Hello!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

The Official 'Your Favourite Shots' Thread

24

Comments

  • edited June 2015
    "This isn’t that toothy grin you see in most shots, but a kind of seething, murderous unrest that punctuates all the Alien movies - this need to break quarantine and take on the universe."
    That description. Spot-on. That shot and this, are my faves, and to this day I don't have a clue how you got him to react looking up in that distressed type of way. Those both look magnificent, and the lighting, just perfection.

    scanner, to see your shots evolve, especially as you've just recently discovered the hobby is so cool! That Shadow of Mordor shot is great. Way different from what I've ever seen done with it, and I like that there's a bit of story there to piece together too. Look forward to see where you go with all this.

    Jim, great picks. Definitely, when you're not worrying about how to compose something in the back of your mind and just set it up by instinct is when you're at your best. You've pretty much made the perfect poster shots for those games!
  • edited January 2015
    Dark Souls II - "Dragon Age"

    The subject here is what I consider quintessential to the Souls series: a mismatch in apparent strength. I wanted my character to appear almost indifferent to the dragon: he's in rags, his sword is propped up against his shoulder (although this could be mistaken for reliance on the default stance). I also wanted the Dragon to appear as if he were sizing up his opponent. The torch, regrettably, has no symbolic significance; however, it does provide much needed technical backup for my ENB settings. What makes this particularly appealing for me is the intensity of the colors against the burning horizon, which is exactly the sort of setting where I'd expect to encounter a dragon. The less desirable aspect is the background, which is kind of muddled in some truly unfortunate DOF.

    image

    Crysis 2 - "Evacuation"

    This is from a mod I made, so there's some inherent appeal because I dropped all the assets in place and made some fancy lighting. But what really makes this one special is the fact that it feels like it could have been part of the original game (which is often quite difficult to accomplish, even when you're working with all the same art). The framing was designed to encourage the viewer to explore the winding path of wreckage, but not without noticing the slumped-over hazmat worker. The flare is the only hint that someone might still be lurking around and I thought it presented a nice sense of mystery.

    image

    Fallout 3 - "Strangers"

    I like that the intensity of the contrast drowns out most of the ugly bits while preserving in silhouette the two figures. I set this up so the bandit would appear to be waiting behind a fence and my character pivoting in response. Since I find it hard to achieve any sense of tension that isn't illustrative of imminent combat, I became enamored with the subtlety of the presentation.

    image

    Skyrim - "Cradle of Evil"

    This is another mod shot, this time using Skyrim's Creation Kit. I like this because the room and attendant atmosphere represent a kind of apex in terms of harmonizing Gamebryo's busted lighting technology with ENB. I also like the composition, which makes me think of grasping fingers. There's also an obvious sense of monumentality preserved in the angle that suits the hellish setting.

    image

    Dark Souls - "Taurus Gate"

    This is a fairly simple shot of the game's first boss. I thought the angle injected a bit of nostalgia into the scene, as if the viewer were another character watching a new player on that lonely stretch of rampart. I disabled the DOF because I thought it distorted the skybox too much, and the result is that there's a kind of crispness to this image that's reminiscent of an early era of gaming, when bloom and lens effects didn't try to smother a scene in atmosphere.

    image
  • edited January 2015
    Mass Effect 3 - "Dark Matter"

    I find this shot pleasantly disorienting in terms of locating a level surface. Everything appears to be tilting, and I think that helps evoke a sense of momentum, especially with respect to the weird energy pulse Shepard is thrusting out toward her enemies. I tried to get Shepard's pose to suggest that she would be reaching for her gun at the same time, but the execution is ambiguous at best. I suppose what I like most about this is one is the sleekness of the environment coupled with a very sci-fi color palette. I wanted something that felt grounded in the aesthetics of the universe that simultaneously offered a glimpse of fast combat.

    image

    Skyrim - "Black Crag Gate"

    Yet another mod shot. This is the entrance to aforementioned hell and once again strives to achieve an epic sense of scale. The contrast between the crumbling architecture and smokey path has an inexorable effect on the viewer's eyes: we know this path intersects a mountain, and we've all consumed enough fantasy to know that this mountain is a bad one.

    image

    Rage - "Blast Furnace"

    The flattened perspective is what really makes this one interesting for me, not to mention that a downward view is probably optimal for appreciating Rage's megatextures. I'm fascinated by the sheer amount of industrial grit the developers managed to pack into this shot. Dust marks, rust, errant cables, littered spall...all present and accounted for.


    image

    Alien Isolation - "Proto"

    No alien here. Just the strange art form of random machinery bathed in cold fluorescence, which is something I find fascinating in terms of aesthetic choices. I think Creative Assembly really melded their own artwork onto the original production designs in a way that made the whole experience fairly seamless, but here, I think some of that design got ahead of itself--which is a good thing, because it's excellent. I tried to frame this by sticking the camera right in the thick of things and using DOF to focus attention on just how strange all of these random, robotic parts really are.

    image

    Fallout 3- "Lost Transmission"

    There's something strangely appealing about a blue, misty morning full of dilapidated highways and yawning telephone poles. I tried to capture the spirit here by cloaking everything in bloom and then cranking the gamma to get the detail I needed in the foreground. It was a technical nightmare and I admit, these setting would be unusable in any other situation. However, I think the result is good and evokes the sort of desolation that is peculiar to the hours of early dawn.

    image
  • edited January 2015
    I'm liking this thread.

    Anthemios, I think if ever there was a game that suited a downward perspective, it's Rage. Megatexturing lets them decorate the floor to the same infinite degree as anything else in the game, which I'm assuming's also true of Wolfenstein: TNO and Brink. You had a 'typo' in your Alien description which I've changed, btw.

    Really very impressed with scanner's post. New to screenshotting and yet visibly keen to learn rather than wait for solutions to just magically appear. A bright future indeed.
  • edited January 2015
    That Alien description still has 'seem fairly seemless' in it, but I hesitate to change it because there's probably something smart lost in translation.
    Delete this if you decide to edit again.

    I'm as yet undecided if I like this thread more for the images or the descriptions. It's probably the combination.
  • edited January 2015
    Thanks guys for tweaking the descriptions. This is what you get when you write late. I probably offended Duncan by getting my British game developers all mixed up, though it would be amusing to see Criterion's version of Alien. No doubt there would be at least one cool chase in a service cart through a warren of conveyor tunnels.
  • I'm not sure it's possible for Criterion to slip its usual smartarse movie references into a game actually based on a movie. It's like typing Google into Google.
  • djh_ said:

    Really very impressed with scanner's post. New to screenshotting and yet visibly keen to learn rather than wait for solutions to just magically appear. A bright future indeed.

    Thank you, its not difficult to be inspired by these forums and the work of this community...I was telling Jim before that I like to learn from my mistakes, learn from the knowledge others and then hopefully get to a point where i am giving back more than I am taking. You guys have a really nice part of the internet sectioned off here and should be proud of what you all do.

  • edited January 2015
    I felt timid to do a post for myself but got some encouragement :)
    Though, as I dug through my shots, I realized how much I'd gone for image quality and flash over strong substance. Perhaps the best I can say for this is that many times I have this 'marketing material' kind of mindset. But my favorite shots are the more narrative shots, and so it really was surprising to see how often I eschewed this. I blame laziness and racing game graphics engines.

    Especially after reading the posts here so far, I have a different outlook on this strange craft. You guys have all done truly fantastic work.

    Some nice stuff made it through though I hope:


    image

    This shot of 'Havel' is perhaps the one I'm happiest with. It was a very happy accident to start with, a camera angle within a firebomb and a lot of fiddling with dsfix and SweetFX. I usually spend the most time lining up all the little bits in a shot, getting a strong flow in any image, and here it was a fine line between ugly fire textures obscuring everything, and dynamic 'illustration'. I like that its against blown out white that has been reduced, making the whole thing reminiscent of a movie poster. It doesn't feel like its describing Dark Souls per se, but there is at least an amount of the absolute heftiness From Software can imbue their worlds and characters with.

    image

    Here I just think I found pretty much all I wanted out of DA:I after having played it a bit. I wish that the game felt as massive as it looks in this image and let me in on the secret experiences of 'the troupe traversing the realm' that movies like LoTR always reduce to same such imagery. Its also an example, of which I have few, of describing a setting well with the placement of figures within it, albeit a bit of an unoriginal one.

    image

    image

    As with a lot of us, Skyrim was the shit, man. Its so damn open and customizable and allows for ridiculously unique settings and moments. Its the only game where I feel compelled to put up two shots. This was when I found the glory of GP65CJ042's DoF, and got some heavy fog going, and started the 'Skyrim: The Movie' set. I like the idea of situating game screenshots as excerpts from films, and in that set tried to set up an inkling of narrative, one that a trailer might be able to get across. There's a dragon, a fancy sword (glamdring). As always, there was a ton of tweaking and ENB and textures and yadda yadda, but more than that I think these two shots found two separate bits of value that none of my other skyrim shots managed. The 'Dragon' shot is a classic Skyrim mainstay, and for me, I am totally enamored with the impending menace of big things in fog - so this shot was the first thing I wanted when I got the fog working nicely. If I could go back, I would have changed the weapons (I did try to go back), but at least the detail on that hammer is tasty.
    In the second one, I had been running through what was useful for me out of the animation mods, and I'm pretty sure it was a prayer animation that had the benefit of doing this twist with an equipped weapon. It incited a whole idea about the 'hero' having to give up the sword to a corrupted or ignorant king. I think this shot found a great little nugget of the game, and damn if that DoF isn't sexy.

    image

    I feel bad that I didn't give this game a greater chance. I should really go back to it. This lone image did slide out of my short time with it though. There was little ado other than getting a widescreen res working and walking around to gauge the right spot to snag the shot. Probly the keenest example of the game doing all the work for me.
  • edited January 2015
    image

    Need For Speed: Most Wanted has been my favorite game to screenshot. Its fun to play and a constant sugar-blasted joy on the eyes. I really like racing games and cars and all that as well. It gets a bit frustrating that after a point, I feel like I'm just exploiting the game's shaders and whatnot. With my racing game shots, I feel its most evident that at most I am trying to do a really great representation of what the engine can do and make the gameplay look exciting and indicative of the highest dream of what the game is. So, a 'marketing shot' kind of thing. This I feel is the best one. The only really creative thing I think I found with NFS:MW was to use flicking the stick before pausing to get an exaggerated amount of motion blur, serving both as emphasis on speed and as a DoF facsimile. Here it all came together. The right amount of blur, the highlights everywhere, the color, the kinetic aggression, the 'hero' aspects of the cars. As Duncan mentioned earlier, one also has to try and hide the very unfortunately low-polygon count on the cars. Here its pretty minimal.

    image

    Had to include Project CARS. Its really the same story as NFS:MW, without the glorious glowing light everywhere. This wasn't a particularly difficult setup, but everything really came together right. Same stuff, the motion blur, the reflections, the sense of kinetic forces. Perhaps here, it'd even be a quality automotive photography image, were it in real life (though you'd need a hell of an angle from some chase car). That's a pretty constant goal for me in pCars.

    image

    SNOW is a nifty game and I plan to go back to it soon. The greatest success with it was actually convincing the devs to add in camera tools! It serves as a nice ski-photography simulator same as a skiing simulator. I feel I didn't really take many fantastic shots, but against the mountains this one seems satisfying.

    image

    Had to include Chivalry. Chivalry is an amazing game, and ran well enough at 4k that it was a very interesting 'action' shot experience. Running around in spectator mode trying to get a good shot of people in combat was maddening, and despite this one having a weak backdrop, the action is epic. It would be interesting to see spectating take on a bit of a following if people could inhabit game worlds more like actual camera men. Hmm..

    image

    This last one is included simply because I put so much time into trying to wrangle something out of Crysis 3. I'm not sure its the best, but its the one I like to look at the most. I think it is my strongest example of breaking a part of a game into just graphic elements, and creating that is more design than it is capture.


    So, thanks for being so inspiring folks. And huge thanks for the tools that you have made available. This is a great corner of the internet :P
  • Mrroderick. I love that shot of Havel. It's quite unlike anything I have seen of him before. He is also one of my favourite characters in the game. I could talk about Dark Souls for a thousand years so I wont bore everyone with the why. Lovely, unique thing you did with him.
  • I hate to be that guy but...
    djh_ said:

    1) ... Every shot must have a description, and don't just talk about the game.

    3) Please don't post more than 20 in total, and stick to the other amounts if you don't have that many. Any post that doesn't feature five shots will be removed

    protologolusx - Try and at least talk about the screenshots. After all, that was the primary idea behind the thread. Try and add a few more as well, because Duncan may lay down the law on that rule. He's not as nice as I am.

    Mrroderick - You still gotta add a few. But for now, I like what you've manged to get out of Most Wanted. I think you have a style that's somewhat unique to you. Even your Skyrim shots (not necessarily these, but some of your others) tend to have their own style. I remember you telling me about using narrative as a way to get your screenshots to stand out, though I can't remember if you were talking about yourself or suggesting it to me. Suffice it to say, I've not succeeded in that. But I still think about it from time to time.
  • edited June 2015
    Love this thread, all the descriptions, they really make it. That Havel shot and the process behind it is amazing.
    Anthemios, your shots have this kind of "focused subtlety" if that makes sense, very compelling works.
  • Thanks for the kind words guys :)

    As for narrative..
    There's an interesting specificity in how strong imagery is sought out or selected by us in a venue of video games, since the aspects of 'narrative' are often prescribed beforehand, yet not without agency from the player/screenshotter. It reminds me of how Duncan referenced Cinefex in his bio. Its interesting that sometimes you may want to illuminate the vein of a game's core ideas and characters and story, or warp the scene into a new statement all your own. Either way, the there seems to be a threshold where a shot goes from 'a screenshot of a game' into 'video game photography'. I'd be curious on what you guys think defines that threshold, as narrative is surely only one description.

  • edited January 2015
    Quite probably the main reason why I decided to enter the fray is that the sheer awesomeness of this thread makes me want to feel elevated by inclusion or skilful by association, even if self-imposed. I hope you all had entirely similar amounts of ballache trying to both select shots and coming up with remotely interesting descriptions, because you sure as hell seemed to pull it off effortlessly, whereas I'm ready to call it quits before even starting. You're all wonderful and this pastime is beyond redeemed, right here.

    ---

    It’s best to first get this out of the way: yes, I’m a total Fallout 3 whore. Not that I’ve actually played the game much; I’ve explored only portions of the main map, never finished the main questline and I can’t imagine how horrible any ENB I’ve crafted for the game must look in any of the DLC areas I’ve never had the opportunity to visit. That said: I have a huge love-hate relationship with the game. Its mechanics frustrate me, but its setting captivates me. Here we’ve got this fantastic attempt at conjuring a truly engaging post-apocalyptic world, which because of the engine’s limitations and some weird design decisions habitually falls flat. It has outrageous levels of contrast, a lack of shadows, the Fallout Facegen, fugly cloud textures and a lighting set-up that does not really work. Enter ENB, coupled with some SweetFX shaders, texture mods, and in-engine tweaks to lighting and fog variables and now we’re cooking with fire. So here are some Fallout shots. Just the three, because I really made an effort.

    Fallout 3 – ‘Reflecting Pool’
    A shot like this one is special in a multitude of ways. Mainly, it doesn’t come about quite easily. Hundreds of hours of learning to work with shaders without really understanding them, building your own version of the Capital Wasteland, and then extorting the right set of environmental variables to coincide, and finally, while joyously hitting that capture button, knowing that nothing you do will let you revisit this exact scene ever again. It is as fleeting as it is frozen in time. Move the camera even a tiny bit, and it all comes falling apart: the sun won’t hit the fog just right, evaporating that ghostly atmosphere; the shadows won't help hide the low-grade textures on the foreground rubble. The angle towards the water surface succeeds in making that pool look entirely more convincingly like actual water than it is normally does. It really never looks anything like this and it helps sell the image. And to me it also adds to what really makes this shot: this ugly game and its wasted environment, somehow refurbished to look serenely beautiful; a last remnant of impossibly pure water; a vestige of hope in a decaying world.
    image

    Fallout 3 – ‘Resist’ (reprise)
    I’m not usually one to go out of my way to resort to intense puppetry and meticulous placement of characters in order to inject narrative into a shot. I probably felt that I needed to at least once try to do something different than ‘guy walking away, toward or past camera in forsaken and blasted world’, and try some visual storytelling. This is actually my second attempt at the scene, and all in all I might have pushed and fiddled for more than four hours to even get these two shots. Of course I’m still not satisfied, but I doubt there’ll be a third attempt. Doing these things takes a particular brand of mettle that I’m simply lacking. I’m still quite fond of the end result, both because the lighting and colours look as pleasing as believable, and because I’ve managed to reign in most of the problems with Fallout’s expressions and horrible faces by spawning and disabling a small army of generic raider types. I think the shot works best because there’s a lot for the eye to see, and you have to sort of side with this daring post-apocalyptic shopkeeper, who for once has decided that enough is enough. He’s obviously going to make it but not without reducing the area to a radioactive heap of slag. I just love that ghostly patch of red fog close to center. Where did that even come from? And wouldn't you know it: those boarded up shop windows actually almost look like windows when you peer between the cracks. Also: sidebuuuuuurns.
    image

    Fallout 3 – ‘Don’t sleep alone tonight’
    The Capital Wasteland is as condensed as is Skyrim, and it’s very hard to feel really lost when you’re surrounded by apparent chance and opportunity. I wanted to get a shot that was not filled with Fallout’s ever-present landscape of blasted wasteland or looming city blocks. Of course, I only half-succeeded in conjuring a sense of space because of the lack of a distant horizon, but for some reason I still can imagine the subject (that guy again, yes - let's call him Clancy) to have walked his fair share of miles with still some way to go before he finds a set of waiting arms. Maybe I imagine too much when I’m shooting these, but somehow you kind of have to, especially since it takes me quite a bit of time to actually pull any shot off, and you’ve got to keep yourself busy while nudging camera positions all night long. What really makes me like this shot is that it seemingly has a slight tilt, or skewed perspective, where of course there is no actual way to do tilt in this engine. It’s also quite a different shot compared to the rest of my overly bulky Fallout portfolio.
    obscure title reference
    image


    On towards that other Bethesda game. Tweaking for these modding heavens feels like jerking off with razor blades. It’s too easy, and always very painful. I don’t know how other people do it, but to me these games never yield anything of worth without me half dying in the process. It’s either the constant crashing, or the painfully low FPS, or the fact that I can’t stop fiddling with these infernal shaders, or that chthonic setpos command.

    Skyrim – ‘Rift Asunder’
    Zoom out and you’ll see two minute characters (I think I had them at respectively 10 and 30% size) floating dozens of meters above ground. I must have gone through all available weather types twice before settling on this particular one, to get the look of that fog emanating from the ground to look just right. I love how it seems that there’s this tear in the world with gasses pouring out, where there’s actually no such thing. This is a shot that reeks of intrepid adventure, of diving into the world and exploring its most desolate places head on. The DOF is just right, the lighting is nice and soft, and the shadows deep and moody, all causing the textures to look better than they ought to. I of course flicked off the ENB/SFX combo to look at the vanilla game a bit, and subvocalized a cheer. Now if only I could find this exact place again so I could do it all over again.
    image

    Skyrim – ‘Escalation’
    With Skyrim you have your explorer explores shot, your (landscape) porn, your endless character portraits, and your dramatic action shot. I suck at that last one especially, so this shot feels like a minor victory. I’ve always enjoyed a good action shot, of which there are entirely too few given the amount of attempts, but never seemed to be able to understand what makes a shot a good action shot. I still don't know of course, but I can't deny that this one sort of works. The amount of non-Skyrim stuff is tantamount to cheating and I capitulate to the lore purist, but I just had to have some reds to both disrupt the wave of green, as well as echo the garb of my hero alter ego. I summoned my necker army (thank you CD Projekt RED) and meticulously placed them in interesting stances, trying to evoke some memory of Renaissance paintings or parliament brawl. Shoot for the stars, I say. Hovering somewhere between satisfaction and despair, I froze everything in place, except my brawler, and started working on his pose. Enter the dragon. That fucker had been lying in wait the entire time only to rise up at exactly the right spot to perfectly photo-bomb my shot when my Nord was in the exact right pose. Freeze frame, tweak DOF, fly in fog and maybe add a little bit too much of sky lighting, shoot shot, then go to bed satisfied. Of course the major victory is suggesting that these neckers have been outfitted with textures that don't look like a horrible mess at all.
    image

    So... now that this is out of the way, onwards to other places.
Sign In or Register to comment.