Screen Shot Artist

Discussion in 'Console Technology' started by thop, Jun 1, 2010.

  1. thop

    thop Great Member
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  2. Laa-Yosh

    Laa-Yosh I can has custom title?
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    Hasn't got much to do with manipulating images, it's more about finding proper camera angles, good lighting, interesting action and so on. You know, pretty much what a real life photographer does.

    If you've worked in game development you'd know that one of the greatest fears of the studios is some clueless marketing person at the publisher taking random images from an outdated build of the game and spamming them to websites - all without their supervision. It can seriously make or break the game's reputation.
     
  3. assen

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    But is there any other way of taking screenshots than by a marketing intern from an old build???

    BTW I invited a photographer friend of mine last time around to take screenshots, showed him how to control the camera, how to tweak the lighting, how to change the FOV etc. The results were underwhelming - much worse than what his real-life photos promised. No idea why.
     
  4. Malo

    Malo Yak Mechanicum
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    I want that on my business card - Bullshot Engineer
     
  5. Nesh

    Nesh Double Agent
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    :lol::lol::lol:
     
  6. Laa-Yosh

    Laa-Yosh I can has custom title?
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    That's interesting. Our most creative guys, including the director who does almost all the camera work, are usually pretty good at any kind of artwork, they shoot great photographs, have good drawing skills and so on. I've also always assumed that such skills should easily be transferred between various mediums, especially when the tools don't require years of training (think marble sculpting).

    Then again I've seen some traditional artists with good portfolios to fail spectacularly on the computer, too. Maybe it also takes training to properly interpret what you see on the screen - training which many of us had with playing computer games since we've been kids?
    But then how come that Rick Backer, one of the best makeup artists, has so easily learned to work in 3D modeling sculpting programs at an age of like 60?


    Anyway, taking good screenshots does require an artist. And bullshot image settings don't need any human interaction after the in-engine tools are created, just as retouching is less and less necessary anyway.
     
  7. assen

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    Yep, don't really have an explanation. Our art director, who generally takes the best screenshots from the games, posts pretty crappy, pedestrian vacation photos on Facebook :)

    All in all, the original job advert was pretty well worded. I would hire such a guy given the budget! (In general, most games look worse in person than their marketing screenshots suggest; if your games look better than the screenshots, you're wasting marketing opportunity.)
     
  8. Neb

    Neb Iron "BEAST" Man
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    It's different taking a photo of real life and making a screenshot from a game. Maybe a bit becouse we are more easily impressed by digital art in realtion to current hardware capabilities. In 5 years what was a great screenshot might look dull or just not impress anyone just becouse graphic capabilities has advanced.

    Also you get to take screenshots from angles and locations that would be hard in real-life. Traveling across target area to find excellent spots in a game is easy but in reality on foot it is time consuming. Also no need to wait out the right time moment with target lighting, shadow direction/shape etc. The rest, colors etc is like TOD manipulation or for photos PS work.
     
    #8 Neb, Jun 2, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 3, 2010
  9. Laa-Yosh

    Laa-Yosh I can has custom title?
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    I've yet to see a thread where you could not find an excuse to post Crysis screenshots... :p
     
  10. Neb

    Neb Iron "BEAST" Man
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    I would have posted any other game if they where even remotely as modifiable with editor as CE2/Crysis for creating custom stuff and artistic stuff. Changing layout and TODs by text in other games would be one helluva nightmare! :smile:

    Anyway just showing off same map how it differs with colors and vista angle between 2 choices with no outside modifiaction.
     
    #10 Neb, Jun 2, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 2, 2010
  11. Johnny_Physics

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    This is just further specialization within the game industry, there's more and more of that.

    Having a person, instead of a soft group of artists/designers/programmers, to pick out that shot could mean a lot of savings in time and money especially if that person's also part of the PR team, internal or external, uploading and granting access to shots. The ordinary soft group of artists/designers/programmers to pick and choose shots won't be as necessary.
     
  12. Graham

    Graham Hello :-)
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    I cannot overstate how true this is.

    A friend was working on their game, and the PR people from the publisher released a camtasia captured sequence from a debug build of their game. Badly cropped, badly compressed - and around 10fps. It had a camtasia trial version watermark on the bloody video! It also didn't help that he walked through a wall at one point (early code)
    The recorder also clearly didn't know how to play the game.

    I'm not going to link it, it's too painful. It was a spectacular disaster and most certainly would have impacted sales of the game, it had 1 and a half stars on youtube. I know a couple of sites that stopped covering it after that.
     
  13. grandmaster

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    Taking a screenshot is an acquired skill and something of an art form. I spent 14 years working with games magazines and I made sure that screenshots were just as much of a priority as the writing - they are your window into the game. That meant researching the very best capture cards and developing software that made getting the most dynamic gameplay shots possible as easy as possible.

    So back in the PS2 era, we spent a small fortune on a great Matrox card that was progressive scan capable... only to find PS2 didn't support progressive scan! Ha! But... our framegrabbing tool saved the last 125 frames in RAM at all times, so the writer could pause at any time and pick out the best shot (often when it framed out, giving a "progressive scan" image any way) from what was the last 4-5 seconds of action.

    Our magazines had an advantage because we took dynamic shots that weren't just from the first level of the game, and we made sure that each shot told a story.

    Bottom line is that I think gamers intrinsically know when they see an exciting screenshot, far more than a traditional photographic sort of guy would. I'm not surprised to see this kind of job ad, but at the same time, I'd imagine this skill is just something that comes naturally to just about any gamer so I'm surprised there's not someone in-house capable of doing it!
     
  14. Shifty Geezer

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    For in game captures, that is the most sense. Real-life action photography uses the faster cameras to run of 10+ frames per second, and the photographer picks the best ones. If 1080p is good enough for your photos (newspaper print) I imagine the new 1080p movie SLRs are an even better option, meaing exactly the right moment can be found.

    A lot of PR stuff seems to be staged though. Certainly CON's PR shots were zoomed in much closer to the action than the game ever allowed. Staging virtual game shots would be akin to being a director/photographer rather than a game-player who can then review their gameplay and pick the best shots, and I can undertand how some people will be that miuch better at staging shots that it's worth employing them. Sadly those shots are a bit rubbish as they don't accurately portray what the game is like in you hands.
     
  15. Arwin

    Arwin Now Officially a Top 10 Poster
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    Actually, it did! Just not very many games supported it (even fewer in PAL-land), and it only came generally available for the UI and DVDs when the PS2 Slim came out.

    I agree in general although I recognise it depends a lot on the game too I guess ... I definitely at least have seen huge differences in talent and quality for games that support photo-modes, like the Forza's, Gran Turismo's, PGR4s, and MotorStorm 2's of this world.
     
  16. grandmaster

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    Yeah we did actually take advantage of what progressive scan games there were, but in day-to-day life there were essentially none.

    We did Soul Calibur (Xbox) and Tekken 4 at 480p, I seem to recall. Indeed, we actually used the VGA output of the Tekken 4 coin-op for our shots at the time, which partly vindicated the choice of capture card as the leap in quality was just awesome.
     
  17. FirewalkR

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    Quite possibly the best screenshot artist in the whole of the internets (and the only person I saw that is truly worthy of the title) goes by the handle of TheOctagon at NeoGAF.

    Check out his posts at the 2010 PC screenshot thread over there http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=383744 (you may have to search a bit of course) or more directly, his quickly becoming great blog/site Dead End Thrills at http://deadendthrills.com/.

    He goes to great lengths to get the best screenshots. To great lengths, I tell ya! :grin:
     
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