Sunday, November 6, 2016

The Improved SL Camera (Revisited)

My old guide to improving the SL camera contains a lot of information about older viewers which is no longer applicable, so I'm making a touched-up version for new users. 

The Improved SL Camera

First you need to reveal the Advanced menu at the top of your screen. To do this simply press ctrl+alt+d and the menu will appear to the right of the Help menu in your menu bar. You can also go to the Advanced tab in Preferences and select to have the Advanced menu shown, shown below.

 From the newly revealed Advanced menu at the top of your screen select "Show Debug Settings", near the bottom.

 The Debug Settings panel will appear. At the top of the Debug Settings panel is a field where you can type the name of the setting you'd like to adjust.

Type "CameraOffsetRearView".

The panel provides you with three integers to change for the x, y and z placement of your CameraOffset.  Change them to these settings;

x: -3.000
y: 0.000   ( For an "Over the shoulder view" use -0.400 for right or 0.400 left shoulder. )
z: -0.200

 Once that is done click on the input field again and move to the next setting;

Type "FocusOffsetRearView".

 Once more you will have x, y and z  positions, this time for the focus point.
 Change them to these settings;

x: 0.900
y: 0.000   ( For over the right or left shoulder us -0.700 or 0.700, respectively. )
z: 0.200

Here's some solutions to issues some people run into.

Avatar fills entire screen?
Simply zoom the camera out! The mousewheel zoom controls work exactly like before. You can also adjust the "x" CameraOffset to move the default camera position forward or back.

The view is odd, I can't see where I'm going/camera points up!
 Make sure you change both the CameraOffset and the FocusOffset. If you only change one and not the other it wont' do you much good at all!

 If you did everything correctly your view in SL should resemble this:

And this:

Click and hold on your avatar to angle your view up or down, even as you move!
You can improve your SL view further by altering the FOV.
First, press ctrl+9 to make sure your FOV is at the default. Then, hold the ctrl key down and press 0 about 5 times. The resulting effect is that SL seems to have a greater sense of depth.

 Don't like it? Press ctrl+9 again to revert to the default.

 Pressing ctrl+8 a few times has a fun effect, too, perfect for haunted house sims! Again, you can press ctrl+9 to revert to the default.

 I've found this to be a huge improvement in making SL look more cinematic.

 If you enjoy these settings, contact the developers of your favourite viewer and request that they add this camera placement as a preset in the camera drop-down menu, so you don't have to manually re-enter the settings every time you install a new viewer and you can more easily share the experience with your friends.


  1. This is a great post, I'm glad you've come back to the topic.

    Do you know if there are any camera settings that affect vehicles? There are camera huds available that make it a bit less disorienting for those not used to the way the SL camera behaves while driving, but generally all scripted attachments are disallowed in a competitive environment.

    1. In my experience, vehicles usually have scripted camera placement. This overrides any viewer camera settings.

    2. I had a good FRONT view, but didn't note the coordinates. The default looks down and distorts. What are the settings for a "normal" front view, as if taking a photo?

      Thanks in advance of your reply.

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Madelaine M., thank you so much for your help with my camera view default change! This worked. I could not thank you on the SL blog, (error message) so I'm thanking you here.

    1. And also, of course, thank you Penny Patton for the information that helped so much!

  3. SO

    I shared this link in the firestorm group and was told by Miro Collins that these settings are also available in the photo tools area of Firestorm.

    Phototools: ctrl-shift-c
    cameratools: alt-p

    I set my camera to the default and wasn't able to get it to mimic your settings. I'm not sure if that's because I didn't try hard enough, or because those tools don't work the same way as using the debug settings.

    One thing I don't understand is why did you change the numbers from your original blog post? Where did you come up with the new numbers from -is it based on something that's changed in gaming, or just from tinkering you've done in the years since your first post?

    Anyways, thanks as always!

    1. The change in numbers is just due to general tinkering. Every so often I like to revisit settings I've changed and see if I can't do better. Sometimes I decide the original settings I came up with there better, other times I settle on something new. I'm still using the camera settings here (with the right shoulder offset) today.

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  7. This post is pretty cool. I set mine to be on my right shoulder. The only thing I dislike about it is that when I want to pan the camera around (to see if something rezzed properly or whatever) the camera swings out really far away because of where the focal point is.

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