If you're new to screenshotting, or new to it as a creative pursuit, here's the shtick:
Screenshotting, like many crafts, is as simple or complex as you want it to be. Fundamentally though there are a few pillars of quality to consider.
Most of what has spurred the screenshotting niche to blossom so much recently is the ability for consumers to render games at image qualities that were usually reserved for developer's 'bullshots'.
This is accomplished firstly by density of detail, i.e. the higher the resolution and better the anti-aliasing, the better the image will look. The current gold standard for a clean screenshot is a rendering res of 4k, or 3840x2160 (or 2400), achieved through Downsampling, along with the best anti-aliasing you can feasibly run. Your results will vary with you're hardware, but having the best IQ you can muster is the first and foremost concern to getting quality shots. Find your best, and move on to the artsier stuff.
There are various avenues for what images you want, but if you're looking for artistic shots, or again, "bullshots", its likely the first thing you'll want to do is get rid of the HUD. HUDs are great for playing the game, but not so great for a beautiful image.
After that, to really get the sense that your image is akin to something taken with an in-game camera, that video game photography feel, you'll want to get rid of the weapon (assuming you're playing an FPS).
For third-person games, and the rest, the next concern comes into play, which is accessing a free-camera, or NoClip. NoClip is usually the way A free camera allows one to truly explore the worlds of games with a creative eye, looking at all the beautiful nooks and crannies.
After all that, you're setup, and all you need is a way of capturing and saving your image, such as FRAPs, and then a way to resize it if you like. Resizing from 4k to 1080p or 1200p is a common practice, as you gain more image quality through the last bit of anti-aliasing done by your image resizing software.
Beyond this, screenshotting is the same as any other visual medium, the concerns are what you put within the frame, and the best results are usually the ones that have the most intent.
And where the magic happens:
2014 High-Res PC Screenshot Thread of The Last Hope For Image Quality
2013 PC Bullshot thread of "1 FPS? That's 1 screenshot per second"
The console screenshot thread
There's alot of info out there, scattered around about the internets, on how to tweak games. But many of these tweaks are directly related to screenshotting, and the point of this thread is to put those tools into one easy to reference database. The most important of these are:
- No HUD
- No Weapon
- NoClip / Free Camera
Beyond this there are plenty of other aspects of game tweaking and screenshotting in general to catalog, but those items are the essential modifications a game requires to be thoroughly screenshottable (timestop and noclip are a bit of luxuries, but important if available).
A quality catalog is the goal too. Please, if you know how to get a game setup for screens, post it! There's a ton of games all ready to go by now, so a good deal needs to be cataloged! This isn't just for our own reference, but to edify new folks and to help the craft grow into something better and better.
The thread is open for any discussion but we do have a focus. Like the Hi-Res and Bullshot threads that spawned this, the idea is to have proper Posts.
A proper post needs a title, and entails an organized write up. They can be broken down into three categories: Tools, Tweaks, and Techniques. The section below details them specifically, but when doing a proper Post, have two titles. The title is important, as it helps set off the post so I know to catalog it. The actual top title should either be the name of the game, the tool, or with techniques, the concept you are talking about. Please then add a bolded title in the first line of the post's body as well that is more specifically descriptive but succinct. The main importance of the formatting is that it is what will allow this thread to be kept organized and quickly and easily accessible. When regarding a tweak for a game that already has something posted, please quote existing material including the whole post so as to credit the poster. This means each link will go to the newest, most complete set of tweaks!
Also, if I miss something you posted, please let me know.
The categories are not meant to be prohibitive but simply compartmental.
- Follow the formatting! If you miss the top title you can't add it in!
- If you post an image(s), quote it to keep things clean.
- Check the compendium before you post to reduce redundancy.
- Be clear and descriptive, so that anyone of any experience can understand.
- Linking should be done when A. there's an existing GAF thread, or B. External info is too much to paraphrase.
- Be respectful.