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Zoom's virtual backgrounds

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
I've been playing around with these. They seem to work quite well -- a little clippy sometimes, but if you're not moving around too much it works great. It seems like they could be quite a good immersive tool for online play -- the GM provides a background to represent the location the players are in.

Anybody been playing around with these? Got any good recommendations for backgrounds to use? (You can use any image on your PC).
 

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practicalm

Explorer
I like getting some backgrounds of mars from NASA.
Or really any NASA photographs.

Another is find a gif where fish are moving around
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
My experience is that... most folks machines don't handle it well enough to be immersive. If the real-world background isn't just a flat white wall, and the person doesn't sit very still, the rendering gets jarringly sketchy, especially around the edges.

I saw one guy, wearing a white shirt with a white wall behind him, unintentionally turn himself into a rather disturbing floating head.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
My experience is that... most folks machines don't handle it well enough to be immersive. If the real-world background isn't just a flat white wall, and the person doesn't sit very still, the rendering gets jarringly sketchy, especially around the edges.

I saw one guy, wearing a white shirt with a white wall behind him, unintentionally turn himself into a rather disturbing floating head.
Hah! Yeah, you have to wear a bright colour different to your wall and to your chosen background, or the algorithm struggles to find the edges .
 

Eltab

Hero
I want the scene from 2010 with USS Discovery, wearing a yellow coat of Io-sulphur, slowly rotating in the background.
 


pogre

Hero
I was using a background of some Hirst Arts projects I did, but I like a lot of the ideas presented here.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
If you're looking for virtual Zoom backgrounds, you could do far worse than these 27 art pieces from the War of the Burning Sky adventure path.


fire-tomb1.jpg
 


Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
Almost every player in my groups have them, they seem to work fine. Even when I am washed out because it's daylight and there are windows indirectly behind me.

As players, we're often putting up character appropriate artwork. In one cyberpunk/superhero game I have a matrix-style video (without being too obviously matrix) as it's appropriate for my character.

One DM likes to use the default "beach with palm tree" video that comes with it. Another uses his iPad for Zoom and his laptop for Roll20 so he doesn't do backgrounds.

We sometimes also use them to hide the background. A friend has been doing regular recurring zoom meetings M-F at different time that people can jump on to say Hi, and one person said "my bedroom is a mess" and had up a countryside pic.
 

Eltab

Hero
I saw one guy, wearing a white shirt with a white wall behind him, unintentionally turn himself into a rather disturbing floating head.
Do this using the fish / aquarium background and wear a scuba mask with snorkel. You are the reincarnation of Jacques Cousteau.
 

Gradine

Final Form
I used them for one session and it was kind of fun but everybody started getting in on it and it ended up being super distracting.

Our second Zoom session I didn't bother with it and it went so much better
 


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