Cleaning up your SL Snapshots in Photoshop.
Cleaning up your SL Snapshots in Photoshop
Lately there has been a lot of talk going around about the quality of images on the various SL blogs. I wondered if people were just being lazy, or if they just legitimately didn’t know how to fix their pictures to make them look good, so I decided to write up a basic notecard tutorial for my friends in-world. After receiving such a positive response, I’ve decided to blog it to share it with the general public. I am not an expert, and I know that I have a lot to learn, but these are just basic tips and tricks to help you clean up your images and maybe make all those haters stop hating, eh?
From the notecard:
Hi everyone, I’ve been meaning to do something like this for a while now and just haven’t gotten around to it. Consider this a Christmas present, maybe?
Now, I am by no means a tutorial writer, but I will at least write down some of the tips and tricks that I use to help you have better snapshots and photos from Second Life. Obviously I can’t give away all my secrets, because hey, a girls gotta make a living, right? 🙂
First off, you must have at least a basic working knowledge of Photoshop, or whatever I say won’t make any sense. And for reference, I use Photoshop CS3, so if you use a different version, the steps might be a little different, but the effect will be the same.
– Okay, the first thing you need to do, and you probably already know this, is make sure you take your snapshots at the biggest size possible. I have a crappy computer, so I only take mine at W 3000 x H 1785, but I know a lot of people do theirs at W 6000 x H 3571! Then, when you open the shots in Photoshop, you can resize. This shrinks the pixels and makes them less jagged. You will still have a few edges, but keep reading and you’ll learn how to get rid of those.
-A little tip about resizing: If you drag your image on a new document it will become it’s own layer, then you can use the Free Transform tool ( Edit Menu >> Free Transform) to resize it to your desired size. When you have this tool open, sometimes, if your picture is bigger than your screen, it can be hard to find the handles to move it and resize it. Pressing Ctrl and 0 at the same time will resize your workspace so you can see all the handles. And then to go back to regular size, just click on the little hand button on the toolbar and go back to Actual Pixels.
Now that you’ve got the image at the size you want, it’s time to get rid of those pointy edges and glitches that SL has, such as pointy noses and elbows. For this you will use the Liquify Filter. (Filter Menu>> Liquify) Now, I’m soo not an expert at the Liquify tool, but for basic purposes, you only need to use a small part of it. Make your view bigger, like 200 or 300%, so you can see all the pointy edges. Then, using the Forward Warp tool (which is the default liquify tool), and a brush size of, well, that depends on how big the problem is, but I always use small brushes, careful push the edges to where you want them to go. This can be quite tricky, and will take some practice, but if you screw up, just hit cancel and start again, or hit reconstruct, or the little reconstruct tool under the default tool can help undo whichever area you choose. This process is time consuming and meticulous, but it really makes all the difference.
Now, to get rid of the rest of those pesky annoying pixelly edges. This is probably the most boring, time consuming process you will do, but it’s necessary. Choose the Smudge tool from your toolbar (right click on the little water drop and you will see the smudge tool at the bottom of the list) and using a soft edge brush, at a small size (I use 20 pixels) with VERY little strength (really, no more than 5), basically you want to “draw” over the pixelly edges. You will have to do this a few times, which is where the time consuming part comes in, and you can cheat a little by “rubbing” over the edges instead of drawing over them, but you might find the results a little messy. Do this over all those pixelized edges and you’ll be able to see them smoothing out right in front of you. And remember to look closely a couple times, because after you stare at your photo a while, things tend to disappear. Take your time.
The rest of my photo process is just little tips and tricks that I’ve found or been taught, but they are what make my photos stand out, so I can’t exactly reveal my secrets. Plus, I’ve been sworn to secrecy by my fabulous teacher, Gabrielle Sinatra, and she can beat me up.
Basically, just play with angles, play with filters and tools and see what you can come up with. All you need is a good clean snapshop to start with, and I’ve just shown you how to do that, so the rest is up to you! Good luck, and I can’t wait to see your results!
I hope this helps some of you, and if you have any questions, or problems, don’t hesitate to IM me in world. 🙂