Lord of the Rings Online is a very rich, detailed world. The developers put a lot of effort into capturing the essence of real life in the game, so naturally you want to take screenshots and share the beauty with others! Here is the first in a series of posts with some beginner tips and tricks to help you get the screenshot you want.
Taking the Screenshot
Right off the bat before we go into anything else the first thing you need to know is how to take a screenshot. That’s easy!
The default in LOTRO are the F11 and Print Screen (PrtScn) keys.
Once you take a screenshot, you’ll see a notification that the shot was saved, complete with file name, in your chat window. The default save location is in My Documents –> The Lord of the Ring Online
Naturally the higher the setting the crisper everything will look. Of course, not all computers have the same graphics capabilities. So lets look at some beginner ways to find the best settings for your machine.
You can find the graphic settings at character selection screen (Options –> Graphics) or while in game (ESC –> Options –> Graphics).
If you’re unsure of what your computer can handle, the easiest way to find out is to choose “detect optimal settings” under the graphics options. The game will then adjust the graphic settings automatically to what it thinks is the best setting that you can play at without suffering performance. You can also choose one of the pre-defined sets for overall graphics quality that range from Very Low to Ultra High.
Even on the Very Low setting you still get some amazing detail – like the fish swimming in the water or the bricks on the bridge.
You can use one of these settings as a base and from there adjust your resolution, color. Once you find the right balance, you’re be ready to take screenshots while you’re out questing your way across Middle Earth. *Advance Graphics settings and in-depth tweaking will be addressed in a subsequent discussion
If you are satisfied with your settings, just click accept and away you go!
*TIP* For static scenes without a lot of other players or activity around adjust your graphics setting to high or ultra-high prior to taking the screenshot. Then simply adjust the setting back that you use for normal play.
Turning off the User Interface
Most of the time when you’re taking a screenshot you’ll want to have the user interface (UI) off. Leaving the UI on makes the screenshot look cluttered and messy.
The default way to turn off the UI in LOTRO is F12.
Here’s a comparison with the user interface left on and turned off.
The bottom photo with the UI off is much cleaner and works better for things like desktop wallpapers and contest submissions.
*Tip* There are benefits to leaving the UI on. Capturing portions of a conversation or action bar layouts are just a few examples.
N is for Names
Just like the UI can clutter a screenshot, having names off will greatly clear up a crowded scene. The larger the crowd, the harder it is to see anything when names are on. While having the names can be helpful during questing and finding other players in a crowd, it can clutter up a screenshot quickly.
To turn off Names press the N key
Here’s an example of what it looked like at Weatherstock with and without the names.
It’s much harder to make out any detail, such as the campfire in the upper right, when the names are turned on. It can also slow down your frame rate if the game is spending time rendering all of those additional names and titles.
Targeted items such as NPCs or other characters will sometimes mess up an otherwise perfect screenshot.
To clear your target, hit ESC
In the next post we’ll discuss perspective as well as pan and zoom.
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