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40K HOBBY: Dramatic Battle Report Photography!

4 Minute Read
Oct 3 2014

Hi, SC Mike here from Santa Cruz Warhammer to show you how to make your game photos and more dramatic and realistic.

The software being used is Google’s free Snapseed, originally written by a company called NIK software, and they were the leader in filters in professional photography (my job) until Google bought them. The free mobile app is a simplified version of the hi-end software , but it is amazing nonetheless and in my opinion FAR outperforms Instagram or other competitors. The nice thing about Snapseed is that you don’t need to be online to edit stuff and it doesn’t downsize your file. You can set it so it saves an edited image next to your original.

The filters lend itself really well to battle games photography like 40K and the WW2 game Bolt Action. Below I created some before and afters and hopefully get you all excited.

Let Get Started!

It’s hard to keep the store stuff out of images when you are playing. Doors, shelves, peoples hands and other distractions get in the way of a dramatic image. The image below looked good, but I didn’t like the die, so I cropped the image. Since the vantage point was a bit high, I imagined a drone or other remote camera taking this shot – i added a bunch of grain and blew out details.

Cropping is crucial, very easy to do in Snapseed and there are even options to straighten out the horizon, to make your image level.
Here’s a good example of pesty shelves getting in the way. I darkened the top, which, surprisingly, made it look like the cathedral was on fire…even better!
You can select certain parts of your image in Snapseed and control saturation, density, contrast, sharpness etc. It’s very flexible and with good dose of imagination, you can make these images very fun.
Another battle scene. Notice my opponent on the left top with his coke. Snapseed cannot remove things, so the coke can stayed in but by darkening and filtering, my adversary pretty much disappeared. I gave this a blueish cast and darkened it a lot. 
Another opponent in the shot! He needed to be cropped out I wanted to give this image a rough, close combat look. Snapseed allows you to add many different textures, so the image become gritty and powerful and a horizontal crop did the rest.

Here I made the game table into a 40k waste zone with leaking oil pipes and stained surfaces. Snapseed let’s you control contrast, shadow detail, color filters and much more.

Here’s an image that I ran through the Grunge filter. It adds artifacts (you choose) that it look brutal. Of course you have to find that fun perspective. In this case I used the perspective of the marine facing a massive chaos hellbrute. With your phone you are really able to get down to the battlefield level.


Here’s a squad of German soldiers in desert outfits for Bolt Action, You can see the store in the background. After fixing it, the curves of the building almost look like some North African building. Cropping is crucial!

Even More Examples!
HDR filter
Vintage Filter with blue cast, very appropriate for 40K:

I love to play Bolt Action as well and the filters work great for that. I imagined some Robert Capa grainy BW image and set out to work. The result:

Desaturate your images make them look more old fashioned:

AND YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE A PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHER TO DO THIS. You will need to be creative with your angles – all these images were shot on an iphone

Snapseed is available in the Itunes store and in Google Play.

For more inspirational posts, visit Santa Cruz Warhammer

SC Mike

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