OpenSim server: Part 4, more regions

So now you want to have more than one region on your Sim? You just had a whole region for free and now you want more! Well we can never get enough it seems…..   ;o)

Well empty regions does not bring to much burden to your computer, it is first when there are lots of action going on with avatars and scripts that can bring your computer to its knees.

If I look at the system monitor on my OS server (on Ubuntu 10.10) I get the numbers below…

CPU1: 24% and CPU2: 20% and memory about 12%
And that is on a Core2Duo MacBook running on 2,2 GHz with 4 GB of memory.

On a Windows machine you will have to use the Task manager to get the same kind of statistics. Look under the performance tab.

These are crude statistics but they will give you a hint if it is any point in considering putting another region on that computer.
The rest is simple…..

1. Shutdown your OpenSim server (not the machine itself). Go to the terminal window and write shutdown…

2. Find a good and unique name for the new regions. Go back to part 2 in this guide to find out how to check that they are unique.

3. Find out where you want the regions to be and get the coordinates for each region. Remember xxxx,yyyy order

4. Get a unique UUID for every new region from: http://famkruithof.net/uuid/uuidgen
Better copy and paste the resulting numbers/letters somewhere for keeping.

5. Be sure that your broadband router is setup with a port for each region. If you followed my advice in part 1 you will have allocated port 9000-9005 already.

6. Go to the bin/Regions folder and edit the file Regions.ini. See below for an example on how my file look like. I guess you will not have a hard time to see where to put the region name, UUID, coordinates and portnumber. The Internal address and external hostname should be the same. Save the file.

————————————————————————-

[Alinja]
RegionUUID = 5f8b9b3a-9071-4d17-8d48-ca869d58a2d7
Location = 9999,9975
InternalAddress = 0.0.0.0
InternalPort = 9000
AllowAlternatePorts = False
ExternalHostName = 213.66.9.134

[Mahe]
RegionUUID = 63ffe9a0-0f49-11e0-ac64-0800200c9a66
Location = 10000,9975
InternalAddress = 0.0.0.0
InternalPort = 9001
AllowAlternatePorts = False
ExternalHostName = 213.66.9.134

[Praslin]
RegionUUID = 35c5e080-0f6c-11e0-ac64-0800200c9a66
Location = 9999,9974
InternalAddress = 0.0.0.0
InternalPort = 9002
AllowAlternatePorts = False
ExternalHostName = 213.66.9.134

[LaDigue]
RegionUUID = 470ffe70-0f6c-11e0-ac64-0800200c9a66
Location = 10000,9974
InternalAddress = 0.0.0.0
InternalPort = 9003
AllowAlternatePorts = False
ExternalHostName = 213.66.9.134

————————————————————————

7. Start your server again (look in part 3 if you don’t remember yet how to do that)

Simple huh! Now you are a multi region owner!

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OpenSim server: Part 3, installation and startup

So now at last is the big day when all these preparations will make our Sim come to live on the grid.

You can download the OpenSim from different places. I really recommend that you download from a certain Grid and as i did choose to use the OSGrid i downloaded from their site. That give the benefit of getting a preconfigured version for the OSGrid and that makes things a lot easier. Beware though that this might implicate different version numbers as those on the OpenSim site.

The current release on OpenSim is 0.7.0.2 and the version for OSGrid is from jan 5 2011 to be: 0.7.1.25 (i guess they do all they can to confuse us…hmmm)

As OpenSim is intended for the .NET framework and that is proprietary to Microsoft we need to install the OpenSource equivalent that the “free” world uses… lol   (That is if we are using Linux that I am). That is called Mono and emulates the .NET framework and is in some cases even better that the “real thing”.

This is how you do it on Ubuntu… (Windows steps below)

1. Open the terminal window and copy the text below into it….

sudo apt-get install mono-complete

It will ask for your password and then go on to download and install the Mono framework.

If you are on Windows it is a bit more complicated. I think most Windows versions comes with .Net version 2.0 as standard, but I am not sure of this for Windows7 as I have not used this OS yet. As OpenSim requires version 3.5 of the .Net framework you have to update it before installing OpenSim server.

1. Download it it from: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/deta … laylang=en and select the “Full Package”

I have read that this works most of the times but sometimes you have to dig a bit further to get that installed. If you miss this step OpenSim will not work on your computer. As I have no Windows machine up an running at this moment I can not give you the exact error messages but maybe some of you can post that in the comments here

Now the preparations are done and we can download the OpenSim server program itself:

2. Download the latest version from: http://www.osgrid.org/index.php/downloads

3. Unpack the zip-file high up in the directory tree as the path might be to long for Windows otherwise. I suggest c:\opensim
You will see some files and directories being unpacked in that directory. Now set the proper admin rights to that directory so that you are allowed to run the files in that directory.

4. Now it is time to start up the installation program.

Ubuntu:
A. open the terminal window and change to the bin directory with the command: cd bin
B. start the installer by pasting the following line to the terminal window.

sudo mono OpenSim.exe

Windows:
A. Open explorer and go to to c:\opensim\bin
B1. If you are running 32bit Windows, double click on OpenSim.exe
B2. On 64bit Windows you should instead click on OpenSim.32BitLaunch.exe
(I have read that on Windows Vista for example it is often important to use the second alternative)

5. Now we have to answer some questions from the installer program and as we have made the proper preparations in part 1 and part 2 of guide, they will be rather straight forward I hope.

A. New region name []: Type the name you selected in Part 2 and that you checked was unused

B. Region UUID [79eacd60-fafb-11de-8a39-0800200c9a66]: This is automatically generated for the first region. In the next blog post i will show ha to fix this for the second region

C. Region Location [1000,1000]: Here you type the coordinates you found on the maps and you have in your notes from Part 2. Remember xxxx,yyyy  dont mix up the orders

D. Internal IP address [0.0.0.0]: This should normally not be changed. Just press enter!

E. Internal port [9000]: The port forwarding you set up in the router. If you followed my advice in Part 1 this should not be changed for the first region. Just press Enter

F. Allow alternate ports [False]: This should normally not be changed, just press enter.

G. External host name [SYSTEMIP]: Here your notes will be useful again. Here you shall enter the external IP-adress you found in Part 1. In a later post i will show how to set up a proper DNS-name connected to that often dynamic IP-adress with the free DynDns service. This is an important step so be sure to enter the correct value.

H. Do you wish to join an existing estate? [no]: I have read there is a bug here so you should always just press enter here!

I. Estate name to join [None]: I have read there is a bug here so you should always just press enter here!

J. Estate owner first name [User]: The first name from the avatar you registered on the OSGrid in part 1.

K. Estate owner last name [User]: The last name of the avatar you registered on the OSGrid in part 1.

Thats it! Congratulations now your Sim should be up and running and connected to the grid! lets go and try it for the first time.

1. Start your client and select the OSGrid and login…..
2. Bring up the world map and search for the name of your sim
3. TP to it…. Voila!

Now think of it… you logged in to the OSGrid somewhere in the world and then TP:ed back home to the Sim running in your server just next to you. Isn’t that amazing that it works at all…. ;o)

Oh by the way! If you recognize the region below you might be right, because that is a blueprint copy of our Sim Alinja InWorldz. In a later blog post i will show how you can copy your  landscape files (raw-files) from IW to OS and where you can find free ones on the net for your use here.

Please let me know if you find any errors in this guide so I can improve it further.

OpenSim server: Part 2, where to put it?

Even if you right now only are interested in running a server at home for your own use, it might be wise to plan for that moment when you want to connect your Sim to some grid out in the real world. So start by looking at this table of some of the grids supporting the OpenSim servers: http://opensimulator.org/wiki/Grid_List

For me it was obvious to select the biggest one and that is currently OSgrid. The next step is to figure out were on the grid you want your sims to be placed. As long as your selected place is vacant it is totally up to you to find a good spot. For me it was important to find a place with surounding water and and some active neighbors. You can start by looking at the quickmap: http://quickmap.osgrid.org/

Here you can quickly see the layout of the regions and where there might be attractive spots for you. Just hold your mouse still and you will get the coordinates for the different spots. It is wise to also take the name and coordinates to a neighbouring sim that is inhabited already. As many sims are on private computers they might not be online all the time, so if that is important to you it is a good idea to log into the world and use the world map to teleport to that area and see if the regions are online and if they looks like something you would like to have as a neighbor…   ;o)

You can also have a look at a more detailed and zoomable map at: http://www.osgrid.org/index.php/gridmap

It works the same way, just hold your mouse still and you get the names and coordinates of the sims. Don’t miss the search function at the bottom left as you can search for a region by coordinates or by name… really useful.

The last tip for finding your perfect spot on the OSGrid is to use their suggestion service at http://www.osgrid.org/index.php/opencoordinates

It shows you how many neighbouring regions there are and the names of those, so you can go and have a look in world. Just use the world map in world and tp to one of those neighbors.

Now that you have decided for the optimal place for your sim, write down the X and Y coordinates (in that order) and give your region to come a good name. Hmmm one more thing….   lol. Your name has to be unique, so go to: http://www.osgrid.org/index.php/regionlist and do a normal search on that page to see if your name is free to use.

OpenSim server: Part 1, preparations for setup

In a few blog posts I will try to explain how I did set up my own OpenSim server at home. I will not cover how to install the operation system of your choice and some other system dependent details. I might however in a later post go through how to set up Ubuntu or Linux Mint for this purpose, as it might be new to some of the readers. However a normal Windows machine will be fine for one or two regions….. if you don’t burden them to much.

These are my steps:

1. Find a suitable computer for it. I started of using a 2,5 years old MacBook and installed Ubuntu 10.10 on it. Any decent Windows machine will work fine.

2. Go to osgrid.org and register an account for the OSgrid. It might be a good idea to use the same name as in IW if IW at a later time will enable hypergrid.

3. To be able to communicate with the OSGrid you have to open a certain port in your broadband router. This seems to be a very common reason for failing so please do this carefully. I connect to my router with a normal web browser to the default internal P-adress 192.168.1.1. Look in your router documentation how you connect to your router. There you will also find the default login name and password….   ;o)

a. Now find out the internal IP-adress of the machine you intend to use as the server. This is quite often dynamically allocated from the router and if it is possible for you you should set to a static IP-adress. If you have the server on all the time this is not such a big problem but if you intend to close the server down at nights, you might have to edit the router tables quite often.

b. Find out the external IP-adress to your router. If you are on a DSL or cable modem this is typically a dynamic address that will change sometimes, meaning you have to edit a file in your OpenSim configuration sometimes. Write this down as you will need this at a later step. However there are ways to set up free services like DynDNS that will provide you with a static name to your dynamic IP-adress. I will cover that in a later post as it is a few steps involved for that.

c. The default port to open in you router is port 9000. That should be set up as port forwarding for both UDP and TCP to the IP-adress of your server. This is the important step! Be sure that both protocols are enabled to the correct IP-adress. If you have internal dynamic IP-adresses, you will have to change this port forwarding when the IP-adress of your server changes (that might happen after you have had it shut down for a longer period)

d. Port 9000 is dedicated for the first region on your planned server. If you want to have a few more regions on the server you have to forward those ports as well to your server. I have ports 9000 – 9005.

Note! Not all routers support this kind of port forwarding but many modern ones do. My network is connected to an Apple Time capsule for WiFi and automatic backups and the router in that is then connected to a Linksys ADSL2+ modem. I have put the routers in bridged mode so I only have to make changes in the Linksys router. Most modern Netgear and Linksys routers will work I guess.

Great! Now we have one port forwarded from the external world (the OSGrid) to each planned region on the server. This was the difficult steps….  ;o)

Time for a pause…..   sigh! Lol
Next part soon!

HiQ photos 7: Portraits

I really love to take photos InWorldz and to try to make them look as good as possible. There are some easy things to learn how to improve the quality of your photos. If you haven’t read my old articles about high quality photography you find the links here to the left.

I mostly do landscapes and try to document the places I like the most in here. In future articles I will try to dig into how to make as good landscape photos as possible but before that I will dig into another object for my photography passion…. portraits. Below you can see a few example of my portraits and below then I will give you the first of my best tips to be successful in making nice portraits.

The main things for making good portraits are composition and lighting. I will talk about lighting in a later article so lets focus on composition right now.

First you have to be able to control the situation you are going to do your photography in. To do that many photographers prefer to work in a studio, both in RL and IW. As you can control the lighting IW there is really no need for the studio, I find it better to use a “natural” surounding so i have a list of landmarks to great places for photography.

The other thing you have to control is the model… and that might be trickier as there have been a lot off effort put in them to make them move at random, nice moving AO:s and all those things. Sometimes it works just to focus with the camera and take snapshots all the time and hope for the best. But most of the time it is easier to take control and arrange the set to your liking. Anyhow that is often more predictable and a faster way to work.

The main thing is the eyes, as the head often follows where the eyes goes. So I have made a tool called “Us Portrait Ball” that lets you get full control over the eyes of the model. Look at the photo below and you can spot the green ball between myself and Anna. I the top right corner you can see a menu controlling the ball.

It works like this:

1. Rezz the ball in front of the model. A menu will appear on your screen.
2. Ask the model to hold the ALT- key and click with the left button on the ball. This will lock her eyes on the ball.
3. Focus your camera on the model.
4. Use the menu buttons to move the ball, left-right, up-down, back-forward, and the eyes of the model will follow until you have the perfect angle for your camera.
5. The Ball automatically shuts off the scripts after 5 min, so that you don’t leave it on unintentionally. Just click the ball to start the scripts again.

With this tool it is easy to control where the model looks and that is the first part of the composition posts.

If you are interested in this tool you can buy it at the vendors in:
secondlife://Alinja/153/116/22

HiQ photos, 6: The Gimp

Many people don’t have the funds necessary for buying Photoshop and end up using a cracked (and possibly infected) illegal copy or some really bad editing solutions.

However there is a completely legal and really good quality alternative available for you. This article tries to recreate the workflow I showed in an earlier article about working with Photoshop but with this alternative instead.

The Gimp is a free (as in no cost) open source tool very similar to Photoshop and you can do almost anything you can with Photoshop in in a similar way. It also has the same kind of tools and is organized in the same way. With the proper training you can achieve the same quality with a program that costs…… nothing more than your effort.

There are versions for Windows, Mac OSX and Linux and translations exists for many languages… like my native Swedish and Gimp automatically adjust to the language preferences on your computer and shows up with the right language. It is therefore very easy to shift from Swedish to English like i just did for the snapshots in this article, that is much more difficult in Photoshop.

If you are on a Mac like I am, the Gimp runs under the X11.window system and that makes it a bit harder to install than a normal Mac program. There are some special packaging made for Mac by third parties, so if you have these problems you can go with for example Gimpshop.
(Let me know if you get stuck and I will try to help you.)

You can download The Gimp here:
http://www.gimp.org/

One other advantage that The Gimp has over Photoshop is that it is very easy to make your own short keys for all the tasks you normally do. As I work both in Photoshop and in The Gimp I have tried to make The Gimp behave as close to Photoshop as possible. If you look at the photo above  you can see where you do these settings and below you can read what short keys I have set in there.

Resize: alt + cmd + S
Layers: cmd + L
Contrast: cmd + K
Saturation: cmd + U
Brush tool: B
Crop tool: C
and so on……

In the rest of the article I will use those shortcuts above, but if you do not change them they will be completely different.

There are many different way to do the same tasks in both Photoshop and in The Gimp. In a later post I will explain about the adjustment layers and other wonderful tools. But today the focus is how to make your photos stand out in the quickest possible way. The steps below might seem complicated at first but i don’t spend more than 1-2 minutes in Photoshop for every photo that prepare for the web and you will soon be that quick to…. and believe me… it is worth every minute!

1. Start The Gimp and open your snapshot.

2. Crop the photo. It is important to try to focus on what we want to say in the photo and get rid of other distraction things and let the eye have an easy path for understanding the photo. With the HiQ setting we now have a much bigger resolution to work with. A normal photo now can be like in this example 2880 x 1704 pixels and normally we don’t want bigger photos that 800 pixels on the longest side for photos intended for a blog or the forum of InWorldz. That gives us plenty of space to play with.

Press C to activate the crop tool. Put the mouse arrow in the upper left corner of the desired area hold down the mouse button and drag to the lower right hand corned. Let go of the mouse button when you have the right area selected. If you made a mistake just press ESC and redo it once more. If you want to have an even square, then hold down the shift-key and drag with the mouse. This  is perfect if you plan to post at flickr for example, because square photos looks best there.

3. Levels. Often the photos from InWordlz gets exposed wrong in the parts of the photo that we think are the important ones. After the crop it is time to adjust the exposure. The easiest way is to do that with a tool called Levels.

Bring up the Level window with the short key Ctrl-L (PC) or CMD-L (Mac). Often there is no info staples at the rightmost part like in this image. The photo is badly exposed in photo language. If so drag the rightmost handle to the left until it touches the staples of black. Sometimes you need to do the same at with the left handle and drag it so it touches the first information staples. Lastly you might have to adjust the middle tones with the handle in the middle to make the exposure perfect.

I hope you see the difference between those two images before and after. I happens very often that photos from InWorldz gets this way and are wrongly exposed in my opinion. Now you know a good trick to fix that…  😉

4. Saturation. Many photos will look washed out, pale and uninteresting right out of InWorldz. To increase saturation a little bit is an easy way to give them more “punch”.
Open the Saturation window with the short key Ctrl-U (PC) and CMD-U (Mac). In the lower part you find the slider for saturation. I often use +20 increase in The Gimp or so. Look at the photo below to see the difference to the one above.

5. Make the final size. I normally choose 800 pixel at the longest size, that works good on Flickr, blogs and forums. If it is already smaller than that then that’s so… just leave it. Never make a photo bigger without special tools.
Call up the size tool with the shortcuts Ctrl-Alt-S (PC) CMD-Alt-S (Mac). Now be sure that the link tool (marked by the red  arrow here) is turned on so that the proportions don’t gets changed. Then enter 800 in the field with the highest number and click the Scale button.

6. Sharpen it. This is always the final step and must be done after the photo is in its final size. For my RL photos i need something better but for InWorldz  snapshotsthe built-in tool unsharp mask is good enough. You find that tool in the menu Filters/Enhance/Unsharp Mask.

Settings: Amount=0.50 (if you get white borders like sugar crust at hight contrast areas, then lower to 0.4),  Radius= 5.0, Threshold= 0…… thats it. Press OK when it looks good.

7. Save your masterpiece! Normally you should save in a non compression format like PNG. BUT!!! The forum only accepts JPG-files and only up to a size of 250 KB and that means that if your files are supposed to be posted in the forum you have to save them as JPG and lower the quality to maybe 10, so that the filesize is below the 250 KB limit.

Call up the save as dialogue with the short key Shift-Ctrl-S. When I am done with a photo i normally save it in a dedicated folder called, Blog, Forum or Out, so that i easily can track what photos are post processed and so on. I also change the filename and ad something like out to the name to further make that clear.

Change the Format to PNG, but if it is intended for the forum change to JPG instead and press Save. With JPG you have to click the Export button in the following Export dialogue to get to the quality dialogue. Be sure that the show preview is click in to show the file size and drag the quality slider so you get a file size just below 250 KB and press Save!

Look below to see the final result of our effort and compare to what we started with.

Now compare with the result from Photoshop…. nice huh…  how many 100 dollars (ponds/euros) did we save there?
So the next time you are using the free Gimp instead of expensive Photoshop or some really bad tool… think a nice thought about me…   ;o)

If you have endured all this way…. WOW… you are really wanting to make great photos!!! Now save those photos for the upcoming photo contest to be announced soon!

HiQ photos, 5: Photoshop

There are many different way to do the same tasks in both Photoshop and in The Gimp. In a later post I will explain about the adjustment layers and other wonderful tools. But today the focus is how to make your photos stand out in the quickest possible way. The steps below might seem complicated at first but i don’t spend more than 1-2 minutes in Photoshop for every photo that prepare for the web and you will soon be that quick to…. and believe me… it is worth every minute!

1. Start Photoshop and open your snapshot.

2. Crop the photo. It is important to try to focus on what we want to say in the photo and get rid of other distraction things and let the eye have an easy path for understanding the photo. With the HiQ setting we now have a much bigger resolution to work with. A normal photo now can be like in this example 2880 x 1704 pixels and normally we don’t want bigger photos that 800 pixels on the longest side for photos intended for a blog or the forum of InWorldz. That gives us plenty of space to play with.

Press C to activate the crop tool. Put the mouse arrow in the upper left corner of the desired area hold down the mouse button and drag to the lower right hand corned. Let go of the mouse button when you have the right area selected. If you made a mistake just press ESC and redo it once more. If you want to have an even square, then hold down the shift-key and drag with the mouse. This  is perfect if you plan to post at flickr for example, because square photos looks best there.

3. Levels. Often the photos from InWordlz gets exposed wrong in the parts of the photo that we think are the important ones. After the crop it is time to adjust the exposure. The easiest way is to do that with a tool called Levels.

Bring up the Level window with the short key Ctrl-L (PC) or CMD-L (Mac). Often there is no info staples at the rightmost part like in this image. The photo is badly exposed in photo language. If so drag the rightmost handle to the left until it touches the staples of black. Sometimes you need to do the same at with the left handle and drag it so it touches the first information staples. Lastly you might have to adjust the middle tones with the handle in the middle to make the exposure perfect.

I hope you see the difference between this images and how they looked before. I happens very often that photos from InWorldz gets this way and are wrongly exposed in my opinion. Now you know a good trick to fix that…  😉

4. Saturation. Many photos will look washed out, pale and uninteresting right out of InWorldz. To increase saturation a little bit is an easy way to give them more “punch”.
Open the Saturation window with the short key Ctrl-U (PC) and CMD-U (Mac). In the middle you find the slider for saturation. I often use +15 increase or so. Look at the photo below to see the difference to the one above

5. Make the final size. I normally choose 800 pixel at the longest size, that works good on Flickr, blogs and forums. If it is already smaller than that then that’s so… just leave it. Never make a photo bigger without special tools.

Call up the size tool with the shortcuts Ctrl-Alt-S (Photoshop CS3) Ctrl-Alt-I (Photoshop CS5). Change Ctrl to CMD on the Mac. Now be sure that the link tool (marked by the red  arrow here) is turned on so that the proportions don’t gets changed. Then enter 800 in the field with the highest number and click OK.

6. Sharpen it. This is always the final step and must be done after the photo is in its final size. I have a plugin for this. It is called Photokit sharpener but it is a bit expensive. For my RL photos i need this but for InWorldz the built-in tool unsharp mask is good enough. You find that tool in the menu Filter/Sharpen/Unsharp Mask.

Settings: Amount=300 – 400 (if you get white borders like sugar crust at hight contrast areas, then lower to 300),  Radius= 0,3, Treshold= 0…… thats it. Press OK when it looks good.

7. Save your masterpiece! Normally you should save in a non compression format like PNG. BUT!!! The forum only accepts JPG-files and only up to a size of 250 KB and that means that if your files are supposed to be posted in the forum you have to save them as JPG and lower the quality to maybe 10, so that the file size is below the 250 KB limit.

Call up the save as dialogue with the short key Shift-Ctrl-S (PC) and Shift-CMD-S (Mac). When I am done with a photo i normally save it in a dedicated folder called, Blog, Forum or Out, so that i easily can track what photos are post processed and so on. I also change the filename and ad something like out to the name to further make that clear.

Change the Format to PNG, but if it is intended for the forum change to JPG instead and press Enter. With JPG you get the quality dialogue now. Drag the quality slider so you get a file size just below 250 and press Save!

Below you can see the final result of our work… please compare that to what we started with…   ;o)

If you have endured all this way…. WOW… you are really wanting to make great photos!!! Now save those photos for the upcoming photo contest to be announced soon!

HiQ photos, 4: InWorldz viewer

I got some emails from people using the InWorldz viewer. They had trouble finding some of the setting I have been going on about. They are still there but in a bit different places. So first I checked if there was a new version available and to my surprise i found the the current version is dated back in May…

However I logged in with the InWorldz viewer and took the snapshop below of where to find those settings that are a bit different.

1. You have to use the advanced menu. Look on top of the menu bar and see if you have the Advanced menu activated.

2. If not…. press the shortcut combination Ctrl-Alt-D on PC and newer Mac:s (but Opt-Ctrl-D on older Mac:s)…. Voila… it appears… hopefully!

3. Enable High-res Snapshots by clicking on the line the red arrow points at

4. When you have shot a snapshot and the Snapshot Preview window pops up (to the left above) it might look smaller than on my screenshots in part 3 of these posts. That is the same for both Imprudence and for the InWorldz viewer.

5. Then you have to click the more button where the red arrow points at, to make the window bigger and to be able to do the Save settings from the previous blog post (look below).

Let me know if you still have some problems. Now the big question for the next part is… shall we start with Photoshop or The Gimp? I wonder what is mostly used InWorldz?

I also received a question in the forum:

Us, I followed your instructions on your blog about this and I changed the settings just as you said and my screen went black. I quickly went back to the default settings and my screen was still black. I had to relog to get things back to normal. I was using the IW viewer. Any idea what went wrong?

I forgot to mention in the post that this sometimes happens when you change the Hardware settings. I looks horrible but there is a very simple fix for it…. Just drag the Quality and performance slider all the way to the left, wait for things come back to the screen, and then drag it all the way back to the right again. Sorry for forgetting to mention this… ;o)

Us

HiQ photos, 3: Saving

In part 2 we looked at the settings in the client for getting the highest possible quality of the photos. Now we will take a snapshot and learn how to save them on the harddrive of your computer for further work.

Normally I take my photos using the shortcut Shift-Cmd-S on my Mac. On the PC you will use the shortcut Shift-Ctrl-S instead.

1. Look around you and locate a nice object, a scenery, an animal or a gorgeous avatar… ;o)

2. Use the shortcut from above to take the snapshot

3. A popup window like the one below will apear

4. Locate the Snapshot destination box on top of the window and click Save to your harddrive

5. In the lower half where the second red arrows points you will have to check the box with High resolution snapshot
Unfortunately this setting resets every time you logout so you have to do that for every photosesssion while all the other settings stuck.

6. Now you have to click the Refresh Snapshot button below the thumbnail image to resample the image with this higher resolution.

7. Normally the client saves your snapshot in a compressed JPEG-format but that is not good enough for us, so we have to change that as well.

8. Click the Format button in the middle of the window and select PNG-format from the drop down menu.

9. Lastly we have to tell the client where to save our photos. Click the Save button just below the thumbnail image and select Save as. A window like below will apear…

This is what it looks on a Mac and it will look rather different if you are on a Pc or on Linux. I will boot up my Ubunto and Pc computers and take those screendumps any day soon if you have problems finding out how it works. Just let me know.

The point is to select a folder with a good name where you dump all your photos at first. I call that folder Snapshots… because thats exactly what they are.  I am a dedicated RL photographer as well so I have the habit to take huge amount of photos. In RL they are in RAW format (think 20 MB each) and in SL they are in high quality png format instead of simple jpg’s.

Advice! Separate the photographic session from the editorial post work. Concentrate first on taking many photos from different angles with different lightings and just let them pile up in your snapshot folder on your harddrive. See how a RL photographer works with taking many 100 snapshots in one sesssion. When you think you might have something there it is time for selecting the goodies.

The files in my example have grown from about 150 KB as the standard snapshot size to up to about 5 MB. That is beacuse the files now contain a lot more valuble information that can be used to enhanced your photos a great deal. But the important thing now is to be decisive and select the few really great ones and be cold hearted enough to erase all the others.

Have you heard the frase “it is hard to kill your own darlings“…. now is the time to practice that and just trow 97 out of 100 great photos!
When I have done a photo session I move the few good ones to a folder named Selected and then erase all others in the Snapshot folder to be prepared for the next session.

I next episod we will look what to do with the 2-3 really good selected photos that now are of the highest possible quality!

HiQ photos, 2: Settings

This first post on the High Quality photography subject will focus on how to set the client to get the best raw material from your photography attempts. No matter how good you are in Photoshop or The Gimp, if the photos you take are of a bad technical level, you might be able to enhance them a bit but they will never be great.

I normally use the Imprudence client for InWorldz so the photos below are from Imprudence. I also prefer Mac to Pc so most of the screenshots might look just a little bit odd for you PC-folks. Let me know if you use InWorldz client or Windows or Linux and have problems finding the settings in there.

In this and all the following tutorials I will be using a lot of shortcut key combinations as I prefer that. Normally you can find menu choices for doing the same things.

Follow these steps:

1. Open the Preferences with the shortkeys Ctrl-P (Pc) or Cmd-P (Mac)

2. Go to the graphics tab in the Preferences. Depending on your computer and your graphics card you will have set the graphics preferences to something your computer normally can handle. To get the best possible photos we have to get close to thet limit and that means you have to reset the settings back to normal after the photosession.

Look at the photo below and set graphics settings Quality and performance slider to max (if your computer can handle it for a short while). See the red arrow in the upper part in the image below. If you have problems with this try to lower the max drawing distance to lets say 96 meters. (In Imprudence you can do this with the quick command  in the local chat with the command DD 96 if your computer becomes very unresponsive)I normally use a rather good Macbook Pro and even then I dont normally use these setting because I prefer a responsive and smooth word when I am building and so on. But when I take photos I go all the way to the most extreme….

(If your Graphic settings page might look a bit smaller than this, then look if you have the custom checkbox to the right of the top arrow clicked in)

3. Click on the button for Hardware settings. In the image above you see a red arrow in the lower part of the image above. Click on the Hardware settings button to open the window below.

4. Click in the Anistropic Filtering checkbox and change the Antialiasing dropdown to 16 times. Both these settings gives less jagged images and smother drawing at a distance. On my computer I can use these setting all the time in low lag Sims, but normally i have to switch them on when I am about to take photos and then switch them back after the photosession.

5. Click OK in the Hardware settings window and then OK in the Preferences window

Attention! Sometimes when you do this the screen becomes all black! Dont panic even if it looks horrible… your screen is not broken and  there is a very simple fix for it…. Just drag the Quality and performance slider all the way to the left, wait for things come back to the screen, and then drag it all the way back to the right again.

Well done!

Now we have set up our computer and graphics card to give the best possible image from InWordlz on the screen.
In the next episode will will take a snapshot and save it to the computers harddrive in the best possible quality!

Us