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How to Improve Gallery Pictures

BryonyRaeBryonyRae Posts: 5,181 Member
edited November 2017 in The Sims 4 Ideas Corner
Over on Twitter, @TheSims stated that we should post suggestions for improvement to gallery images here. I am coming at the issue from the perspective of a builder. There are several problems with the existing system:
  1. Gallery shots are taken from fixed perspectives that may wind up being too close or too far away, depending upon the size and shape of the structure.
  2. The angle of the shots does not work for some type of builds, hiding elements, like roofing, that balance the structure.
  3. Neighborhood objects such as trees, rocks, or even other buildings often wind up obscuring some or all of the images.
  4. Interior shots are so zoomed out that very few details can be ascertained and anything you have done that may be special or subtle cannot be seen.
There may well be more complaints; feel free to add your own!

Possible Systems for Improvement for Lots:
  1. When saving the lot, prompt the user to take one or more screen shots for use in the gallery. Allow them to go into TAB camera mode in order to get the zoom and angle they desire. Send these shots directly to the library file as part of the saving process.
  2. When saving the lot, use something similar to the in game sim photography system (I am referring to when the sims use a camera to take pictures in GTW) to enable the user to take one or more screen shots for use in the gallery. Send these shots directly to the library file as part of the saving process. This method would be less desirable than the first, as the player might not have as much flexibility to get the shots at the angle/zoom they'd like. It would still be better than the current system though!
  3. Change the lot saving process to match the sim saving process in CAS, where the player can cycle through different preset camera angles of the build and select the one they find most favorable. This would be the least desirable option, as unless great care is given to the different preset angles, some of the current problems might still exist (zoomed too far out, objects obscuring the build, etc.). However, at least it would provide some options and player choice, where there currently is none.
  4. Use the camera presets file (located in VideoCameraStates) to determine positions/angles to take shots and overwrite default shots with those shots (see pg. 2 for details). This would be a fairly flexible system - up to 5 shots of the creator's choice, very non-intrusive, and perhaps more easily implemented than some of the others.

Additional Considerations
  • If possible, let the creator take a maximum of 8 pictures (8 is the current maximum); prompt them for the number of pictures they want to take within that limit.
  • If possible, allow the creator to select a time of day for each image (make use of the functionality already present in build mode to set the time of day).
  • Add a "skip" function that is available throughout the process; if the creator clicks "skip," the game generates the default gallery shots that it ordinarily would. This functionality is necessary because many creators save to their library as part of a testing process or to save while it's a work in progress, and they do not care about gallery images at that point.
  • Consider also adding a game option that would toggle the creator driven imaging system off. When the system is introduced, you'd probably want it off by default so as not to confuse people who are used to the current process. Patch notes could alert interested creators that the option now exists, and they would find it very quickly. :)
  • If option 3 is selected, enable the game to select the "front" of the lot based on which door has been selected as the "front" door. This will aid in the many cases where people build on sizes like a 30x20 and select the 30 width as their front side, but the game has designated the 20 width as the front (currently only those who have Get Together can use lots where the 30 width is the front).
  • Allow builder to hide world objects that may get in the way of the picture(s), i.e. neighborhood trees, lampposts, etc.
  • Take pictures at highest graphics settings automatically (background toggle for photos only)
  • Enable applying filters to screen shots (using system from GTW photography)
  • Enable brightness adjustment
  • Let user choose wall cutaway level.

Suggestions for Improvement for Rooms:
  • Ability to zoom in
  • Allow for more than one image, so that more detail can be shown in large rooms.

Suggestions for Improvement for Sims/Households:
  • Add 3D rotation for headshots in order to allow a focus on distinguishing features.
  • Add the ability to choose the sim's expression (or cycle through available expressions, including a neutral expression, i.e. face at rest).
  • Add the ability to choose the sim's pose (or cycle through them).
  • Add more Maxis poses to select from
  • Add ability to show (at least) one outfit per category, with a choice of poses for each.
  • For "family portraits" provide a choice of group poses/arrangements, and if possible the ability to choose the position and outfit of each sim.
  • Add a variety of selectable backgrounds (like in the photo studio object).
  • Options to create a full length view of a sim
  • Ability to zoom in to take close-ups/headshots

More? Please feel free to discuss other ideas and options, and I will add them to the list. Suggestions for rooms and sims are also welcome.
Post edited by BryonyRae on
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  • Okto84Okto84 Posts: 192 Member
    There are already ways to change angle, lighting and take photos in game, so I think the gallery could be quite easily improved with option one. All of the parts seem to be there, they just need to be connected together!
  • BluebellFloraBluebellFlora Posts: 7,109 Member

    Thanks for doing this :)

    I think it would be great to be prompted to take several screenshots, maybe 4-6, as part of the upload process and choose which one is the main Gallery image. The others could be the additional images.

  • ManssomManssom Posts: 4,159 Member
    Yes I fully agree with this. For me it has always been an issue when it comes to the environment lighting too.
    As things were before the Tray Importer, you had to be quite careful which lot you picked for your build if you wanted
    the colors of the build to show up nicely on the picture. The sun goes up and down in the same direction no matter
    which lot you pick and the light from the sun changes both the texture and the colors quite drastically.

    Not sure if anything can be done when it comes to this. But it was easily corrected with the help of the Tray Importer.
  • pekesimspekesims Posts: 169 Member
    I agree, the option to take the pictures when we press "save" would be the best option. I like what you did, not allowing people to change the pictures outside the game, but I would like you to give us an alternative system.
  • Pegasus143Pegasus143 Posts: 2,490 Member
    I agree with the above posts. A camera feature should be able to take pictures of the floor plan and the outside of the build. Another feature that I feel would be appreciated would be allowing the builder to show pictures of 1-2 rooms in addition to the other screenshots. This would really allow those who are downloading from the Gallery to see the uniqueness of the build without having to go to an outside link to really see what the inside looks like.
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  • SimsLovinLycanSimsLovinLycan Posts: 1,910 Member
    edited March 2016
    I think that what we need is:

    1. A menu that lets us chose the angle of our floor plan shots. Sometimes they're shot from the front of the building, sometimes the back, sometimes one side or the other...Picking a lot is like rolling the dice almost, and it's especially frustrating and limiting for builders like me who prefer to build on larger lots, due to the very small number of large lots in the game. I mean, if I built something on a 50x50 lot that takes full advantage of the size, I only have maybe 1 or 2 possible places to shift it to get a better angle (I'm talking base game here). That's not right.

    2. The ability to zoom in or out and hide world deco in the foreground. I never had too much trouble with world deco obscuring my shots before (lucky me) but sometimes I do feel like the floor plan shots could be a bit closer in, especially on larger lots.

    3. I'd like to echo the OP and others in saying that we need a way to take interior, "walls-up" photos to add to our gallery uploads. Enabling TAB camera mode in build mode would be a good way to do it. And it's not just because sometimes the finer details of a build can get lost in the mix with the automatic cutaway view either. Just look at my Imposing Palace build. The top two floors have the exterior walls completely missing because of the half walls I used to border the balconies and external walkway. That means that there is no way for someone to know what the library walls look like at all--all the viewer sees is floor, decor, and bookshelves. Not exactly flattering.

    Addendum: 4. The ability to chose which side of the lot is the "front." Building on corner lots allows you to pick and choose where the front of the house is when you build...but not when you save. This lot is a good example of that phenomenon. The actual front of my building is on the left-hand side of the "front view" photo, and the rest of the shots show the floor plan from the back (which causes the pool to obscure part of the first floor of the "Heck" apartment). Right now, to get a better picture, I'd have to move this build to a new lot and cross my fingers that all of the angles are decent just to make sure that the right part of the building is shown as the front. So, yep, there's definitely a need for a "front picker" option.

    Mods are used to augment or add features to the game that would be fun or useful, but aren't there. Make the in-game gallery screenshot function more...well, functional...and users won't need to use a mod to get better pics of their creations.
    Post edited by SimsLovinLycan on
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  • ehaught58ehaught58 Posts: 2,758 Member
    I like @BryonyRae suggestions. I think the first suggestion is the best way to go. Great job, Bry, and thanks for starting this post.
    "If you build it, they will come." - Movie: Field of Dreams
  • EmmaVaneEmmaVane Posts: 7,671 Member
    edited March 2016
    Agree with the OPs option 1 for builds/rooms with the addition of choosing time of day for lighting preference per picture so that...
    • You can show the kitchen and breakfast nook in morning sunlight.
    • You can show the pool and patio in the hot afternoon sunshine.
    • You can show the dining room lit with a warm evening glow.
    • You can show the whole lot both during the day, and lit up at night.
    • Maybe have picture allowances per floor for layout pics, then an additional allowance for free-cam images depending on the lot size?
    • Rooms could have an extra image (1 layout, 1 for show).

    For sims:
    • I'd like the option of 3D rotation for headshots, so you can get an angle that shows that sim's distinguishing features to the fullest whether that is a ginormous, bulbous nose that can only be appreciated from the side, or fabulous cheekbones that show up best in slight profile.
    • Maybe an option to choose their expression?
    • Body shots I would like to show (at least) one outfit per category to show off the sim's style and figure, with a choice of poses for each.
    • For "family portraits" I'd like a choice of group poses/arrangements including some sitting on chairs/barstools/sofas/cross-legged on floor, and the ability to choose who takes what position and which outfit they wear.
    • For all the pictures I'd like a variety of backgrounds... Nothing fancy, just a choice of colours for floor and wall (like the brick wall and plank floor on the photo studio).

    That's all I can think of for now.
    Post edited by EmmaVane on
  • luthienrisingluthienrising Posts: 36,836 Member
    I love these ideas - I've been frustrated at how my best builds are seen only head-on, where they are uninteresting; all the "action" to them is from another side or as you move around them. I do want to ask, though - this extra-photo-taking would have to happen when we save to Library, wouldn't it? In which case, I'd like to have a quick "skip" option because I'm usually saving to Library only to keep it there, with no intention of sharing to the Gallery.
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  • MirrrrMirrrr Posts: 53 Member
    Honestly, I find the custom tumbnails horrible. Yes they look nice but the normal ones actually had a function. Sorry I don't think this works.
  • DominicLaurenceDominicLaurence Posts: 3,397 Member
    As I was saying in the thread about the custom thumbails, I think having some extra space to share pictures we wanted (maybe restricted to the lot or room area) in addition to the game-generated ones would be, probably no the best, but an easy and simple solution to this issue.
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  • ManssomManssom Posts: 4,159 Member
    Pegasus143 wrote: »
    I agree with the above posts. A camera feature should be able to take pictures of the floor plan and the outside of the build. Another feature that I feel would be appreciated would be allowing the builder to show pictures of 1-2 rooms in addition to the other screenshots. This would really allow those who are downloading from the Gallery to see the uniqueness of the build without having to go to an outside link to really see what the inside looks like.
    Exactly. I have heard some ridiculous arguments about creators only showing the best parts of their homes.
    But really, at least for me, it is more about showing "this is what you can expect to find here" rather than
    "oh this is the best part". I always give full tours on the forums, but many players are not using the forums.
  • LukeLuke Posts: 642 Member
    I think the main reason why they have the game take the shots are because they want a more uniformed look to the gallery, and to avoid crude/foolish shots being the main image.

    I understand this, but I think that giving users control over the shots that are used would make people much happier. Kind of like a limited version of the camera mode, but at least you could set up the shot/angle.
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  • DameDallasDameDallas Posts: 19 Member
    I agree with your first improvement suggestion, @BryonyRae (regarding lots). Giving us the power to choose which shots (or at least an option to add 1-2 more than the ones automatically generated) would greatly improve the gallery. The viewers aren't even given top-down shots as an option. For most gallery photos that are displaying the individual floors, we only see obstructed views from an angle. And if anyone has large trees as a part of their lot, the obstruction is almost guaranteed.
  • Lovelysimmer100Lovelysimmer100 Posts: 1 New Member
    I think you should just let us use the Tray Importer, there was a lot less controversy when you let us use it @BryonyRae
  • BryonyRaeBryonyRae Posts: 5,181 Member
    To those commenting on lighting, I agree that it would be helpful to be able to toggle it to the time of day you like, but to do so via a new tool might add too much complexity. I think that the developers *might* be able to at least give us the same button that we use in build mode to toggle time of day, since that functionality is already built in. Doing it picture by picture might be difficult though...

    What I usually do to get the lighting just right (or as close to it as I can given, as @Manssom noted, the environmental hues), is to have my play tester sim on the lot, and to fast forward his/her time of day to the one that I think looks best. Then, I go to save the lot. This works now, without any new Gallery options, so I thought I might mention it for those who may just be using the build mode day/night toggles. While helpful, the chosen times of day are not always ideal.

    Yes, @MAINAGO1, that is the goal, to ensure that the system is entirely in-game and that images can't be tampered with post-process (without triggering the CC flag). That way, it would be a system that Maxis could support for non-CC builders.

    @Pegasus143 In my opinion, ideally, it would be entirely up to the builder what he or she chooses to capture in their images. I would like to see a prompt asking for the number of pictures to be taken, say, up to 8, as 8 is the current maximum (based on the number of levels of the build), and then a prompt to take each picture. I understand that this means that a builder might not choose to provide an overhead layout shot or might focus on the exterior at the cost of the interior, etc., but I'd rather see that freedom, and let the downloaders decide whether they want to take a closer look in game or not. I think that most builders, given a high enough number of images to use (currently, lots with only 1 or 2 levels don't get many images, and the Image Replacer tool could not add image slots), would choose to provide a balanced view of their creation.

    @SimsLovinLycan If we're able to get option 1 or 2, I think they would address all of your issues, because you would have the freedom to take your shot at any angle, zoom, walls up, etc. as you choose (although again, option 2 might be more limited).

    @EmmaVane I'm adding your sims requests to the index. :)

    @luthienrising That's a very good point. A skip function would probably be a must have, which, when selected, would just take the default pictures that the game takes now. They might also want to consider adding an option in the game options to toggle the functionality on/off altogether and have it off by default to avoid confusion over the changes.

    @Mirrrr We are not discussing custom thumbnails here. If you would like to provide your feedback on custom thumbnails, there is a thread for that here. In this thread, we are discussing gallery images generated strictly in game with no post processing effects.

    An interesting suggestion @DominicLaurence, but I think that it would be the same amount of work for them programmatically to generate some of the images via default and the rest via creator as to generate them all via creator. I personally would rather see them all creator driven.

    @Luke I think we'd need Maxis themselves to clarify whether they care about creations having a uniform look. I tend to think it's not so much because they want everything to look uniform as it is that they had to create a program with preset distances and angles, and they chose to use homes levels as a basis for each shot beyond the first two shots. With any luck though, a sim guru will pop into the thread at some point and let us know if there are specific requirements to how images must be set up.

    @Lovelysimmer100 Just want to clarify that I am not in charge of anything here. :D I just created this thread in order to enable us to give Maxis suggestions that they can use to meet our needs without us having to resort to an outside tool. There is another thread where we have provided feedback regarding the patch change and Importer Tool here. If you read it, you'll find that I am not a fan of the change by any means, but having spoken my piece there, I'd rather focus now on what can be done going forward for those of us who are committed to being CC free with our creations. Those who don't mind the CC flag are free to continue to use the Image Replacer tool.
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  • NatKingSimNatKingSim Posts: 757 Member
    I really liked the Tray Importer and how everybody used it differently. It was really fun and super creative. Some simmers argue that it gives advantages, but I don't agree at all. Some houses I've seen that have a very abstact picture and no overview I personally did not download. While the houses that had creative pictures but showed me everything I needed to see I downloaded gladly.
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  • MeaganJoMeaganJo Posts: 4,342 Member
    Sign me up Scotty! :D I love being able to take my own pictures of my builds because then I can show others what I see in my build and want them to take notice, it can be a real selling point and the preset pictures take that ability away from all of us!
  • SpicyfaceSpicyface Posts: 32 Member
    First ... please excuse my English and Translation with google. I'm actually in the German Sims4 forum.

    Now I have received the information that is already discussed here etc via Image-Changer. In Europe, we have now on the website L' (Tray-Importer) the possibility screenshots that we had done in the construction or game mode to draw the images that otherwise the upload of rooms, budget or land up in the gallery Maxis. Many had used the. One could detect a lot more details. Well after the update from Maxis is all represented as CC, even if that is not the case.

    Most of us work without CC. If CC is included it is indicated as 90% even under the comments. Many are upset about, it would be but for Maxis determines a possibility with the developers of this program to negotiate or to develop on this basis a program itself when to have the appropriate staff capable and Maxis able. We would suffice it when we would get from Maxis FINALLY ON FEEDBACK.

    What experiences have you in this direction can already do. We have become so frustrated that upload some even only empty lots or want to withdraw completely from the community. And that will be a significant part of Europe. Anyway Maxis would certainly remember the budget when would increasingly withdraw. That would be a shame, right?

    What do you all mean? Thank you all for this interesting discussion.
  • ManssomManssom Posts: 4,159 Member
    Guys, @BryonyRae asked us not to discuss the custom thumbnails here. This discussion is about how EA/Maxis
    can improve the default gallery images. If we want to discuss the Tray Importer and custom thumbnails we can do that here :)
  • SpicyfaceSpicyface Posts: 32 Member
    Sorry @Manssom, your Member EmmaVane give me this link for my question. And now you also give me back another. I know myself in your forum not so good, have also still struggling with the google translation. Sorry, but that brings me then here everything is nothing. I have absolutely no desire all 3 x to say. I wish you all Happy Easter.
  • EmmaVaneEmmaVane Posts: 7,671 Member
    Spicyface wrote: »
    Sorry @Manssom, your Member EmmaVane give me this link for my question. And now you also give me back another. I know myself in your forum not so good, have also still struggling with the google translation. Sorry, but that brings me then here everything is nothing. I have absolutely no desire all 3 x to say. I wish you all Happy Easter.

    I didn't say to ask questions here. I said if you had any ideas on improving the in-game system you should post here.
  • BryonyRaeBryonyRae Posts: 5,181 Member
    @Spicyface Manssom directed you to the other thread because that is where we are having a discussion about the patch and Tray Importer tool, etc. Many of us disagree with what was done in the patch and also subsequent events, but the likelihood is that, despite our feelings, the change Maxis has made will stand. Given that assumption, I started this thread so that we could focus on what could be done to make improvements to Gallery images generated from *within the game* so that such images would not be classified as CC. If you have ideas and suggestions for an in-game tool or system, then this is the place to express them. Please do come to the other thread and share your thoughts regarding the Tray Importer there. I'm sorry to ask you to repeat yourself, but you could just copy and paste your comments.
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  • surfingrocketssurfingrockets Posts: 60 Member
    One of the biggest things I would like is the option to choose which side of the street gets designated as the front of the house. The corner lots often have the shorter side set as the front and I usually use the longer side.
  • JoolsterJoolster Posts: 6,417 Member
    While I agree with the suggestions, I believe it's worth stating that many of them sound far too complex (like the multiple lighting option).

    I'll put my realist pants on and ask for the bare minimum: Please allow the game to take images from the side the front door is. The amount of horizontal houses on 30x20 lots (especially in Willow Creek/Oasis Springs) with side/back view preview images on the gallery makes me sad.
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