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by Eiries

Screenshot-Fu: Updated July 13th, 2014

The Rule of Thirds

The general idea behind Rule of Thirds is that you can divide an image into nine equal parts and be able to trace certain parts of the image to the intersections of the squares, or along the lines they create. In doing so you can better balance the contents of the image for a more aesthetically pleasing composition. Rule of Thirds doesn't and shouldn't need to apply to every image. And on that same note, you very well may see RoT in some of your existing shots. That's because you already have an eye for composition.


Just about any environment can benefit from framing. Doing so brings the picture together and gives stronger structure for any focus that may be in the image. In buildings framing may be logs, walls, etc. In nature you have trees, rocks, and more. There's really no limit to what can frame an image, so if you catch something, use it!

Focus Points

Having a focus in an image can help pull the entire thing together, even in scenics. Note how parts of the environment can be traced back to your focus. A person's eyes naturally follow these "lines" directly to your focus, so the point here isn't to just jam your focus in the middle of the image. Let it speak for itself.


Having contrasting color can really make your image pop. For example, a cool-colored environment with warm ambient lights is the perfect place to snap a pic. You won't always have the opportunity to do something like this, so take advantage of it when you can! On the other hand, a more desaturated look can be useful for portraying bleaker scenes.


Toggle Menu (tm): speaks for itself, don't forget it!
Toggle Fly Cam (tfc): the core of screenshooting. Use it to access an invisible flycam. In first person your character won't be in the scene, and putting a 1 after it (tfc 1) will freeze the entire scene.
Set Global Time Mode (sgtm #): I don't actually know if that's what it stands for but it sounds good. Slows or speeds up game time. Unlike set timescale to (see below,) this speeds or slows down EVERYTHING, from weather to actors to water. 1 is default. Try setting it to .05 while you're attacking an enemy. Don't forget it works during flycam too. you can preserve the water ripples created by character movement
Set Timescale To #: slows or speeds the in game clock. Be careful, as the game remembers this change even after your current playing session. In Oblivion the default was 30, in Skyrim I think it's a bit lower. Don't put it below 7 and forget it there or it can seriously muck up some starting quests. But you can use this command to quickly rocket through the day, allowing you to use the sun and environmental lighting to your advantage. Then you can set it to 1 so you can take your time getting the rest of the scene together. Just don't forget to put it back to 25 or so!

sucsm #: slows your camera during flycam. Or speeds it up, I suppose. 10 is default.

FOV and Cropping

FOV and cropping: the FOV command is pretty much the best thing ever. An acronym for "field of view" or "field of vision," increasing it past the default value (65) will push more of the scene onto your screen, creating a fisheye-like effect. More importantly, decreasing it cuts your field of vision, pulling more of the scene out of view and essentially zooming in. Use this to your advantage whenever possible! It's great for cutting out unnessecary parts of an image, allowing you to easily focus on what matters most. It's essential for portrait shots, texture closeups, and getting just the right amount of a scenic in view.
Toggle AI (tai): click on an actor, input tai, and they'll freeze in place. You can see where I'm going with this!

Toggle Collisions (tcl): if you don't click on anything it will function like noclip, allowing you to walk through the air, and through objects. Targeting an actor will cause the same effect, although it's not as useful for them as it is for you. Using tcl you can get actors closer to objects and each other. Also if you're trying to get an NPC to look somewhere, you can switch to first person, activate tcl, and float around them until they're looking where you want. Then TAI them.

Dynamic Angles

The right angle can make or break a shot. Going for dramatic? Set the flycam close to the ground, or maybe above at a high FOV. Experiment around, and don't be afraid to take a few shots of the same scene at different angles. You can decide for yourself later which ones you like best after.
Get mfg console. See below for a list of commands for emotions, eye and mouth movements. Phoneme names literally express the noise a mouth would make when moving that way. Keep in mind that, unlike emotions, modifier and phoneme commands can be infinitely combined.
The guide on steam seems horribly inaccurate because the expression list only goes up to 7. It actually goes up to 16 (shout.) But you don't need a list to keep on hand: type in "me" or "mfg expression" at the console to instantly get an in-game list of all the available expressions. You can do that with modifier or phoneme too, but with mfg console you don't really have to because there's a chart in the top-right corner (make sure you're clicked on an actor and hit Tab if there's not.)
Quick mfg console tips :me= mfg expression
mm= mfg modifier (eyes and brows)
mp= mfg phoneme (mouth)
"mfg expression 10 100" can be shorted to "me 10 100" with mfg console.
mm 9 and 10 are the most useful for starting out, as they let your character look left and right. Doing so will easily bring a lot more life to him or her.


Outside The Game

Final Notes

Image capture software: Steam suuuucks. It doesn't pick up on some AA, and it jacks up your pictures by compressing the piss out of them as soon as you take them. The default .bmps generated by the game also don't always reflect all of the post-processing effects you may have going on. Instead, I recommend FRAPS. Get the full version (I won't ask what method you used) so you can use its .png function. Then use Wrye Bash or Irfanview to batch convert your pics in 100% quality jpgs. ENB also has a screenshot function; it's set to Insert by default. If you want to change it to Print Screen, set KeyScreenshot=44 in your enbseries.ini.

Postwork: with all the post-processing stuff out there, image editing software like Photoshop, GIMP, and seem redundant, but you can still use them to make the most out of your pics. Sometimes a little contrast enhancement can go a long way. And they're great for hiding nasty wrist and neck seams. But be careful not to go too far with your editing or it'll quickly go from a good shot to straight-up cheesy.

Final Notes

Some of this should be taken with a grain of salt. There are tips and guidelines, not set-in-stone rules of screenshooting. Don't feel obligated to make sure every shot follows Rule of Thirds or that everything is angled just right. Don't forget that you're doing this for fun!
Use ModifyFaceGen (mfg) # # in the console. Using mfg reset restores to default values. Examples:
Need help setting poses for the right 
mood? Check out our Poser-Fu page!
*Warning* These mods require FNIS   to work properly.
tl;dr give me console commands.

tcl = toggle collision


tfc = free flying camera


tfc 1 = free flying camera but time stops


tc = toggle control of npc


fov = fov (set a number after fov to change values)


sgtm = set game time modifier


set timescale to = change how fast time goes


set gamehour to = changes the time


tai = toggle ai


tg = toggle grass


ts = toggle sky


sucsm = flying camera speed (set number after)


twf = wireframe


getpos x = get selection position on x axis


setpos x = set selection position on x axis


getpos y = get selection position on y axis


setpos y = set selection position on y axis


getpos z = get selection position on z axis


setpos z = set selection position on z axis


getangle z = get selection angle on z axis


setangle z = set selection angle on z axis


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