The Windlight Blog Challenge

Looks like Strawberry Singh has been laboring on American Labor Day because she released her weekly blogger challenge in her Monday Memes series today, this time asking questions about the use of Windlight settings in Second Life. Six questions with interesting answers (see here) though I’m not sure mine will be as interesting.

Before I get started, though, I think Strawberry might be psychic by coming up with this week’s topic as just yesterday I was talking with a few people about how pictures I’ve seen on the MySL feeds and on Flickr can almost be used to identify the photographer because the images have consistently distinctive styles. This observation ties into a project that I swear I will get to one day: Take the exact same photo with the exact same settings with different viewers to judge how the various algorithms and other stuff I don’t understand influence the qualities of a photo.

Meme instructions: Answer the following questions about windlight settings and share some that you’ve created yourself. Don’t forget to leave a link to your post in this meme’s comments.

Do you use windlight while taking pictures? If not, why not?
Yes, and no. For most snaps I post to MySL (see here) I don’t turn on Advanced Lighting and the Sun settings are usually just Default Noon. I consider most MySL pix as casual shots one might grab with their camera phones or a simple point-and-shoot camera. For my blog or for my Flickr feed, I at least activate Advanced Lighting and more often than not actually think about using Windlight settings other than the Region Default or Default Noon.

This is Zyx Resident.
One of the first things I like to do when I have a new character (alt) “dialed in” is to make a Profile picture for them. I also use it as the texture for their basic Inventory storage boxes. As part of a new “birth” is the creation of a cube which then get is tucked into a safe part of the character’s Inventory as a sort of date maker.

When taking a closeup snapshot for a profile picture, which windlight preset do you use most often?
That depends on the scene. Likely some of the background is visible so that is an influence, but generally I play with the sun position of the Default Sky to see what looks nice. As I’ve copied all the non-standard Windlight settings I have from various Third Party Viewers into the Official Viewer’s directory, I can use specialized modeling options, but I can’t recall the last time I did so.

When Zyx Flux was kitted out as a Petite pixy I had to do a full body portrait. No Windlight here as the shading on the rose was perfect and the tone of the mesh avatar body was nicely textured. Still one of my favorite pictures.

Which windlight presets do you use for full body portraits?
I don’t usually do full body portraits, but in thinking about it, I suppose I have the same answer as I did for the previous question.

My scenic pictures have greatly improved in the five years since this shot of the Lesbos Mall was taken. Back in 2008, though, I was more interested in building, like big parts of this place.

If you do landscape photography, which windlights do you use for that most often?
Quite often it is a saved variation of Places Las Legunas that I made and I liberally mess with the East Angle and Time of Day. This goes against everything I learned in years of Real Life photography classes. I’d scout locations at different times of day, look up sunrise/sunset times in almanacs and the direction of the sun during different seasons, and then some. I had long debates with myself about whether it would be alright to move a branch or some natural debris in a scene. “Capture reality as it happens” was my mantra. One of the outdoor photography magazines I read at the time had a running debate on this among it’s contributors from month-to-month and I’d write in with commentary. Very thought provoking but I’m not sure it did my work any good. Sometimes in SL when I de-render an object or do very unnatural things with Windlight this dispute comes to mind, but then I shoot anyway.

Do you have any tricks or tips that you could share for using Windlight effectively?
Play, experiment, shoot a lot, and then play some more. Look at what other people are doing and try to figure out how they did it. Don’t be afraid to ask. Most photographers in Second Life are not as secretive as many Real Life photographers. In one Real Life photo class we learned retouching skills so that we could mask the reflections of our lighting setups in our model’s eyes so others couldn’t reverse engineer the final shots.

Have you created any windlights that you would be willing to share with us?
I’ve created a few Windlight settings, but none are really “ready for primetime” and I seldom use them. I tend to stick with mods I’ve created from other well-known settings. I’d be more than happy to share “finished” ones, however, and will post information about them on this blog if and when they become available.

3 thoughts on “The Windlight Blog Challenge”

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