Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Turn the Snapshot on Its Ear

I like taking pictures in SL with as little editing as possible. That's because I want my pictures to serve the role of postcards: "this is what you would see if you were here". No Photoshop manipulations for me, at most some gamma, brightness, and contrast level changes when they are badly needed. I usually avoid even cropping of the pictures, after all most postcards have a standard format.

One compromise I have been eager to make is with the orientation of the pictures. Most of the pictures that we see from SL are in horizontal (or landscape) formats, like the vast majority of monitor displays. But some shots just beg for a vertical (or portrait) format. Postcards have them too, and RL cameras can be used in any position.

Of course, it is possible to crop a vertical picture from a horizontal one. But that reduces the resolution of the picture. It's also just easier to view the subject in a format as close as possible to the intended one when taking the shot.

I had an idea for a while about how to get vertical format shots but I had been to lazy to do it. However, when visiting the La Reve sim (created by Lash Xevious) and after taking already a lot of pictures, I finally decided to give it a shot (pun intended). Some pictures just had to be done in vertical format.

I am really happy with the results. Some subjects lend themselves best to a vertical picture, like these ones.

La Reve

La Reve

Then, some other pictures gain much more depth when taken in this format, like these ones.

La Reve

La Reve

Click on the pictures and go see them in larger sizes to sense the full effect. And go to my flickr page to see more pics.

How did I do it? It's nothing sophisticated. Using the Catalyst Control Center for my ATI video card (soon to be replaced), I rotated the display on my monitor by 90 degrees. I even flipped my monitor, fortunately an LCD one. The SL viewer as a maximized window then comes up in the vertical format.

It's actually kind of interesting to view SL that way for a while, but I have the feeling that I would not like it that way permanently. Somehow we are used to navigate more horizontally and also, for instance, groups of people usually spread more horizontally.