Level Up: Showcasing your UDK maps

Well it’s that time of the year, you’re done presenting on industry night and finished classes.  What a perfect time to dust off the ol’ UDK maps and start screen grabbing those hard worked on levels for your portfolio!

When it comes to in game shots, presentation and quality matters.  Surely we can go into fullscreen mode, hit PrintScreen and paste directly into Photoshop.  But let’s make the most of our game engine and get a beauty shot that captures your hard work without the loss of detail.

Here’s how we do it in UDK:

Step 1: Get into the level

Jump into your level like you normally would through the editor.

Step 2: Bring up the console

Bring up the console (press Tab).

Step 3: Remove HUD elements

Remove all HUD elements (while in console type togglescreenshotmode). You may have to try this command twice to remove all HUD elements.


Step 4: Find an establishing shot

Find a nice angle to present your level (while in console type fly or ghost). Ghosting will allow you to go through walls.


Step 5 (Optional): Pick a unique FOV

This is entirely optional, but you can play around with the camera’s field of view (while in console type fov #).  The number you place in is the angle, default value is at 90.


Step 6: Take the shot!

Once you have the view you want, take the screenshot (while in console type tiledshot #).  The number you place in determines the resolution of the image based on your monitor (for example tiledshot 4 will produce a screen shot 4x the size of your screen space).


Step 7: Load the image in Photoshop

Your screenshots are stored within UDK’s screenshot directory.


Step 8: Resize in Photoshop

Load the image in Photoshop and do the necessary size reductions for your online portfolio.  One thing to note is that Photoshop has resampling algorithms to keep your image sharp when reducing in size.  As you can see, Bicubic Sharper is ideal for reduction.


And there you have it, a high quality screenshot out of UDK which represents your level much better than the old PrintScreen method.


I also want to note that the togglescreenshotmode and any fov changes you did in the editor will stick the next time you load up UDK.  You probably want to reset these values, so go back into the console, do a togglescreenshotmode and fov 90 to bring your HUD back up and reset the camera angle.

Hope to see some great UDK levels on your portfolios!

Victor Kam is a Level Design Instructor in the VFS Game Design Program