Art of Eorzea: GPose Tips Without ReShade

Welcome to another edition of Art of Eorzea. This is the sister column to ‘Echoes of Eorzea’ and is dedicated to the artistic side of Final Fantasy XIV.  In this article I will be giving you 10 tips on how to create images using only the Group Pose tool without ReShade.

As a long time user of both pure GPose and ReShade I’ve found a great joy and challenge using both for image creation. During my time in FFXIV I’ve met many wonderful screenshot enthusiasts using various combinations of GPose, ReShade and other tools to edit and create their imagery. On several occasions though I’ve been contacted by players who have mentioned to me that they believe they can’t take ‘good’ screenshots without the use or ReShade which they do not have access to. This is why I decided to try to dispel this misconception and offer some advice on how to create shots that looks similar to ReShade without the need for it at all. Please keep in mind, as always, I am no expert, these are just some methods I have picked up along the way through trial and error. I’ve tried my best to explain the light placement but I do apologize if it doesn’t make enough sense. It’s something that is very much easier to show than explain in words as you have a 360 degree field to play with. Light sources can create very different outcomes with fractional movement and adjustment. If you do have questions about a particular image please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below and I will try to explain further!

The current options available in the FFXIV Group Pose tool.

No imagery in this guide contains ReShade or third party edits of any kind.

Pure GPose Related Articles:

10 Tips for GPose

Metallic Dyes & Armour

Whenever you use a light source or filters within the GPose tool, it works with the environmental textures and colors in a manner of different ways. Adding metallic dyes to your main piece of gear can really change the dynamic of an image. It not only emphasizes the gear itself, but creates a new surface for the light to work with. It adds an additional point of focus to the image along with contrasting and highlighting tones. Dyes can be crafted, purchased from the market board or purchased with Chocobo feathers from the Calamity Salvager in major cities. Some armors already contain unique detailing and metallic features so it’s well worth having a play and seeing what results can be achieved when emphasizing reflective or metallic surfaces.

Location: Coerthas | Filter: Pastel 2 | Effect: Sakura | Action: Asuna | DoF: f/1.4 Manual: 31 | Lighting: Light 1- Type 2 RGB – 1,8,10 to the lower right. Light 2 – Type 1 RGB 10,3,7 in front. Light 3 – Type 1 RGB – 6,5,5 in front.

On Use Items

On use items, such as Magicked Prism (wings), Magicked Prism (flowers), Magicked Prism (confetti) and so on can create unique shadows, lighting and effects not achievable in the standard GPose system. Before entering GPose, use the on use item first, then emote, then expression and type /gpose. The effect will then play as you perform your emote and will loop. For example, in the image below, Novi is using the wings, which provides a great deal of focused light that frees me to use the strengthened effects filter and three other light sources to tailor the image to how I would like it to be presented. The wings provide extra lighting and shadows around her and her dress.

Location: Sanctum of the Twelve | Filter: Strengthened Effects | Effect: Particle | Item: Magicked Prism (wings) | Emote: Panic with smile expression | DoF: Yes | Lighting: Light 1- Type 1 RGB – 6,5,5 in front to the left back two clicks. Light 2 – Type 1 RGB 6,5,10 directly behind Novi slightly to the left (her right). Light 3 – Type 1 RGB – 6,5,5 directly above her head a few scrolls out to soften the lighting and add a little more light to the shadowed parts of her face.

Strengthened Effects

Strengthened effects is one of the GPose filters I use most often to replicate the presentation of ReShade. Although at first it appears ‘too strong’ in its natural form, with the use of the lighting sources you can nullify the heaviness of the filter and re-color the image without loss of contrasting tones. This filter combined with the ‘wet attire’ status effect can create a nice smooth result (if you’re not already in water).

GPose Tips Without Reshade

Location: Costa del Sol | Filter: Strengthened Effects | Effect: Particle | Lighting: Light 1- Type 1, zoomed out from face (warmed tone). Light 2 – Type 1 purple light source placed behind the camera slightly to the right.

 

Light Sources & Highlighting

Lighting placement can be key to emphasize a subject within an image, be it water, structure or a character. For a portrait shot I will generally set all sources to level one to start with and place one light source right behind her head or neck area (perhaps between the shoulder blades – don’t be afraid to scroll right in). Return the camera to the front, zoom out a couple of scroll backs on the mouse, then place the second light source diagonally down to the left and the last diagonally up from the right or vice versa depending on the composition and emote. There is a video linked below that will explain and show this a little better. Slight adjustments can be made at any time to make sure you are defining your character in the best way without over exposure. If the lighting effects appears too strong, try to adjust the natural color to a slightly warmer/different tone which will soften the light a fraction.

An example of highlighting a character with two light sources. The top image is Pastel 2 with neutral lighting. The lower image is Strengthened Effects with different color lights.

If I want a strong set of highlights (as shown above), I will use a slightly different method by placing two type 1 light sources behind her around the head and ankle area. I will then adjust the placement and color of these depending on the pose. If the features need to be more visible I’ll zoom out (with the camera facing her) and place the third light source a little way back, up and diagonal from her face so that it’s lit but not enough to negate the highlights and contrast created by the back lighting.

Location: Apartment | Room lighting: 5 | Filter: Pencil | Effect: Brilliant 1 | Emote: Spectacles | Lighting: Light 1- Type 1 RGB – 9,6,2. Light 2 – Type 1 RGB 1,10,7. Light 3 – Type 3 RGB – 10,10,10.

Note: Even with a black and white filter use remember that different color light sources will still affects the outcome of the image, you can see the biggest changes between green lighting and red lighting where different tones are emphasized. When using a black and white filter you can use the Brilliant 1 screen effect to brighten the image a little further.

Location: Apartment | Room Light 0 | Background: Black Stage Panel | Filter: Strengthened Effects | Wet Attire: Yes | I didn’t manage to write down the values for this image but there is a red light source just behind to the left, and a yellow source down to the right to provide highlighting. The third source is zoomed out, up and above her face area to provide some subtle lighting to her skin.

Particle, Sakura & Status Effects

The status effects can be a powerful addition to an image. Using the Particle effect can add a more ethereal and serene feel to an image, enhancing any spell animations which may have been used as the action. The Sakura effect makes a nice environmental addition to some Samurai action effects or in conjunction with similarly colored/themed environments. The ‘wet attire’ character status effect can also provide a more ‘shiny’ surface to work with, which will make the image and textures appear more smooth. This affect will darken the character though so be sure to put this on before lighting your character.

Location: House garden | Filter: Pastel 2 | Effect: Sakura| Item: Magicked Prism (petals) | Action: Oka (SAM) | Emote: Shut eyes | DoF: f/1.4 Manual: 10 | Lighting: Light 1- Type 1 RGB – 6,5,5 behind, providing definition highlights. Light 2 – Type 1 RGB 10,4,7 to provide color highlight from the right. Light 3 – Type 3 RGB – 6,5,5 zoomed out facing the character, above slightly to the right.

Location: Umbral Isles | Filter: Strengthened Effects | Effect: Particle | Action: Benefic (AST) | DoF: Yes | Three light sources were used at type one strength, two behind Novi to add highlights and one to the left to enhance the shadows of her outfit.Sadly I wrote over the file name that had further details!

Framing

As a general rule, framing can really change the dynamic of an image. It generally dictates the flow in which you wish the viewer to read the image. There is, of course the general rule of thirds photography principle to keep in mind.

Rule of thirds grid.

“The rule of thirds involves mentally dividing up your image using 2 horizontal lines and 2 vertical lines, as shown below. You then position the important elements in your scene along those lines, or at the points where they meet.” – Photographymad.com

“Studies have shown that when viewing images that people’s eyes usually go to one of the intersection points most naturally rather than the centre of the shot – using the rule of thirds works with this natural way of viewing an image rather than working against it.” – Digital Photography School.

Although making use of the framing (tilt and zoom) options can result in a more interesting image and make good use of negative space, it may be better to go with your gut feeling of how you would like to frame and present your shot. Photography principles are just that, principles, not rigid rules set in stone. Art is subjective. I personally frame an image with my subject and focus in mind, being conscious of excess redundant space within the image.

Try to make use of the zoom and tilt camera options to bring a more interesting dynamic to your image.

Depth of Field

As discussed at great length in the DoF Guide, depth of field usage can be used to create greater focus to your image, and in doing so adds, well.. Depth! With the more recently added DoF options within GPose a player now has more options to create a good depth of field without the need for ReShade. Both images below are created by using the Depth of Field option adjusted to focus the object in the forefront of the image with the Pastel 2 filter on.

Emotes, Actions & Spell Effects

Study your emotes frame by frame, note useful ones and utilize the favorites list. Due to the wonderful FFXIV motion capture used to create emote animations, each frame can change the image dramatically, actions and spell effects included. Spell effects can heavily control and dictate the feel of an image as well as providing a combination of lighting which will affect the image in multiple ways.

Note: Press the 1 and 2 key in quick succession to view the emote frame by frame (or as close to as possible).

Location: Palace of the Dead | Filter: Strengthened Effects | Effect: Particle | Action: Limit Break 2 (NIN) | Lighting: Light 1- Type 1 RGB – 6,5,5 behind Novi to create some highlights on her to balance with the strong animation of the action effect.

Location: Ifrit | Action: Ruin 3 | Lighting: Please see next image down for similar lighting setup.

 

Character Tones

One way to make your image stand out is to match or contrast the lighting based on your characters tones. Lighting is a powerful tool as is, but when you take color theory into account when lighting or creating a backdrop for your character, you can achieve enhanced results. Each lighting source has an RGB slider. You can use similar lighting colors (monochromatic) to your character to match or enhance gear, or choose a range of complementary colors to make your character stand out more. For example, if Novi’s natural tones are more towards the yellow end of the spectrum I would use blue’s and purple shades to provide a more dramatic contrast. If I wanted to enhance her natural coloring’s I would aim for pale yellows. If there is a specific part of your character you wish to highlight, for example blue eyes, you could add some items to the image that match the accent color or use blue lighting to add additional emphasis. Orange toned background could be used to provide contrast if blue is the accent color.

Location

Within certain areas of the game a relatively unique effect can be seen on the environment and your character, for example the Ifrit arena and the Umbral Isles. These locations provide smoother texture over the character surfaces, increased shadows, smoothness and metallic enhancements. Combining the effects of the location with the gpose tools can create a powerful image, especially with the use of metallic dyes we discussed earlier in the guide.

GPose Tips Without Reshade

Location: Ifrit | Filter: Strengthened Effects | Effect: Particle | Item: Magicked Prism (wings) | Emote: Swiftcast | DoF: f/1.4 Manual: 19 | Lighting: Light 1- Type 1 RGB – 10,6,4 down to her left. Light 2 – Type 1 RGB 10,2,0 directly in front of Novi to provide highlighting. Light 3 – Type 3 RGB – 6,5,5 down to the right.

Weather conditions should also be kept in mind as the sun or moon position can create some nice additional highlighting and contrast to the area or character.

For portrait shots there are now many wonderful and inexpensive options in game to create a clean background for your image. The ‘Stage Panel’ can be bought from the housing vendors for 4000 Gil and placed within a house, apartment or FC room. Rectangular partitions are available through crafting or the market board, though these cost a little bit more. Both are dyeable and so can be used as a black or white backdrop, or a complementary/monochromatic color based on your character tones or outfit.

Location: Apartment | Room Light 0 | Background: Black Stage Panel | Filter: Strengthened Effects | Wet Attire: Yes | Emote: Eastern Dance | DoF: f/1.4 Manual: 7 | Lighting: Light 1- Type 1 RGB – 7,6,6 behind shoulders. Light 2 – Type 2 RGB 7,6,6 directly zoomed out in front of Novi.

General Tips

  • Place your light sources after selecting a filter. This way you can color the lighting more appropriately to enhance the filter. You can always scroll through other filters to see how the lighting works with them, sometimes you might find a better combination!
  • Using the ‘wet attire’ effect will make your character more shiny and smooth. This surface works better in conjunction with lighting and depth of field effects.
    If you pull the manual depth of field slider one click closer to your character you will get a softer outline, creating a slight gaussian blur effect.
  • Try not to heavily saturate, over-expose or create extreme contrast within an image. The exception for contrast being for black and white shots with noir/dramatic theme. If you feel your image is looking too over exposed either move the light source back a little or swing the camera up or down a little to place the light at a slightly different angle.
  • If you’d like to add more or less natural lighting to your character, you can do so by pressing the Escape, navigate to System Configuration then under the Display Settings (scroll down) there is a ‘character lighting’ slider.
  • Avoid visible clipping of armours, hair and tails.
  • Take pride in the images *you* create. Your creative journey is your own and we are all learning and have different levels of experience. Constant comparison to someone you feel is ‘better’ will only impede your journey and diminish your creativity. Having said that, surrounding yourself with work you find inspirational (without pressurized creative comparison) which can help you strive to learn and try more. It’s a strange scale to balance though!

If you are interested to become more involved in the screenshot communities of FFXIV please check out FFXIVSnaps and Eorzean Idols for more information.

GPose Tips Without Reshade

Related Articles:

Thank you for reading, I hope some, if not all of these tips can be useful to you! If you have any questions or would like clarification on anything mentioned in this article please drop a comment down below or get in contact either through here, Screenographic or Twitter.

May you always walk in the light of the Crystal. 

The post Art of Eorzea: GPose Tips Without ReShade appeared first on MMOGames.com.

Art of Eorzea: 10 Step ReShade Filter Guide

Welcome to another edition of Art of Eorzea. This is the sister column to ‘Echoes of Eorzea’ and is dedicated to the artistic side of Final Fantasy XIV. In this series have already covered ‘Screenshot Basics’ and an ‘In-depth Depth of Field’ guide, however, within the very first article I specified that I’d be exploring many aspects of screenshot photography,  expanding on each area, such as DoF, color theory, framing and lighting.

To ascertain what would be the most useful subject to cover next in this series, I asked the FFXIV community on Twitter by use of a poll. The highest percentage fell upon the creation of a ReShade preset guide and, as ReShade very heavily falls into the creative side of gaming, it’s a very worthy subject to be covering in my opinion. I really hope that this article can be of some use to you on some level. If you don’t know what ReShade is, the following articles may be of some use:

ReShade Install Guide
ReShade Settings Guide
ReShade Depth of Field Guide

Before I continue I would like to take a moment to emphasize that I am no expert, and any creative opinions are entirely subjective (my experience can be found here). The following advice and tips are just explanations of the way I do things, they may not be perfect in the slightest!

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Late afternoon in La Noscea.

Results will vary based on time of day, character clothing, hair color, skin tone, weather, how vivid the color in the environment is and many other factors. I’ve tested the preset in both day and night conditions and it ‘seems’ to work well (unless the light is too bright). Hopefully by the end of this article you will know enough to be able to adjust your filter to suit your environment.

Where to begin?

The first thing I think of when beginning the creation of a filter is an imagined ideal end result. Do I want it to look autumnal, or stark, or suitable for portraits? With the help of the new Group Pose time-stop feature, creating filters suited to environments has become a lot less stressful as you can now pause the time of day when entering GPose.

Today I will be starting with my usual filter basics and then leave you with some optional extras which will allow you to easily tweak the look of the filter.

ffxiv-reshade-filter-aeyvi

Tip: Keep in mind that, even though you create your filter for a certain environment, you can test it out alongside the GPose filters and various lighting environments to see if it becomes more versatile.

Basic 10 Step ReShade Filter

SHADERS

For each shader I mention, I will reference the description from the ReShade Settings Guide (or summarize it) alongside my own comments if applicable. Ideally, this will be a basic environmental filter which will emphasize color, contrast and image depth with slight sharpening.

For the sake of comparison this preset was created at the Last Vigil in Ishgard.

Important: Please remember to disable GPose ‘Depth of Field’ setting before creating any sort of filter preset (it will throw off your DoF and sharpening).

The video above shows the before and after stages of this ReShade preset as well as some of the variables each shader can achieve. Sadly my screen recorder (Action!) crashed the game six times while trying to film the creation live, so I had to go back to film afterwards with OBS (and pray Ishgard weather conditions didn’t change). The best I could do was to deconstruct and reconstruct the filter to show you how the layers build up, I do apologize that there was not more. Should you not be able to discern the settings from the screenshots, they are available within the video. I have tried to not go over the top with the filter and maintain a relatively ‘neutral but enhanced’ look, though I’m not sure if I succeeded or failed in that regard but I hope you like the results.

ONE | MXAO

MXAO is at the top of my list because it gives me a good idea where character and object shading is going to be, then when it comes to adding in the contrast and brightness in other shaders. This way I’ve got a good idea what I’m working with and I won’t go overboard on the shadows, which could create very heavy and jagged lines.

ffxiv-reshade-filter-aeyvi

Description: In Final Fantasy XIV ReShade, MXAO creates a very noticeable difference between images, creating depth and shade.

“MXAO can both apply little shading almost for free or heavy shading for screenshots to completely change the look of the scenery.” Source.

Keep in mind that this is an environmentally dependent preset, so one set of values may work for certain hairstyles, yet for others, you might have to pull the slider to the opposite side and lessen the intensity to create a more subtle effect or compensate for certain shapes. The most important slider here is Sample Radius (determines where the shadow will sit), so set that first before altering the others.

TWO | Adaptive Sharpen

Next, let’s sharpen the image a little to provide slightly cleaner lines and emphasise features.

ffxiv-reshade-filter-aeyvi

Description: Adaptive Sharpen is versatile and its primary use is to provide definition around objects within an image. I tend to use this option in its default form more than any other sharpening shader. You may increase the sharpening strength to suit your need, although I would recommend having lower values for wider distance shots as it may make the image look very grainy or cartoon-like.

THREE | Tonemap

Tonemap might seem a rather extreme addition to the filter at this point and ‘washes out’ a lot of the color but when I build a filter I think in terms of building blocks. This shader provides the ability to lay down the foundation of the color changes and also provides the ability to make some basic contrast and brightness alterations. Keep in mind you can always come back to this at a later stage and make some careful adjustments.

ffxiv-reshade-filter-aeyvi

Description: Tonemap is another color manipulation setting incorporating Gamma, Exposure, Saturation, and Bleach. However, the most important feature of Tonemap is the Defog setting. The color you choose in the bottom right is the color it will remove from the image.

FOUR | Clarity

Although subtle, I feel that clarity adds some more image depth that MXAO doesn’t quite capture and emphasizes objects in the image a little more with out excessive sharpening.

ffxiv-reshade-filter-aeyvi

Description: Clarity essentially emphasizes the shadows in the image to provide more contrast. This shader is somewhat similar to the ‘strengthened effects’ GPose filter. There is a lot of flexibility in this preset and it’s well worth spending some time on as your image can get a great boost from it.

FIVE | Levels

Levels will act as the base for the image contrast, as you can see in comparison to image three, it has become significantly more bold and less ‘washed out’.

ffxiv-reshade-filter-aeyvi

Description: Levels only has two settings to worry about, BlackPoint and WhitePoint. BlackPoint emphasizes the dark areas and WhitePoint, the lighter areas. This is a very simplistic way of adding contrast to the image.

SIX | FilmicPass

This shader is very much personal choice but I absolutely love including it within my presets, it makes the tones quite unique but keep in mind you may have to balance other settings around it. The shader itself also has great control of lighting and saturation so it’s great for multi-purpose use.

ffxiv-reshade-filter-aeyvi

Description: FilmicPass provides both contrast and background darkening. The most important values to keep an eye on are Strength, Fade, Contrast, Linearization, Bleach, EffectGamma and Saturation. The values required for a daytime shot will be quite different as these values will over expose your character quite badly because they are designed to compensate for low light.

SEVEN | DPX

Here I’m using DPX to emphasize the cooler tones without losing saturation, depth or contrast.

Description: DPX is a powerful preset in terms of the color manipulation of your image. You have control over Contrast, Saturation, Colorfulness, Strength, RBG Curve and RBGc.These settings are relatively safe to play about with to see the color alterations that can be achieved. Having a play works best for a preset such as this.

EIGHT | Tint

Changing the color tone of your image can have a huge impact on your final image and in this instance I’m using the tint to add a slight warmth back into the more pale tones such as Novi’s skin and the sky. In effect, I am replacing the warm tones of the were lessened by Tonemap/DPX, but these tones are artificial and of my own choosing.

If I add a tint into images it may be necessary go back and edit the Tonemap again to make sure that the color balance is as desired.

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Description: Sepia is a handy setting to use if you wish to subtly tint one of your presets. Just modify the RGB value (or enter your desired hex code) and adjust the strength. 

NINE | Technicolor2

In all honesty I don’t know how my brain works, but here I can only assume that I’m using Technicolor2 to emphasize both the cold and (artificial) warm tone structure developed using the other color management shaders. In all honesty, I just do what my eyes tell me to!

ffxiv-reshade-filter-aeyvi

Description: The technicolor setting aims to recreate the Technicolor three-strip process. Technicolor 2 has slightly more versatility and may play a useful part in slight alterations of color in conjunction with other settings.

TEN | Depth of Field

As a photographer I enjoy using depth of field in my images above any other style or technique, the same goes for my Final Fantasy XIV images. I don’t seem to be capable of creating a preset without it!

ffxiv-reshade-filter-aeyvi

Description: The depth of field variables within the ReShade presets are possibly some of the more complex options in the lineup and can very easily break, so pay attention to what you are changing and note the value before changing it. For a standard preset with simple DoF, I will turn on the DOF_AUTOFOCUS and DOF_MOUSEDRIVEN_AF in the general DoF settings. Mouse driven AF simply means the mouse will determine where the focal level is detected. [Full DoF Guide here.]

Why leave DoF until last? It’s easier to see the whole picture during the color/light editing process, and then add in the DoF. If gamma/exposure alterations need to be made because of DoF bloom then you can go back to Tonemap or FilmicPass and alter those settings retrospectively.

ffxiv-reshade-filter-aeyvi

Landscape versatility: Filter used in Eastern La Noscea on a bright, clear day.

Note: You are absolutely not obligated to use all of these shaders or even replicate the settings I have used. A similar filter could be achieved in fewer steps but I feel each of the color altering shaders offers something unique and it’s just my preference to use a few of them during the process of creating a filter base such as this one. I also based the main chunk of this shader around color and contrast management because these are the foundations of all my presets. Many other additional shader choices would be down to personal taste such as adding blooms, lens flares or special effects, so working with the basics seemed logical.

Please, please remember to back up your presets!

Optional Extras

The above video displays some of the capabilities and uses of the addition shaders mentioned below.
ffxiv-reshade-filter-aeyvi

DepthHaze

If you’d like to add a little more depth and interest to your images, depth haze is a great way to do it. From steamy pools to eerie forests, this is a fantastic and versatile shader.

Description: Depth Haze is similar to Adaptive Fog although far more subtle. The shader places a fog effect in the far distance.

Adaptive Fog

Description: Similar to DepthHaze but with greater flexibility and stronger effects. This preset is also wonderful for creating silhouette images for the background with the right configuration. It also makes a great green-screen!

Emphasize

Description: Emphasize gives you color in the foreground of the image, fading out to grayscale in the background. You can manually alter the color focus by using the FocusRangeDepth and the ManualFocusDepth.

Ambient Light

Depending on the look you are going for, this shader gives you the ability to add a soft lighting effect without losing the sharpening effect from Adaptive Sharpen (as you may do with Gaussian Blur).

Description: This is a great setting for adding not only more light and contrast to your images but allows a subtle ‘bokeh’ type effect that I spent a very long time in the lens flare section looking for!

Magic Bloom

Description: Ideal if you want to add a slight bloom to your image without losing too much clarity. It is a wonderful effect, but sometimes this shader is bugged unless moved to the top of the use list in the preset .ini file. Please do not make modifications to these files if you are a novice user!

Tip: Depending on brightness of day use levels to realign the contrast and exposure.

Why am I not giving the preset away with this article? Simply put, it would defeat the object of me showing you how the filter is made and I’d like you to have a play with the settings! This way you may find something more suited to your tastes visually. If you do have a go please be sure to tag me @aeyvi on twitter to show me your screenshots (I really would love to see them)!

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Portrait aspirations: Although the filter has very warm tones it still seems to work in a dark studio with one subtle GPose light source (level 1) positioned on Novi’s right side.

 

The ReShade Settings guide has a visual index of various other shader settings if you’d like some inspiration.

All the images in this article have been created using the same filter featured in the guide, as versatile as the filter has (luckily) proved to be, not all conditions worked well, as shown below.

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Not so versatile: Light studio environments do not wield the best results.

 

Final Thoughts

If you got this far, thank you so much for taking a look at the article. I can’t tell you how unbelievably grateful I am for the support that I’ve received from the community in regards to this column and my screenshot adventures. If it wasn’t for you I wouldn’t have the confidence to keep working on my screenshot portfolio or write these articles.

I hope above all that this guide has been helpful and informative. Enjoy your new preset!

If you have any questions, advice or comments please don’t hesitate to get in contact either through here, Screenographic or Twitter.

The post Art of Eorzea: 10 Step ReShade Filter Guide appeared first on MMOGames.com.

Art of Eorzea: Depth of Field Basics & ReShade DoF Settings Guide

reshade dof settings guide

Welcome to this special depth of field edition of Art of Eorzea! Today we will be covering depth of field photography principles, the Final Fantasy XIV Group Pose depth of field settings and (almost!) the entire list of the ReShade DoF settings. This is a very long article and so I would urge you to use the index below if you are here looking for specific information, alternatively you can search the page using ‘Ctrl & F’. Each of the ReShade DoF settings have been listed exactly as they are written in ReShade to make searching this article easier.

For those who have not read this column before, Art of Eorzea is the sister column to Echoes of Eorzea and is a series primarily of screenshot photography and art based articles which begin to introduce the technical and practical aspects of photography when combined with in-game screenshots and screenshot art. The first in this series ‘Art of Eorzea: FFXIV Screenshot Basics‘ briefly covers a range of principles which are to be elaborated upon in subsequent editions, such as color theory, framing, and of course depth of field.

This article is a huge undertaking for me, especially the ReShade settings section as there are so many variables and options involved, it’s almost impossible to visually represent all of the capabilities of the program. I sincerely apologize in advance if I have made any mistakes. I will be reviewing this article frequently to make additions and alterations if necessary.

For those who are familiar with all the photographic principles, please forgive me but I feel it’s only right to go over them in more detail for this guide even though they were briefly covered in the first ‘Screenshot Basics’ article. Feel free to skip ahead!

Index

Depth of Field Explained
FFXIV GPose DoF Settings
ReShade DoF Settings
ReShade: Ring DoF
ReShade: Magic DoF
ReShade: GP DoF
ReShade: Matso DoF
ReShade: Marty McFly DoF
Notes & Disclaimers

A general ReShade settings guide which explains most of the ReShade settings can be found here!

Note: For the majority of the images of the article I have created a purpose-built apartment room to display example settings used (the location is listed at the end of the article, feel free to visit or use the room). Ideally, I would have liked to use a wider landscape showing some of the beautiful locations in the game, however, with continual light and weather changes it proved too difficult to keep the images uniform.

Depth of Field Explained

In photographic terms, depth of field is used to highlight certain objects within an image or direct the viewer’s eye in a certain way. By definition, it is the area of an image that is sharp and clear when objects in the foreground or background remain blurry.

Types of Depth of field

Deep
The image is mostly entirely sharp, it can emphasize that all subjects in the image have relevance from foreground to background.

reshade dof settings

Medium
Objects in the foreground are in focus and being highlighted, while background details are blurred but still identifiable allowing the image to retain context and allowing the viewer to know that the secondary elements are still relevant to the whole image.

Shallow
Shallow depth of field is used to focus on one specific subject and highlight it. It can also turn a messy background into a wash of color or blur, allowing the focus of the image to be clear and prominent.

reshade dof guide

 

What Creates Depth of field?

The zone of sharpness depends on three main factors; the aperture of the lens, the distance between the lens and subject, and the focal length of the lens. Also (this relates to ReShade setting “DOF_FOCUSPOINT”) the beginning and end of the zone of sharpness will be determined by where you choose to focus the lens.

1. Aperture

The measurement of the aperture is known as the f-number, the smaller the number, the larger the opening and vice versa. If you think of the human eye, if there is a large amount of light, the iris will be very small. So, a large aperture would be f/2.8, and a small aperture would be f/22.

F/2.8: Large aperture, large opening. Would indicate a shallow (blurred background) depth of field.

F/8: Medium aperture, medium opening. Would indicate subject and midground are in focus with the background blurred but still identifiable.

F/22: Small aperture, small opening. Would indicate a deep depth of field (sharper image in both foreground and background).

In Short:

Large aperture = Small f-number = Shallow (small) depth of field.
Small aperture = Larger f-number = Deeper (larger) depth of field.

2. Subject Distance

The closer your camera is to the subject the less depth of field you will have in your image and vice versa. This is something you can even use your smartphone to test out by focusing it on an object near to you, then focus it in the midground, then background. You should see a noticeable difference in blur surrounding the closest object (assuming your phone has autofocus).

3. Focal Length

The focal length of the lens determines how much it can see, and how magnified a subject appears in the frame. Shorter focal length lenses (<50mm) have a wider angle of view, so the subject takes up less of the frame than if it was shot at the same distance with a lens with a larger focal length (telephoto). Due to the image being magnified with longer focal length lenses, as too is the blur in the background so it appears as a more shallow depth of field. Shorter focal lengths offer a greater or more clear image from foreground to background.

4. Focal Point

The point at which you focus the lens will affect where the zone of sharpness will begin and end. The depth of field extends from about one third in front of the subject to two thirds behind.

Now, of course in Final Fantasy XIV we do not have a ‘real’ camera or lens to control, but I feel the theory behind this principle is important as it may help understand how the ReShade settings relate to real life photography.

 

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FFXIV GPose DoF Settings

In the Group Pose tool (GPose)  there is a built-in depth of field setting on the first tab. gpose dof settings

If the number is low (0), the objects in the close foreground will become slightly blurred or out of focus and objects. If the number is high, the setting will produce a large depth of field, meaning almost no blur.

You will want to use the GPose setting on a higher number if your character or object is very close to the ‘camera’.

gpose dof settings

Double-click to enlarge. GPose DoF is off in the left image, and on in the right image.

The GPose depth of field setting, though a wonderful addition to the tool, is limited and produces a very subtle gaussian blur effect. In some circumstances, it may not appear to work at all depending on the emote and zoom that you choose for your image, as the axis for the camera, zoom value and emote placement can ‘confuse’ the value on the depth of field slider and result in subtle blurring of the whole image. The effect is applied on the basis of where the camera is physically sitting in-game, however, the zoom slider value only magnifies the image and does not move the camera’s placement.

gpose dof settings

Double-click to enlarge. The differences are very subtle and may only be noticeable when viewing the image at full size.

The higher value, the more depth of field there is (greater clarity) and the lower end of the slider makes things more blurry.

If you want to see a clearer marker for how the depth of field settings are affecting your image, keep an eye on the ‘band’ of focus along the floor as you switch the slider from 0 to 10 (you’re more likely to be able to see this in a confined space such as an inn room or apartment).

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ReShade DoF Settings

Below I will list the ReShade depth of field settings in turn along with their tooltip and a short description if applicable. Example screenshots will be provided for as many settings as possible to more easily identify what the setting is capable of. However, some settings work in conjunction with other settings and so 1-100 results could be produced (so I’ve chosen an image that most clearly represents the setting).

The ‘Reshade Basic Settings’ section lists the standard depth of field settings that apply for all shaders. Each shader has additional settings, which are listed separately below, but the settings will nearly always be on default to display the various effects each shader can produce. Not every setting can be elaborated on, as the tooltip may already contain enough information.

Please remember to disable GPose depth of field before changing the settings in ReShade, otherwise, it will apply its own blur in addition to that of ReShade.

Note: For this guide, I will be leaving MXAO OFF and trying to include my ReShade window in most screenshots so that a wider variety of settings can be viewed and checked.

Terms:

Bokeh
In photography, bokeh is the aesthetic quality of the blur produced in the out-of-focus parts of an image produced by a lens. Bokeh has been defined as “the way the lens renders out-of-focus points of light. (Source)

Chromatic Aberration
Chromatic aberration, also known as “color fringing” or “purple fringing”, is a common optical problem that occurs when a lens is either unable to bring all wavelengths of color to the same focal plane, and/or when wavelengths of color are focused at different positions in the focal plane. Chromatic aberration is caused by lens dispersion, with different colors of light traveling at different speeds while passing through a lens. As a result, the image can look blurred or noticeable colored edges (red, green, blue, yellow, purple, magenta) can appear around objects, especially in high-contrast situations. (Source)

LDR
Light Dependent Resistor: An LDR is a component that has a (variable) resistance that changes with the light intensity that falls upon it. (Source)

Basic ReShade Settings

Basic ReShade settings apply across the board to whichever depth of field shader you have toggled on.

Please, please back up all your .ini files before playing with any settings. I say this in every guide but it’s so very important.

Note: The first set of standard DoF setting shown here will be displayed using ‘MatsoDOF’ toggled on unless specified otherwise.

Note: Don’t be scared of the scary looking names for the settings (it’s been a reaction from anyone I’ve shown the settings list to!)

DOF_AUTOFOCUS
Tooltip: Enables automated focus recognition based on samples around the autofocus center.

Derives its autofocus target from DOF_FOCUSPOINT or MOUSEDRIVEN_AF. I would recommend that this is turned ON otherwise other settings will not work. This is a bit of a fiddly setting to use in conjunction with the focus point, so I would always opt for MOUSEDRIVEN_AF as that will give you the most control of subject focus (but keep this setting on even with mousedriven AF).

DOF_MOUSEDRIVEN_AF
Tooltip: Enables mouse-driven autofocus. The AF point is read from the mouse coordinates, otherwise, DOF_FOCUSPOINT is used.

The depth of field will focus where your mouse pointer is, works in conjunction with DOF_AUTOFOCUS.  I would recommend that this is turned on unless you are creating a filter where you wish to manually set a constant depth of field focus area. Please make sure DOF_AUTOFOCUS dropdown is set to ON.

reshade dof settings

Double-click to enlarge. Example image showing MOUSEDRIVEN_AF/mouseover focus on.

DOF_FOCUSPOINT
Tooltip: X and Y coordinates of the autofocus center. Axes start from upper left screen corner.

Works in conjunction with DOF_AUTOFOCUS to which it gives the X and Y coordinates of where the central focus point should be. For the example, I have set the focus to the location of Novi’s head area, I have included a copy of the ReShade values for reference (below). This is a good option for maintaining a centralized focus on a subject you know will be in a constant place on the screen. Further settings will expand from this area such as  DOF_FOCUSRADIUS.

Note: This setting is more easily used with a visual guide/curtain in place – please see iGPDOFQuality below for more information. If you wish to use GP position for your focus point you will need to have the DoF shader GP65CJ042DOF toggled on instead of MatsoDOF, but you can switch back to Matso once you’ve positioned the focus.

reshade dof settings

Double-click to enlarge. Example image showing DOF_FOCUSPOINT values.

 

DOF_FOCUSSAMPLES
Tooltip: Amount of samples around the focus point for smoother focal plane detection.

DOF_FOCUSRADIUS
Tooltip: Radius of samples around the focus point.

Manual focus point: Seems to invert the focus area. Works in conjunction with DOF_FOCUSSAMPLES. Increases and decreases the area of focus determined by the DOF_FOCUSPOINT.

reshade dof settings

Double-click to enlarge. Example image showing DOF_FOCUSRADIUS values.

Note: At this point, I have reverted settings to default, turned DOF_MOUSEDRIVEN_AF off.


DOF_NEARBLURCURVE
Tooltip: Curve of blur closer than focal plane. Higher means less blur.

Blur in front of the focus point, determined by the values in the DOF_FOCUSPOINT.

DOF_FARBLURCURVE
Tooltip: Curve of blur behind the focal plane. Higher means less blur.

Blur behind of the focus point, determined by the values in the DOF_FOCUSPOINT mentioned above, only as we have reset the values, we will be altering the focus point after setting the far blur.

I will explain these two together as they are practically the same but appear in the background and foreground (imagine a curtain of blur behind and in front of your character/focus). Check that your character or focal point is in focus, then drag the slider of DOF_FARBLURCURVE to align the ‘curtain’ of blur behind the subject at your preferred distance. For the DOF_NEARBLURCURVE I tilted my camera up and slowly decreased the value in the settings box. This setting can be a bit jumpy so I set it to a low value then manually typed in the number, increasing it by 0.100 each time.

reshade dof settings

Double-click to enlarge. ReShade values for DOF_NEARBLURCURVE (foreground blur curtain)/DOF_FARBLURCURVE (background blur curtain).

 

DOF_MANUALFOCUSDEPTH
Tooltip: Depth of focal plane when autofocus is off. 0.0 means camera, 1.0 means infinite distance.

This setting only needs to be used if you choose to have the autofocus (DOF_AUTOFOCUS) turned off. When the AF is off, your image subject is no longer chosen by the focal point specified earlier in the settings. To have this focus on a relatively close subject you will have to use a low value, and once again, the slider is very sensitive in confined spaces (such as the studio I’m using) so manually entering (by double-clicking on the value) a low number around 0.040 should work. Combining manual focus, near and far curves and infinite focus is very useful for presets such those for weddings if you want a constant background blur in a given place.

DOF_INFINITEFOCUS
Tooltip: Distance at which depth is considered as infinite. 1.0 is standard. Low values only produce out of focus blur when focus object is very close to the camera. Recommended for gaming.

From what I can see this is for setting a focus area when both DOF_AUTOFOCUS and DOF_MOUSEDRIVEN_AF are both off. The higher the value,  the more blurred the distance is.

reshade dof settings

Double-click to enlarge. ReShade values for DOF_INFINITEFOCUS.

DOF_BLURRADIUS
Tooltip: Maximal blur radius in pixels.

By far, one of my favorite settings! The higher the value, the more blur and loss of distinction you will have in the background. This is an important setting if you want to make stars and the particle effect more pronounced and glowy! Higher value means more blur and wider bokeh effect (yey!).

reshade dof settings

Double-click to enlarge. ReShade values for DOF_BLURRADIUS (how blurry the depth of field effect is).

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Basic DOF settings have been reset to default. Toggle OFF MatsoDoF and turn ON RingDoF.

RingDOF

reshade dof settings

Double-click to enlarge. Near and far focus view of the default RingDOF setting. As standard, objects in the background will have a red and green halo effect.

iRingDOFSamples
Tooltip: Samples on the first ring. The other rings around have more samples.

Works in conjunction with iRingDOF Rings and explanation will continue below.

iRingDOFRings
Tooltip: Ring count.

To view the effects of the iRingDOFRings, put this and the iRingDOFSamples on a low-value number. You will see a very fragmented green and red halo effect (shown in the upper image). If you keep the iRingDOFRings on a low value and raise the iRingDOFSamples to the highest value (30) you will see that it smoothes out the effect but it’s still fragmented. If you then raise the value of iRingDOFRings to the highest value (8) you will see that the fragments lose all definition and the depth of field effect is very blurred and smooth with a green and red halo.

reshade dof settings

Double-click to enlarge. Example showing the various value options for iRingDOFSamples and iRingDOFRings.

Double-click to enlarge. An additional example in low light, showing value options for iRingDOFSamples and iRingDOFRings.

fRingDOFThreshhold
Tooltip: Threshold for bokeh brightening. Above this value, everything gets much brighter. 1.0 is a maximum value for LDR games like GTA:SA, higher values work only on HDR games like Skyrim etc.

The lower the value in this field,  the brighter lit objects and the surrounding effect become. Works in conjunction with fRingDOFGain.

fRingDOFGain
Tooltip: Amount of brightening for pixels brighter than the threshold.

Works in conjunction with fRingDOFThreshold above. Using the threshold control at lower values, the fRingDOFGain can be used to further control the intensity of light being exaggerated by the threshold above.

fRingDOFBias
Tooltip: Bokeh bias.

Emphasizes the bokeh effect from any light source. Use with care as it can wield some pretty scary results in normal studio conditions!

reshade dof settings

Double-click to enlarge. Example showing fRingDOFBias values in combination with the other DoF shader values shown.

dof reshade settings

Alternative lighting for fRingDOFBias.

fRingDOFFringe
Tooltip: Amount of chromatic aberration.

Increases the amount of red and green halo (displaced color) around the edges objects in the image.

reshade dof settings

Double-click to enlarge. Example showing fRingDOFFringe setting.

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Basic DOF settings have been reset to default. Toggle OFF RingDoF and turn ON MagicDOF.

MagicDOF

iMagicDOFBlurQuality
Tooltip: Blur quality as control value over tap count. Quality 15 produces 721 taps, impossible with other DOF shaders by far, most they can do is about 150.

Smoothes or fragments the depth of field effect. At lower values, the appearance is fragmented, at higher values, the effect is very smooth.

reshade dof settings

Double-click to enlarge. Example showing the iMagicDOFBlurQuality at highest and lowest values.

fMagicDOFColorCurve
Tooltip: DOF weighting curve.

High values produce a halo effect and brighten bokeh effects on subjects within the image. Lower values produce a more crisp definition around a subject that is the focus of the picture, as well as those in the rest of the image (this setting may change effect depending on what your DOF_BLURRADIUS), is set to.

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Basic DOF settings have been reset to default. Toggle OFF Magic DOF and turn ON GP65CJ042DOF.

GP65CJ042DOF

iGPDOFQuality
Tooltip: 0= only slight gaussian far blur but no bokeh. 1-7 bokeh blur, higher means a better quality of blur but less FPS.

This setting is so useful to place your DOF_FOCUSPOINT (mentioned above in the ReShade Basic DoF Settings). At a value of ‘0’ the shader creates a black curtain that shows you where your depth of field focus. If you scroll back up to DOF_FOCUSPOINT in your ReShade and modify some of the numbers, the curtain will be placed in the corresponding coordinates. This helps me align my manual focus point.

bGPDOFPolygonalBokeh
Tooltip: Enables polygonal bokeh shape, e.g. POLYGON_NUM 5 means more pentagonal bokeh shape. Setting this value to false results in circular bokeh shape.

On/off switch for effect.

iGPDOFPolygonalCount
Tooltip: Controls the number of polygons for polygonal bokeh shape. 3 = triangular, 4 = square, 5 = pentagonal etc.

To be able to display this shader effect properly I have firstly turned on DOF_MOUSEDRIVEN_AF so that the mouse cursor will choose my focal point, and also set the DOF_BLURRADIUS to 17.300 to emphasize the bokeh shaping. These two settings are near the top of the general DOF.FX options (covered above). The GPose ‘Particle’ effect will also be used for this example along with lower lighting conditions.

This setting basically allows you to change the shape of the bokeh effect.

reshade dof settings

Double-click to enlarge. Example showing the iGPDOFPolygonCount at values 3,4,5 and 8.

fGPDOFBias
Tooltip: Shifts bokeh weighting to bokeh shape edge. Set to 0 for even bright bokeh shapes (shown above), raise it for darker bokeh shapes in the center and brighter on the edge.

Provides bokeh shape definition. Allows you to change the bokeh shape from hollow (just the outline) to a filled glowing shape.

fGPDOFBiasCurve
Tooltip: Power of bokeh bias. Raise for more defined bokeh outlining on bokeh shape edge.

fGPDOFBrightnessThreshold
Tooltip: Threshold for bokeh brightening. Above this value, everything gets much brighter. 1.0 is a maximum value for LDR games like GTASA, higher values work only on HDR games like Skyrim etc.

fGPDOFBrightnessMultiplier
Tooltip: Amount of brightening for pixels brighter than fGPDOFBrightnessThreshold.

Additional brightening for the bokeh effect.

fGPDOFChromaAmount
Tooltip: Amount of color shifting applied on blurred areas.

reshade dof settings

Double-click to enlarge. Example showing the difference between low and high values fGPDOFChromaAmount.

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Basic DOF settings have been reset to default. Toggle GP65CJ042DOF and turn ON MatsoDOF.

MatsoDOF

bMatsoDOFChromaEnable
Tooltip: Enables chromatic aberration. (For definition see ‘Terms’ above).

On/off switch for effect.

fMatsoDOFChromaPow
Tooltip: Amount of chromatic aberration color shifting.

Color distortion within the image creating RBG shifts of the original object.

Double-click to enlarge. Example image showing fMatsoDOFChromaPow color shifts.

fMatsoDOFBokehCurve
Tooltip: Bokeh curve

reshade dof settings

Double-click to enlarge. Example showing the difference between low and high values fMatsoDOFBokehCurve.

iMatsoDOFBokehQuality
Tooltip: Blur quality as control value over tap count.

reshade dof settings

Double-click to enlarge (the effect is not very visible unless viewed full-size). Example showing the difference between low and high values iMatsoDOFBokehQuality.

Sharpens/disperses bokeh light sources at low values, creating pretty little flower patterns!

fMatsoBokehAngle
Tooltip: Rotation angle of bokeh shape.

Possibly the most fun setting out of this bunch, you can effectively turn the sparkles into bokeh glowy rain! I’ve changed the value to 78.000 for this example.

reshade dof settings

Double-click to enlarge. Example showing fMatsoBokehAngle at value 78.000.

Not such a great effect for the studio!

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Basic DOF settings have been reset to default. Toggle OFF MatsoDOF and toggle ON MartyMcFlyDOF.

MartyMcFlyDOF

This is, by far, the most extensive shader of the those discussed in this article. For most images in this section, I have used a focus point of 0.160/0.900 with autofocus on and mouse driven AF off (though under usual circumstances I always have mouse driven autofocus on). One of the reasons I enjoy this shader so much is because you have many on/off switches so in effect it feels a little safer. The other shaders often have settings that impact all other settings, so if you make a mistake and forget what the default value was, it can be annoying and break filter. With the MartyMcFlyDOF you can simply turn the setting off if you don’t wish them to impact on the other settings. I feel this allows you more freedom to experiment without instantly breaking the whole thing (as I’ve done many times)! The general DoF settings still impact on this shader. Many of these settings are best displayed using the ‘Particle’ effect from the GPose settings in low light.

iADOF_ShapeQuality
Tooltip: Quality level of DOF shape. Higher means more offsets are taken, cleaner shape but also less performance. Compilation time stays same.

As mentioned in the tooltip the higher value can be very performance intensive. My first instinct was to set it to 255 and I barely scraped 1fps! At a low value the effect disperses the particle light effects creating tiny falling flowers (as seen above but larger).

fADOF_ShapeRotation
Tooltip: Static rotation of bokeh shape.

bADOF_RotAnimationEnable
Tooltip: Enables constant shape rotation in time.

On/off switch for effect. This setting enables the little bokeh stars to rotate on the spot or as they are moving. It’s a beautiful effect but not very useful for static screenshots.

fADOF_RotAnimationSpeed
The speed of shape rotation. Negative numbers change direction.

bADOF_ShapeCurvatureEnable
Tooltip: Bends edges of polygonal shape outwards (or inwards). Circular shape best with vertices >7.

On/off switch for effect.

fADOF_ShapeCurvatureAmount
Tooltip: Amount of edge bending. 1.0 results in a circular shape. Values below 0 produce star-like shapes.

Double-click to enlarge. Example image showing fADOF_ShapeCurvatureAmount values.

bADOF_ShapeApertureEnable
Tooltip: Enables deformation of bokeh shape into a swirl-like aperture. You will recognize it when you try it out. Best with big bokeh shapes.

On/off switch for effect.

reshade dof settings

Double-click to enlarge. Example image showing bADOF_ShapeApertureEnable on.

fADOF_ShapeApertureAmount
Tooltip: Amount of deformation. Negative values mirror the effect.

This effect is advised for large bokeh effects though in the example image you will be able to see the effect anyway. The setting effectively swirls the bokeh shape and makes it look like tiny swirly star shapes.

bADOF_ShapeAnamorphEnable
Tooltip: Lessens horizontal width of the shape to simulate anamorphic bokeh shape seen in movies.

On/off switch for effect.

fADOF_ShapeAnamorphRatio
Tooltip: Horizontal width factor. 1.0 means 100% width, 0.0 means 0% width (bokeh shape will be vertical line).

Ever wanted to make pixel rain? Now you can! By having particle effect, the bADOF_ShapeTextureAmount on 1 and switching this setting to 0!

reshade dof settings

Double-click to enlarge. Example showing fADOF_ShapeAnamorphRatio at the value of 0.

bADOF_ShapeDistortEnable
Tooltip: Deforms bokeh shape at screen borders to simulate lens distortion. Bokeh shapes at screen edges look like an egg.

On/off switch for effect.

fADOF_ShapeDistortAmount
Tooltip: Amount of deformation.

This setting effectively distorts the bokeh effect by slightly squishing it horizontally.

bADOF_ShapeDiffusionEnable
Tooltip: Enables some fuzziness of bokeh shape, makes it less clearly defined.

On/off switch for effect.

fADOF_ShapeDiffusionAmount
Tooltip: Amount of shape diffusion. High values look like the bokeh shape exploded.

Can produce a frozen glass-like effect for your background blur.

reshade dof settings

Double-click to enlarge. Example showing fADOF_ShapeDiffusionAmount values.

reshade dof settings

The same setting under studio conditions.

bADOF_ShapeWeightEnable
Tooltip: Enables bokeh shape weight bias and shifts color to the shape borders.

On/off switch for effect. Gives the appearance that the bokeh effect is hollowed out, effectively darkens the internal area of shapes and subjects. Be careful with the settings as they are quite sensitive and you could end up looking like someone has drawn thick charcoal lines around objects in your image.

reshade dof settings

Double-click to enlarge. Example showing the bADOF_ShapeWeightEnable setting on and off.

fADOF_ShapeWeightCurve
Tooltip: Curve of shape weight bias.

Lower value input means that the darkness around objects becomes thicker.

fADOF_ShapeWeightAmount
Tooltip: Amount of shape weight bias.

Spreads the darkness effect from ‘internal’ shadow (displayed in the first image above) to edge shadow. This is perhaps not the best environment to display this setting so I may review this at a later date.

fADOF_BokehCurve
Tooltip: Bokeh factor. Higher values produce more defined bokeh shapes for separated bright spots.

A higher value in this box will increase the intensity of any light source producing the bokeh effect within the image. This is a great setting if you wish to emphasize the stars.

reshade dof settings

Double-click to enlarge. Example showing the fADOF_BokehCurve setting.

bADOF_ShapeChromaEnable
Tooltip: Enables chromatic aberration at bokeh shape borders. This means 3 times more samples = less performance.

On/off switch for effect.

iADOF_ShapeChromaMode
Tooltip: Switches through the possible R G B shifts (6 modes).

A selection of color combinations to choose from, for this screenshot below I have kept the bADOF_ShapeTextureAmount on 1 and used Mode 4 with the GPose ‘Particle’ effect running.

fADOF_ShapeChromaAmount
Tooltip: Amount of color shifting.

A higher the value in this setting, the more stretched out the ‘stars’ become.

Double-click to enlarge. Example showing iADOF_ShapeChromaMode in Mode 4 with the fADOF_ShapeChromaAmount set to 0.250 and GPose particle effect on. bADOF_ShapeTextureAmount is also set to 1.

bADOF_ImageChromaEnable
Tooltip: Enables image chromatic aberration at screen corners. This one is way more complex than the shape chroma (and any other chroma on the web).

On/off switch for effect.

iADOF_ImageChromaHues
Tooltip: Amount of samples through the light spectrum to get a smooth gradient.

reshade dof settings

Double-click to enlarge. Example showing the iADOF_ImageChromaHues setting.

Increases the number of colors included in the ‘chroma’ effect. Higher values will create a rainbow halo effect and also an almost warped-like distortion around the edges of the image.

fADOF_ImageChromaCurve
Tooltip: Image chromatic aberration curve. Higher means less chroma at screen center areas.

Slight distortion of the chromatic aberration effect. Lower values result in more blur.

reshaade dof settings

Double-click to enlarge. Example showing the fADOF_ImageChromaCurve setting.

 

fADOF_ImageChromaAmount
Tooltip: Linearly (in a straight line) increases image chromatic aberration amount.

fADOF_ImageSmootheningAmount
Tooltip: Blur multiplicator of box blur after bokeh to smoothen shape. Box blur is better than gaussian.

Makes the depth of field effect even more blurry or softer in appearance, so this setting is fantastic to use in conjunction with a high DOF_BLURRADIUS (mentioned above in the Reshade basic DoF settings) if you want to create additional blur behind your focus point.

reshade dof settings

Double-click to enlarge. Example showing the fADOF_ImageSmootheningAmount setting.

The following settings were listed in the master file, however these do not (yet) appear in my version of ReShade 3.0 nor in a friends copy of 3.1 but I’ve chosen to put them in here just in case!

bADOF_ShapeTextureEnable
Tooltip: Enables the use of a texture overlay. Quite some performance drop.

On/off switch for effect.

iADOF_ShapeTextureSize
Tooltip: Higher texture size means less performance. Higher quality integers better work with detailed shape textures. Uneven numbers recommended because even size textures have no center pixel.

iADOF_ShapeVertices
Tooltip: Polygon count of bokeh shape. 4 = square, 5 = pentagon, 6 = hexagon and so on.

Changes the shape of the bokeh effect from light sources.

bADOF_ImageGrainEnable

Tooltip: Enables some fuzziness in blurred areas. The more out of focus, the more grain.

On/off switch for effect.

fADOF_ImageGrainCurve

Tooltip: Curve of Image Grain distribution. Higher values lessen grain in moderately blurred areas.

fADOF_ImageGrainAmount

Tooltip: Linearly multiplies the amount of Image Grain applied.

fADOF_ImageGrainScale

Tooltip: Grain texture scale. Low values produce more coarse Noise.

Shader Credits: Marty McFly, Matso (Matso DOF), PetkaGtA, gp65cj042.
ReShade Credit:

Crosire

Official Reshade Website.

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Keep in mind!

If your DoF settings ever break completely (this has happened to me several times) copy the [DOF.fx] settings from a ‘plain’ preset .ini (located in your /game folder) and replace that section to have everything back to default.

Disclaimer!

I am honestly no expert in ReShade. This guide is based on my own understanding of each setting, so I apologize if anything written here is incorrect or misleading. Should there be any inaccuracies or additions you would like me to review please drop me an email through the screenograpic website contact page or drop a message down below (or on Twitter). I am still learning and happy to take on constructive feedback. Thank you in advance!

Some of the settings shown here may differ depending on the ‘artificial zoom’ from the GPose camera, also ReShade version. There is a such a huge range of variables within the settings, so the depth of field values will need to be tailored to your specific requirements. I’ve tried my best to briefly summarize the settings for each shader (where necessary) but sadly I cannot cater for every eventuality. I am aware that I have missed ‘LightDOF‘ from this guide, it will be added at a later stage.

In the future, I hope to show a range of ‘how to make your own’ filters for specific environments, but there’s a lot of photographic and Screenographic theory to cover in more depth first, including the ‘Bloom & Lens Flare’ section, color theory, and framing!

For anyone wishing to test these settings in the apartment studio shown throughout this guide, the location of my apartment is in Shirogane – Ward 16 – Apartment 2 – Odin (Chaos data center). The door will be open for anyone to use unless I’m working in it!

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If you managed to get through all of this without your brain melting, congratulations! I truly hope something here has been useful to someone. I wish you the best until I hopefully see you once more in the next edition!

The post Art of Eorzea: Depth of Field Basics & ReShade DoF Settings Guide appeared first on MMOGames.com.

Art of Eorzea: FFXIV Screenshot Basics

Welcome back once again to yet another screenshot oriented edition of Echoes of Eorzea, or should I say Art of Eorzea! Due to the nature of this series I have decided to re-brand this part of my FFXIV column to create a sister column. Firstly, because it seemed more fitting, and secondly because it will be neater and more recognizable for the creative intent. Today is the first in a series of screenshot photography and art columns that will introduce the technical aspects, color theory, and my own personal approach and experience in regards to photography and screenshot photography. This column will reference several previous articles which will be linked to in the article and below in the related section.

To begin with, why am I writing about this? To put it simply, because I have been asked to write more on screenshot art by numerous members of the FFXIV community and I dearly hope that it could be of use to someone. Yes, I’m sure there are various articles out there that cover similar things but in a series such as this, it seems sensible to start at the beginning. I do not consider myself an expert in the slightest but hope that in the coming months and years that I will learn and improve. If you are a veteran in the screenshot photography world, I am afraid that my words may not shed new light on matters, although you are still more than welcome to pull up a chair and share some tea.

For this guide, or rather explanation series, I will be referencing some aspects of the GPose tool and ReShade program so if you are unfamiliar with either, guides can be found here:

In-depth GPose see here.
In-depth ReSahde here.
(Update for ReShade 3.1 coming soon).

My Experience

My love for photography began the moment I held an SLR and came across the term ‘depth of field’, as those of you that have seen my images will know, this is often a great focus of mine. My very first digital camera was a 1.3 megapixel (oooh wow!) Olympus D-460 which at the time was like gold dust. I simply adored it, although it never quite captured the same beauty as proper black and white film in an SLR. My A-level photography education involved learning to process films in a dark room, various exposure techniques, learning about the technical aspects of SLRs, introductory digital work and of course, portfolio creation. I have a history of conference and AGM photography for a London organization.

In terms of gaming, I have always taken far too many screenshots for my own good, beginning with World of Warcraft. Mostly these were taken to document memorable times with friends or guild achievements. Final Fantasy XIV opened up a whole new world of screenshot photography. Perhaps it is the art style, the ever-changing landscape or the expressiveness of the characters but since my first day in Eorzea, I felt compelled to capture everything, and at this point GPose was a far away dream.

With the introduction and development of GPose, even more screenshot photography took place and I believe my addiction ran riot.

Over 30k screenshots and more than 4,000 individual edits later (I have no life!), I am here to write to you about both the base technical aspects of screenography and my own personal methods of achieving the images I create.

You do not have my eyes, and I do not have yours. I cannot tell you what is right or wrong but only try my best to explain how my brain translates what I see in the images you see.
None of the above, or below, holds any sway on whether or not you can take decent screenshots!

In terms of the comparative between instinctual photography or technical photography, a dear friend of mine provided me with this quote that couldn’t be more fitting.

“Of course there are [people that ‘follow’ strict rules on these things]. In the end, art or science or anything, the world needs both. One is perfect for what is, others try to find new for former to define and perfect.”

Personally, I take an instinctual approach (inclusive of technical knowledge of tools and programs, but not composure), many others I know take a technical approach. I cannot emphasize enough that neither is right or wrong. What is important is that the end result is something you are content with yet keeping an open mind to new techniques. My portfolio of gaming images can be found here.

Photography Principles

If we intend to cover the basics of in-game screenshot photography, we must first look at real-life photography principles. Now, just a heads up before I explain these: I do not and never have thought in terms of these principles for my images, nor have I knowingly used them during my 12 years of photography experience and 3 years of screenshot experience. Yes, perhaps I am an uneducated pleb, yet what drives my images is my love of the color, atmosphere, and emotion, I then combine this with the use of tools such as Reshade and Picasa. This article has involved learning for me as well, and I intend to summarize what I have learned along with the source and try my best to translate this into game screenography terms.

My only excuse for my work is that I try to make what my brain thinks is pretty. This does not mean others will like, value, or appreciate what I create and as a creative, I very much accept that. We all have different eyes, tastes, and different views. My best advice is to stay true to what you find beautiful and should you see a technique used by another, investigate it, learn what methods went into its creation and adapt that to your own style.

In my view, an image created with heart and spirit in it is far better and more meaningful than a technically ‘correct’ mechanical shot (following photography principles), even though technical knowledge of programs can very much help and editing can work to enhance your original shot.

Color Theory

Definition:
Colour theory is a body of practical guidance to color mixing and the visual effects of a specific color combination. There are also definitions (or categories) of colors based on the color wheel: primary color, secondary color, and tertiary color. (Source)

Color theory to some is considered incredibly important and can work to truly emphasize and enhance your images. My main educational source of color theory is this Color Theory video by Blender Guru (I couldn’t recommend it more!) and the color chart now stuck to my wall as I try to etch it into my brain.

ffxiv screenshot basics

Image credit.

I could write up a huge long paragraph explaining each section and try to translate examples into the screenshot world, but I have so far found the video and image mentioned above to be most useful when trying to understand the principles. Although I haven’t consciously applied structured color theory to my images, it’s something I’d like to create a project on in the future, so hopefully, I can combine that into an article for this column. I’ve looked for a couple of images in my portfolio to represent some of these categories below.

In terms of color coordination for my own images, I first try to keep in mind my own characters colorings and tones, usually opting for colors that complement it in a subtle way or use a tone to complement the character, but also one that matches with something else in the image. If I am aiming for a more striking picture, I will use a much higher contrast color but still match it in with something in the image, such as a flower or object.

 

An example image of Novi where I have tried to pair her hair and skin tones to the background of the image but complemented the yellow tones with the blue tones in her eyes and outfit.

 

ffxiv screenshot basics

An example of Analogous featuring green, blue and violet hues.

Depth of Field

Definition: The distance between the nearest and the furthest objects giving a focused image. (Source)

When we use the term in photography or screenography, depth of field is used to describe an image that has an area of sharp focus while the remainder of the image is out of focus. Both GPose and ReShade have the ability to create artificial DoF, though the GPose version is quite subtle and lacks proper control currently.

Using shallow (or ‘strong’ in relation to ReShade) depth of field is best used when you wish to draw the eye to one particular subject and hold a strong focus, with less need for detail on background areas.

Strong use of DoF known as ‘shallow’ depth of field.

Use of a deeper (further back) depth of field is ideal for landscape shots where you wish to capture a greater area of the shot in focus.

ffxiv screenshot basics

Deep, or distant depth of field used in this shot of Ishgard.

I often find the depth of field to be the most powerful effect in photography and screenography because I find it the strongest element that allows the creator to speak to the viewer, you are effectively directing their eyes, and asking their mind to wander.

Framing

Framing is always something I struggle with and it leads to me taking around 5 to 10 images at various angles, sometimes just so I can have a comparative view. My main gripe is clipping an ear, tail or a hand, so I try my best to avoid this unless I have no choice and the composition of the image is lessened. Keep in mind just how much control you have of your image, that you can zoom in, out and tilt the camera. Rotation of the camera is 360° from your characters starting point, try to imagine a sphere around your character. Remember that walls can be used to ‘push’ the camera in closer. If you cannot get the frame you want from your own character’s sphere, you can use a minion, NPC, or ask a friend to stand in a specific place to allow you to capture the spot (remember they don’t have to stay there once you are in GPose). For those of you that have seen my GPose stream, you will see how much I twist and turn my camera to achieve a shot. If I cannot line up the edges neatly in GPose, I will zoom out a fraction and then crop the image afterward in Picasa.

If the image has a central focus I will first try to keep the image straight, then examine the background. If there are say two doors in the image either side of the central object, I will try to include equal amounts of both so that the image retains some symmetry.

ffxiv screenshot basics

Here I have attempted to keep the shot central by cropping (by eye) equally either side of the image.

The Rule of Thirds

Definition: The rule of thirds is applied by aligning a subject with the guidelines and their intersection points, placing the horizon on the top or bottom line, or allowing linear features in the image to flow from section to section. (Source)

I see this ‘rule’ pop up here and there and it’s one I have never consciously paid any attention to (perhaps to my detriment), but I’m going to put it in here anyway as for some it is an important factor of screenography capture.

ffxiv screenshot basics

Needless to say, I am yet to master this principle.

If using a grid theory system helps to line up your image, create better proportions or tell the story of your image, then it seems a worthwhile consideration when forming images. Personally, I feel it may lead to artificial structure, or perhaps it’s something I take into account subconsciously (or not, judging by the image above!), who knows. I’d rather be concentrating on capturing the mood or colors of an image rather than trying to see an imaginary grid across my screen. This is, again, the difference between instinctual and technical creativeness. In art terms, neither is wrong, it’s just not my preference for use in the images I capture.

Clipping

Sadly this happens a lot and can sometimes be unavoidable. Clipping has the ability to totally ruin an image once noticed. I recently took a dancing image of Novi for an EGI daily theme and I picked a dress specifically as I knew the emote would make it fan out and flow. Unfortunately, as she was mid-spin in the perfect pose, I noticed her tail clipping through the dress. This alone limited my screenshot angles by about 50% or more as it became apparent in so many frames. I worked around this and came up with something but ideally, I should have come out of GPose and picked a different outfit!

ffxiv screenshot basics

Argh! The clipping sadness!

You can also never really know which image will work ‘best’ for any given subject if you have a selection of a few. In the story of the clipped tail incident, those ‘disregarded’ images were seemingly liked a great deal more (says Twitter!) than the main image I spent 5 times more composing!

Patience

Do not rush your images. If you are using GPose effects like Sakura or Particle, they can look wonderful and create depth and beauty in the image. Yet, taken at the wrong time, you can end up with sparkles or leaves over parts of the body of your character which may mask specific features or details. A well-placed sakura petal can create beautiful depth within an image. Weather and lighting conditions can vastly influence the image as well so if you have a pose that is working, try hanging around in the same spot for a while to see if an atmospheric change could emphasize the image.

ffxiv screenshot basics

Taking too many shots is always better than taking too few if you’re aiming for that perfect shot. You can always delete the unused files later. Acceptance that some shots just don’t work is also important. If you’re not getting a good feeling for a shot, change pose, outfit or location and try somewhere else.

Thank you for reading! Next in line is a much-needed update to the ReShade install guide but following on from this I’ll be expanding on topics mentioned in this article along with further basics, software guides, image organization, an updated GPose summary, ReShade DoF guide (it was too extensive to fit in the main guide) and more! If you would like me to write on a particular topic later down the line in relation to screenography just let me know in the comments below or via Twitter.

Until next time, happy prt sc’ing.

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The post Art of Eorzea: FFXIV Screenshot Basics appeared first on MMOGames.com.