Saturday, December 3, 2011

Photospot: Neko Catwalk

Photospot on SL Unearthed is a semi-regular feature that highlights a Second Life spot that is a cool place at which to take portrait photos inworld. Not an entire sim, not even a complete parcel, but just a single specific location - a spot - with portrait opportunity.

You don't actually have to be a neko to enjoy today's Photospot location. This rickety, wooden structure on the edge of "Mystery Man City" by Persephone Despres is a great spot for a neko, but it would also work well for many other types, from urban vagrant to superhero. You'll be landing, appropriately enough, near a photo lab! But don't get too excited -- they appear to be closed. Head up the catwalk instead. To reach our target spot, you'll need to climb a rope, take a couple steps and climb another rope, then walk up to the next level and climb a third rope. (You can climb yet another rope if you want to go all the way to the top.)
Photospot: Neko Catwalk
To the west is all ocean, which can help make a cool picture in itself, but we're turning our camera to the east so there will be a full urban vista behind our model. From here, we get a good view of Mystery Man City. Set up your favorite poses and start snapping. Jump around, cavort. Get a "feel" for the location and the field of view limitations (such as if you don't want open water in the urban setting).
Just Being Me
I didn't want the climbing ropes in my pictures, so I made them invisible - at least to me. On newer viewers there's a trick called Derender, but some of us are still running older ones. I enabled Advanced > Rendering > Hide Selected, then right-clicked a rope and chose Edit. Holding the Shift key, I selected the other rope so that both were selected. As soon as I selected them, they became invisible. I only needed to keep them in Edit mode. To make that activity invisible, too, I used View > Hide Particles so my selection "effects" would go away. I would have also hidden the pose balls (for the climbing), but they seem to be on a temp rezzer and each time they refreshed, they become a new object which is no longer selected. Rather than trying to re-select them each time they refreshed, I decided it was easier to deal with them in post. (Judicious cropping can often eliminate small unwanted items.)
Whenever you select something, your avatar will often automatically react by turning toward that item or pointing to it. That's not an issue if you're working with a model, but if you're your own model, be sure to select whatever items you want to hide first, then position your avatar and frame the shot.
Include both railings in your pics for a sense of the immediate locale, or catch just one. Take shots from afar, take shots up close.

Enticing Fascination
If you feel uninspired, remember that you can always mix it up a bit. Take a few shots, change the clothing, take a few more. Remember that poses can often look very different from a new angle; turn the avatar around and work those camera controls. Change the lighting, take a few shots, change the lighting again. Within one shot or eighty, you'll find the image that's a keeper, the one that says oh yes, that! That's how it feels up there on the neko catwalk in the heart of Mystery Man City!

Flickr members: you're invited to join the SL Unearthed Photospot group and add your pictures taken at Photospot locations to the group pool.
Take note that very little in SL stays the same for very long. After even a short while, Photospot locations may be gone or changed in a significant way that renders their SLurls ineffective as originally intended, so be sure to grab these opportunities as they come!

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