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How to achieve a late 1980s-Early 90s CGI film look?

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    How to achieve a late 1980s-Early 90s CGI film look?

    Hi I'm planning on making a game with the Unreal Engine that has a very specific look. I want it to look like late 1980s- early 1990s CGI videos. A lot of computer games from the 1990s that used per-rendered graphics also had the same look. Here are some examples.


    Myst:https://i.ytimg.com/vi/D30r0iRH73Q/maxresdefault.jpg












    Knick Knack:







    Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain






    Eastern Mind:









    The Labyrinth of time:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L8R3D8KBNn8



    Here's what I would like the Final game graphics to look like in motion:
    https://vimeo.com/184862249




















    ---------------------------------
    Edit: There's a game engine that came out a bit more recently (2008) that was use for the game "The Void" that I think looks closer to early CGI than the Unreal Engine 3 does.

    I think this is closer to the look I'm going for.

    The Void:






    Youtube footage of the void:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=blNmhn-9Ios&t=33m18s































    Last edited by tapirtoon; 10-09-2018, 12:45 PM.

    #2
    Avoid area shadows, use little anti-aliasing, run at a lower resolution than what the screen is. Use low-quality models/textures/animation.

    Comment


      #3
      No ambient occlusion.

      Ambient lighting is a solid value.

      No reflections, only specular highlights.

      Textures are poorly overlayed and generic. Obvious tiling.

      Over reliance on subdivision modeling and smoothing, but poor control over it.

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by darthviper107 View Post
        Avoid area shadows, use little anti-aliasing, run at a lower resolution than what the screen is. Use low-quality models/textures/animation.
        Originally posted by ZacD View Post
        No ambient occlusion.

        Ambient lighting is a solid value.

        No reflections, only specular highlights.

        Textures are poorly overlayed and generic. Obvious tiling.

        Over reliance on subdivision modeling and smoothing, but poor control over it.
        This is for the Unreal 4 Engine,right? I'm not sure what you mean by "no reflections, only specular highlights" or "ambient lighting is a solid value". Can you point me in the right direction? Maybe some rendering/shaders specific tutorials for Unreal Engine?

        Comment


          #5
          Those are general rendering features or missing features in early CG. I'll spend some time in a few hours trying to a content example scene to look similar.

          Comment


            #6
            Took the Infiltrator demo. Some of these steps are going to be redundant or cancel each other out, but it's the steps I took without much planning.

            Force No Precomputed Lighting

            Disabled screen space reflections and ambient occlusion in the post processing. Disabled bloom.

            Deleted every reflection capture.

            Deleted everything related to fog/cloud/godray

            Deleted decals.

            Created skylight, set to moveable, disabled lower hemisphere is black. This adds the flat ambient lighting.

            Set scalability settings to low.

            Switch to forward rendering and disabling extra features.








            Next steps would be to disable normal maps, fix some of the materials, replace materials and textures with lower resolution ones, with more tiling. Remove some of the extra lights.
            Attached Files
            Last edited by ZacD; 10-10-2018, 12:43 AM.

            Comment


              #7
              All you need to do is remove the modern day graphics available for games and you would have the look

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by AnkurRastogi View Post
                All you need to do is remove the modern day graphics available for games and you would have the look
                Also, terrible models, robotic animations and poorly designed tiling textures. Also, use bump maps instead of normal maps (I'm sure there's a material node for generating normals from bump height maps). Only tiling bump maps, none of the fancy normal map baking people have nowadays.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by ZacD View Post
                  Took the Infiltrator demo. Some of these steps are going to be redundant or cancel each other out, but it's the steps I took without much planning.

                  Force No Precomputed Lighting

                  Disabled screen space reflections and ambient occlusion in the post processing. Disabled bloom.

                  Deleted every reflection capture.

                  Deleted everything related to fog/cloud/godray

                  Deleted decals.

                  Created skylight, set to moveable, disabled lower hemisphere is black. This adds the flat ambient lighting.

                  Set scalability settings to low.

                  Switch to forward rendering and disabling extra features.








                  Next steps would be to disable normal maps, fix some of the materials, replace materials and textures with lower resolution ones, with more tiling. Remove some of the extra lights.
                  Looks pretty good from the photo. Thanks. The only thing I would say is that it looks a bit washed out (color-wise).

                  Originally posted by Manoel.Neto View Post

                  Also, terrible models, robotic animations and poorly designed tiling textures. Also, use bump maps instead of normal maps (I'm sure there's a material node for generating normals from bump height maps). Only tiling bump maps, none of the fancy normal map baking people have nowadays.
                  I'm not so sure. A lot of people have replicated the early CGI look with programs like Maya, Cinema 4D, Blender, etc.




                  You can have a look for yourself:

                  https://vimeo.com/184862249






                  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oTLcxg286qw














                  The only video game engine I've seen that even comes close to the old CGI look is the Unreal 2 Engine. I was considering using it, but it really only seems to support very low poly models, and has no bump/normal mapping, but early CG had pretty high poly models (relatively) and did have bump mapping.

                  (This is a screenshot from Unreal Tournament 2004 for reference)

                  Last edited by tapirtoon; 10-10-2018, 05:29 PM.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    The biggest things on the engine side would be to use Phong shading by modifying the lighting equations in the shaders, remove the tone mapper, and disable sRGB everywhere in the pipeline.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Lol... This thread is great. Possibly try using a post process filter to give mpeg/jpeg compression block artifacts. You could go nuts with this effect since everything else would be so cheap. Maybe use a stencil on the character and certain props so that you don't "compress" them with it.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by OwenWP View Post
                        The biggest things on the engine side would be to use Phong shading by modifying the lighting equations in the shaders, remove the tone mapper, and disable sRGB everywhere in the pipeline.
                        I would like to know how to go about doing this. What would I need to learn or where to get started? Thanks for the suggestions.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          You would need to know HLSL, and those shaders can all be found in Engine/Shaders. https://docs.unrealengine.com/en-US/...derDevelopment

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by OwenWP View Post
                            The biggest things on the engine side would be to use Phong shading by modifying the lighting equations in the shaders, remove the tone mapper, and disable sRGB everywhere in the pipeline.
                            Originally posted by OwenWP View Post
                            You would need to know HLSL, and those shaders can all be found in Engine/Shaders. https://docs.unrealengine.com/en-US/...derDevelopment
                            Hey, I just found a custom specular calculation on this forum that emulates phong shading very well, but it comes with two major downsides, the first one being the specular highlight
                            can only come from one light source (all other light sources won't add additional specular highlights to the object), and the second major downside is that the more transparent the object with this material becomes the more transparent its specular highlight becomes (the opacity of the object should ideally NOT affect the opacity of the highlight) .

                            Here's the link to it:
                            https://forums.unrealengine.com/deve...ar-calculation

                            (Thanks to isgoed)

                            I also have a question about the custom material: It was written for version 4.11.2 but I have unreal Engine 4.19 installed. Do you think it would work in 4.19 and do all materials created in earlier versions Unreal Engine 4 work in newer ones without problems?

                            Comment


                              #15
                              You can do this easier by editing things like the BRDF.ush and ShadingModels.ush. Within the "FDirectLighting DefaultLitBxDF" part of the ShadingModels, you'd just have it call a phong shader within the BRDF file(I believe there is already one in there).

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