Soigné: Style in Second Life

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The Quick And Easy Guide to Running Opensim On Your PC

Posted by Caliah Lyon on January 19, 2009

In 10 Easy Steps

As everyone’s been experiencing difficulties connecting to the main (or even beta) grid lately and lamenting that they can’t get any work done, I thought to write a mini-guide for those who might be interested in running Opensim on their own PCs. If you want some basic information on Opensim I suggest reading the main page and FAQ. What this guide aims to do is get you started so you can test and refine uploads – textures, poses, sculptmaps – on your own standalone grid, running on your PC.

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Optimising Windlight for Avatars 2.0

Posted by Caliah Lyon on April 10, 2008

Edited Jan 12, 2009 – With the release of Release Candidate 1.22 the avatar mesh has now been fixed so it shows as a default white rather than grey shade. This is the reason why clothing on avatars would be darker than the attachment prims even if they had the same texture. Once 1.22 goes live as the default client, using these settings, you should no longer need to tint prims or wear facelights! To allow for this brighter avatar mesh I’ve lowered two settings: Scene Gamma (now default at 1.00) and Ambient (now default at 0.64). All other settings are the same. I’ve also included in the tutorial how to set this automatically as your default lighting whenever you log on. – Caliah

Some of you may remember the old WL presets I made several versions back. As those are long obsolete, I’ve come up with a new preset which works on the current client based on one of the default midday settings. With this preset your avatar will look better with local lighting and atmospheric shaders  (no need to turn them off unless in a build full of local lights). It’s recommended to use a very faint face lamp or none at all in public (consider it as doing the public a service in that your face lamps won’t be blinding anyone else on WL!). Note that the lighting is uniform no matter which direction you’re facing. If you do opt to go without a face lamp you can raise the Ambient Intensity (I) value to compensate. I’ve set it to 0.64-0.70 here for the outdoors, but lower settings are recommended for builds with a lot of lighting.*

You can just download this preset here and place the file directly in C://Program Files/Secondlife/app_settings/windlight/skies or follow this guide to set it manually. NOTE: If you are using RC 1.22.xx it will save the preset to the C:\Documents and Settings\user\Application Data\SecondLife\user_settings\windlight\skies directory. While the path is harder to remember this enables you to keep your settings across different installs of the SL client. Save it there if you prefer.

facelight nofacelight

Recommended Face Lamp (Versions 1.21.xx and below)

I’ve made two face lamps, one warm (with a slightly orange light) and one white. I’ve put a box in the Muse lobby that will give you the in-world version of this tutorial in a notecard that has the lamps and some helpful pictures.

Open World > Environment Settings > Environment Editor and click on Advanced Sky, then click on “New” and save under a filename you remember. I’ve named my preset OptimisedWL.

The Atmosphere Tab

This is largely to improve the quality of the horizon and has little bearing on the lighting itself, -except- for the Max Altitude, Density/Distance multiplier values. You can tweak the other settings to your satisfaction to get better skies.


Blue Horizon: R: 0.12, G: 0.12, B: 0.16, I: 0.16
Haze Horizon: 0.09
Blue Density: R: 0.32, G: 0.59, B: 1.00, I: 1:00
Haze Density: 0.65
Density Multiplier: 0.18
Distance Multiplier: 2.0
Max Altitude: 188

Lighting Tab

I’ve set Red and Green values slightly higher to give the light a warmer “sunlit’ tone, but you can make all RGB values equal for a whiter, more neutral light. If you want brighter light you can raise Ambient using the “I” (Intensity) slider. A range of 0.64-0.77 is recommended, combined with Scene Gamma of 1.00-1.22. Note that you may have to lower both Ambient and Scene Gamma if you regularly visit builds with a lot of local lights.


Sun/Moon Color: R, G, B and I at 0.086
Sun/Moon Position: 0.000
Ambient: R:0.64, G:0.64, B:0.63, I:0.67 or R: 0.70, G: 0.67, B: 0.66, I: 0.70 (second setting is brighter)
East Angle: 0.16
Sun Glow: Focus: 0.10 Size 1.75
Scene Gamma: 1.00-1.15
Star Brightness: 0.00

The Clouds Tab

The only difference with the clouds tab from any default preset you might have is the coverage. I’ve set it to low (exactly 0.13).

Cloud Coverage: 0.13

As always, you can fine-tune these settings to suit your particular preference 🙂 Press New and save it under a name you prefer.

Using This Setting As Your Default
If you want to dispense entirely with the day and night presets and have this setting on all the time, do the following:

Press the button marked Day Cycle Editor in the Advanced Sky Editor menu. This will give you a box where you can specify what preset to cycle through every three hours (keys).
You don’t need this if you want this WL setting to be your default lighting all the time. To discard them press Delete Key several times until only one key remains.

When you have only one key left, click on the drop-down menu below Key Preset and choose the name of the Optimised WL setting you saved above (mine was CalWL3).

Press Save Test Day to save your changes. No more need to set this every time you log in!

Note – in most current WL settings old facelamps are much too bright; it would be best to have a friend check if yours is.

* Sadly nothing can be done about local lights if you go shopping and happen to pop into a build that’s full of them (apart from turning off atmospheric shaders), but a politely worded notecard to the designer or owner may help convince them to update their lighting methods.

Posted in Art and Photography, Guides | Tagged: | 66 Comments »

Virtual Credit Cards

Posted by mannarosewood on February 1, 2008



manna rosewood says:

So these group of people started an amazing Second Life magazine called The Homme Mag. Absolutely wonderful! Beautifully written and visually pleasing. At-least it has all the aesthetics I appreciate. Honestly I’m more of a skimmer than a reader when it comes to fashion magaziness and blogs. I feel the visual presentation of fashion is more important than the wordy fu-fa! You know what I mean? — The Homme Mag caught my attention with astouding presentation and kept my interest with witty content. Check it out!

Anyway, the point is, after I finished flipping through The Homme Mag I noticed an ad for a virtual credit card company in SL. I also noticed a shop earlier this week using the program and the credit card purchase is cheaper than if you buy with lindens. Let me just say that after the whole GINKO incident last year I assume people would be more wise about their virtual decisions. I had friends who were “depositing money” in the GINKO bank and I’d ask them Why? For what? This is virtual!

And now a new trendy credit card program has risen with many stores participating. My personal advice: don’t use money you don’t have or own! Find a sugar daddy for goodness sake but don’t use or fall into these kind of virtual devil-deals that has trapped so many in first life. I understand that Second Life we value any closeness to First Life. We want to indulge in this new world but sometimes don’t want it to be too different than our original one. We want big breasts, or a six-pack and the height of Michael Jordan. Fine! That’s fine! But see credit in first life has a purpose. We build credit to show how responsible we are. We put money in first life banks because it’s safer than keeping that $10,000 in a shoebox under our beds.

Second Life is different. Our money is secure in neon green at the top of our screens. If you don’t have an account to convert real money to virtual money or you’re currently not making money in-world then don’t sign-up for a virtual credit card. It’s trouble, trouble, trouble!

On another note, there is good virtual plastic. Specifically the kind being used by BLAZE Fine Fashions and some other stores.


The look is as chic as a credit card so it can tickle your fancy if you really want a virtual card. However it works like a Gift Card (Psychologically convince yourself it’s a credit card). You buy a certain amount and when it runs out you fill it up again (or the sugarpapa or sugarmama fills it up for you). This is the practical way to enjoy virtual credit as a virtual consumer without your strings getting mangled in virtual debt.

Articles about GINKO:

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Client Tips and Windlight Viewer 18.6.76886

Posted by Caliah Lyon on January 13, 2008

Edit: Get the new Windlight Viewer version here. The presets I’ve uploaded for it still work 🙂

I’ve updated the Optimising Windlight for Avatars tutorial because of the increased Ambient values in version 18.6.76116 (thank you WL team). For me this version produced some beautiful avatar shots for ads; all the recent Muse ads in the last release were shot using this updated preset, changing the East Angle of the sun around in the advanced sky editor and some local lights (either face lamps or ones I set down manually). In my opinion, minus the black bands in the sky and other glitches, it was aesthetically the best release to date; with a little tweaking and some local lights avatars had the added depth and realism similar to characters in many current, high-quality 3D videogame titles.

Avatar in WL version 76116, using the Optimising WL for Avs preset, left w/ facelamp, right without.

Avatar in version 76116, region default lighting.

Client Tips for Sales

It’s been the season for sales since December, so I thought of putting up a few tips in order to make your shopping experience as painless as possible. Besides stripping down to the basics (primless clothing, no or low-prim hair and no shoes) and turning down all your graphics settings, there are a few steps that you can take:

Under the Client menu (enable the Debug menu with ctrl+alt+D) select Rendering>Types. You’ll see a list of types that your client renders. Turn off the types superfluous to your shopping – Sky, Trees, Water, Clouds, Ground, Particles, Sound, Bump.

Most importantly, to cut down on client-side lag disable Character when you’ve reached a spot where you can cam-shop comfortably. You won’t be able to see your avatar, but your client is spared the effort of rendering dozens of other people and their attachments, and you the effort of asking other people to remove their prims. You will have to turn this back on if you need to move around, but the benefit is worth it.

A few people have noted some increases in stability with the Windlight client; one of its features that probably helps a great deal is Avatar Impostors. If you move around a bit while shopping having this is indispensable for reducing client lag. For me, using Nicholaz EC-1a with an older WL version 18.6.75762, with graphics settings at their lowest, impostors on and certain rendering types disabled has proven the most stable setup for high-lag, crowded areas. I didn’t crash once at the Last Call sale and I’ve used it for the runway at fashion shows.

Have a good week 🙂

Posted in Art and Photography, Guides | Tagged: , | 3 Comments »

Optimising Windlight for Avatars

Posted by Caliah Lyon on November 25, 2007

Please refer to Optimising Windlight for Avatars 2.0
as these settings are obsolete.

This is a simple method to optimise the First Look Windlight Viewer so the light doesn’t cast those dreaded harsh shadows on your avatar’s face. It also casts the landscape in a softer light, eliminating glare, and making it easier on your eyes. I’m sure there are better settings, but this is a straightforward no-frills solution for those of us who don’t want to fiddle too much with the controls. Your avatar will look good even without a facelamp (even if it’s a little dark), though this is best if you do wear one 🙂

Using this preset with my own facelamp (facing the sun/facing away from the sun).

Using this preset without a facelamp.

Default Windlight presets (Noon, Sunrise). Note the lines that “age” an avatar.

1) Open World > Environment Settings > Environment Editor.

2) Click on Advanced Sky.

3) Choose the Blizzard preset. Click on New, then save the preset under another name, e.g. “My Preset.”

4) Click on the Clouds tab. Set Cloud Coverage to something low, like 0-0.20.

5) Click on the Lighting tab. Under Ambient, raise I (intensity). I recommend using 0.35-045, with the lower values for those who use facelamps; raise higher if needed.

6) Look for the Sun Glow setting. Raise Size to 1.99 (the maximum).

7) Click on the Atmosphere tab. You need to look at the values for Haze Horizon and Haze Density (read on what they do by clicking on the “?” beside each).

8) Have your avatar face the direction of the sun, then fiddle with the settings. I set my Haze Horizon somewhere between 0.15-0.40 depending on how bright I want my horizon, and my Haze Density is 1.00-4.00 depending on how bright I want the day or how clear I want my surroundings. Look at your avatar’s face while adjusting the sliders so you can judge which setting works best for you. Remember to turn in all directions so you can see how it looks when you face away from the sun.

9) You can change the direction the sunlight is coming from by changing East Angle. The Blizzard default is 0.00; try experimenting with what setting you prefer. This is particularly useful for photography.

10) Save your preset, then make any other adjustments you may want to make. If the lighting is a little dark for your taste overall, try clicking on Lighting then raising either Ambient Intensity (I) or Scene Gamma a fraction.

I’m aware this isn’t perfect – it may cause the landscape to look a little dim, some of the lines on your face may not be ironed out, but this is a good all-around preset for when you’re just exploring or shopping and want to look your best with Windlight. Hope you find this useful!

1/13/2008: I’ve adjusted the values for Ambient (as per version 18.6.76116 which you may download here and useable only with a third-party client such as Nicholaz) and added a step for East Angle. I am supporting vers. 76116 in this tutorial because the current version, 18.6.76886, has local lighting with effects on avatars similar to the default viewer.

If you’d like to just download the preset, you may download it here. Unzip these to C:/Program Files/Secondlifewindlight/app_settings/windlight/skies, and rename it from AvatarOpt to whatever you like before starting up SL. When you look in your presets it should be there. Adjust the Ambient Intensity and East Angle value in the Lighting tab as needed. Enjoy!

Posted in Art and Photography, Guides | Tagged: | 37 Comments »

Salon Secrets: A Practical Guide to Modifying Prim Hair

Posted by Caliah Lyon on October 16, 2007

We’ve all been faced with the challenge of getting hair to fit just right on our avatars: perhaps the entire wig is a couple of sizes too big for your head, or a stray tendril’s sticking out just a little too much, or you’d like to add a few personal touches to the wig to suit your individual taste. Whatever the reason, it’s useful for hair enthusiasts to have the skills necessary to tweak prim hair, and you shouldn’t ever have to touch your head size sliders in order to fit the hair you bought!

Find a place where you can rez hundreds of prims without trouble, such as a sandbox. You may need to make several copies of the hair, especially if you’re a perfectionist, and backups are always helpful if you make mistakes. Find an uncluttered spot in which you can work in peace.

If you already know your building basics, read on. Otherwise, take a primer here.

Shrinking the Entire Hairstyle

Shrinking the Wig

1) Rez the hair. Shift+Drag and make a copy of it. This is in case the SL editor is being uncooperative and refuses to let you undo. If you have a mouse with variable sensitivity/dpi, set it at the most sensitive/lowest setting, select one of the corner resize handles, then shrink the copy, keeping an eye on the numbers in the Object tab of the editor. Usually, a reduction of 1-2 in size is sufficient to shrink the biggest wigs to fit your head. To see if the hair is small enough already, right-click on the wig, select More then click on Take a Copy. Wear the copy (it’ll save to your Objects directory). If it’s not yet small enough, junk that copy and keep on shrinking the wig gradually. Once you have the size you’re satisfied with, take a copy (getting a copy is better than using Take, as sometimes you’ll have difficulties with SL and using Take can result in your losing the object).

2) Sometimes, a wig has hairs that have one or more dimensions at 0.01 (the minimum), which means you can’t shrink it further until you root around for the rogue hair(s) and make them bigger. This is difficult on anything that is modifiable and absolutely needs to be fitted, as it can take you up to an hour just to find the parts at fault. I’ll take this opportunity to make a plea to hair designers never to incorporate hairs at 0.01 thinness – prim hair absolutely needs to be shrinkable. Skip this step if your wig can be shrunk.

If your prim hair does have a few strands this thin, and you can’t seem to find the culprits at first glance, you can attempt digging for them.

2a) Shift-drag another copy of your hair a good distance away from the original wig, and press ctrl+shift+l to unlink all the strands of the copy. This is your test copy.

Hunting Hair
Testing hair section by section to isolate small strands.

2b) Drag your cursor over a bunch of hair strands to select them (small sections are best), then drag them a short distance away from the rest of the hairs. Keep them selected, then try to shrink that bunch. If you can’t, then one of the hairs you need to resize is in there.

2c) Pick apart that section by individually selecting strands and checking if any of them are at 0.010-0.012 in any of their dimensions. When you’ve found one, take note of where that hair is in the original wig, find it, and add about 0.030 (click the up arrow a few times) to the dimension that’s at minimum.

Resizing Rogue Hair

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