As an experiment into stylisation, I decided to take the fire effect I made earlier and change the textures to see how this would change the look and feel of the effect. It also gave me the chance to create my own subUV texture.
I started off by taking the smoke Pmask and the fire subUV and applying photoshop filters to them. I wanted to test how much it would change before I spent time on creating textures.
One had a crystalise texture, to give a low poly look, and the other had a mezzotint to make it appear like something seen in an 8-bit game. While looking for a picture of an 8-bit fireball to post here as comparison, I realised that a lot of older games actually had really nice fx, as the had to work within a small budget, so they used stylisation to make the most of what they had. There are different concerns between 2D and 3D fx of course, but it is still very interesting.
This then lead me to the New Super Marios Bros games. I will admit that Mario has never really appealed to me and therefore I had never seen the fx in this game. They are really nice. The way that the roundness of the fx matches the roundness of the shapes in the world really brings it all together.
I’ve really gone off on a tangent here – will need to do some proper research into these games later! Back to my stylised effects.
Without changing anything but the textures, I managed to make some effects that looked quite different from one another. The simplified style and limited colours of the 8-bit fire were symbolic of fire but not representative of it, whist the crystalised texture’s shape and colours, while different, were closer to the photograph and therefore looked more real.
With this proving that changing the textures could have an impact on their own, I decided to create my own subUV texture. I made it in the classical style of Joseph Gilland, first doing studies out of Elemental Magic, a book I used a lot for my scripting and dynamics coursework last year. This looked at the motion of fire.
I took the original photo texture and traced over the shapes, simplifying them in the process. I’m not sure about the ethics of this – is it like using a photo texture or is it stealing? This is something I will need to find out about. I used a tutorial to help me create the light glow effects, as when I was first doing this things looked very flat and boring. It turned out the trick to this was gradients and outer glow (normally things I would avoid!!)
I was also inspired by the fire in kung fu panda for this, though my fire has less sharp edges. I think film is a really good place to look for inspiration, as it tends to have more outside influence than games. Of course, I should be looking at this outside influence myself.
I had to make a few small tweaks to the smoke material, because with the simplified shapes the alpha wasn’t coming though too well, but beyond that I managed to create something completely different using the same set up in unreal.
This is a comparison between the realistic, 8-bit style and classic style effects. The major differences between the three are the use of colour and shape. The more simple these elements, the more abstract.
Video will be posted as soon as my internet stops being unreliable!
Joseph Gilland – Elemental Magic
Kung Fu Panda – Dreamworks
Digital tutors into to cascade tutorial – project files
Super Mario Bros 3
New Super Mario Bros Wii