Monday, 6 July 2015

Worldbreaker monolith photoshoot

Some days are so stressful that it's hard to keep to my posting schedule. Today was one of those days. I was contacted by my university that something went wrong somewhere in the bureaucratic mill for my pending departure to study in Sweden (I still don't know for sure if that's going to happen) and then had to fix stuff for my upcoming holiday in the United Kingdom. So I hope you will forgive me for this one being short.

Action photography

I've given some tips on how to take good-looking screenshots in Star Wars: The Old Republic before (check the article if you haven't already; it's been a while but it's still relevant). I've since found that the problem with taking good pictures of fights involving multiple people is that the animations mess up the shots. While they look awesome when fighting something solo, in raids everything becomes, excuse my language, one big clusterfuck.

Yesterday evening I got to practice my photographer-in-action skills during the Worldbreaker Monolith, the Ziost world boss, in preparation for putting our teeth in the instanced Colossal Monolith on hardmode. I forgot to respec to DPS, and since the fight is so easy that you really only need one healer (a bigger contrast to Colossal Monolith wouldn't be possible), I decided to spend the fight taking screenshots instead. Hearing the yawns of the others on Team Speak, I was probably having the most fun job.
This is the worldboss. With a lot of purple blurb in front of him (no idea where that's from).
Also, note the flying player characters.

The DPS really do get the best views, don't they?

An okayish screenshot, I suppose. A patchwork of animations on the ground, though.

If you haven't done the fight, you probably have no idea what you're looking at right now.

This is what I mean with clusterfuck. This shot could potentially have been great without all those animations covering a third of the screen.

Although this monolith isn't called Colossal, it totally would live up to it's name if it was: you really have to look for the tank on this picture!

I think this one ended up being the best. The sorcerer was standing at a good spot and since non-sorcerer animations are absent the attention is drawn to her force storm.

What is your experience with taking screenshots during fights? Do you agree with me that animations make it tricky to get good ones? And did you once wipe your group just so you could get that perfect shot?


  1. Ack! Sorry to hear about your problems. I hope none appear any more for the foreseeable future so you can do your departure to study in Sweden and your holiday vacation in the UK without any issues!

    Anyway, I am just terrible with screenshots in general. Any screenshot that involves animations drives me even crazier since I have to mash down the print screen key in hopes to get what I want to show. And that is all considering I have the time to try framing the camera in a way that will make it look cool. In combat that is pretty much impossible for me since I will most likely be too busy trying to not die or hitting an ability key so it doesn't look like I am doing some work as a monster punching bag. :p

    I never wiped a group to get a perfect shot though. All the wipes I got were due to my own mistakes or being distracted by something else (like chat. >_>)

    1. Time is short, so I'm just feeling very stressed at the moment. So stressed that I sort of get paralyzed by it, if that makes any sense. I mean, I know it doesn't make any sense and certainly doesn't help, but it happens anyway. :(

      Mashing down the print screen key is what I do too, you know. With action screenshots you just *have* to shoot a lot and hope there's something good among that pile of shots you've accumulated. I think I made at least 50 for this encounter, so about 1 on 5 looks decent. And then some of the above are just there to show how the animations mess it up! But good point, I probably should've mentioned that side as well. :)

    2. That makes a lot of sense actually. I've felt like that before. It is normal. Take a big deep breath and hang in there. Things will get better. Then you can look back at that part of your life and see it as just another chapter of it. *gives a friendly hug*

      True that. But the perfectionist on me just doesn't like the thought that there might not be any screenshot worth using at all. I know, it is crazy. It is just how my mind works.

      Oh, and just to be clear. I never wiped to get a perfect shot not because I always get an amazing screenshot in group fights. It is because I don't even try. Usually I am too busy trying to tank for people and if I get distracted (like say, talking in decoration channel in EQ2, not that I have done that before... *coughs*) then people die. If I start trying to take screenshots at the same time then my friends will kick me out of the guild and put my name in their black book!

    3. *hugs back*

      Oi, tank is probably the worst role to play screenshots on... apart from if what you want screenshots of is the boss' face! That said, wiping the group because of talking in the decoration channel in EQ2 (the mere fact that there is a decoration channel makes that game awesome in my book, btw) scores high on my crazy-ways-to-die list. I think that's about as bad as wiping because of taking screenshots, haha!

  2. Aw, Sorry to hear about the issues you faced today! I hope all is well, now!

    Nevertheless, I'm absolutely loving your action photography! They look amazing! I'd totally agree that action screen shots are a tricky one, but you seem to have it down-packed! :)

  3. That sounds like a spectacularly stressful day! How exciting if you get to study in Sweden, I'm very excited for you. I'd travel to the UK anytime, I hope that works out for you as well.
    I always worry about showing other character's names in group shots. There seems to be an unwritten code that you don't put other people out there without their knowing.
    The only time I can get really nice screenshots in these instances is when I'm dead, and it isn't necessarily the finest viewpoint.

    1. I mainly hide player names because it looks better, but like you say, I also hesitate to post characters with their names above their heads because I don't know if those people will mind. So far, reactions of people who's toons are being featured on this blog (albeit without name), are positive. They think it's kinda cool! So I'm not too worried about that anymore (also, I don't trash talk people or anything, so when their character is published it's usually in association with something cool, like a boss kill achievement).

      I agree; when you're dead you can't run around, so then you have to get really lucky to get a good shot. The Ziost world boss was so easy that it really didn't matter that I was running around with the UI turned off, taking screenshots. So I guess this is a good place to practice action photography. :)

  4. Sniper by far is the best for screenshots. HOWEVER, this fight tends to be a Gun N' Run so there are plenty of opportunities I've missed because to stay alive I'll have to haul butt. I can't say I've ever attempted the perfect shot and jeopardized a raid. Can't say I'd feel good about that lol.

    1. I thought this fight would be comfortable for a sniper, because the adds (and boss) will be taken care of by the tanks? Anyway, don't worry, I don't tend to wipe my group to get the perfect shot either! I do sometimes do dangerous things to get screenshots, but that's only if I know we're going to wipe anyway.

  5. I don't usually bother to turn off nameplates for screenshots, though I agree that they look nicer that way. I have however run two operations without my UI before, for filming purposes! I was of course completely useless as a healer, but my guild agreed to it in advance. ;) Don't know if you would have seen the videos that came of those runs, but the one of our TFB run can be found here, and the other one features DF & DP.

    Personally I think combat animations are a mixed bag - on the one hand seeing several of them go off at the same time can look incredibly cool (flying sabers for example), but the ground effects, such as glowy heals or a gunslinger's various AoEs, can be a real problem because they envelop everything in flames or a some sort of glow - then you really can't see what's going on anymore.

    I hope your stressful situation calms down soon, and don't feel obliged to keep blogging at your current pace if you don't have the time for it! (Not that I don't love seeing your posts, but one has to have priorities!)


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