10 Questions: Petri Levälahti
- How did the story between you and in-game photography begin?
I saw some beautiful Battlefield 4 screenshots by a guy called jim2point0. I was amazed by how crisp, detailed and thought out they were. I had fiddled with in-game photography before, but I wasn’t quite aware of the depth this hobby has.
- What are the steps in your creative process?
Depends on what kind of a shot I’m doing. Mostly it’s about finding a good location that ticks the right boxes with light, shadows and depth. Then I try to compose something interesting and/or pretty.
- What is the most challenging aspect of your job?
Keeping the screenshots feeling fresh and different. There have always been certain formulas for marketing screenshots for shooter games, and I try to mix things up a bit.
- As a Machinima-based artist, how do you see the evolution of in-game photography in recent decades?
A decade ago proper gaming screenshots weren’t even a thing really. Duncan Harris aka Dead End Thrills started doing high-quality screenshots with his own camera hacks, and his work inspired a lot of people. Nowadays every game has a photo mode, usually with unnecessarily limited features, and gaming screenshots are everywhere. Like with many popular things, the quality often gets lost in the quantity.
- What is the best feedback you have ever received?
My co-workers, our concept artists and our art directors often point out things in my screenshots – composition tips, technical things. Sometimes I feel there’s something wrong with my screenshot, but I can’t figure out what. Then someone smarter than me points out the problem, and I try to learn from it.
- What is your favourite game? Why?
Grand Theft Auto V. It’s a game you can always go back to and it always feels fresh. It has been five years since it was released, and it’s still a technical marvel, a perfect sandbox game for fun and creativity. My other favorites include NHL 2004, Red Dead Redemption and the Battlefield series.
- Since you are working as a media editor, how do you separate your free time from your work?
My job is to take screenshots. My hobby is to take screenshots. It’s the same thing but with different rules, since work stuff is sometimes quite specified. The hobby keeps things fresh on the job front: shooting other games on my free time allows me to experiment more and learn stuff I can apply at work.
- What would be your professional dream-come-true?
My dream came true when I started my job at DICE a few years ago.
- Whom do you admire?
Duncan Harris aka Dead End Thrills. It’s a mix of admiration and jealousy, really. Sometimes I go through some of his best work and try to analyse the elements that make them so great.
- What do you miss about Finland the most? Why?
“Jälkiuunipalat” – a Finnish rye bread. Put a chunk of butter and cheese on it – nothing beats it. Also liquorice vodka.