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Horizon Zero Dawn

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10 hours ago, blackdog said:

How do you feel guys that this is one of the games brought to example in this article "games look bad: hdr and tone mapping" https://ventspace.wordpress.com/2017/10/20/games-look-bad-part-1-hdr-and-tone-mapping/

This is a topic that's pretty near and dear to my heart in the sense that I've been trying to fight this battle ever since I work in the industry; we as game artists have a bunch of tools at the tips of our fingers, but we constantly either use them the "wrong" way or we simply overuse them just because they're there and they have a cost on GPU so might as well crank it up to 11 and make the juice worth the squeeze...
This is obviously a highly subjective topic,  what looks good to my eyes might not look good to another persons, but there is commonalities in what can be considered pretty and readable and overuse of ""HDR Look"" definitely doesn't fall on that spectrum to me.

Getting into the ins an outs of photography and what the dynamic range of a lens ACTUALLY is in real life, really helped getting a better grasp of understanding on how we fake all that with video games, LUTs and other post processing tools, and one of the most invaluable tools we as artists can use is the histogram, usually that graphic will tell you if you have a very busy/noisy/contrasty picture, or simply if it's too dark/bright, every env artist and lighting artist should know how to use it and try and implement it into their art, it'll pay off.

But to answer your original question, I did feel this game is quite definitely overly contrasty and it has a certain busy read to it, I actually almost feel that it could have been a push from Sony so they could sell more HDR/4K TV's, because in the final picture if your pixels go from bright to dark often and faster, for the more "layman" eye it's usually perceived as more detailed and that actually explains why so many games look so noisy, they want to make the final picture look more detailed and tbh the faster we get out of that mindset the better. This is the new trend the industry is currently going through and we will look back at it with a certain disgust in the future, just as we now look at the desaturated "next gen" look from the early previous generation. 

Do what's best for your art direction vision and for your game and leave the preconceived notions of detail out of the door, and as a basic guideline contrast is usually very unappealing to the eye, use other tools like color balance and composition instead.

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Horizon Zero Dawn has been recognised with the Writers Guild Award for best video game writing, fending off competition from Dishonoured: Death of the Outsider, Futurama: Worlds of Tomorrow, and Madden NFL 18: Longshot.


So yes, even with robot dinosaurs you can have a good story and writing.


Congrats to the team at Guerilla Games!

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