Building games is hard, making realistic scenes and applying global effects to them is even harder. Unity 5’s global Illumination may lay the whole lighting definition for scenes easier, but it’s still going to be a chore to get the effect you are looking for “just right”, as we all know, that if a games look and feel doesn’t work well, this is a sure fire way to put players off and move on to their next title.
So you’ve built your scenes for your game, the gameplay works great and the last of the bugs have been fixed. Yet when you look at your creation, something just doesn’t look right, or you want to add more atmosphere in to the game world, this is where Chromatica Studio comes in. At its core Chromatica gives you fast and dynamic global lighting on a camera’s rendering cycle. It has several powerful modes and offers a wealth of built-in effects, which can all be tweaked and twisted to get the effect you are looking for “just the way you want it” I’m no photo expert but even I can see the benefit of such an asset on my games, taking a bland scene and will almost no effort, adding bloom or black and white effects to the final composition of my Scene.
Now you may think such effects come at a cost, tweaking all these rendering settings must impact your scene, after all it’s altering all the lighting in the entire scene for the current camera view. Well you would be wrong, as all of the effect changes are made in a single draw call. That’s one draw call to apply just about any effect on your entire camera view.
Here’s an example of the kinds of effects you can apply to your camera’s rendering of your scene (which Chromatica calls Operators):
- Black & White – A simple black and white filter to work without color
- Bleach Bypass – provides a bleaching style effect which can work on a range of colors, complete with a blending effect to draw out color in a scene.
- Channel Clamper – Allows you to restrict or reduce a single RGB value from being rendered
- Channel Mixer – Enables you to enhance or reduce each color channel to suit your needs
- Channel Swapper – A strange effect that lets you play with the RGB color values and swap them around.
- Color Shifter – A slightly more advanced affect that lets you alter the Hue and Saturation of the rendered result.
- Curves – One of the newer effects, this uses the built in Unity curve editor to alter the range between highlights and shadows (very impressive)
- Exposure – a basic camera effect that lets you play with the rendered exposure values in some very distinct ways
- Gradient Ramp – As the names indicates, lets you apply gradient to each of the RGB ranges
- Invert – A basic inversion or negative look to the output render
- Levels – provides a new histogram style control for very fine alteration of shadows, midtones and highlights.
- Photo Filter – This effect had me playing with it for ages. It comes with a bunch of “off the shelf” photo effects (like what you have in your smartphone) for applying preset filters to your render. Everything from a warming filter, sepia and a very cool underwater effect.
- Posterize – Allows you to alter the tonal values of the render, effectively balancing the color output.
- Technicolor (3 Strip) – A sort of “all in one” color blending and exposure filter, reminiscent of the old style color filters of the early Cinema days.
- Three-Way Color Corrector – Taking color correction and configuration to a whole new level with 3 big rotary dials to alter the shadows / midtones and highlights of the scene Vibrance & Saturation – Allows fine vibrance control over the three RGB values in a scene and the overall saturation of those colors White Balance – Same as your camera basically, controlling how much white is in the scene overall and balancing color.
Now each and every one of these effects would be great on their own, but thanks to Chromatica Studio, you can apply multiple effects/operators on a single camera. Not enough, then apply different effects to different cameras throughout your scene. There are many more advanced features, including color spaces/volumes, multiple LUT modes (allowing fine control over near and far elements), a very powerful tool.
Now the only area that does let Chromatica down is its documentation. If you are familiar with photo manipulation and have a high artistic background, you’ll know what each and every one of these effects does and how they work well together. However if you are new (or not a photographer) then you may struggle to get to grips with it in the beginning. What it really needs is more tutorials and sessions to get the best effects. I suspect most will just use several of the photo filters and be done with it, to get a nice feel.
Asset: Chromatica Studio
Publisher: Thomas Hourdel
Web Site: Chromatica