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A comparison of JPEG quality, at 1, 50, and 100. Note the visual difference between 50 and 100 is almost unnoticable, but the filesize is roughly ten times as large

A screenshot is a single rendered frame outputted to an image file. The Source engine can output JPEG (.jpg) and TGA (.tga) image formats.

JPEGs use lossy compression, which can cause compression artifacts at lower quality settings but take up significantly less space than TGAs. TGA images are uncompressed, meaning the saved image is identical to the rendered frame with no loss of quality, but the file size will be significantly larger.

The default screenshot key is F5. This will take a JPEG screenshot at quality 90 unless the console variable for quality is adjusted.

Screenshots are saved in the "screenshots" directory of the relevant game. By default, the naming scheme they use is "mapname####", with sequential numbering, for example "de_train0035".

Console commands

  • screenshot - Takes a TGA screenshot
  • cl_screenshotname "name" - The filename to save the next TGA screenshot with
  • jpeg - Takes a JPEG screenshot, at the quality defined by jpeg_quality
  • jpeg_quality ### - Compression quality to save the JPEG with, ranging from 1-100, with 100 being the best quality.
    Note.png Note: This is reset to 90 every time the game is closed
Note.png Note: The screenshot and jpeg commands take the screenshot immediately, displaying all current screen elements. In other words, if these commands are manually typed into the console, the screenshot will be of the console. To take a gameplay screenshot, the command should be bound to a key and the console closed.

See also