• In this Tutorial, I will be laying out a 10 Step Guide on how to get high quality captura shots. The tutorial will include a wide range of techniques, combinations, general advice and a short guide on how to use ReShade to further enhance your captura quality. Keep in mind, these are the steps I personally follow in making my capturas, nothing is mandatory, you may choose to do things differently.
• I will also include some of my ReShade presets down below which you can use as a starting point.
• There will be a Q&A section following this tutorial that expands on a few points in the guide.
• Although this guide is more focused on PC, most of its aspect still apply for Consoles. Aside from Step 1 & Step 10, everything else applies for both PC & Console.
Step 1: Resolution, Resolution, Resolution…
One of the keys to high-quality shots is 4K res. If your GPU can give you at least 20-30FPS at 4K in Warframe then you’ll be fine. Remember, you’re taking a shot not playing the game, FPS does not matter, you can switch it back to Native res once you’re done. Even if you have a 1080p monitor, there will be a very prominent bump in quality when you switch your game to 4K.
So how do we switch to 4K?
Easy. Depending on your GPU (Nvidia or AMD) you need to do one of these two:
Bonus Step: You can further enhance your image quality with some dedicated tools in both Nvidia and AMD:
Nvidia: Image Sharpening. Sharpening enhances your image quality without creating much noise like what some 3rd party softwares do. Try out this preset first then play with the sharpening level until satisfied with image quality. There is no fixed “best” preset because this will depend on your monitor. So I advise increasing sharpness until the outcome fits you best.
AMD: Although Sharpening is not one of their specialties, Radeon offers tools that help refine edges and textures to make them look smoother. These two settings in the image are essential in my opinion. The rest are up to personal taste really. Their impacts are not significant however.
Step 2: Selecting an Appropriate Captura Scene
One mistake some often make is presuming that scenes offer similar image qualities. Sadly that is untrue, scenes heavily impact your image’s quality depending on its lighting and any added visual effects. Some scenes offer little to no lighting like the Chroma Key Scene which I highly advise against unless you’re recording a video for editing. For Photoshop editing, I strongly recommend you pick a scene with enough edges and corners because they will serve as a reference when you want to change the background, so both layers have similar perspectives.
Here are a few scenes I highly recommend for certain vibes:
Outdoor, Sunlight, Natural Setting:
Plains of Eidolon Scene
Dog Days Scene
Water, Vegetation, Ambient Setting:
Futuristic, Artificial Light, Cyberpunk Setting:
Focused Light, Smooth Shadows, Cinematic Setting:
Deck 12 Scene
Harrow’s Temple Scene
Corpus Depository Scene
Corpus Ship Bridge Scene
Dark, Minimal Light, Sinister Setting:
Sentient Basin Scene
Veil’s Binding Scene
Hunhow’s Chamber Scene
Scenes to avoid (in my opinion):
Most Sentient Map Scenes: Very bland lighting and overly enhanced Shadows.
The War Within Choice Scene: The added visual effects will make your shots blurry.
Infested Ship Hologram Scene: Overrides your Warframe Colors due to strong lighting.
Granum Void Scene: Also overrides Colors, and also has very high contrast.
Inaros Tomb Scene: Bland lighting and textures.
Umbra’s Courtyard Scene: It’s not bad per se, just not as good as the rest.
Keep in mind these are not the only good scenes, these are just the ones I found to be most effective at delivering certain vibes while maintaining high image quality.
Step 3: Determining Your Fashion Theme
Knowing what you want from your captura shot saves you a substantial amount of time and effort. One of the keys to a successful shot is a clear theme, not necessarily a Cosplay, but any distinguishable theme that can be identified promptly by looking at the shot.
There is no shame in taking inspiration from other games, artworks or any character you’ve come across. Inspiration can be taken from a wide variety of online content, from color palettes to illustrations. It is always a good idea to have something to look back at when working on your captura. When you have a reference, you will skip through the daunting process of testing a plethora of positions and vibes to get something you might publish. The amount of time and effort I saved by simply adopting a reference had allowed me to explore multiple themes within the same captura session. I strongly advise taking inspiration from an existing image before proceeding into Captura.
For example, take these two scenes for my operator. For the first, I spent twice the time as the second, but never managed to get a good shot because I was randomly going through poses I remember and trying to find a good angle. For the second, I knew I wanted an operator holding something in his hand and a dark scene with a fire to reflect a Dark Souls vibe. I took inspiration from the Firekeeper in DS3, and that saved me a lot of time, I was then able to edit in a few sparks and a white flame to make it more authentic (despite that not being in DS3). The consistency of the theme allowed me to easily experiment with more effects without affecting image quality. Also, keep in mind both images are using similar Fashion setups:
Step 4: Understanding Skin Textures
Skin Textures reflect light differently, thus needing different light settings. No single scene can show 2 different skins or Warframes in the same quality unless they have similar textures. Thus it is important to first evaluate the material that is most dominant in your Warframe’s appearance and adapt your lighting accordingly. For example, polished textures like in Mag’s Orbit Skin, Nyx’s Aurelia Skin, Oberon’s Youkai Skin, Volt’s Zener Skin and Ivara’s Youkai Skin require less lighting than rougher textures like Revenant’s Vanilla Skin for example. Smooth textures allow for a clearer gradient of shade which gives your captura shot a much richer spectrum of shades thus a much more realistic look. However, some skins can be a pain to capture correctly, especially those that have a combination of more than one texture.
Let’s take Nidus’s Deluxe as an example, it has a very unique ‘Rough Metal’ texture to it that looks like worn out steel when colored dark, but looks quite organic when colored white. When dark, it absorbs too much light and is often hard to see clearly, so in this shot I needed to shine a decent volume of sunlight on it to make it more visible:
Step 5: Setting Up Your Camera
First, set up your pose. If you know what kind of position you need to be in (holding something, looking somewhere, doing a certain action…etc) then this should not be too difficult. Just remember, it is often impossible to get the exact pose you have in mind, so try to widen your criteria as much as you can. You have a huge menu of animations to choose from, here’s a list of what you can use (with YouTube Links):
After you get the pose that you want, and Memorize how to repeat it, you can now proceed and begin composing your shot.
Setting the Camera:
Depth of Field: Switch it off. Trust me, the value it adds is less than what it takes (it blurs out Warframe edges), use ReShade’s DOF if you really want a very specific cinematic DOF effect, otherwise DOF is not necessary, and your shot will look much better if we can see the background clearly.
Field of View: Set it to 0. This is a must. I even argue that 0 is not enough, I sometimes use ReShade’s Perspective Modifier to lower the FoV even more. Less FoV = Clearer Shot.
Detach Camera: Once your screen is positioned well and everything you need is in the frame of the shot, click on detach camera. This is mandatory if you don’t want to redo everything when you want to change a color or gear part. Once you do this, going into the game menu will not do anything to the warframe’s position or camera, only hitting the keyboard may ruin it.
Advanced Camera Controls are still very unpredictable and really hard to time. They are only needed for videos so you can ignore them for now.
DO NOT at any time press at “Look at Character” when adjusting your settings, it will move the Camera position (not angle). Meaning you will need to exit the menu and relocate the Camera again.
Slow Motion: Remember, there are 5 different Slow-mo speeds, so you do not need to sit 5 minutes waiting for your character to get to a certain position if the animation is already slow enough.
Advance Time: You do not need to exit the settings menu to do this. Just select “Toggle Advanced Time” then press on “Advance Time” from within the menu and your Warframe will continue its animation while you’re still in the settings menu (instead of exiting and holding ‘T’ manually). This will save you the stress of going back and forth between the two menus.
Important Note: Always advance time even for a split second before setting up your lighting (Even if your Warframe is already positioned). Why? Because for some reason, Gamma increases when you first enter Captura in some maps. You will see that Brightness will slightly decrease once you press on Advance Time. This will greatly improve your shades, because if you don’t do this, later on you will see that some of your light adjustments don’t reflect what you’re seeing on the screen. It is essential you remove that unwanted layer of brightness before setting up the Scene’s Lights.
Step 6: Setting Up Your Lighting
Setting up the right angles of light helps in improving realism as it blends your frame into its environment, here’s what you need to know about setting up lighting:
3 Light Setup: These are the artificial spotlights that you will use to make your frame more visible. Abusing them often results in loss of detail, so try to be conservative with the volume of light you use. Remember, the 3 Lights are dedicated to your frame, they will follow you and stay around you only, this means if you want to light other objects in the scene you will have to rely on natural light or get them close enough to your frame. Each of the three has a different angle and a different cone of light. This image from the Wiki illustrates the 3 Points well:
Main Light > High Intensity / Medium Height / Wide Cone > Good for rough textures.
Fill Light > Medium Intensity / Long Height / Narrow Cone > Used as a utility.
Rim Light > Low Intensity / Low Height / Wide Cone > Good for smooth textures.
Identify the direction of the scene light: This can be done by looking at any shadow and the light spots on objects, it is important to know where the scene’s light is coming from.
Identify the level of Light + Exposure your Warframe needs: This will depend on the skin’s texture & the overall theme you’re aiming for.
Shine the Main Light on your frame and switch off the rest.
Adjust levels and rotation until it lines up with the source light and doesn’t obscure any details.
Switch on only 1 of the other 2 and adjust levels until Warframe details are clear.
It is advised you keep 1 of the 3 Lights switched off otherwise they will minimize shade.
I recommend against changing light colors to any high contrast color otherwise they will override your warframe’s colors which will also limit perception of details.
Most palettes have a white color somewhere that is slightly tilted towards a certain color, those are the colors you want to choose from. For example, if you want a cold white-blue color you can choose the top-right color from the Fear palette.
Bonus Tip: High Contrast Light Colors may have cool effects when used with Dark + Rough Warframe Textures, if your frame is using an all-black palette then you might want to experiment a bit with Light colors. Example:
Step 7: Setting Up Your Shades & Shadows
To achieve the desired level of realism, you need to ensure your frame has enough shades and shadows to compliment the lights in a meaningful way. For this to be done, you will need to make a few minor tweaks to lighting levels and maybe some minor changes to rotation. You can get away with a slight mismatch between Natural Light & Artificial Light as long as you don’t drastically shift the direction of the Main Light. The important thing is to tilt the 3 Lights until enough details are visible on the frame. Additionally, there is the option of aligning one of the other 2 Lights to the source light if it’s dim enough to be simulated with the Rim Light or Fill Light.
The next image illustrate this concept in a simple way, the rotation + intensity changes show how simple shifts in light rotations were greatly impacting shot quality, despite the shifts not being drastic, you can clearly see a noticeable jump in quality and clarity:
Step 8: Making Use of Captura Filters
Here I will simply discuss the filters which you should consider using and at which opacity.
Burn, Black & White and Lotus Glow offer little to no value for your captura so I will not be discussing them. I will include a recommended opacity range for each filter:
Saturation: This bar is very useful to balance out colors. Slightly reducing it by 10% can provide a very good quality boost for your shot by making colors a bit more consistent with each other.
Contrast (40-70%): It enhances colors, including shades of grey, so expect your shades and shadows to get darker, I only recommend this in settings with enough light and I recommend against abusing it otherwise it will damage your image quality.
Blood (70-100%): Only to be used in a very dark setting if you want a sinister look.
Bleach (20-60%): To be used in slightly darker settings, slightly washes out colors and gives a nice bleak look to the image, recommended when seeking a more polished armor look.
Cross Process (30-70%): Enhances light and dark curves, gives a richer look to the image at the expense of shades, details will look less clear but the image will be more cinematic.
Negative (5-10%): Enhances outlines and lowers the contrast of black areas.
Edge of Shadows (10-40%): Enhances shadows and completely washes out colors.
Step 9: Bonus Tips
Unequip Your Companion before going into Captura.
Remove Background Distractions: Your frame must be the focal point of your shot, you thus need to try and minimize any unnecessary distractions in the background otherwise some might overshadow your fashion. To do this, simply minimize the image window, try getting off your chair, walk around a bit in your room, then get back on your computer and expand it. If the first thing you see is not the frame or you needed a few seconds to fully acknowledge the frame, then you will need to make some edits to your scene.
STAND IN THE SHADE IN OUTDOOR SETTINGS: This is very important, aggressive sunlight can really damage your image quality by enhancing bloom effects and obscuring details. Try to minimize the amount of sun rays on your frame and try to rely more on 3 Light Settings.
You can use one of the 3 Lights to create an artificial shadow: Always remember, Main Light and Rim Light are in opposite directions, in some instances one can serve as a shadow if you color it dark. The shadow on my operator’s right side (from the previous operator fashion image) is in fact the Main Light colored in dark blue, this is something I found while experimenting with DS3 themes.
Take a lot of screenshots: You will frequently miss out on good shots because your eyes have adapted to the scene and the image. Trust me, capture images frequently, then delete later.
Step 10: ReShade!
ReShade is a 3rd party software/plugin that allows you to apply SweetFX filters to the game. It is used by many players and is one of the essential tools used to produce more unique captura shots. Here I will quickly explain how to install it, then give a quick overview of my personal presets that I’ve attached.
I will also briefly explain what each setting does, I cannot go into too much detail otherwise this guide will turn into a novel. ReShade has a very large array of settings, explaining each one in detail is close to impossible, so you will need to familiarize yourself with it in order to use it more effectively, hopefully some of the presets here might give you a head start, but you will need to experiment with it. We all learn new things every time we use ReShade, the number of possible combinations is too large to cover.
Simply extract the contents of this ZIP into your Warframe game directory, which will be in Steam > Steamapps > Common > Warframe.
Launch Warframe and you should see a bar at the top of the screen indicating that ReShade is active.
Hit “Home” on your keyboard to access the ReShade menu. Skip through the quick tutorial. Now quickly go to Settings.
In the “Effect Search Path” bar paste in the location of the Shaders folder which should normally be: “C:Program FilesSteamsteamappscommonWarframereshade-shaders-masterShaders”.
If your Steam folder is in a different location just change “C:Program Files” to where your steam folder is located.
In the “Texture Search Path” bar do the same thing but instead of the Shaders file paste the Texture folder’s location which should be: “C:Program Files SteamsteamappscommonWarframereshade-shaders-masterTextures”
Also in the “Screenshot Path” bar, paste the location of the file you want your shots to be placed in. You can also change the Screenshot Key and Overlay Key if you want.
Congrats, ReShade is now fully installed.
I’ve included 4 of my presets in the ZIP, you can select any of them or simply select the Default Preset file and create your own. Here’s how to switch between them:
Under “Home” in the ReShade Menu select the bar just below it that says “DefaultPreset” and select what preset you want. If you can’t see them just navigate to your main Warframe folder (Steam > Steamapps > Common > Warframe), the three dots take you back a file. Normally the bar will automatically display the Warframe directory. Once you’re in the Warframe folder, just scroll down to one of these four presets and select the one you want:
Warframe Visual Boost [Light]: Simple and non-intrusive visual enhancement, you can normally play the game using this preset.
Warframe Realism Preset [Heavy]: Same preset but with a few tweaks for more visual realism, it enhances the visuals, but at the expense of performance, I don’t recommend using this for regular gameplay unless you have a high-tier GPU, because it will hit your FPS.
Warframe Ultra Cinematic Preset [Very Heavy]: I made this for those who want a cinematic overhaul when recording videos. It is very demanding, be warned. It used to push my old GTX970 to its limits, so if you don’t have a powerful GPU expect some serious overheating.
Zeezo’s Unkindled Preset [Heavy]: A Captura preset that applies a Dark Souls effect to your game. I have used this preset for most of my Dark Souls Cosplays, however it is a bit demanding GPU-wise.
ReShade Guide: Just a quick overview of every ReShade tool:
AdaptiveFog / DepthHaze: Applies a distance fog (not recommended)
AdaptiveSharpen / FineSharp (Mode 1, 2 & 3) / HighPassSharpen / LumaSharpen / Filmic Anamorphic Sharpen: Sharpen Filters (each has a different level of intensity & grain).
AmbientLight: Bloom, mixed with Eye Adaptation and Lens Dirt
Bloom / Magic Bloom / PPFX Bloom …etc: Bloom Filters (different intensities)
Border: Letterboxing Screen Border (like in films)
CA / Chromatic Aberration: Color Fringing, classic effect like in old tapes and 3D Videos.
CRT: Pixel Art Effect, there are plenty of other effects that are easy to spot
Cartoon: Places thick lines on detected model edges
Clarity: Enhances white points, basically a gloss effect, makes image look like a photo
ColorMatrix / Technicolor / FilmicPass / LiftGammaGain: Color-Grading Filters
Colourfulness / Vibrance: Color Saturation Filters
Curves / Levels / Levels Plus: Changes contrast and enhances White and Black levels
DoF / Light DoF / Marty McFly DoF …etc: Depth of Field filters (different intensities)
DPX: Color grading + Gamma Enhancement
Daltonize: Color-Blind Adaptation (use the integrated Warframe tool instead)
Denoise / HQ4X / NonLocalMeans / KNearestNeighbors: Reduces Noise, recommended for overly sharp images, but will need tweaking
Eye Adaptation: Smart auto brightness adjustment, keep this on, it will help a lot
Emphasise: Focuses on one color and desaturates the rest
FXAA / SMAA: Anti-Aliasing Tools
FilmGrain: Grain Effect, also needs tweaking
GaussianBlur / SurfaceBlur: Refines & Blurs Edges or Surfaces
HDR: Fake HDR Effect, enhances light gradients and contrast
MultiLUT: FILTERS! They’re awesome, you might need to tweak their intensity first
MXAO / PPFX SSDO: Basically Extra Shaders, adds extra shadow maps to your image
Motion Blur: Stay away from it, it’s terrible
Perfect Perspective: Slight FishEye Effect
PPFX GodRays: God Rays, pretty broken so you need to tweak it in the menu
Reflective Bumpmapping: Soft Gloss effect, adds more realism, but very demanding
Sepia / Tint / Monochrome: color tint
TiltShift: Blurs top and bottom of your screen
Vignette: Adds black shades to screen edges
Q1: Can you export the settings of a captura shot?
A1: Sadly not, every single position, location and angle will need different settings. Even if you take the settings of the most perfect captura shot, within the same scene, using the same frame, simply moving to a different location will render those settings useless. There is no shortcut to setting up lighting, you have to do it manually. Hopefully this guide will make that a bit easier for you.
Q2: Does every Frame or Skin require different light settings, even in the same scene?
A2: Yes, as explained in the guide, skin materials reflect/absorb light differently. Always be wary of your frame’s texture and adapt your settings accordingly. Smoother textures need less direct light (Rim Light is advised) while rougher textures might require some rigorous lighting for your frame to be visible.
Q3: How do I get my Warframe to do idle animations in Captura?
A3: Simply select the Synthesis Scanner. Your Warframe will unequip its weapon and go into idle state. You can change your animation types from within the scene by hitting ESC > Arsenal.
Q4: Can I get my Warframe to walk?
A4: There is no dedicated key for walking in Warframe, however, there are functions that allow you to move slower in a way that resembles walking. Either by equipping a Hobbled Dragon Key, Equipping the Synthesis Scanner then aiming with it while moving forward or if you’re using a joystick, just lightly tilt the right stick forward.
Q5: Can I get my operator to walk?
A5: Yes, first unequip your amp before going into captura, then hold aim while moving forward.
Q6: Does Your Monitor Size Matter?
A6: More than you might think. Ever wondered why many XBOX1 & PS4 shots look way smoother than most PC shots despite being in 1080p? Yes, it’s because they were screenshotted off a TV. When your shot is scaled down from a TV to a monitor, shades and color gradients become much clearer and more dynamic. So size does matter for captura, the bigger your screen the better the image quality. However, it is by no means necessary, it’s a bonus yes, but you can easily get smooth shots with good settings. Every single one of my shots has been taken off a 19” 1080p screen, but they would have definitely looked better if taken off a large TV screen.
Q7: Will you be making a Photoshop Tutorial on how to create Game Crossovers?
A7: Most definitely! just not very soon. Creating a Photoshop tutorial requires video recording, and a decent level of editing. This will need some time to record and finalize, time is not ample for me these days, so it might be awhile before I find the time to sit down and record a tutorial, but it will be coming, I promise you that.
If you need any further help, guidance or aid in making your capturas please do not hesitate to ask. I also offer feedback and support on our Discord server where many captura artists are aiding in providing valuable feedback for the fashion frame community.
Thank you for your time, and good luck with your future shots.