Flight Simulator Screen Shots

While flying in Flight Simulator, you can capture a screenshot by pressing the "Print Screen" key. This grabs the current image on the screen and saves it temporarily in the Windows clipboard. Any time after that, you can open a picture-editing program (I use Paint Shop Pro) and use the program's "paste" command to create a copy of the image in the picture-editing program. Then you use the usual commands to save the image to disk (I save it as a jpeg file, full-size with minimum compression).

The Windows clipboard can save only one picture at a time, so every time you capture a screen shot, you have to paste it into the picture-editing program before you capture another screen shot. It's helpful to run both programs at once (Flight Simulator and the picture-editing program), then toggle back and forth by pressing Alt+Tab. Make sure you have the Flight Simulator option set to "Pause on task switch" (under Alt->Options->Settings->General), otherwise the plane will keep flying even while you're off using the picture-editing program.

There are two basic techniques to capture screen shots: live-action and posed. With live action, as you're flying along, you see a good scene coming up, and you tap the "Print Screen" key at the appropriate moment. If you don't get a great shot the first time, if possible, circle around and try again. You can also try different camera angles and views. The good thing about a live action shot is that it's quick and easy, but you don't always get the best view of the scene. Therefore, you can use the second technique: posing the airplane in the scene using Slew Mode. Activate Slew Mode by pressing "Y", then use the special Slew Mode commands to move the airplane up, down, rotate, tilt, etc. You can also use view options (Alt->V->O) to move the camera's viewpoint. Once you have everything set up, you need to get rid of the ugly Slew Mode banner at the top of the screen. Press P to pause Flight Simulator, then press Y to exit Slew Mode. The Slew Mode banner disappears, but now a "Paused" message flashes at the bottom of the screen. That's no problem—press the Print Screen key when the message momentarily flashes off. You might also have to Pause and exit Slew Mode to execute certain commands that don't work in Slew Mode, but that work in Paused Mode; after executing the command, press Y to re-enter Slew Mode, then press P to exit Paused Mode. The good thing about a posed picture is that you have precise control over the airplane's location and attitude and the camera's viewpoint, but the tradeoff is that a posed picture can be time-consuming to set up. Some of my screen shots are live action, some are posed.

There are five pages of screen shots, which you can visit sequentially by clicking the "Next Page" button at the bottom of each page.

Flying a Ford Tri-Motor past Ayers Rock in Australia, at sunrise or sunset (I don't remember which). Flight Simulator generally has very colorful and attractive sunrises/sunsets. You can click on this picture to enlarge it; use your browser's "back" command to return.   Fooling around with a Piper Cub over Bora Bora, an island in the South Pacific. You can see both the Sun and the Moon in this shot.

Flying up Yosemite Valley in California during a snowstorm. The big rock at left is supposed to be El Capitan, but Flight Simulator has trouble rendering jagged mountains and usually rounds off the corners.

The pilot of the Cub—you have to believe it must be somebody at Microsoft. It must be cool to appear in a game, but the poor fellow looks like he's wearing a Nehru jacket, which went out of style decades ago. The door is open to provide a better view (Shift+E). You may have noticed that when you use the rudder commands by themselves (which I do on the keyboard), the pilot turns his head from side to side, looking to the left when you're turning left, and to the right when you're turning right. For this picture, I used full right rudder to make the pilot look directly at the camera. You can click on this picture to enlarge it; use your browser's "back" command to return.   A full view of the Piper Cub pilot. I don't quite remember how I got this shot, but I might have placed the control tower camera just above the pavement, then slowly taxied the airplane into the camera, allowing the camera to penetrate the airplane.

Previous Page   Next Page   Flight Simulator Page   Airplane Page  Home Page