Loading the car for a trip

No Surprise Here

Loading the car for a trip
Trying to leave again

Of course vacation plans in SL are subject to complications just as in RL  You think you have everything packed and just as you’re about to get into the car you panic that you forgot something. Is it in the suitcase or..or is it lost? Similarly, I had spent hours setting up for this shot, tweaking the light, setting the pose – and that was after chasing down suitcases, cars, cats and parking lot textures! We won’t even talk about the cars I got at a very good price – too good to be true even with broken scripts. (Yes, I am lodging a complaint because at least one had a negative review because of the same issues I had).  After all that and then taking the picture, editing in Gimp because the only opening suitcase I could find that was half modern or not beat up was pink…after all that, you realize the jacket you’re wearing is a mess!

In all fairness, it was a few years old and the creators have a tough time dealing with the varied size avatars..but my avatar is 6 and a half feet tall and muscled…and small is too big!  So, refusing to leave home like that I had to go shopping.  I hate shopping for men’s clothes for this very reason.  Time lost shopping only to pull something else out of the drawer and set everything up for the photo again.

Unable to get the exact same lighting, I then spent another hour trying to (and took screen shots of the settings this time!) get the same angle, same light ( and failed) before saying ‘enough!’.  I’m getting really good at changing the color of items in Gimp by now so that was easy.

Almost ready to upload and then I noticed the cat was missing half it’s head! Really!? Log back in, set everything up as close as I can and…get a good picture of the cat from the same angle and distance…and hopefully with light close enough that it’s easy to bring into the image.  One last check and I realized that on one of my monitors it was too dark so I lightened the image before uploading.

There! Now we’re ready to go.  Get into the car! No, not you kitty…

Yes, it wasn’t too long before I was told the image was too dark.  I’m just ready to hit the road by now though I am a bit concerned that I’ve missed my flight…

Gimp Foreground Select

Rottendam - Too Bright
The starting point ..

From my post yesterday, you might recall that I was on a trip to find some objects for a secret and huge project I’m working on when I stumbled across this guy passed out on the street. It seemed like an opportunity to get some practice with my LUMIPro but I ended up taking the image into Gimp because I still couldn’t get exactly what I wanted.  I’ve found myself frequently needing to extract the subjects of photos from their backgrounds and this seemed to be one of those times.

Because this is becoming a frequent practice, I figured I should make myself more proficient at what I understand is supposed to be the latest and easiest way to isolate items in Gimp. The Foreground Select tool.  Here I go down another path!

To date, my experience with this tool has been only marginally better than using either the “free” or “fuzzy” select tools to do the same thing.  When it’s all said and done, I am still finding myself going back and spending perhaps hours removing unwanted pixels with the wrong color.  Unfortunately, this attempt has been no better.

However, I did learn one thing that prompted me to create this post.  When my attempts to identify the foreground and background using the tools presented by Foreground Select left so much wanting, I figured there must be something else to try. I watched a few tutorials on youtube and all showed the same thing though one was amazingly successful and extracting blowing hair from it’s background (video below).

In that video, the presenter is using the ‘Matting Levin” engine. On my machine, it was set to use the other engine, Matting Global, and I was unable to change the selection.  Similarly, the machine I am currently on is defaulted to the Matting Global but is denying the option to change engines.

I searched and read quite a bit but found nothing explaining why I had no other option.  I suspected it might be hardware.

Gimp Foreground Select Tool
Gimp Foreground Select Tool

I only recently built the machine that I’m using to take photos in SL.  It has what is supposed to be an exceptional video card which I may review later. Early on, I determined to use that machine ONLY for ‘gaming’ and web browsing when it was convenient.  No other software would be installed on that machine.  However, early on, I had installed Gimp before I reached that decision so I fired it up and sure enough, on that machine, I do have the ability to select either engine.  Just for fun, I tried extracting the same image from the photo above and though the result was slightly better, it still fails in comparison to the video below.  So, my search continues.  As is the story of my life, yet another small project has taken a life of it’s own.

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