Cinematography Tips For Game Designers: The Power of Subtlety
If you're a game designer who's trying to achieve that cinematic look for your gameplay, cutscenes or trailer, then it's a good idea to familiarize yourself with some of the basic techniques of cinematography. Achieving this type of cinematic "realism" goes beyond making something look real as seen through the naked eye. Rather, it involves mimicking how something appears through the lens of a camera.
Despite their many similarities, the healthy human eye and camera lens differ in their complexity and their ability to focus light waves effectively. The human eye is way more sophisticated than the lens, which contains levels of imperfections that slightly warp and skew the shapes and colors of images. It's these "imperfections," ironically, that make a CG image more "filmic" and realistic to audience familiar with them.
Increasingly, more and more game designers like Ready at Dawn (The Order 1866), are attempting to create these effects with the hope that they make their games more immersive, or as immersive as watching a movie. Of course, immersion in a game can never really achieve the level of a movie because of the interaction required to play a game.
However, that doesn't mean that you can't make your game resemble the visual aesthetics of a film in order to leverage the familiarity audiences have with the cinematic experience. The following is an introduction to some basic principles of camera and lens systems that can give you the skills and knowledge to accurately incorporate movie effects into your own game design.