Random SL Photo discovery

Today I learned that the annoying stepped edge on shadows is all about an advanced setting.

I went into the Phototools menu in Firestorm today, playing around with posing a photo, and got very cranky with the way the shadows were rendering. I mean, really, look at this:


Uggggh.  All those… raster-y stepped edges, and the shadows not meeting the object casting them.  Why does it do this? WHY DOES SL HATE ME???

I went through the pop-up text on Firestorm’s Phototools ‘Lights and Shadows Settings’ menu bit by bit by bit, and found this on FOV Cutoff:


This determines the FOV cutoff at which the viewer will switch between ortho instead of perspective projection.  If you are getting shadows that are ‘jaggedy’ try adjusting this setting for improvement.  Also adjusting the XYZ values for the debug setting RenderShadowSplitExponent can be VERY helpful.

I played a bit with FOV Cutoff there, then went into the Advanced menu for the debug settings.  I dug up the RenderShadowSplitExponent setting and found that my X was 3.0… my Z was 2.0… and my Y was 65.0?!?
Resetting the Y to 5.0, I found that suddenly my shadows looked like this:


Well that was easy, wasn’t it?

Figured that someone might find that helpful, so- enjoy!

Coming back to this one after a while, I notice that there’s something I learned that hasn’t gotten in here.  I talk about a specific set of numbers in the above post: ‘I dug up the RenderShadowSplitExponent setting and found that my X was 3.0… my Z was 2.0… and my Y was 65.0?!?  Resetting the Y to 5.0, I found…’
Further playing around with this has taught me that Y varies dramatically depending on what the angle of the sun/moon is in comparison to the shape you’re shining the light on.  Since the jagged edge is from transitioning not often enough from one type of perspective to another, sometime, you may find that a Y of 65 IS RIGHT (disclaimer: I haven’t found that yet).  I would say ‘play with the Y number, and see how it affects your shadows’.

17 thoughts on “Random SL Photo discovery

  1. Thank you so much!! I am an utter noob still and probably always will be when it comes to the menus that the various clients have. I use the sliders and then I can not see anything anymore. Thank you for making me less noobie!

  2. Also: the reason that the photo’s cropped thus above is because I took the same photo twice, altering only that one setting between. If I had the full window open then I’d be including stuff hiding behind the debug / phototools windows: it just seemed easier to focus on the part that I was playing with!

  3. I’ll have to try that! I’d found another way to unjagged my shadows (upped shadow quality in the second? graphics tab in prefs)…but it does in my snapshots, computer does not like trying to save anything below low.

    • Oh gosh no, that rastery edge on shadows is something we all stagger into. I’d *definitely* suggest taking time to play around with the sliders on the ‘light’ portion of preferences, if you’re using Firestorm. There’s at least one other solution available there: you can make the shadow have edges that are not crisp but blurry, which makes the stepped edge turn into a gentle fade, like I did here: (warning: shirtless male avatar!) https://www.flickr.com/photos/nathpev/16360508123/

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