Mystery: A secret ingredient to a great photo

Have you ever been in a rut, and only recognized it when you see someone else’s work? I’ve just had that experience. I am, admittedly someone who is still learning SL photography. I’m pretty good on the angles, the lighting, the framing. That’s, fine, but it’s merely the basics. I’ve had this unrecognized itch that my images were lacking punch, emotion, but I wasn’t quite sure how to get around it until I saw this shot by Connie Arida. So it’s very retouched. I can live with that. Seeing this image brought me just the notion that I needed: that a good photo is as much about what is left out, as what is framed. Ever notice that good monster movies keep the suspense up by NOT revealing the monster right away? They hint, they tease, they imply, and as such the audience is captivated by wanting to know what the monster looks like. That’s a trick to engaging content. I realized that while my photos may be ok technically, that emotionally, I was much too explicit. I’ll be working on that for the next little while.

A wonderful shot by Connie Arida, pointing out that sometimes the best part of a photograph is what is not included.

A wonderful shot by Connie Arida, pointing out that sometimes the best part of a photograph is what is not included.

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How to find New Citizens Incorporated in Second Life

How do I find help in Second Life? Where do I go in Second Life to find answers to my questions? How do I learn things? Are there classes, tutorials or primers to learn how to do things in Second Life?

New to Second Life and looking for some basic newcomer (newbie) tips tricks and tutorials? New Citizens Inc. Is just the place to go. NCI’s mission is to help newcomers integrate themselves into Second Life in a wholesome, safe, peaceful and fun environment. We offer dedicated experienced and knowledgeable helpers who other than having been around the block more than once, are patient, courteous and IMO generous with their time.

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Second Life Pure Photography Flickr group FAQ

Please note that this FAQ is a work in progress. Time is limited and I’m doing my best to keep on top of SL and RL. Thanks for your patience. I invite your questions and potential answers to help me complete this.

Q: What is the Second Life Pure Photography group about?

This group is about celebrating pure, unretouched Second Life snapshots and sharing the technique for how something was created. It’s about learning, sharing and pushing our limits and the limits of the technologies surrounding second life. You can find the Second Life Pure Photography Flickr group here: http://www.flickr.com/groups/sl_pure_photography/

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Terror!

A female cyborg is under attack from a menacing alien!

A female cyborg is under attack from a menacing alien!

Dramadramadrama. What will our heroine do?

I’ve been dying to figure out a way to add some guts and drama to our AVs. Part of the problem is that we have a face that’s as placid as a Hindu cow. We can use Yadni’s emoter HUD that makes use of the built in facial animation to combine them, but the default expressions are very cartoonish–fine for when SL first started, and given the technical limitations, I can understand it. So what to do?

Steal ideas from comic books! And by the way, for people searching for terms like “steal second life clothing”? STOP IT. Sweet Mary, when you translate the linden costs into real life costs, a full outfit might cost you one or two dollars! Get a LIFE you cheap thiefs!

Sorry, /me steps off the soap box.

So, what do we do? We find ideas in comic books where the expressions are deliberately exaggerated. This one reminds me of the 1950’s detective comic books.

Photography Tip: A trick about photographing facial expressions. What looks stupid at one angle can look perfect in another. This facial expression, for example when viewed from the front or above gives our model ginormous doe eyes. Not quite what we’re looking for, but from below one does not see the full scope of the eye, and thus we have a slightly wide-eyed fearful look that is somewhat more realistic.

Photographer’s Find: Imperial Elegance Despair Poses

Hello… My name is Quite Oh, and I’m an animationaholic…

The voice of a hidden group pipe up in unison “Hello Quite!”

My story is simple. I’m a Second Life photographer, and I try to take pictures that go beyond “screenshots” to raise them to a level that can be referred to as “photography”. When I first started, I didn’t like the way my avatar walked or stood. Then someone introduced me to poses. That was the beginning of my downfall. Suddenly, I could move like a real person, and it felt good. But then as time moved on, I found that it just wasn’t enough, I needed more! The poses that were available were mostly glamour poses, modelling poses, but what I want to do is to take images that tell a story!  That’s when I started getting hard core. I started taking glamour poses and ratting and grunging up my AVs, putting them in the right environments, then started taking shots that excluded or included only parts of my avatar that came close to expressing what I wanted it to.

Today, I got another fix: I discovered that Imperial Elegance has a series of despair poses.

Despair! Oh Joy!

Imperial Elegance Despair Poses

Imperial Elegance Despaire Poses

Our facial expressions in Second Life are quite limited (Yadni’s Emoter Hud help) but lack in subtlety or nuance, that leaves us with body language. A good picture is not just a good picture because it’s “pretty” or technically correct, but because when you look at it, it triggers that inner sense of recognition and empathy. A good picture puts YOU in the picture. That’s why I was so delighted to find this series of poses. At L$50 they are definately well priced, and the whole series, consisting of 12 poses goes for L$500.  I consider this to be a good find.

The poses include three sits, one lie, 7 stands and one OMG I’m going to die collapse on the ground.

To boot, Sai Pennell, the creator and owner of the store is giving away a free animation overrider for females, which is yet another reason to visit the store. I support those who support newbies.

Yay Sai Pennell for creating emotional poses! Good Job!!! XD

Do you know of any more emotional poses? Please let me know!

Newbies! Free Sexy Walk and AO (Animation Override)

So you come to Second Life, and you’re just plain Jane. You’ve figured out that all these old timers look soooo cool and that you are unhip!

I hate it when that happens.

Then you discover the shopping thing. Hair, dresses, you’ve even figured out that you don’t want to be “tits on sticks” (most newbie girls make giraff like long legs and HUGE bazoongas, whereas the males make their shoulders the width of a Mac truck and the waist the size of a toothpick).

And then one day… you see her. And she walks so cool and sexy… and you don’t! In fact, you waddle like you have a porcupine up your butt! :( What do you do? How does she do it? More importantly, how do you do it? Has she got a secret?

That my friends is no secret, it’s what we call an Animation Overrider (AO), or sometimes called “a sexy walk”. It’s a tiny little thing that you wear invisibly, that makes it so that you avatar moves in a certain way, automatically when you do things. When you walk, it makes a walking animation kick in. When you stand, it changes your pose automatically, when you sit, it makes you sit nicely.

Where do I get one? I want a free AO!

Image of the Free Second Life Animation Overrider offered by Imprerial Elegance

Image of the Free Second Life Animation Overrider offered by Imprerial Elegance

My friend Feodora Umarov (a.k.a The Walking Inventory) points to a Free AO that you can get here. Go and get it!

Camera Tip 1: Close Ups and POV

A very common thing for Second Life photographs to have is the default Camera distance, we’re usually floating a couple of meters above and behind our AVs. This is great in giving us a more distant perspective in daily activity, and it lets us be aware of our environment. There’s an alternative however that allows us not only to live in a closer and more intense way: Try pressing control-0 (zero) to close up and control-8 to move away. Control9 will reset your view. Walking around with a closer POV sseems to be more “emotionally intense” to me, and when walking around a new or favourite sim, it allows your mind to absorbe a new option.