It’s written in the Wind(light) – The Windlight Settings meme

In this week’s Monday Meme, Berry is asking about Windlight settings.

Do you use windlight while taking pictures? If not, why not?
Always, because Default Midday is why facelights were invented in the first place!

When taking a closeup snapshot for a profile picture, which windlight preset do you use most often?
I began, like many others, with Caliah’s preset. Then, when I switched to the Phoenix viewer I also switched to the AnaLu Studio 5 preset that shipped with the viewer. Later, moving to Firestorm, I changed that to Nam’s Optimal Skin & Prim. These days I use (again, shipped with Firestorm) Annan Adored Optimal Skin (no shadows).

Which windlight presets do you use for full body portraits?
That depends on the mood I want to convey in the picture. If it’s just a standard ‘this is what this clothing looks like’ picture, I’ll use the same as for close-ups (Annan Adored Optimal Skin). But I tend to go for atmosphere a lot more often than realism these days, so I’ll go through tons  of setting to find the right one.

For instance, I wanted a strongly-shadowed monochromatic look to highlight a feathered neckpiece I’d bought (since everyone and their mother’s budgie had already blogged it, and I wanted to put a new twist on it). I used one of the Phototools ‘build’ presets (I think it was Build 007) that gives very strong light/dark contrast and deep shadows, then desaturated the image in Photoshop, pulled up the contrast a bit, and ended up with this:

Full size here.

Conversely, for the background image of the blog I used another Phototools preset Fashion Path Light 01, which gives a really great blue tone. The preset that I use also depends on whether I want shadows or not, as some presets look vastly different with Advanced Lighting enabled than they do without it.

Lastly, it’s even been known for me to change a look completely because, while clicking through presets, I’ve found one that’s made me think, “OMG, what this look really  needs is X and Y and this preset, and… YES!” XD

If you do landscape photography, which windlights do you use for that most often?
As with portraits, this depends on whether I want shadows or not. I’m fond of the Nacon’s Natural presets for specific times of day, as well as Phototools and sometimes Chic Aeon’s Places presets. If I want flares, I’ll go into Torley’s ‘Big Sun’ presets. I never stick to the same preset from one picture to the other, so I can’t say that I have any favourites!

That said, I tend to wander around with one of Nacon’s presets on. Usually one of the Day Mood ones, or Morning (a gorgeous salmon pink haze).

Do you have any tricks or tips that you could share for using Windlight effectively?
Get to know and love the Phototools widget in the Firestorm viewer. If you don’t use Firestorm, then Phototools is an amazing, multi-panel option for everything  you’d want to use in photography within Second Life. Currently, it only works for two specific skins within the Firestorm viewer (which now ships with it pre-installed, along with a ton of gorgeous Windlight presets).

At the moment, I don’t think there’s any way of obtaining just the presets alone, other than by installing Firestorm, or asking a Firestorm user to send you the XML files so you can install them into your viewer of choice. However, the Phototools website itself is invaluable  in other ways, as it has extensive tutorials on how to create your own presets.

As an aside, I’m shocked that the Linden viewer ships with so few presets. I just loaded my current LL viewer (used mainly to verify any issues I’m having with Firestorm, before I open a support ticket) and logged in briefly with an alt, just to screenshot the installed files. These are they:

I’m pretty certain that I installed the Caliah preset, just so I had a decent one for walking around in, other than default midday. Likewise, the My Sky Preset was me trying to see how the LL viewer handled creating new presets.

Last little tip (which works best for static images, rather than machinima) is that Nacon has also created different cloud types. These now ship with Firestorm, but you can install them in any other viewer. Info here.

Have you created any windlights that you would be willing to share with us?
I haven’t actually. Firestorm ships with so many pre-installed, I haven’t really needed to make any. I know that, back in our Phoenix days, Daros made some great ones, but whether either of us still has them as shareable XML files I’m not sure.

2 thoughts on “It’s written in the Wind(light) – The Windlight Settings meme

    • Phototools is great, but can appear overwhelming at first. It basically pulls all of the individual settings into a single, tabbed widget.

      I’m pilfering these screenshots from someone else’s blog (hence I’m only linking and not hotlinking) but these are the six tabs:

      Phototools menu 1

      Phototools menu 2

      As to the presets, I’ll see what I can do ;-)

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