Kicking off today, this year’s annual Special Interest Group on GRAPHics and Interactive Techniques (SIGGRAPH) will host, among others, presentation sessions from developers of big-budget, high-profile upcoming games. These are not game presentations, but talks on some of the advanced graphics techniques employed to create the beautiful, real-time scenes, characters, animations and details present in these games.
For those unfamiliar, SIGGRAPH is an annual five-day conference for inter-disciplinary discourse and education amongst visual effects and computer graphics professionals from around the world. Held in Los Angeles Convention Center, this year’s SIGGRAPH will contain presentations on Horizon: Zero Dawn, Quantum Break, and much more. Horizon: Zero Dawn Principle FX Artist Andrew Schneider will be giving people the rundown on the volumetric clouds in the game during his presentation “The Real-time Volumetric Cloudscapes of Horizon: Zero Dawn”. As you may know, things like clouds and smoke are not solid and composed of particles that cumulatively bounce light about its inconsistent shape. In a wide, open space like Horizon: Zero Dawn’s there are many clouds of unique shape that all must behave, move, and interact with lighting like real clouds do. This leads to a challenge in figuring out the best way to imitate the way real clouds react to light – light that’s fickle and goes through it, but not entirely – at an individual level for every cloud, in real-time, on a PlayStation 4. Check out the abstract for the presentation below:
“Real-time volumetric clouds in games usually pay for fast performance with a reduction in quality. The most successful approaches are limited to low altitude fluffy and translucent stratus-type clouds. For Horizon: Zero Dawn, Guerrilla need a solution that can fill a sky with evolving and realistic results that closely match highly detailed reference images which represent high altitude cirrus clouds and all of the major low level cloud types, including thick billowy cumulus clouds. These clouds need to light correctly according to the time of day and other cloud-specific lighting effects. Additionally, we are targeting GPU performance of 2ms. Our solution is a volumetric cloud shader which handles the aspects of modeling, animation and lighting logically without sacrificing quality or draw time. Special emphasis will be placed on our solutions for direct-ability of cloud shapes and formations as well as on our lighting model and optimizations.”
For those impressed with how pretty Quantum Break looks, Graphics Programmers Ari Silvennoinen and Ville Timonen of Remedy will be talking about the “Multi-Scale Global Illumination in Quantum Break”. One of the more common, formerly-uncommon, lighting features to come to games with this recent generation of consoles is global illumination. Basically, in a real environment, light comes from a limited amount of sources, especially during the day. The fact that light in day time, coming from one source, can illuminate an entire room is made possible by light’s tendency to bounce. Light bounces from one surface to another, and to another, thus illuminating an entire room or area. The reality is more complicated than this, but computationally, it is not easy to simulate, which is a major reason why this generation of games look much more real than last generation’s. The good folks from Remedy plan to present how they accomplished the realistically lit scenes present in upcoming game Quantum Break. Here is an abstract of the presentation below:
“This talk will cover Remedy’s approach to multiscale global illumination in Quantum Break. Firstly, we present an efficient voxel tree structure and demonstrate its applications to world-space global illumination and to automatic specular probe generation using local visibility analysis. Secondly, to complement the large-scale illumination, we present our screen-space lighting solution which handles small scale ambient occlusion, reflections, and indirect lighting.”
There will be other presentations from people like Alex Evans, Co-Founder and Technical Director at Media Molecule (LittleBigPlanet, Tearaway), and much more both inside and outside of games. Though the event will not be live-streamed, many of the presentation materials will be available online afterwards for those interested in learning how their favorite upcoming titles were made.
SIGGRAPH 2015 will run today through Thursday, August 13. For more information on SIGGRAPH, head to the official site here.
Source: WCCF Tech