Trainz/Taking Screenshots

Screenshots in Trainz


This page discusses taking screenshots in Trainz which will have a different result between newer and older versions. Like many improvements, the change in TS2009 which switched over the default image production of screens generated by the software was one asked for by the user community. Trainz versions through TC3 (2008) generated .tga (Targa) files, which are sometimes called 'True Color Graphics files' since they sacrifice compression and compromises for clear high definition imagery and is the Trainz technology preferred underlying image format. Screenshots however are not generally used for asset generation and simulation of a 3D model inside game space, so the newer programs are different in that they automatically generate date and timestamped .jpeg files familiar to digital camera owners the world over.

Screenshots can be taken in Surveyor mode, Driver mode, Driver mode, Railyard mode by pressing the PrintScreen key, Prt Sc. Trainz does not react to pressing Prt Sc in the same way as most Windows programs: instead of storing a single screen image in the clipboard (the cut and paste buffer), for every press of Prt Sc Trainz creates a TARGA image file (file extension .tga) and stores it in Trainz's 'Screenshots' folder (for example C:\Program Files\Auran\TRS2004\Screenshots\ for TRS2004). These files are numbered sequentially like Screen_001.tga. The normal Windows cut buffer will also receive an image which can be pasted into Microsoft Paint.exe and used to create a .bmp, .jpg, or .png as desired.

Tips for creating screenshots


With either technology to take a screenshot you want to set up the picture.

Screenshots in Driver
  • If you are running in Driver and want a view of the 'action' you might care to hide the controls and just take a snapshot of the scenery. If so, you hide all screen displays in Driver by pressing 5 to remove Trainz's on-screen overlays. To restore the overlays, press 5 again.
  • Press Alt+U in Surveyor mode to switch to 'look around' mode. This can be useful to get exact positioning of screenshots. All menus and the compass point are removed. Press Esc to exit 'look around' mode.
  • Press Alt+Y in Surveyor mode to switch to 'walk around' mode. This is a great feature for making a close inspection of detail when model building in V-scale, but is quite useful for taking a screenshot. The mouse must be moved very gingerly as it becomes a bit hyperactive. This gives a view from the ground from which the height is not adjustable, but the viewpoint is by using the mouse to rotate the angle of view and the cursor arrow keys to move forward or back, as well as slide/side-step either right or left.
  • Experiment with increasing your screen resolution and then taking the shot. In an image editing program reduce to a suitable size.

Manipulating screenshot images


After closing Trainz, the TARGA files can be opened in an image processing program such as Irfanview or GIMP where operations including the following can be performed:

  • Cropping (removing unwanted parts of the image).
  • Adjustment of the brightness/gamma, contrast, or RGB colour balance.
  • Conversion to an image file format such as .jpg which will greatly reduce the file size, plus allow viewing the number of software.

For advanced image processing a more sophisticated program such as GIMP or PhotoShop can be used.