Friday, July 20, 2007

The LuxAce Lighting HUD

I'd known my shop neighbour Gabriel Watanabe was an ingenious scripter from the time we met in March and discussed his various projects (and the particular MMORPGs we'd both played); his specialty lay in the creation of lighting sets for clubs - in particular, the Re-light, a revolutionary lighting system that allows you to dynamically move lights along a set trajectory, change their position, colour and intensity. So when I remembered photographer Charron Marseille had been wishing for flexible studio lighting that could be positioned on command, it was obvious Gabriel was the man to turn to for help.

[4:04] Caliah Lyon: hey you oO
[4:04] Caliah Lyon: I have an idea for you
[4:04] Gabriel Watanabe: lol? shoot
[4:04] Caliah Lyon: hud lighting attachments that you can um, control for photography
[4:04] Gabriel Watanabe: ah this is funny 'cause i have made a scripted personal light change intensity, color etc
[4:04] Caliah Lyon: well the diff is you ought to be able to move something like that
[4:05] Caliah Lyon: both hud and studio version
[4:05] Gabriel Watanabe: not a problem
[4:05] Caliah Lyon: a friend of mine has wanted a studio style one for a loooong time
[4:05] Gabriel Watanabe: for example the hud has 4 buttons to move updown rightleft, 2 to move far/near, 1 to make it visible so u can check where is it
[4:06] Gabriel Watanabe: and you can change intensity, color etc
[4:06] Caliah Lyon: I guess you could wear a two-light attachment - two prims on one attachment point
[4:07] Caliah Lyon: the thing is the need for that is to combat places with autoreturn
[4:07] Caliah Lyon: say you wanna snap a photo somewhere but can't because it returns your lights
[4:10] Gabriel Watanabe: i can make a working in version in like, 30 minutes? if i have that much time in a row :p
[4:11] Caliah Lyon: well, just an idea
[4:12] Gabriel Watanabe: lemme work on it a bit
[4:14] Caliah Lyon: maybe make a version that doesn't need to rez any items, but use an existing attachment array of prims
[4:14] Gabriel Watanabe: i won't make a rezzable item...i can't manage autorez&attach
[4:14] Gabriel Watanabe: i make 2 lights and u can move them independently
[4:14] Caliah Lyon: that'd be awesome

Thus the Luxace was born.

Shot of the Luxace HUD and emitter prims.

When I tested the beta, it seemed that perhaps this was a more difficult idea to implement than it had initially seemed, but after some use, I grew accustomed to the HUD interface, which has more buttons than your average SL hud. You can control the intensity, radius and falloff of each of the two lights attached to your chin, and change their colour by tinting the textured prim buttons marked "Color." Most importantly, you can move each light using the direction buttons marked B and C on the diagram along X, Y and Z axes. This allows for exact positioning of each light to achieve the desired effect for your photo. Finally, you can make the light prims invisible with a click of a button, for when you're ready to take pictures.

After reading the manual I was struck by just how versatile this tool can be: the HUD can save different lighting settings and positions under different "program" names - so to recall a certain setting, all you need to do is load one you've saved under that particular program name.

Here is a demonstration of just what can be done with this setup:

The only drawback I can see to using this miniature lighting set is that it can take a while to position the lights using the directional buttons on the hud. I'm not a scripter, so I've no idea of the limitations of LSL, but it would be handy if you could move the lights in bigger increments than is currently possible. Also, be warned that if you crash, your lighting settings will revert if you haven't saved, so save them often.

All in all this is a nice little solution for scenic spots with no-build or short autoreturn times enabled. Charron may have waited a long time (was that eight, or nine months?) for something like this, but he didn't wait in vain, it seems.

Gabriel's shop, PLOREHO, is in Linji; if you drop by, be sure to take a look at the Re-light as well - it's worth a look, even if you're not a dj or club owner. And compliment him on his kitsune ears - he's one of the few successful converts that took to kitsunehood with the proper zeal.

Shopping Information
.:PLOREHO Design by Gabriel Watanabe, Linji (54, 201, 74)