Point and Shoot
If you're already well schooled in the art of the Halo 3 screenshot, then the tutorial that follows may not be the thing for you. Members of Screenshot Photographers
need not apply. But if you're looking to earn your learner's permit, scroll down, you might pick up a few tips and tricks.
Most people know the basics of taking screenshots, but have you ever wondered how some players manage to take great screenshots with amazing effects? This brief guide will cover basic techniques, from lighting and angles to how using Forge can help you spice up your screenshots, because before you begin to think about using some of the more advanced effects, you must master the basics.
We begin with angle and lighting. It won't matter how many advanced effects you put into your screenshot if you don't capture your subject from a flattering perspective with the proper lighting in place.
Unless you're showcasing Halo 3's weapon set, you probably shouldn't take the screenshot from an angle that forces the gun to cover up a large percentage of the player
. Notice how you can't see the player's helmet, one of the more defining characteristics of this particular subject: the player model.
Now for that same shot from a different angle
. Nothing too glamorous here, but take note of how you can see much more of the player from this perspective. It's always important to afford a clear view of your subject.
Proper lighting is also very important to a screenshot's overall composition. Each level has its own unique, static lights, and by placing the "camera" inside an explosion or Filter effect, you can achieve different, layered lighting effects. My personal favorite grenade to use for screenshots is the plasma grenade. It gives a nice lighting color and the way it explodes gives nice blue lines. Lighting just takes a little bit of practice. After you've played around with different options, the process will become second nature
Using some of Halo 3's detailed level architecture and decorators can net you some interesting screenshots. Here is an example
of how good lighting and angle combined with a natural backdrop can be utilized to change the composition of a screenshot. To take a screenshot like this, make forced color green, head here on Guardian
, and use a grenade to help bring out the detail in the leaves.
Different maps have different scenery which can be used in a screenshot. Both Epitaph and Construct have walls that can give you a "Matrix" effect, and Valhalla, Guardian, and Last Resort have nice, natural scenery you can use to set the stage for a sweet screenshot. Here's an example
of a "Matrix" screenshot taken on Construct. That screenshot was taken through the glass wall on top of the gold lift.
Equipment and Filters
Some equipment can be used to enhance a screenshot. The Regenerator, Power Drainer, Bubble Shield, and Flare are all excellent candidates and each can have different effect on your screenshots. Different Filters, which can be placed using Forge on Halo 3's Legendary Maps
, can also help make your screenshots a lot more dynamic. Juicy and Gloomy are great for adding visual punch to your screenshots. Just play around with Filter combination until you get the effect you like. Some Filters used with a flare can even create a shiny or multicolored effect upon your armor varients.
Fair Warning: Combining certain Filters with explosions on Blackout can cause your screenshots to overdevelop, leaving you with nothing but an all white screenshot!
To make a grid behind the player in a screenshot, use Forge to place a shield barrier and float a second barrier behind it, turned on its side. Here is a zoomed out view
for the visual learners. Experiment with angling the shield doors to achieve different grid effects. Stand in front of the grid and throw a grenade about ten feet in front of you, place the camera into the explosion and you should get a nice grid effect
Here is what I'm calling the "Blue Ocean
" effect. To get this effect, load up Blackout, make your forced color blue, and turn on the Filters Pen and Ink, Gloomy, and Juicy. Now pick a good spot for the background of the screenshot, and start snapping. You don't even need any explosions.
Head into Avalanche in Forge, place one of the large, level-specific shield doors and the Gloomy Filter, and use an active camo power up. Press up against the shield door and walk back and forth along its expanse. Head into theater, load the film, and at certain angles, you should be able to see through the player model. The rest should be stark white
Go into Forge with at least two people. Spawn a ghost and damage one of the "wings" until a piece of it falls away. Have one player pose while the other person holds the ghost aloft about ten feet in front of them. When you go to take the screenshot, place the camera right next to the broken wing. When you take the screenshot, it should create the "black fire" effect
. You can also combine this technique with any other type of effect.
Campaign can be a little tricky to use as a stage for snapping screenshots, however, with some practice, you should be able to take some pretty cool pics. Campaign is nice because the player's armor has different details
, showing off the Master Chief's armor's scarring and battle damage. Also, you can snag pictures of enemies and environments you won't ever find in traditional multiplayer spaces.
About the Author
Changing your player traits so that you are invulnerable allows you to throw grenades to generate lighting effects without having to worry about dying.
- Use forced color armor traits to be able to use black, a color you normally wouldn't be able to use.
- Make certain your armor color mates up with the overall theme of the screenshot. If you are shooting for a natural screenshot, you might want to use green.
- Pick your weapon of choice. I like to use either the Battle or Sniper Rifle, but make sure you vary your weapons.
- Take tons of screens! You're probably not going to get it just right the first time out. You might have to take hundreds before you get a great trophy-worthy shot.
Chances are you may not be familiar with Alec9224
. He's not really a major player in the community at large. That's okay, we're into expanding your horizons - making sure you stay well-rounded. We first ran into Alec by way of Bungie Favorites. He's had a map and a couple of screens make it into our list. To top that off, he's taken it upon himself to send in the above screenshot tutorial for anyone looking at getting started with the basics.
Quite the nice guy, eh?
Q. Who are you and what do you do?
A. My name’s Alec. I wrestle and play baseball for my high school teams.
Q. If I was looking to find you online for some help with screenshots, where would I have the best chance of tracking you down?
A. I spend most of my time in the Halo 3 forum. I like the fast-paced feel of it. When I’m not in the Halo 3 forum, I’m most likely in the private group, Facility B5D or the Bungie.net community forum.
Q. Why gaming?
A. I like to game because after I get home from an intense high school sports practice, I really need to do something fun but relaxing. I really like playing with my friends, but if you’re not playing Halo 3, then you’re not playing with me. :p
Q. What was the first Bungie game came across?
A. My first Bungie title was Halo CE, I remember playing it at my friend’s house and thinking “Damn, I need an Xbox!” What I really liked was the great storyline in the campaign. I remember using a sniper at night on one of the levels, using the night vision scope to take out flood from across the map was the best campaign experience I’ve had in any game.
Q. Are you surprised by how hooked you are?
A. Extremely, I never would have thought that I would be on Bungie.net everyday. It’s so fast-paced and fun that it’s addicting! Everyone is very active and it’s a great community to be a part of.
Q. Do you hit any other community sites in your spare time?
A. Nope, Bungie.net is my only website. Nothing can compare to the type of community that has developed here.
Q. Wanna make a shout out to any peeps?
A. I would like to make a couple shout-outs to some of my favorite groups. First off, Facility B5D has to be my absolute favorite group, followed up by Black Water Ops, and Epic Pic.
Thanks to Alec for the time, words, and sweet screenshot guide. If you're ready for some more advanced techniques, you might want to hit the Screenshot Photographers
up for assistance. Or, if you're looking for more general information about how to get the most out of your Halo 3 experience (how do I Forge?) check out our Halo 3 How-To Guide
for more tips and techniques.