"Well, hey there, fellow Simmer! If youre reading this, you probably want to know how to use thein-game CameraMan mode accessible by the Tab key to take better pictures! If youve somehowstumbled across this while looking for something else, feel free to skip out now! If you want toknow the extreme basics of using CameraMan mode, keep on clicking and let DrSupremeNerdteach ya a thing or three."
"If you want to know all about photo composition and how to set up shots and foreground andbackground and horizon lines and the Rule of Thirds or whatever, I cant help ya there. I dontclaim to be an expert on... any of those things. So if thats what you need, there are plenty oftutorials out there that can show you how to do all that stuff. Nope, this tutorial is strictly an Idiot-Proof Guide to how to use CameraMan Mode. Not that I think youre an idiot or anything, butsometimes its nice to have things set out in plain, basic terms. With pictures!"
"So, if youre still with me, lets head over to a neighbors house and get started."
Right... So, whats wrong with this picture? Well, the walls are down and Einsteins plumbbob isshowing. A couple of easy fixes!First, use the Home key to put the walls up (or use the icon in regular gameplay mode). Thisworks in or out of CameraMan Mode. End takes the walls down. Page Up/Page Down moves up afloor/down a floor the same way (or you can use the icon).So we hit Home...
Better! Now we have walls. We still have Einsteins plumbbob, though.There are a couple of fixes for this:1) If you have Open For Business or a later expansion, there is a cheat. Pull open the cheat boxwith shift+ctrl+c and type plumbbobToggle off. That will get rid of all the plumbbobs.2) Use the spacebar to select another Sim. In regular gameplay mode, this will move the camerato center the new active Sim in the screen; in CameraMan Mode, the camera will stay where itsaimed. Well hit the spacebar for now...
...and now we have Linnaeuss plumbbob instead. So we hit it one more time, and after scrollingback to the dogs...
...and we have a picture with walls and without plumbbobs! Our photos are looking better already.The verdicts split on thought bubbles, plus/minus icons, and the like in pictures; some peopleincorporate them into the story, while others dont want to see them at all. You can crop them outwith techniques Ill get into shortly, or you can use a cheat to eliminate them (although this cheatwill also get rid of the popups that tell you "So-and-sos carpool is coming in an hour" or "JohnDoe just gained a skill point"). The cheat is showHeadlines off. With any of the cheats, replace"off" with "on" to turn the plumbbobs or thought bubbles (or whatever) back on.Lets let Linnaeus head upstairs and talk about the Big Question.
What are the advantages of CameraMan Mode?Well, say I want a picture of Einstein. Using the regular camera in the gameplay mode...
This is about the best picture I can get. If I try to get much closer, he drops out of the frame.
I can get closer to Brahe than I can to Einstein, because the crib keeps him higher off the ground,but I still cant get super-close before he disappears from the screen.However, if I hit the Tab key and go into CameraMan Mode, its a totally different story...
Isnt Brahe cute with his great big eyes and teeny little nose?
And doesnt Einstein look like hes enjoying his little squeaky chewy-bone?CameraMan Mode allows you to get a much greater variety of camera angles, enabling you to getthe perfect shots you need to tell your story. Contrast this picture of Einstein with the one from theregular gameplay mode--this one is much better, wouldnt you agree?But because CameraMan Mode allows for more precision, its a little harder to use than theregular camera, and theres a lot of fumbling around when you first start. Thats why I made thistutorial--hopefully, this will demystify CameraMan Mode for you, and provide you with a startingplace to use CameraMan Mode to take awesome pictures for your stories.
OK. A couple of things before we start:1) If youre taking pictures to share with the world, youll want the quality to be as good aspossible. That means turning up your Camera and Graphics settings. You can access both ofthese menus from the "..." button. Under the Camera option, turn your Snapshot Quality to high(and if you want to take shots of births, birthdays, etc, disable the Special Event Camera). You canturn up your Camera settings without causing any lag in your gameplay.Under the Graphics/Performance Options, turn Sim/Object Detail and Texture Detail to High. Ifyour system isnt the greatest, this will probably cause some lag. You can either buy a bettersystem, only turn the settings to high when you want to take photos, or live with it. My personalchoice is the third one, because you never know when your Sims are going to do somethingphoto-worthy! If your system is good, you can also turn Shadows and Reflections on.
2) Once you start playing around in CameraMan Mode, sooner or later, youll find that, when youTab back to regular gameplay mode, you have a birds-eye view of your Sims, or youre zoomedout, or at some really strange angle. There is, however, an easy solution. First, pick an angle anda zoom you like to play at. Above is the one I prefer. When youve got that ideal setup, hit ctrl+4.This will lock the settings into the 4 key. That way, when you Tab from CameraMan Mode intoregular gameplay and find yourself staring at the tops of your Sims heads, if you hit 4, youll zipright back to the angle and zoom you like!You can also set various angles to the other number keys from 5 to 9 (1-3 are the speed controls).If you do this with each house you take pictures in, youll never be frustrated by trying to get thecamera to stop looking at the moon again!
Here are our first two guinea pigs. Thats Sagan Faraday on the left with the brown hair and histwin brother Hawking on the right with the nose and the no nice points.This is a shot taken in the regular game mode. You can see that the stairs behind Hawking aresemi-visible--not terribly realistic, is it? But if I hit the Tab key and go into CameraMan Mode...
We have stairs! Much better looking, no?Say "hi" to all the nice people, boys!
"Hi!""Hi!"So, now that were in CameraMan Mode, what can we do, and how do we do it?
When youre in CameraMan Mode, youll have to use the C key to take pictures. The best way togive yourself plenty of time to get the perfect shot is to use the P key to pause the action (andunpause it when youve got the photos you need)--that way, you never have to worry about yourSims moving out of that perfect pose!From a story-writing standpoint, youre better off taking more pictures than you think youll need--you can always delete them, but you cant always go back and get more if you go to write yourstory and realize you need pictures of a moment you cant re-create!So now, lets deal with the basic camera controls. Well start from this gossip pose.
The A key or the left arrow moves the camera left.
The D key or the right arrow moves the camera back to the right.
The S key or the down arrow moves the camera backwards (towards you).
The W key or the up arrow moves the camera forwards (away from you).
The Q key moves the camera down, and allows us to see Linnaeus peeking over the top step!The issue with Q is that if you hit it when youre in regular gameplay mode, its a shortcut to Quit!Fortunately, youll get a popup that asks if youd like to Quit without saving, and options of Yes,No, or Cancel. Take a breath, hit Cancel, and youll go back to your game. Dont Panic--weve alldone it!
The E key moves the camera up.Note that in all of these cases, the camera is moving along a fixed axis (left/right, forward/back,up/down)--there is no rotation. Were not getting a different angle on Sagan and Hawking; werejust getting different parts of them in the frame.Still, though, even without rotation, we have the ability to crop plumbbobs and thought bubbles outof our photos. Is Hawking still the active Sim? Who knows! If it was a juicy bit of gossip, I couldeasily move the camera up to his thought bubble and spacebar the plumbbob out of the shot.
Oh, Hawking... You and your zero nice points...Well, this gives us a perfect opportunity to talk about camera rotation. Everything else we could dowith the keyboard, but for rotation, were going to need the mouse. By combining the fixed-axiscamera movements with some camera rotation, we can see exactly how Sagan feels about thenoogie.
First, off, we use W (or the up arrow) to move the camera closer to the boys, and Q to move thecamera down. Then we scroll up with the mouse, and the camera rotates towards the sky.Sagan does not look like a happy little camper, does he? And Hawkings take on it?
We use E to raise the camera again, and now we can see that Hawking is much more thrilled withthe noogie than his twin brother.
You can also use the mouse to rotate the camera left and right. Here, Ive used Q to lower thecamera, D to move it to the right, W to move it forward, scrolled down to rotate the camera down,and scrolled right to rotate the camera to the right.
And now Ive used S, A, E, and rotated the camera to the left to catch a shot of Sagan giving hisbrother a thoroughly annoyed look....Oh, and I said Hawking had a nose--I didnt say it was a PRETTY nose!But theres one more camera control to deal with--zooming. Lets scoot over to Papa Faraday todeal with a common problem in stories.
They always seem to congregate in bathrooms, dont they? How many Sim babies have beenspun out of plumbbobs in that tiny space between the toilet and bathtub?One way to avoid the problem of taking good pictures in a bathroom is to build your bathroomslarge enough (minimum 3x3; 4x4 is better) to make picture-taking easy, but Nick and family are ina Maxis-made house, and I was too lazy to remodel, so here we have a 2x3 bathroom. Anothersolution is to cut away the walls, as Ive done here. A third solution is to use the Zoom inCameraMan Mode. Allow me to demonstrate.
So here, Ive put the walls back up, but I can only use S to get so far away from Nick before I starthitting the bathroom/bedroom wall (the blue thing on the right). I cant get far enough back to get areally good shot of Nick.
If I go way into the corner, backed off as far as I can, Im able to get a decent shot. But say olNick was giving birth (again)? This doesnt give me a very good shot at that big pregnant belly,does it?
Rotating the camera down gives me a better shot of his midsection, but now I cant see his face!The solution? Zoom! X and the - key zoom out, and Z and the + key zoom in.If I leave the camera in this location, but rotate the camera back up a little, and hit X to zoom out...
...I get a great shot of Nick! If he were in labor right now, youd be able to see both the painedexpression on his face, and the gigantic baby belly.But this particular (alien) baby factory is closed. He looks good for a grandpa, dont you think?
Zoom In works the same way as Zoom Out. Say I want to get a good shot of Zaphod and his birdchow.First, I use W to get through the bars of the cage...
And the multicolored flakey things are flying!So now, you should have a handle on how to move the camera in three dimensions, rotate it, usethe zoom, plus you should be able to put the walls up or take them down in CameraMan Mode,toggle between floors, and eliminate plumbbobs from your pictures. Thats everything you need toget started taking your own pictures!But I can perhaps impart a few more nuggets of wisdom, if you can spare another minute or two.
Cheats can be fun!Hawking may have no nice points, but hes got ten playful. But does he love jumping on thecouch...
...or trying to balance on the household armchairs?I used the moveobjects on cheat to enable myself to move him from the couch to this chair viaBuy Mode. If youre doing this, though, just remember to move them back to their originallocations before you hit play!
This little beauty is another favorite of mine--Pauls Reaction Tester.You get this via the boolprop testing cheat. This cheat can cause some havoc if you play with it onand you dont know what youre doing, but its safe enough to turn it on long enough to spawn theReaction Tester (or Tombstone of Life and Death, or Rodneys Death Creator, or whatever), andturn it back off again.To get Pauls Reaction Tester, pull up the cheat box and type boolprop testingcheatsenabled true.Click Spawn, then click Pauls Reaction Tester. Youll get the little cardboard box; move itsomewhere out of the way. And then pull up the cheat box again and type boolproptestingcheatsenabled false.To use the Reaction Tester, click one of the Columns, and choose the reaction of your choice. Youcan run it as an interaction (useful for Consolable Cry) or just the animation. Need an example?
Aaww, why so sad, Sagan?"My brother was mean to me."This Reaction is "Pine," under Column 1. And I got the boys to wave at the camera at thebeginning of the tutorial by using "Wave" under Column 4.The good part about the Reaction Tester is that itll stay on the lot until you delete it, so you donthave to turn the testing cheat on and off every time.
There are also totally safe posing hacks you can use, like Squinges Hula and More, available atThe Sims2 Graveyard. Nick looks pretty good with his moose antlers, dont you think?And if those arent enough, there are literally dozens of user-created pose and animation boxgame mods available at almost any of the large custom content fansites out there.
And now for a few last bits of advice:Queue up the interactions several times, just in case youre a little slow with the pause button and miss that perfectshot by a squizillionth of a second, or if you want to catch multiple angles of the same action.Take LOTS of pictures. You never know what youre going to need, what will inspire you, or, well, whats just plaincool.Dont take pictures in Buy or Build Modes. No one wants to see grid lines. With the tools Ive shown you, you canshow off the floorplan of your house with a birds eye view going from regular gameplay mode to CameraMan Modeby using E to go up, X to zoom out, and the mouse to rotate down!Dont be afraid of CameraMan Mode! With a few basics and a little adventurous spirit, youll be taking amazingpictures in no time, and your stories will be all the better for it.So thats it for my little tutorial! I hope it took some of the "scare" out of CameraMan Mode for you, and HappySimming!