Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Photospot: Soho Studio Cafe

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.

Did you know there are entire sections of New York City faithfully (in spirit at least) reproduced in several areas of Second life - including mainland? True, true. My avatar got to feeling a bit like a starving artist, putting all his monies into his wardrobe and art supplies; not a lot left for living quarters. I imagined him in some spartan Soho loft, with a bed in one corner, a small refrigerator nearby, a table surrounded by canvasses, an old cassette tape player for some ambiance while working. And of course, a gated freight elevator for access.

Alas, I didn't find the loft apartment of my vision. However, I did find today's Photospot: a Soho studio cafe of sorts, where down-and-out artists of the neighborhood can meet up to talk shop over a cup of the strange brew that the Tooter Claxon coffee machine on the premises offers. And I found it at the edge of New York City -- which is on the Heterocera Atoll, right where one would expect it, naturally. *grin*

SLU Photospot: NYC Studio Cafe

"Spartan" accurately describes this space, but there are some hidden features. The straight-back chairs come equipped with several poses for both males and females. Also, Build is enabled (with a generous 10 minute autoreturn), so you can rez out your own poseballs here or even add your own furniture and other props for the time of your shoot.

SLU Photospot: cafe tables

Windlight works beautifully here, helping you change the time of day or to accentuate the New York weather. Fun with shadows can also be had; the flooring looks especially nice with a stream of sunlight dancing across its surface.

On the street side of this space, a couple busses and taxis can be seen. To the opposite, a railroad track passes close to the building. During the time I was there, two city transit trains and a locomotive passed by. If you hope to catch one in your shot, watch your mini-map for green dots moving along the tracks (or engage a friend to become an engineer for the time you're there). I had good luck shooting outward from within the studio cafe, although not very good results trying to shoot into it from outside. The windows are dirty in both directions, but on the exterior, they're nearly opaque.

SLU Photospot: waiting

I didn't rez any painting supplies, but I did take advantage of the enabled Build to rez a "keep your eyes on this" prim, shrunk it down to about 0.05, and made the texture transparent. I also turned off particles (under Advanced > Rendering Types). I thought maybe 10 minutes wouldn't be long enough for me, so I was keeping the prim selected and I didn't want my selection effects to show up in the shots. Why do I call it a "keep your eyes on this" prim? Because as long as I have it selected (or unselected, if it's Alt + Clicked), the avatar's eyes will look at it. When the focus prim is moved, the eyes move to follow it. Keeping a prim selected (or Alt + Clicked) while still lining up your shots can involve some tricky camera maneuvering, but if you've got the patience, it's worth it to avoid those times when the eyes insist on aiming toward the forehead or ears.

Gotta love a virtual world.

StarlightEyes - LuminousSage

Style notes: Tweed suit by Gabriel, skin by Faces Studio, hair by A&A, eyes by Sterling Artistry.

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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