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This page is considered a guideline on Wowpedia.

It illustrates standards of conduct, which many editors agree with in principle. However, it is not policy.

This guideline outlines good practices to use for images uploaded to Wowpedia, and steps that can be taken to make them display better and/or become lighter for download.

For information about how to add images, see our guide to basic image syntax, as well as the Gamepedia Help Wiki's all-around image guides: Basic images and advanced images.

Layout

Caption

Images serve the important purposes of illustrating subjects and adding visual interest to articles. They can speak where words would fail. At the same time, however, misplaced or untidy images can detract from an article. When choosing images, keep in mind how they fit into an article: their placement, size, and the flow and readability of nearby text. Position images so that they work with the article rather than against it.

The "thumb" syntax (example: [[File:CoolImage.png|thumb]]) is a common way to insert images alongside text in a way that generally won't disturb readability. If no additional parameters are given, it will size the image automatically according to user preference and align the image to the right, allowing a smooth flow of text down the left margin. Although left-aligned images can be used, most images should be right-aligned for this reason. If an infobox is not being used in an article, a right-aligned picture in the lead section is encouraged.

Galleries

An article that contains many images may begin to look bloated or cluttered. In this case, a gallery section can be a good solution. (describe galleries a bit?)

If a gallery has more than a couple of files, the packed gallery mode (<gallery mode=packed>) can allow for a cleaner look.

Usage

Another important factor to consider when choosing a potential image for an article is necessity. What is the image's purpose? What does it do for the article? The answer may range from "it illustrates a key point" to "it just looks nice," but in some cases, adding an image may be unnecessary:

  • If a map is needed to show the location of something, the {{coords}} and {{Zone Map}} + {{Zone Map Note}} templates are good ways to do so.
  • If a potential image is similar to another image already present on the page, compare the two. Is the new image meaningfully different from the old one?
    • If a character can be found in a new location, is their visual appearance at that location different in some way? Are they engaged in a scene or activity unique to the location?
      • If yes to either, then take a new screenshot and upload it as a separate image, so both images can be on the page.
      • If no to both, then no new screenshot is needed.
    • If a character has received a model update, is it different in appearance from the old one? Or is it simply the same appearance in higher quality?
      • If the former, then take a new screenshot and upload it as a separate image. The new image should generally be the page's primary image. Example.
      • If the latter, then take a new screenshot and upload it over the old file. This can be done by going to the old file and clicking "Upload a new version of this file."

Quality and design

Graphics

Though images can portray many different subjects, each of which has different compositional needs, all screenshots share one important factor: graphics.

Higher graphics settings will generally improve the overall quality of a screenshot. However, while every bit can help, you don't need to set your graphics to "Ultra" across the board. Certain settings have a bigger impact than others—most notably, the anti-aliasing and texture resolution settings. These settings are key to getting quality screenshots!

Anti-aliasing has multiple settings that can be suitable for different subjects (try messing with them sometime!). MSAA 8x seems to be a safe option that offers both consistently smooth edges and fairly low loss of detail. Texture resolution, on the other hand, has only one setting that should be used for screenshots: high. Anything less will cause a loss of detail, and it can even make intricate textures look like a garbled mess.

(examples)

In some cases, higher graphics can actually hinder a screenshot. For instance, shadows may fall on the subject in an undesirable way, or grass may get in front of your camera or cover parts of the subject. In these cases, lowering the related settings may help. Many environmental shadows will lighten or disappear with a lower shadow quality setting, and grass can be re-arranged or cleared away by reducing ground clutter.

General appearance

Note that there are exceptions to every guideline; these are simply general guidelines that help to produce quality images in many situations. Use your own discretion on whether they're necessary for a particular image.

Most images should...

  • Show no UI, including names, nameplates, chat windows, etc.
  • Show no player characters.
  • Not have excessive empty or unused space around the subject.

Composition

LOCATION SCREENSHOTS SHOULD...

  • MAYBE FOLLOW COMMON COMPOSITION RULES FOR ENVIRONMENT PAINTINGS AND PHOTOGRAPHS? THEY MAKE LOOK NICE.
  • EXAMPLE.

NPC SCREENSHOTS SHOULD SHOW NPC CLEARLY. CONSIDER...

  • DISTANCE! TRY TO GET CLOSE TO NPC, WHILE STILL GETTING WHOLE NPC IN SHOT. CERTAIN TOYS, LIKE CRASHIN' THRASHIN' RACER, CAN BE USED TO GET CLOSE TO ENEMIES WITHOUT AGGROING THEM
  • ANGLE! IDEAL ANGLE IS USUALLY AT EYE LEVEL OF NPC, FROM FRONT (OR AT MOST THREE-QUARTERS ANGLE). IF NEED TO CHANGE CAMERA HEIGHT FOR BETTER ANGLE, CAN USE /console showplayer COMMAND OR SIZE-CHANGING ITEMS SUCH AS  [Darkmoon Seesaw],  [Whole-Body Shrinka'],  [Vrykul Drinking Horn], AND  [World Shrinker] (ENGINEER ONLY).
  • POSE! NEUTRAL POSES ARE SAFE AND MAKE IMAGE EASY TO "READ." DIFFERENT POSES CAN BE NICE TOUCH, BUT MAKE SURE NPC IS STILL CLEARLY VISIBLE, WITHOUT LIMBS BLOCKING ANY IMPORTANT FEATURES
  • LIGHTING! NPC SHOULD BE WELL-LIT--NOT TOO DARK OR TOO BRIGHT
    • IF NPC IS OUTSIDE, TAKE SCREENSHOT IN DAYTIME. CAN USE  [Sunwarmed Sand] or  [Jar of Sunwarmed Sand].
    • IF NPC IS IN DARK PLACE, CAN HIGHLIGHT BY HOVERING OVER THEM WITH MOUSE OR BY TARGETING THEM.
  • COMPOSITION! NPC SHOULD BE FRONT AND CENTER; CROP TO NPC'S SHAPE, WITH NPC IN CENTER OF IMAGE. TRY NOT TO CUT OFF PARTS OF NPC (including weapons? i like keeping them intact but i dunno what the consensus about that is)
  • SHOULD ALSO SHOW NO UI. NO OUTLINE MODE, NO TARGETING CIRCLE, NO NAMES OR NAMEPLATES.
  • EXAMPLE.

OBJECT SCREENSHOTS FOLLOW PRETTY MUCH SAME RULES AS NPC SCREENSHOTS.

ITEM SCREENSHOTS SHOULD...

  • BE CROPPED TO ITEM'S SHAPE AND/OR POSITION.
  • SHOW ITEM CLEARLY. DON'T COVER WITH HAIR OR OTHER EQUIPMENT.
  • EXAMPLE.

UI SCREENSHOTS SHOULD...

  • BE IN LOSSLESS/LOW-LOSS FILE FORMAT LIKE PNG.
  • DEPICT UNALTERED DEFAULT UI UNLESS SCREENSHOT IS MEANT TO ILLUSTRATE AN ADDON.

Photographs or renderings of physical objects should...

  • NOT contain anything else other than the object itself
  • Be taken against a background of a solid color
    • Preferably a black or white background or using a green screen
  • Be cropped to the object itself if need be
  • Example object

Transparency

Images that require transparency should use the PNG file format. GIFs also handle transparency, but only in an on-off sense; they do not allow smooth shading (anti-aliasing) of edges, which is required to work with our different wiki skins, and they only support 256 colors. See the article on the GIMP for more information on how to do this.

Resolution

  • Do not upload huge images - try to keep to about 1920x1080 as a reasonable upper size limit.
  • Do not blow up small images to larger sizes without good reason, as this can detract from their overall quality.

Programs

Programs can be easier to use than the in-game screenshot system. Here is a list of programs that help crop an image before taking a screenshot.

See also