Resolving Color Issues

Some of you may have noticed something about the level shown at QuakeCon – it was really gray! This was never intentional, and is something we’ve worked on since then. The reason the level was so gray is because before we knew what we were doing, two texture sets were created – a highly saturated blue texture set, and a fairly desaturated gray texture set. Here’s why I ended up using the much less colorful gray texture set.

Looking at a screen where the majority of the color is super saturated is a bit unsettling – kind of like eating a cake made entirely of frosting. What we’ve discovered is that it’s much better to have most of the screen be a fairly desaturated color, and then use more highly saturated colors in smaller amounts – such as for object textures, HUD graphics, and borders/supports. Had I used the highly saturated blue texture set, looking at the level probably would have been akin to eating too much candy – nice for a bit, but then made you want to puke after awhile. The gray texture set might have been more boring, but at least it didn’t make anyone nauseated :P

So while the gray textures set provided a nice desaturated base for us, it lacked color, and was pretty boring. … until now, that is!

With some additional color (in small amounts!) and texture detail, I’d say it’s greatly improved over the way it looked at QuakeCon!

So, the lesson here is: Keep most of the screen a fairly desaturated color, and then do more saturated colors in small amounts. Are you paying attention budding texture artists? :)

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7 Responses to Resolving Color Issues

  1. Mechadon says:

    That certainly does look much better than before.

    The concept of using colors more as highlights/contrasts against less saturated colors is a very similar approach I use when texturing a map. Using full-blown saturated colors as your base, depending on the color, is a sure fire way to melt eyeballs :P. Ideally, though, you want to have other less-saturated base colors aside from gray. Greens and browns would certainly be some other good ones, but I’m sure there’s a lot that can be experimented with.

    Anyways, I’ve been slowly trying to create my own textures for a Doom project. So this is something I’ve been working with as well :)

  2. Carnevil says:

    Thanks Mek! :) And I completely agree with you on your color philosophy. I think now that we know what we’re doing (heh!), we’ll be using more base colors aside from gray. Greens and browns certainly sound good… I wonder if there’s a game that uses that combination a lot. Hm :P

    About the contrast thing – that’s also something I’ve come to realize really works with this method. If your base colors are fairly desaturated, and then monsters/objects/important things are more saturated, it really helps them stick out and get noticed. Of course, the nice cel outlines already help a bunch with this, but having nice colorful objects against a more desaturated background I think will really work nicely!

    Looking forward to some new textures of yours :)

  3. RED_Killer11454 says:

    You Coloring is Exelent As of Now…
    but i found that some of your model textures need some work…
    For Example You Should Remove the fingernail from the hands because it realy screws up his hand… and pull the glove texture near his thumb a little to the left so it matches…
    and as for the cell shading… you need to smooth it a little cause it looks REALY pixely.. but over i would give just the map textures alone a gold star! good job people

  4. Seth Gorden says:

    The screenshot looks good! It’s apparent the texture artists have an eye for clarity and quality. Though, I am a big fan of seeing color in FPS game. So the color reduction choice makes me wince, just a bit. Certainly, taking on colorful textures in an environment such as this is a challenging goal. It’s as much a trick of balance, as it is a problem of color choice.

    As you noted with the blue texture set, too much saturation could have adverse affects. Though, some muted blues (or even different shades of gray) on a wall could still offer up more variety than one shade of gray. I see three levels (in terms of vertical progression) in the image above, and each might benefit from being a different tone or shade, depending on whether you want to direct the player’s eye to the door, make the ceiling appear higher, or create some other visual illusion in the scene. The architectural choices are looking great, and some extra attention to color or shade contrast between surfaces could really make it shine!

    Thanks for reading my two cents. It appears that some other comments have spoken of contrast as well. I hope this suggestion is not redundant. Best of luck with the project, and I look forward to seeing more!

  5. Mr.Rocket says:

    Looking really nice Carn!
    I too think the textures look good as they are now and later when textures may need an update they will be a little easier to work with. It’s good to have less color than too much in this case.

    I can’t help but to notice some of the models being a kind of Boderlands style, are they going to stay that way or are they a base concept/placeholder for upgrade down the road?

    Tons of brightmaps in there, but they are all white, do you plan on making them different colors later on? Adding color to them may add more atmosphere, but then it may also be a bit distracting in contrast with the current texture colors unless treated alike and not adding too much color to them.

    Anyways, looking freakn awesome!
    I’d be glad to do some textures etc. as well, if need be. :)

  6. sean b says:

    If i ever tested it, it’d stop me from getting headache.

  7. Ammo says:

    Looks awesome now!

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