Lost in the Shadows: A First Try With SL Shadows

Now that the new Firestorm viewer from Phoenix is in the public beta phase, I decided to try to play with shadows in SL.  I figured it would be good to try to acquaint myself with shadows on both viewers at the same time so I wouldn’t have any predetermined bias for one or the other.  (I had downloaded the Kirsten’s viewer a couple months ago, but could never seem to get it to work properly.)

Firestorm:  First thing I found out is that when I clicked to enable the shadows in Firestorm, I got a pop-up stating it wasn’t supported and I might crash.  I was feeling adventurous so I continued on.  I turned off all the “fancy” stuff in the Hardware options (like anti aliasing, anisotropic filtering, VBO stuff) to try to prevent the dreaded crash.

I hit apply and okay, looked around and didn’t see any shadows.  Things I found out:  You need a light source.  Duh.  I played around with trying to get a light to work indoors and using the projector settings and it didn’t seem to work.  Too advanced for me, so outside I went.   Next, some WL settings don’t show shadows.  Case in point, my favorite for taking pictures, CalWL.  Dammit!

So instead of trying out the 15 gazillion WL settings equipped in Firestorm, I downloaded Luna Jubiliee’s settings and installed the file.  Lo and Behold!  Shadows!  Well, sort of, depending on the position and direction of the sun.  Instead of trying to move the sun around, it was easier for me to just rotate my backdrop and pose stand until I got a nice shadow on the backdrop.  Also, I had to turn on the Ambient Occlusion toggle because the shadow was extremely pixilated.

So I got my shadow, but the face looked kinda blurry or soft.  I’m used to the very clean crisp images that the CalWL setting affords.  For me to be happy, I’ll have to see if I can find a nice middle-ground between the two.

Skin:  Belleza;  Aiko pale 1
Hair:  Elikatira;  Me, blond 07
Jacket:  Cashmere;  Boudoir jacket, wine (The Fashion Garret)
Pants:  Zaara;  Ishaya velour slacks, espresso
Nails:  Mandala;  Takara nails, brown 20
Bracelets:  Mandala;  7Luck, brown A & B

So this was what I ended up with after a little editing.  I immediately noticed there’s a halo between the dark brown pants and the shadow, as if it was a bad cut/paste job.  Hrmm.  I’m not sure what caused that.  It may be all the hardware settings I turned off.  It may just be the way shadows are rendered.  Also, even with sharpening, it still looks very soft.  Not good.  I’ll really need to learn more about WL settings before using shadows on a regular basis.

SL Viewer 2:  I kept all the same settings that I used in the Firestorm experiment and only changed the background color so I could tell the difference between the viewers.

I used the same editing process, but on this viewer it seemed the shadows around the nose and mouth were a nightmare to try to smooth out (compared to the Firestorm viewer anyway).  It still looks very amateurish to my eye.  I also see a little bit of that halo effect around the pants here too.  Plus, you can see the juncture of any background repeats, even with a solid color.

For my first experience with shadows, it wasn’t too terrible.  I’m really going to need to learn more about creating WL settings to be able to come up with one I’m happy with when using shadows.  Until then, SL shadows is just another tool in my photography toolbox and not something I’d want to use on an everyday basis.  I’ve read a few tutorials, but if anyone has any tips or tricks for using shadows with either viewer, I’d love to learn!

One Comment to “Lost in the Shadows: A First Try With SL Shadows”

  1. Its about time you converted to the one true client – even if only a little lol. Its always good to open yourself up to new experiences they say.

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