Photo Drama: Layering Windlights

Lighting and shadows are one of the things that add visual drama to a photograph, and I’m going to cover an easy tutorial on how to get optimal drama on a photograph with minimum post editing. Before I begin, I want to point out that I am a Photoshop 4 user, but this tutorial will essentially work with most digital editing software. Alright, let’s begin.

The first thing you’re going to want to do is pick two windlights. One that has a very dramatic effect of lights and shadows and then one that maybe doesn’t have shadows at all. For the latter, I prefer Strawberry Singh’s ‘Closeups’ or ‘Original’. I also like Luna Jubilee’s ‘Bright and Sparkly’ as well as Nam’s ‘Optimal Skin and Prim’ windlights.

For this example, I’ve used Phototools‘ Black and White # 11 and Strawberry Singh’s Original. The Phototools’ Black and White # 11 is available on the latest version of Phoenix Firestorm (they might be available on other 3rd party viewers, but I don’t use anything else but Firestorm and SL Beta Viewer.) For Strawberry Singh’s ‘Original’ you must download it from her blog. However, ‘Closeups’ is available on Firestorm and the Linden Viewer.

From the above picture, you can see my two images on the ‘Layers’ tab. Please note that I have layered the dramatic photo over the plain photo. I’m going to work mostly from the ‘Layers’ tab on the side bar. I’m not sure how this translates to other photo editing software.

What I’ve done is decreased the opacity of the dramatic photo over the other photo, which allows the better lit and cleaner shot to come through, but leaving the dramatic light effects. I’ve also pointed to the layer options. I’ve not given this layer any special effect and left it on ‘normal’, but if you’re a Photoshop user, try the different effects. Multiply, Overlay, and Screen are some of my favorites.

For a little added clarity on the face, I go to my eraser tool, make sure the brush opacity is decreased, and erase the face. Using a soft brush is the best. I like to use a very low opacity with a round, soft brush and just center it directly over the face. Now my face shines much more, becoming the focal point of this photograph.

This is essentially it for this tutorial. Obviously I encourage photographers to go much further with the post editing. There are countless ways of making this photograph even more dramatic with darker shadows and brighter highlights, but that’s a matter of personal preferences. If you have Firestorm or a viewer with a wide variety of windlights, play with this tutorial! It’s a lot of fun.

Here is my finished product. It’s been edited to be SFW here, but you can see my marvelous Lola breasts on my flickr photo here. I posted a smaller, more simple version of this tutorial on my personal blog “It’s a Wonderful SecondLife” with the credits if you want to know more about what I’m wearing.

Have fun!

Keliah Angelis

First Impressions

I know this is going to sound silly, because who takes Second Life so seriously, but I have a blogging resume, and I think all bloggers should have one, too!

Surprisingly enough, I got someone who agrees with me; one of the many anonymous designers that filled out my questionnaire for my previous post. They said that “a good introduction notecard is important for a first impression”, and I’m gunna help you build one!




The first lines are very important. Explain why you’re taking the time to send them a notecard, and what your blog is. What do you blog, and why is this important and what do you have to offer?

Feeds and Links

resume 2

Every designer said that you need to be attached to feeds, so make sure to list every one you’ve got your link on. I’ve also included whether or not I’ve been invited, or submitted myself. To me, it shows initiative by submitting, and prowess by being invited.

Social Media

resume 3

Don’t underestimate the appeal of social media. Just like above, it shows initiative and ambition because you’re attempting to reach readers via any medium you can. Don’t just list the platforms, give direct links to your profiles, too!

Pertinent Information

resume 4

List any other pertinent information, such as things you do in SL that relate to your blogging. This would also be a good area to list what events you’ve been an official blogger for. For each event, list the year, such as Hair Fair 2011, Hair Fair 2012, and so on.

I know you’re probably thinking ‘dozens of bloggers got invited’ but those dozens of bloggers don’t tell the designers they want to work for.


resume 5

This is where you give your blog link. By putting it at the end, you’re basically forcing them to read everything, instead of passing judgment by looking at your blog without knowing about it.

Also give your username. No display name, and no fancy characters. Make it easy for them to find you in search.


Aside from that, the designer that put this idea in my head also said that you should list how long you’ve been blogging, and even provide links to some posts about their items you’ve done in the past.

What is in a Name?

I’ve been thinking long and hard on this: What exactly is in a name? I don’t mean the one we carry in “real life” but the one’s we give ourselves in Second Life to showcase who we are and what we’re about. We name our avatars, our pets, our homes, our land, our stores and our designs. We even name our blogs – which is for us bloggers a huge thing, because a good name will stand out in the crowd.

Choosing my blog name was easy: I wanted simple. I wanted to use my nickname. It’s no secret that my “main” avi’s name is Douleur and for about seven years now I’ve been called Dou (this ongoing from The Sims Online, MySpace – to Second Life and even Twitter on my RL account.) Hence: “Simply Dou” was born. As for Katya, she was originally meant to be an avi I made for a friend that was to play in Second Life. She wanted a Russian name and for her to be blonde. I did all those things, but my friend never actually came into Second Life so Katya became mine and Katy came to be.

So – about these names. How did you choose your name for yourself? 

  • Was it similar to your real name?
  • Did you care really what it would be?
  • Do you wish you could change it? (Yes, I know we have a feature to display change our name, but really – people can still see when your first name was sexymissbarbie gossipgirl.)

I bet we all have a bunch of stories! Hope you’ll share yours.

What's in a Name

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