Hi all, Atvelonis here. I'm writing this blog to clarify and elaborate upon some ambiguous points in the wiki's policies on character images. For the purposes of this blog, I will be speaking mainly about the more recent games, such as Morrowind, Oblivion, Skyrim, and Online; many older titles, such as Arena and Daggerfall, cannot conform to these standards. Images from such games are considered exceptions to the following rules.
We do not have a specific requirement for the resolution of a character image, as long as the height of the image is 720 vertical pixels or greater. Formerly, the requirement was that all character images in applicable games must be exactly 600×1000 pixels. However, we decided several months ago that this rule prevented editors using lower-resolution (yet still high-definition) displays from uploading quality character images.
To solve this issue, the rule was amended so that all character images must conform exactly to a 3:5 aspect ratio. A 600×1000 image, for example, falls under this category. Notice that its horizontal component is 600 pixels, and its vertical component is 1000 pixels. If you simplify this ratio, you will end up at 3:5. If a character is laying down horizontally, you are allowed to crop the image to a 5:3 aspect ratio (with the numbers opposite from the usual) to accommodate their position.
If you ever need to quickly determine if a resolution you've used fits this, divide the smaller number (horizontal) by the larger number (vertical), and if your answer is exactly 0.6, then the aspect ratio of that image meets this standard. The decimal may vary slightly if you use a resolution that does not divide evenly into 3:5, but should still round to 0.6. On the table below, find your monitor's resolution and choose one of the recommended image sizes corresponding to it:
|Monitor resolution||Recommended image size|
There are other resolutions that can be used in place of these recommendations and still meet the 3:5 requirement, but these ones are the easiest sizes you can use when cropping your images.
It is strongly recommended that you raise your graphical settings to the maximum options available when taking screenshots, even if this means temporarily sacrificing a high framerate.
All character images must show the character's entire body whenever possible. While this is generally feasible, certain characters in ESO do not move out from behind desks or other objects, making a full-body image impractical to acquire. Even in these situations, it is still required that your image be taken in the regular game mode, and not in the dialogue screen.
It is possible to take a screenshot displaying such a character's full body from the side, but it is often preferable to instead line the photo up as if there were no object blocking their lower half, and take it from the front. If a side angle is more fitting, you may be able to get the character's attention temporarily by interacting with them; those without much or any unique dialogue may turn their heads towards you without opening the full dialogue screen. This results in a nearly true full-body image with the face visible.
Some other things to keep in mind are that images of characters are most easily viewed by readers when they are taken during the daytime, rather than during the night; in most games you can use console commands to reset the time, and in ESO use the "Almalexia's Enchanted Lantern" item to produce artificial lighting in dark areas. Uploading a screenshot of a character with their eyes open is also strongly preferable to one where they are blinking. Furthermore, try not to have something distracting anywhere else in the screenshot, such as players in ESO. Renders of characters are also not permitted; the screenshot must be taken in-game.
The occasional character in ESO will never turn away from the edge of a pier or balcony. In these situations, if the platform below (even water) is not too low, you may be able to jump from said platform and time the screenshot perfectly to make it seem as if you were standing on level ground in front of the character.
Character images cannot show any indication of the HUD, crosshair, or quest markers in the screenshot. In Morrowind, Oblivion, and Skyrim, you can disable the HUD entirely with the command
TM (toggle menus). Hostile characters can be frozen by targeting them with the mouse and using the command
TAI (toggle AI).
In ESO, you can bind a key to turn off the HUD, but this does not remove quest markers. To get around this, you can download an add-on called Ultimate UI Hider that lets you completely disable the HUD. Install the add-on, extract the contents of the download, and then move it into the add-on folder for ESO. The location of this folder should be:
- C:\Users\<username>\Documents\Elder Scrolls Online\live\
Since the add-on is technically out-of-date, you will have to check the box under the Add-Ons menu in-game that says, "Allow out-of-date add-ons." Despite being considered out-of-date by the game, though, it will still function properly. In-game, you can enable it manually with the command
/hideui, or by setting a keybind in the "Controls" menu.
It is essential that character images be in the PNG file format to prevent the loss of image quality over time. While this increases the size of the file, it is worth it in the long run. If you are taking screenshots through Steam, be sure that you are uploading uncompressed (PNG) versions of your images, and not the compressed (JPG) versions that Steam automatically saves to your hard drive.
To make sure that it is saving PNG images to your hard drive, click "Steam" in the top left, click "Settings," and navigate to the "In-Game" tab. Once there, check the box that says "Save an uncompressed copy" and set your Screenshot Folder to something that you can access easily. Later, when opening a file from a photo editor, make sure that you are opening the PNG version from this folder.
I personally edit my screenshots in Paint.net (click the "Download now" button in the table, not on one of the ads) because I'm too cheap to buy Photoshop and can't be bothered to use Gimp. That said, any photo editing software that can get the job done should be sufficient, as long as it can save and upload the photos in the PNG format.
Obviously, no images should be adulterated to add visual effects, and any screenshots should be taken from an un-modded game. This ensures that the images uploaded to the wiki are exactly how Bethesda or ZeniMax intended them.
As explained above, all images must be cropped to exactly a 3:5 pixel ratio. Although any photo editing software can be used to accomplish this, I personally find it easiest to do this in Paint.net. Here is an explanation of how to use it:
- Open the unedited file in Paint.net.
- Click the "Tool" button in the top left and choose "Rectangle Select."
- Select the button that says "Normal" twice to switch to the "Fixed Size" option.
- Type in the pixel size to crop it to (see above).
- Click and hold the mouse on the image to control specifically where to crop it.
- Choose "Image" on the top toolbar and hit "Crop to selection."
This removes the non-selected regions and crops the file to the size specified previously. The image should turn out similar to the ones listed below in this guide. After completing this, save the image to an accessible folder on your hard drive and upload it to the wiki. You then have to place it on the relevant article for it to appear to readers.
Uploading high-quality screenshots from consoles is possible, albeit less efficient than uploading directly from PC. Each method below requires access to a PC or laptop in order to actually upload images to the wiki.
- Upload from Xbox One – After being uploaded to OneDrive on Xbox, screenshots can also be accessed via OneDrive on PC, which can then be used to upload to the wiki.
- Upload from PlayStation 4 – Screenshots can be saved to a removable USB drive, which can then be attached to a PC in order to upload them to the wiki.
Since most console games intentionally lack the option to raise graphical settings beyond the default, the texture and lighting quality of console screenshots may be less impressive as compared to PC. Therefore, although not strictly required, it is generally preferable to upload screenshots taken from a PC rather than a console.