We wanted to create an effect resembling a drawing with red accents so that we have a bloody undertone throughout the game without losing the tabletop atmosphere.
The drawing impression
We created an impression of drawn, tabletop figures in several ways. Cel shading and outline gave us the proper lighting.
Pencil hatching texture was applied to every object so that the shadow of characters appears to have been shaded by an artist with rough pencil lines.
No pencil hatching (left) and pencil hatching (right)
In the future, we plan to additionally expose certain parts of the models to our custom hatching texture so we have greater control over the hatching pattern.
The bloody undertone
Unexpectedly, adding bloody feeling ended up being quite a challenge. We quickly discovered that making the game theme similar to the concept art was not possible: the red was just too intense to look at.
First redness implementation
So the experimenting began: the darker the redder… fresnel red… cel shading red… cut chunk of shades and paste the red… and so on. In the end we’ve chosen “the blacker the redder” effect which was later enhanced with—very subtle—good, old, reddish tint. Cel shading red also found its way into the production.
The part of post processing blueprint diagram with remnants of old experiments was left for future developers in case they wanted to have a good laugh:
The Final effect
The final effect is that pure blacks are not reddish while the greyish blacks have a red tint. It gives the image a nice transition between black and red without overwhelming the player with red everywhere.
The Final effect
While the darker areas have red accents, the white parts of the scene are almost devoid of red. The red is therefore subtle, and nicely complements the dirty pencil hatching. That is what we wanted from a tabletop wargame look.
Changing cel shading to use only red values created such a nice effect:
Only red cel shading
Although too intensive to find its way into the production, it was very tempting to use it just anywhere. Who knows, maybe someday we’ll see a cinematic blasting such red at the player.
- Adam Stępiński, BEAST Programmer