Basic Postprocessing

Here’s a short look on the post-processing we are currently doing in Yaga.

Unprocessed Art

Most of the art assets like characters, enemies, treasures together with all the foliage and decorations are generally used in more than one scene. And since each scene might have a different atmosphere and mood depending on what the purpose of the scene will be, the artists create all base assets independent of any lighting or weather effects.

unprocessed scene
unprocessed scene

Putting the scene together with the neutral assets looks good, but feels a bit flat and uninteresting.

Color Grading

First thing we do is add a bit of color grading. We’re using the Amplify Color plugin for Unity. For the amount of processing we’re doing now, the color grading options built into Unity might have been enough, but Amplify Color enables us to use volumes to change the look and feel of the scene dynamically throughout a level.

same scene using color grading


Next, we apply a vignette to frame the action better and reduce any risk of peripheral action stealing the focus. We use the built-in Unity effect, disabling Chromatic Aberration, because it just doesn’t fit our art direction.

color grading + vignette
color grading + vignette

Enabling the narrative

These basic post-processing effects are not there just to make the game look better. They are exposed to the level and narrative designers so they can be easily tweaked at runtime. Beyond looking good they support and enhance the mood of each scene, as dictated by the narrative. Relaxed exploration and talking to friendly peasants goes well with a brighter, happier and more saturated look, but meeting one of those creepy slavic monsters would need something completely different.

ok, maybe the effect is a bit too exaggerated :)
walking in the woods at night

This is just the first basic pass. We are leaving more stuff like atmospheric effects, dynamic rim lighting and painterly shadows for the polishing phases later on.

all the steps together