Sunday, January 10, 2016

Photography tips #3 - Derender

In real life photography, a little pre-photoshopping on location is time saved when editing, and by that I mean removing things (if possible of course) that has to be fixed in post editing anyway. So before the shot is actually taken, remove or fix things such as an odd twig, toys in the background, garbage, or stray hair on the model etc. Basically try and get rid of anything that doesn't belong in the final picture. You'll thank your self later if you do.

Until just recently, I thought that was more or less impossible in SL without having editing rights, but a shooting sessions with Debbie Jasper over the holidays taught me something very cool. I might be the noob here for not knowing this clever little trick, but I'm okay with that :) I'm always willing to learn and share.

The session we were on was shot over the Christmas holidays. We were shooting a gown Debbie was blogging, and the problem was there were Christmas decorations and other items that just didn't fit the theme of the gown. After have shot from a few different angles I just couldn't get a shot I liked because of the items on location. Then Debbie said - "Just de-render temporarily".  /Me: "Huh?" So she showed me, and low and behold, life just got a little bit easier.

I found some of the raw photo's from that first session. In this shot, the cat on the piano and the lamp at the end of the stage is bugging me. But to clone those items out in Photoshop looks like a lot of work so kept looking for angles where these items weren't visible, but that of course changed the look and view of the gown.

After Debbie's little revelation we went back the next day. Below is another raw shot from the second session. The cat and the lamp has been de-rendered temporarily making the post editing a lot easier. 

Here's how do this in Firestorm: 
  • Right click on the item that is in your frame, or picture that you want to remove. 
  • Click MORE in the circle - twice
  • Click DERENDER 
  • Finally click TEMPORARY
And the item such as a pose-ball, tip jar or perhaps a person in the back ground is gone. You have a much cleaner raw photo to work with in Photoshop.

Thank you Debbie :)

One thing to keep in mind when doing this, is to be very careful what you click on. I lost the floor the first time I tried but a quick relog fixed it, and I could start over with de-rendering unwanted items again. 

Here's a link to the gown Debbie blogged.

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Saturday, January 2, 2016

Photography tips #2 - Watch your background.

This time we'll take a look at another simple way of making your Second Life photos turn out better. In photography, the background is or can be just as important as the subject. Especially when the background is interfering with the subject in a way that is unintentional.

Its a simple tip really. Lets call it the "Keep the head in a clean spot" tip. What I mean by that is, when you shoot your self or another person, try and keep the background behind the subjects head clean so nothing appears to be growing out of, sticking in to, or going through their head. A good example could be tree branches that mysteriously protrude from the subjects head, or a lamppost sticking out of the top of the head.
Here the trunk of the tree is growing out of my head.
It is fairly easy to avoid this situation. A simple change of camera angle, or perhaps make the subject take a few steps to one or the other side will save a lot of work later in Photoshop.

Even though the back ground is messy, it is uniform behind the head, and the background is also been blurred by using the DoF feature in Firestorms Phototools
If it is impossible to keep a separation between the subject and the background, turning on the depth of field option in SL will help making the final image more pleasing to the eye.The trick here is that the eye will seek out sharp details before blurry details, and because of that we have a seperation between the back ground and the subject.. Still, moving the camera slightly will eliminate the unfortunate tree growing out of the head completely.

Even with DoF enabled, the tree trunk is still where is shouldn't be, however a better version that with the DoF disabled.

Again, tree in a position where  they shouldn't be any.

A slight move with the camera and the head it is clear, however we have another problem  - horizon lines going through the head.
 Another scenario to keep an eye out for is horizon lines going through the head of a subject, as in the line between the sky and the ocean for example. A slight move with the camera and the problem is gone.

Horizon lines through the head are almost as bed as trees and lamp posts.
Camera is re-positioned for a better end result.

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