Screenshots: Tips & Tricks
Wowhead thrives on user contributions! Quest data, database comments, forum posts - you name it, we love it! One of our favorite methods of contribution is via uploaded
, images depicting various items, NPCs or quest details in the World of Warcraft. Users can submit screenshots to any database page which will then be reviewed by our staff and, upon approval, added to a database page! Taking and uploading screenshots is easy!
Some of the information below was graciously provided by Blizzard Support.
Don't submit screenshots obtained from private servers, sandboxes, model viewers, the dressing room, etc. We don't always catch them, but when we do, not only will we reject them, it makes us very suspicious of all your future submissions. If we catch you doing it too often, we'll just remove your ability to submit them. Screenshots from official beta servers are fine, though they'll be removed, or note added, if the models change.
Don't submit the whole screen if you're just trying to take a picture of a pet, mount, or something your character is wearing. Usually, your subject should be roughly centered (both vertically and horizontally), with some framing scenery, but not too much. When you're submitting gear shots, focus on the gear piece itself, rather than the character wearing it.
Turn your interface off.
ALL OF IT!
No targeting circles, no names, no addons, no damage/heal numbers, no maps, no bars, no chat windows, no target icons, no GM response windows, no interface elements of any kind. Press
to dismiss most of it, but you may have to turn off names as well. We make the occasional exception for joke screenshots, titles, and NPC dialog, but that's it. The reasoning is it's usually redundant with the information already provided in the entry. It also doesn't thumbnail well, and can't be adjusted for different languages.
For Transmogrified items, the rule of thumb is the screenshot should match the model of the item's normal appearance. Thus, if you have a
transmogrified to look like the
, you would submit the shot to the latter's entry, not the former. If you're dual-wielding a Unique item, please indicate it has been transmogrified in the caption.
Don't open up your screenshot in Photoshop, MS Paint, or whatever, and scrawl arrows, circles, explanatory text, etc, all over it. It just looks bad. The image should show what you're going after by itself.
If you're submitting gear screenshots, keep in mind many pieces of the same name come in different versions. Raid Finder, Flex, Normal, and Heroic are different for PvE drops, for example, as are Elite and Normal for PvP gear (e.g.,
). Likewise, there are many quest rewards that have different entries for the two factions, even though their names are the same (e.g.,
for Alliance vs.
for Horde). Make sure you submit to the correct faction.
When submitting set screenshots, include
the gear pieces. That includes the helmet if there is one, so turn head graphics on. Also, no tabards.
We know hunters love to show off their rare spawn pets, but keep in mind we do prefer untamed mobs for stickied (i.e., default) screenshots.
For some entries, we do accept artwork rather than actual game screenshots. If you submit one of these, you
include the name of the artist in the caption.
We sometimes accept joke screenshots, but don't be too put-out if we reject yours. We generally prefer to have an actual in-game screenshot before we start accepting jokes.
For subjects that don't have any graphical representations, we sometimes accept related non-game images. For example, actual gold bars for the entry for gold bars.
Please help us out by not submitting something that may be subject to copyright restrictions.
In your graphics settings, bump Multisampling to x4. Anything less, and your images will have jaggies, which will make them ugly even if the rest of your settings are on Ultra. You can set it higher than x4 if you like, but it will cost you FPS for essentially no improvement.
Zoom in as much as you can while still capturing all of your subject. We'd rather have a poster than a postage stamp. Our minimum allowable size is 150x150, but that's usually way too small. We much prefer an image that's bumping against our 1900x1200 limit.
If you want to take pictures of yourself in your fancy new gear, lighting is very important. So, forget Ironforge and Undercity. If you want easy, go with Stormwind or Orgrimmar, but take them during the day in good weather, and don't stand in the shadows. If you're feeling ambitious, there are many areas with even better lighting and more interesting backdrops. Some zones even have decent lighting at night. Night officially begins at 9pm and ends at 6am, but when the light begins to actually fade varies wildly from zone to zone. Regardless of where you go, make sure you mouse over yourself so you're highlighted.
On a related note, light has direction in WoW. If possible, face your subject so that it's being illuminated by the strongest light source. If you have your shadows on higher than the minimum, you can often use them as a quick reference; they'll be pointing away from the light.
If you're using the
, type: /wl id . This will open a small tooltip (which you can move) that will include the ID number of most NPCs you mouse over or click on. This will help you know precisely which database entries to submit your screenshots to. This is particularly important for major NPCs who tend to show up in lots of different places, and thus have many separate IDs.
A good screenshot is like a miniature piece of art. It should showcase the main object, but take into account the details around it. The same 7 elements of art design come into play here, Line, Shape, Form, Space, Texture, Light & Color. We'll touch on several of these and how to make use of the in game settings and mechanics to enhance your pictures.
Turn your resolution and color sampling as high as your computer can handle. Turn on all the image effects and details, but turn down the weather effects to the lowest setting. In general you want all your glow and spell effects maxed to really show the environment to its fullest potential (they actually help with the lighting too!) You may find a shot that you need to play with these settings to enhance, sometimes turning down environmental detail is helpful to remove extra grasses.
World of Warcraft actually has an internal setting for screenshot quality, and by default that quality is set to
. You can turn this up, though, in order to take higher quality screenshots. In order to do so, type this command into your chatbox:
/console screenshotQuality 10
Most of the time taking the pictures from 1st person view works best, so zoom all the way in so that you're looking through your character's eyes. Occasionally the object might be too big (large NPCs especially) to use this view - if this is the case get as close to them as you can without having your body in the shot and swing the camera around to get the angle that you're looking for.
Pay attention to the light - a well lit picture is 10 times better than a dark one. You may even want to do a little color correcting before uploading - increase the brightness and contrast a touch. For instance - it's a lot easier to take pictures in sunny Stormwind than deep in the mountains of torch lit Ironforge. Daytime pictures also turn out better than night.
We want to see the armor! Not Joe Schmoe in the armor. In general you want close ups of the piece itself (except for full set pictures). Don't be afraid to submit a 4 inch picture of one glove. Once's it's cropped and loaded and shrunk down to the thumbnail it will look great!
Use your best judgment when cropping armor pics, but remember - we want to see details of the armor - not the person or a far away image. Of course, this also applies to weapons or any other piece of equipment!
Full body shots should be the norm. If you can't get a good full shot (e.g. they're standing behind a counter) get the waist up shot. There's no need to include the on-screen text and titles of NPCs. The website already lists those, so just get in close and take a great shot of the NPC itself.
Get down on their level - you may need to "/sit" or even "/sleep" to get a good view of something low to the ground (scorpions, boots, spiders, etc.)
When capturing moving NPCs, try to get as much a head on front shot as you can, being willing to take a few hits while you take picture of a mob attacking you can make for a great shot. If you don't want to get your hands dirty, sitting in place for a while and waiting for it to path in front of you is often easier and faster than running around it trying to get your shot.
Talking to friendly NPCs will usually make them face you - you can then spin around and get the best background for your picture. You may also catch them in an interesting motion or gesture.
Taking Screenshots on Windows
While in the game, press the Print Screen key on your keyboard.
You should see a "Screen Captured" message.
The screenshot will appear as a .JPG file in the Screenshots folder, in your main World of Warcraft directory.
You should be able to double click on the screenshot files to view the screenshots in Windows default image viewer.
Extra notes for some Windows users
Due to extra security on some versions of Windows the screenshots may be saved to the following folder: C:\users\*your user name*\AppData\Local\VirtualStore\Program Files\World of Warcraft\Screenshots
You may also have to turn on the ability to view hidden files as the AppData folder may be hidden.
Click the Start/Window button, select Control Panel, Appearance and Personalization, Folder Options.
Next click on the View tab, under the Advanced settings, click Show hidden files and folders, and click OK to finish.
Taking Screenshots on Mac
Players can take a screenshot in-game using the keyboard key bound to the Print Screen functionality.
If you have a keyboard with an F13 key, press the key to take an in-game screenshot. Players without an F13 key on the keyboard can change the default Screen Shot key in the Key Bindings menu.
You should see a "Screen Captured" message.
The screenshot will appear as a JPEG file in the Screenshots folder, in your main World of Warcraft folder.
Remember to turn off your in-game UI using the Alt+Z (or ⌘+V) command! Upon taking your screenshot, you can then go in and use an image editor (such as the free program
) to crop your image for faster upload. You can select specific sections of a screenshot to upload (if you are featuring a particular piece of armor, for example) and save the file, then simply upload your pre-cropped image directly to Wowhead! If not, you can easily crop your screenshot after uploading but before submitting using our handy tool.
To submit a screenshot to Wowhead, simply navigate to the database entry for which you've taken a screenshot and navigate to the 'Contribute' section. Select the 'Submit a screenshot' tab and click 'Choose file' to locate the file on your system. Remember that only PNG and JPG file types are accepted! Once you have selected the screenshot simply click "Submit" and you're on your way! You will then be able to crop the image if necessary before your image is finally submitted for review. Upon approval (which may take up to 72 hours) your screenshot will then be featured on the database page, as well as in a 'Screenshots' tab in your user profile!