Tutorial: Environment Enhancement Project (EEP)

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Fixed Environments

Basics

  • A fixed Environment is a:
    • Sky setting in which the clouds may move, but the time of day doesn’t change by default.
    • Water settings.
  • Fixed Environment assets can be:
  • Fixed Environment assets include elements such as custom Sun, Moon and cloud textures.
  • Fixed Environment settings are the building blocks for Day Cycles.
  • Refer to Creating and Editing EEP Assets for information on how to create a new Fixed Sky or Water Asset.

Fixed Environment – Sky Overview

The Fixed Environment – Sky floater is the enables you to define a specific fixed sky environment, which can be applied to yourself, or to the parcel / region you are on (subject to local rights), etc. Within it you can:

  • Set the ambient light colours (sky, horizon, haze), and select the levels of density, etc.
  • Set the cloud requirements – density, colour, cover, speed of movement – even apply your own cloud texture.
  • Set the Sun / Moon position(s), size, light colour (Sun), brightness, and apply your own custom textures to either.

Note that making any changes in this floater will immediately affect the environment in your viewer only and only while the floater is open. You must save changes in order for them to be retained after editing, and you must also apply them (to yourself or to your region / estate or parcel) for them to persist after closing the floater.

The floater comprises a number of sections, as described below.

Top Bar
The Fixed Environment floater top bar

The top bar of the floater is the same for both Sky and Water settings. It comprises:

  1. Name field: displays the name of the asset you are currently editing.
    • You can manually edit this field to change the name of the asset, if required – just remember to use the Save / Apply button at the bottom of the floater (described later in this section) when saving your updates.
  2. Load: opens a picker, allowing you to select another asset of the same type from your Settings folder (or any other folder in which you’ve saved your EEP assets)
  3. Import: allows you to import windlight settings from your computer and have them converted to EEP assets – see Importing Windlight Settings as EEP Assets, later in this tutorial for more on importing windlight settings.

Below the top bar are three tabbed sections, which are described below, and the Save / Apply and Cancel buttons, which due to the nature of the Save / Apply button are described for both the Fixed Sky and Fixed Water floaters in Save / Apply and Cancel Buttons.

Atmosphere & Lighting
Fixed Environment – Sky: Atmosphere and Lighting tab
  1. Ambient Colour picker: set the ambient sky colour – simply click on the required picker, select the required colour and use the slider in the picker for setting the colour density.
  2. Haze and Density sliders: used to adjust the atmosphere and horizon haze. If you’ve not used them before, the simplest way to understand them is to experiment with them.
  3. Haze sliders: use to adjust the atmosphere and horizon haze. If you’ve not used them before, the simplest way to understand them is to experiment with them.
  4. Scene Gamma: set the overall brightness.
  5. Moisture, droplet and ice sliders: these change the atmospheric refraction, and can be used with rainbow effects.

Important: when editing a Sky settings asset, remember to use the Save options of the Save / Apply button to save changes you make.

Clouds
Fixed Environment – Sky: Clouds tab
  1. Cloud colour picker and sliders: sets the colour of the clouds. Use the sliders to set overall cloud cover, scale (relative height over the horizon), density and detail across the x, y, axis, together with density.
  2. Cloud variance: this adds an amount of randomness applied to the cloud layer. If you have a very regular cloud texture and don’t want the sky to look tiled you can adjust this value to make it less regular.
  3. Cloud Scroll: spinners and directional pad for setting cloud speed and direction. Use the spinners for X and Y directions or drag the indicator arrow (for direction) on the pad. Cloud speed is set by the length of the arrow.
  4. Cloud Image: allows you to apply a cloud texture for the sky – just drag and drop a suitable texture from inventory.
    • The Local Texture option can be used from the texture picker to text cloud textures prior to uploading.
    • If a Local Texture is being used, the editor will prevent the asset being saved, helping to remind you to upload the desired texture or make sure you’re using a valid texture from inventory.

Important: when editing a Sky settings asset, remember to use the Save options of the Save / Apply button to save changes you make.

Sun & Moon
Fixed Environment – Sky: Sun & Moon tab
  1. Position trackballs: use the Sun / Moon image on the trackball to adjust the position of the Sun and / or Moon.
    • If the sun/moon image on a trackball is dimmed it is below the horizon in-world, use CTRL-left-click and drag to raise it above the horizon (or conversely, to move it below or onto the horizon.
  2. Image pickers: allows you to apply a texture for the Sun and / or Moon. Textures must be uploaded to be applied properly, however you can use the Local Textures option for previewing them before uploading them.
  3. Scale: set the relative size of the Sun and / or Moon texture.
  4. Colour (Sun and Stars only): apply a colour to the “sunlight”.
  5. Glow and brightness sliders (Sun and Stars only): sliders for setting glow and star brightness. Note that with stars:
    • To hide them in low daylight settings, set to 0.
    • If those who have Advanced lighting Model enabled in the viewer will be able to see stars “twinkle” if they are set bright enough.
  6. Moon Brightness (Moon only): set the brightness of the texture used for the Moon.
  7. Show beacon: display a local beacon (your view only, and also accessible via the beacons option World > Show > Beacons Ctrl-Alt-Shift-N).

Important: when editing a Sky settings asset, remember to use the Save options of the Save / Apply button to save changes you make.

Fixed Environment – Water Overview

The Fixed Environment – Water floater offers a means to edit water asset settings and apply them to yourself (e.g. for testing) or to the parcel / region you are on (subject to permissions). It comprises several elements, as described below.

Reminder: EEP water assets only work with Linden water. They are not applicable to prim or mesh water objects.

Top Bar
The Fixed Environment floater top bar

The top bar of the floater is the same for both Sky and Water settings. It comprises:

  1. Name field: displays the name of the asset you are currently editing.
    • You can manually edit this field to change the name of the asset, if required – just remember to use the Save / Apply button at the bottom of the floater (described later in this section) when saving your updates.
  2. Load: opens a picker, allowing you to select another asset of the same type from your Settings folder (or any other folder in which you’ve saved your EEP assets)
  3. Import: allows you to import windlight settings from your computer and have them converted to EEP assets – see Importing Windlight Settings as EEP Assets, later in this tutorial for more on importing windlight settings.
Water Tab
The fixed Environment – Water floater
  1. The Name field, Load and Import buttons.
  2. Water Fog: a colour picker to set the colour of water “fogging” (or “haze”) when underwater, and sliders to set the density and Fresnel reflectance.The best way to understand the sliders is to experiment with them with your camera under water.
  3. A normal map picker: allows you to select a suitable normal map on your computer that you wish to use to define your waves.
    • Normal maps need to be seamless in order to avoid odd tilting effects on water.
    • Note that some creators offer suitable maps via the Marketplace – see Cory Edo’s Water Maps (offered free), for example.
  4. Wave scroll pads: spinners and directional pad for setting wave speed and direction (major and minor waves). Use the spinners for X and Y directions or drag the indicator arrow (for direction) on the pad. Cloud speed is set by the length of the arrow.

Note the panel also includes a selection of sliders for surface wave scaling (X, Y, and Z) and reflection and blurring. Again, the best way to familiarise yourself with these is to experiment with them.

Important: when editing a Water settings asset, remember to use the Save options of the Save / Apply button to save changes you make.

Save / Apply and Cancel Buttons

Located at the bottom of the Fixed Environment floater are two buttons: a multi-function Save / Apply button, and a Cancel button.

Save / Apply

This is a multi-function button, with options selected using the arrow drop-down to the right of the button. The button then needs to be clicked to use the selected option. These are:

  • The Save / Apply options

    Save: save your edits to the current EEP asset (as per the Name field at the top of the panel).

  • Save As: save your edits to a new EEP asset – a dialogue box will be displayed, prompting for the new asset name. This will also update the Fixed Sky panel to be editing the new asset.
  • Apply Only To Myself: as the name implies, applies the settings directly to your viewer – useful when testing how an EEP asset works.
  • Apply To Parcel / Region: these two options will only be available if you have ownership rights to the parcel / region.

Important: the Save / Apply options are mutually exclusive:

  • Using either of the Save options will save the settings in the floater to the asset, but will not apply them.
  • Using any of the available Apply options will apply the settings (so you will see them), but will not save them to an asset.
  • To save and apply settings, you must both a Save and an Apply them as separate operations.
Cancel

As its name implies, this discards all work without saving. When using it, note that:

  • If you have not made any changes to the asset settings, the panel will close.
  • If you have made any changes to any of the settings in the Fixed Environment floater, a warning will be displayed asking you to confirm you wish to discard (and lose) them.
    • Note that this warming will also be displayed if you attempt to close the panel via the top right X (close) button after editing the settings without saving them.
    • A response of Yes will discard the changes will close the panel, losing your changes.
    • A response of No will close the warning dialogue and return you to the panel, allowing you to use the Save or Save As options to save your changes.

8 thoughts on “Tutorial: Environment Enhancement Project (EEP)

  1. “Note: at the time of writing this piece, the official Second Life viewer – version 6.4.0.540188, dated April 15th (or later) to see / use EEP capabilities. However, TPVs will be releasing version supporting EEP in due course.”

    Hello everyone!
    I’m really excited about this new project but I have one main doubt… I’m using Firestorm viewer. Can we use EEP only with the official Second Life Viewer?
    Thank you for your answer.
    Victoria Dawson

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    1. Currently, the only viewer supporting the release version of EEP is the official SL viewer. Other TPVs may have release or beta versions supporting earlier (RC) released of the viewer code, but have yet to update to the release code version – but with some this will happen fairly rapidly, others may take a little longer.

      So right now, if you want to try creating EEP assets, playing with the settings options, etc., and see the results, your best bet is the EEP release viewer.

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  2. Hi there, silly question but where do you get the EEP Viewer? And, sorry I still don’t understand something… if I create a day cycle for my parcel using EEP viewer, will others only see it if they use the same viewer? Or, will they be able to see the settings regardless, i.e. if they use Firestorm? Thanks so much for your help and sorry if the answer was answered, I still find it confusing!

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    1. Hi Lee!

      No worries on the questions. To answer in turn:

      1. As it stands, if you download the current release version of the viewer (version 6.4.2.541639 at the time of writing) you’ll have EEP support.
      2. Until such time as EEP is adopted by all viewers, only those running an EEP-capable viewer will see any EEP settings as you designed them, when applied to your parcel. At the time of wrting this reply, Firestorm does *not* have EEP support, so people using that viewer won’t see your parcel EEP settings as you intend
        them to be seen.

      All third-party viewers with rendering capabilities, including Firestorm, will eventually have EEP support, it just depends on how quickly / smoothly they can merge the EEP code. As it stands, I believe that, alongside the official viewer, Kirsten’s Viewer, Cool VL viewer and Black Dragon all have EEP support.

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  3. On 29July2020 Firestorm released version 6.4.5 EEP Public Beta. I’ve been using it since then and it appears to be totally stable and it’s just great to finally be able to implement and enjoy the EEP features it supports

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  4. The overwiew on creating eep assets is great, but is there any plans for a step by step guide. As a beginner i’d love that, especially if eventually the eep version of the firestorm viewer will become the standard one.

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    1. Hi, Scott.

      I’m not actually sure what else can be said.

      • Creating a EEP asset in inventory (Sky, Water, Cloud) is covered in Creating and Editing EEP Assets.
      • How to use the Sky panel to adjust EEP Sky settings – position of the Sun and / or Moon, change their textures, setting your clouds and atmospherics is covered here: Fixed Environment – Sky Overview – with many of the sliders either reproducing how that are used with Windlight settings (e.g. through Phototools, in the case of Firestorm) or working in a similar manner.
      • Similarly Fixed Environment – Water Overview provides a walk through of the Water settings water controls – and again, these are very similar to Windlight water manipulation.
      • Whilst Day Cycles provides a breakdown of creating a Day Cycle of any length. This is the most focused section, as the concept are mostly new.

      The key to EEP really, is to gain an understanding of the various floaters and then fiddle with the settings yourself to see how they work and how you might like to apply them. Again, there is no risking of “damaging” anything in doing so.

      Also, don’t forget you have a library of 200 EEP assets available to you – many by the top Windlight settings providers – which you can copy into your inventory and play with, adjust and then save – see: EEP Library Assets, AND if you have your own Windlight settings, don’t forget you can import them as EEP settings / assets.

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