Screenshot deluxe: William Weavers Second Life


Screenshot deluxe  ist eine wöchentliche Serie zum Thema In-Game-Fotografie - man könnte das vielleicht auch Videogame-Tourismus nennen.  Diese Woche, frisch aus dem brandneuen Flickr-Pool: William Weaver.

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William Weaver (hier auf Flickr) schießt Fotos, aber auch Filme in Second Life. Die Sandbox-Welt, die nach großem Hype wieder fast in Vergessenheit geraten ist, bietet perfekte Bedingungen für In-Game-Fotografie, und auch Fragen nach dem Copyright dürften angesichts des hauptsächlich von Usern selbst generierten Contents zweitrangig sein. Der Screenshot deluxe dieser Woche ist übrigens eine virtuelle Rekonstruktion dieses Bildes - und besser als das Original. Aber auch Weavers ganz selbstständigen Bilder sind meisterhaft und überraschend. Der US-Amerikaner mit Ausbildung in der Filmproduktion betrachtet die Fotografie allerdings nur als Nebenprodukt seiner wahren Passion, der (Musik-)Videoproduktion in SL - hier auf Youtube zu bewundern. Details nach dem Klick.

William beschreibt seine Faszination für SL ausführlicher:

I think for me I see SL as simply real-time Maya for people (like myself) who find building scenes in Maya a challenge. I play other games with terrific graphics (Metro 2033 and the Crysis series for example) and I simply find that in SL I can create and shoot with greater freedom. SL is a 3D real time simulator that was designed from the beginning to facilitate easy content creation for the general user (3D modeling) and it allows that same user an incredible amount of freedom in the adjustment of how the engine renders the scene. I do not think other games allow for this.

I modded the Second Life viewer (in case you are not familiar this the client side part of the SL program) and I took all of the render settings that were hidden in the debug menu and I created a viewer menu system (I named Phototools), modeled by the UI design found in programs like Photoshop. This allows users to adjust the render setting dynamically and in real time with intuitive interaction.

In SL, I can control with great precision the shadows, the ambient occlusion, glow, depth of field, reflection quality, LOD quality. bump and more. For me, this is what separates SL from any other real-time 3D game. I can treat the scene in very much the same way I would in real-life. I can adjust the lens and select from a very wide angle lens to a very long telephoto one. I can adjust the exposure quality and push the white and crush the blacks. I can fine tune the shadows so they are very crisp or very soft. I can  have subtle to dramatic ambient occlusion. And this is just some of the render settings.

I can LIGHT in SL using very accurate light. I can simulate real world light! I can light a scene just the way I want. Photography is to a great extent, the painting of light. In SL I  have incredible control over light and can really paint a scene with it. And I can do this utilizing real world light principles and techniques. I have projection lights, point lights, sun light, and ambient light. There is a an incredibly accurate sky simulator in SL. Simply, light control in SL is awesome.

In SL, I can build my world, scene or set. If I cannot make something I can buy if for pennies and create an entire city if I want, or a house, or whatever I want. And I do. I build my spaces a lot. And often I uses spaces (sim) made my others. With the recent inclusion of mesh in SL, there are some VERY good builds. And they are complete places and I can explore and shoot. With the recent addition of mesh objects in SL, the quality of the environments has improved dramatically.