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-   -   [Basic] Skill of the week: Photography (http://forums.sjgames.com/showthread.php?t=144635)

johndallman 07-15-2016 03:30 PM

[Basic] Skill of the week: Photography
 
Photography is the IQ/A artistic TL skill of producing photographs and moving pictures. The defaults are IQ-5 or Electronics Operation (Media)-5, and no skills default to Photography. The skill covers both taking pictures or movies, and processing them, in a darkroom or electronically. Taking and electronic processing can be done at default, but darkroom processing requires actually knowing the skill. Photography appeared at GURPS 1e.

Photography appeared at TL5, and movies at TL6. Both forms matured, technically and artistically, at TL6, but the equipment improved considerably at TL7 and early TL8, before the digital photography revolution in the early 2000s. The skill is boosted by Gifted Artist, and listed modifiers include -3 for unfamiliar equipment and -3 for motion pictures. The latter is improvable as an Average technique, and is used as an example of technique design, on B229 and B233, being fairly simple and dealing with something that almost everyone understands a little. Some kinds of photography, notably the art of finding pictures in the environment, could well float the skill to Per, and/or have Stealth as a complementary skill.

Photography is a common skill on templates for anyone who may need to collect intelligence. Action has rules for this, and High-Tech has equipment. Horror touches on the (Spirit) specialisation, for Kirlian devices, and mundane photography, for horrifying, yet ambiguous, evidence. Infinite Worlds has time viewers whose images are very difficult to photograph, and Britannica-6 has advanced photography for its TL, but with a properly steampunk style. Monster Hunters has photographic equipment with quality variations and Kirlian film, and Mysteries has police support staff with Photography as a significant job skill. Power-Ups 1, 3 and 7 have examples for this skill, while Psis and Psi-Tech have even more on Kirlian photography. Social Engineering points out that this is also the skill for faking photographs, and Ultra-Tech has very advanced equipment.

Photography was my main interest as a teenager, since I'd never heard of RPGs and I seem to have learned it at better than default. I use that as my example how to learn a skill by self-teaching: do it regularly, read serious books on the subject, learn to use the equipment thoroughly, try different things systematically, keep records of what you do, and review and think about them.

A few of my characters have had this skill, for keeping records and gathering intelligence. But that's about all that I've done with it in a game. Have you done more?

WaterAndWindSpirit 07-15-2016 06:17 PM

Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Photography
 
Complimentary roll for Propaganda in order to make the soldiers/leaders on your side look good and look like the liberators and heroes they are/pretend to be?

Žorkell 07-15-2016 06:54 PM

Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Photography
 
That -3 for motion picture cameras strikes me as weird. As far as I can tell motion picture cameras are way different from still cameras, the lenses focus differently (as I understand it there's a second man on whose job is to handle the focus of the lens, the focus puller) and use t-stops rather than f-stops.

There is a photography book on the wishlist, I'd love to see that written. I don't think I have enough knowhow to write it myself.

Oh, and yes, Photography is a hobby of mine.

CoyoteGestalt 07-15-2016 09:42 PM

Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Photography
 
I've always been fond of photography as a profession for PCs. It's a useful skill on an adventure (for collecting evidence, or as a complement to a Cartography or Intelligence Analysis roll), plus professional photographers have a good excuse to turn up pretty much anywhere, carrying all sorts of odd gear, and nobody really pays much attention to them... and even when they do something particularly odd, it just gets ignored as being a consequence of being a daredevil gonzo photojournalist or an eccentric artist.

johndallman 07-16-2016 01:50 AM

Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Photography
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Žorkell (Post 2021340)
That -3 for motion picture cameras strikes me as weird.

It is a bit strange, given that there have been lots of people who took reasonable home movies and videos at default. I suspect that there should be some kind of equipment modifier that gives bonuses to default skill, but limits how much actual skill can be applied.
Quote:

As far as I can tell motion picture cameras are way different from still cameras, the lenses focus differently (as I understand it there's a second man on whose job is to handle the focus of the lens, the focus puller) and use t-stops rather than f-stops.
Two-man cameras only seem to be necessary for high-end work with complicated tracking shots and the like. T-stops make sense given the constraints of the job.

(E) 07-16-2016 04:19 AM

Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Photography
 
It has some areas where it overlaps with intelligence analysis, calculating sizes and distances using known sizes and focal length etc when dealing with a photograph.

Žorkell 07-16-2016 07:47 PM

Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Photography
 
FWIW I'd love more rules about photography. In what way is a 50mm lens different from a 500mm one? How does sensor size have an effect on the final image? Etc. etc.

whswhs 07-16-2016 08:37 PM

Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Photography
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Žorkell (Post 2021633)
FWIW I'd love more rules about photography. In what way is a 50mm lens different from a 500mm one? How does sensor size have an effect on the final image? Etc. etc.

Some of the research I did for Enhanced Senses, and some of the debates we had about the topic, might transfer over.

whswhs 07-17-2016 02:31 PM

Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Photography
 
What puzzles me most is that there are two separate skills of Photography and Electronics Operation (Media). I included Machine Operation as a variant on Electronics Operation in a couple of my supplements; Photography at TL5-7 seems to be just Machine Operation (Cameras), or in other words to be the same skill as Electronics Operation (Media) at a lower TL. If I have a modern-day digital camera, do I roll vs. Photography to use it, or vs. EO (Media), or can I use either one equally well, and why are they even different?

Ulzgoroth 07-17-2016 03:37 PM

Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Photography
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by whswhs (Post 2021818)
What puzzles me most is that there are two separate skills of Photography and Electronics Operation (Media). I included Machine Operation as a variant on Electronics Operation in a couple of my supplements; Photography at TL5-7 seems to be just Machine Operation (Cameras), or in other words to be the same skill as Electronics Operation (Media) at a lower TL. If I have a modern-day digital camera, do I roll vs. Photography to use it, or vs. EO (Media), or can I use either one equally well, and why are they even different?

While Photography's description opens with and kind of focuses on the technical, I think the trailing note that it enables one to "produce recognizable and attractive photos" and its placement in the Gifted Artist talent imply that the skill can be used for artistic photography, photographic composition, and the like.


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