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Sunday, July 8, 2018

Photomancy: A Journey Through the Spiral


In its latest Test Realm, Wizard101 has introduced a new feature: Photomancy! There's a ton of potential with this new tool. It can be used for quest completion goals, it might be fun for screenshot contests, and best of all, it's great at capturing the beautiful game worlds that your wizard inhabits.

Getting Started with Photomancy

Photomancy is accessed via your backpack. You cycle through your items, housing items, etc., until you finally reach your photos. Here, you can add decals, manage your storage, and use the camera to take screenshots. The keyboard shortcut to access this menu is Ctrl+Z. You can also just press "Z" to bring up the camera to take a photo, then use the controls and your mouse to compose your shot. Pressing "Z" again will take the photo and exit the feature, as will clicking on "Take Picture." There's an NPC near the library in the Wizard City Commons who will give you a couple of early Photomancy quests to try out the feature. She'll also explain in greater detail how to use it, but it's pretty easy to get the hang of.

Today, I wanted to share some of my exploration of the Spiral using Photomancy. You can see a variety of screenshots and styles of screenshots here that will hopefully get you excited and inspired to use Photomancy to your advantage as you explore. Feel free to share your own screenshots in the comments. Enjoy!

Mouse over images for a slightly closer look!

Looking Up

Often there are beautiful ceiling designs that we never take the time to look at. With Photomancy, we might come to appreciate those stunning views above us. Here you can see examples used to capture domes, ceilings, openings, and more that you might not have even noticed before, much less looked at and appreciated.

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1. Into Celestia - A view right above the Spiral door in Celestia Base Camp | 2. A Thief's ParadiseThe banners in the Thieves' Den in Mirage | 3. Exposure - The one link between Cenote and the apocalyptic skies upon Azteca | 4. Radiance - The ceiling in the towers in Radiance Reborn | 5. Fly's Eye - The multi-paneled ceiling inside a Sardonyx building in Khrysalis | 6. Under the Dome - The primary dome surrounding Celestia Base Camp

Startling Skies

Ever wanted a clean shot of the stars in Marleybone? How about a beautiful space screenshot from Mirage's Eerem Palace? Photomancy allows you to look up at the sky and often get other obstructions out of view to take a look at what's above you. This time, there's no ceiling.

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1. Moros - The magic of Morganthe's Shadow Tree intersects with the energy from the Shadow Palace | 2. Starry SkiesA shot of Marleybone's night sky | 3. Eerem Sky - A view of space from Eerem Palace in Mirage

Patterns

As above... so below. Just as you can look up at the sky and ceiling designs, there's also a lot to see beneath your feet. Oftentimes, these are harder views to achieve because you're walking on the design. It can be tough to fully appreciate it without seeing the tile work and patterns from above. Unicorn Way in the new and updated Wizard City is a great example.

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1. Planetary Stepping Stones - An above view of the end of the Arcanum hallway | 2. MeditationMooShu's Zen Rock Garden from above | 3. Practice Makes Perfect - The Practice Arena outside Castle Avalon | 4. Beautiful Life - The new stone pattern at the entrance of Unicorn Way in the updated Wizard City | 5. Forward - The Radiance Reborn teleporter to Sardonyx | 6. Maze Duel - An above view of Lady Oriel over a battle circle in the Hedge Maze

Beautiful Bridges

Don't look down! Even in Wizard101's earlier worlds, they includes a lot of bridges. Photomancy makes these even more exciting, because taking a look at what's below can be just as interesting as your crossing of the bridge. There is a distinct feel of so many different bridges, from the natural and organic feel of Zafaria's Baobab Crown to the symmetry of Castle Avalon's bridge. Plus, check out that flower-covered Azteca bridge! Vines swirling down into the darkness? Pretty cool.

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1. All Natural - A bridge through Alto Alto in Azteca | 2. Fire and FuryThe fire bridge in Azteca's Floating Mountains | 3. To the Castle - A bridge connecting Caer Lyon to Castle Avalon | 4. Hard at Work - Two different dinosaurs from different sides of the river search for rare minerals | 5. Life and Death - A natural, flowery bridge contrasted with vines into darkness below | 6. Dormant - Crossing through the Volcano in Azteca's Twin Giants | 7. Over the Rainbow - An above view of the entrance to Grizzleheim | 8. Across the River - A bridge in Aggrobah... that actually crosses water | 9. Between Islands - A set of connecting islands in the Oasis of Krokotopia | 10. The Crown - A zebra guard patrolling Baobab Crown in Zafaria

Framing

In photography, using elements to focus in on a subject via framing is one of many techniques used to make photos more unique. You can do it with in-game screenshots, too. This is one of my favorite categories of exploration, as it requires a special attention to detail to line things up and find the perfect screenshot opportunity in the game. Photomancy makes new angles and views available to explore this method.

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1. Through Bartleby's Eyes - A view of Ravenwood from the Eyes of Granfather Bartleyby | 2. Waterfront DockThe dock spot where wizards arrive from Stone Town and can pass to the Drum Jungle | 3. Headmaster's Tower - Gamma oversees Merle's diorama of the Spiral in his tower | 4. The Sky Anchor - An arch frames the building housing the Sky Anchor | 5. Pegasus Flight - A view of the Pegasus stable in Wysteria

Including Your Wizard

While Photomancy makes it easy to hide your wizard, this was not previously impossible. What was impossible before was taking a screenshot of your wizard anywhere in the frame but the exact center. Any artist knows that you tend to use the Rule of Thirds in composition (which I'll touch on more shortly). Here are a few ways I included my wizard in my Photomancy expedition.

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1. Giants Meet - Azteca's two massive mountains meet as Jason looks on | 2. The PagodaViewing a temple from the mountains in Kembaalung Village | 3. Down the Canyon - Jason looks down into Caterwaul Canyon before the descent

Views from Above

Looking down on some scenery has produced some of my favorite screenshots in Photomancy so far. There's a lot to see! The dynamic views of the Knights of the Round Table, for example, when framed by the Silver Rose banner or the stained glass bear Artorius window, are really spectacular. From something as simple as a Khrysalis teleporter to something more complex, like the Dragonspyre crafting forge, using a bird's eye view can make all the difference.

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1. Artorius Watches - A stained glass window of King Artorius overlooks the Knight of the Round Table | 2. TeleporterThe teleporter between Bastion and the Last Wood | 3. Serenity - Looking down at the beauty of MooShu's Spiral door chamber | 4. Silver Rose Assembly - Artorius and knights gather in the abbey | 5. The Tower - The Lady of the Lake guards the tower at Avalon's Lake Shore | 6. Forge - Electricity flows through the Dragonspyre crafting anvil

A New Perspective

You don't always needs to be looking at something directly above or below you to get a cool look at your surroundings. Photomancy allows wizards to get a slightly more zoomed-out view of the Spiral, and it's not just for your favorite worlds! Photomancy works well in houses, too, and can be used to photography the scenery there, or your personal creations. That has some exciting implications!

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1. Dragon's Gold - The basement of the Wizard's Watchtower | 2. RavenscarThe cliffs and dwellings of Ravenscar | 3. Moon Cycles - A look inside the tower at Khrysalis's Moon Cliffs | 4. Spiral - The Spiral diorama inside the Acanum | 5. Books Galore - The multitude of books available in Castle Avalon's library

Unseen Angles

With Photomancy's ability to move around and try out different views for a screenshot, there are some things we can now take a look at where we previously couldn't. We can better view the floating islands of some worlds, and see around the side of Bartleby. We can take a look at what it'd be like to walk out of one of Wizard City's tunnels. We can finally see down to the bottom of the great Krok in the Pyramid of the Sun. Here are some images for inspiration!

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1. Wizards on a Ship - Preparing to enter Kataba Iceblock | 2. Boat to KembaalungOne of Krokotopia's floating islands | 3. The Great Krok - Looking down at the bottom of the Pyramid of the Sun | 4. The Tunnel - Looking into the Commons through the tunnel from Golem Court | 5. Krokotopia - The Oasis and surrounding islands of Krokotopia | 6. The Missing School - A view from where the Death school used to sit

Rule of Thirds

It's not that you couldn't previously use the rule of thirds, but Photomancy makes it easy, even allowing you to slightly pan left and right once you've obtained your desired angle and distance. There are some pretty cool spots in the Spiral for using this technique to capture unique screenshots.

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1. Deepwater Arch - The exit from the lake to Avalon's Catacombs | 2. ProphecyA shot of our wizard's name appearing on the stone inside the Lake Shore tower | 3. The Roost - One of the houses in Ravenscar Roost, Grizzleheim | 4. Merchant Tent - Vendors tents on the cliffs in Caravan

Going Up

The many ramps, stairways, and modes of moving from one level of a location to the next can make for some cool angles and cool shots. Getting into the later worlds of Wizard101, where there can be a lot of vertical change in a location, there are a lot of opportunities for screenshots.

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1. The Mines - The descent further into Tierra de Brea | 2. Dragonspyre DoorwayA shot of the Dragonspyre world door in its tower | 3. Raven Village - The series of ramps and connecting caves in Ravenscar

Flying in Style

It's too bad that most all of Wizard101's unique forms of transportation are limited to the first story arc. These modes of getting from island to island and location to location and pretty unique. They're also a chance to practice some Photomancy! You'll have to be quick, as the rides only last so long. Fortunately, you can take them as many times as you'd like. Here are a few of my shots.

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1. Late Night Balloon Ride - The journey from Marleybone's Digmoore Station to its surrounding streets | 2. The KrokosphinxA shot of the Dragonspyre world door in its tower | 3. I am Fire - Flying the Battle Drake to the Dragon's Roost, where the former Death professor waits

Where will Photomancy take you?

There's a lot of Spiral to explore! While I don't much use the decals and other effects on photos, I do like the abilities that Photomancy gives us to capture the beautiful game environments. Get out there and start taking screenshots! Feel free to share your favorites in the comments.


What pictures have you taken with Photomancy?

Thanks for reading and see you in the Spiral!


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