The Art of Screen Shots – Angles and Distance

I mentioned in the last post that all you really have control of when taking a screen shot is what direction you face, how high up you are and how close you are to the subject.

This post is going to tackle that. 

There are two halves involved in the creation of a fantastic screen shot.  Firstly, giving yourself something to work with.  Secondly, bringing out what you are looking for.

In order to give yourself something to work with, it is not simply a case of finding something you think looks cool and pressing the PrtScr button.  Taking a little bit of time to explore the shot can make all the difference.

What direction you face and how high up you are (thank God for flying in the old world!) combine to give you the ability to control angle.  When you see a subject on your screen you think will make a great shot, try to remember that in WoW most objects are represented in 3d space.  This means you can fly around it, over it and sometimes under it.  The straight on at eye level shot is not always best.  In fact, moving your character around a bit can open up some very interesting and unique angles you may not have seen before.

This shot of the Stormwind dwarven quarter illustrates the concept of having to think in 3d space.  The black arrow represents the approximate spot I’m going to stand for the second shot.

Stormwind Dwarven Quarter

I chose this spot because the cranes provide a useful tool to illustrate the 3d aspect of the shot.  So this perspective shows the area, but doesn’t really provide the viewer any sort of immersion.
By shifting the viewpoint to here: 

Just Craning Around 

There are things happening, well sort of.  From one corner descends a claw and from a side comes some logs! That’s right, some logs! Ahem.  What it does is give the viewer a perspective of moving through the area, not just viewing it.  The angle of the shot makes all the difference. 

Take this example as an even better illustration of how shifting the angle of your shot can make it so much more interesting and dynamic.

1st Angle – Elwynn Forest Barracks
2nd Angle – The Lion

The second element of a shot that we can control is distance.  By this I mean how far from your initial subject you are.  By moving your perspective backwards or forwards, you can drastically change the type of shot you get.  This element is fairly straight forward (hehe) but can can make a huge difference to the outcome.  Shifting backwards could bring a part of the shot into view that adds something different and it can also give you more to play with when you get to some post-shot work.  Take these two shots of the waterfall near Stormwind that everyone has flown over a trillion times on the gryphon route.

I wish that was my house

This in itself is not a bad shot, plenty to catch the eye. Look what happens when I move the viewpoint back though, the shot completely changes:

Rivers Wide, Canyons Deep

Moving backwards, in this case a long way, provides a totally different shot, albeit of the same thing.  What I’m really trying to get across here is that it pays to take a little bit of time and shift your perspective.  Fly up and down, back and forth and over and under.  Look for the angle that you think shows off a viewpoint that is interesting.  It is amazing what you can find!

Next post I’ll start having a look at post-shot techniques.



2 responses to “The Art of Screen Shots – Angles and Distance

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