These are some tips and tricks for getting decent images of items for TOR Decorating. I’m not going to presume I can tell you how to take good screenshots for the Stronghold submissions, so this is focused on taking screenshots for decorations. Some of the same tips do apply though.
Table of Contents
Print Screen vs Screenshot Program
I don’t use the Print Screen button to take screenshots. I prefer to use programs that allow me to crop the image when I take it instead of getting the whole screen and having to go back and crop it later with another program. Normally, I have my screenshot program tied to the Print Screen button so it will work the same as if I pressed the button for the program.
My preferred program for screenshots is Snagit. Snagit puts a tool at the top of my screen where I press a button that stops the action in game and allows me to drag my cursor and grab only the part of the screen I want. Unfortunately, the free version is only a 15-day trial and then you have to pay $49.95.
I also use Gyazo. Gyazo is a free program that will allow you to grab screenshots or create gifs. I don’t use it as my primary program because it pulls up a webpage for you to save the image instead of a separate window on your computer. Sometimes the Gyazo website can be running slow and I don’t like having to wait for the image to come up. I do use it for gifs though because Snagit has an option for videos, but not a way to do gifs.
Hide your UI using ALT + Z. The point of the pics is the decoration not all that info on your screen.
Nameplates are incredibly distracting and not useful at all. Hide nameplates by going to Preferences, Nameplates.
Unless you are purposely trying to get shots of your companion for a stronghold submission, dismiss him/her.
Full Shot and Size Shot
I always do a minimum of two shots. One where I move the camera in tight and you can’t see my character. This gives a really good close-in shot of the decoration. Then I move the camera back out and take a picture with my character standing next to the item. This allows people to get a decent idea of how large the decoration is.
I try to take pics with nothing in the background. I keep the areas I use for picture taking free of other decorations so they don’t interfere and I try to take most of the pics with not much in the background.
The single most important thing to remember when taking screenshots of decorations is make sure you have good lighting. I realize that not everyone has every stronghold unlocked, but there are ways you can make the lighting better.
I take all of my screenshots in the Coruscant Skyrise Apartment. I prefer this stronghold for a couple reasons. It’s small enough to easily get around to find the various hooks and the lighting is pretty decent. You get an orangey or yellowy glow on things, but at least you can see the details.
I do make a small adjustment so I can get better shots. I place the Basic Ceiling Light (Yellow) that you can get from the Decoration Merchant for 1,000 credits above the decoration if it’s not going to interfere with the shot. You can really see the difference in these two shots and these were taken next to a large window. It’s especially important when doing wall decoration posts since the wall doesn’t get direct light from the window.
The DK Apartment is very dark. You can use the light trick, but it’s hit or miss whether it will wash out some details.
Be careful that you don’t use too much light though. It will definitely wash out all of the small details.
Yavin should be an ideal place to take screenshots because you have a lot of outdoor light to work with. Unfortunately, there are a lot of clouds on Yavin and no direct sunlight, so it really depends on where you set up the decoration. Indoors is a nightmare even when you use artificial lighting. Also, it’s a pain to have to travel all over the stronghold to take pics.