Intro To Grading Games

Grading CG Footage – An Introduction To Grading Video Games

June 8, 2015

Video games are just as visually stunning as films these days but how to you approach color grading CG footage from one?

Grading CG Footage – Grading Grand Theft Auto V

I had an amazing feeling grading last week that is getting rarer and rarer. I had the chance to grade something that I’ve never seen or tried before.

Video game footage!

It was amazing to turn the gamma wheel or play with saturation and not know what will happen next.

It’s sad to say but I grade one to two projects a day so I generally know when I drop the midtones on a commercial shot on an Alexa with anamorphic lenses exactly what’s going to happen. You tend to develop a feeling for how it should behave and get used to grading it in a certain way.

This video game footage was a wave of inspiration in that respect as every button push and tool selection was an adventure into the unknown!

Let’s dive right in and start by watching the video. :

I’ll explain in much more detail in my video below but my approach to grading anything that has been purely created in 3d is that it is always to perfect to look good. The levels are just right and color balance is always spot on.

That’s where us colorists come in!

When grading camera footage our job is often to fix numerous issues and add our creative flair but on a job like this I like to get down and dirty and introduce some of that real-world style to it.

Check out my video below to find out more and see a break down on some of the challenges I faced such as working at 60fps, beauty work on digital characters, working with explosions and fire and generally adding the action movie factor!

– Dan

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Homepage Forums Grading CG Footage – An Introduction To Grading Video Games

  • Super cool! Would love to know more about VFX color integration and pipeline tips. Beauty work was very unexpected

  • Very cool stuff Dan, thank you for this insight! Besides a trailer, music video etc for the game are you also grading a ton of other material for the actual game itself, or does a lut of your overall color pass get applied to something in the game engine to cover additional scenes/worlds? Cheers

  • Dan Moran

    I’ll do my best to get some more content I can share! Normally VFX jobs are expensive so they don’t let me share as easily!

  • Dan Moran

    Ah sorry I wasn’t too clear on that. This had all been exported from the game and will live outside the game as a video clip. I know the guys at Co3 were getting in on the gaming world directly but I’m just using footage acquired in game so far! I guess some kind of lut or render engine settings is how they do actual in game rendering corrections.

  • I understand. Surprised you were able to show this one, but happy you were able. Color and vfx pipeline is an recent area of interest, as I’m noticing I’m having to advise vfx a lot about the pipeline to ensure correct color and gamma or it may come back in a completely different color space / gamma setting. Any tips and suggestions you use with your larger vfx jobs would be appreciated

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