if the pages you see here still lack visual aids ages after my last known edit it simply means i got bored, the articles don't really deserve pics but i think otherwise, real life™ finally caught up or i got banned for sh*ts and giggles. take up the mantle if you wish, the only thing i ask is that you uphold the same sort of quality work i put forth - from file naming conventions to the level of detail - or even surpass it.

seriously, we gotta appreciate the level of detail the devs put in making mass effect's environments and i'm all for having the wiki showcase the games' utterly wallpaperable scenery.

2012-sep-22: 500gig hard disk finally broke, as in total drive failure with mechanical sounds and zero system recognition etc. what this means is that i no longer have the luxury of switching back and forth between ME1, ME2 and ME3 whenever i want - i want to play ME3, i uninstall ME2 and put that back in. rinse and repeat for the foreseeable future. o.O

it only takes one person to ask. so here's the TL;DR list. hope you remember to wake up after reading.

  • these, of course, to start with. and ALWAYS save the original file as PNG so you can work on any alterations to it without any loss of quality.
    • in addition to the no shep and no HUD rule don't cap your squadmates as well. except on their loyalty missions of course and where bringing them is sure to be thematically appropriate (ex. wrex on Wrex: Family Armor)
  • do not crop screencaps. always post them in the resolution your game is using (720p, 768p, 800p, 1080p being common ones). and as much as possible post in widescreen ratios (16:9 and 16:10) as opposed to (previously standard) 4:3 because it looks boxxy. that way maybe some of us may take a fancy to using the caps as wallpapers. i would.
    • obvious exception to this would be in capping character shots and small enough objects that require focus (where the general location of the object does not matter).
    • if capping cinematics take care to eliminate the black bars. example, my current game resolution is at 1280x800. cutscenes render at 720p (or 1080p for people with huge monitors). this means i have to crop 80 pixels up and down - easily done with precision on photoshop.
  • antialiasing on. ALWAYS. and at the maximum your card can handle. this is the main reason why i'm slow to post caps: i always take extra care to remove/conceal jagged edges with only middle-end hardware. and it's always a pain to restart a game just so i can proceed with playing without choppiness. my system can easily bear with full graphics settings for normal mass effect play, it's just the antialiasing that really strains my video card.
  • pictures help dispel the impact of an article's walls of text. strategic placing goes a long way into enticing people to read especially if one's looking at the article at a glance. i for one do not care to read walls of text (like this one of mine, incidentally...) unless the pictures accompanying them are what i would expect in the game. too many images however would predictably mess with formatting.
    • don't post too much in one article. the only time i really went overboard is on Priority: The Citadel II because there's just too much stuff happening there. resulted in removal of a bunch of REALLY awesome caps (kai leng's windblown hair for one) because there's actually no space for them.
    • one to three paragraphs long - one or two images tops, rule of thumb. important stuff relating to the missions. scale up when necessary. short get in, do objective, get out missions also qualify.
    • try to match images with what's written and generally keep them at least one paragraph apart. alternating left and right. and make sure most subsections get at least one pic. you may have to forego capping additional images in one subsection in favor of showing what happens in the next subsection.
    • sections covering just a single issue (like tips on avoiding the reaper laser on Priority: Rannoch) typically needs just one pic even if multiple paragraphs were devoted to it. it's just three times dodging anyway, what's so difficult about it. and forcing images on bulleted sections or datapad/email entries just look plain wrong. another of my rule of thumb approaches to things like this.
  • naming conventions. see my file uploads for some standards. if i screwed up in naming something i'd either upload a new one or ask one of the admins for a rename - thankfully i screwed up only once.
    • this wiki apparently has an unspoken policy of labeling in-game screenshots as fair use. do as such before uploading.
    • shoehorn as many appropriate categories as possible while uploading the images. put them in the summary box as [[Category:something]]. be careful on capitalization though - wrong capitalization creates redundant categories. consult first with Special:Categories for the whole list. the reason for pretagging is simply to lessen RC clog. more rules of thumb, in order:
      • start with what game you got the cap (Mass Effect, Mass Effect 2 or Mass Effect 3). if you're too lazy to do the others THIS is the bare minimum (just remember to tag a couple of files at a time in the future and avoid ADHD editing - whatever goofs you have will show forever on the initial summary screen). putting in DLC if it's DLC-related is your prerogative.
      • if showing a location, then [[Category:Locations]]. Mission Locations or Assignment Locations where appropriate. If showing a character's mug, then Characters. put in Recurring Characters or Squad Members if that's the case.
      • if showing enemy caps, then in what game you fought them: Adversaries, Adversaries (Mass Effect 2) or Adversaries (Mass Effect 3). if all humans, then put in Humans. if multiracial, leave that for now. if all Cerberus, put in Cerberus. if all Husks or husk subtypes, put in Husks (putting in Reapers would be redundant and would be better reserved for the cuttlefish). if all Blue Suns/Eclipse/Blood Pack or whatever's denoted in their appearances then label as such along with the category Mercenaries. if mixed bag of enemies leave it for now. the general pointer is that if everything of importance in the picture falls under the same category then label as such.
  • generally there's two types of caps on walkthroughs: location shots and combat shots. the former shows objectives and other interesting bits about the missions, the latter shows what kind of resistance to expect on what type of terrain. combat shots are definitely trickier to do because you have to ensure the enemies will do what you want them to do. which means having most or all of them within the frame and having them fire at you simultaneously in my book.
    • there's always the dilemma of choosing which images to upload: what's written or what's thematically appropriate. it shows on some of my notes above and on pages i've built with images. if both qualities are in the written text, then what angle best shows both qualities. if you had to choose between showing item locations or enemy deployments (what is written) or the beautiful scenery (what we're supposed to enjoy viewing in the game or what goes with the 'flow' of other images present in the article) that is part of discovering your artsy photographer's side. this is the second reason for my slow upping: playing artf-- and choosing between multiple caps of the same situation. guess the third.
  • old image replacement. i am generally averse to this as i feel it's disrespectful to the people (who may or may not be around anymore) who originally provided the image. there's a ton of old pics here that i feel needs replacing (mostly badly cropped/focused jpgs and aliased caps) but without an explicit ok from administration and my own resolve to do that (currently too lazy for a mass image replacement spree) i just left them be. images uploaded after making my account here, however, that i can happily supplant with haste if i'm up to it and they're of sufficiently poor quality.

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