The Making of the Calendar

I can't draw, so all the pictures are screenshots except for April's, made by Unkreativ, who CAN draw.  Boy, can she draw.  :-) 

Many of the pictures are of screenshots that don't ordinarily appear in the game.  To get those screenshots, I made tiny modules, set up cutscenes, ran the cutscenes in the game, and took screenshots of them.  If I were going for wow factor, I could have made cooler shots, but I wasn't trying for the most visually interesting pictures but rather for pictures that would remind Petra of important times in the game.  For a lot of those important times, Geralt isn't in the picture, since we're seeing it through his eyes, but I wanted Geralt in the picture, which is why I had to make cutscenes, even though this is all stuff that actually happened.

I had pictures in my head that I wanted, and it turned out that the pictures in my head mostly didn't exist.  If you play the game, you'll see that you don't actually SEE Geralt's face when he plunges the sword into Jacques de Aldersberg, for example.  So I had to move the camera to get that shot.  And in a lot of the cutscenes, you'd see this picture and that one, and the composite would be a cool image, but if I took screenshots, there was no moment actually present in the cutscene where the cool image was present.  They often cut off the tops of people's heads and stuff like that.  It works in the cutscene, because you remember seeing the image that came right before it, but as a single still shot, there was nothing that worked.  So first I tore my hair out, and then I dusted off my hands and got busy.  ;)

When I first planned to make the calendar, I thought it would take me an hour or two to get the screen shots I wanted ... it ended up taking more like twenty hours, because I had to alter a lot of things or even make a lot of things from scratch.

January:  This  is a striking image from the intro.  I didn't need to do anything for this one but snap the picture.  I love this image.

February:  February's picture isn't all that interesting, visually, but I wanted a shot of the whole gang, so this is from one of the just-for-Petra cutscenes I made, so that they'd all be in one place at the same time, while also showing more of Kaer Morhen than just a tiny piece of wall.  Even at that, it doesn't show as much of Kaer Morhen as I wanted, but if I showed a lot of Kaer Morhen, the people were tiny....

March:  This picture is directly from one of CDPR's cutscenes; I think the picture of The Beast striding out of the flames, framed by Geralt's spread legs, is inspired.  Whoever made that cutscene created a wow of an image!

I wanted something different for the month that contains April Fool's Day, and I've loved that picture of Unkreativ's since I first saw it.  I wish she were selling prints of it on Deviant Art; I'd definitely buy one!  You can see the original of this picture -- along with a lot more of Unkreativ's great work -- at her gallery at Deviant Art.

The cutscene for the golem coming to life was very, very cool ... but it didn't include Geralt and the golem in the same frame, so I made a new cutscene from scratch to get this picture for Petra.

June:  This was another new cutscene, since the autopsy isn't a cutscene in the game, but I thought it was a good summary of solving the mystery in Chapter 2.  I moved things around to get a shot where you could actually see everything, which you couldn't, really, in-game.

July:  It's so dark in the kickimore queen's cave that I never got that good of a look at her.  But in Photoshop, all things are possible. ;D  So THAT'S what she looks like.  Ewww. :P

August:  This is one of the pictures that I took from a regular cutscene.  That cutscene was SO gorgeous that I had to get a picture of it, though again, there was no single shot that captured the awesomeness of the cutscene as a whole.  That cutscene was so pretty, I could watch it twenty times!

Choosing a good shot from this cutscene was hard, not because there were so few good shots but because there were so many.  I dithered for awhile over this one; I second-guessed myself a lot before finally choosing this one.  I think the shot where she's walking towards Geralt, and we see her and him and the surroundings is probably the most visually interesting, but I thought the moment when he was actually knighted was more emotionally impactful.  It's a calendar, so maybe I should have gone for visual ... but given a choice, I'll almost always pick the emotionally impactful one. ;D

September:  This is from another of the special cutscenes made just for Petra, since there's no Koshchay cutscene in the game.  It's a BIG bug, and I couldn't get an arrangement I liked of the bug AND Javed AND Geralt, all in the same shot; I finally held my nose and went with this one.

October:  I bet you all think you've seen a picture exactly like that in the game.  We all remember that shot, right?  Well, as it turns out, in the game, the shot only includes Geralt from the waist down; the top half of him is cut off.  

I don't know why they only included the bottom half of Geralt.  I don't know if they wanted the focus to be on the GM and no one else or if they thought it would be too violent of an image if you could see all of Geralt or if the facial animations aren't good enough for Geralt's face to show what they wanted it to show, so they left his face out.  Or what.  But a lot of things were like that -- I'd think I'd seen something, go looking for it in the game, and find that I'd never seen that at all.  (This is why eyewitness testimony is notoriously unreliable.  People will testify -- completely in good faith, and not lying at all -- that they've seen things that they have not, in fact, seen.  Memory is a slippery beast.)

Anyway, this was one of the easier ones, since I didn't have to make an entirely new cutscene to get the shot I wanted, I just had to move the camera.  (Well, given how terrible I am with the cutscene maker, I had to move the camera, watch the cutscene, move the camera some more, watch it again, move the camera a third time, watch it AGAIN...  :-[ )

November:  Of course this is from the outro, and I didn't need to do anything special to get a good shot here, just snap it.  The people who made the intro and outro did fabulous work.

I hadn't realized until just this minute that I have Geralt standing over a dead body two months in a row.  But well, it is the end of the game.  We stand over dead bodies a lot during the endgame. :D

How DOES the calendar finish?  November's picture was from the outro, the last piece of the game, so The Witcher is all done, yet we have a whole month left.

You can guess, can't you?  ;D

December:  Of course it's from The Witcher 2!

The resolution is low, because it's my screenshot of a leaked video, so we're not talking tons of pixels here.  Still, it's an exciting caption, don't you think? ;D