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Friday, January 14, 2011


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Eddi Haskell

I still think they are hideous to take portrait shots with. On a rare occasion they work but they usually end up hiding detail and giving blur. With head-on light they are not necessary.

Celebrity Trollop

I don't complain about them any more. I de-render them, one of my favorite features in Phoenix. But they're still awful.


I haven't worn facelight since Windlight was introduced back in 2008? 2009? Rather than using the tools that LL has given us (Windlight settings), Mariko Nightfire chose to depend on the facelight to remove shadows from her face, and thus, misses out on all the wonderful Windlight Settings available.


I'll be blunt: Mariko needs to do her homework.

She can have her cake AND eat it, too... there is no need to appear "plastoid" while Windlight is enabled. All she has to do is put in a little time in tweaking her settings.

Saying that she's using facelights to counter any plastic appearance her av might take on in someone else's Windlight enabled viewer, is moot. She'll simply appear to have a supernatural, blindingly bright glow about her that will wash out any details on her avatar (which is worse than a plastic appearance, in my opinion).


I for one don't go ballistic when an avatar with a facelight walks in. I get ballistic when someone wearing a whole fucking solar system walks in.

Winter Seale

Ya, her "windlight" screenshots are a total straw man. That said, there are times that I prefer "natural" lighting plus a moderate facelight. Mind you, for taking pictures I don't use a facelight and rather use positionable fixed lights, in addition to windlight settings.

Alicia Chenaux

Mistletoe, if I could "Like" a comment, I'd like yours. :)

CronoCloud Creeggan

I'm with the anti-facelight brigade for sure, because you don't need them. Like Celebrity (Hi Celeb! good to see you commenting on NWN), I will use the setting in 2.4 that turns off attached lights on other avatars if it's too bad.

I look like Miss Nightfire's facelight picture without a facelight. Haven't used facelights or local lights to take pictures ever since I was pointed to Caliah's WL preset (and updated versions of same) Lets see...when was that....oh yes spring of 2008.

Stephen Venkman

I don't mind a face light for darker skin tones.. as i've usually worn a darker tone for year snow.. I will on occasion attach a facelight on "DIM" .. that word being key, to highlight my face in a dark setting situation. But to say face lights are better than windlight settings for pictures.. just means you haven't found the right setting yet.

Trin Trevellion

Windlight is just fine but Linden Lab did never optimize the default settings. Especially for midday.

A great example how to make the best of it is http://juicybomb.com/2008/09/02/gogos-lighting-tips .

It's not even a mesh issue that people say: SL looks like from the stone ages. LL cannot streamline this soon. As a comparison, take IMVU. It's very sleazy compared to SL but their environment settings are in line. Nobody is seriously complaining about the engine. LL need to be convinced that in the case of Windlight, less is more.

A petition would be the best idea before starting any new Jira issues.

Wordfromthe Wise

Ob osgrid you can completly disable facelights .. Now we could Need some more Great Skin Creators there (Some Female avatars told me) . Facelights can ruin a creators settings for a scene and also they disturb other lightsources but i admit they could also make Avatar Skin even better

Annechen Lowey

Contrary to Ms Nightfire's apparent beliefs, the rest of the grid does not see her the same way. Most other residents are most likely *not* looking at her. I am especially not seeing her if she is wearing a facelight, because I will derender her.

It works for greifers as well.

Adeon Writer

Make no mistake about it, it's great for snapshots.

Just. Don't. Go. In. Public. With. It.

Nickola Martynov

I'm a facelight user. I won't go out without it. I have a great one that is quite subtle and most people don't know I'm wearing one. I can use personal settings for the same look, but then no one else sees what I see.

Sacred Honor

There are reasons for using a windlight other than avatar appearance. I like the way builds look with windlight. And many of us don't really care how our avatars look to others. Is that really true? But lets take her arguments seriously. She is right when she says that avatars suck with windlight unless you are using optimized settings. Her other point is that our avatar's appearance with optimized settings do not come up to that of just a plain default setting without windlight and wearing a soft facelight. I think she did demonstrate convincingly that a widely used optimal setting is inferior to her facelight. If you have a setting that outperforms her default let us in on it. Then we can make our own comparisons.

Melissa Yeuxdoux

I could never go back to pre-Windlight SL. I use facelights in SL for the same reason photographers use fill flash, and I do my best to remember to take them off when I'm done taking pictures. (Sometimes I forget--the facelight I use is not very bright, and advertised as "goth skin-friendly".)

There's no reason for anyone to walk around wearing klieg lights as I've seen some do, but... when you go out in harsh sunlight in RL, your eyes, or your brain, or both, adapt. You don't say to the people you meet "Boy, you look really bad in this light; you should wear a harness with some lights on that will fill in those shadows". Take a picture of someone in that light, though, and you'll notice.

SL is a world, but it's confined to your monitor, and you do notice, just as you notice when the harsh lighting is confined to a photograph. So, I understand why one would want to wear a facelight to compensate. Just don't buy one intended for a lighthouse, please?


If you need a facelight when using the "standard" windlight settings (morning, noon, sunset,night, the standard sim-cycle), you most likely simply have a bad skin&shape combination.

99% of people don't realize that skin and shape don't just have to be good on their own, but have to work well *combined*.

If somebody designs a skin with a petite, round-cheeked girl in mind and your (head)shape is more that of an anorexic model, it doesn't matter how great either skin and/or shape are - they simply won't look good when combined

Dylan Rickenbacker

I never complained about facelights as such. What gets on my nerves is facelights that could be used as floodlights to light a stadium. And what particularly irks me is when designers who really should know better include over-dimensioned lights in things like hair, skirts, belly rings, wrist watches and the like. I always think it must be some sort of practical joke at the expense of people whose graphics settings are too low to see the effect properly.

I tend to pass a notecard with some advice on facelights to people who obviously need it.

As for tweaking Windlight settings instead, the obvious catch there is that this will only have an effect on your own screen. It won't change a thing about what others are seeing.

Here's my own blog entry about facelights: http://drickenbacker.wordpress.com/2008/03/18/face-the-light/

Fleep Tuque

Facelight user here. I'm not wearing a facelight for your super optimized perfectly wonderful windlight enabled super viewer.

I'm wearing it for everyone else - ie the vast majority of people in the world. :)

CronoCloud Creeggan

Fleep, I could see the windlight lighting effects on the old 1.foo windlight enabled viewers on a single core Mobile Celeron and 852/855GME graphics. That was what I was using in early 2008 when I first began using Windlight presets. Now admittedly I couldn't see the pretty clouds or water, but I could effectively use CaliahWL and stop using prim lighting for pictures.

Hiro Pendragon

@Fleep in other words, the people with lesser machines, you're adding another light source to render?

Samantha Poindexter

What just about everybody else said: facelights are indispensable for taking good photos, just as actual lights are indispensable for taking good RL photos.

Facelights are absolutely, positively NOT for walking around with.


I tried "tweaking windlight settings" as Iris Ophelia suggested. I looked stupid without my facelight on. Even worse, it turned all avatars full-bright. Now, that's tacky.

The problem is not facelights themselves. The problem is facelights with a radius of more than 1 meter. Default is 10 meters, so there are a lot of bad facelights out there.

Dylan Rickenbacker

@Samantha: As a photographer in SL, I ask my models to take their facelights off when shooting. I like to take control over the lighting in my own hands :-)


"But the problem with these 'optimized' windlight settings is that windlight is view-side only, which means that only you see the results of your windlight setting. Unless we are totally self-absorbed, we care about how others see us. To those of you who are using these 'optimized' settings and walk with windlight, try turning it off to see yourselves as others see you. Now you know why you haven't been asked out on dates."

This is one reason (out of many)that I had issue with the article. It gives off a bullying feeling once she states that if you don't use facelights you won't find a date.



needed to quote fleep again:

"... I'm wearing it for everyone else - ie the vast majority of people in the world. :)"

now I'm gonna point out a flaw in that particular reasoning.

I use second life on 2 different computers, one is pretty dang good and I walk around with my windlight default just the way I like it, I look good and guess what, everybody ELSE looks good to me too, builds tend to look great and my experience is improved. I turn off attached lights cause facelights in the windlight setting I use actually make people look like ghosts.

Now my other computer is older and has issues with sl. Graphics card barely cuts it. I actually look for viewers that don't have windlight even coded in cause it's just wasted space. And ya know what? I can't see the facelights on that computer either cause the computer isn't good enough to render nearby local light sources!

You are wearing the lights for you, to make your experience better, and that's fine. But realize that you're not doing it for everybody else. For those who can (and do) render them you are only giving their computers one more thing to process, and for those who can't or don't render them it doesn't make a difference anyway.


here's the thing, and my bigger opinion. We are all here to have fun, and facelights or no it's about our experience. I have a better experience with windlight, others have a better experience with facelights. I think more than debate till the ends of the earth which is better a few simple education things would help. Teach windlight uses who don't know how, how easy it is to turn off attached lights so we can see who we're dealing with without the glare from the light, and teach facelight users that you can be just as sexy without lighting up the entire region.

Kathy Waverider

I love facelights... I wear them everywhere because I care about how other people see my avi... and if you're smart enough to fiddle with your windlight settings, you're smart enough to turn off nearby lights... or derez me if you prefer...

What a bunch of grinches...

Samantha Poindexter

@Dylan: well, yes, of course, the photographer is the one who needs to be in control of the lighting. :-)

@Kathy: the thing is, using a facelight *doesn't help* if you "care about how other people see my avi." Other people are unlikely to be using the same settings you are, and having the facelight on is most likely to make you look *worse*. But rock on...


BTW, which of the pictures are we supposed to think looks better?

Galatea Gynoid

@Ananda: I know, right? Bizarre. Both the picture here and the ones on her blog show how much better she looks using Windlight and no facelight, but she insists she looks best in the pictures where she actually looks cartoonish. Both her preferred pics in the article and the one on the top of her blog look like a professionally airbrushed photo was then photoshopped into a scene, poorly (you know the photoshops where the center of attention is obviously under different lighting than the rest of the scene).

I guess if you *like* the "I'm a fake cartoon" look, you'll agree with her, but to me the article makes a good case for why facelights are a very bad idea if you're concerned about your appearance.

Orca Flotta

Facelights are super for when you have better things to do in SL than just fiddling around with light settings all the the time. A decent facelight with a small radius highlights your face, makes unwanted shadows go away, yes, like a fill-in flashlight in photography ... not only in pictures but permanently. And it's particularly useful in some of the more dramatic skysettings that turn our avies into stupid looking dummies.

I don't know what kind of totally freaky WL settings the facelight gestapo are using, but when sticking to the usual SL settings, most facelights are not disturbing in any way.



"...most facelights are not disturbing in any way."

I disagree, GOOD facelights are not disturbing in any way. The ones that are well placed so that they don't have much of a radius. They highlight the wearer but don't affect the surroundings.

MOST facelights I encounter are not good facelights. Anything from washing out a room to lighting up a good portion of a region.

By the way, I used to wear a facelight on an alt before I found my happy windlight settings. I finally found one called the 'polite' facelight and it was probably the smallest radius I had seen. It did the job better than the sun come to visit the earth facelights I normally see.

Sacred Honor

I think Fleep is probably correct when she says that the majority of people in SL are not using windlight. Most people have relatively modest laptops and PCs and probably have their graphics set at lower levels. Recently, I went to a Skye Galaxy performance, unchecked attached lighting in rendering and saw the vast majority of female faces in the audience go dark. So perhaps those who are so pleased with their appearance under tweaked windlight settings are looking less than fine to the majority.

Hiro makes an interesting observation. There are two classes. One class, the majority, have modest machines and are windlight free. The other class, an elite, with better machines and use windlight. Let my carry that a little further. The majority class's SL experience is enhanced by their use of facelights. Some members of the elites attempt to suppress the majority's pursuit of SL happiness by harassing facelight users. Class warfare and oppression.

Darien Caldwell

Both pictures look fine. Although I prefer the one on the Right. The one on the left looks flat and lifeless. The one on the right has the proper amount of shadowing to show the contours of the face, just as in Real Life.

Funny thing is, some prefer to look flat and lifeless. To each their own I guess.


Okay I understand how some people want to wear facelights so their avatars look better. But who to? Sure you are looking at your avatar but what makes you think everyone else is camming in to your avatar's face constantly so they can ooh and ahh?

How narcissistic.

Arcadia Codesmith

I find it amusing that this issue takes on the overtones of a religious war among some users.

Really, use whatever you please, facelight or windlight. Just be aware that it's for your own benefit and nobody else's.

No matter what you choose, another user will probably have some goofy setting that will quash your facelights, render Windlight moot, and make you look like you just broke out of court-ordered detox.

And the real reason you can't get a date is not because your avatar isn't optimally lighted. It's because you obsess over how your pretend pixels look instead of how you relate to people.

ColeMarie Soleil

If you dont like face lights as I am a member of the turn your damn face light off crew... there is an option to disable lights attached to other avies and tada no problem

Adeon Writer

Here's an example of what facelights look like to people who use SL on reasonably high graphic settings: http://img845.imageshack.us/img845/3825/snapshot085.jpg

This screenshot is unmodified.

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