Posts Tagged windows

Conserve Virtual Hard Disk Space in a Windows 7 Guest OS

ūüďÖ November 20, 2016
wasted_windows_space1When running Windows 7 as a guest OS (with VirtualBox, for example), here is an apparently obvious tip that can be easy to overlook or forget about: Disable hibernation and paging in Windows 7.

This will conserve the amount of virtual hard disk space used by Windows 7 and result in a more space-friendly .vdi image on your real hard drive — especially important if using a solid state drive or NVMe storage.

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SweetFX – Levels

002SweetFX Levels sets new black and white points. This means every pixel whose value is below the black point will be converted into pure black, and every pixel whose value is above the white point will be converted into pure white.

Think of this as the equivalent of level adjustment in GIMP using the histogram. Used sparingly, Levels will trim off excess whiteness, and it will darken shadows and other dark areas that appear too “washed out” when they should be darker.

On the other hand, visual detail is lost when used excessively, and drastic scene changes can be produced. This is either good or bad depending upon the desired effect. In short, Levels is an effect best used for minor touchups to the resulting image.

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SweetFX – Vignette

007SweetFX Vignette darkens the corners of the image to produce a peephole or faded corner effect. This can be used with other effects, such as Sepia and Monochrome, to produce a variation of the old-time photo effect.

Of course, Vignette settings can darken an area greater than the corners alone until the entire image is obscured, so use sparingly for the best results.

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SweetFX – Lift Gamma Gain

006Regarding video and images, gamma is an exponential relationship between pixels and luminance. (Luminance is technically not the same as brightness.) The theory and mathematical formulae behind gamma is educational, so the Gamma FAQ might provide a useful introduction for those interested in grasping the technical principles.

For an inaccurate, simplified description related to video games, we can think of gamma as brightening the bright areas and darkening the dark areas without losing too much detail. Where a simple brightness effect would brighten the entire scene uniformly, gamma handles this with more “intelligence.”

The SweetFX Lift Gamma Gain effect provides a fine amount of control over how gamma is applied to an image. While the SweetFX Tonemap effect provides a basic gamma control for basic gamma application, Lift Gamma Gain allows for more precise gamma control over the brightness of shadow areas, midrange areas, and bright areas, and it can do so at the color level with RGB values.

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SweetFX – Tonemap

014SweetFX Tonemap is an effect that adjusts a variety of related image enhancements that include gamma, saturation, bleach, exposure, and color removal.

Tonemap is a useful “many-in-one” effect. Other effects might offer a greater degree of control over the image, but if only minor modifications are needed by using one effect, then Tonemap has its place.

Tonemap is an excellent effect for colorizing black and white images. The applied color is often better and more uniform across the image than other effects that attempt to colorize.
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SweetFX – LumaSharpen

004Does your unaltered game appear slightly out of focus or fuzzy? (No, depth of field effects do not count.) SweetFX Lumasharpen sharpens the image to enhance details. The end result is similar to what would be seen after an image has been enhanced using the Unsharp Mask filter in GIMP or Photoshop.

LumaSharpen can produce a highly-sharpened gritty-world effect, or it can give edges a¬†slightly more distinct “pop-out” feel depending upon its application.

However, this is another “less is more” effect. While a little sharpening might make the image appear better, more sharpening can make the image appear worse than the original by over-sharpening it. Experiment, and apply in moderation.

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SweetFX – Explosion

007Explosion is a SweetFX effect that scatters pixels. And by pixels, that means all pixels, including any text, HUD, or life bars. This produces a fuzzy image that appears as if it is being viewed through a frosted glass window.

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