Picture That!
Photos for the Combat Zone
by Gisby

Good photos can make an ordinary article faaaaantastic!

But first, you have to take some good photos. (Let's PRETEND that my examples are in better focus than they are, they are just showing what I mean...)

What are we looking for?

First of all, we are looking for eM-4 products. After all, it's eM-4 who's donating credit to pay for these opages, and who produces Combat Zone. So if your picture has another company's miniatures, then we can't use it.

It should be of interest or use to CoZo players. We've had some submissions of amazing models, with details on how to make them, but ultimately, they were each essentially a piece of terrain more suited to another genre.

Needless to say, they should be well lit, in focus, and clear images. A well lit, in-focus picture of a figure in front of a confusing background is not clear, unless you are showing how the figure blends into the background.

Poorly-lit, low contrast, washed-out pictures are just no real use. Sometimes we can fix them in Photoshop, but they wind up looking ... odd.

They should be a useable size.

This is an example of what we often get... ....except the version we get will be 2880 x 2160 pixels, far bigger than our screen, and 4 megs in size, most of which is empty space.

If the article has 10 such pictures, it will take a while to download, especially on our 56k modems and IBM 286's..

146 x 216 pxSo, crop out all the empty space, and send just the interesting stuff.

The cropped picture of the girl would still be way too big, but it would be small enough to transfer easily.

We will seldom run a picture more than 432 pixels wide, and a single figure in a pic will usually be run at 252 pixels high.

Don't take overhead shots of everything, with patches of empty space.

This is a sort-of map of the gaming table, but it's pretty boring. The terrain is ordinary, and if the figures look good, you can't tell. There is too much empty space.

The same terrain, from a low angle, shows the situation, with a far more exciting shot.

You can see some of the figures and terrain from a more flattering angle, and the enemy are at least threatening shapes in the distance.

Just don't take overhead pictures.

Here we have a group of rockers playing at 'Defcon 4' with an admiring crowd. You can't really see anything, and it's pretty boring.

Shift the camera, and the focus is on the band (Def Zepplin) as it should be. The picture has a central focus, and you can see some figures...

Bringing the camera level down changes the picture from a square overhead shot to a rectangular shot, putting the information in a smaller viewing area. It allows you to show more while taking up less bandwidth. As a result, the important bits can be displayed bigger than otherwise.

Tighten things up.

Our Heroine may be being attacked, but there's a lot of wasted space in the picture.

At least here there's a sense of urgency: You can see everyone better too.

Remember: The pictures don't need to perfectly represent what happened in the game. They are a dramatic representation of the events. You can re-pose them for the camera.

Focus on the interesting stuff.

Here we see 4 guards engaging the enemy. It's a dreaded overhead shot, full of empty space and blah.

Move the camera, and bring it closer: We have a better picture, with more interest.

If we crop it further, we focus on the exciting bits. Because the picture is narrower, it can be taller, making for a more detailed picture.

The Pics for 'Derelict' were taken in a small T-section of hallways about 3x3 inches. I put it together in about 15 minutes from sintra.

The different areas are just different parts of the T.The dramatic lighting was achieved by moving my lamp.

I just cropped out the edges.