Sunday, March 2, 2014

Types of SL Photographs by Nariko Okawa and WrenNoir Cerise

Types of SL Photographs
by Nariko Okawa and WrenNoir Cerise

SL photographers of VISIONAIRE INSTITUTE have recognized that there is a lack of a common terminology regarding the treatment of an SL photograph.  This becomes a difficulty for many who require photographs yet do not have the language to request the type of photo they have in mind.  This can lead to problematic situations that could be avoided with the proper common language.

Below are definitions of four common TREATMENTS (as opposed to intended use) of SL photographs.

Each of the categories is on a continuum with no strictly defined parameters, and a photograph may well straddle two or more categories.  These are general definitions that can help form a common ground of understanding.

No particular treatment of SL photographs is "superior" as all treatments have their uses.

Examples from different SL photographers will be used to illustrate each category but that does not mean that he/she is fixed in that category.  As artists, SL Photographers are evolving, innovating and exploring all the time as well as influencing one another.

We are also not going to talk about the uses for each of the categories.

Here we offer the definitions of four broad categories:


With much love and anticipating your comments,

*applause for all the amazing SL Photographers!*

Credits of Images belongs to the SL Photographers listed above as use of examples in this blogpost 
(in accordance of appearance from the top):
Nariko Okawa

Awesome Fallen
Tamara Artis
Ayane Nyn
Anouk Lefavre 
WrenNoir Cerise
Carley Benazzi
Aida Ewing
Magissa Denver
Asia Rae
Prisilla S. Avro
Liat Reina
Graphic Dix
Strawberry Singh
Polly Elan
Skip Stehali
Tanecka Gossipgirl
Marcopol Oh

P.S. In response to Strawberry's Meme~ =P
P.P.S. Comments are enabled in post. 

Second Life®, Linden Lab®, Second Life Grid™, SL™, Linden™, SLurl™ and WindLight®, are trademarks or registered trademarks of Linden Research, Inc.


  1. Wow, awesome post ! That makes things so clear ! Thank you for that.
    I hope it will end the endlessy debate about raw Vs edited. As you said "No particular treatment of SL photographs is "superior" as all treatments have their uses

    1. Yes, we definitely hope it will lessen the debate between raw and edited with the new added "Natural Edited pics". And yes, no particular one is better or worse, just depends on the use and personal preference and style of the SL photographer~

  2. Great post, and much needed! Often when I speak with clients only thing they ask is "to make them look great" and after trying to explain the difference in types of post-processing work they either focus on the price or let me decide what would be the best. I prefer naturally edited, specially if its a vendor image that is supposed to show the product as it really looks but there is a huge amount of people that don't share the opinion lol, asking to heavily edit the product to make it look better.

    1. mmhmm! "make them look good" is on the general wishlist =) as for vendor picture, the heavy edit should come from the designer to try to make the product look AMAZING so that even in both raw unedited pictures and natural edited pictures, the object, product will look just as amazing. if they can't do it, then stop designing, i feel.

  3. This is awesome! Thank you for putting this out there as was discussed in class. This will definitely assist in people defining what it is that they want from a photo.

    1. =) i do hope so solde. The much confusion needs to be seriously addressed.

  4. I think its an excellent article to define SL Photography into the different levels of treatment that an SL Photographer / SL Photo Artist would use on her/his works. I am also glad it was mentioned that an SL photo work often fits in a gradual gradient along the 4 define treatment levels.

    I would say that there is a 5th treatment category that was missed and which is often used by myself and many other SL Photo Artists. It take "treatment past the category of Artistically Painted (or maybe it falls into this category but the author did not mention the critical type of post-processing in this category). Within the DeviantArt site as well as many other art groups, this is referred to as "Artistic Photo Manipulation".

    Photo Manipulation actually goes beyond enhancement and actually introduces multiple main and/or subordinate subjects into the work. For me, I often create works that blend multiple SL photo elements together and even blend SL and RL photo elements together. I can give your two of my artworks as examples:

    Portrait of a female avatar and a RL frosted window:

    Tinman: a blending of one SL photo of the timan with another photo of SL "Misty Mountain" sim

    Hillbilly Airways: SL sim landscape with 3 RL ornament (4 primary elements):

    I think either Manipulation could be added to the definition of the 4th or add a 5th "Artistic SL Photo Manipulation".

    Great article!

    1. yes i do same than you, but i think it can still fit with the 4th category with the "post processing painting" definition. Painting can be done in multiple way then.
      however, i used to define me more as a digital painter than a photograph, due to the endlessy debate raw vs edited even if its not also totally painting either. so today im glad bec i may say i create photographs artistically painted... Finally, i can put a word on it. :))

    2. Hey Trinity. That is why I suggested that MANIPULATION be added to the definition of category #4. Personally, I do see as to others that there is a difference between "Digital Painting" and "Digital Manipulation".

      To paint something means that you are creating new elements from scratch and by hand onto the artwork - like photoshop's Brush, Pencil, object elements. I actually have created one artwork via "Digital Painting" as an example - EMPTINESS - where no photography element was used at all in the work:

      Photo Manipulation blends together multiple primary PHOTO IMAGES.

      In the DeviantArt website there is a clear distinction between these two. But, for the purpose of this article, Category #4 could include painting and manipulation. One of the photos the author used to define this category clearly has a Photo Manipulation artwork in it - the one with the flag.

    3. yes and that's my problem for giving a name to what i do, bec i use all of what u said. Painting, creating from scratch, photomanipulation, blending and even more. That's why i thought that maybe "digital painting" could have some nuance bec of the digital word inside. i dont even know how to name my artworks (except by artworks) i dont know if photo or pic match, i was thinking that maybe that would be called digital illustration. well... That's why i think this blog post give already some good insight, because its really not easy to explain to ppl what i do.

    4. well to explain better why its so not easy for me : in front of the huge protestation from some raw photographers about post processed pics, i finally found myself not entitled to call myself a photograph regarding to their definition of this role and the ostracism of some of them. So since it was unpleasant to feel i guilty to post process, i stopped calling myself photographer, that way i stopped all debate and all willings of competition. Maybe you havent been caught in such debate Toy, and its a good thing, but really its something really unpleasant, and im not going to apologize because i dont do raw and i do the 4th or 5th category. id just like ppl understand there is room for everyone and every style and respect the choices made by the artists when they do one.

    5. Yes I totally agree that Photo Manipulation should be added. Rest assure that it will be in constant discussion and we will come to a consensus how and where to place it. At the moment, I think Artistic Photo Manipulation will fall into Category #4 - maybe renamed as "Artistically Painted and Manipulated"? What do you guys think?

    6. And yes Trinity, we totally agree that there is a place for all SL "Photographers", I use the word photographers cos we do start with dealing with Snapshots in the first instance. But we are actually really graphic artists~ =) Don't you agree?

    7. Wonderful examples, Toy. I have changed the title of Category #4 to encompass both "Artistically Painted" and "Artistically Manipulated" because they both belong to the same category in the amount of work and effort put into post-processing~ =) Thank you for the reminder on that part, Toy. TY!

    8. I think renaming category #4 to "Artistically Painted or Manipulated" would be a great way of addressing this.

      As the founder of the "SL Photo Art" group within DeviantArt, this topic of what is "SL photo art" comes up frequently. Our group (with currently 218 SL photo artist members) has a submission guideline that requires the SL photo to be visibly post-processed by either artistic enhancement or manipulation. We wanted a group where submissions would show artistic post processing.

      That does not mean we have lower respect to the raw or touched up SL photos (i.e. your category #1 and #2), but we wanted to show SL photos with a strong injection of post processed artist styling. Unfortunately, some see this as the group is disrespecting raw photos - which we are not.

      link to this group site...

    9. I see what you mean, and I totally want to include the people who does post-processing and I admire them so much. I am personally going to keep a close look at the deviantart group site, WONDERFUL WORKS!

    10. yes i totally agree Nariko (and thank you from the deep of my heart for the comment on my flikr ), and i also agree about the changes in the category 4 (including photo manipulation). :)))

    11. No problem Trinity. We, at VISIONAIRE, want to inspire everyone to find what they are good in, yet still trying different other types to further improve themselves in their short SL existence~ =)

  5. Very informative post. Thanks for including one of my images! <3