Counter-Strike Wiki


How to take proper high quality Steam screenshots

Irv1n3 June 26, 2014 User blog:Irv1n3


The current policy of the Counter-Strike Wiki about images wants to promote the use of the high-quality uncompressed PNG format, so I threw together a small guide to be useful for the community. This article will only deal with the technical field. Another guide about how to take clean screenshots by disabling the HUD and view model will follow eventually :)

Let's begin.

Counter-Strike, Condition Zero & Source

  • Go to the Steam settings, In-Game tab.
  • Check Save an uncompressed copy.
  • Click on Screenshot folder and set a dedicated folder for your Steam screenshots.
  • Don't forget the Screenshot shortcut key.
Ingame setting

  • Make sure the Steam Overlay is enabled for the current game you will be taking screenshots in.
Overlay setting

  • Launch the game and have fun taking a lot of screenshots with the Steam screenshot shortcut key.
  • Leave the game (this is optional, as you can still access the screenshot folder with the game running).
  • If you left the game, the Screenshot window will pop up to deal with your new screenshots (save, delete, or publish them). You can safely dismiss this window, as Steam will only publish compressed JPGs.
    • If you are still in-game, the Screenshots can be selected by right clicking on the steam icon, or going to View -> Screenshots in the menu bar.
  • Browse to the previously configured screenshot folder to find your PNG images.
  • It is a good idea to rename them to ease recognition and classification.
    • Be verbose when naming the file like game-subject-num.png
      • Ex: csgo-de_nuke-bombsiteA-1.png
    • Remember to use '-' and '_' instead of spaces in the filename, as well as lowercase letters.
  • Upload to the Counter-Strike Wiki! :)

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

  • The method mentioned above should normally work, but it seems the high-quality PNG pictures don't appear in the screenshot folder at the moment.
  • Fortunately, there is a way to get around this issue without using an external software (note that the Save an uncompressed copy can even be unchecked).
  • Launch the game and take screenshots with the shortcut key as usual.
  • Ignore the Steam window after exiting.
  • Go to CS:GO properties, Local files tab and click Browse local files.

  • You should now be in the main CS:GO folder in your OS browser.
  • Go to the csgo folder
  • Go to the screenshots folder
  • You should find your screenshots in TGA format.
  • TGA is a high quality format similar to PNG, but not very common and even unreadable with the Windows picture viewer.
  • To deal with this kind of file, I recommend the free software IrfanView available here if you do not have access to Photoshop.
  • Once you have installed IrfanView, open the TGA file.
  • Hit the b key to open the batch conversion window (nb: if you have only one picture to convert, you can use the s key to open the save as window).


  • You should see the pictures existing in your current image folder in the top field of the window.
  • At the top-left, choose PNG as Output format, and then click the Options button.
  • Be sure to use a compression level of 9 to obtain the smallest possible file size. Click OK to close this small screen.
  • At the bottom-left, choice a output directory folder.
  • You can now select the pictures you want to convert and click on Add or simply choice to Add all. The pictures should now appear in the bottom field as input files.
  • Start Batch at the bottom-left and wait until the operation is complete. It may take a while.
  • Browse to your output folder to find your PNG pictures.

Can I convert my JPG files to PNG?

Although it is technically possible, you should avoid converting screenshots from JPG to PNG because it does not actually improve the picture quality in any way. It will only increase the global file size.

To understand it, let's see a concrete application of the JPG compression process.

PNG compression JPG compression

The first picture is a zoomed in crop from a direct PNG screenshot (1.74MB), the second is the same crop from the JPG version of the file (274kB). To obtain a file drastically smaller, the JPG compression does a lot of approximations and interpretations to only keep the minimum of needed informations. To learn more about compression, feel free to check Wikipedia.

PNG is a lossless compression method, because no information from the original image is lost during the size reduction process. JPG is a lossy compression, allowing a far better size reduction, but at the cost of loss of information.

So what the computer does when converting a JPG file to PNG? Absolutely nothing. Since computer sciences are not witchcraft, the lost information cannot be made up and the remaining bits are simply put into the PNG heavier nomenclature. So your file will be bigger, but the quality will still be the same, feel free to check by yourself! We can see the same thing about audio files: If I'm converting a mp3 file (lossy) to the FLAC format (lossless), the deleted frequencies during the mp3 conversion will not reappear again.

The thing to do:

  • I have PNG -> You're fine, upload and have fun.
  • I have BMP, TGA or GIF -> It's a lossless format, convert to PNG and upload.
  • I have JPG -> If you are not able to find a PNG source version, DO NOT CONVERT to PNG and upload it as JPG.

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