[TUTORIAL] Taking the best possible map screenshots

Discussion in 'Tutorials & Resources' started by luxatile, Nov 1, 2008.

  1. luxatile

    aa luxatile deer

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    Need to take some screenshots to show off your map? Sure, everyone knows that you can just go into TF2 and press F5 to take a screenshot, but that won't give you any professional-looking results. Let me guide you to taking the best possible screenshots!

    1. Position yourself
    First of all, taking screenshots from ground level is often not sufficient, as that angle tends to not show off layouts and areas very well. To be able to "fly", make sure you're in a private server (Create Server on the main menu), then open the console and type sv_cheats 1. This turns cheats on, allowing you to toggle the noclip ("flying") mode by typing noclip in console.

    2. Take JPEG picures
    Normally, screens are saved in TGA format, which is not very convenient because it's not a format that most browsers support. To take JPEG pictures, input bind f5 "jpeg" in the console - this binds the F5 key to taking JPEG shots. You might want to increase the screenshot quality too, which you can do by inputting jpeg_quality x in the console. 100 is the max, and I believe 90 is the default.
    PS: If you want to convert a TGA to another format, use IrfanView.

    3. Remove obstructions
    Never ever leave in screen overlays (The HUD or weapon models), it leaves a terrible first impression. To remove your weapon model, type r_drawviewmodel 0. The HUD can be removed by using the command cl_drawhud 0. Substitute 0 for 1 to turn either of these back on again.

    4. Optional: Get rid of the fog
    Skip this if you're taking normal screenshots. However, overhead shots (to show off your layout) can be ruined by the presence of fog. Type fog_override 1 and fog_enable 0 in console to disable it. Switch the 1 for a 0 and vice versa to turn it back on.

    5. Max out your graphics
    Don't take screenshots with really low settings - it gives a terrible impression. Turn every graphics setting to the absolute max if you can. Anti-aliasing is very important. It doesn't matter if it makes you lag, since all you're going to do is take a still frame screenshot.

    6. Take screenshots
    Press F5, or whatever your screenshot key is. Some guidelines: Take screenshots of the major gameplay areas (Control Points, other large fighting areas, Intel Rooms). An overhead shot can be good as well. If you really want to go all out, try taking a screenshot of some gameplay in action on your map.

    7. Find your screenshots
    By default, they should all be in Program Files\Steam\steamapps\(Steam name)\team fortress 2\tf\screenshots.

    8. Upload them
    TF2Maps allows you to upload screenshots directly to the thread while creating it, which I recommend you use. When you want to show off WIPs or something, I recommend Dropbox, which lets you upload and link your images (and other files) through a folder on your computer rather than their website. There's a good reason most members of this site use it. Imgur is also good for its simplicity, speed and short links. Finally, zShare is a great tool for taking screenshots and automatically upload them to a website or your Dropbox folder, which allows you to circumvent the whole thing with going into your tf folder to find the screenshots.
     
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    Last edited: Sep 5, 2012
  2. Altaco

    Altaco L7: Fancy Member

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    flickr also works well for screenshots.
     
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  3. Jazz

    Jazz L5: Dapper Member

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    I just go spectator, noclip, cl_drawhud 0, and use FRAPS to take my screenies.
     
  4. Spike

    Spike L10: Glamorous Member

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    Oh yes, and don't forget to enable antialiashing! Big Screenshots looks very bad with disabled AA
     
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  5. YM

    aa YM LVL100 YM

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    Please add this in the front:

    1. Turn your settings up: Full AA, full antiwatsitfiltering, highest texture settings etc, since you're not paying the game it doesn't matter if your frame rate hits decimals and a screenshot without AA really makes your map look like crap compared to the same screenshot with AA! No excuses!
     
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  6. Psy

    aa Psy The Imp Queen

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    I prefer to take screenshot as TGAs then convert them simply because the quality of JPEGs taken in Source is horrible.

    Resize your images!

    If your images are taken at a high resolution then make sure you resize them to something more suitable like 1280 x 800! Not only does it reduce the file size and decrease the amount of time it takes to download the image but it also makes your screenshots look alot sharper.
     
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  7. FaTony

    FaTony Banned

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  8. Acegikmo

    aa Acegikmo

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    jpeg_quality 100 solves that problem.
     
  9. eerieone

    aa eerieone

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    taking fog-free overview shots when you have fog in you map:
    fog_override 1
    fog_enable 0
     
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    Last edited: Nov 3, 2008
  10. YM

    aa YM LVL100 YM

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    Theres another command for that aswell, something like r_mapoverview or something, then you just play with the number at the end until you can see your entire map, it removes the perspective as well.
     
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  11. l3eeron

    l3eeron L8: Fancy Shmancy Member

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  12. luxatile

    aa luxatile deer

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    The overview shot thing is a bit too in-depth I think, but I've included the other tips. Thanks, all!
     
  13. uma plata

    uma plata L6: Sharp Member

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    n-n-n-necro!!!

    good stuff here for anyone who needs help with screenies for a particular mapping contest going on...
     
  14. Cameron:D

    Cameron:D L6: Sharp Member

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    I run in max settings all the time
     
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  15. luxatile

    aa luxatile deer

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    I just updated this to clarify a bit, not to mention a bump could be useful now that a new detailing contest has started. :)
     
  16. zpqrei

    aa zpqrei Theme Changer Extraordinaire

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    It's quoted in the rules section, I believe.
     
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  17. Mick-a-nator

    aa Mick-a-nator

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    Wow, nice one. I mean it all is (or should be) obvious stuff but as I read through it I kept saying to myself "Oh f***, I forgot that last time..."
     
  18. lik5427

    lik5427 L1: Registered

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    also adding the command mat_picmip -10 will drastically improve model textures
     
  19. Terr

    aa Terr Cranky Coder

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    Anyone have any success (or failure) stories with Point_devshot_camera?

    If I could auto-magically make it snap to my position/orientation in hammer, maybe I'd use it, but...
     
  20. Psy

    aa Psy The Imp Queen

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    It looks like a launch command which is quite strange. Hmmm.