Yaatra: Special Effects• 3 min read
From lightning bolts to bubbling cauldrons, the visual effects in Yaatra are magical. Below is a sneak peek into the making of a few of these visual effects and how we built them!
The process of creating the visual effects seen in Yaatra are a combination of both shading and rendering. Rendering is the process of turning a 2D animation into a 3D design. This is done by creating a digital drawing starting from the back to the front, meaning, you draw pieces of the image that are in the distance and then you draw on top of that to bring in detail. Shading comes in after the initial design has been completed, this is the process of creating the proper shape for the design you created previously, which is done by giving the design the proper tone of color. Shaders are basically small program tools that take input about what the scene should look like and create the proper shades and tones to match the conditions. There are multiple shader options to pick from depending on what you have constructed in your rendering process.
One type we used was Vertex Shaders which is used to determine every triangle or point within the design so that your computer animation which starts out at 2D can be turned into a 3D object. The team also used a tool that is referred to as a Fragment or Pixel shader that determines the final color of every pixel within the triangles that the vertex shader accounted for. A great example of seeing this process at work is within the bubbling cauldrons (pictured above). Notice the difference of colors between each cauldron which are done by adding in separate elements (which are the colors) on top of each individual cauldron, this is an example of shading. The actual 3d design of the cauldrons themselves and the firepit below are products of rendering.
Lighting is essentially how you create depth within scenes so that the different elements are not flat. Although it seems complex, the actual implementation of creating light within these scenes is very simple, a lighting ramp was used to create the light without actually having to use a color or numerical value to change colors. We used a texture to determine how bright something is when it's fully lit and how dull it is when it is in the shadows. The range of shades created were a combination of pure white to black, with greys and browns in the middle. A great example of where lighting is depicted is in this series of monster images, depending on whether the object is closer in frame or further in the background you can see that the area around the monster's head that reflects light either gets brighter, or darker. (see above),
Creation of the lightning effect
You will notice in the game when lightning strikes it is not one stagnant motion but that there are multiple pieces that move in different directions. This action was created by four lines that have the same process applied to them (see above). Each line zigzags and then hits the intended target. Each zigzag on the line has a different segment point that the game development team channels into a different direction to give its final effect.
These are a few of the awesome special effects that bring action and dynamic gameplay into the game Yaatra. We hope you enjoy playing!