I was asked a few times how I do shadows in my photos in Second Life, so I wanted to write up a simple tutorial for anyone that might need it.
I wrote this with the beginner photographer in mind also, so if you have been taking photos for a while, you can most likely skip the first few steps.
This tutorial may not be able to be followed by everyone. It depends heavily on the type of graphics card you have. If you do not see or are unable to use some of the options listed in this tutorial, it may very well be because of the limitations of your graphics card.
Let’s get started!
- The first thing we have to do is turn our Second Life graphics settings up to Ultra.
You can do this by simply pressing Control + P (Preferences) and then click on the “Graphics” tab, where you will see a slider for “Quality and Speed Performance” – slide that all the way over to Ultra
- Open up your “Phototools”
You can do this by simply pressing “Alt + P”, or you can go to “World” on the top toolbar > “Photo and Video” > “Phototools”.
PS: Keep Phototools open!
- Open up your “Quick Preferences” and turn the “Draw Distance” and also the “LOD Factor” all the way up. You can find “Quick Preferences” by clicking on the icon on the lower right of your Firestorm screen.
IMPORTANT! Once you turn up your draw distance and LOD, you can then close your “Quick Preferences” window, but your “Phototools” window should remain open.
- Now that you have “Phototools” open, you want to click on your “Edit Sky Preset”. This is where we start playing around with windlights.
Important! Leave both “Phototools” and “Edit Sky Presets” open.
FYI: This is 100% your personal preference, but I like to use “Bryn Oh’s Virginia Alone” windlight when I am playing around with shadows.
- When I do my photographs, I set up the colors in “Edit Sky Presets” like this:
- This is where you start getting creative and choose how you want your photo to look. Play around with the below sliders.
Again, this is 100% individual preference and there is no right or wrong angle or time of day. Play around with both of them until you get something you really like.
If your shadows look strange or are basically non-existent, there are a few things to try:
- Let’s go back to that “Phototools” window I warned you not to close 😉 Now click on the “light” tab.
I myself keep “Shd. Res” and “Shd. Bias” all the way up most of the time. “Shd. Clarity” slider you can play around with to achieve the type of shadow you want. I prefer hard lines, but it’s all up to you.
IMPORTANT: Use “Shd. Res” with some caution. Slide the slider slowly as it can be very difficult on your graphics card.
- Now here’s the fun part. Staying in your “Phototools” window, click on the “Dof/Glow” tab. Change your “View angle” to 0.900 or 0.100.
Again, personal preference, but this is what I use.
When you change these numbers, you will most likely zoom all the way in. Don’t worry, just use your middle mouse wheel to scroll back out.
From here in, it’s up to you and what type of feeling you are attempting to create in your photo. EXPERIMENT. Change your sliders around, use different shadow colors than I did, use a different windlight than I did. I am only providing you with a very simple base to start with. There are so many different things you can do and achieve with those few simple steps.
Best of luck and I hope that helped!