How to Take Screenshots in Skyrim
How to Take a Skyrim Screenshot
Skryim begs to have pictures captured from it. While it may lack some other sophisticated details that the best rendered games have in its image quality, it more than makes up for this small loss of photographic detail with a tremendous helping of masterfully handled artistic direction. I don't think there are any other games out there that look this good. In the fewhours I have been playing it, I have taken literally dozens of screenshots—and that's from restraining myself!
So, want to learn how to capture all these gorgeous shots? This guide below will show you how to do the following on the PC version of the game*:
- How to take a Skyrim screenshot
- How to take a screenshot without the HUD
- How to take a screenshot using the Steam screenshot manager
You can click on the images below to see a full-size version but beware: these images are huge! Feel free to copy them and use them as wallpaper and whatnot.
*Note: While the below information refers to only the PC version, RVP has supplied instructions for capturing screenshots on a PS3 in the comments below. Thanks to RVP for the contribution!
To take a screenshot:
- Press the printscreen button (PrtScr) which is located in the top right area of standard North American keyboards.
- When you take the screenshot, you'll notice a short, one second pause in the game. This will save your screenshot in the game directory.
- Your image should now be located in the Steam\steamapps\common\skyrim\ folder, which should be in C:\Program Files\ or C:\Program Files (x86)\ unless you have installed Steam to a different directory. (Mine is just in C:\.)
If it doesn't seem to be taking any screenshots, try checking Users/(username)/My Documents/My Games/Skyrim skyrim.ini file to make sure the bAllowscreenshot function is set to 1 instead of 0.
How to Take a Screenshot Using Steam
You can also take screenshots and save them to your Steam screenshot manager if you have the Steam community overlay enabled. If this is the case, you can take screenshots by:
- Pressing the F12 button.
- Steam will then inform you with a small pop-up and sound.
- You will then be prompted to manage your sceenshots when you exit the game. You can share your sceenshots with other people in your Steam community.
Note: You can check out the help page if you're having problems with your Steam community overlay.
How to Remove the HUD Before Taking a Screenshot
If you don't want the heads-up display that shows the compass, text, and stats (HUD) to show up in your screenshots, you can temporarily remove them by: Opening Settings -> Display -> and dragging the HUD Opacity to the far left or by using the console.
- To open the console, type '~', the tilde key, which is located in the top left corner of standard North American keyboards. With the console open, type tm (which stands for toggle menu) and press Return.
- Press the ~ key again to close the console. (The console will have become invisible because it is part of the menu, so just trust me on this.)
- While the console is open, your game will be paused; when the console is closed, your game will continue, but the HUD (and menus) will no longer be visible on-screen.
Now that your HUD is gone, you can take screenshots normally. When you are done taking your screenshots:
- Open the console again by typing ~, then type tm again, and then close the console by typing ~ again. Note: Although using tm might seem a little more complicated than changing the display settings, I find it to be faster if I just want a quick screenshot.
How to Take Action Shots
If you want to take action shots, you have to get fancy with the console. The game doesn't ordinarily allow you to view your character from any angle other than from behind when you have a weapon drawn. This can make it difficult to get a good action shot. (Other than by pressing PrtSc when a fatality cut-scene plays, of course.)
- You can get around this by opening the console and typing tfc 1 then close the console by pressing the '~' again. tfc stands for 'toggle free cam' and allows you to detach the camera from its usual position and move it around a scene using the movement keys (WASD).
- While the free cam is active, the action will stop and you can spend as much time as you like lining up the perfect shot. When you have the shot lined up, just use the normal methods of taking a screenshot.
- When you're done with your shot, open the console again and type tfc 0 to return the camera to its normal position.
Note: You can combine the free cam with the no HUD option and take action shots without any HUD elements as well. Just type 'tm' after 'tfc 1'. The console will disappear, so remember to type '~' again after typing these commands to get back to the game so you can take your screenshots.
If you own a PS3 or XBOX360 version of the game, the only reliable means of taking screenshots and videos seems to be through the use of capture cards. I don't own any personally but from my research, the Dazzle Pinnacle Platinum is a good starter capture card for games (but not HD movies.)
Below is also a good tutorial about setting up a Dazzle.