I’ve Got A Ring Flash – No Twinkletwat Jokes Please
For the uninitiated, a ringflash is a circular light that surrounds a camera lens, that has some rather interesting properties for the creative photographer. Wikipedia explains it better than I can……
“A ring flash, invented by Lester A. Dine, in 1952 originally for use in dental photography, is a circular photographic flash that fits around the lens, especially for use in macro (or close-up) photography. Its most important characteristic is providing even illumination with few shadows visible in the photograph, as the origin of the light is very close to (and surrounds) the optical axis of the lens. Where the subject is often very close to the camera, where the distance from the optical axis of a conventional flash becomes significant. For objects close to the camera, the size of the ring flash is significant and so the light encounters the subject from many angles in the same way that it does with a conventional flash with soft box. This has the effect of further softening any shadows.
Ring flashes are also very popular in portrait and fashion photography. In addition to softening shadows which can be unflattering to models and bring out unsightly wrinkles, the unique way that ring flashes render light give the model a “glowing” appearance which is often sought after by some magazines like Maxim.”
And that’s what I’ve built – a Second Life (there should probably be a trademark or copyright symbol after that, but whole the hell knows where they are on the keyboard?) version of the ring flash. Strictly speaking, it’s a ring light, but I shall continue to call it a ring flash as that’s the function it performs.
It’s a circle of six lightbulbs, centred on the avatars head. Six lights is all the SL client can handle at any one time, and because these are the lights nearest to you, the ring flash will always overide any lights sets in the landscape. It’s powered by a HUD remote control that enables you to fine tune the lights and turn them on/off and visible/invisible. You can tune the red, blue, green, intensity, radius and falloff functions, so you actually have unprecedented ring flash control – the real world versions of these are on/off and that’s it. The drawback is that the effects only really work in mouselook, as that’s the only time that the av viewpoint is completely surrounded by lights.
Here’s some pictures from the Greenies Home Rezzable showing the effects.
First with the ring light off. And a close up shot. Even though this is taken with world lighting set to midnight, you can still see quite a lot of modelling and shadows on the greenies head.
Now with the light on. (And vastly overexposed). Notice how the how the modelling and shadows have disappeared from the greenie, and he’s acquired the ethereal glow mentioned above.
Now a long shot with lights off.
And with lights on. The effect is less pronounced at a distance, but the greenie is still glowing.
And some pics showing use of the radius, intensity and falloff adjustments. Note how judicious use of these can highlight the things in the foreground and virtually eliminate the background, which can go some way to getting round the SL cameras lack of depth of field – in some situations at least.
And some shots from AM Radio’s Wheatfield, which is a calmer place than the greenies, so I increased radius and reduced falloff for a subtler lighting effect.
And finally some shots of a tree at Straylight, showing how you can adjust the mood of a scene just by changing the color of the ring light.
Coming soon to a single prim vendor near you!