PlatinumGames’ Environmental Artist Shohei Kameoka stars in this week’s Astral Chain developer blog entry. He delves into what makes the holographic animations work: a technique called UV Animation.
The three-dimensional objects that you see in games are made up of two major parts: The 3D model itself; and textures, 2D images that determine what their surfaces look like. A UV map determines which part of the texture falls on which part of the model when they’re put together. For instance:
To the left is an image of an “unfolded” UV map on a texture. And on the right, that same texture is applied to a 3D model. You can see how the intersections on the UV map fall on the corners of the cube.
UV animation, then, is the process of moving these UVs around, which in turn changes the texture’s position on the 3D model. So when you move the textures around the left, it changes the positions of the textures applied to the cube to the right.
From there Kameoka lists step by step the process behind taking that same principle and, with a few other effects added, creating a realistic holographic image. Finally he ends the post with a few examples of UV animation at work such as the task force Neuron logo, IRIS hologram frames, plenty of neon signs scattered throughout the game, and even a mysterious figure who appears in the Astral Plane.
For those interested, there are several previous developer blogs that delve deeper into the title: changes to mission structure, visual effects, sound design, art direction, the music, and the environments themselves.
The title received some lovely post-launch artwork from both the NieR:Automata and Bayonetta’s character designers. The official PlatinumGames Twitter account also released new art from the studio’s main artist Hajime Kimura, celebrating the title’s success.
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