Here’s a short look on the post-processing we are currently doing in Yaga.
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.
Putting the scene together with the neutral assets looks good, but feels a bit flat and uninteresting.
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.
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.
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.
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.