HDR TV Output and Lighting Gears of War 4
Colin Matisz & Andy Yi Shen, August 2017
Gears of War 4 is one of the first titles to take full advantage of the High Dynamic Range (HDR) TV output of the Xbox One S. We developed techniques & technologies to do this, including using HDR reference photography, a modified tone mapper, lumen-based lighting, HDR sky materials, camera exposure ranges, post-processes and a tuning environment for emissive surfaces and visual effects. We built a strong foundation of physically based materials and other shader techniques to create a wide variety of realistic surfaces that react beautifully to light. Our artists had the challenge of achieving the goals of art direction while meeting the performance goals of 1080p30 in single player and 1080p60 in multiplayer gameplay. Using available lighting techniques in UE4 + custom tools, we implemented best practices to optimize our artist workflow resulting in stunning visuals.