Hug Statue SL 550px

In the real world, the laws of optics make sure that light bends in a certain way. Small or large openings in your lens (what we call “aperture”), bend the light in such a way that an increasing amount of the environment surrounding your subject is in focus. But in virtual space there are no lense elements per se. Depth of field needs to be simulated lest everything look unnaturally in focus.


Tea Tray at 10mm f8
SL Photograph of a Tea Tray at Simulated f/8

In Second Life, you can choose to activate DoF using your viewer, usually under Preferences. Lens focal length, aperture and even field of view can be selected and changed. For example, in the photo above, the focus point is on the rear tea cup. At a simulated aperture of f/8 at a 10mm focal length, the nearer cup and the jug are slightly out of focus.

On the next photo, shown below, the aperture has been contracted to f/16: a setting that guarantees a deeper depth of field in any world. A quick comparison with the previous photo shows the nearer cup and rear jug are more in focus, as is the background in general.

Tea Tray at 10mm f16
SL Photograph of a Tea Tray at Simulated f/16

This concept can help make SL photos even more compellingly realistic. However, one phenomenon that seems to be missing in SL is diffraction: the tendency for images to acquire a certain level of distortion at extremely small f-stops. I suspect this is by design, but what this equates to is that a virtual camera is not necessarily as limited in its scope as a real world lens.

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Written by The Twilit Lens

Freelance photographer and ponderer of the unusual. I welcome the presence of mystery and the unknown. Wonder is not absent from the universe, and there is still room for the child in those who haven't yet allowed their hearts to wither to dust.


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