Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Our 3.4 Video Library!!


*** Walks into the LUMIPro Sales Studio quietly pulling down a white projector screen. Then walks over to an old fashioned film projector and slowly threads a film through before looking up. ***

Oh hello again everyone! What is all this, you ask? Well we here at LUMIPro recognize that buying a LUMIPro can be a big step. For most of our users it was a very thought out, and well considered, purchase. We know that when you are considering making such an investment in your photography that you might have lots of questions. To help answer some of these questions Stefan has been working hard to give you some great video tutorials.

The first video is great for those people who really want a detailed look at the differences between LUMIPro and a photo studio. Oh you already own a photo studio? Well this video will also show you how they can work together for a better quality photo!


The second video we have for you is a great overview of hud functions and capabilities. To excited to sit down and read the manual? This video is for you! (Hint: This video also works great for seasoned LUMIPro users who need a refresher or want to know about new features.)



The last video is to help everyone who is switching from an older hud to a newer version. It makes reloading poses and presets so much easier!


We look forward to bringing you more helpful tutorials in the future! To be the first to know check out LUMIPro's YouTube Channel. If there are any tutorials you would like to see us film please don't hesitate to ask!

*** Gets up and slowly walks over to turn off the projector, slides the screen back into place, and makes her way to the door before turning with a smile. ***

Oh and until next time... Happy shooting!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Gobos Gobos and Well... Gobos!


***Flips off her projector and turns to smile at you***

Oh why hello there! It is great to see you all again. Oh how was i getting those cool shadows on the wall you ask? Well that comes from LUMIPro's very own gobos in each projector!

You would like some of the cool ones I am using? Well what if i told you could have them! They are available in LUMIPro's new projector update. While this is an optional update I know it is one you are all going to want. 

To get your update just go to the LUMIPro Sales Studio where you will see a kiosk that i'm modeling for you below.
Once you get here all you have to do is click the kiosk and follow the instructions to get the new udpate.

Now we all know that reloading your poses and presets into a brand new hud can feel like a daunting task. Well, it doesn't have to be check out this video on how to use the LUMIPro backup server.  You'll be up on your new hud in minutes with all your presets and poses from your last HUD.


See easy as pie!

We would like to take a moment to thank TexasRob McRae for letting us use some of his amazing gobos in this update! Be sure you check out some of his work.

We would also like to thank you all for your feedback and continued support. Our users our what make us truly amazing!

***Slowly walking towards the door she turns and smiles***

Well until next time... Happy Shooting!

LUMIPro Spotlight Time!


Written by Stefan Buscaylet

LUMIPro's public Flickr group was created back in May 2011 by Colleen and since then it now has over 400 followers and close to pushing 10,000 photos.  It is a beautiful thing seeing the range of talent and styles in the Flickr group.  (click here and follow it and post to it!).

For the most part I've let my business manager periodically pick photos from the Flickr group, and give them recognition as standing out.  I'd love to do it all the time but between high stress job demands and the fact i want to keep doing my own photography, I decided this time I wanted to pick the photos myself.   I'll add a few of my own comments to each photo and hopefully I'm not too far off.

Bucky Barkley's photo "Bucky_DerailedBar" is a great example of the ambient light matching the face light. Right color and position.  Even to a not trained eye, of the avatar's light seems like it is coming from a totally different direction and color it just "feels wrong".  This just "feels right".


Snoob Johnson's "Down To Earth" - What impresses me is how the scene lighting matches the avatar lighting, even the color matches. Love it!


Addison Summerwind's - "Jacen".  How the scene and model lighting match and make sense.  The facial light accent light on the chin and nose create the required separation or the face would be lost in the scene.


Gala Caproni's - self portrait has a great facial light as well as one that helps outline her body.  The avatar is super well put together. 


 Strawberry Singh - "Tis The Season For A Jacket".  Strawberry has been a force of nature on Second Life.  This is a great example of well lit commercial photography not having to always be in a studio. This is my dream that more commercial/blogger photographers will unleash themselves from their flat backdrops and show their product in the big beautiful Second Life world.


Zach Larsen's "Azra 2" - I've been a fan of Zack for a very long time.  His instincts in lighting and composition very much align with my own and thus his work resonates with me, A LOT.  The high key look of this through a strong accent off to her right that lights only part of her face leaving a sense of 3D and yet remaining soft.  Love it dude!


Oh and not like you have not already seen it, but I did enjoy this project I shot with Sammie This was shot with a single projector high. The red primary light was set to keep the face from being completely lost into the car. The blue light kePT her left leg and heel also from not getting lost in the photo.  It was my first green screen ever, lol.  (Yes, sometimes I do shoot in my workshop).


What's the old quote about "You may like sausage, but you don't want to know how its made."  Well tough, here is my poor little workshop covered in crap to get the photo above.  Since this was my very first croma-key attempt ever using Photoshop, it took a little longer reading how to do it, but it wasn't as bad as i thought.



It is time to take your photography to the next level!


Saturday, November 1, 2014

Whitburn Blackburn's Winning Interview With LUMIPro!



***Walks slowly into the room and switches on the lights and quietly walks over to the desk having a seat*** 

''Oh hello everyone! Boy, do I have a treat for all of you today! Do you remember the customer survey you all were awesome enough to fill out for us? Well as you might also remember we held a contest where we picked a random winner to do an interview with yours truly! Well that winner was the one and only Whitburn Blackburn, and I have the interview right here! 



***Waves everyone over excitedly to get their copy.***

Were you excited to win the contest and get an interview with LUMIPro? 

Whit: Of course! I almost never win anything so it was a complete surprise but a lovely one.


How did you hear about and get started in Second Life? 

Whit: It’s a long time ago now, nearly seven years, I read about it first in a technical magazine and a friend who had been on Second Life for a while introduced and guided me. This was really a great help as I didn’t have to go through all the ‘newbie’ pitfalls. Sadly he hasn’t been on Second Life for years now.


How did you get started in fashion blogging? 

Whit: I have always read other peoples’ blogs and thought many times about blogging myself. I had been away from Second Life for an extended period (I won’t go into the reasons here!), but couldn’t stay away so came back around Christmas last year. There seemed to be a lot of exciting new technology like Fitmesh and tattoo cosmetics layers and mesh was a lot more mature than when I left so I decided to start up my own blog to try and share my enthusiasm for the things I was finding and buying. I never expected it to be as successful as it has been.






What inspires you to blog?
Whit: Well, obviously fashion first and foremost. I am fortunate in that I can afford to spend a little on SL each month, most of which goes into buying clothing and shoes, but also allows me to get involved in the latest avatar enhancements and I am very into mesh avatar components right now, something I blog about regularly. I am fascinated too by the psychology of virtual worlds and my musings have inspired more than a few posts. I have also been humbled by the comments of friends and readers who follow and have made positive comments about my blog which really inspires me to continue.

What advice would you give to people who are interested in starting a blog?

Whit: Just do it! There is no time like the present. I waited far too long before I was confident enough to start a blog, and it is a lot easier than I would ever have expected. If you have the enthusiasm and a subject or subjects you want to blog about, go for it and you will soon find out if your blog is successful. I went from less than 100 ‘reads’ the first month, to 200 the second, then 400, then over 1000 and so on.


I see from your blog that you like things like mesh heads, don’t worry I am a mesh addict myself, What developments would you like to see in Second Life fashion?

Whit: I just love the mesh avatar enhancements, in fact I have to admit it - I am an addict too! I think the concern that with mesh heads we would all end up looking the same is overstated. There are now a number of mesh heads available and with the options to modify them, plus makeup and hair, people still can maintain individuality. However mesh bodies and clothing still need improvement. I maybe notice it more as I am putting on new clothing almost every day for blogging purposes, but the alpha systems on mesh bodies are not perfect, nor am I convinced they are the way to go. Fitmesh tends to be better and not need as much attention to alphas plus it clings better when your avatar moves. Sometimes however I have to give up and revert to the system body and the designer supplied alpha to get a useable photo or worse, have to spend ages on Photoshop trying to correct glitches in photos I can’t repeat easily. So I would like to see improvements in fashion and mesh technology. I have no concerns over fashion design, the Second Life designers are so varied and so good that SL fashion is in good hands!






How did you get started in Photography in Second Life?
Whit: I had only ever taken snapshots, and really had no clue about SL photography, I’d never even tried Windlight settings, until I started my blog. Then Pandora’s box was open!

What inspires you to take photos, or why do you take photos?

Whit: My inspiration comes from all the lovely photos I have seen on other blogs over the years. I realised the standard is very high which meant if I was going to blog I had to learn how to at least take adequate photos. The learning process has been an inspiration in itself and now taking photos has become somehow separate from the blog as I now take photos for their own sake, rather than simply to illustrate some item of fashion or the like. This has led me to include pure photography posts in my blog with photos of beautiful or interesting Second Life places.

What advice would you give to those interested in photography?

Whit: I don’t feel qualified really to advise people on photography, I am still just a learner. However from my own experiences I would suggest firstly learning how to use the camera and save your photos externally to Second Life so you can enhance them. There are good tutorials out there, make use of them. I save my photos to Flickr and use the built in photo editor to do simple stuff like cropping or adding my name to photos. For the more complex stuff I have a copy of Photoshop CS2 (available as a free download) and save the photos to my hard drive.However, the most important thing in my opinion is to get the photo right at the point of pressing the shutter, the less you have to do afterwards the better! Secondly, learn how to use Windlight, it is a wonderful tool. I have been using other peoples’ presets for a while but have recently started creating my own just for fun.






Do you have any people that inspire you?
Whit: Yes of course! There are many bloggers, too numerous to mention, blogging both Second Life and Real Life fashion who I find inspiring because of their knowledge and taste. Then there are the Second Life photographers I admire, people like Strawberry Singh and PeepSideshow Darkward, both LUMIPro users incidentally, and the others whose work I see in various Flickr groups.

Speaking of LUMIPro...



You haven’t had LUMIPro that long? what made you decide to take the plunge and buy?

Whit: Well, it’s simple really, one word in fact - lighting. I soon realised that while setting my sun position to midday gave me a reasonable result, it was boring and not perfect. I also use a photo studio but while that is great for certain types of shot, there are times you need something more flexible that you can use anywhere. Then when I started to play with Windlight I found there were many settings I could not use as they weren’t bright enough. That was when I started searching for a way to provide the lighting I needed. A bit of research showed LUMIPro to be the answer and as soon as I tried the demo I was sold. The fact that it provides much more than just that is of course a bonus


Do you feel LUMIPro has enhanced your Second Life photography?

Whit: Without a doubt. I’d go further than that and say it has revolutionised my Second Life photography and I couldn’t be without it! I now have three methods I use. The first is simply the use of the camera and windlight for landscape photography, the second is the use of a photo studio for objects like shoes where they can be placed as required to show off the features and have a plain background, and thirdly for everything else involving avatar photography, and that is most of my fashion shots, LUMIPro is essential.



I see that you have started doing photography for more than just commercial photography. Do you feel differently about your personal photography versus your blogging photography? Do you use LUMIPro different for each?
Whit: I don’t feel radically differently about both, in fact a lot of what start as personal photos subsequently end up in my blog. However when photographing clothing for my blog my concern is to get the best photo I can which also shows off the clothing item to best advantage. With personal photos I am more concerned with the final effect and (this sounds pretentious but it is not intended to be!) how artistic it is. It is a case of different emphasis only, though often the two are not mutually exclusive. As to the use of LUMIPro, I am experimenting all the time and perhaps I experiment more wildly with personal photos, but that is really the only possible difference.

Do you have a favorite LUMIPro feature? What is it and why?

Whit: Yes. The click to hide button! The way you can have the close up lights display for setting up, then make them disappear with a single click, though still showing the lighting effects, while you take the photo is just awesome. If I can have another favourite feature it would be the sliders on the latest version, so much easier and intuitive to use than the menus in the previous version.


What would you like to see in future releases of LUMIPro?

Whit: This is a difficult one as I am so happy with it as it is. Perhaps an additional couple of ball lights would allow more flexibility but might add too much complication?






Would you recommend LUMIPro to others?
Whit: Definitely! I absolutely love the product and the latest V3.4 release is just great.

So just because we all curious did you enjoy the prize money?

Whit: But of course! I spent it all on photography related items, including a Pose & Animation System to allow me to create my own poses and modify others, plus poses and props from various suppliers. Did I mention I’m also a pose addict………..?


It is okay I have all sorts of things I am addicted to as well! I had a wonderful time getting to know you! I look forward to getting to know you more.

Whit: Thank you very much Sammie for giving me this enjoyable opportunity to meet you and talk about what is in effect my new obsession with photography, my blog and of course the wonderful LUMIPro!


''Well there you have it! Whit was an amazing person to get to know, and it all started because of a survey. She has a wonderful blog that I know everyone will love! I know if she keeps going and of course keeps using LUMIPro we will see great things from her! Be sure you check her out."

Whit's Fashion Blog - 'SLikely
Find Whit On Flickr

***Slowly stands and quietly pushes the chair back under the desk and adjusts the camera case just right. Walking slowly to the door and turning back to smile.***


"Oh by the way... Happy Shooting!"

Sunday, October 12, 2014

A First Crack At Animated GIFS.

I'm a huge fan of Tumblr and if you've been there you've certainly seen a large percentage of photos as animated GIF files.  Animated GIF files tend to work on picture based websites better than videos plus gives the ability to loop which most browser based players do not. Here is the animated GIF I made as a first project, and I thought I'd share the experience.


This stretched my abilities more than I expected.  lol  Unlike still photos or videos, the animated GIFs have a lot of details especially how web sites accept (or ignore) GIFS.  For example I learned (the hard way) that Tumblr ignores GIFS greater than 1MB and flickr just flat ignores gifs except if you view the original final.  Last i learned that animated GIFS can be a larger file size that the video it was rendered from.  lol

Sammie was wearing her new Belleza Mesh Body and with a quick rez of a couple white prim as backdrop, a LUMIPro projector, and sitball rezzed.  I selected the "blinds" bulb in medium rotation.



So to capture the video I used FRAPS which isn't free ($39).  You can also consider using Gyazo to capture the video but limits both video capture quality. In my mind FRAPS is well worth the investment for the butter smooth videos it creates.  (BTW if you want to see one of my full videos I've done using FRAPS for capture check out this video).  I normally capture 30FPS (frames per second), but since this was targeting an animated GIF I'm going to use 10FPS. I'm not sure this was a good idea in retrospect, but I did).


Once the video is captured you have a lot of options.  I used Sony Vegas for a quick edit, although you can skip this step for most cases. 

Here is the video file I ended up with.

video



Next I took the video file into photoshop.  Use File->Import->Video Frames to Layers.  To keep the file size down I skipped every 2nd frame.


I selected window->timeline.  Since I removed every other frame I had to change the time per frame to 2x so the speed would be back to normal.  In this case it went from 0.04 to 0.08 sec/frame. I selected all frames and set it to 0.08sec/frame.

Now to save the GIF.  Its super easy to save a GIF so large the many websites will reject it.  For example Tumblr doesn't allow GIF files larger than 1MB.

Before I did that I did just a basic crop in photoshop to ditch a bunch of pixels.  After that then select 
File->Save for Web

So the goal is to adjust the final GIF size to be below 1MB (959K for this example) which left me with a 165px x 281px image.  I know why so many GIFs are black and white now as it allowed me to go to a 32 color pallet to save file size.

Done!   Whew that was a lot of work!

What really surprises me is that Flickr doesn't naturally support GIF files in its display.  I guess this will always separate Tumblr from Flickr.  






Saturday, October 11, 2014

LUMIPro Spotlight Time!


***Walks into the LUMIPro Salesroom rolling a suitcase behind her***

***Turns with a big smile sitting on the desk before ushering 10 big strapping men in with new photos. After watching them for a moment, a smile of appreciation on her face, she turns to face you.***

Oh, hello again everyone! I hope everyone is doing amazingly well, and I hope that you all are enjoying your LUMIPro 3.4! The work that everyone has been adding to the LUMIPro Flickr Group is just amazing. So now that I am back from vacation, I thought I would share some! 

***Flipping the switch on the wall the lights come on to reveal new photos on the wall***

Exhale by Cindy Starostin

Lady Tonbo by Wendz Tempest

.scarlet. by Asa Vordun

ssshhhh... No One Can Hear YOU! by Noel Texangel

"A Merman's Love" by Addison Summerwind

For more great photos do not forget to check out LUMIPro World Headquarters or for even more great artwork check out the LUMIPro Art Gallery

Well there you have some amazing works created by our very own users! We have many new exciting things in the works for the upcoming holidays so keep shooting! Well until next time...

***Stands and grabbing the handle to her suitcase she slowly walks to the door. As she goes to flip off the light switch she turns and gives a playful wink.***