Avatar group photography

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Stuff to do: Rough stuff! Gotta let mah notes gel...


Want to photograph or film multiple avatars but don't have friends to help you out? Here's how.

Setting up multiple accounts

First, you'll need to have multiple accounts to login. You can create more accounts at the secondlife.com join page, within reason. It helps to name your accounts sequentially (for example, Mach1, Mach2, Mach3, etc.) because it's easier to remember.

Starting multiple SL Viewer instances

Then, you'll need to enable multiple instances of the Viewer to run.

Using multiple computers

The SL Viewer is rather resource-intensive. Even a powerful desktop computer will slow down noticeably if you're running 3 or 4 instances. If this proves too slow for a single machine and you have access to technology, consider using more than one computer to run multiple SL Viewers and distribute the workload. If you're intent on scaling this for an effective workflow, Torley suggests:

  • Especially if space is limited, get multiple, energy-efficient, small-footprint computers like laptops that you can stack.
  • Get a KVM so you can share a single monitor, keyboard, and mouse among them. Otherwise, you may very well go nuts running back and forth amongst redundant hardware.
    • Torley recently started using the Belkin SOHO F1DD104L. It's color-coded and has big buttons. Torley found it useful to change each computer's desktop wallpaper to match its assigned KVM color. This way, he has a quick color cue to tell which machine he's on.
  • Setup one computer how you like it, then import settings to other computers so you save setup time. On Macs, Migration Assistant makes this easy.

More workflow tips

  • Restrict your fastest computer (the one doing the shooting/filming) to running only one instance of the SL Viewer so it has room to breathe and run other intensive stuff as you progress, like Photoshop or your video editor. This also enables SL to have the best focused performance without unnecessary degradation, especially if advanced graphical features like lighting and shadows are on.
  • Accounts logged in on other computers can have their graphics preferences set to Low to conserve power and improve performance when multiple SL Viewers are running. It also makes sense because they don't need to get the most detailed view of what's inworld — but your fastest computer always should.
  • For "neutral" lighting, Torley prefers the following WindLight settings which are included in the Phoenix Viewer, among many other cool settings, including [[WindLight settings|Torley's own].
    • Nam's Optimal Skin 2
    • Nam's Optimal Skin and Prim (for when "Skin 2" is too light and washes out prim details)
  • If you're having problems taking stills because avatars keep blinking or moving in unpredictable ways (yet poseballs don't solve the problem), use FRAPS with Force lossless RGB capture (may be slower) enable. You'll likely want to hide the SL Viewer interface through the Advanced menu too.
    • Torley uses FRAPS for stills instead of the built-in snapshot tool, as he finds it to be less error-prone, and a lot more rapid in conjunction with his USB pedals — which free your hands up for moving the camera and such.
  • Instead of having other accounts rez things and edit objects, it's simpler for one account (likely the one logged into your fastest computer) to move objects like poseballs (with other avatars seated) whenever possible. This minimizes confusion.
  • Check to make sure your objects won't be autoreturned! It's a huge pain to precisely place stuff, only to be disrupted minutes later when it's sent back to your inventory.
  • Use a syncing service like Dropbox to make it easier to install the latest SL Viewer on all your computers, use the same settings.xml file, and so on.

Debug Settings

Move this to the main Taking snapshots page?

Certain debug settings help push visual quality even further than the Ultra graphics preference, with the tradeoff of reduced performance:

  • WLSkyDetail - Set this to 256 for smoother sky details, especially noticeable in the tessellation around the sun.
  • RenderVolumeLODFactor - If round and curved objects look blocky, set this to 8.000 or even higher. Note that this is buggy: some attachments like flexiprim hair may disappear, and the Viewer can crash. Torley tries to remember to set this back to 2.000 after.

See also