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Saturday, 3 August 2013

Five Gimp Plugins for Second Life Photographers

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There is an army of Gimp users who develop their own plugins and scripts to share with the wider Gimp community and many can be a real help to Second Life photographers. Here I list some of those plugins that I find useful. Some may be more popular and well known and used among Second Life photographers than others, so pick and choose which ones may help your photographic projects - and of course experiment!

Lomo Script

The Lomo script is intended to simulate Lomography, which is characterised by distinctive colours, a slight blurriness and darkened borders. This may not seem the kind of effect that every Second Life photographer wants, but the script offers adjustable settings and creates a number of layers which can be hidden in various combinations. The image above was in part manipulated using this script, so gives a broad idea what can be done.

Sepoina Graf-ix

Although the Sepoina script can no longer be downloaded seperately, it is available in a group of scripts called FX-Foundry. One possible problem for some might be that it comes in a very large collection of scripts, but there is a web page where each script is described so you can at least see what you're getting. If however you just want the Sepoina script it can be downloaded from this page.
Once the script is installed in Gimp you will be able to create scratchy images based on either the default texture, or one that you select. The settings can be edited before the effect is applied and you can play with the layers it creates. A very useful script.

National Geographic Script

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I haven't played around too much with the National Geographic script yet (apart from creating the image to the left), but it does seem promising. The purpose of the script is to simulate the kind of high quality portrait photography that National Geographic is renown for. The possible uses for Second Life photographers speak for themselves. Follow the link to download and try it out.

Focus-Blur Plugin

This is another very useful plugin for any Second Life photographer that wants to experiment with the depth map option available in the SL's snapshot window. Although the lastest viewer allows residents to edit the point of focus from within the viewer, this is only available to residents who have high spec computers. The Focus-Blur plugin can achieve the same if not better results for those with less powerful PC's, and can be used to create tilt shift images. Take a look at this tutorial for more information.

Make Anaglyph Script

This script can be used to make 3D images from Second Life snapshots. The process is very easy when this script is used, although creating suitable matching images can be a little tricky. I have written a tutorial describing the process of creating 3D images with this script, and I have also produced a simple camera hud to help take suitable snapshots.

All of these plugins and scripts can produce interesting results that help make Second Life photographs unique to the photographer. Each one also allows for a degree of experimentation and therefore learning, so I would advise installing all of them into your version of Gimp and discovering how creative you can be with them.

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