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Awesome work! The characters definately "pop" more off the background but they still lacking heft. Can you perhaps increase the saturation and contrast even more on the models themselves?

 

 

I feel like increased saturation would be over the top to be honest as I'm not a fan of these (usually American) candy store-style visuals (Supreme Commander 2 still gives me nightmares).

I just tried to increase the contrast somewhat but there's just so much you can do with a screenshot, so the examples above are pretty much all that can be done outside of the actual engine and in-game graphics in terms of 'heftiness'.

 

 

I think its the right direction but its actually to much, on this screenshot it looks like the characters stand on a flat picture. It doesnt feel like they are part of the scene.

 

 

I tend to agree and this is likely due to the backdrop for the characters. The flat surface effect is less prominent on the example where I disabled said backdrop. 

Edited by war:head
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There is a road that I must travel
Let it be paved or unseen
May I be hindered by a thousand stones
Still onward I'd crawl down on my knees.

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Those combat tooltips aren't helping are they. I have them disabled, but they should really only appear when you mouse over the character.

Or when you press the Tab button.

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There are more things on earth and in the sky than you can dream about.

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Great topic, and you on your way to solve one big headache right now in the game - being able to see what's going on when moving your party around especially in combat! :)

*** "The words of someone who feels ever more the ent among saplings when playing CRPGs" ***

 

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I love this thread. I wasn't sure what it was that I didn't like in the game until I saw this! Yes, the characters feel very weightless and spectral. Justinian provided a few great examples of how lighting, shadow, and borders can enhance this feel and make the characters feel more part of the world (and less like they are ghosts, floating by). 

 

Also, this is slightly off-topic but it was mentioned earlier -- those combat "dots" look very RTS/Command & Conquer-like. Is that something that could be addressed? 

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I Feel that the background of the combat log needs to be transparent.. I also believe that this game will benefit from being played on a Large 4K resolution screen. It would also be nice If I could put my combat log, quest log, character information and so on and place it on my second monitor.

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I've just dug up a great GDC presentation from the art director for Diablo 3. In it he mentions some really important points on character legibility.

 

Scroll down the topics to "Anatomy of a Screenshot: Midground":

 

http://www.gdcvault.com/play/1015306/The-Art-of-Diablo

 

Basically he says to make their characters stand out and be legible they implemented:

 

  • Full contrast ratings on characters - from the darkest darks to brightest highlights.
  • Radiance mapping with a rim light to push character off the background and even away from the world lighting itself.
  • Higher fidelity of detail on characters than on background. Background is softer than characters.

Of course Diablo 3 is an action game where readability is of higher importance than a game like PoE, but I still think these techniques can be extended to it.

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I've just dug up a great GDC presentation from the art director for Diablo 3. In it he mentions some really important points on character legibility.

 

Scroll down the topics to "Anatomy of a Screenshot: Midground":

 

http://www.gdcvault.com/play/1015306/The-Art-of-Diablo

 

Basically he says to make their characters stand out and be legible they implemented:

 

  • Full contrast ratings on characters - from the darkest darks to brightest highlights.
  • Radiance mapping with a rim light to push character off the background and even away from the world lighting itself.
  • Higher fidelity of detail on characters than on background. Background is softer than characters.

Of course Diablo 3 is an action game where readability is of higher importance than a game like PoE, but I still think these techniques can be extended to it.

Oh thanks for the link thats a nice interesting video

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Improved scene:

MPurRPz.png

 

 

 

 

Awesome work! The characters definately "pop" more off the background but they still lacking heft. Can you perhaps increase the saturation and contrast even more on the models themselves?

 

 

The thing is, the reason the characters look so washed out in this scene is because of the lighting. I also noticed they look particularly bad inside that building but it's not nearly as bad in other places.

 

I think there's just a really overpowering and poorly directed light in that scene that interacts with the models in a goofy way.

 

I'm just talking about the saturation of the models mind you, I agree that some sort of rim shader or outline on the characters would be a nice way to make them pop (like the drop-shadow looking border in this shot).

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Rumbald* is the only character/object that has made me wonder if I'm partially blind. Went up to him to get the quest once, and I was all like "Did he leave? Does he have a partol scheme? ... nvm there he is" xD

Otherwise I agree that the characters merge with the background sometimes and are difficult to see. We've got to consider that all shadows and lighting effects aren't in by a long-shot... I suspect.

Worst is it when you stand behind something like a tree or behind the pillars in Stormwall Gorge (by the Pwgra).

* I spread out the characters in an attempt to hide them as best as I could to give a bit of a contrast to which textures affect blends with which colors.

Edited by Osvir
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Started the game today and this is exactly the problem I want into. I think it's a pretty big problem.

 

That said, I'm not sure if it's a good idea to only talk about Infinity Engine games in regards to what they are doing wrong. They are trying to improve it after all.

 

I'd like to bring up Divinity: Original Sin for comparison. By all rights combat should be pretty confusing, with all the environmental effects but it isn't. Part of that might be because of the fact that it's turn based but much of it isn't. 

divinity-original-sin-13-1024x576.jpg

 

https://www.google.ie/search?q=divinity+original+sin+combat&tbm=isch

. Well I was involved anyway. The dude who can't dance. 
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I agree with this, I'm very confident that the shader in place is getting worked on to improve visuals... Nothing is set in stone except for the rendering angle.

 

To that matter the weapon meshes look rather cheap and bland, at least from a close up look. Hope they're placeholders

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This is a great example of faded character models with almost no shading/saturation on a background with high contrast/saturation.

 

There is no weight to the characters and you can barely see them.

 

fadedcharacters.png

 

I agree on what is generally said about the visual problems with PoE, so I decided to take this image and adjust one character to meet the requirements for visibility as well as substance.

I only used methods that could be easily implemented in the engine and won't need a lot of work.

 

This is the original character:

3NQH9eU.png

 

Rather flat and hardly visible. Add to that some contrast and brightness increase:

 

vqXMZYe.png

 

Already providing more substance. Now add a backdrop, which is basically just a blurred silhouette of the character:

 

16oMxHn.png

 

Coming along nicely. And for good measure, add a base shadow to the floor, separating the character a bit more from the floor:

 

j4D4KPe.png

 

And for better comparison, a gif switching between the original and the improved visuals:

 

AOVdu7o.gif

 

 

And finally, to add context, the entire image with the updated character:

 

3EpKlET.gif

 

Maybe I'll find the time to do this for all chars in the image to see how it'll look. Let me know what you think.

 

P.S.: This was just a quick shot at it so the floor shadow is a bit dark. Forgot to dial it back... 

 

 

Problem is that you now have the scooby-doo effect again.

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I like the contrast/whatever change on the character models, as it tries to solve the ghost effect. The backdrop and additional shadows don't look good, IMO, and I hope the devs don't go that way.

Again, the models look ghostly because of the poorly designed lighting here. Fixing the light should fix that. The photoshopped contrast changes here are not something that could be applied universally, nor would they be necessary in most locations. The shadow effect on the other hand could help everywhere.

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This is a great example of faded character models with almost no shading/saturation on a background with high contrast/saturation.

 

There is no weight to the characters and you can barely see them.

 

fadedcharacters.png

 

I agree on what is generally said about the visual problems with PoE, so I decided to take this image and adjust one character to meet the requirements for visibility as well as substance.

I only used methods that could be easily implemented in the engine and won't need a lot of work.

 

This is the original character:

3NQH9eU.png

 

Rather flat and hardly visible. Add to that some contrast and brightness increase:

 

vqXMZYe.png

 

Already providing more substance. Now add a backdrop, which is basically just a blurred silhouette of the character:

 

16oMxHn.png

 

Coming along nicely. And for good measure, add a base shadow to the floor, separating the character a bit more from the floor:

 

j4D4KPe.png

 

And for better comparison, a gif switching between the original and the improved visuals:

 

AOVdu7o.gif

 

 

And finally, to add context, the entire image with the updated character:

 

3EpKlET.gif

 

Maybe I'll find the time to do this for all chars in the image to see how it'll look. Let me know what you think.

 

P.S.: This was just a quick shot at it so the floor shadow is a bit dark. Forgot to dial it back... 

 

 

Problem is that you now have the scooby-doo effect again.

 

 

Well, maybe, but lacking some other way to blend characters into the background without giving everyone eyestrain, gameplay trumps graphical design. 

 

I've only played a little bit of the beta because combat honestly gives me a headache.  In fact I probably won't play it anymore until they update it so combat is more readable.  Though I'm colorblind so the effect may be worse for me than most people. 

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I'm somewhat relieved that it wasn't just me who thought it was hard to make out what was going on.

 

Some of that was down to my auto pause settings, but generally, I found the combat to be a bit of a blurry experience and I had no real grasp on what was going on and couldn't make out the models from each other most of the time.

 

But that's literally the only complaint I have on the game. 

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Watching the latest bb 271 stream on Twitch, I noticed that the guard on the bridge was far more visible than before. Even accounting for the darker video on the latest stream, it's readily apparent there is a change.

 

Before:

vlcsnap-2014-08-31-18h31m25s111.png

 

After:

vlcsnap-2014-08-31-18h38m05s29.png

 

On the other hand, since the positioning of the model has changed, it's also possible they just replaced the earlier npc with a darker coloured one. I do hope the changes are global though.

Edited by Justinian
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It does indeed look like they've altered the colors - making them stronger and adding a ToEE-like darkening effect

 

Lessons_from_ToEE_.png

 

The environment also doesn't look as washed out, but that could just be the stream.

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Watching the latest bb 271 stream on Twitch, I noticed that the guard on the bridge was far more visible than before. Even accounting for the darker video on the latest stream, it's readily apparent there is a change.

 

 

Can you pls link the stream here? Can't find it..

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Watching the latest bb 271 stream on Twitch, I noticed that the guard on the bridge was far more visible than before. Even accounting for the darker video on the latest stream, it's readily apparent there is a change.

 

 

Can you pls link the stream here? Can't find it..

 

 

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This is a great example of faded character models with almost no shading/saturation on a background with high contrast/saturation.

 

There is no weight to the characters and you can barely see them.

 

fadedcharacters.png

 

I agree on what is generally said about the visual problems with PoE, so I decided to take this image and adjust one character to meet the requirements for visibility as well as substance.

I only used methods that could be easily implemented in the engine and won't need a lot of work.

 

This is the original character:

3NQH9eU.png

 

Rather flat and hardly visible. Add to that some contrast and brightness increase:

 

vqXMZYe.png

 

Already providing more substance. Now add a backdrop, which is basically just a blurred silhouette of the character:

 

16oMxHn.png

 

Coming along nicely. And for good measure, add a base shadow to the floor, separating the character a bit more from the floor:

 

j4D4KPe.png

 

And for better comparison, a gif switching between the original and the improved visuals:

 

AOVdu7o.gif

 

 

And finally, to add context, the entire image with the updated character:

 

3EpKlET.gif

 

Maybe I'll find the time to do this for all chars in the image to see how it'll look. Let me know what you think.

 

P.S.: This was just a quick shot at it so the floor shadow is a bit dark. Forgot to dial it back... 

 

 

Voted up for developer goodness. +1

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The main issue of contrast is for the same reason TV and movie stars don't usually wear green on stage because the greenscreen causes them to fade out or blend in like camouflage. Compound that by the fact that there is a lot of green environments and earth colors used for this setting and that makes it pretty hard to understand what's happening. So in effect the NPC's monsters just don't pop enough. 

 

In my day job I'm a multimedia designer and I see these types of issues frequently for my start up businesses trying to shoot commercials and photo's they try to use that end up needing a lot of post production to fix. The good news is this is still very salvageable without the need of a ton of work. Without knowing their specific pipeline I don't know the best technique to fix it, but I'll give a few suggestions that they can implement with nominal work. Some of my suggestions may have already been said elsewhere on the forums, so I apologize if I'm repeating any ideas.

 

1) Contrast is the main issue, so one method of creating contrast in the environments is have a darker shadow under the player. You don't even have to have a realistic shadow, just keep the light source slightly over exposed in engine. Having a darker shadow near the feet helps the players feel more grounded. You may have to reverse your alpha masks so the head is lighter than the feet. Part of the confusion is so much tall grass and props in the game and the camera's perspective is a bit too shallow, so things appear foreshortened which distorts the silhouettes.

 

2) The color pallet for armor's need brighter values. The more richer in color the better since that's are main focus. In addition, the artists could render the character textures out in 24 bit color which would allow them to pop more too. This seems to have helped in the new EE BG games.

 

3) The The colors of the rings around the players are also too similar to the environments. One method they could try implementing is fading the colors of the rings to red the closer to death you or your party become. Similar to the portraits having the red overlay on them, although I'm not a fan of that technique on the portrait. I would prefer the portraits be more richly saturated, and as they take damage desaturate to black and white as they lose stamina. 

 

4) The combat is a cluster mess also because the timing of the attacks feel like everything is the same speed, and there's not nearly enough feedback of who's hitting who, what kind of damage is being caused, not to mention the animations are too fast across the board. They need to speed up and slow down. Have some pregnant pauses in there, and not just the awaiting for the spell to come. I was watching a few wizards play and they just seem to randomly shoot magic. There's some winding up and follow through missing across the board.

 

5) UI changes, someone was wise enough to realize most of the western world reads Top to Bottom, left to right in a Z pattern. Their UI is all over the map, literally... and while I quite like it aesthetically speaking, it's not super functional at the moment. Part of the issue is the icons are too small/font's too small, and the icons are not really easy to identify what they do. (I would love to create them for the team if they want someone to take that project on. Just send me a text doc explaining the function of each on. I love ui design anyways,) There should be nominal amount of clicks needed away from your player and the enemy. I see some of the changes they've brought over from the old games and even a little bit of ToEE too. Honestly, My preferred play style with a game like this would to be hover over my enemy, right click on the target, have the contextual spells I can cast on them appear, then click on the spell which activates it. Similarly on my characters, if I hover over them right click let me apply contextual spells that are appropriate to them. I feel like there's too much micro management on the portrait, on the mob, on the player's avatar, etc and really over complicates things. Not even to mention the Inventory and things folks have mentioned there or the lack of even needing that center HUD. It's so seldom used, it should only appear when you need it.

 

At any rate, there's still plenty of time to fix these issues, so I'm pretty hopeful :)

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