar look to where your camera is focusing.

If you are photographing a model you can therefore set her eyes buy putting a prim in the air over your head and tell her to focus the camera on that object. When you move the object around you see her eyes moving with the object. So keep on doing this until you have her eyes looking to wherever want to have them.

If you are your own model the same is much more difficult. You cannot focus your camera on an object above your camera position, you have to focus it on the avatar or slightly left or right from the avatar. The eyes are only by chance in the position where you want to have them.

I heard of a trick, that you can focus your camera on an object, position the object where your eyes should look to, just as you would do with a model, and then move and turn the camera by keyboard controls until you have yourself on the screen in the correct position and angle. The eyes will keep focused on the object, so finally you have them set how you wanted. But actually I hate these keyboard camera controls. For me they are not sensitive enough. I never get the camera in the exact position and angle I intended.

So I use something different. I use a 100% transparent prim that I move between the avatar (me) and my camera position. I focus with the camera on the invisible prim. Now the eyes (my eyes) are fixed on the prim while I still see my avatar in the middle of my screen When I move the prim slightly left, right, up, down or bring it in the center I can control the look. Be careful, don’t have the prim to near the face. The look will be cross-eyed.

However, moving the prim means to be in editing mode for the prim. If you leave the editing mode, the eyes get lost again. So you have to stay in editing mode. But luckily, the editing mode lines are not visible in the snapshot. So this is my solution for the time being.

If you have better, more convenient tip how to set the eyes, please feel to use the comment option and tell us your way.

  • What is the best resolution for a snapshot?

I make the snapshot at least two times larger than I intend the final photo to be. One reason is to preserve sharpness. Even when you scale down the image afterwards you have a lot of options to scale down the right way and it finally looks better than if I had done the snapshot in sl with just normal size.

It’s also easier to cut out the avatar on a photo with higher resolution. The lines are more clear and any holes e.g. in hair are larger. So I cut out before I scale down, but we’ll come to this in the next tutorials.

Another reason is that I can more easily play around with any cout-outs of the picture. It happens that I take a photo of the complete avatar but decide afterwards that I only want to see two third of the body. It’s easily possible without having a two small picture afterwards.

BUUuuut…. if you are using SL Viewer 2 forget about high res snapshots. It’s still a bug, it’s still a bug, it’s still…. just forget about it, it doesn’t work correctly.

Currently after all this mess with Emerald I’m using Imprudence Viewer. It has almost all features of Emerald, at least 98% of all features I really used in Emerald. And it’s so incredible faster in loading textures.

  • What is the best resolution for a photo?

For the final photo I would recommend sizes of 800×600 oder 1024×768. If you want to use the photo in a blog 800×600 (800 height, 600 width) is better, but this depends on the layout you’ve chosen for your blog.

One Comment leave one →
  1. August 26, 2010 6:22 pm

    A very good article!

    “Sometimes” your eyes will follow your cursor. I think this must be a pose priority feature and since lots of posemakers are using Priority 4 now, that doesn’t seem to work as well as it used to. I was HOPING you had a great angle for the eye thing *wink* which got me to read you post! Someday — maybe — there will be an easy fix.

    I also notice how fast texture AND INVENTORY load in Imprudence. Actually things work better for me in “Imp” than they did in Emerald. Just a note for others that may have switched from Emerald and take photos — on the “stable” (end of June) Imprudence release the High Rez snapshot seemed to be fix at 2,200 ish by something else large with no way to change that size. I typically take high rez but smaller pixel size, so that was messy for me. The “weeklies” have this fixed and so far I have found no issues with the newer release. Just thought I would pass that on.

    Thanks again for all that work. I hope a lot of folks learn from from your experience.

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