(Sticky) The Halo 3 and Halo: Reach Screenshot Guide

Discussion in 'Reach Screenshots & Videos' started by Black Theorem, Nov 9, 2009.

  1. Black Theorem

    Black Theorem Forerunner
    Forge Critic Senior Member

    Likes Received:


    When people comment on your pictures, they may use certain words which you are unfamiliar with. Some of these may be Halo specific, or they may be general terms. The definitions of some terms are provided here.


Halo 3 Specific Terms:

    1. Forge: The Halo 3 map making tool. This is the mode most people use when creating screenshots.
    2. Theater: This Halo 3 feature is found under Forge on the main menu. This is the mode in which screenshots are taken.
    3. Effects: Anything that changes how a shot looks. This includes explosions, equipment, and fire, among other things. These will be looked at later in this guide.
    4. FXs: These are filters that can be placed on a map during Forge. They change how everything looks. The specific characteristics of each will be explained later in this guide.

    General Photography Terms:

    1. Composition: How a shot is put together overall. This includes where things are placed, camera angle, and the interaction of objects within the picture. Think: How is this shot composed?
    2. Foreground: What is at the front of a picture, opposite of background.
    3. Contrast: How much difference there is between the light and dark tones of a picture.
    4. Flow: The path the eye travels over a picture when someone is looking at it. This can also include general movement in a picture.
    5. Focal Point: The center point of interest in your picture.
    6. Rule of Thirds: Imagine two lines running down and two lines running across the picture that split it up into nine equal parts, like a tic-tac-toe board. Pictures that have their focal point along one of these lines, or at an intersection are more visually appealing. Further explanation later.

    General Techniques and Tips

    MAJOR NOTE: For your screenshots to appear on Bungie.net available for you to download, you will need a Hotmail account, a Bungie.net account, and an internet connection to Xbox Live while taking screenshots in Halo 3, preferrably a broadband or FiOS connection. Your screenshots will be saved on your Xbox 360's Hard Drive if you are not connected to Xbox Live while taking screenshots, up to 50 screenshots per Xbox Live profile. They will NOT appear in your Bungie.net's Recent Screenshots section.

    Taking a Screenshot in Halo 3

    When you take a screenshot, the image that is originally rendered (when the image gets “built” by adding blocks from left to right, progressing to the bottom of your screen) is what is actually saved. Although you will end up seeing what you scooped out in theater while the screenshot is uploading, what is actually being uploaded to Bungie.net, and what is saved on your Hard Drive, is that image you saw a second ago that was loading. Keep this in mind and always inspect the original rendering before saving. This allows many shots to be inspected before saving and dealing with the time it takes to weed through your shots in later times.

    Posting a Screenshot to Forgehub

    For Photobucket:
    For Imageshack:
    If you use the Quick Uploader on the homepage of Imageshack, after your image(s) is done loading, you'll be brought to a page with your image(s) in a cropped view, and a lot of codes under the image.

    Here is an example I did:

    You want to look for the box with Forums: to the left. Copy everything inbetween the img and the /img tags, and include the tags when highlighting. Then, paste it here in Forgehub. After you click submit, your image will appear on the screen, along with your post.

    If you have an account for Imageshack, you should click on the My Images tab on the top of the page. You will be brought to a page with many of your shots in thumbnail form. Next to each one is a series of small buttons. The first one brings up a dialogue box with a bunch of codes to copy/paste for other places around the internet.

    Here is an example from my image library:

    Look for the box that says Forums: next to it, and copy/paste to Forgehub as explained before.
    Video for Photobucket:
    YouTube- how to post pics on forgehub.com

    Widescreen vs. Normal shots

    Halo 3 renders its images depending on the TV format you choose in the Xbox 360 settings. If you go in there and choose 16:9, then when you take screenshots in Halo they will come out as widescreen images. There will be no difference between these images and ones taken from a real 16:9 TV, as the game produces the image regardless of what the output resolution actually is. I’m not sure exactly if the image is squashed to fit the TV screen or it the edges just get cut off, but either way the end result will not be distorted at all.

    Note: You cannot take widescreen images if the film was recorded in standard resolution.

    The Pan-Cam Glitch

    Pan Cam is a feature that Bungie added to Halo 3. It is used as a way to leave any map. However this can only be done in Theater mode. After holding a select number of buttons on your controller and selecting Pan Cam, you will be able to explore a whole map.


    1. You must be in a LOCAL MATCH
    2. Key: LB= Left Bumper RB= Right Bumper LS= Left Analog Stick (pressed) RS= Right Analog Stick (pressed)
    1. Enter a Custom Game
    2. Use this button combination: LB + RB + LS + A + UP [D-PAD] and hold it. Coordinates should show up on the screen.
    3. Use this button combination: [HOLD LS + RS] Press LEFT on D-PAD and you will see in the coordinates “Pan-Cam”
    4. End the Match
    5. Start up Forge and die as the ORACLE and end the match
    6. Start up Theater and watch it until you die as the ORACLE and pause
    7. Press Y to enter Free-Roam camera
    8. Press UP on the Directional Pad until you get a number in the range of 1,000 – 800,000 should work and move
    9. You should go flying all over the place, but that is OK, and the game might Lock Up for second or two, but that’s OK too. You may have to lower the number and move backwards or to random directions to see again. Also if there are any pink areas on screen, you should look away before your game freezes, and you’ll have to end the round or game entirely.
    10. Once you know you are clearly out of bounds, lower that previously mentioned number until you can control your movement
    11. Enjoy.


    The first step to taking a great screenshot is to assess the main feature of the image, usually a player or vehicle. It is important that this object be properly aligned and positioned. For example, if a player is looking to the right of the screen, position him on the left hand side.
    One of the oldest conventions of visual media is the “Rule of Thirds”. Simply put, the viewing area is divided into three horizontal spaces and three vertical spaces, to produce this:


    It has been proven that people are more likely to look at the circled areas, rather than the exact middle. Use this to your advantage by positioning objects slightly off center. Of course you don’t needs to draw lines on your TV screen; you just have to trust your instinct.

    For more information on the Rule of Thirds, click here


    When there are two objects in the picture, be aware of depth and distance. If two objects are far from each other, zoom in using the right thumb stick to bring them closer together. This technique is very useful, even for portrait shots, as it will enlarge the background so that you don’t need to move the camera right up to the object. Plus it adds a professional quality to the screenshot. By zooming in, you can create the illusion of two objects being closer than they really are. In general, always compare what the image will look like normal and zoomed in.
    Zooming is a very peculiar aspect of screenshot taking and its benefits are not easily explained, so just use it as much as you can.


    Note: The Lighting section is the basics of the possibilities of Lighting.

    A big factor in capturing a great photo in Halo 3 is the lighting. It can change how a picture is viewed. It can change a basic picture into a brilliant picture!

    NOTE: All explosion and weapon-based lighting will be white at the core.


Explosion-Based Lighting

    1. Frag- A Frag explosion will create a bright, white light; it's a typical explosion. A Frag explosion is pretty much the base for most lighting techniques. Note: Most human explosions are categorized as a Frag explosion, such as rockets and Human Vehicle Explosions.
    2. Fusion Coil- A Fusion Coil explosion will create a similar an effect similar to a Frag Effect, but clearer. It will make the entire subject a pale tan.
    3. Plasma-Plasma explosions have a multi-colored characteristic. When at the core, it can create a brighter white light than a Frag explosion, but if you move a slight further distance away from the explosion’s core, a faint violet color will begin to erupt from the explosion (this can be maneuvered to contrast different shades with your subject). Note: All Covenant explosions are categorized as a Plasma Explosion, in exception for the Fuel Rod Cannon.
    4. Brute- A Brute explosion creates a bright orange/white feel to your subject. Having the explosion on or next to your subject will create an Orange to White shade reflecting off of your subject, intensifying the Whiter shade moving into the core. However, moving your camera inside the explosion can filter the specific shades of the explosion onto your picture completely. Note: All Brute vehicle explosions are categorized as a Brute Explosion. These Explosions are often used for a more majestic feeling.

    Equipment Functions

    1. Flare- A Flare is normally used to brighten a subject and to whiten darker areas of your subject, creating a feel of negativity.
    2. Power Drainer- A Power Drainer has the most popular effect of all of the equipment. These will turn a color into a blue-ish shade, sometimes even turning the subject blue itself. This effect is most popular with the Spartan Laser.
    3. Bubble Shield- The Bubble Shield slightly illuminates and distorts your subject, depending on the subject’s position.
    4. Regenerator- This one is a no-brainer. It creates a green tone to your pictures.
    5. Trip Mine- See Frag explosions. Also, they make a pretty cool shield.
    NOTE: Equipment not listed did not show a significant change in screenshots.

    FX Functions

    Lighting used by Weapons can be just as important as Explosions and Equipment. The round that is shot will create an illumination, mainly on a subject’s face if it is a Character. Even still, it will create an illumination on nearly anything it is nearby. Use this to your advantage to create an Inspiring screenshot!


Weapon-Based Lighting

    1. Spartan Laser-The Spartan Laser will create a red illumination on your subject and around it in a vast area. Upon impacting with an obstruction, the Spartan Laser will also create sparks. It can also be used to darken the area around the subject. Right after a round is fired, the whole map darkens, and gives off steam and smoke near a subject’s face. Also the blood created by a subject being shot makes a very convincing backdrop for a shot.
    2. Gravity Hammer-Yes, the Gravity Hammer. This weapon can change an entire perspective of a picture if caught at the right time. The waves created from the Gravity Hammer can also distort a subject and create awkward color patterns. This weapon also darkens a map when at the right timeframe.
    3. Energy Sword- This weapon illuminates the holder as well as a smaller portion of what it is around it, acting like a torch. This torch effect is perfect for creating your “Epic” character pictures.
    4. Fuel Rod Cannon-Yes that’s right, the Fuel Rod Cannon. This weapon creates a vivid green shade that is cast over the subject. Right down to it, the Fuel Rod Cannon is a perfect tool for creating those wild pictures of your Character.
    5. Fire Bomb/Flame Thrower- These will create an Orange light that spreads throughout the picture, having a Sunset appeal.
    NOTE: Weapons not listed either show little significance to the Screenshot, or the same as the Explosions

    Floating Weapons

    This is a tutorial on how to make weapons float in the air for screenshot purposes. Floating weapons for screenshots is one of the best techniques and brings many new possibilities to forge art.

    1. Make a platform for the weapons to be placed on, bridges work best. Make sure the bridges themselves are floating in the air. To do so hold the object in the air in the position you wish it to be then press start, save game then end game. Once you start up the game the object should be floating. NOTE: This does not work with weapons as they will fall once the game starts.
    2. Once you are done setting the platform in which you plan to place weapons on, place any weapons you wish in any form or design.
    3. Once you are done drawing your design on the floating bridge/s save the game. DO NOT delete the base yet. Save the game first. Once the game is saved you can go back and delete the bridges and the weapons are floating! If you start new round or touch/shoot the weapons they will fall. Stay away from the weapons. Even after you delete the platform do not save game. You may go back and take as many screenshots as you wish, but each time you will have to delete the bridges in the beginning of the game. That is how it works. Meaning this technique can only be done in Forge.

    If you wish to make the weapons appear to be floating vertical follow these steps.

    1. Place the object in which you wish to use as the platform at a 45° angle. Make sure it is no more than that or the weapons will slide.
    2. Place the weapons on the platform in any design you feel like.
    3. Save the game, then delete the platform and your weapons are floating at a slight angle. To make the illusion that the weapons are vertical take the screenshot from a 50-60° angle. Make the Spartan or Elite stand close to the camera. This gives the illusion that the Spartan/elite is in correct proportion to your weapon drawing.

    Video Tutorials

    Here are some guides, created by one helluva great Halo 3 photographer, a cuban cat, discussing effects in Orbital, Avalanche, and Snowbound.

    YouTube- Colors ep. 0 Basics

    YouTube- Colors ep. 1 "avalanche"

    YouTube- Colors ep. 2 Snowbound

    These techniques are some that I've used early on in my screenshots, and they have yet to fail. If you need some examples of different effects, please watch. Source - a cuban cat (a great Halo 3 photographer)

    Thank you for viewing this thread. I did use other sources, I can't link to them since I can't find them anymore. But I give credit to all those who've helped others with screenshots; they are the inspiration for my doing this.
    #1 Black Theorem, Nov 9, 2009
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2011
  2. Miraj

    Miraj Promethean
    Senior Member

    Likes Received:
    holy ******** of ********* and ********!
    This has got to be the best screenshot guide that I have seen. How long did this take you? You covered almost every aspect of screenshot taking, from how to take a screenshot and what to do with it afterwards. I can't believe I didn't run into this before...it's just incredible. This needs to be stickied, I'll ask a moderator.
  3. The Muppet King

    The Muppet King Promethean
    Senior Member

    Likes Received:
    I have a problem with uploading pics on photobucket. Before I had a PC to upload my pics. Now that I have a mac, my new pics won't upload. It says that it is an invalid file type even when the old ones are in the same file type. Please help.
  4. Black Theorem

    Black Theorem Forerunner
    Forge Critic Senior Member

    Likes Received:
    I use a Macbook Pro, and I have no problem.

    Make sure you save the file as a jpg or jpeg, maybe that's the problem.
    #4 Black Theorem, Nov 20, 2009
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2009
  5. Blue Pariot

    Blue Pariot Promethean
    Senior Member

    Likes Received:
    I have a problem with your weapon-based lighting section.
    Depending on a map or campaign level's lighting, certain weapons have different effects. You have the basics of it, but those effects are not universal.
    Good guide, anyway, Theorem. You've always been one of the best.
  6. Black Theorem

    Black Theorem Forerunner
    Forge Critic Senior Member

    Likes Received:
    Thanks for your concern, added a little note above Lighting in general.

    You're too flattering. :D
  7. The Muppet King

    The Muppet King Promethean
    Senior Member

    Likes Received:
    The type is JPEG but photobucket still rejects the picture.
  8. Farbeef

    Farbeef Promethean
    Senior Member

    Likes Received:
    Looks AWSOME ur da best for puttin this guide together... There now its in my favorites :)
  9. Black Theorem

    Black Theorem Forerunner
    Forge Critic Senior Member

    Likes Received:
    Just tested with a .jpeg img (wallpaper, if it makes a difference :p), and it worked perfectly fine. Also, just so you know, .jpg and .jpeg are read as the same type of file. Are you sure you're following the guide I added at the end?
    Here it is again:
  10. Black Theorem

    Black Theorem Forerunner
    Forge Critic Senior Member

    Likes Received:
    Updated: Added Posting to Forgehub section and reorganization of the Lighting section.
  11. Apollo Creed 01

    Apollo Creed 01 Forerunner
    Senior Member

    Likes Received:
    very nice/ helpful thread Black Theorem!

    wish there was an update with alot of reach stuff though, lol
    #11 Apollo Creed 01, Jun 19, 2011
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2011

Share This Page