Updated: Jul 14
A picture is worth a thousand words. We've all heard the adage. But when it comes to growing your community with blogs and forum posts, there is more to images than meets the eye. Here are a few tips and insights into creating great images and why these images help increase your membership.
How To Create Great Game Images (Screenshots)
1) Use High-resolution Video Capture You will rarely get the pic you want running around capturing screenshots in-game. The best way to take a screenshot is to use video capture. Most screen-capture utilities (like NVidia's Geforce Experience) allow you to run a recording window in the background. I recommend setting a one or two-minute recording window. Then, when something amazing happens in-game, you can use your hotkeys to grab the entire event. After the game, you can review the footage with your favorite video editor and take a "still" of the action at just the right moment. Of course, to get the best still possible, play on the highest video settings, and ensure your recording quality matches.
2) Reduce Visual Noise Visual noise refers to nameplates, player icons, the HUD, comms indicators, progress bars, and other game mechanics elements not "natural" to an authentic battle scene. In the example image above, notice how the pic is all action. To achieve this, open Hell Let Loose and go to "GAMEPLAY". Turn all five nameplates sliders to zero. Bump up your "DEAD BODY DESPAWN DELAY" to 2 minutes. And turn both your "MARKER" and "PING" displays to 3 seconds. Lastly, set your "HUD DISPLAY" to "Toggle Only," and set the duration to 10 seconds. These settings will allow you to get the shots you're after while still being able to play the game. The game will be harder, of course, but your ultimate goal is a killer shot.
3) Crop and Bump Your Images Cropping an image allows you to hide game mechanics elements over which you have no control. The cropping for the example image above hides the compass at the bottom of the screen, comms indicators on the lower left, and the progress bar at the top of the screen. The "bump" I am referring to is a slight increase in both image vibrance and color saturation. I use Adobe Photoshop to edit images, but most image editing tools allow for vibrance and color saturation adjustments. Screenshots from Hell Let Loose look best when vibrance and color saturation are adjusted up between 5 and 10 percent. You may also want to adjust the brightness and contrast of your screenshots. These two attributes are also adjusted up between 5 and 10 percent. It's easy to overdo it on these, so keep adjustments small.
How Images Like These Help Your Posts
Images like these help your posts, because 1), like the posts themselves, they are searchable, and 2) you can pack images with keywords to make them even more searchable. After adding an image to your post, click on the image. A panel of options will appear above the image. Click on the gear icon. In the pop-up panel, you will see a title field and an alternative text field (or "Alt text"). These fields are great opportunities to make your image relevant either to the game you play or the topic of your post. Either way, these fields help search engines know what your image is about, so people can find it. You can even link the image to your post. If you do link the post, be sure to check the "no follow" box for Google. This, too, is in the pop-up panel. Then, if someone finds your image online, and they click on it, the image will send them straight to your post. People search images all the time. Take advantage of the fact. Try it for yourself, GOD-sSs-END (aka David Allen Farrell) Online Content Production and Community Management