Uploading to secondlife

Posted: July 8, 2012 in File sizes, File Types, Getting Started, GIMP, Post Processing
Tags: ,

Now that you have your photograph – you might want to upload it to SL – so you can show it off on your profile – or maybe display it in your home. You need to know about file types and file sizes.

SL supports three different file types : jpg, png or tga. The different files have different uses and in some cases some are better than others.

  • jpg : Great for photographs or textures in SL. In general JPG files can be resized a lot without nasty pixelation or jaggies.  I would recommend that you do the resizing in GIMP or similar – and not in SL – stretching images in SL is not the best feature.. JPG files don’t support transparencies (which you might want to use in some places in SL – buildings, clothing etc) – if you need transparency – use TGA. Also because of how JPG files are compressed, they are not good for diagrams – use PNG or TGA for these.
  • PNG : These are good files for retaining details (such as in diagrams), but not as good for photographs, especially if you planning to resize them. at a later date. PNG files do support transparency but under some cases, SL seems to have an issue with PNG files with transparency.
  • TGA : Like PNG files they are uncompressed, and they support Transparency (i.e. you can make them see-through; and SL has less problems with TGA files. They are regularly usedwith clothing and building textures (windows for instance), and would be cool with some types of picture.

Now that you have chosen your file type – what size should you use. You need to remember two key facts :

  1. SL limits image uploads to a maximum of 2048 pixels in each direction (horizontal and vertical). Any file bigger than this will be rejected – files are then resized to 1024 on its largest size.
  2. SL will resize any picture to the nearest power of two – i.e. 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256, 512, 1024 , so a 27 x 62 picture is resized to 32 x 64, which means that it will be distorted.

It is critical that you are aware of the re-sizing the SL does – and how it might distort your picture for you. I would suggest you plan your picture sizes before you upload into SL, and then – if you are unsure use the Temporary upload feature to see whether the uploaded image is right in world.

When i upload pictures in SL :

  • Edit them in GIMP (add signatures, borders etc).
  • Scale them in GIMP so that the biggest dimension is 2048 pixels – typically  this makes a picture 2048 x 1453.
  • Upload them in SL –  it is resized to 1024 x 1024.
  • Display it on a prim or frame which honours the original aspect ratio – 1.4 to 1.0 in the case of a 2048 x 1453.

In Firestorm the upload function is in the Build menu.

Have fun – and get uploading. Don’t forget to contact me and tell me about the pictures you have taken.

  1. Julia says:

    Png files Do support transparency. The info above isnt correct

  2. Don says:

    PNG even at the time of entry (2012) supported transparency … Yet was noted it did not. JPG is naturally a lossy format meaning you lose information by saving to JPG. It is NOT a recommended format for ANY moderate/serious photograph (regardless if SL or RL). Bias and ignorance of a format does not create acceptance and preference.

    Also there is only 2 directions, you do not need to say 2048 in each direction. It makes it seem like you mean left, right, top, bottom. It is height and width, only 2. To me that does not mean ‘each’, because only 2 being referenced.

    You also failed to mention that it is not just resizing that SL does. It re-encodes the data uploaded. So its good to save the initial file at 300 dpi to ensure the best possible upload. The encoding done on uploaded images at time of this entry was JPG2000 at 72 dpi. So saving at lossless format (PNG,TGA etc) at 300 dpi was the preferred.

    PNG if not using a alpha channel as some programs while amazing at their job. Do not always respect the alpha channel properly. One such giant is Photoshop. PNG’s saved in Photoshop do not always respect the alpha exactly as it should. While a TGA file saved from Photoshop will treat the alpha exactly as it should.

    So quick rule :
    PNG if not using an alpha channel.
    TGA if using an alpha channel.

    • Sorry for the late reply.
      The use of ‘each’ is perfectly acceptable English – meaning all from a given choice (I could have used both too), but using ‘each’ doesn’t imply more than 2 .
      I don’t agree that JPG is worthless – considering the compression/encoding in SL – I get far better results uploading photographs in JPG if I can; PNG & TGA can convert edges to jaggy lines, whereas the encoding used in JPG can act as an anti-aliasing filter in some cases. AT the time of writing PNG images with transparency in SL was not necessarily a good idea due to z-ordering effects; SL would get confused which object was meant to be in front of the other if both objects contained Alpha layers. Textures uploaded in TGA had less issues.
      I don’t think that the z-ordering issue was ever 100% fixed.

  3. fuckyoutoo says:

    simply marvelous, except one thing. You never explain how to do the ACTUAL upload . . . duh!

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