Steve McAuley

Computer graphics in the real world

Calibrating Lighting and Materials in Far Cry 3


This year at SIGGRAPH, Stephen Hill and I organised the Practical Physically Based Shading in Film and Game Production course. We’re really indebted to Naty Hoffman for putting us in touch with the speakers, and to the speakers themselves for making everything very easy for us, as well as producing such fantastic content. Most of all though, thanks to all of you for coming! I really couldn’t believe how full the room was, and I hope you learned a lot. If you haven’t found your way there by now, check out all the materials on the course web page.

I got to fulfil my personal ambition of speaking at SIGGRAPH by speaking on the work I’ve been doing on Far Cry 3:

Calibrating Lighting and Materials in Far Cry 3 [slides, (ppt, pdf)] [video] [course notes]

I want to give thanks again to Naty Hoffman for introducing me to the idea and the need of colour correction, but especially to Paul Malin at Activision Central Tech who developed the colour correction algorithm I used, and was kind enough to first share it with me so I could use it on Far Cry 3, and second to let me share it with all of you. Colour correction is something I think is incredibly important, and I’d love to hear what other studios are doing now and in the future.

Around the World in 80 Shaders

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There’s no doubt about it, writing shaders is fun. So why not go on a whirlwind tour around the world, looking at all the fantastic shaders we can write along the way? Hence Around the World in 80 Shaders, presented at Develop in Liverpool 2010.

I did have a confession to make at the start of the talk… I was actually only going to talk about six shaders, but hey, it was a good title! I also briefly discussed our awesome shader system that was a massive help to me and others at Bizarre who contributed to our shaders.

As such, the talk included shaders written and contributed to by a variety of people (including the shader system itself):

SPU Assisted Rendering

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Ste Tovey and I gave a talk at Develop in Brighton in 2010 on SPU Assisted Rendering. I mostly rehashed old ground, covering our SPU lighting implementation on Blur that was presented at Develop in Liverpool the previous year, while Ste talked about using the SPUs to help with vehicle damage.

A Bizarre Way to do Real-Time Lighting

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At the inaugural Develop in Liverpool back in 2009, Ste Tovey and I presented our SPU lighting technique. Our initial implementation was of course on GPU, but inspired by Matt Swoboda’s work at SCEE R&D, presented at GDC earlier in the year, we realised that we could save a large amount of PS3 GPU time by moving the lighting to the SPUs. Blur was the perfect showcase and the end results speak for themselves.