Sep 042013

I was writing in my last blog post about how I need to remember to write down my windlight settings, then after I posted I saw that Strawberry Singh’s blog challenge of the week asks us what windlights we like to use! She’s psychic, I think…  I guess this is the universe adding an extra reminder for me to pay attention to what I’m doing.

Compared to many of the talented SLers who post their work on blogs and on Flickr, I am far from a master photographer. That doesn’t stop me from taking pics constantly, though, and being able to play with the atmosphere via the windlight settings is wonderful. I still tend towards a lot of Photoshop or Light Room processing (or occasionally Pixlr Express if I just want to add some instagrammy style filters), but that’s never as much fun as moving the clouds around, getting the sky just right, or changing the look of the water. For this post, as I did with the batch from my previous post, all the pics I’m including are unprocessed, uncropped, and just standing on their windlight settings alone.

I was thrilled to see that as of Sept. 1 the Calas Galadhon Park sims are open again! Could there be a better place to take some lovely landscape pics? These are some of the most beautiful places in SL, and always a great choice for photography or sightseeing. If you drop by please consider leaving a donation towards the upkeep, and to show the sim owners that we really do appreciate their work providing such a lovely group of sims for the enjoyment of everyone.

Calas Galadhon under the Greed2 preset.

And now for the questions:

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 the original meme’s comments.

1. Do you use windlight while taking pictures?
I leave windlight enabled all the time… I also tend to run with shadows on all the time, and I’m sure my laptop hates me and is plotting revenge against me, but I am greedy and I like my eye candy. If the lag seems out of control I’ll start unchecking things, but in general I don’t take pics without windlight enabled.

However, even without the windlight atmospheric shaders turned on a sim can still look lovely:

Misty Mountains under midday lighting, with windlight turned off.

But with windlight on you can play with haze and shading and brightness and get some really nice images without any outside photoshopping:

The exact same shot as above, with Windlight turned back on, using the July Light 02 preset

2. When taking a closeup snapshot for a profile picture, which windlight preset do you use most often? 
Usually something like CalWL, Nam’s Optimum Skin and Prim, or one of the other uniform light presets.

3. Which windlight presets do you use for full body portraits?
I don’t do fashion photography or reviews, so I don’t have to worry about lighting that will show off clothes so everyone can see the details. I do take a lot of self indulgent selfies, but I just fiddle around with settings until I have something that makes both my avvie and the scenery around me look nice. If I’m taking selfies I’m probably more likely to want to go for fun filters, so I am most likely to use a basic setting like 3pm or something that gives nice shadows but fairly bright light so I can work with it in editing later.

4. If you do landscape photography, which windlights do you use for that most often?
One of my favorite features in Firestorm is being able to click through windlights without having to open the drop down box and scroll, so I can change them instantly. What I tend to do is pick out a shot I like and frame it up, then cycle through skies and take pics along the way. I can then look at them later and decide which one I liked the best. The end result of this method, however, is I rarely ever remember what setting I used, and sometimes I edit presets on the fly so the setting I start out with may be a bit different.

The windlight I’ll use really depends entirely on what sort of build it is, whether it’s photorealistic, fantasy based, or sort of abstract art. For art builds or sims that have a distinct theme I’ll check the estate settings to see what they suggsest. For nature sims it kinda depends on my mood. Sometimes I want to pop the colors, sometimes I want to make it dark and moody, or soft and foggy, or go for cool looking skies and reflections.

Dimril Dale: Places Annamaria preset

5. Do you have any tricks or tips that you could share for using Windlight effectively?
Experiment, experiment, experiment! Tweak settings. Take tons of pics with different presets, sometimes you’ll find you’ve used settings that you thought looked great at the time, then later you aren’t quite so thrilled, so it’s always good to have a variety of windlights. Don’t be afraid to get in the settings box and play around. At the very least always experiment with moving around the sun location, and the time of day just to see how it works on the shadows and the skies.

6. Have you created any windlights that you would be willing to share with us? 
I used to save some when there were only the original defaults and Torley’s settings, but now there are so many to choose from I never save anything, I just find ones that I like and tweak each time I take a shot. I usually don’t bother saving because most of my tweaks are specific to the sim I’m on, and it’s just as easy to find a good base preset and tweak from there for the next pic.

I’m also going to add in the question that Peep Darkward added on her blog because it was a good one!  🙂

7. What Windlight setting do you use for generally bopping around Second Life?
I admit I’ve never liked the day/night cycle on SL because if I’m looking around or shopping I like to be able to see what I’m doing. In the old days the first thing I would do after logging in was set my sky to noon.  If I’m building something or moving things around in the house I’ll always go for something like CalWL, and sometimes I leave that on when I go out (especially shopping). I’m also likely to just go for the default time of day settings like noon, 3pm, or sunset.

Now, if someone could just get me the settings to adjust my real life windlights I could have a lot more fun with my RL photography too! 😀

  One Response to “Windlighting”

  1. I love Torley’s settings so much, always tweaking them for landscape pics myself. They are all so very different and dramatic. Also, your pics are just gorgeous, love the last one!

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