Face lights: Theory, correct usage and making of face lights

This conversation has been coming up a lot lately, so I thought that I would write about it. The use, misuse and full understanding about lighting in Second Life, mostly as applies to facelights and etiquette, but can also be applicable to photography. Why do people wear so many bright facelights with a tremendous radius? I suspect it’s simply because they don’t understand the inner-workings of how Second Life works, as well as not really having been informed as to what the social impact is. It’s NOT an all or nothing thing, we don’t need to go on a witch hunt, we simply need to make a bit of knowledge available. That’s what I’m hoping this article will provide.

Note: All of these images are clipped from the top, hiding the menus. This was the result of batch processing without thinking. It was also a quick and convenient way of hiding personal information. Hopefully, the location of all relevant menus that are pulled down can be discerned when comparing to your own client. Additionally, some of the screen shots are messed up with odd bits such as lines and double title tags. You can thank my video card for that. It does that when taking snaps with the UI turned on. Sorry about that.

Facelights are a two edged sword

On one hand we want to enhance the appeal of our avatar, to see it in dark conditions and to generally highlight our best features. The pros and cons: The Pro side will make comments like this: “I just want to look nice, and remove the harsh edges from my AV”, “The lights enhance my look”, “Everyone tells me I need a light, so I got one.”.

The Con side might say something like this (copied near-verbaitim from unidentified freebie face light merchants): “Ever sit in a dark place, enjoying the scenery or perhaps a particle show, when someone with a facelight geared for disturbing fauna several miles away walks in and spoils the scene?”, or “I made this due to seeing some horrible facelights, so here you are, a face light that lights your face and chest and not the whole area…”

While it’s true that a facelight can really enhance your look (I often use one personally, and as a photographer, I use them constantly!). The trick is to use the facelight in a manner that in fact enhances your look, that doesn’t wash it out, or blind others. We want to make the best use of our light that we can without being light spammers.

Witness one of the very many examples that were the inspiration for this article. We shall name our subject Facelight Fanny.

Fanny shows us that people with mis-used lights DO exist. This is in the daytime, and her light overpowers the sun

Fanny shows us that people with mis-used lights DO exist. This is in the daytime, and her light overpowers the sun

That is not Chernobyle, that's Facelight Fanny! Note that in this scene, there are no chirping crickets. They've been cooked at 20 meters away by Fanny's facelight

That is not Chernobyle, that's Facelight Fanny! Note that in this scene, there are no chirping crickets. They've been cooked at 20 meters away by Fanny's facelight

Other that turning off the lights that belong to a build, other avatar’s lights and splashing them with an overly powerful light, there are other disadvantages, such as
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