For some time now I wanted to compile a list of the most annoying bugs for SecondLife photographers. SecondLife photography may seem secondary to the metaverse experience, but it is not. If anything, photography is one of the prime concerns Linden Labs should have, as it represents one of the main activities one can do in SecondLife. Also, along with machinima, SL photography is the one window that presents SecondLife to the outside world.
For a while now, I almost lost faith in SL photography. I slowed down considerably creating artwork based on SL photography, mostly for all the reasons below that makes this activity irritating and unpleasant. The bottomline is, to make decent quality artwork in SL without heavy use of Photoshop is nearly impossible, and this should not be.
Let’s begin, shall we?
- Quirky camera focus: Try photographing an element laid on the floor and to cam over it without pulling your hair. As soon as you dunk the camera 1 degree too much, it flips over and to hell it goes. And how about caming in a restrained area? It’s enough to be a burden on the photographer.
- Broken high resolution snapshots: I am not refering to the dreadful and definitely borked “Hi-Res Snapshots” option in the Advanced menu. I am speaking of taking a snapshot in a Custom resolution higher than your current screen resolution. For some it will work, for some, they will see cutting lines, black edges, or will find one of the other problems like the RenderGlow glitch or disappearing attachment like stated below.
- Crashes on snapshot: I tested several clients and had numerous reports of crashes on snapshot. It’s time to realize it is one of the main usage for the SL viewer. Having a fantastic environment you can’t photography is pointless. Snapshot functions must be througly tested and stable. Some also get pitch black snapshots that apparently can only be fixed with a cache cleanup.
- RenderGlow support broken: If you don’t disable RenderGlow, most people will see “glow ghosts” if any item with a bit of glow appears in the scene. If you shoot over your current screen resolution, those lasty glow bugs will appear exponentially accross your snapshots.
- Disappearing attachments while taking a snapshot: This is probably one of those I hate the most. Often, when snapshotting at very high resolution, hair will disappear, or random attachments. Sometimes changing the angle does the trick, or changing the distance, but not always. Restarts are useless. I screwed whole photo sessions because of that glitch and wasted dozens of hours.
- Inconsistent lighting system: Lights in SL have always been a problem, like light sources cancelling each other, with a max of 6 lights. Under low ambient lighting conditions, this makes it hard to create complex lighting scenes. Lights also competes in a weird way, and hard to say if they are directional or omnidirectional sometimes. Add Windlights to that mix, and it makes it even more complex. Shadows are still very crude if you don’t use high Windlight ambient lighting, and I sure hope it gets fixed when the new ShadowDraft builds come into play.
- Invisiprims: One of the most long lasting bug in the SL rendering system. We all know about it; think about everytime you noticed how ugly your 800L shoes looks over a club dancefloor. I heard it’s complex to fix. But I sure wish it was, as it makes snaps look akward and amateurish, if one doesn’t spend insane amounts of time fixing this with Photoshop, often with mitigated results.
- Deficient avatar mesh: Again, we can dream. But some like RealXtent apparently did it. So it’s not impossible. It is surely the reason why I spend so much time fixing snapshots using Photoshop. Be it stretched inner thighs, horrible feet, clunky fingers, square boobs and butts, you name it.
- Limited zoom: You can only cam that close to an avatar and then you need to use the CTRL 8-9-0 zoom keys. Why limit that, or can we at least have the option to disable this behaviour? The extra zoom controls are fine, but makes it harder to cam and focus too.
- The eyes!: Do really I need to elaborate? Especially when you are shooting yourself, since you need to focus on a prim to have your eye fixed on it, caming to zoom on your face becomes an extreme sport. It’s feasible, but there’s no miracle solution, and it often turns into luck shots. Same thing for taking snapshots with closed eyelids. Take 50 snaps and pray you get the right timing.
This list is surely not complete or exhaustive, one could probably name other quirks and bugs that are extremely irritating. My point was not to list them all, but to send a message to the Lindens. Please fix our photography, because visuals are what makes SecondLife what it is, and it is currently broken. Maybe one should submit a JIRA as a meta issue and put it as showstopper, because the show is indeed stopping