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[Guide] - Advanced Screenshot Guide

Started By:
Solace, Mon 28 Jan, 2019 4:14 PM
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    #1
     –  Last edited by Solace; Sat 16 Nov, 2019 2:12 PM.
    Hey everyone!

    As some of you may know, I love taking breathtaking screenshots in Star Trek Online and some of you must wonder "How did he do that?". Well this guide will help you to understand my process and teach you a short masterclass in taking advanced screenshots in Star Trek Online!

    First off, lets start with the some required software to make the process a little easier.

    Getting Started - Step 1
    lZAjd58

    When I decide I want create a screenshot I use the /demorecord feature in Star Trek Online. This nifty little feature is a dev tool that players have access to, in short, we can create a small .demo file by recording which instance you are in and the actions you make within the game.

    This is done through the use of a few commands, but I'll get into that in a second. First you will want to download and install the Star Trek Online Demo Launcher found at this link: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1bUs...I-KcS7mZt/view

    This program makes it easier for you to access and run your demo files without having to use command line startup command in the STO launcher, which personally is a complete pain and consumes time.

    Whats that I hear you ask? "How do I make a demo recording?" Well then, lets get into it that shall we?

    First off you will want to use the following command as shown in the screenshot below:
    UoqUcMs
    When using this command, where it says "DEMONAME": This is what your demo will be called. For example: /demorecord Excelsior Drydock. That will name my demo Excelsior Drydock.

    Once you have typed the demorecord command into chat and pressed enter, your game will seem to load everything, your ship will appear to fly in again. Don't worry this is normal!

    "How will I know I'm creating a demo?"

    You will see some text of the left of the screen as show below:
    9mJ3Bwt
    I recommend you let the demo record for about 30 seconds to give you ample time when it comes to making the screenshot later. When you are ready, type this command into chat:
    W30qwFs

    Now, moving on to the hard part!

    Accessing the demo - Step 2
    lZAjd58

    This section will teach you how to access your demo files, where they are stored and how to move the camera about inside the demo.

    Remember that program linked above? You will need to open this program now. When you run it for the first time it may ask you to point it at the location of your demofiles. If it does, your demo files will be stored in a similar location to this: E:\Program Files(x86)\Star Trek Online\Star Trek Online_en\Star Trek Online\Live\demos

    Once thats done, the following window will open up:
    d2ejzHe

    Above is the Star Trek Online Demo Launcher. As you can see, it will show all your current demo files stored at the location we point to earlier. As you can see I have quite a few demos stored that I am using for screenshots and other projects.

    In the demo window you will notice it shows you information about each demo file. Namely, when it was created, when it was last modified (opened), which map it was taken on, which server, the character it was made using and the name of the demo.

    To run a demo, simply double-click the demo or single click and hit the small green play button above the demos list.

    When you open a demo file it will run a new instance of Star Trek Online. When it loads in your window should look like this:
    20tHGwk

    Now you want to hit the pause button at the top of the window. This will pause the demo.

    To enter the free camera mode press F2 (You may have to press a few times to enter free cam mode). To move the camera around use the WASD keys and HOLD right click and move the mouse to change the direction the camera is facing.

    Note - If your ship appears "faded" or isn't there. Hit the play button at the top and let the demo run for about 5 seconds and pause it again.

    Taking the screenshot - Step 3
    lZAjd58
    Now we are ready to take our screenshot, but first we need to do some preparation to make it look the best it possibly can.

    Once you have positioned the camera where you want it for your screenshot, there a 2 commands you will need to run:

    Press the tilda key (~) and this will drop down a grey console command overlay over the top of your demo. It will look this screenshot below:
    w2UtyC3

    As shown in the screenshot above, type the following command: renderscale 2 and hit enter - This command will double the resolution of your game making your game look better and textures cleaner.

    When using the renderscale command, I recommend using 2 as this doubles the resolution of your screenshots. You can use higher values such as 3 (triple) and 4 (quadruple) but it will cause serious performance issues and possibly cause the game to crash.

    Additionally if you want a more "Cinematic" feel, you can use the FOV X command. Replace X with the desired value (lower values will decrease zoom levels and vice versa). By default the FOV is 55, I recommend a value no lower than 20 for the most cinematic zoom level.

    Now it comes time to take the screenshot. Using the same method above type the command: screenshot_jpg. This will create a JPEG of your screen without the U.I. It will be stored at a location similar to this: E:\Program Files(x86)\Star Trek Online\Star Trek Online_en\Star Trek Online\Live\screenshots

    Thats it! All done, you can now close the demo by hitting alt+F4.

    Below is a super advanced step in the screenshotting process, it will teach how to change your ships name and registry to whatever you want it to be.

    Super Advanced Stuff - Step 4
    lZAjd58
    This is the super advanced section of the guide. This will teach you how to change your ships name and registry by directly editing the demofile using notepadd ++.
    Before we get started make a backup of the demo file you wish to edit and save it onto your desktop just in case something goes wrong.

    "How did you get your ships hull and registry to show U.S.S. Enterprise and NCC-1701-A?!"
    "Are you a wizard?!"

    I will teach how to do that and yes I am ;)

    To start off open up a file explorer window and find the location of your demo files. They should be stored in a similar location to this: E:\Program Files(x86)\Star Trek Online\Star Trek Online_en\Star Trek Online\Live\demos

    Don't worry this won't break your actual game. It will only edit the name and registry inside the demo.

    Once you have found your demo folder, it will look like this:
    cUEzkiQ
    Right click on the demo file and open it in a notepadd editor. I recommend notepadd ++.
    SHHfzP7
    Once you've opened the demo file in your preferred editor of choice. You will see a window as shown below filled with all kinds of gobbledegook we don't need to worry about.
    FlAeUwo
    Press CTRL + F and go to the Replace tab
    Type your ships name in the "Find what" field and the desired ship name in the "Replace with" field.
    nJ2Znsw
    Once you have done that hit Replace All. It is VERY important you hit "Replace All" otherwise it can cause your ships name and registry to not appear if done incorrectly.

    To change the ships registry, it is a similar process:
    WRoHA0P
    Once you have followed those steps, close the replace window and save the file. You can close your editor now and run the demo file. If you have done it correctly when you run the demo file your ships name and registry should be whatever you changed it to using the steps above.

    Here is an example screenshot after we've changed the ships name and registry:
    yEncXde

    That concludes the super advanced stuff! I hope you found this helpful!

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    #2
    Mother of God, to have all of this in one spot is beaucoup awesome. Thank you!
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    #3
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    #4
    Awesome post Solace, nicely explained.

    To add, here's a few extra little pointers from my own experiences:

    1). When in the recording you can alter the Field Of View (FOV) to make objects appear way more massive than they really are and affect how the whole shot feels. Press ~ to bring up the input console for commands and type FOV X, where X is the number you want to pick. Default is 75 I think and the lower you go the more massive things start to look. I normally go for 20, or occasionally 10.

    2). Along the top of the demorecord playback interface you will see a tick box for Camera Path Editor. Clicking this will open a side panel where you can uncheck various boxes to turn off certain elements. I mainly use this to turn off FX as it removes all the visual spam from abilities etc. It'll remove engine trails too so it's your choice.
    There used to be an FX debug window you could open to turn off individual FX and all sorts of other goodies but it's been disabled for a while by Cryptic.
    You can also use this same side panel to turn off elements and take shots of your chosen view with background/ship/FX/world only to use them as individual layers for Alpha channels in a more advanced editing process.

    3). The Renderscale command will be VERY intensive on your CPU and GPU if you put the number too high. Using 2 makes the image double the original size/resolution. Using 4 makes the image 4 times as large and so you can imagine it starts to chug here. Do not try any higher unless you have some godlike machine or it'll probably crash.

    4). The demo launcher often doesn't work right after a patch due to the version mismatching from the recordings. Just wait a few days and it normally goes back to normal.
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    #5
     –  Last edited by Solace; Mon 28 Jan, 2019 5:10 PM.
    Awesome post Solace, nicely explained.

    To add, here's a few extra little pointers from my own experiences:

    1). When in the recording you can alter the Field Of View (FOV) to make objects appear way more massive than they really are and affect how the whole shot feels. Press ~ to bring up the input console for commands and type FOV X, where X is the number you want to pick. Default is 75 I think and the lower you go the more massive things start to look. I normally go for 20, or occasionally 10.

    2). Along the top of the demorecord playback interface you will see a tick box for Camera Path Editor. Clicking this will open a side panel where you can uncheck various boxes to turn off certain elements. I mainly use this to turn off FX as it removes all the visual spam from abilities etc. It'll remove engine trails too so it's your choice.
    There used to be an FX debug window you could open to turn off individual FX and all sorts of other goodies but it's been disabled for a while by Cryptic.
    You can also use this same side panel to turn off elements and take shots of your chosen view with background/ship/FX/world only to use them as individual layers for Alpha channels in a more advanced editing process.

    3). The Renderscale command will be VERY intensive on your CPU and GPU if you put the number too high. Using 2 makes the image double the original size/resolution. Using 4 makes the image 4 times as large and so you can imagine it starts to chug here. Do not try any higher unless you have some godlike machine or it'll probably crash.

    4). The demo launcher often doesn't work right after a patch due to the version mismatching from the recordings. Just wait a few days and it normally goes back to normal.
    Thanks Sul! I've incorporated some of your pointers into the guide <3
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    #6
    I thought it was "Cake or death?"

    #eddieizard

    EDIT: and Sul, I don't recall, I thought there were separate POV commands for ground and space, or am I going senlie-er? (shut up it's a word)
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    #7
    Good and informative guide. Stickied.
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    #8
    You can actually use the same commands from the demo launcher in the actual game itself. So you can change things like renderscale and FOV to suit your needs.
    In game you need to add a / before the commands whereas in the launcher you just type them in without any extra character.
    Be warned the renderscale command can severely knacker your performance in the game, even more so than setting it too high in the demo itself.
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    #9
    How much additional cpu/gpu resources are used for demo record? I run the game in nvdia surround, so basic resolution is 5760 x 1080. Running renderscale 2 will be 11520 x 3160 and adds considerable strain already, renderscale 3 crashes the game...
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    #10
    Hey, you don't have to be at, for instance, renderscale 2 when you're doing the demorecord, right? You only have to set that at playback?
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    #11
    Hey, you don't have to be at, for instance, renderscale 2 when you're doing the demorecord, right? You only have to set that at playback?
    Nope, you can just create the demo using the /demorecord command. You don't have to use renderscale 2 at playback either, its a nice command to make your game look a little bit better at the cost of performance.
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    #12
    Sure, I just wanted to make sure that if I get into making screenshots, and I do decide to use renderscale, I only have to use it at playback.

    Thanks.
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    #13
    How much additional cpu/gpu resources are used for demo record? I run the game in nvdia surround, so basic resolution is 5760 x 1080. Running renderscale 2 will be 11520 x 3160 and adds considerable strain already, renderscale 3 crashes the game...
    When you first load the game, it will use roughly the same amount of system resources as it would when you normally load STO. If you're running at that resolution, I wouldn't bother running renderscale 2.

    I just use it to make the screenshots looking better as I run at 1080p.
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    #14
    This is amazing Solice! Thank you very much for this!
    Enlistednut09
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    #15
    Playing back the demorecording is essentially the exact same as running the game, it even uses the same launcher and loading method. The difference is it's just a recording, so there's no need for data about UI or and inputs to control anything going on.

    So if you can run STO on your PC then the demo should run without any issue. I can actually run both the game and a demo at the same time and still have no issues unless i try to set the renderscale too large and get it to play.

    What to do with regards to the renderscale is pick your shot and compose it first, get the FOV/zoom etc all sorted. Turn off any FX or whatever too.
    This is because the strain of upping the resolution will put extra strain on the PC and software, so even basic movement of the camera in that situation is going to almost murder the poor thing! You'll notice even the command interface slows up a lot at higher rendescales so imagine what making it redraw with a different angle will do.

    I run my copy of the game at 1920x1080p and then up the scale by 4x to 7680x4320p. That gives me the resolution to pick out amazing details and remove poorly drawn curves etc. Also gives plenty of scale to really get up close to edit out blemishes etc without it being obvious to a casual viewer.
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