SL photography

On Saturday, March 24, 2014, SL photographer Maloe Vansant opened her exhibition titled “Creating Illusions” at the LX Gallery. Sadly, I couldn’t be in two places at once – I was already at the press premiere of Paradise Lost in Second Life (perhaps the most ambitious and significant artistic production in Second Life for this year) and at the reception that followed, so I regrettably missed the opening of the Maloe’s exhibition.

Maloe Vansant's "Creating Illusions" exhibition at LX Gallery.

Maloe Vansant’s “Creating Illusions” exhibition at LX Gallery.

I’ve been following Maloe’s uploads on Flickr for quite some time now and I must say she never fails to impress with her artistry, her skills and her approach to her subjects. Her SL photographs, dream-like, evocative and even eerie in equal measures, conjure images of eroticism, deep emotions and even dark thoughts – desires, fears, anxieties, always with impeccable aesthetics and great sensitivity, through a masterful interplay of light and shadow, selective focusing, tight framing and, where appropriate, judicious application of film grain effect. The exhibition features relatively few photographs, but they do provide a useful glimpse into Maloe’s portfolio and artistic and emotional world.

You can also read an e-booklet with some information on Maloe and what inspires her on Calaméo and, of course, you can purchase her art. I could find no mention, however, as to how long the exhibition will run. I recommend that you visit this beautiful exhibition and also keep an eye on Maloe’s work, past, present and future.




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UPDATE: I’ve added links to Strawberry Singh’s tutorials and windlights for this effect. Many thanks to Uccello Poultry for pointing me to Berry’s work.

On the internet, it is relatively easy to find a multitude of stunning photographs taken within Second Life and its OpenSim clones, regardless of whether these photographs have been post-processed or not. The advent of Windlight made it possible for SL (and OpenSim) to offer spectacular atmospheric effects, which have made certain kinds of post-processing less necessary. However, there is a certain effect that both Second Life and OpenSim lack: mirrors. No mirror in Second Life is functional at all – they’re just silver-coloured textures, sometimes with a decorative frame around them… And they don’t do what you’d expect from a mirror.

Are there any chances for working mirrors in SL? Not really. The subject has been brought up several times during Oz Linden’s Open Dev User Group meetings, and the answer is always the same: too many calculations, and it would be likely to destroy performance. So, don’t hold your breath.

However, there is something you can do to achieve this effect without resorting to complex methods involving custom-made poses, camera-locking scripts and post-processing like Laverne Unit did. Yes, her results are nothing short of stunning, but going to such lengths for a photoshoot is something many people will shy away from, and I can fully understand why. The method described here is much simpler, although you’ll need a bit of preparation.

It’s a method that was first discovered by Oracolo Janus and documented (as his blog is now no longer available due to the closure of My Opera) by Zonja Capalini. This effect has also seen frequent use by Whiskey Monday, who’s produced some truly exquisite images with it.

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