Black Dragon snapshot floater and cinematic camera

Blackdragon logoOn Saturday, May 23rd, NiranV Dean released version of his Black Dragon viewer, which brings with it three core updates:

  • Revisions to the Unified Snapshot floater
  • An experimental cinematic camera
  • A “lock” feature to synchronise map changes (diffuse, normal and specular) across all three channels simultaneously.

Unified Snapshot Floater Updates

The snapshot floater updates include:

  • An option to save the snapshot upload type
  • Automatic file format changes when switching to profile/inventory upload and back
  • Fixes for auto-refresh
  • Improved world freeze – the entire world is now frozen, and allows proper camming around.

However, what is likely to find favour with a lot of users (assuming it is adopted by other viewers, including LL’s)  is the ability to now preview snapshots in a separate, resizeable texture panel.

The alternative snapshot preview panel can be accessed via the Preview button in the Unified Snapshot Floater
The alternative snapshot preview panel can be accessed via the Preview button in the Unified Snapshot Floater

This is enabled by a new Preview button in the snapshot floater, as shown above. However, do note that this does not “tear off” the existing preview pane, but actually opens a separate panel, linked to the floater – the original preview pane will remain open as well, until such time as it is closed using the << button at the top of the snapshot floater. Also, as it is a separate panel, the resizeable preview panel must also be closed separately to the snapshot floater.

Once opened, the alternate preview panel can be resized by dragging from the sides, the top or bottom edge or from the corners to more readily suit your requirements. note also that in doing so, the image will retain the correct aspect ratio.

The additional preview panel can be resized via dragging from the top / bottom / sides / corners
The additional preview panel can be resized via dragging from the top / bottom / sides / corners

I did encounter a slight problem with the updated snapshot floater – not with the new preview panel, but in the fact that the floater appears to be locked into saving images to disk in PNG format without my having changed any install defaults. On selecting either JPEG or BMP, the floater defaulted back to PNG.

Cinematic Camera

The Cinematic Camera is an experimental option, enabled through a debug setting, UseCinematicCamera. The camera will track head movements as you move – and is most effective if you’re using one of the Black Dragon over-the-shoulder third-person views. You’ll need to ensure your avatar’s head movement is free to follow the mouse as well.

If I’m honest, I didn’t have too much success playing with it – but that could easily be down to me doin’ it wrong. However, Niran has provided a video which may help to demonstrate things:

Texture Sync Lock

build-1The “Lock” option on the Texture tab of the Build floater operates in a similar manner to the Synchronise option found in the official viewer. When set, it ensures that changes made to the spinners for repeats, offsets and rotation on a texture are applied across all three materials maps.

This allows the viewer to use a single set of spinners for adjusting offsets, etc., against a set of maps applied to a surface / object and ensures they are applied across all three maps correctly.

Niran also provides some advice when using the Lock capability:

Note that this might cause the spinners and/or faces to revert sometimes, this is NORMAL behaviour, it’s due to lag which was already present long before this change (sadly). Usually happens if you use the spinners via mouse repeatedly, to prevent it most of the time you should type in your desired values directly and press enter ONCE then wait a bit.


An interesting set of updates, and the ability to use a resizeable preview panel for snapshots could fine some popular support given some people have found the default preview panel size in the Unified Snapshot floater to be overwhelming. As such, it’ll be interesting to see how the Lab and other TPVs option to implement this particular change or not (I understand Niran will be contributing the updates to LL, if he has not already done so, as he did with the original Unified Snapshot floater code).

Note also that as well as the features outlined above, this release includes a number of fixes, updates and changes – please refer to the release notes for details of these.

Additional Links

6 thoughts on “Black Dragon snapshot floater and cinematic camera

  1. Reblogged this on A Kat and A Mouse and commented:
    I’ve already found that Black Dragon works better with my computer (and it doesn’t complain as much) when taking photos. Can’t wait to download the update and try it out – especially the resizable preview!


  2. Wow, that preview panel makes Black Dragon even more appealing! Definitely going to give this TPV a try when I finally get out and start exploring. A viewer that makes photography at Ultra graphics levels less PC-intensive would be amazing.


  3. The next update will introduce a major overhaul to the over convoluted build floater which is in dire need for some cleanup.

    Liked by 2 people

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