Soigné: Style in Second Life

A Guide to Second Life Fashion and Lifestyle

Posts Tagged ‘windlight’

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 »

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 »