Thursday, August 9, 2012

Photo Woes

Last night I was lounging at Bare Sun (SLurl; Women Only) and waiting for my Angela when I noticed that the Moon had popped up and the basic composition was nice. Before I could make too many adjustments, Angela logged in so I took a quick snap to look at later and figure out how to make it better.

Pole Position The pole is just in a bad spot. It intersects the body in too many places. Moving the camera around a bit might be a solution, so long as the general look of the composition isn't changed.

Which brings up the most important photography lesson I have learned: Always think about what prompted you to take the picture in the first place and then take the time (if you can) to rework the shot to emphasize your intent. Was it a key color? A specific person or situation? Something else? In this case, it was the composition. The reversed L pose with the island in the background and the moon. Moving the camera to fix the pole problem might ruin the composition. Removing it post-process is a potential solution. The pole is too close to the subject to let it blur out with depth-of-field, though I'd probably use that to soften up the island and moon a bit.

Deformation, Back Bulge, and Belly Bend The Second Life avatar can mimic any pose you can imagine, but poorly worked joints in an animation can cause your avatar to look very unnatural. Having a Mesh body can help this as at times the strangeness affects only the skin texture, but even "wonder bodies" can fall victim to sloppy animator habits.

Hand Occlusion Animators, though, do have limits. Poses that work for the default sized avatar often give taller, shorter, or wider avatars problems. My hand, for example, is stuck in my thigh. I bet if my avatar were shorter the hand would tuck neatly under the thigh. I could also shrink my leg muscles or lengthen my arm, but I hate to make such radical changes for a photo. I'm not above adjusting prim attachments (Ctrl-Z usually puts back any moves), but using body sliders is a no-no for me.

Rope looks like a flipper My first thought was that there was a bug that warped my avatar's foot, but the similarity of prim rope color and my skin color under the local lights fooled me. Most folks don't notice this kind of composition error until it is too late. You'll commonly see it as a tree growing out of someone's head, or similarly a lamp post or a sign. The photographer is too busy capturing their original inspiration to think about this sort of thing. Remember the lesson — reshoot after you analyze your first shot. That was hard during the days of film, especially if you weren't in a studio taking test Polaroids. With digital cameras in Real Life or with Second Life snaps, its much easier.

System Feet Nothing I can do there. I have yet to find prim feet I like. My pixy alts have lovely prim feet but those aren't made any more. Either way one still has to deal with the join between the attachment and the body. Same with primplant breasts. Retouching in post is the best fix for that (see here and here).

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