Fwd: Making, Using and Posting Trainz Screenshots to the forums.

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Found this in the forum archive from the way-back-machine. thought it would be handy. some of the stuff covered here is old.

[FONT=verdana,arial,helvetica]Originaly Posted by: vulcan
Making, Using and Posting Screenshots in Trainz
[/FONT] [FONT=verdana, arial, helvetica]There have been a number of questions on how to manage screenshots and how to post them on the forum. Here is a brief tutorial, that may be of assistance, and it covers -

1. setting up a scene for a screen shot;
2. taking the shot in Trainz Surveyor or Driver;
3. adjusting the screenshot size and type;
4. posting in the forum; or
5. using the screenshot in a model upload cdp package.

1. Setting a realistic scene

A scene in Driver will usually show a locomotive and rolling stock and the surrounding background, the whole picture being of importance. In Surveyor, you may require a picture of a model you have created, and while the background is important, the model is the prime focus, so a light textured background may be best to set off the model.

Try not to have distracting objects in the background for a model, nor have the yellow grid lines showing in a picture.

Lighting is important, so set the start time in Driver for the best effect, or place the models in Surveyor so the model is lit from the correct side. You can adjust the time of day in the Surveyor World menu.

Your screen resolution will determine the size of the screenshot. You will likely crop or reduce the final image later, to suit the purpose.

2. Taking the screenshot

The menus in Driver or Surveyor can get in the way, so in Driver, choose the view you wish, Cab, External, Tracking or Free Roaming, then press the F5 key (for TRS) to remove the menu displays. Press the F5 key again to get the menus back again. In UTC, press the Ctrl and Spacebar keys together to remove the menus.

In Surveyor, there will also be distracting spline circles, the compass and menus. Hold down the Alt key and type in the letters w a l k, and the distractions will disappear, leaving a view at eye height. Using the mouse and cursor arrows you can now move around your layout for the best angle for a screenshot. Press the escape key (Esc) to return to the menu display.

A better option is to hold down the Alt key and type in the letters f l y. This removes the menus, and allows you to move freely around the scene, using the mouse, the cursor keys and also the Page Up and Page Down keys. These Surveyor options do not remove the arrows that show on locomotives in TRS, so you may have to edit the picture later to remove these. Press the escape key (Esc) to return to the menu display.

When you have the best picture angle, with good lighting, and no distracting backgrounds, press the PrintScreen key at the top of your keyboard (make sure you move the mouse cursor out of the way first). This saves a copy of the scene to the clipboard, and also to the folder C:\Program Files\Auran\TRS2004\ScreenShots (for a default installation of TRS).

If you wish to have a look at the picture in your painting program without closing Trainz, use the Alt and Tab keys together to exit Trainz, load your paint program and paste the clipboard directly into the program (Ctrl v is the short cut key to paste in most paint programs). If you do not like the shot, just Alt Tab back into Trainz (or click on the Jet icon in the bottom task bar) and take another shot.

Remember, you also have a copy of the picture, at the default screen resolution, in the Screenshots directory. This is saved as Screen_001.tga, and each subsequent save from Trains increments the file number, without overwriting the already saved files.

3. Editing the images

Open the image in your paint program. Many use Paint Shop Pro, or Photoshop, but there is a free image manipulation program that is very useful, Irfanview, from this website: http://www.irfanview.com/

If you wish to post a picture on the forum for others to see, remember that size effects computer performance, and large screenshots take time to download. The .tga screenshot will be too large a file, set by your Trainz screen resolution. You should convert the pictures to JPEG (.jpg) format.

A good size is 640 by 480, some use larger, but I mostly use 450 by 340, giving enough clarity and keeping website file storage size small. Again, the image file type for web transmission should be .jpg

If you are making a picture to be included in a model cdp package, it should be 240 by 180 .jpg type. This is selected when you are incorporating a screenshot in your package, and it will be displayed on the Download Station.

If you can Crop the original picture to the desired size, you retain the best quality. To reduce the size, use the Resize or Resize/Resample tools available in your paint program. If you have to reduce the picture size, you will blur the image. You should use the Sharpen tool to improve the image definition after size reduction. The very small final image size (240 by 180) for a model package is usually very blurred and the Sharpen tool is essential here.

Often, you may need to lighten the image, so it is not too dark when displayed on the forum. Remember that you want your picture to be presented in the best possible light.

There may be some parts of the image that need editing, like the arrows above locomotives. You may be able to paste sections of sky or scenery over the arrows, or use a Clone tool available in Paint Shop to copy adjacent scenery colours and textures over the problem areas.

I firstly save the modified file to the Screenshots directory, then copy or move it later. A system I use is to include some "code" in the name, to tell me what size file it is, for example, bridge450.jpg is a 450 by 340 file, a bridge2640.jpg is 640 by 480, and is number 2 in a picture series for this bridge. When you have many screenshots of different sizes some way of identifying pictures is useful.

4. Posting an image on the forum

Firstly, you can only post an image if it is placed on a website somewhere. You then link to the URL address of the image. You cannot link to an address on your hard disk. While there are some free website services, some limit the bandwidth and the data transmission, based on so much per hour. Data is transmitted when anyone looks at your image on the forum, and some website providers shut the link down for a period when the transmission allowance is exceeded, and then a small red cross will show in your post until the link is restored by the service provider, very frustrating.

The images should be in the .jpg format to minimize file size, and you should be aware of the effect on modem connections with large files. Many will not wait for your image to load, so will not see the nice model or scene you have created.
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[FONT=verdana, arial, helvetica] To post a screenshot on the forum, click on the New Thread or Post Reply options to open a posting window, and type any text you need. If you click on the IMG symbol in the vB Code area, in the middle of the screen, a dialogue box opens where you can type in the URL address of your screenshot on your website or server. If your picture shows on your website on a webpage, this address may be obtained by right clicking on the picture, opening Properties, and copying the address details (Ctrl C). You can now paste this address into the Auran dialogue box and click OK or press enter.


If you do not want the picture to show on the forum, you may place a direct address link to your website provider instead. Viewers can then look through more picture on your site when they use your URL link.

For this option, in the Forum posting box, click on the http:// symbol, and type a description for the link, say "my pictures", press enter, (or click OK), then type the URL address of the website in the next dialogue box that opens, and press enter (or click OK) again. Your description will now be shown in your post as a link to the website. You can bypass typing a description by pressing enter on the blank box, then type in the full URL address in the next box, the actual URL address will appear in the post when you press enter (or click OK).


A good practice is to use the Preview function to see if all your post is correct and to also test out the pictures or the link by clicking on it. Sometimes the address may be incorrect, or you have called up the wrong file. You do need to use the full path name, file name and extension. When you are satisfied, Submit the post.

You can also link to an Auran forum page as above: Find the page, Right mouse click, open properties, drag the mouse over the full URL address, then copy it to the address dialogue box.

5. Pictures for model or map packages

If you are making a picture of a model for a cdp package, you need to reduce it to 240 by 180 as a .jpg file, using the Sharpen or Lighten options for the best picture. Place it in the directory where you will store the package, and load it into the package at the appropriate points. When you load the model in the Content Dispatcher, double click the "No Screenshot selected" words, then "Choose Image" to find the picture.

Again, when you go to save the package, click on the row of three dots to the right of the "General Screen Shot" box and you add the same picture again.

I hope you can use some of these ideas to improve your screenshots, and to help your posting on the forum.

Ian (Vulcan)
16 March 2004
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