Pulling Focus: Driveclub’s Photo Mode Exposed

Everyone loves a good photo mode in videogames, and it’s really easy to find yourself losing minutes a dozen at a time as you ever-so-carefully line up the perfect shot, fiddle with all the settings and eventually hit the Share button, only to decide that what you’ve created is complete and utter garbage and you want to try again. Lather, rinse, repeat.

With Driveclub’s latest patch, the game might still be suffering from server problems, but Evolution have delivered on the promised photo mode, which wasn’t quite ready for launch. Now you can create all of those lovely still photos that the game is so perfect for.

Driveclub-Photo-Il1

– ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW –

Things work a little differently to the photo mode in inFamous: Second Son, though, improving on that game’s photo mode in a number of ways. For one thing, invoking photo mode is available whenever you’re on track, and you don’t need to dive into the menus in order to enable it. With the touchpad previously unused in the game, you can now click down on the right hand side of it to enter photo mode.

You’re presented with two distinct sections, one to position the camera just how you please, whether it’s using one of the racing viewpoints or entering an orbital free-cam. If you’re in the middle of a race, you can even switch the camera to be focussed on another car, letting you capture literally anything that’s going on or, with the camera restricted to within a certain radius, letting you get a different viewpoint on the action.

The real goodies need you to press the square button to get to Image Processing. Here you’ll be presented with all sorts of options. You can choose the manner in which vehicles are tracked, add frames, film grain and Instagram-like filters, but the focus is always going to be around the more camera-like tools at the top: Aperture, Exposure Compensation, Focal Distance and Shutter Speed.

Driveclub-Photo-Il2

Without wanting to teach you all how to suck eggs, the shutter speed determines how long the shutter is open for, effectively meaning that it’s how blurred fast moving objects are in relation to your point of focus. In Second Son, the aperture and focal distance were combined together under the depth of field section, and though not explicitly stated as being for depth of field, they combine to the same ends here, with the focal distance determining what’s in focus and the aperture responsible for how deep the area of focus is.

If you want everything to be perfectly in focus, you’ll go with a fast shutter speed, wide aperture and with the focal distance set to infinity. However, if you want to invoke a Bokeh effect behind a car (which can be circles, hexagons, octagons, stars and even pumpkin and christmas tree shapes), you’ll want to pull the camera as far away from the car as possible, zoom right in, then set the focal range to the car and pull the aperture down to f/6.3 or lower – the lower the better – to throw the foreground and background out of focus. It’s a little tricky to get right, and the game doesn’t give you absolute control over some things, but a bokeh is easily one of my favourite effects and we have a soft spot for hexagons here at TSA so it’s well worth trying out!

One of the most interesting quirks of the Driveclub photo mode is the time it takes for a photo to render. Whenever you adjust the settings, you’re doing so without little to no image processing being applied. It’s only once you stop fiddling that the game applies anti-aliasing, per object motion blur settings and so on, and it’s quite fascinating to see how it paints in the bokeh effect each time, gradually resolving into your chosen shape.

Once you’ve got your shot just right, hide the overlay and hit the Share button. Just be aware that the PS4’s built in capture chip doesn’t deliver the highest quality, and as you can see from my night race experiments, there’s a lot of crushed blacks. On top of that, uploading to Twitter adds its own compression down from 1080p. The best showcase for the game’s graphics is going to be a combination of an external capture device and uploading to a service that doesn’t add additional compression to your images.

It’s a bit of a shame that we don’t have replay functionality just yet, meaning that you can only pause and capture a photo when you’re actually racing, and making finding that perfect shot all the more difficulty. However, there’s bound to be plenty of excellent photos coming out of the community, and indeed, TSA community member double-o-dave has set up a forum thread for just this reason.

So if you’re still playing a bit of Driveclub every now and then, hop in and try your hand at taking a few snaps, and we’ll probably feature some of the best some time next week.

– PAGE CONTINUES BELOW –

16 Comments

  1. yeah, it’s been worth the wait photo mode, i can see things clearer now and things i wasn’t able to see before, roll on weather and replay modes! ;)

  2. Cheers for the link.
    I was carried away & didn’t even notice the ‘square’ button for the advanced effects like shutter speed etc. no wonder my car looks like it’s parked & not moving in all of my pics. Lol

  3. Didn’t actually notice this mode last time I booted DC, too busy seeing if the online had been stabilised. Will have to take a look and maybe paste some page 3’s down in Dave’s thread. I’m already acquainted with the technicals from using GT5/6’s photo mode but nice guide anyhoo tef ;)

    • When I first loaded it up and started playing, the lack of a “Depth of Field” bit confused me in light of recent photo modes elsewhere, so I had to reacquaint myself with how it all works and felt like sharing. :)

  4. Thanks for the tips, my camera knowledge is a bit rusty so this will help. :)
    Btw – it’s not exactly a Replay mode but – you may have noticed that when you complete a race you can now hide the results and watch the race cams as the cars continue running around the track.

  5. I haven’t tried it yet but will give it a go next time I boot it up, sounds pretty good though.

  6. I’ve just read elsewhere that this update brings with it 3 new tracks, India, Chile & Scotland?

    • Yep, there’s a new street circuit in each of those three, and they’ll probably feature quite heavily in the new Tour events that are being added, too. Some rather lovely tracks, going off my first impressions.

      • The one in Scotland which is nearly called Westeros. That’s my favourite (circuit) track now. Spent ages driving around that. Partly to level up one of the accolades for driving in Scotland.

  7. It doesn’t enable me to take a photo of my refund receipt :(

    • I think that’s some second screen functionality with your smartphone.

      • Here’s hoping the Crew Beta next week proves successful :D

  8. I drive with a T500RS – fully support except for PS button and Touch pad.

    How do we use this with a wheel?

    • That’s an interesting one… I guess you need to have a DS4 handy for those functions. A bit of duct tape ought to do the trick. ;)

    • I have the all new spangley T300 RS and there’s no provision been made for the touchpad control on that either although it boasts both share and option buttons…bewildered!

  9. Nice, I will try this with the new content!

Comments are now closed for this post.