How to: Take High Quality Second Life Snapshots for Your Blog

6 Jan

Ever since I stumbled onto Krissy Muggleston’s blog a few months ago, we’ve been trading ideas and inspirations back and forth. She recently asked me to provide some input on how I place high quality images on my blog. I wrote up a notecard which has been requested by a few others.

I’m sharing an expanded version here just in case it helps some other fabulous people. You may know much or all of this already, so if you want to add more knowledge to the pile, leave a comment and share your own love! P.S. Don’t judge against the quality of the images in this post; I used an external program to capture them.

Getting Started

Let’s assume you have the following:

  • Second Life (preferably with Windlight settings on and graphics settings as high as your computer can handle them without fainting)
  • A happy trigger finger 😉
  • Adobe Photoshop (though any image editing software will work, even Picnik)
  • A pro account with flickr.com. I am sure this will work with a free account, but the number of images and their sizes are limited. Trust me, the $25USD/yr for a pro account is very much worth it if you love taking photos in Second Life!
  • A blog that allows you to modify the html of a post and not just use simple WYSIWYG editing.
  • A bunch of hard drive space to store large snapshots!

Step One: SL Settings

Go into your SL viewer’s graphic settings and click “Hardware Options”. If your  graphics card can handle it, turn on Anti-aliasing. I didn’t think my graphics card could handle it, but for this tutorial I gave it another try and BINGO, 4x anti-aliasing! Byebye ragged edges!

Graphics and Hardware settings (Click to view larger)

Snap your photo!

Here are the settings I use in my snapshot window:

  • Click More
  • Size: Custom, Format: JPEG
  • Dimensions: I always use a very large width/height that is much larger than my actual computer monitor (1920×1200). At the time of this post my resolution was 4000×2945.
  • Check Constrain Proportions.
  • Capture: Colors
  • Image Quality: recommended above 70.
  • Check Freeze Frame & Auto-Refresh

Snapshot Settings (click to view larger)

Step 2: Photoshop

In Photoshop I liquify bumpy joints, apply effects, and so forth. Many of you are 10x better with PS than I am, so I’ll leave those tutorials to you!

Then I resize the images down to ~1000 wide before doing a final save to my hard drive.

Step 3: Flickr & your blog

Upload your images to flickr (I highly recommend using the Flickr Uploadr tool).

Go to “All Sizes” for the photo you want to use. Select the Medium or Large version (or whichever one fits your blog template width best). If your image is too large, pick the next size down. Remember, you lose image quality when you take an image of a smaller size and force it to be larger. This stretches the pixels.

Tip: With WordPress, you can click the image in your post Visual editor and reduce it by a percentage until it fits the width of your template.

Scroll down to where you see “1. Copy and paste this HTML into your webpage:”. Copy that block of html into your blog post. Using this block of html preserves the image information: title, author, size, and flickr url so someone can click your image and see it on your flickr photostream.

Publish it!

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10 Responses to “How to: Take High Quality Second Life Snapshots for Your Blog”

  1. Lizzie Lexington January 6, 2010 at 1:06 pm #

    YAY thanks for this Thema. I have also seen some blogs do a “click here for larger image” option. Have you ever done that?

  2. Lizzie Lexington January 6, 2010 at 1:07 pm #

    haha oh DOH you do that. How do you do that?

    • Thema Felix January 6, 2010 at 1:26 pm #

      What I did this time was shrink the image to fit my template (I made it about 70-80% of the original size) and then *link* the shrunken (and thus lower quality) image to the original image’s url. So when someone clicks on it, they view the image on a new page at full size. without all the shrinkage (Seinfeld reference, anyone?).
      For the text, I just used the Caption function in the WordPress image tool.

      Not sure if that was clear, but I’ll try again if not 🙂

      • Lizzie Lexington January 6, 2010 at 1:29 pm #

        Ah you did that in the edit field in wordpress I think. I’ll play around with it and if I have any questions I’ll let you know. I think I know what you are talking about though, YAY thank you!

  3. Chic Aeon January 6, 2010 at 1:46 pm #

    I know few folks are in the Blogger camp *wink* but Blogger automatically let’s you upload large format files to their server. They become jpgs just like at Flickr Then you have a choice of four sizes of “thumbnails” in your blog. This all happens without much effort from the user. You CAN edit the HTML if you need to. Hence all of my posts have clickable photos that lead to large high rez images. I do very little work after the photos are done.

    So THAT is why I chose Blogger long ago. I never was able to deal with WordPress well when at iheartsl on the group blog thing. There I ended up pasting in my blogger post – LOL. I do understand that WordPress does LOTS more and may be the best choice for others; I just like the way Blogger handles the pictures. And since I am ALL about the pictures ….

  4. Maya Q. January 6, 2010 at 11:20 pm #

    As a photographer i am in SL aswell, i did find it a good post! I knew about the anti alising even tho i had 2x , i wasnt pretty sure if my card handled and due to this post i just put it on 4x and seems pretty good so far 😀 thanks for the heads up!
    but.. btw.. i dont have that slide bar saying “image quality” O.o wich is kinda weird…

  5. Krissy Muggleston January 7, 2010 at 9:33 am #

    I think this is a matter of personal preference, but I wanted head-to-toe body shots to be larger then Blogger’s default choice for ‘large’. I prefer to see the pictures large as I scroll the blog, and without clicking through. This is where Thema stepped in and gave me a hand. I think for the really good SL photographers (which everyone on this thread is, and I’m aspiring to be) it’s the difference between good and great. Awesome post and screenshots Thema!

  6. Sakeena March 10, 2010 at 10:34 am #

    I heard NDivia is one of the greatest graphic cards for Sl pics. I have a custom build one from Intel right now but the graphics r so poor. I want and Ndivia but idk what would be the best version or model to buy.

    • Thema Felix March 26, 2010 at 10:44 pm #

      That’s one of my weaknesses in knowledge right now: graphic cards. I couldn’t even tell you which one I have off the top of my head, much less which ones are best for SL. I’m glad *someone* out there knows. I just have to learn!

  7. Alanna January 2, 2015 at 9:44 am #

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