How To: Screencapture

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A Screencapture is a still-image of the computer activity at the moment. In the City of Heroes MMO, the screencapture is a way for you to take a picture of the activity in the game. This is an essential mechanism for basic creation of an online comic book.


The screencapture is based on the original use of the "Print Screen" button on the keyboard in the early years of computer operation. The "Print Screen" button originally sent everything on the screen directly to the printer.

With the development of Graphical User Interface as part of the operating system, print operations became more and more complex and the need for a single-button print became obsolete. But the "Print Screen" button remained on the keyboard for more than just nostalgic reasons. Developers changed the "Print Screen" feature so that it would take a graphical snapshot of the screen and save it in the operating system's clipboard.

This could be used for documentation purposes, for instance, to show step-by-step any particular process. An image of the screenshot could be pasted into the document and then trimmed so only the relevant feature is visible. This is how software developers create the illustrations needed for instruction manuals and books. They are based on actual screenshots of the program in use.


In the City of Heroes MMO, Champions Online MMO, and Star Trek Online MMO, you are able to use the Print Screen key in the same way that one would use the shutter button of a camera, taking still images of the action at that moment to be stored on your hard drive.


Simply press the "Print Screen" key while in-game and the image is taken and stored. There is no sound effect or on-screen notice that this is done, so please be sure to check the folder afterward where the screen images are stored.

It should be noted that there are two images taken are actually taken in-game. The first is the temporary snapshot image stored in the clipboard which also has all of the user-interface windows and speech bubbles. The second is the permanent JPG image file stored in the screen image folder on your hard drive without any of the user-interface windows and bubbles. This, however, only applies while in-game. The normal screencapture rules apply when still in the login, server selection, and character creation screens.

It is also important to note that the screen capture is WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get). Therefore, much like real-life photographers, you have to get the view-screen in the right position to get all of the action you want, including changing the camera position. (In Windows this is done with the mouse's scroll-wheel and mouse-wheel button.)

This is why some creators prefer to use demorecording to take their images since they have a much greater control over the environment and action. This, however, can be a complicated process to undergo as opposed to simply taking screenshots of the action as it happens.


For screenshot images taken not in-game, pull up your image-editing program (i.e. MS Paint, Photoshop, GIMP) and simply select PASTE. You can then save the image to your hard drive for future use.

For in-game screenshot images, go to your game program's directory on the hard drive and look for a folder marked "Screenshots". There you will find all of the screen images taken in-game for you to transfer and use.


Once the image is saved on your hard drive, you can use and edit it through any page creation or image-manipulation program. Bear in mind that any changes made to that file would be permanent.

Related information

See the Paragon Wiki entry for detailed information this subject, including locating the screen shot folder and how to use the feature in demorecordings.