My Secret Garden: The Unborking

So, as I mentioned in my last post, this is not meant to be a tutorial.. I just thought it might be interesting to share some of the experiences I’ve had with SL photography: problems I’ve encountered and the steps I’ve taken to resolve them, that sort of thing. I’m calling the category ‘Things I’ve Learned’ as it’s way more accurate – and I still have a whole lot more to learn so if you have any tips of your own please feel free to send them my way!

This particular issue occurred when I updated to the latest version of Firestorm (v4.6.1.40478) with its changes to the amazing Phototools (you can read about all of the Phototools options in-depth here, and I highly recommend also watching this video tutorial). Firstly, I would like to stress that this isn’t a complaint about the viewer – I think the work the Firestorm team does is incredible and the changes have actually made it a lot more stable for me to play with options when I’ve increased the settings to Ultra, whereas before I would crash pretty frequently.

The settings available are a lot more sophisticated and they can create some pretty amazing effects – but I also managed to create some accidental effects that were less desirable. You see, I only learned that high-resolution shots were possible last month (I know, I know) and I set SL to take snapshots (Snapshot > Disk > Custom) at roughly 3x what my screen resolution is (I’ve since had it explained to me that this actually makes the screen shot 9x larger which is a big ask for my fairly low-end graphics card: NVIDIA GeForce GT 620). I happily took my wide shots with no issues but when it came to taking a close-up I realised I had lines across my Avatar that weren’t showing in-world at all.

So I started playing with settings: Pic 1 was taken with Ambient Occlusion disabled.. the others were various adjustments to the sliders once I had it enabled. As you can see, the shadows created varied greatly but the tiling issue remained pretty consistent. Side note: I’m pretty sure I’m going to try and use the effect created in Pic 4 for something – I love that it almost looks like a Cubist painting!

Borked Collage

Confused, I Googled the issue and found lots of old results describing a well-reported bug and its fix – but I suspect that the cause of it in my case is probably that I’m just asking too much of my graphics card.. so I began reducing the snapshot size I was requesting until the lines disappeared.

Eventually, I got a raw shot that looked like this:

Raw Closeup 1024x544

and that was only from reducing the width of my shot by about 600 pixels.. which isn’t very much at all! Certainly this kind of resolution is more than adequate for the kind of photos I take for this blog.

PhotoTools Settings
and this shows what I had the Phototools set to.

I don’t know if this will be of interest to anyone – certainly anyone more experienced in SL photography than me (which is pretty much everyone!) will have probably encountered this before, and I don’t know how much it is specific to my computer set-up.. but it was fun to document and will serve as a reminder to myself to be more adaptive in the way I use photo settings, depending on what kind of shot I’m taking.

Apologies if this was a bit dull.. back to teh fashion in my next post!


About Chiana0
I can usually be found mooching about Second Life trying to improve my virtual photography & building skills.

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