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Tips to improve your screenshots

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avatar MegaMinerDL
Level 22 : Expert Crafter
Linked screenshots for illustration purposes. WTC came up as an example and I used it throughout to be consistent.
Enjoy. (Sorry if this is a bit long and messy, may need a review at some point.)

Hide the hotbar and hand for a clearer view with F1 (press again to unhide). Remove unwanted mobs in the area - in creative you can do '/kill', then '/kill @e[type=Item]' to remove drops. Prevent all mob spawning with '/gamerule doMobSpawning false'.

For best visibility, wait for day or do '/time set Day'; Stop time changing with '/gamerule doDaylightCycle false'. Night shots may look cool, but not if you can't tell what's in them. Make sure all chunks of your build (and the surroundings?) are rendered;

Not-so-good: static.planetminecraft.com/files/resource_media/screenshot/1910/2019-03-07-20-32-40-1552017497.png
Better: static.planetminecraft.com/files/resource_media/screenshot/1737/76-1505120677.png

Increasing render distance might contribute to a fuller view without missing chunks. For a big build though, you could reduce render distance and allow a e.g. 16x16 chunk area to load for the screenshot. Turn off clouds if they interfere with a tall build.

Play around with the video settings to see if you can improve the graphics overall, such as the Details, Animation and Quality. Briefly getting low FPS or lag shouldn't matter when you're just standing still for a few seconds to take a good screenshot;

Avoid taking screenshots from crappy angles that don't really show the build, or that show a small or insignificant part of it.
If your build is too big, pick out some best parts to screenshot separately. Or you can consider rendering - more on this later.

Proportion your build in general to make the shot less boring. Have the build a bit to the side, or play with the perspective, e.g. take a screenshot of a tower from the bottom, looking up at the now-towering skyrise. But don't go overboard with the effects;

Not-so-good: static.planetminecraft.com/files/resource_media/screenshot/1909/2019-03-03-12-46-44-1551636456.png
Better: static.planetminecraft.com/files/resource_media/screenshot/1414/2014-04-04_155120.jpg

You could use a texturepack to change the textures themselves, if one suits your build, e.g. medieval textures for a castle Some builds are built in a specific texturepack on purpose, but they may look strange in default. Or the opposite, so see what fits.

Shaders provide a more realistic game overlay, being especially effective in improving lightning and shadow (higher quality may briefly lag). But don't overdo on either, or the screenshots may give a false idea of what the build's really like in default;

Default: static.planetminecraft.com/files/resource_media/screenshot/1613/2016-03-28_20190410013033.png
Texture/shader: static.planetminecraft.com/files/resource_media/screenshot/1804/2017-12-15-23-20-48-1516754116.png

You might consider the theme of the build and any mood you want to create in the screenshot. E.g. rain/lightning can create a dull/evil mood, such as for a castle build. But make sure the build is still visible, and again not just a dark unknown shadow.

Using the texture/shader packs can help create an atmosphere too, even if it's just getting a medieval texturepack for the castle. If the build is big, then a bigger screenshot of a vast area can be more intimidating and impressive - or consider rendering;

Default: static.planetminecraft.com/files/resource_media/screenshot/1609/2016-03-02_2153129941821.png
Night-time: static.planetminecraft.com/files/resource_media/screenshot/1609/2016-03-04_2250539941799.png

You can use programs such as Chunky, or the more advanced Cinema4D, to make a render of a part of your world. Size won't restrict you, and you can add other effects - but this requires skill and time (giant exports?), so things like shaders may do.

You can add your logo/watermark in the corner of the screenshot with simple editing software - online editors or even Paint can do. Text and titles can also be added to make the build stand out and to add annotations in secondary images if you wish.

You could change the brightness, saturation, add borders, etc. But always keep it smart and relevant. Don't be invasive with the text and editing, and never go overboard, or the screenshot may end up a mess, or again unrealistic compared to the build.

Default: static.planetminecraft.com/files/resource_media/screenshot/1834/2018-08-25-08-27-13-1535182770.png
Rendered: static.planetminecraft.com/files/resource_media/screenshot/1834/mathildarender-1535182728.png

1 reply

06/02/2019 1:28 am
Level 10 : Journeyman Miner
Nice job covering some of the basics of photographic composition :>:

Link for Chunky [a GNU freeware renderer] https://chunky.llbit.se/
Cinema4D is commercial (US$995 per theis review https://download.cnet.com/Cinema-4D/3000-6677_4-10024995.html )

For annotations, titles, adding arrows etc. GIMP is a full powered free (under a GNU license) alternative to the pricey commercial options.

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