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Virtual Photography Archives with Comput_Art

Welcome to the Virtual Photography Archives, where I invite virtual photographers from across the community to revisit their back-catalogue of photo mode captures and pick out a few shots to reflect on.

Virtual Photography Archives

With 5 short briefs guiding the selection, each photographer is encouraged to rediscover past inspirations, find flaws or mistakes, and even appreciate their progress with a little self-critique and a few words about how they feel about each image now.

This time I am joined by someone who has been in this game for a very long time, having cut their photographic teeth before photo modes were even really a thing. Introducing Comput_Art, aka Loris, let's take a look back at your Virtual Photography Archives...


First up, tell us a bit more about yourself and how you are involved in virtual photography

Hi, my name is Loris, and I am from the South of France. Outside of video games, I am big bookworm liking everything from French & worldwide literature classics, to sci-fi & fantasy, as well as passing by comic books and manga. I also like to write, do a bit of drawing, and some digital illustration.

As for Virtual Photography, it goes back a long way, I do this from before there was a name for it. You can track the origins all the way back to Driver 2 on PSX; there was a "Director" mode where you could save replays of your game, edit them to create short "movies", and then pause followed by taking a photograph of the CRT screen with an actual camera, that was a thing...

Virtual Photography Archives with Comput_Art


Later, in GTA San Andreas you could have an in-game camera in one of the weapon slots, and I can tell you the hard drive of my OG Xbox still has some photos of that on it. Then the "real" thing (with uploading and sharing online) started with the 7th generation of consoles. Thanks to the growing online posibilties, you could export shots from games like Test Drive Unlimited, the Project Gotham Racing series (RIP), Halo etc.

Back then, I think for some of us, the Dead End Thrills website was a dream place of video game beauty, I was dreaming of doing something like that, but I didn't have a PC. With time though, the PC came, and VP became bigger in the meantime.

Virtual Photography Archives with Comput_Art


So, where I am now is just a natural evolution. VP for me is really a way to showcase to all kind of people the hard work the development teams put into this art, not only of the flashy trending hyped releases, but also of smaller games or even older ones. The beauty of this artform is in its freedom and diversity, it can't be restricted by pixel count, anything can be beautiful in any visual style.


#1: A shot from your VP origins

Halo 3


Game: Halo 3 | Platform: Xbox 360 | Date: 2007

It is an archaeological artifact, a miracle that something of that time survived until nowadays. This era was a dream, because before that, there was barely anything to create in a game, especially on consoles. I have always enjoyed sharing my passion for games, even as a kid with my family, from this point I could do it better and with the world. The shot itself is pretty basic, even if one can discern a semblance of stammering composition, but of course I have a soft spot for it.


#2: A shot you find technically pleasing

Samurai Shodown


Game: Samurai Shodown | Platform: PC | Date: 2021

This is a shot that I'm very happy about technically, the base paused moment in-game was very flat, so I've worked quite a long time on it. That includes everything from the light reflections to the shadows to give more volume to the model, passing by the motion blur to convey motion and explosiveness, but also some subtle and invisible things that you may not know about, like a very soft application of shaders for the lines and to give a more "painted" look.


#3: Something that shows a bad habit

Final Fantasy XV Photomerge


Game: Final Fantasy XV | Platform: PC | Date: 2019

I have no background in photography, so I had no idea about aspect ratios, composition and all that stuff. All I wanted to do was capture everything, even if I had to enlarge my frame beyond reason, even if it meant threatening the very fabric of space-time.

And it happened once: I discovered the photomerge option in photoshop... Don't do that kids, respect the aspect ratios, they are nice guys and they deserve it.


#4: A shot that represents where you are now

Stray Blade


Game: Stray Blade | Platform: PC | Date: 2023

I'm now more confident in my skills, my vision, and also what I like...

Skills: I have a good understanding of framing and lighting, and I know how to use all of my tools, shaders, customs lights, colour correction, blur, etc.

Vision: before I was just shooting stuff that was happening, now I know how to set up a scene and make it the way I was envisioning it.

What I like: I like to make shine small games as bright as the bigger ones, I also discovered along the way that I have facilities with cell-shaded games.

All of this is combined here.


#5: Your most original shot

ReDriver 2 Small World


Game: ReDriver 2 | Platform: PC | Date: 2021

Usually, I don't like to change the game by making a post edit. If I do something to enhance a shot, it's always in-engine because it's the work of the developers that I want to focus on. So it's not something you will see a lot from me, but this one is fun and works pretty well, plus it's on the game of the origins of my VP journey, so it come full circle.


Anything else that you’d like to add?

It was a lot of fun and also very interesting to go back, search, analyse and think about old works; too often you do something and when it's done you just go to the next thing, but there is a lot to learn by taking the time to reflects on your past work.

But man, it's always so hard to select a shot over another one!

Thank you again for taking the time to do this and it's really great to hear that you enjoyed going back over your existing archives. I'm glad it was hard but also rewarding.


I hope you all enjoyed this look back over the Virtual Photography Archives and if you enjoy Loris' work then please be sure to show your support on Twitter and also check out more of his work on Flickr and Picashot.

As always, if you think that you would like to take part in future editions of the VP Archives, please get in touch as I would love to hear from you.

Thanks for reading, until next time...

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