Saturday, 29 August 2015

RELEASE ANNOUNCEMENT: PARAMOUR MULTILIGHT 1.0

I'm happy to announce the release of a new product today: the Paramour Multilight 3-in-1 scripted lighting system designed for photo studio or other special snapshot lighting applications. Think of it as a fancy point-light prim, saving you the trouble of rezzing and configuring one yourself.



This is a single multi-piece mesh object with included script that activates on touch to present you with a variety of handy menu options, changing the object's appearance and its lighting properties to give you quick, flexible control over your lighting for portraits, product shots, or even for larger in-scene subjects. Intended to be used in conjunction with TVP windlight and camera controls, this will help to simplify your workflow when making your snapshots.

This product requires OSSL to be enabled in the region. When not in use it has very close to zero impact on a region and only slightly more than this during use (a listener is opened for a short while and then automatically closed after use).

The Menu

  • "DONE" closes the dialog. Just touch the light again to bring the dialog back up.
  • "HIDE/SHOW" lets you turn the entire object invisible and visible again, allowing you to quickly hide it so it doesn't appear in your snapshot but still provides its lighting effect. Don't worry if you hide it and then forget exactly where it is. After a little while it will un-hide itself automatically (by default, 5 minutes after you last used the dialog menu but you can change this in the script to any delay you like).
  • "TURN OFF/ON" lets you quickly disable and re-enable the lighting effect so you can easily see the effect of your light
  • "SPOTLIGHT" changes the appearance of the Multilight to look like a spotlight flashhead and loads preset point-light settings that mimic the hard, heavy-shadow lighting typically supplied by this type of studio light
  • "UMBRELLA" changes the appearance of the Multilight to look like a spotlight flashhead directed to reflect into an umbrella, loading the corresponding preset point-light settings to provide a mixture of direct and ambient light, softening the shadows while still maintaining a directional appearance
  • "SOFTBOX" changes the appearance of the Multilight to look like a studio softbox and loads preset point-light settings to deliver a very soft light with strong ambient fill and only a gentle directional component. It's not quite like a "real" studio softbox light but it's as close as the point-light capabilities of Opensim can deliver
  • "COLOUR" lets you choose one of nine preset colour gels to apply to the light. You can tweak these colours in the script if you don't like my preset defaults.
  • "INTENSITY" lets you change the overall coarse strength of the light via a sub-menu
  • "RADIUS" lets you change the radius of the light, providing direct control of how it impacts on other objects in your environment and also allowing more fine-tuning of the overall lighting strength.
  • "FOV" lets you change the field of view for the light. The three different light types (softbox, umbrella and spotlight) automatically set a roughly appropriate FOV for the light but your can further fine-tune this (or even completely override it to give a spotlight the FOV of a softbox if you want).
  • "FOCUS" is another parameter for fine tuning your light's appearance; although this will have only slight impact due to the point-light texture supplied with the system. You can change this to a different texture if you want more defined edges to your lights or are after a similar effect to using gobos
  • "AMBIENT" allows you to fine tune the amount of ambient light delivered by the point-light source, giving a reasonable amount of control over the harshness of shadows. You can even make your spotlight behave like a softbox -- or visa versa -- if you want.

Customization

The Paramour Multilight doesn't do anything you can't do with a simple prim cube. It just provides a cosmetic appearance and handy dialog-based set of controls to the point-light settings.

When you select one of the three light types -- spotlight, umbrella or softbox -- the object's appearance changes to match the selection and a set of point-light parameter are loaded to make the lighting approximate the effect of this type of light in a real-world studio. Almost all of those settings can be overridden  via the dialog, and everything can be changed just by directly editing the root prim. The system is all just a matter of convenience, saving you the trouble of setting up a generic prim with those values (and looks fancier :p)

Everything is configurable via an easy set of user settings in the full-perm script that requires almost no knowledge of scripting (though it helps if you're familiar with point light settings for prims).

The entire object is full perm, too, so you can change other aspects of its appearance if you want.

The Paramour Multilight (object and script) is released under Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International license

Does It Do Everything?

No.

This only supplies point-lighting as an addition to your scene. You will still need to use your viewer's controls to select an appropriate windlight setting as well as any other camera controls that might suit your subject matter (depth of field, field of view, focal length, etc). The controls available to you depend on which viewer you use. Consult your viewer's instructions.

If you use higher graphics settings you can use an unlimited number of these to paint your scene with light, even to the point of using a windlight setting that completely eliminates all region lighting (in Firestorm try "Phototools No Light"). I generally use a blend of a suitable base windlight, selectively enhanced by 1-3 few Multilights (much as I did throughout 30+ years of professional studio photographic work). Limitations in Opensim and the viewer rendering capabilities prevent you from achieving perfectly "real" results, but in most cases you can get pretty close.

Where To Get It

You will find this item, boxed, in the Paramour Shopping center building on Refugegrid (currently it's on the 2nd floor on the south side of the building). HGTP to refugegrid.com:8002 then take the local portal to "Paramour Shopping". The unit is not available at my Hedonism club.

There's a unit on display there for you to play with too.


Cost: as with all Paramour products, the Multilight is completely free. Enjoy!