2022 CCUG meeting week #20 summary: reflection probes update

Lemon Trees Mediterranean – blog post

The following notes were taken from my audio recording and chat log of the Content Creation User Group (CCUG) meeting held on Thursday, May 19th 2022 at 13:00 SLT. These meetings are chaired by Vir Linden, and their dates and times can be obtained from the SL Public Calendar.

This is a summary of the key topics discussed in the meeting and is not intended to be a full transcript.

Official Viewers Update

  • On Wednesday, May 18th, the Performance Improvements RC viewer updated to version 6.6.0.571869.

The rest of the official viewers remain as:

  • Release viewer: version version 6.5.5.571282, – formerly the MFA RC viewer, dated April 26, promoted Wednesday, May 4th – Non change.
  • Release channel cohorts:.
    • Makgeolli Maintenance RC viewer (Maintenance M) viewer, version 6.5.6.571575, May 12.
  • Project viewers:
    • Performance Floater project viewer, version 6.5.4.571296, May 10.
    • Mesh Optimizer project viewer, version 6.5.2.566858, dated January 5, issued after January 10.
    • Legacy Profiles viewer, version 6.4.11.550519, dated October 26, 2020.
    • Copy / Paste viewer, version 6.3.5.533365, dated December 9, 2019.

Materials and PBR Work

Please also see previous CCUG meeting summaries for further background on this work. In summary:

Three core elements of work:

  • Work on an implementation of reflection probes which can be used both with PDR shading and with legacy content. This formed the focus of this meeting.
    • The overall aim of this work is to provide a means to support more physically accurate reflections in SL than can be currently generated (seen as a requirement for PBR support).
    • It applies to both PBR generated content, once available, and to legacy content.
  • Foundational work in creating a materials type with an associated inventory asset, as per the week #16 meeting. This  will initially comprise the ability to copy a texture entry (with its specific parameters) to inventory, to be followed by
  • Initial work to work implement a PBR graphics pipe in the viewer.

Reflection Probes

  • Additional information available within the week #18 CCUG meeting summary.
  • This work is close to feature complete.
    • The viewer gets to work with 256 reflection probes, which take the form of spheres or boxes within a region.
    • Anything within a sphere or box will receive reflections from the cube map rendered from the centre of the sphere / box.
    • Some of these probes will be automatically placed in open areas of land where there are objects, etc., by the viewer.
    • Additional probes can be created by users using prims tagged as probes and placed where they want to influence the reflections being generated (e.g. inside rooms, etc.).
    • Baking for reflection probes will be automatic, and updates will be handled at least once every 30 seconds.
  • A test viewer has been available within the #content-features channel of the Second Life Discord server (join the server and request channel access here) for content creator testing and feedback.
  • There is a performance hit with the capability, and this is still being adjusted so that it will hopefully not be overly onerous.
  • Elizabeth Jarvinen (Polysail) is working  on the current light shader to enable legacy content to receive the reflection probes without looking “too different” and look like it belongs in the environment along with PBR content.

Materials /PBR Work

  • Progress continues in developing a “materials” type with an associated inventory asset capable for containing PBR materials data.
    • LSL access to said materials is regarded as being “tricky”, simply because the materials will be an asset type loaded by the viewer.
    • What is being proposed is to have the ability to “override” elements of the asset (e.g. colour or texture) via LSL by applying the changes to the properties of the object face to which the materials is applied.
      • So, for example, the LSL override says, “OK. I know this material has a texture UUID inside it – I don’t know what it is, but I want this face to use MY texture UUID instead” – so the material asset itself is not changed / updated, but the UUID defined by the LSL code is displayed, rather than the texture UUID defined by the asset.
      • If the materials asset type subsequently be changed, then the overrides applied via LSL to the object face are automatically dropped until such time as new overrides are applied.
    • This is seen as the most flexible approach, as it protects the integrity of the materials asset (in a similar manner to texture data) whilst also allowing the flexibility of using colour variants against an asset type (such as in the case of a sweater using a single materials asset, but with multiple colour options in the pack or in allow a HUD to alter the tint of an object that uses a materials asset).
  • Nothing of significance to report on the PDR shader work.

In Brief

  • Custom pivot point work: currently awaiting simulator updates & will require viewer-side changes.
  • A fix has been implemented in the viewer to speed-up opening media / web floaters (such as search). This should be surfacing in the next Maintenance RC viewer (“Maint N” to follow the Makgeolli  Maintenance RC).
    • An upcoming simulator release should have a fix for objects failure to rez when users first log-in. .

Next Meeting

  • Thursday June 2nd, 2022.

Milena’s Masks in Second Life

The Carbone Studio: Milena Carbone – Masks

Masks. Whether physical or otherwise, have always been a part of humankind’s multi-faceted cultures, and also a part of life itself.

Every day we use masks of one form or another, whether we recognise this fact or not, as a means of projection and / or as a means to try to shape how others perceive us (for example: the manner in which we project ourselves at work, is not the same as how we present ourselves among family; who we are in courtship is not necessarily reflective of who we are going to be in marriage, and so on).

We use these masks so subconsciously, that the majority of times we’re not really aware of them. Even when we are alone, we will often adopt and outlook or frame of mind to mask the anxieties and fears that might otherwise plague us. However, there is another way we use masks: to hide that which we do not wish to see. Whether it is the homeless man asleep on a park bench or the images of war and strife on the television or those fears the come upon us in the night,  we mask them out out by focusing our attention elsewhere in the park or in the room or in our thoughts, so we are no longed plagued by what we are seeing / thinking.

The Carbone Studio: Milena Carbone – Masks

It is these latter uses of masks – the tuning out, the looking elsewhere, and on on – that Milena Carbone uses as the central theme to her latest exhibition, called simply Masks, and which is currently open within her personal gallery space at the Carbone Gallery.

I wanted to explore our relationship to the mask, an object that dates back to the beginnings of time mankind … to ask the question of the masks that we do not see as masks; what hides our sight, our anxieties, our fears, ours disgusts; what hides the real that we do not wish to see. 

Milena Carbone

Offering a series of nine images (together with support texts and quote) in the minimalist style that Milena executes so well, Masks explores our subconscious use of masks and projection in a manner that is both stark and richly nuanced, each with layers of narrative to be peeled away.

For my part, I found myself drawn to The Tyranny of Truth, with its triple layering of ideas of courtship, the manner in which “truth” can be used as means to enforce authoritarianism (look at the stance of the figure in white), or an inconvenience to be denied, shied away from (the attitude of the masked figure), together with We’re Fictions and Burned Out.

The Carbone Studio: Milena Carbone – Masks

These latter two in particular framed – and to me – the ideas that whether we are aware of it or not, we frame ourselves in so many masks we risk losing ourselves within fictional projections and that when all has been peeled away of the masks in which we shroud ourselves, nought by a shell of whom we might have been remains. In this, We’re Fictions and Burned Out brought to mind two further quotes which might also frame this exhibition along with the Banksy quote (itself a variation on Wilde’s more famous comment on masks) Milena uses with the exhibition, and those quotes are:

You wear a mask for so long, you forget who you were beneath it.

– Alan Moore

And:

We all wear masks, and the time comes when we cannot remove them without removing some of our own skin.

– André Berthiaume

Masks is a carefully understated exhibition that actually has a lot to say.

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