Category Archives: SL Viewer

Second Life Maintenance RC viewer 5.0.2.323359

secondlifeOn Friday, February 3rd, Linden Lab released the latest Maintenance RC viewer – version 5.0.2.323359 – which brings with it another round of updates and fixes, together with a couple of new features requested by users, one of which could prove popular for creators and builders: the ability to select default folders for saving uploads.

Also for builders, the RC includes some long-awaited fixes to the build floater / objects when building. Several other niggles people have had with the viewer are also fixed with this update, making it a handy set of improvements to have.

The following is not intended as an in-depth review of the RC, but is intended to highlight the core changes.

Custom Folders for Uploads

With Maintenance RC 5.0.2.323359 users can now select their own preferred inventory folders into which uploads – images / textures, sounds, animations and mesh models are saved by default (rather than having all textures + images go to Textures for example).

You can select your own preferred folders for image, animation, sound and mesh uploads, rather than using the normal default folders

You can select your own preferred folders for image, animation, sound and mesh uploads, rather than using the normal default folders

To set a custom folder for an upload type:

  • Go to Inventory and right-click on the desired folder.
  • Select Use As Default For. This opens a sub-menu of upload types (shown on the right).
  • Click on the type of upload you wish to always save to that folder.

Note that this only applies to uploads: images / textures, mesh models, etc., will still go to the their “default” folders.

So, for example, an animation passed to you in-world by someone else will still go to your Animations folder, regardless of any custom destination you have set for animation uploads.

You can also review which custom folders you have set at any time via Preferences > Uploads, a new tab in the preferences floater. This list updates dynamically as you select / change custom locations for your uploads.

The new Uploads tab in Preferences

The new Uploads tab in Preferences, with a custom location set for mesh uploads

Other Requested Fixes / Updates

There are several other oft-requested updates are also included in the RC:

New Block list tally

New Block list tally

  • A long-term and understandable annoyance among role-players / combat players is that a change made by the Lab some time ago meant that the Damage icon would not show in parcels that were damage-enabled. This has now been reverted.
  • The issue of the Sun sometimes appearing to jump around rather than moving incrementally has been fixed.
  • The Block list has been updated so that the last name on the list once again displays correctly, and a tally has been added to show number of avatars / objects blocked, and total limit (see right).
  • Avatars should now correctly display after a fresh inventory fetch.
  • Changes in wearables should now properly save.

Build  / Edit Improvements

The following build / edit fixes and improvements have also been made to the viewer:

  • Repeats per meter value is now correctly saved.
  • An object created when a linkset is open is now shown in the linkset list.
  • Select Face will now show selection for all faces until such time as an individual face is selected.
  • The contents of any object worn from the ground should now correctly update.
  • The Script Debug Floater should now be useful once more.

Other Updates and Improvements

The release notes for the viewer also draw attention to the following updates:

  • Hanging texture downloads have been cleaned-up for better performance (via contribution from Ansariel Hiller).
  • Viewer Login will no longer save password when it is not supposed to.
  • Beacons will once more show when in Mouselook.
  • Teleport location selected from World Map no longer omits Z value.
  • Grid selection short cut at login is fixed.
  • Crash Fixes in LLPanelEditWearable::isDirty(), LLFloaterIMContainer::visibleContextMenuItem(), opening many scripts.
  • /displayname and /completename no longer change when toggling “View Display Names”.
  • Link added to Events in World menu.

Full details on the viewer updates, included a list of resolved MAINT JIRAs can be found in the viewer release notes and download page. Note that as they are MAINT (LL internal), not all of the JIRAs may be open to public view.

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Hands-on: Second Life 360-degree snapshot viewer

Credit: Linden Lab

Credit: Linden Lab

On Wednesday October 26th Linden Lab announced the release of the 360o snapshot viewer, which I’ve had the good fortune to be able to play with for the last week.

The viewer is still very much under development, and has been released as project viewer with a number of caveats against it as development continues. Essentially, it allows you to take a set of images (6 in total) of the location around your camera, and then produce these as a scrollable 360o view – you can see the results in action on this sample page. Just click drag on an image to manually scroll around it.

The viewer is available via the Alternative Viewers wiki page as project viewer, with documentation on the wiki. As noted there are some caveats concerning it, which need to be kept in mind:

  • The 360o capture operates all around your field of view simultaneously. This can lead to conflicts with the viewer’s Interest List, so that objects which may be “behind” your camera position may not be properly rendered, etc. To avoid this, always pan your camera around  (or turn your avatar around if you are taking a picture from your avatar’s position) to completely view the scene and allow things to initially load, before taking a shot.
  • The current viewer saves the resulting image to your local disk as a zip file. You’ll need to set-up your own local web host in order to view them (or if you have your own website, you could set one up there). Again, this will be changing as the project develops
  • However, even in this format, once you are viewing an image, you can download it in a 2:1 aspect ratio suitable for upload to Flickr for sharing with friends and viewing in 360o.

As I’ve covered three of the 360o camera HUDs available in Second Life, I’m offering the rest of this article as a walk-through in using the new viewer and viewing your photos.

Note – these instructions apply to Windows, I don’t have access to a Mac to provide guidelines for that platform.

Setting Your Viewing Environment

Before taking your photos, you’ll need – for the time being at least – to set-up a simply local web server. Callum Linden has made this relatively easy.

  • Download Python from the Python website. You can select to install either Python 3.5.x (latest) or Python 2.7.x (the Lab uses Python 2.7 as a point of reference).
  • When installing Python, make sure you add the installation to your Windows path.
    • If you are installing Python 3.5.x, simply check the box in the installer
    • If you are installing Python 2.7, click the Advanced button in the installer, scroll down the list of customisable options and set Add Python .EXE to Path to Will be installed on local hard drive.
Adding the Python 2.7 EXE to the Windows path

Adding the Python 2.7 EXE to the Windows path

  • Download the Lab’s 360 snapshot web viewer ZIP file from the Lab’s 360 snapshot wiki page.
    • If you are familiar with Mercurial, you can clone the existing web framework via the link given in the wiki page. I found going the ZIP file route easier.
  • Unzip the web viewer files to a location on your hard drive.
Web you have unzipped the web viewer package, you should have a folder looking like this - note the SHOTS folder, this is where you'll be wanting to save your snapshot sets

When you have unzipped the web viewer package, you should have a folder looking like this – note the SHOTS folder, this is where you’ll be wanting to save your snapshot sets (Windows environment)

Using the Viewer

When you have downloaded and installed the 360o snapshot viewer, proceed as follows:

  • Position your avatar  / camera at the centre of the area you wish to photograph. If you are using your avatar, not that you should “hide” it via removing all attachments and alpha-masking, or by using something like a “vanish” gesture.
    • Note that you can positioning your camera for a 360o snapshot simply by positioning your camera (e.g. using ALT-zoom or by flycamming).
  • Make sure you freeze the clouds in order to assist the image “stitching” process, and to avoid visual discontinuities in the finished image. Use Menu > World > Environment Editor >Sky Presets > Edit Presets. You should also avoid using Depth of Field.
  • Set your preferred windlight / time of day setting.
  • Turn your camera / avatar slowly around in a circle to view everything in the field of view around it, and allow everything to render.
  • Open the Snapshot floater and click on the 360 option – not that although this displays the filter options for snapshot, the filter effects are not currently captured when taking  360o shots.
  • When you are ready, Click Save to save the image set – you will be prompted to save a ZIP file to your hard drive.
    • Navigate to the location where you unzipped the web viewer files (above) and then save the ZIP file (with a suitable file name) in the SHOTS folder.

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VOB viewer reaches release status in Second Life

secondlifeOn Thursday, September 15th, the Lab promoted the Visual Outfits Browser (VOB) as the de facto release viewer, version: 4.0.8.319463.

For those who missed my coverage of this viewer when it reached RC status, and simply put, the VOB viewer allows you to use the Appearance floater to capture / upload / select images of your outfits and save them against the outfits in a new Outfit Gallery tab within the floater.

The new Outfits Gallery tab (right-click your avatar > select My Appearance > Outfits Gallery) displays all of your created outfits as a series of folder icons, each one displaying the name of the outfit beneath it. You can replace these icons with an image of the outfit quickly and easily in one of three ways:

  • You can wear the outfit, then right-click on its associated folder icon and select Take a Snapshot (shown above left). This will open the snapshot floater with save to inventory selected by default, allowing you to photograph yourself wearing the outfit and upload the image to SL, where it automatically replaces the folder icon for the outfit
  • You can use Upload Photo to upload an image of the outfit your previously saved to your hard drive, and have it replace the folder icon
  • You can use Select Photo to select any image previously saved to your inventory (including any image supplied with the outfit in question, if appropriate), and use that to replace the folder icon for the outfit.
The Visual Outfits Browser viewer is another of the forthcoming updates mentioned in the official blog post, and you can read my overview as well

The new Outfit Gallery tab in the Visual Outfit Browser allows you to create photos of any outfits saved to My Outfits as thumbnails. You can then use the Appearance floater to scan your outfits to decide what to wear, and use the context menu to wear the one you want

When using the capability there are a number of points to keep in mind:

  • Both the Take a Snapshot and the Upload Photo options will incur the L$10 upload fee, with the images themselves saved in your Textures folder
  • In all three cases, link to the original images are placed in the outfit folder
  • This approach only works for outfits you’ve created using the Appearance floater / the Outfits tab. It doesn’t work for any other folders where you might have outfits – such is the Clothing folder.

Overall, it would seem that the VOB viewer has received favourable feedback by many of those who have used it during its time as a release candidate viewer. I confess, I cannot offer any real feedback, as I actually don’t used the Outfits folder that much. However, with its arrival as the de facto release viewer, expect to be seeing it in more TPVs (those which haven’t already adopted the code) as they continue to update.

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Bento project reaches RC status in Second Life

Bento: extending the avatar skeleton

Bento: extending the avatar skeleton

OK, I admit I wasn’t expect this until next week, but on Wednesday, September 14th, the Lab  announced that Project Bento is now officially available as a release candidate viewer – version 5.0.0.319688 – which can be obtained through the Alternate Viewers wiki page.

And just in case anyone has missed all the Project Bento news, the best way is to catch-up through the official video. In short, Bento adds a wealth of new bones to the basic avatar skeleton (30+ to heads / faces and to hands alone!), making a wealth of new avatars (humans and non-human) and mesh wearables possible.

The reason I wasn’t expecting the viewer to get promoted just year is that the Lab also has a proof-of-concept viewer being tested, so I assumed any push to RC would come after a decision had been made on incorporating those changes (if they are to be adopted). So, not for the first time, I’m been wrong 🙂 .

The move to release candidate status doesn’t mean the project is at an end. There is still further work to be done as remaining bugs are fixed, etc  (so updates such as the slider locking in the proof-of-concept might yet arrive in the viewer). What it does do is three things:

  • Makes the viewer available to a wider audience through the Lab’s RC distribution mechanism, thus allowing any unforeseen issues in merging the Bento code into the current release viewer code (and which may be outside of direct Bento testing) to be identified and fixed
  • Potentially makes the viewer more widely available to content creators who may not have so far tried the viewer
  • Means that TPVs can now officially start incorporating the Bento code into their viewers (in fact, Cool VL Viewer has had Bento in its Experimental branch from some time, and Firestorm have also been working to merge the Bento code as well – but this shouldn’t be taken to mean there will be a new release of the latter in  the near future).

In keeping with the status of the Bento code, the Lab do ask people – particularly avatar content creators – to give the viewer a go,  and to file a JIRA against any issues found.

As noted above, Bento offers a range of opportunities for mesh wearable and avatar creators – you can see a couple of video exploring the AK and Catwa preview Bento mesh heads in my SL project update. Also, back in August, Vista Animations produced a video illustrating the potential of finger animations:

Then, of course, there is a huge range of non-human avatars: centaurs, “rideables”, winged creatures – all of which can be achieved a lot more efficiently through Bento than has previously been the case.

Teager's Bento Raptor using Bento bones

Teager’s Bento Raptor using Bento bones

So – get ready for the Bento Revolution!

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