I've recently enjoyed taking snapshots of my adventures in Wizard City and other areas of the spiral. Here are some tips to getting a good picture.
If your computer can handle it, it's ideal to have a high graphics quality set with high textures etc. If you have a newer computer this is reasonable. You probably want a resolution of at least 1024 x 768 minimum to get a nice picture and have high texture and high quality set in your Wizard101 client program.
If you have a computer three or more years old you may need to be careful how high you set your graphics resolution in the game so you don't blow up your video driver which might force you to do a system restore should you find yourself staring at a black screen.
Turning off Chat Bubbles for Your Picture:
You don't want a picture of your Wizard101 vacation to be ruined by some person you don't know saying something funny (or not so funny) right in the middle of your captured memory. To turn off chat bubbles, the chat window, the mana and health bubbles etc... press Ctrl-G. This gets rid of most screen clutter for you. Be sure to turn it back on when your picture is done otherwise you won't be able to pick cards for battle or see what you are typing to other people! Press Ctrl-G to get your chat window and stats back.
What Button Takes the Picture?
Press two keys, Alt + PrintScreen. You want to hold the Alt button down first, then push the PrintScreen button while holding the Alt button down. Once both buttons have been pushed you can let go. (The PrintScreen button is near the top right hand side of your keyboard.) Try not to hold the Alt key down for too long otherwise windows will try to enable handicap controls and will essentially disable the button! So only hold it for 10 seconds or less while preparing to push the PrintScreen button! Once pushed you won't really notice anything has happened but your picture will be in the computer's memory.
Got the Picture... so now What?
You will want to open a paint program like Windows Paint. (Start, All Programs, Accessories, Paint) You can use a heavy duty paint program or graphics program as well but windows Paint works just fine. Next pick from the menu: Edit, and Paste or press Ctrl-V to paste the picture from your computer's memory into the paint program.
What's the best way to save it?
Pick the File menu and select Save As. The settings you use to save the picture has a lot to do with it's ultimate quality and size. I recommend saving it as a .JPG or JPEG file type which is smaller but still keeps decent quality. PNG, or Bitmap will give you the best quality but take up lots of space on your computer. Name the picture whatever you want, but avoid using punctuation characters into the file name. Pick a folder to save it in like My Documents\My Pictures\ or somewhere more specific as long as you remember where you saved it.
Now what do I do with it?
Being sure to remember where you stored the picture... you can open the picture in the Explorer and it will open Windows Viewer automatically for you, or you can drag and drop it into an open copy of Internet Explorer. Generally if windows is showing you a thumbnail of the picture or the actual picture you can right-click the picture and say "Set as Background" or "Set as wallpaper". This option will put the picture on your desktop as your new windows background.
Cropping your picture in Paint
You may want to save only a characters face from your image... if so you can do what is called cropping. In Paint this is a little tricky but I'll try to walk you through it.
0) With your picture saved and still loaded or reloaded into Windows Paint....
1) Use the rubber band box tool (looks like a box with a dotted line) and click/drag the box around the area you want to make into a separate picture
2) Once your box surrounds the area you want pick Edit, Copy from the Edit menu.
3) Go to your File menu, click New
4) Go to your Image menu and pick Attributes
5) Set your width and height to be something smaller than your clip, so maybe 5 x 5 pixels and click Ok.
6) Go to your Edit menu and pick Paste. You should now see the clipped image in it's natural size in the image area of Paint.
7) Pick File and SaveAs, select Jpeg as the file type and enter a file name and pick the location of where you want it to be saved.
*** Congratulations ***
Sharing Your Art With Others
http://www.flickr.com/ is a good site for posting your images for free. Flickr.com carefully screens pictures so it takes a few minutes for your pictures to show. You'll want to create an album and add tags to your picture set. With that tag word or topic you can create a widget in the Blogger site and other blog sites using the Layout settings and link your Flickr pictures to your blog. (see my sidebar flicr album)
I hope you come to enjoy the tourist aspect of Wizard101 like i do. I've made a lot of memories so far and want to have some fun pictures to look back on.