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).

Back to the top!

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.

Back to the top!

 

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!

Back to the top!

 

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.

Back to the top!

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!

Related Articles:

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.

Community Spotlight: Eorzean Glamour Idols

Welcome to the FFXIV Community Spotlight column! This column runs parallel with the Echoes of Eorzea series of articles and aims to highlight and show appreciation to members of our community who go that extra mile to create content or organize projects for us to enjoy, usually in their own time and for free.

Eorzean Glamour Idols Community

In today’s article, we will be talking to Sophia Edenhart who is the founder of the Eorzean Glamour Idols community project created in January 2018. Eorzean Glamour Idols, or ‘EGI’ as it’s more commonly known, is a Discord and Twitter community of Final Fantasy XIV screenshot enthusiasts.

Community Spotlight: Eorzean Glamour Idols EGI FFXIV

The primary intent of the EGI community is to enable those who share a love for screenshot photography to have a place where they can share their work, build friendships with like-minded enthusiasts, find inspiration and grow their skills in the field. Within the community Discord server, there are daily and weekly themes along with several dedicated themed channels such as action, landscapes, housing, advice, and glamour. Some members even create alts specifically on different data centers just so that they can take shots with other members of the community. The images used throughout this article have been kindly provided by members of the EGI.

In the realms of real life, Sophia is an archaeologist specializing in the southeastern United States European-contact period with Native Americans, an amateur recording artist and parent of two children.

EGI FFXIV

EGI Founder Sophia Edenhart – Miqo’te Summoner – Excalibur [Credit: Sophia]

Question Time!

How long have you played FFXIV and why did you begin?

I have been playing for nearly three years. I have loved the Final Fantasy series since I played the original game in the early 1990s. I also like to play MMORPGs set in fantasy settings, and many of my friends had played the game previously and said good things about it.

What is your favorite class/job and why?

I don’t really like favorites that much. I tend to rotate between things. I guess we could just say that summoner is my favorite, but a lot of it is because I just know the job so well and I don’t have to think about it when I play it. I like that I get to have a carbuncle companion, and I like that my weapon is a book.

What aspect of the game do you enjoy the most?

Again, I have a difficult time with favorites. I like to rotate between a lot of different content in the game. We can say that my favorite aspect is the crafting/gathering progression. I enjoy finding new materials when they are first released and experimenting with rotations to get the most out of my gear. I also love being able to make anything I want as well as make things for my friends. I really enjoy other aspects of the game, though, like PVP, hunting, and Triple Triad.

What aspect of the game do you enjoy the least?

At this point in time, I’ll say raiding. I have raided in the past, but it’s not really enjoyable with my schedule. You really need a good static, I think there is enjoyment that can be achieved from it, but I don’t really have the time for that, and party finder is just frustrating. I basically gave up on it during the first tier of Stormblood because it was causing me too much anguish. I also don’t like how many people overemphasize the importance of raiding and think that it is the only type of content that should matter.

What style of screenshot art do you find the most appealing?

I like when people are creative and do things that I never anticipated or come up with new techniques that I had never considered. I appreciate the creativity and thought that goes into art more than I do the ultimate aesthetic quality, even though they often go hand in hand.

Do you have an online portfolio for your own screenshots and have you any personal projects on the go?

Yes, I have a portfolio website as part of my Adobe subscription. You can view it here.

About EGI

How did EGI spring to life?

I approached a friend who I felt had the same values that I did toward screenshot art to see what she thought of the idea of having a Discord server and Twitter page that would bring together screenshot artists. She liked the idea, so I made the server and we compiled a list of people who we thought we could invite to help us get started. I mostly suggested people who I knew interacted with me a lot on Twitter, as well as those whose art I appreciate. That group became the original “idol” group and about a dozen of us spent a few days in the server alone kind of hashing out what it should be. I then launched the Twitter page and opened up the server publicly, and people just swarmed in immediately. I think we had 200 followers on Twitter the first day and 500 by the end of the first week. Our members on Discord also grew dramatically. I immediately started a daily screenshot contest and added a few more people to the idol role and we were on our way.

EGI FFXIV

Image credit: Rinny

Is this your first community project? If no, what were you involved with before-hand?

As far as Final Fantasy XIV is concerned, yes it is. I am a part of several social organizations outside of the gaming world, but I was not responsible for starting any of them even if I do play an integral organizational role in some cases.

Why did you choose the name ‘Eorzean Glamour Idols’ and how does this relate to the community and server content?

The person who I approached to help me start the community goes by “Eorzean Supermodel” on Twitter, which I always thought was a great name. I am also hyper aware of acronym usage, so I wanted to find something that would be memorable and fit into FFXIV. EGI just seemed like the natural choice, so it was just a matter of filling in the G and the I.

Where can EGI be found?

We are on Twitter, Patreon, Discord, and Instagram currently. We also have Linkshells set up on several servers.

Community

EGI FFXIV

Image credit: Kirsi

What was the main motivating factor behind creating the EGI?

I started using Twitter for glamour shots last summer, and over the subsequent months I found that there was a great community of people there, and I made many friends, but there was no uniting point for people to really come together and interact more directly. I was able to go meet people on other servers and take pictures with them and like their imagery, but the Twitter format is a little inhibiting because it is also a money-making platform and makes content available based on popularity. I thought it would be nice to have a Discord server where I could bring a lot of the people whose work I appreciated together to work on events and share their images more directly, but there was nothing that was solely based on screenshot art. Several servers had dedicated channels to art or media, but there was no organized community based on glamour and landscape screenshots even though a large number of people are on Twitter or in those servers solely for that purpose.

What is your primary long-term goal for the EGI community?

I want it to continue to be a place where everyone who is interested in screenshot art can come and share their passion with like-minded people. I also want it to be the place that people go when they want to see the talent that so many people display, even if they aren’t necessarily interested in taking pictures themselves. I want there to be camaraderie and fun, and I think we have had a lot of that so far.

EGI FFXIV

Image credit: Rinike

What does ‘a day in the life of EGI community’ consist of?

Well, it may look a little different from someone else’s perspective, but I can at least give mine. Our TweetDeck auto-posts the theme for the #egidaily screenshot event on Twitter first thing in the morning, and one of our idols, Rinike, shares that post with a clever snippet in a dedicated “egi-daily” channel in our Discord server. When I wake up in the US eastern time zone, our European members are usually chatting away about breakfast and lunch, and there are also people from the west coast saying good night. People chat a lot and share their screenshots, some with the daily theme and others without. People connect with each other and do joint photo shoots and share them. If it’s a Wednesday I will announce the #egifinest theme which is a weekly screenshot contest with Mogstation prizes funded by our Patreon supporters. A lot of the daily work in EGI goes on behind the scenes, though. I recently asked two idols to step up and be administrators with me, so all three of us have access to the TweetDeck, which allows us to retweet all of the daily posts that people make as well as a selection of idol posts. This is something that all three of us try to keep up throughout the day as we are available.

We recently ended the “Spring Elections” which was a screenshot tournament that went on over a two-month period. During that event, I also spent a lot of time coordinating with judges and contestants over themes and getting different bouts and brackets started and finished. The same goes for #egifinest because we allow our Patreon supporters to select the themes and help judge the weekly contest. I also have to keep track of the Patreon account and notify people if their pledges don’t go through and ensure that they are getting their role rewards.

On top of all of that, there are the everyday issues that come up in any online community. We have about 600 people in our Discord server at the moment, so you can imagine that not everyone gets along and sometimes people say things that offend others. The two other admins, Autumn and Zathe, help me deal with these issues as they come up to the best of our ability, all while trying to plan for new events and trying to improve our structure. It’s quite a busy place, as you can see!

EGI Daily EGI Daily is a thematic Twitter event where we encourage all of our members and followers to post screenshots adhering to a daily theme. The themes will be taken from suggestions from all of our members. To suggest a theme, post your idea with an example screenshot (which will be featured on our Twitter page) in the #daily-themes channel. Watch for the Twitter post every morning at 3:00 AM EST (GMT -5) and use the #egidaily tag for your post so that we can retweet your screenshots on our page. You may also post your daily screenshots in the #egi-daily channel here on the server, whether you use Twitter or not.

EGI Finest EGI Finest is a weekly, thematic screenshot contest with Mogstation cash shop prizes funded by our Patreon supporters. Each month, our Chocobo patrons will select a suite of themes for the contest, and these will be announced each week in the #egi-finest channel. Participants will have a set number of days to make their submissions based on the theme, and then our Tonberry patrons will vote on the winners. Please visit the actual channel for more information, and see below for details on how to be a Patreon member.

EGI FFXIV

EGIDaily submission from Alruccabah

Does the community have any upcoming events that you would like to discuss with us?

We just revamped the #egifinest contest to include Mogstation prizes, and we have a lot of people pledging support on Patreon to help fund that. There is also a rumor that one of our idols might take on a masked persona and start holding an EGI fashion report within the server. I cannot tell you any more about that at the moment, though, I’m afraid.

What criteria do members have to meet to attain the rank of ‘Idol’?

This is something that has sort of changed as we have developed, and it is difficult to lay down specific criteria for admitting people. Generally, we have invited people to the role who are both regularly active in the server but who are also respected within the community. However, we have to be careful about the number of people in the role or else things can get a little unruly. That means that some people might get overlooked or we may not invite deserving people if we feel like the number is already too high. I also don’t want people to think that those in the idol role are privileged or elite and get special treatment or attention in the server. It’s true that we have a dedicated channel on the server for idol pictures and that we do retweet a selection of their posts as a benefit of being in the role, but when it comes to operating the server, all of the individual members are equally valued in my eyes, and I want to make sure there are opportunities for everyone to have fun and enjoy themselves, regardless of their Discord role.

EGI FFXIV

Image credit: Runfrior

What aspirations and long-term goals do you have for EGI? Do you intend to develop the community into anything further?

At this point, the short-term goals are focused on fine-tuning the #egifinest event and how that interacts with Patreon supporters. Beyond that, I can’t say that I have greater intentions. We recently expanded somewhat onto Instagram, so it is possible that we could move out to other platforms if there is interest, but right now I think we are still actively stabilizing and finding harmony with our current activities.

What element of the community are you most proud of?

I think I’m the proudest when people post public tweets that they are inspired by the community and that it makes them want to improve their skills and ability to create art. For me, that is the most important thing. I always try to retweet those posts when I see them because they make me feel very warm inside.

EGI recently started its own Patreon account, can you tell us more about this (why you started it and what patrons can expect from signing up)?

There were people on the server who expressed interest in supplying prizes for contests, and Patreon seemed the easiest and most transparent way of collecting funds from people who want to support us in that way. We have different tiers that are based around the #egifinest contest and its operation. The basic tier just gives you a special Discord role that appears at the top of the list (below the admins), so that people can show off the fact that they are a supporter. The next role allows people to put together the slate of themes for that month’s #egifinest contests, and the one after that allows them to collectively vote for the winners of that contest. We also have a higher tier that allows the patron to request a portrait created by an idol of their choice, drawn from a list of volunteers. We want to emphasize again and again that all of the money is going to buy Mogstation prizes for people. All of us who operate the community do so on a voluntary basis.

Image credit: Shio

How do you feel personally about the response you received from the wider FFXIV community?

I feel very grateful that there was interest and that people are willing to bring their immense talent and obvious heart and care to the community. Sometimes people tell me that I did a great job, but I definitely want to emphasize that it is a collective effort and that it is really the great people who seem to be drawn to screenshot art who make it what it is. In my experience, there are a lot of gaming communities that can get sour very quickly and very cynical about the state of the game they are playing, but we rarely see this attitude in our server. Most people are very encouraging and loving, and it is no wonder that people are so active and engaged with it.

Management

Do others help you run the community, if so, what sort of tasks does this require?

I have two others who occupy the “Senpai” role, which is the administrator role. Basically, we monitor the channels to make sure people are being civil and following the server guidelines, and we also talk a lot behind the scenes about operations, whether it is the organization of channels or events. We also try to come up with solutions upon which we can all agree when problems arise. One of the issues, in the beginning, was that I was generally seen as the sole organizer of the community, and I am not always going to make the best decisions. I feel like sharing this responsibility with others helps me to feel more at ease, and I feel more confident that we can come up with better solutions together. The idol role also comes with some minor administrator privileges. In order for someone to become a member of the server, they have to make an introduction post, and the idols have the ability to convert that person into a member and adjust their display name. They also do a lot to help answer questions and guide people whether it involves the use of the server or social media or different photo tools and techniques. They have really come up with a lot of great resources and help for people that have technical issues or want to learn new techniques.

EGI FFXIV

Image credit: Rilas

How do you manage to keep up with all the chat, posts and members?

I have Discord on my phone and on my PC, so I try to look at all of the channels as they light up throughout the day. Sometimes if I am busy I may just scan some of the text if there is a lot of it, but generally, I can get the gist of a conversation and its direction very quickly. I also try to make myself available through private message so that people can report issues to me that I may not see right away.

How much of your time per week does running the community take?

It’s hard to answer this because EGI is kind of laced through all of my activities every day. I could tell you that on average that time adds up to two or three hours a day, but I don’t sit down with one block of time and go through it all at once. It is a constant companion to me every day.

How do you deal with the stresses of running such a large community?

Inviting two other people to help administer things made a huge difference. However, I do still feel stress, so sometimes I have to put my phone away or close Discord for a couple of hours and just do my own thing. I obviously play games too, so I might silence the server during the time that I am playing, but also I find that taking my own screenshots and getting creative tends to relax me and make me feel better when stress comes, whether it is from EGI or the world outside of gaming.

If someone was hoping to create a community such as yours, what advice or tips would you give them?

Well, I would advise them to join ours and help improve it and contribute their skills to our community. If it was something outside of screenshot art, however, I would advise them to make sure to find other people with whom they can share the tasks and responsibilities and be prepared to make mistakes and own up to them quickly. If someone gets upset or offended, it is important not to take it personally and take the time to listen to others’ concerns. I think you need a tremendous amount of empathy to administer a community such as this. This is especially true for EGI because we are dealing with people’s art, which directly expresses their personal feelings and personas.

EGI FFXIV

Image credit: Trevettina

 

Is there anything you would like to add?

I’d like to say thank you for shining the spotlight on us and taking the time to learn more about our community. We love having new people join us, so I hope people read this and get inspired to be artistic and bring their artistic talents to our community. In my opinion, you only really improve your skills when you are among your peers. No one gets ideas out of thin air. It is all a mesh-work of ideas that get passed around and tweaked and improved. Don’t be afraid to join us; we won’t bite you!

 

Final Thoughts

I’d like to say a huge thank you to Sophia for making the time to take part in the Community Spotlight and allowing us to learn more about what goes on behind the scenes of the EGI community.  Also, I’d like to express my gratitude to all the leaders and those who make so much effort to keep the community running, and also to those who kindly allowed me to use their screenshots for this article! On a personal note, I’ve been part of the EGI community for some months now and it’s been a joy to see so many building new friendships and enjoying a love for screenshot photography. I look forward to seeing many more good things to come for EGI! Thank you, Sophia and all at EGI!

EGI FFXIV

Image credit: Vinncent

 

EGI Links

TwitterDiscordPatreonInstagram

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

The post Community Spotlight: Eorzean Glamour Idols 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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Echoes of Eorzea: GPose Wishlist

If we could have more features in group pose, what would they be? Following on from last week’s GPose Studio Guide I’ve been thinking a lot on the future of the group pose tool and how it could potentially be expanded in upcoming patches. With this in mind, I’ve created this ‘GPose Wishlist’ containing my most sought-after additions to the tool. Some of the ideas are just some small tweaks on pre-existing features and others are rather hefty unrealistic ideas, yet there’s no harm in dreaming!

gpose wishlist

Before I begin I want to emphasize that I’m very grateful for everything we already have within the tool, it’s amazing! Group pose can be used quite extensively and has a very large fan-base of players who create incredibly beautiful works of screenshot art, or as I’m still determined to call it: screenography. This is merely a set of ideas, as I can’t help but hope that development will continue for this in-game tool which would inevitably lead to increasing the creative options even further. I can only hope that somehow, somewhere the GPose overlords hear my prayers and perhaps one day, will answer them!

The Wishlist

gpose wishlist

Dungeon Explore Mode:
This is my number one hope. Final Fantasy XIV has some of the most picturesque dungeons and raid content that I’ve seen implemented in an MMO ever (let’s just divert that comment past Copperbell and Sastasha!). The attention to detail is incredible and some of the lighting within the dungeons is just to die for, literally (The Vault and The Great Gubal Library for example). It’s such a shame that the dungeons and raids are all gated behind timers and thus we aren’t always able to take the time and care that we wish to have to capture those precious shots! Yes, we can sometimes manage sneaky shots during a dungeon run or if there is the ability to, run back and use the remaining dungeon time, however, this is not very long once the final boss is killed. These environments have clearly had so much work put into them, so wouldn’t it be lovely if they didn’t become moderately obsolete with new patch content and that they could have a new lease of life breathed into them by the creative community? Screenshots of this game showcase its potential and can be a big selling point, so why not let us use them to their full potential? Imagine being able to run around Dun Scaithe undisturbed for longer periods of time!

I understand it’s likely they limit these things due to the instance servers, but I’m sure there must be some way! If this is the main problem perhaps it could be possible to toggle on an ‘Explorer Mode’, still with a timer, but having the dungeon emptied of enemies when you enter (surely this takes up the same space as someone unsyncing a dungeon to farm it). Let us show off your beautiful content more, Square! If only one more addition could ever be made to the GPose tool, this would be it!

Emote List Dropdown:
One problem I often come across is that I will have set up my lighting and filters then realize that I want to change the pose. To do this you have to come all the way out of GPose, which resets the lighting and camera positioning. Having the option to change emotes directly within GPose would be invaluable.

Limit Break & Action Dropdown:
Currently, we have many avid screenographers trying to be the player who pings the Limit Break and then stops DPS just so that they can hold the action for LB1, 2 or 3. The action is then lost upon re-instancing. Some of these animations are staggeringly beautiful in effect and yet it can completely mess up the end of a raid if someone prizes their screenshot above the raid. Obviously, if you’re in a group of friends, that’s great! For ‘action’ shots we have to rely on a local training dummy or for mobs to be in the vicinity for the action abilities to be available. Both these sets of animations already appear, yet could be maximized with a wider choice of locations in the game. In the same way that an Emote List dropdown is useful, so would these!

gpose wishlist

Custom Environments:
The ability to view a character model within an enclosed environment already exists in-game, we use can use this to preview a character during creation. This could potentially be adapted to use within the GPose tool by having a set of environments to choose from and then use the emote/action dropdown (mentioned above) to pick the pose.

Improved Camera Rotation:
Currently the camera swivels from a set axis, yet some actions and abilities extend further than the axis is able to control and so lighting and framing a paused emote becomes very difficult. A free camera might be a bit too much to ask but just an axis that takes a little more reach into consideration would be very welcome!

Expression & Emote Reset:
Sometimes when you re-enter GPose with a new emote, the facial expression will remain from the previous pose. A dedicated button to wipe the facial expression and emote might come in handy!

Weather & Time Control:
Yes, I very much want to be a weather god! But more seriously, the weather effects in this game are so beautiful and atmospheric. It would be nice to utilize these more within our screenshots to add atmosphere, much in the same way that we can add sakura or the particle effects.

Slow Motion:
Each emote has a very wide array of poses to potentially capture yet it’s often challenging to pause the emote in the same place twice or capture some intricacies. As the image is already on a loop, it would be nice to have a slow-motion option which can allow you to pinpoint the moment you wish to screenshot with greater ease (inclusive of a speed slider).

gpose wishlist

Live Action:
This would grant us the ability to run or jump on the spot so that can create some live action poses with those movements included (not in combination with another emote of course!).

Editing:
Some basic brightness, contrast and saturation controls would be very useful as currently, we have to use a combination of lighting and filters to create that effect.

Filters:
The filter system can be very useful to make screenshots look more unique, yet it’s often the case that you cannot get the best out of them without specific lighting. A wider variety (rather than Bright 1-2-3-4 etc) of filters would be nice to keep in line with those available in current 3rd party editing mobile apps, along with the removal of slightly outdated ones. For those not wishing to spend a long time fiddling with lighting and filter combinations a greater selection, or some tweaks to the contrast/brightness in current filters might be of use.

Minions:
Although minions are wonderful, sometimes they clutter an image or manage to casually wander/fly over a point you are trying to screenshot. Summoner pets can end up providing an unwanted overexposed area in an image where the remainder is underexposed, making it very tricky to edit or filter. A removal option would be very useful!

 

Brief History of Group Pose

gpose wishlist

The group pose tool arrived in Eorzea as part of the Patch 3.1 content and was rather simply marked up as “A new group pose feature has been added that allows player characters to synchronize a pose with their party members.” Who would have known back then that the tool would be so hugely popular with the creative screenshot community?

Since November 2015 the group pose tool has been through a series of developments:
Patch 3.1 [11/2015] – Release of group pose tool. Synchronises group and includes depth of field.
Patch 3.2 [02/2016] – Facial positioning, player focus change, framing composition, minion behavior.
Patch 3.3 [06/2016] – Non party members included in group pose. Camera angle covers wider area.
Patch 3.4 [09/2016] – New interface inclusive of filters, lighting and limb darkening.
Patch 3.5 [01/2017] – Gpose status icon, hotbar icon, filters, frames and screen effects added.
Patch 4.0 [06/2017] – Battle actions, color filters, frames and screen effects added.

 

Final Thoughts

gpose wishlist

Although there are several other options such as a ‘free camera control’, there are practicalities to consider including the pressures it would put on the running of the game itself. Such additions to the tool might warrant it being an entire program within itself and as much as that would be amazing, I would imagine the game content might be a higher priority! We’re already incredibly lucky that the development team has put so much care and effort into the Group Pose tool, for which I am very grateful as it’s given me such a wonderful creative outlet.

Group pose could really be a separate program/game all in itself! As much as I would put that forward as an idea (much like WoW has WoW Model Viewer), I think that could perhaps encourage the more creatively based players to spend more time in a separate program than in the game itself. It’s a nice thought though!

 

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As always, thank you very much for reading this article! If you have any questions, advice or comments please don’t hesitate to get in contact either through here, my gallery site or Twitter. 

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Echoes of Eorzea: GPose Studio & Portrait Guide

In article 8 of Echoes of Eorzea, we briefly discussed creating our own green screens in-game and I mentioned elaborating on this at a later date. Now the time has come and I hope that you might find this green screen and portrait studio guide a valuable resource for creating your own screenography.

ffxiv studio guide

Before we begin, nearly everything I mention within this guide will require you to have your own estate, private room or apartment, however, there are a few places within this game that will allow you to recreate the conditions I mention later in this guide.

When I originally set this up, my goal was to have one screen for normal portrait shots and then another that I could use to provide a green screen for background removal in external programs like Photoshop or free editors such as Pixlr or Krita. I’ll be showing you how to do this below along with links to the programs used.

I don’t use decorative light sources within the room, as I like to have full control of the lighting within the group pose tool and I find that it gives greater flexibility when adjusting shading. I use a green and a blue screen as I’ve found that different hair colors or clothing contrast more effectively against one of the two. Greater contrast makes it easier to remove the background in the external editing stage.

There may be better ways or items to use to create your own studio but I’ve found that this way is relatively simple and seems to work for what I’ve been using it for.

For a more in-depth guide to the group pose tool, please see my previous guides here:

gpose tips

gpose tips

 

Preparations

For this studio you will need to purchase a few items.

1-3 White Partition: These cost 3000 gil each and are available from a ‘Housing Merchant’ in one of the residential districts. They can be found under ‘Purchase Furnishings (Other). The partition wall is useful because it’s also dyeable. It doesn’t give you a perfect flat ‘green screen’ but it helps!

Dyes: Uchu Green and Storm Blue. I used both because I wanted to test whether a green or blue screen would work better. So far I have had better results with the blue screen but I suppose that depends on what color clothing you are wearing. These dyes are only suggestions, if you would prefer a different shade then feel free to alter the colors.

White Wall: This is a minimalist backdrop which is also available from the ‘Housing Merchant’ under ‘Purchase Furnishings (Interior) for 5000g. There is a border around the lower wall though so you would need to also buy an object, like a ‘Stack of Tomes’ (also from the market vendor) to boost your character up there.

ffxiv studio guide

Housing Merchant Aetherytes

  • Gridania: Lavender Beds – Dappled Stalls.
  • Limsa Lominsa: Mists – Seagaze Markets.
  • Ul’dah: The Goblet – Goblet Exchange.
  • Kugane: Shirogane – Akanezaka Markets.

ffxiv studio-guide

 

The Process

It’s important to get everything in the right order when preparing your character for the photo shoot but don’t be afraid to take your time and try all kinds of angles, expressions and poses.
The list below is an example of the process I go through when creating screenshots using the screens in my apartment.

  1. Pick the outfit and hairstyle, it’s important to look your best!
  2. Perform your emote and if you wish, your facial expression.
  3. Type /gpose and enter the group pose tool.
  4. Press R to get your GPose menu up (or whatever your autorun is bound to).
  5. Pick the angle that you want your character to face towards using the eye tool at the top left of the GPose screen.
  6. Run through the emote several times, pausing it multiple times to get a good idea of all the poses that can be captured from that individual emote. Also, try spinning the camera a little too, to see the pose from all different angles. Re-position your character if necessary.
  7. Optional: Pick your color filter before placing the lighting to get the best out of the filter.
  8. Position the lighting. I elaborate on this in the video as it will be different between the white screen and the green or blue screen.
  9. Optional (white screen): Flick through the color filters again, sometimes this can greatly emphasize an image. Adjust lighting intensity and lighting color to amplify the filter if you wish. Using the lighting alongside the filters can greatly diversify your output.

ffxiv gpose studio guide

ffxiv gpose studio guide

GPose sample images.

 

Note: If you do own the house or apartment it’s a good idea to place a retainer bell close to the studio so that you can access all your glamour items with ease.

 

Lighting

For white screen:

In essence, for portrait shots I drop two light sources directly behind the character (either in the small of the back, or the back of the head) and one at distance to the front, angled up or down depending on where the character is facing. The front lighting source is only there just to gently light the face and smooth the shadows.

ffxiv studio guide

The two lighting sources behind can be adjusted so that they cast some nice defining shadows along the jaw or facial features. I placed two light sources in a level 5 lit room. The first was placed in front and diagonally up, to the right, and the other was placed diagonally down to the left.

For Greenscreen:

Making sure your character is well lit here is important as we need to make sure the contrast between the character and the green screen is at its highest. For the green screen, I tend to drop one level three light source behind the character (shoulder or head area), one level 3 source behind and above them to a diagonal, and one level one/two light source in front to a slight angle.
Note: In both cases my apartment is lit to level 5. This gives a decent neutral lighting base to start off with and build from.

Background Removal

Photoshop

Sadly Photoshop is not a free piece of software. However, this is the process I use when removing the background from the images.

ffxiv studio guide

  • Locate the screenshot in your file system. Right-click and select ‘Open with..’, then select ‘Photoshop’.
  • Note: You can open Photoshop first and drag and drop the image into it if you find that easier! You can also open it normally with ‘File, Open’ however if you are like me and have thousands of screenshots, it becomes a little tedious to find the right one!
  • Double click the word ‘Background’ in the layers section on the lower right. A dialogue box will appear, click ok. This will turn your image into an unlocked editable layer.
  • Select the magic wand tool.
  • Along the top bar you will then see a ‘tolerance’ value. The lower the value, the more sensitive the tool becomes. Try to adjust the value so that it selects clean lines around your character. Don’t worry about missed blobs around the edges, you can remove these afterward with the eraser tool.
  • When your character is selected appropriately, press the delete key to remove the background (or as much of it as you can while keeping your character’s outline intact).
  • Crop the image to the character and use the eraser tool to remove any blobs left behind.
ffxiv studio guide

Click to enlarge.

ffxiv studio guide

Click to enlarge.

You can now freely edit the image or drag it onto any other background you wish! If you are feeling very adventurous you could even match the front facing light color with one of the elements of the image you will be placing this on top of. For example, I could (should) have used a pink lighting source on the image below to match the character into the image.

ffxiv studio guide

Save the image as both a .PSD (just to be safe and to retain quality if you wish to re-edit later) and a .PNG. The .PNG file will also not save any background information, therefore you can place that image over the top of any other image.

Krita

Krita is an excellent, free editing tool and can be downloaded here.

“Krita is a FREE and open source painting tool designed for concept artists, illustrators, matte and texture artists, and the VFX industry. Krita has been in development for over 10 years and has had an explosion in growth recently. It offers many common and innovative features to help the amateur and professional alike.”

ffxiv studio guide

Click to enlarge.

The layout for Krita differs a little from Photoshop as the menus are placed differently and some of the tool values are listed differently. The process remains much the same as the one shown in the video, however, the settings for the magic wand tool can be found on the far right-hand side under the ‘tool options’ tab. The setting you want to pay most attention to here is ‘fuzziness’.

ffxiv studio guide

Click to enlarge.

If you don’t have access to Photoshop then this is a valuable alternative. Not only is it free but the magic wand tool within Krita worked far better than expected, better even than Photoshop (you can see by comparing the selection). Krita is primarily a digital drawing program but it can be used in place of Photoshop for so many things!

Pixlr

Pixlr is a browser-based editor and can be found here.

“Pixlr Editor is a robust browser photo editor, for all your editing needs. Have full control over your images, including layers and effects.”

Pixlr has a lovely array of free programs and apps to use, but if you don’t want to download anything then they also provide a browser-based editor.

ffxiv studio guide

Click to enlarge.

Be wary, it is rather slow and clunky but it can get the job done if you persist. As above, the method and tools are very similar. The magic wand has a tolerance slider on the top bar like Photoshop but the tool is harder to deselect so it is best to use the top menu and click Edit>Deselect. The right click>Deselect does not always work. I found it easier to get the right selection by unticking the anti-alias and contiguous tick boxes on the top bar.

Alternative Backdrops

ffxiv studio guide

Outside Zenith.

For those of you who don’t own or have access to an apartment, private room or house there are many alternatives within the game to use as your backdrop. The downside of outdoor screenography (I’ve decided this is now a word) is that you are reliant on weather conditions and lighting changing with the time of day. I don’t know all the best locations for screenshots, but here are a few to keep in mind.

  • Kugane – Sekiseigumi Barracks – white backdrop.
  • Sea of clouds – blue sky background
  • Dravanian Highlands – Zenith – blue sky background (featured in the screenshot above).
  • Coerthas – Behemoth’s Dominion during daytime – white background.
ffxiv studio guide

Coerthas.

Of course, if you wished, you could combine this with ReShade to make things look a little fancier.

“ReShade is an advanced, fully generic post-processing injector for games and video software developed by crosire. Imagine your favorite game with ambient occlusion, real depth of field effects, color correction and more … ReShade exposes an automated and generic way to access both frame color and depth information (latter is automatically disabled during multiplayer to prevent exploitation) and all the tools to make it happen.”

Here are some examples of combining the two:

ffxiv studio guide

ffxiv gpose studio guide

 

Reshade install guide and information can be found here.
There you have it!

Thank you all for reading this GPose studio guide! I know the lighting is not a perfect science and some poses can make it more tricky but hopefully I’ve explained this in a way that it makes sense. If you have any questions, advice or comments please don’t hesitate to get in contact either through here, Anook or Twitter. 

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