Making better SoD screenshots

I’ve seen several people post Shards of Dalaya screenshots that are quite dark. This is because of the way the SoD client works: It uses hardware gamma correction offered by the graphics card to get to the right brightness. This means that when taking screenshots, you get an uncorrected image that is often too dark.

You can quickly correct this in free tools such as The Gimp. Simply choose Color -> Levels and set the gamma level to something between 1.2 and 1.4, depending on taste and screenshot in question. Ta-daa!

screenshot-levels_00

Here’s what the levels dialog looks like:

screenshot-levels

There we go. And here’s an example result. It’s a very, very dark scene to begin with, but at least we see something now.

sod_screenies_before_after

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4 thoughts on “Making better SoD screenshots”

  1. You might want to fiddle with the contrast as well. Back when I was adjusting EQ screenies full time, my rule was to increase brightness and contrast by equal amounts in Photoshop.

    You’re using GIMP, though — are you running SoD in Linux?

  2. Good idea, although I’m not sure what happens when one of the pixels hits the tip of the brightness curve — it will probably just end up at its cap because brightness/contrast works strictly linear (i.e. “hey you, pixel, you’re at value 255. Get brighter!” and the pixel screams “but I can’t!”, and it does that until a whole series of bright pixels bump into 255, which loses information. Whereas curves and levels pull up only certain ranges along a curve (that you can specify by hand or use a preselected range such as “mid-range”), so that not too much should bump into the cap.

    I think brightness/contrast always risks losing information. I was trying to do as much as possible through curves and levels, because just taking the mid-levels up would not lose any information along the _top_ of the curve but only pull up darker pixels from the _middle_ while leaving the top (highlights) and bottom (shadows) the way they are. It might look a bit unnatural, but it preserves more detail.

    But maybe this only makes sense for real photographs and none of it matters for these screenshots? Not meaning to sound like a jerk, I will experiment and report some results πŸ™‚

    Have you tried levels and curves vs. brightness/contrast?

    Yes, I usually work on Linux, so SoD runs there through WINE. If I’m not too lazy to reboot and/or want to play something else afterwards anyway, I reboot.

  3. Awesome post. I use photoshop though, and was able to tinker around with the gray levels to attain a more suitable image. Seems to be just like Gimp, except the sliders have a different name. Go figure. Thanks for the tip though!

  4. I found an article that explains some of the dangers of brightness/contrast and explains how to get better control of your image brightness using levels and curves:

    http://www.atpm.com/13.04/photoshop.shtml

    It’s an older article and Photoshop-based, but the wisdom is still in there! πŸ™‚ It also shows how information can be lost when brightness/contrast ramps the pixels up/down more than they are comfortable with πŸ˜‰

    That’s much better than I could’ve explained it.

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