Thursday, February 3, 2011

Texture Aspect Ratios

Since I've been using the Phoenix viewer for Second Life exclusively as a sort of test lately I've found that I still prefer the v1.x style profile panes versus the sidebar style in the v2.x viewer. Sadly, the two viewers mean that there are two standards for aspect ratios. Here is the official breakdown of just a few that most people use daily (full info here):

1.x Series Viewers
Profile > 2nd Life tab - ~4:3 (178x133 pixels)
Profile > Picks tab - 16:9 (288x162 pixels)
Profile > 1st Life tab - 1:1 (133x133 pixels)

2.x Series Viewers
Search > People - 4:3 (188x141 pixels)
Profile > 2nd Life tab - ~1:1 (100x99 pixels)
Profile > Picks thumbnail - 8:5 (88x55 pixels)
Profile > Pick expanded - ~5:3 (285x172 pixels)

As you can see, the v2.x viewer has its own issues if you look at what is needed for the two versions of a Pick. Most people won't care, honestly, for a couple reasons. Though I see most users are on the Official Viewer, so-called Power Users that might care about the issue use a Third Party Viewer and those are all pretty much of the v1.x type. Secondly, the majority of people take bad pictures for use in Profiles and Picks anyway. In-world photographers that sell their service for Profile use might do well to include all possible standards just in case.

In this example, the Profile pane on the right has a 1:1 aspect ratio picture squashed to 4:3 and you can see the really cool "pop-out" of pictures that the Phoenix viewer allows. The shot was created for my profile in the v2.x viewer and looks odd in the older profile panes. For some reason, the 1st Life pictures in both viewer standards are a 1:1 ratio. It would be nice if someone would set a standard and stick to it, but with Web-based profiles (Web) coming up (so The Lab can sell adverts tacked onto our information) I suppose consistency will have to wait. Don't color me suprised.

As an aside, I miss the old profile panes because folks could fill in an Interests panel, like this one I found the other day. It is great to see language preferences again and the witty comments that experienced users would add. Plus it is nice to see the My Notes pane again. I have mine filled with handy special characters and info I have to access often. I'll be copying it into a note card before I go back to the Official Viewer.

As I continue to use Phoenix for a week, I'm finding more pros and cons, but the texture issue bothered me a lot today for some reason. On cheery note, here's my 1st Life pane with pop-out (or is that "pop-outs?).

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