Lance Corrimal is keeping up a rapid series of releases to his Dolphin Viewer, averaging around one release a week of late. Most have contained nips and tucks or have been driven by SL requirements such as Direct Delivery. However, at the beginning of March he rolled out the “Fujiyama edition” (version 188.8.131.5277), aimed specifically at SL photographers.
With his latest release, 184.108.40.20663, issued on Saturday April 28th and code-named “Fellini”, Lance adds functionality to his Viewer that is specifically aimed at machinimatographers – the code-name clearly being a reference to the late Italian film director Federico Fellini
The functionality in question comes in the form of an adaptation of Marx Catteneo’s machinima floater. In this the release is somewhat serendipitous for me, as I also linked to one of Marx Catteno’s marvellous videos on the 28th to highlight the architecture of this year’s Fantasy Faire.
In integrating the floater into Dolphin, Lance has modified it slightly so that information is tabbed for easier reference, especially when used on smaller screens, and while it may be aimed at the machinimatographer, it contains a lot of options that SL photographers are liable to find very useful.
The floater can be accessed in one of two ways:
- via WORLD->MACHINIMA TOOLS in the menus
- via a dedicated toolbar button called MACHINIMA TOOLS, which has a nice little movie camera icon (note that the button is not active by default, but must be dragged out of the Button Toolbox).
Using either option opens a compact panel, sized to display on laptop screen as well as larger monitors.
Machinima Toolbox with Graphic tab open
The toolbox essentially provides fast, single-point-of-access to a range of Preferences options as well as to a number of other panels and functions, allowing the machinimatographer / photographer to quickly and easily carry out a range of tasks such as enabling Windlight presets for the sky and / or water, adjusting their camera / flycam, enabling / disabling lighting and shadows, adding / adjusting depth-of-field, adjusting shadow and occlusion settings and much more besides.
Each of the tabs in the label is clearly laid out, and some benefit from having certain functions disabled (grayed out) until such time as their controlling option is enabled. In the Graphics tab, for example, the drop-down for selecting the required lighting types (None, Sun/Moon, Sun/Moon+Projectors), is disabled until the LIGHTING AND SHADOWS option is checked.
Rather than waste words describing each of the tab, here is a set of screen captures for the remaining tabs in the floater:
Shadows & Occlusion
Depth of Field
“Miscellaneous” – currently derendering options
The derendering options are liable to prove useful for eliminating bystander avatars who are having a detrimental impact on camera movements, etc., when trying to shoot a video, while the “Miscellaneous” tab as a whole leaves room for further options to be added, should they be required / possibly requested.
As well as the machinima options, the blog post for the release notes the following updates are also included:
- Getting a worn attachment into edit by right-clicking it in your inventory and selecting “Edit”-
- Opening a Landmark on the map from your inventory, similar to what you can do from within the Places window.
I’ve not been able to thoroughly test the release in my usual manner due to time constraints elsewhere. However, in the tests I did perform, using my home sim as usual (3 others present in the sim) and both PC and Viewer set to my usual defaults (see the panel on the right of this blog’s home page), I found this release of Dolphin performed as well as other recent Viewer releases from the majority of 3.2-based TPVs. Running with deferred rendering off (no shadows / lighting enabled), the Viewer comfortably ran with an FPS in the mid-30s at 390m, with this increasing to the low 50s at altitude on my build platform (2850m). At ground level, the rate dropped very slightly to average at around 30-21 FPS.
Enabling deferred rendering and setting the lighting option to Sun/Moon+Projectors saw my frame rates fall to around 19-21 FPS at 390m, and to the mid-teens when at ground level. This was again pretty much in keeping with recent releases from the likes of SL and Firestorm.
Overall, an interesting new addition to Dolphin which should prove to be of interest to those interested in both video and photography.