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Author Topic: How to Take Good Screenshots - Photographing Sims  (Read 5132 times)
Forum Goddess

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Mushroom Girl

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« on: April 15, 2007, 12:06:46 AM »

Hi Guys

Taking good screenshots of a Sim can be challenging but there are simple and reliable principles that will give you good screenshots every single time. For this tutorial we will be talking about how to get good screenshots of Sims. I am intending at this stage to do a second tutorial explaining how to take good Lot pictures

Below is a screenshot of the same Sim photographed on my computer with exactly the same graphics card. As you can see there are steps you can take that will drastically improve the look of your images usingyourexisting equipment.

1.   Some of you may be wondering  how to take a screenshot.

This is how you do it. 

Hold down the Ctrl (control) key on the bottom left hand of your keyboard and you press your print scrn (print screen) key on the top right hand side of the keyboard. (see highlighted keys)

2.Once you’ve copied your image open up any graphics program, go to the Edit Menu and select paste. Your unedited screenshot will appear in your graphics program and you will be able to edit it as you need to.

In this instance I am using MS Paint which is available on every Microsoft Operating system.

3. How do you make the background of your image more attractive?

Lets face it, the default CAS house is terrible. It looks like the Sim equivalent of someone putting someone against a wall and taking one quick shot with a Polaroid.

However you do have a couple options available that will improve the background. If you would like your shots to look like you’ve put more thought into them, creating your own Custom CAS house is an easy option to help make your shots look more finished.

We have a tutorial on how to create custom CAS houses on Sublime Sims.

A tool you have available to enhance your custom CAS is the Invisible CAS objects by Windkeeper and you can find those objects here. These enable you to make the mirror, the couch and the pictures dissapear from your CAS house so you can furnish it more to your tastes.

However if you don’t want to go to that effort you can also download them from this part of the Sublime Sims, and there are many other fine sites like Mod the Sims and Sapphire Sims that provide ready-made Custom CAS houses.

When you download your custom CAS, you are able to drop the CAS straight into your downloads folder and it will work just fine in your game.  Please note for your custom CAS to work properly, you need to have any custom walls and floors or invisible objects that you’ve used in the house in your downloads folder. (If you leave out a wall when you’re reinstalling, you’ll end up with a grey wall)

You also need to remember that a CAS house is a lot, so if it’s been made with a particular EP, you need that EP to use it. (you can’t use a CAS house made with NL if you’ve only got the base game fore example)

Below you can see the difference between a the default CAS house and the same sim photographed in a Custom CAS using Windkeeper’s invisible objects. (This Sim is photographed against the Sublime Sims CAS house available here) Even though the shot is still furry, you can see the difference in terms of how polished the presentation looks with a custom CAS.

4.   Getting a crisper image

The next thing you can do to improve your screenshots is to turn up your graphics resolution in-game. This can be done either within CAS or from your main game screen.

Firstly, ensure you don’t have any sims displayed on the podium or where the podium would be. What I mean is, your CAS room should be empty.

Press the options button on the wheel at the bottom left of the screen

5. This brings up a number of choices. Press the Graphics/Performance Option (see circled)

6. Turn each of the options in the first two rows (shadows, lighting, graphic effects, texture detail and reflections) right up high and turn up smooth edges. (see circled areas) Then click Apply Changes.

7. A box will come up asking you whether you want to keep the changes. Click Yes. (please note it is advisable to flick your settings back to recommended levels after you’ve finished taking your images or your game performance will become very sluggish)

8. Below is a picture of the same sim after we turned up our graphics resolution. As you can see you can get a much better quality image with exactly the same computer just by paying attention to your settings.

9. It is really important to think about position, layout and how much you want to zoom in to photograph your Sim.

There are a couple of things we can learn from models. Firstly, you get a much stronger and more elegant image if we turn our Sims slightly sideon. Models use this trick all the time to make themselves look thinner.

Secondly, we learn to zoom in on feature areas. So if you’re photographing a floorlength dress, it’s fine to do a full body shot. However if you’re photographing a knee length dress like this, photograph it from just below her hemline to just above her head. What I am saying to you is, take advantage of feature areas on your outfit and zoom right in to display them front and center.

This is the same Sim turning slightly sideon and zoomed closer in so we can see the dress more closely.

(note, I do use more dynamic images for kids and toddlers but that’s not something to be explored in this type of tute, it’s something you purely learn from experience)

10. One more tiny secret. When I’m editing the image in MS Paint, I initially save it as a BMP, do any of my editing as a BMP and resave it only once as a JPG. There’s a reason for this. BMPs retain a whole lot more richness as an image than JPGs do. Therefor you want to retain that image richness as long as possible and minimise anything that will lose that richness. This is one of the great secrets to ending up with a truly wonderful image.

I hope this tutorial helps you get out there and take your own wonderful screenshots and attack Sim images with confidence.  If you have any questions about the techniques discussed in this tutorial, don't be afraid to ask any of the wonderful people on our forum for help!

Kind Wishes
Proudly stalking Emma
<@Pescado> Okay, how does this operate?
<@Pescado> Which buttons did you press to create the thingy?
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