Post-processing effects are image effects that are applied to a game’s visuals after the scene has been rendered. They can be used to create a variety of effects, such as making the game look more cinematic or realistic. Some of the most common post-processing effects include motion blur, bloom, depth of field, chromatic aberration, and film grain.
This post will explain what each of these effects does and how they can be used to improve the visuals of your game. It will also discuss some of the pros and cons of using each effect, and provide some tips for using them effectively.
Motion blur simulates the blurring of objects that are moving quickly. It can be used to create a sense of speed and realism, but it can also make it difficult to see fine details or track moving objects.
Bloom adds a bright glow to bright objects. It can be used to create a sense of realism or to make certain objects stand out. However, it can also be overused and make games look unrealistic or washed out.
Depth of field
Depth of field blurs objects in the background or foreground of a scene, depending on what the player is currently focusing on. This can be used to create a more cinematic look and to draw the player’s attention to certain objects. However, it can also make it difficult to see distant objects or objects that are not in the player’s focus.
Chromatic aberration simulates the distortion of light that occurs in real-world lenses. It can be used to create a more realistic look, but it can also be distracting and make games look blurry.
Film grain adds a grainy texture to the image. It can be used to create a more cinematic look or to hide imperfections in the game’s graphics. However, it can also be overused and make games look blurry or noisy.
Ambient occlusion adds subtle shadows in corners and crevices, enhancing realism and making objects appear three-dimensional.
HDR (High Dynamic Range)
HDR expands color and brightness ranges, making scenes more vivid and true-to-life, especially noticeable in sunsets and dark environments.
Vignette darkens screen corners, drawing focus to the center, creating a cinematic or dramatic atmosphere.
Lens flare replicates light scattering or streaks when it hits a lens, adding authenticity and immersion, especially around bright light sources.
Which post-processing effects should you use?
The best post-processing effects to use will depend on the style of your game and the desired visual look. If you are going for a realistic look, you may want to use all of the effects to varying degrees. However, if you are going for a more stylized look, you may want to use only some of the effects or turn them off completely.
It is also important to consider the performance impact of using post-processing effects. Some effects, such as bloom and depth of field, can be quite demanding on your hardware. If you are experiencing performance issues, you may want to try turning down the settings for these effects or turning them off completely.
Tips for using post-processing effects effectively
- Use them sparingly. It is easy to overuse post-processing effects, which can make your game look unrealistic or cluttered. Start with a light touch and add more effects as needed.
- Experiment with different settings. Each post-processing effect has a variety of settings that you can adjust. Experiment with different settings to find the look that you like best.
- Consider the performance impact. Some post-processing effects can be quite demanding on your hardware. If you are experiencing performance issues, you may want to try turning down the settings for these effects or turning them off completely.
- Playtest your game. Once you have applied your desired post-processing effects, be sure to playtest your game to make sure that they are not making it difficult to see or play.