Call of Duty: WWII

at activision, i'm a lighting lead driving the look, color, and visual bar for the billion dollar game franchise... call of duty. for this project i set the over arching visual look during pre-production, worked as a lighting lead throughout production, and finalized the game through ship with optimizations to keep it at 60fps.

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Problem

how do we visually reinvent a billion dollar franchise while being respectful of the subject matter?

Metaphor

naturalism. grounding our look for wwII in a naturalistic manner assured it would be instantly relatable. Utilizing the full range of hdr and subtle color grading made it immediately modern.

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Look Development & Research (color, camera, light)

Emanuel lubezski's work on the revenant was a huge influence. his use of natural lighting while retaining shape and definition was a constant source of inspiration.

as an example of the type of feature creation work that I collaborate on with our rendering team, I've marked up the image below outlining proper focus and bokeh look, scripting ides, and best practices. 

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Look Development (tools and technology)

I was lucky enough to contribute to our lead graphic engineer's siggraph talk concerning our physically based pipeline. below you'll find excerpts of that presentation and how it pertains to my day to day. 

in order to hit our physically based visual bar, we make sure our in game shadow to light ratio matches real world measurements using a spot meter.

during preproduction, I created the scenes below to test out our baked lighting accuracy. from left to right: source cornell render, arnold render, and in game screenshot. as you can see, the test uncovered the fact that we were losing some specular bounce information during the bake process. :(

we use "whiteboxes" to prototype different looks and script the backend to allow changes with the flick of a button.

Scripting

scripting in our engine, radiant, is a major part of my job. it's where triggers get set, lights get linked, and post process gets optimized.

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Production

on any given map i'm in charge of environment lighting, cinematic scripting, character lighting, camera controls, post process effects, gameplay experience (character visibility), color, material / shader work, and environment art troubleshooting and optimization.

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Pipeline

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HDR environment capture

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HDR photo stitching

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skybox texture creation

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Radiant - proprietary 3D engine for lighting and material work

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ScriptDev - proprietary scripting tool

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lead platform

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HDR color grading

Final

here's the final result! the example work and reel below are just a few selects from my time as a lighting & color lead on the project.

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Additional Game Industry Work

while this was a deep dive into a single game project, take a look at my additional game work for more shipped examples. 

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