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Beauty is one of the attractions of real flying, and that's true of simulations, too. The popularity of the Community Screenshot forum proves the point with almost a half a million posts.

 

Every community has experts and beginners,  winners and losers, people that are talented and people that struggle, those that want to improve and those that are self-satisfied.

 

I'm one of those people that wants to improve, and I'm always eager to learn. And I know there are some very talented people who post screenshots here--some are even professional artists. With that it mind it occurred to me that I could benefit from the observations of others, that we could all "up our game," if we had a thread where we could share our images and invite critique. There are a number of websites where you can do that for photographs, in fact.

 

To that end, I'll start the thread and ask for comments, suggestions, opinions, etc. from anyone that wants to contribute. I hope others will post their screenshots here for critique, too, so we can all learn from each other.

 

Feel free to copy any image in this tread, tweak it however you think would improve it, then repost it in this tread but nowhere else with your comments. If you want to simply post tips, rules of thumb, general observations on screenshots in general, etc.,this would be a great place to do it. 

 

What would you do differently with this image? I posted it in the January contest as my ticket to vote more than as a possible winner, to be frank. The whole thing is muddy and the aircraft is probably too small, although I was trying to convey the loneliness and isolation of a single-ship, low-level strike. What would you do to it to make it a winner? If you think it's hopeless, don't be afraid to say so.

 

fsx%202013-04-06%2012-16-58-03.jpg

 

 

 

 

Edited by Tailspin45
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Cool idea Tailspin!  Now, I'm a very long way from Iain and some others, but to my eye I think the overall shot is too blurry and ther plane too small.  If I see this correctly it appears that you want blurriness to convey motion, it would be better if the plane was a little larger?

 

Just some constructive criticism from a knucklehead that thinks a good shot is in a yellow plane inverted under a bridge.  :D

 

 

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A wonderful idea, I am just one of those who is happy in my own corner of the ORBX world but any tips to improve my screenies would be welcome.

 

As far as your entry goes, I don't mind the size of the aircraft but the scenery to me is too blurred. 

For what it is worth I would have zoomed the scenery out so it was clear and maybe shown some sky and then adjusted the size of the aircraft. 

This is from someone who has a huge win in the screenshot comp when I get one vote.:lol:

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Ok, I am game.

Here is my entry for the Jan screenshot comp.

I know I am not going to win but I do like to participate and vote.

I was just trying to show some of the seldom seen small things that make up the airport scenery.

When I vote I cover up the entrant on the left side of my screen so as there is no temptation to be bias.

 

j18comp.jpg

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Great idea here Tailspin45.... well what can I say ... it is always in the eye of the beholder ....

 

if you think you have made a great photo then it does not mean that others like it ....

 

but I have to say your picture is too blurry, the plane in the pic is too small and the picture looks boring - one look and you have seen everything ... the image of our VIP Member VH-KDK above has live - everywhere there is something to discover in the photo ... but you can inspire yourself from the many photos here in the ORBX Forum..... So do not be disappointed and keep going....

 

everyone thinks he has the best photo and everyone wants to win in the contest, I made a flight a few days earlier from Seattle-to-Portland with a PMDG 747F .... as I flew past Mount Rainier I was so fascinated from the nice view out of the cockpit. So I took a picture and thought this is a great photo. I was countless on this mountain since we go often in the summer for a weekend and stay in the Paradise Inn...

 

But in the meantime, there are so many nice pictures for the Feb. contest that I'm sure I will not win ;-)

 

each one of us has this magic V button on the keyboard, you only have to press it at the right Moment....

 

 

Ted :-)

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Great idea.. I love looking through the competition entries even if I don't submit one, mostly due to being too busy with work to fly! :(

 

With your entry as @VH-KDK mentioned, try set the zoom to 1.00 or lower and use the actual camera position to get where you want rather than use the zoom. Unfortunately the sim hates zooming and you will always see blurry texture like this.

 

The shot has potential, i'm sure if you retake it with a better zoom setting and get some crisp scenery in it you will be quite surprised. Also don't forget interesting weather and clouds always help! We flight simmers are obsessed with that stuff! :) 

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@Tailspin45

The bluriness is not the problem, this suggests speed of the plane. The composition as a whole is a bit boring.

When the upper part of the shot had showed the edge of the hill including the sky the overall picture had been more exciting.

 

Just my two cents....

Regards Fred

 

 

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Wow! That didn't take long! We already have some very helpful and interesting opinions.

 

Comments on my image seems to cluster around the bland background and the fact that its an over-all boring shot. Clouds, haze, or morning fog would indeed have made it more interesting. I did think the blurry background added an impression of speed as Fred suggests, but it was a so-called blurry produced by my old system not keeping up and not the result of post processing. (*Which raises a question, see below.)

 

In introspect what I was creating was a situation that meant a lot to me in a "been there, done that sense" but forgot that the meaning evaporates if you don't share that experience. Many works of art hold meaning and value, after all, because of the story behind the work. Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” is based on the view from the window of an asylum where he admitted himself after cutting off his own ear. I can appreciate the painting without knowing that, but it's much more interesting when I do know the history. 

 

5a7871cc95b52_The_Starry_Night_-_Vincent_van_Gogh__Google_Arts___Culture.jpg.756d2a6c7b357874a0ff021cc9da0bc0.jpg

 

But knowing the history doesn't fundamentally make it a better painting, in my view. A blank canvas or an all-white screenshot no matter how astounding the story behind it wouldn't make it good art. So that raises the question, what is a good screenshot? And for that matter, are we even talking about art here?

 

As Ted accurately points out, a good image is often in the eye of the beholder. And I agree, but if we go down that path, arguably any image is a good one simply if the artist thought it was. I've pondered that issue with respect to photography and wondered if there weren't certain basic characteristics that most people would agree makes a good image or screenshot. And it turns out there are. 

 

A few months ago I posted the results here of research conducted by Microsoft and Case Western University . Essentially, they report, a good image people agree is one that's 1) technical accurate (in focus, properly exposed, etc), 2) unusual even surreal because of the topic, angle, colors etc, and 3) simple without distracting elements. The post is here, if you want more details. 

 

But since then I've wondered if what they learned applies to screenshots. I've often found myself looking at screenshots both in the contest and the screenshot forum and liked some because they looked real, not surreal. Surprisingly, "realistic" is precisely what the researchers found was not appealing—what they characterized as a snapshot of reality at some point in time and place.

 

In fact, the screenshot I submitted to the October contest was one I liked because the SoCal waves looked so real.

 

18623396_10210096004129867_636763939774540786_o.jpg

 

The ramp scene above is a great example, too; it shows the amazing details that ORBX has provided us right down to chipped paint on the pipe barricade. It is a very attractive shot that makes me want to say, "Wow, that's a screenshot? From a simulator? It looks real!" Jack's Innsbruck British Airways ramp shot in the February contest is another great example specifically because it looks so real. Which takes us back to the conundrum, is it art? And does it matter? What do you think?

 

*A question occurred to me earlier: is post-processing acceptable? And if so, when does screenshot art end and digital art begin? In the photojournalism world cropping is acceptable, to improve the composition, but any other manipulation is not. In many screenshot and photo contests a different category exists for post-processed shots. Thoughts? Iain?

 

 

Edited by Tailspin45
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Great discussion. Of course, it's all subjective so it will never conclude. Still, interesting reading. Thanks.

 

And a screenshot isn't a screenshot if it's post processed: then it becomes something other than that which was captured. If it's post-processed then it may enhance the image but the author should declare so - in my opinion.

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I remember your picture from October that I really liked ..., that was a really good Picture....
Also the other pictures with the DC3 there were a few good ones ... I looked at it :-)

 

Ted

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Hmmm....., I have my doubts about the level of reality of the waves, which indeed is extremely difficult.

When I saw this picture for the very first time I really doubted between sim or reality, but when I looked at the waves I realized that it was the sim.

The front wave line is extreme good and realistic, but the second line of waves is not.

What makes this shot so extreme good for me is the granularity (?) of the plane, the misty border layer between sea and sky in the distance and the imagion of distance or height between plane and sea.

 

All my personal subjective opinion of course.....

 

Best regards Fred

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@CBPilot

Totally agree, Rupert; this isn't a discussion that will end with us all agreeing on an answer. I'm enjoying the feedback, though, and hope everyone else comes away with something useful, too.

 

You suggest that a screenshot that's been processed is no longer a screen shot. I tend to agree, but don't know where to draw the line. If I just crop a screenshot is it now something else? If I adjust the contrast or saturation or add some vignette?

 

Seems to me that's all OK, but if I add content (other aircraft, runway spray, etc), or if I remove  a tree or person then I think I've wandered away from something that is a screenshot.  I'm especially frustrated that the sim always puts the aircraft smack in the center of the image, and there isn't an easy way to move it. I've played with some of the camera add-ons like EzDoc, but have found them awkward beyond their usefulness.

 

I really like your idea of including info on what was done to an image when it's posted; I'll do that from now on.

 

How do the rest of you 1) feel about this screenshot/not screenshot issue and 2) have you found a good camera solution?

 

@TedRuby

Hey! I see you're on Whidbey Island. Lived there for three years in the early '70s. Flew all over there area in both military and civilian aircraft so PNW and Anacortes airport are my favorite ORBX packages. Finally got to fly under the Deception Pass Bridge! But SoCal and KSAN are a close second now that I live near San Diego. That's said, I'm currently doing a tour of the South Pacific in a DC-3 and love the AYPY, NSTU, and TAP scenery. Had to use a Cessna 185 to get in and out of some of those tiny mountainside strips, but loved the challenge. Haven't flown since the holidays because I decided to tidy up my USB cables and now my systems is a mess and I've resisted spending the time to tweak everything. But I will.

 

My graphics card is a GTX-970 at native screen resolution (1920x1080) and I use Steve's DX-10 Fixer in FSX. I use Active Sky 2016 for realtime weather and REX textures for water, runways and clouds. Played with TOGA-ENVTEX but find myself going back to REX.

 

 

 

 

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Tailspin, I use ChasePlane and couldn’t be happier.  The amount of cameras and placement of them is astonishing and it’s simple to use.

 

Great discussion by the way.  And my personal opinion is it’s not fair to enter a screenshot in the contest unless it’s a straight V key shot.  On the regular screenshot forum to me that’s ok, but in my opinion it should be V only to be fair to others that do not post process.

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55 minutes ago, Tailspin45 said:

@CBPilot

Totally agree, Rupert; this isn't a discussion that will end with us all agreeing on an answer. I'm enjoying the feedback, though, and hope everyone else comes away with something useful, too.

 

You suggest that a screenshot that's been processed is no longer a screen shot. I tend to agree, but don't know where to draw the line. If I just crop a screenshot is it now something else? If I adjust the contrast or saturation or add some vignette?

 

Seems to me that's all OK, but if I add content (other aircraft, runway spray, etc), or if I remove  a tree or person then I think I've wandered away from something that is a screenshot.  I'm especially frustrated that the sim always puts the aircraft smack in the center of the image, and there isn't an easy way to move it. I've played with some of the camera add-ons like EzDoc, but have found them awkward beyond their usefulness.

 

I really like your idea of including info on what was done to an image when it's posted; I'll do that from now on.

 

How do the rest of you 1) feel about this screenshot/not screenshot issue and 2) have you found a good camera solution?

 

@TedRuby

Hey! I see you're on Whidbey Island. Lived there for three years in the early '70s. Flew all over there area in both military and civilian aircraft so PNW and Anacortes airport are my favorite ORBX packages. Finally got to fly under the Deception Pass Bridge! But SoCal and KSAN are a close second now that I live near San Diego. That's said, I'm currently doing a tour of the South Pacific in a DC-3 and love the AYPY, NSTU, and TAP scenery. Had to use a Cessna 185 to get in and out of some of those tiny mountainside strips, but loved the challenge. Haven't flown since the holidays because I decided to tidy up my USB cables and now my systems is a mess and I've resisted spending the time to tweak everything. But I will.

 

My graphics card is a GTX-970 at native screen resolution (1920x1080) and I use Steve's DX-10 Fixer in FSX. I use Active Sky 2016 for realtime weather and REX textures for water, runways and clouds. Played with TOGA-ENVTEX but find myself going back to REX.

 

 

 

 

hey nice that you know Whidbey Island. A nice spot in the Seattle area ... yes,
 
then you know Oak Harbor too ... there is also a small museum on the base - the PBY Memorial Foundation's PBY-Naval Air Museum.
 
 
In front of the door they still have an original Catalina seaplane.... Two years ago I had a private guided tour with a veteran from the 2nd WW  in the museum ... that was interesting. We went also to the archive which is not really for the publicum .... I saw a lot of old pictures and pictures that I had never seen before.
 
Yes the Deception Pass Bridge is one of the most beautiful bridges around here .... but I usually use the ferry to get to the mainland...
So now to your pictures.... :-)

you still have the old FSX ..... is not a handycap but in P3D everything runs naturally better because it is 64bit ...... So I would recommend to you P3D and much is compatible from the FSX - only with planes that is a problem only native planes are compatible....

I'm sure that you do not regret a platform change and certainly you don't want to go back to the old fsx if you once sat in the P3D cockpit.....
 
Ted :-)
 
And to the pictures you make just as good and bad pictures as all of us ... and then with the old FSX!
 
 

 
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1 minute ago, TedRuby said:
you still have the old FSX ..... is not a handycap but in P3D everything runs naturally better because it is 64bit ...... So I would recommend to you P3D and much is compatible from the FSX - only with planes that is a problem only native planes are compatible....

I'm sure that you do not regret a platform change and certainly you don't want to go back to the old fsx if you once sat in the P3D cockpit.....

 

Actually I have P3D4 (and P3D3, for that matter) but went back to FSX because I didn't want to have to buy new versions of many packages I have. I know many are compatible, but after giving P3D a good go, when I had to rebuild my system I went back to FSX. I do find that a bit odd, since I am an early adopter by nature, but....

 

One of these days I'll try P3D again and perhaps my views will have changed. Thank you for the encouragement!

 

45 minutes ago, Jack Sawyer said:

Tailspin, I use ChasePlane and couldn’t be happier.  The amount of cameras and placement of them is astonishing and it’s simple to use.

 

Hmmm, I have it and gave up in frustration. I will try again and make a point of reading the manual thoroughly. Thank you, too, for the encouragement!

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For my contest entry I'm tempted to go back reshoot the Spad, or at least the setting using the advice everyone has offered here. Maybe an A-6 instead of the A-1?

 

I like this one, but it's boring. An airplane flying. Big deal.

 

2017-11-17_11-56-16-152.thumb.jpg.d031c86fd620fda7e494c24bb88402b3.jpg

 

This is better, but only because the boards are out. It would be more interesting in a dive, dropping bombs. (Hmmm, I could do that with TacPac)

 

2017-11-17_11-11-9-465.thumb.jpg.7a49bd0748b6df59f2e1ecb8dad75a06.jpg

 

In any case, they both have an odd color cast. Not sure what that's all about.

 

This one is the best of the three, I think, but it doesn't show any of the lovely ORBX terrain. Beyond that, I definitely blurred the background to give the sense of speed--does that disqualify it, too?

 

2017-11-17_11-42-43-809_BMP.thumb.jpg.099b54ec12758f527596ae3ecca5419b.jpg

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16 hours ago, VH-KDK said:

j18comp.jpg

 

You didn't get much feedback on this, except I thought it looked amazingly real. Let me jump in with some more thoughts, but hopefully others will contribute too.

 

To my eye, the tarmac dominates the image and the horizon line splits it uncomfortably. Maybe crop it like this?

 

Screenshot_Critiques__-_General_Discussion_-_no_support_requests_here_please_-_FTX_Community_and_Support_Forums.thumb.jpg.2e35bf9a688830e17b8fbe00c3665079.jpg

 

I know you were trying to show the details that often aren't shown and you've done that very well. I especially like the chipped paint on the barricade post. But the left side of the image is awfully cluttered.  I'm not sure what the grey thing is behind the red cart, they're both very dark. I assume it's an aircraft, but the blue shape doesn't make sense and subconsciously makes me nervous. Is it a canopy cover or tarp or part of a logo or paint design? Further cropping would fix that, but then you loose the detail you want to share, so...

 

Screenshot_Critiques__-_General_Discussion_-_no_support_requests_here_please_-_FTX_Community_and_Support_Forums.jpg.db7354f4622776940feb4709900d8cbb.jpg

 

The thing hanging in mid air makes me nervous too. It's obviously some kind of support equipment but I'm not sure what. It's a cool element and really adds to the scene. If you cropped it out you aren't left with much.

 

Screenshot_Critiques__-_General_Discussion_-_no_support_requests_here_please_-_FTX_Community_and_Support_Forums.jpg.341768b39ce31d3d391ea2ad88eddc25.jpg

 

So you obviously had the right elements in there to begin with. Maybe if part of what holds the bucket up was visible, or it was being used so it was clear what it is for?

 

As always in this kind of critique process, we have to assume the best of motives and that the comments are intended to be constructive. Please take these as such. As we've discussed, there's no right or wrong answer here, and my views are obviously only one man's opinion.

 

I hope you all will critique my A-6 pictures as throughly.

Edited by Tailspin45
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Nice crop work Tailspin but I liked it overall, I mean to me at least the de-ice bucket shows there's more to the photo than meets the eye.How many of us have seen this on the ramp so we know what's there, but it makes me curious as to what's next with it.  Did they just use it or are they planning on using it?

 

I like your three shots, they show just the jet and they're action shots which are very good.  If you wanted to show frozen movement you've done a great job.  But I'd like to see more scenery in it.  That's just me though, I like the scenery.  If you had a long shot of this jet zooming through the Mach Loop that would be a cool shot.

 

 

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12 minutes ago, Tailspin45 said:

 

You didn't get much feedback on this, except I thought it looked amazingly real. Let me jump in with some more thoughts, but hopefully others will contribute too.

 

To my eye, the tarmac dominates the image and the horizon line splits it uncomfortably. Maybe crop it like this?

 

Screenshot_Critiques__-_General_Discussion_-_no_support_requests_here_please_-_FTX_Community_and_Support_Forums.thumb.jpg.2e35bf9a688830e17b8fbe00c3665079.jpg

 

I know you were trying to show the details that often aren't shown and you've done that very well. I especially like the chipped paint on the barricade post. But the left side of the image is awfully cluttered.  I'm not sure what the grey thing is behind the red cart, they're both very dark. I assume it's an aircraft, but the blue shape doesn't make sense and subconsciously makes me nervous. Is it a canopy cover or tarp or part of a logo or paint design? Further cropping would fix that, but then you loose the detail you want to share, so...

 

Lots to read here, and thats a lot of fun. I´d like to comment on Martyn´s picture and what you changed on it: The initial shot looked a bit too artificial for me - as well in the foreground (apron) and the clouds. The first modification (cutting a bit off the bottom) made it more interesting to me. What I like is the three-dimensional appearance of the "tubes" in the left corner.

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Here I come to your A-6 pictures, Tailspin. I agree with you the last one has the most "action", or "speaks" most to me. Maybe it improves to a little orbx ground added? Even a "famous", well-known scenery detail?

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