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Analysis Game Dev The Last of Us 2 Devs Explain How They Managed to Achieve Such Realistic Eyes

IbizaPocholo

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ibiza



Earlier this year, technical art director Waylon Brinck and technical artist Steven Tang who worked on The Last of Us 2 put together a presentation where they talked about the technical side of the art that went into the title.


Throughout the in-depth discussion, subjects like how snow, wetness, and other implements were added to the game but also how much work actually went into rendering character, and animals, eyes.

At first, the artists were happy with how they looked in the initial Last of Us 2 reveal trailer and within the game itself but noticed that it depended on the quality of light at any given time meaning that an entire overhaul was needed. If anything, we all know that players pay very close attention to details and this was something Naughty Dog didn’t want to take a backseat on.





With so much work that had gone into the characters themselves from skin, clothes and animation, allowing the eyes to come to life just as much as everything else was a high priority. Adding in ‘screen-space shadows’ for characters’ eyelashes and eyelids was part and parcel of the overhaul as well as not forgetting the eyes of the animals.

Brinck and Tang explained that the team wanted to include every aspect possible when it came to TLOU2‘s creatures “We had a moment in the game where we wanted some taxidermied wolves to have retro-reflective eyes like many nocturnal animals do.” This can be found when real-life animal’s eyes glow depending on what light they are exposed to.

Fans of the title will also have noticed that the devs included this feature with the infected also – giving them a more sinister look and feel AND making those moments when you spot one in a certain light a little bit more scarier than normal.

For reference on the eyes, check out this side by side shot of Abby and her real-life face model, Jocelyn Mettler. That’s pretty incredible work right there, so much so that it’s almost difficult to differentiate between the two.

 

carlosrox

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Waiting for somebody else's punchline...


The eyes looked solid in this game for sure. They didn't really stand out to me above the other stuff in this game though. It all seems like a consistent and equal quality.

I'd love to know how they got such stunning black levels in the game like for example foliage heavy areas and under cars. Looks unbelievable on the LG CX.
 
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The Last of us should have been delayed for PS5 launch. Just a thought. I ended up playing it on a broken PS4. Because I moved Minnesota for a year and packed that. Should have played it on a PS5 and OLED. Or atleast on my ps4 pro.
 

Captain Toad

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The Last of us should have been delayed for PS5 launch.
Why? It looked and ran fantastic, at least on my Pro. It's one of those games that made you wonder why we needed new hardware.

If it had been a PS5 exclusive, that would have severed limited its audience. Plus, it wouldn't have sold one extra PS5, since they have been sold out since launch anyways.
 

clem84

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The Last of us should have been delayed for PS5 launch. Just a thought. I ended up playing it on a broken PS4. Because I moved Minnesota for a year and packed that. Should have played it on a PS5 and OLED. Or atleast on my ps4 pro.
I'm sure a PS4 release and PS5 remaster was planned all along. They worked so hard on it, they have every right to milk it to death. It will look glorious on PS5.
 
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SlimySnake

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The Last of us should have been delayed for PS5 launch. Just a thought. I ended up playing it on a broken PS4. Because I moved Minnesota for a year and packed that. Should have played it on a PS5 and OLED. Or atleast on my ps4 pro.
Is the PS4 Pro illegal in Minnesota or something?

i played it on the pro. gorgeous game but its virtually identical save for the 1440p resolution. you missed out on like 70% more pixels. hardly a big deal.

the ps5 version just got a 60 fps patch. so try that.
 
Jun 28, 2013
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Why? It looked and ran fantastic, at least on my Pro. It's one of those games that made you wonder why we needed new hardware.

If it had been a PS5 exclusive, that would have severed limited its audience. Plus, it wouldn't have sold one extra PS5, since they have been sold out since launch anyways.
I never said exclusive. No reason to throw away 4 years of PS4 development. Lol. They had to crunch to push it out. I have a few minor issues I know would be hashed out with a few months of development.
 
Jun 28, 2013
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Is the PS4 Pro illegal in Minnesota or something?

i played it on the pro. gorgeous game but its virtually identical save for the 1440p resolution. you missed out on like 70% more pixels. hardly a big deal.

the ps5 version just got a 60 fps patch. so try that.
I had two ps4 pros, but I took a old PS4 in my backpack. Then the pandemic started. Other details, basically was stuck with the PS4. I already 100% the game in everyway before the PS5 patch came out. Im never going to check the patch out.
I'm sure a PS4 release and PS5 remaster was planned all along. They worked so hard on it, they have every right to milk it to death. It will look glorious on PS5.
I wouldnt play it. Unless they trick me with these “director cuts” they are planning.
 

SlimySnake

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I had two ps4 pros, but I took a old PS4 in my backpack. Then the pandemic started. Other details, basically was stuck with the PS4. I already 100% the game in everyway before the PS5 patch came out. Im never going to check the patch out.

I wouldnt play it. Unless they trick me with these “director cuts” they are planning.
I hear you. I tried replaying several PS4 games on their 60 fps modes mostly because I bitched about sony taking their sweet time patching them, but i couldnt stick with any of the games. GoT, Days Gone, TLOU2, Ratchet remake. Just cant do it. I already pretty much 100% those games on PS4 and have no desire to sink in another 40 hours into those games.

GOW was the only game i went back and replayed till the end which is weird because i had already played it at 60 fps on the pro.
 

amigastar

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Thats good because many games have dead eyes like Call of Duty for example (Kevin Spacey).
 
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I hear you. I tried replaying several PS4 games on their 60 fps modes mostly because I bitched about sony taking their sweet time patching them, but i couldnt stick with any of the games. GoT, Days Gone, TLOU2, Ratchet remake. Just cant do it. I already pretty much 100% those games on PS4 and have no desire to sink in another 40 hours into those games.

GOW was the only game i went back and replayed till the end which is weird because i had already played it at 60 fps on the pro.
Games are a waste of time. If I play a game after I got all the trophies, Im wasting everyone’s time. Im kinda happy I didnt play GOT though. “Director’s Cut” sounds enticing.
 

Shmunter

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A next gen game released on last gen hardware. I still don’t know how they did the seamless real-time cutscene transitions into gameplay. Would never have expect it to be possible on PS4.
 

Bartski

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GDC has recently published a number of incredible sounding talks by ND leads on technology and design behind TLOU2, animation blending, combat, melee... it's all internal but I hope we'll get some it on youtube later on this year.
 

Yselacrey00

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I hear you. I tried replaying several PS4 games on their 60 fps modes mostly because I bitched about sony taking their sweet time patching them, but i couldnt stick with any of the games. GoT, Days Gone, TLOU2, Ratchet remake. Just cant do it. I already pretty much 100% those games on PS4 and have no desire to sink in another 40 hours into those games.

GOW was the only game i went back and replayed till the end which is weird because i had already played it at 60 fps on the pro.
Because God of War is about gameplay, not about story. The cutscenes are about half. In God of War you're actually playing a game while in TLOU you're "playing" a movie, the gameplay in that game is just a mean to go through the story.

I can go back and play again and again N64 games or GameCube games, maybe even some PS3 games but that's when everything went to shit. There's no way anyone would play this 40 hours video game movies twice but the biggest fanboys.
 
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DForce

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Because God of War is about gameplay, not about story. The cutscenes are about half. In God of War you're actually playing a game while in TLOU you're "playing" a movie, the gameplay in that game is just a mean to go through the story.

I can go back and play again and again N64 games or GameCube games, maybe even some PS3 games but that's when everything went to shit. There's no way anyone would play this 40 hours video game movies twice but the biggest fanboys.
Based on this logic, games like Rise of the Tomb Raider aren't really games, its a movie.
 

THEAP99

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Because God of War is about gameplay, not about story. The cutscenes are about half. In God of War you're actually playing a game while in TLOU you're "playing" a movie, the gameplay in that game is just a mean to go through the story.

I can go back and play again and again N64 games or GameCube games, maybe even some PS3 games but that's when everything went to shit. There's no way anyone would play this 40 hours video game movies twice but the biggest fanboys.
but god of war has worse gameplay than tlou2. tlou2 at least has interesting enemies, dynamic gore, dynamic ai and so fourth. god of war ur just killing the same trolls and the movement feels so limited. it gets repetitive with it's semi-open world that is just filled with padding.
 
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Negotiator101

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This deserves a proper PS5 upgrade, I really hope its being worked on and it's not another Sony cash grab remaster. Fantastic game, even if I didn't agree with some of story.
 

Yselacrey00

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but god of war has worse gameplay than tlou2. tlou2 at least has interesting enemies, dynamic gore, dynamic ai and so fourth. god of war ur just killing the same trolls and the movement feels so limited. it gets repetitive with it's semi-open world that is just filled with padding.
Yeah, I actually love TLOU II, way more than GoW. But if you make me choose one to play again there's no fucking way I would chose TLOU II. Just the thought of playing for 40 hours and watching that story all over again tires me down.
 

Yselacrey00

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So most action games are just movies? That makes no sense. lol
No. I wouldn't even count Tomb Raider as a game, it plays by itself with all the quick time. You move the character for like two seconds and then you have to press a button, you move it again and you have to press another button, it's so annoying. Seems like if the game was aimed to 5 year olds who can't play a videogame and all they have to do is push a button repeatedly.

Maybe the thing about TLOU is that you have to keep going forward, you can't explore anything at all. You just go forward all the time progressing with the story. In GoW you can explore a little, you can fool around and loose time which for me that's part of what a videogame comprehends, because if you only can go forward then there's no replayability. You can't do anything different, you need to follow a very straightforward path.

I mean, even FFVII Remake which is the epitome of a hallway game gives you freedom to go back and forth and do whatever the fuck you want, that gives you replayability.
 

SlimySnake

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Edit: Just checked out YouTube. Difficult to be impressed today by PS3, but it’s quite remarkable for the day no doubt.
Uncharted 4 had these transitions too. Pretty much every game this gen has realtime cutscenes because no one wants to waste precious disc space on pre-rendered movies. GoW and MGSV also had one track shots that always ended in a smooth transition from gameplay to cutscenes and back.

It's definitely very impressive, but not something TLOU2 pioneered. They just did an amazing job with those transitions.
 
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tommib

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Other devs, copy their shit and step your game up. It's ridiculous how badly these guys are shitting on you in every department.
That's exactly what I felt when I played TLOU2 - how it embarrasses everyone else in the industry. It puts every single developer to shame and makes them look incredibly lazy.
 
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Lethal01

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A next gen game released on last gen hardware. I still don’t know how they did the seamless real-time cutscene transitions into gameplay. Would never have expect it to be possible on PS4.

Final Fantasy Remake does this just fine, games have done this since ages ago.
 

Shmunter

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Final Fantasy Remake does this just fine, games have done this since ages ago.
Yes and they all look great I acknowledge it. TLOU2 just seems to bring it together even tighter where gameplay and cutscene are practically inseparable.

E.g You bust through a doorway escaping some gruelling shootout and the camera just pulls back or zooms in on a cg quality character clearly stressed emphasising the story telling like nothing else out there.

What’s remarkable is the quality of the assets seen without any load, cut away, camera angle change, etc. Totally seamless.

Nothing previously struck me as profoundly.
 
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