The Last of Us Is Out!

The day has finally arrived. The game is out and we had an amazing turn out at the midnight releases. I will be updating this area with things I worked on in the game and other game vfx related stuff. If you haven't picked up a copy yet I highly recommend it. Not because I am personally invested in it but because I enjoy the shit out of good games and this is a great one. In the meantime checkout the trailer for the making of the game. The making of video is really awesome.

Last of Us Story Trailer

Sticking with the tradition of me only posting what I can when I have time to, here is the latest trailer we have released for the game. We worked on the trailer while simultaneously working on the game obviously. This essentially meant we didn't want to create anything for the trailer that wasn't in the game. You also want to make sure everything that goes into the trailer is as polished as can be. This is good because if you finished for the trailer you finished for the game. Burt being the perfectionists that we are I can personally say I will continue to polish until my eyes bleed. Enjoy!

Last of Us Extended Gameplay Demo

This is a video from PAX which was also the behind closed doors theater demo at E3 for our current project The Last of Us. We worked hard to get all sorts of minutia in the details. Things like the molotov and how it functions, blood fx on the characters faces and how blood hits the environment, ambient fx like dust and falling leaves that float on the water as they impact it, weapon fx, and even dust that is kicked up by enemies when they shuffle their feet during combat. There are numerous things that our team additionally crafted that I can't wait for people to see and experience. Enjoy the video.

Infected Munny

This weekend I decided to finally start on my infected munny inspired by The Last of Us. I'd created a Joel and Ellie munny previously and was relatively happy with the result. This one I knew would require a little more detail and I wanted to try a couple new techniques. On my previous toys I made the mistake of using a paint marker for some details and it never really dries. This time I attempted to add all of my detail with my finer brushes. It only got difficult in a couple of areas but overall I liked it much better. I used sculpey for the jaw, face fungus, arms and the few protrusions on the torso. I also messed around with some gradation on the clothing. On my next one I'm sure it will be better but I am pretty happy with how this one turned out. I also used some sea sponges for the fungus areas. It gave it a really nice texture. Below are a few progress images. I should have taken more but ah well. Next time.

Siggraph: Real Time Live

Iki Ikram and I will be presenting some of the real time visual effects work created in Uncharted 3. The real time live event consists of short 7-8 minute presentations in real time.This could be anything from video games to medical tools that allow someone to examine a 3 dimensional x-ray taken of a patient. They only need be presented in real time. While the presentation will be short, Iki and I will demonstrate and explain some techniques that were used to create real time visual effect elements in the game. While we won't go into great detail, there will be some cool examples of our techniques. If you're going to Siggraph this year check out the Real Time Live presentations on August 8th at 5:30pm. There's going to be some really awesome stuff demonstrated as well. Star Wars 1313 and The elemental Hero for the Unreal Engine 4 Showcase.

E3 Sony Press Conference

During the E3 Sony press conference, Bruce Straley demonstrated some gameplay from our new project "The Last of Us". I'm super proud of how well it turned out. Everyone worked really hard to get everything in place for the demo. From molotov effects to blood effects and ambient effects to bring the world to life. Big shout out to Mike and Eben. Late nights. Very worth it. Oh and to Bruce, looking really freaking epic playing the game on stage. Like a boss.

Math:Dot Product

Once I got into fx for games I found myself using a ton more math when creating shaders for our particle effects. This gave me a renewed love for all things mathematical as well as a practical application for mathematics I've learned over the course of time. It also gave me a reason to expand on that knowledge and push it further to allow me to create better shaders. It's incredibly rewarding. That said, I've decided to make some videos demonstrating some general and not so general mathematics used in creating shaders. The principles and operations are not limited to an engine as the math behind how the shaders work is universal. Such is math. I will preface this first video by saying I am not that great of an instructor and I sometimes find it difficult coming up with the right examples to explain things. Because of this I have asked Eben Cook to preview my work and make sure it's understandable and correct. I have jumped into the deep end here with the first video by explaining the "dot product" of two vectors. If it's a little too advanced then don't worry I'll be starting on some more basic concepts in my forthcoming videos. I'll be using UDK to demonstrate these examples since the material editor has a good preview system for visualizing the math. Enjoy.


This level was a huge undertaking on our department. Almost every fx artist had their hands on it and we still didn't get everything in that we wanted to or the amount of polish we desired. This was mostly due to time constraints and you rarely feel like you got "everything" you wanted in but that's the nature of deadlines. All that said, The level is really impressive. The studio developed a really cool technique that actually manipulated the geometry for the hallucination sequences. This required a lot of additional tweaking at the end since this wasn't just a post effect not everything would distort. Liiiiiiike particles. The emitters would move around but of course the sprites could not be deformed so we had to limit the types of effects we propagated while this effect was active. In the area with the reflecting pool there was a second Drake that only rendered in the reflection and directed the player to different obstacles in the room. That was pretty cool. I was able to make an effect that Drake tries to grab under the water. It had to look interesting without actually resembling anything. Originally it was a giant golden nugget but, c'mon, it had to be more ambiguous. So That's what I came up with. I liked it. It worked. Eben created a really cool sand funnel effect where Marlowe meets her end. He also made the giant sand wall that comes rushing out at the end when you're traversing across the floating platforms in the sand. In addition to that he made a material that looked like sand thinly running over edges. You can see this effect coming through the ceiling when the whole place is coming down. Carlos gave us the ability to put a flow technique we use at the studio to make the clouds around the level look like they are moving. Keith also made the effects for the "Shade" characters but I'd like to make a separate post about the shades and the sand footprints he created for the game. That's just a rough overview of some of the highlights on the level. Everyone worked tirelessly down to the wire on this level and a lot of unique tricks were implemented throughout. Congrats to everyone still on finishing an insane spectacle of a game.

Who worked on this level:
Design: Eric Shatz, Jacob Minkoff
Modeler: Adam LIttledale
Texture Artist: Jeremy Huxley
Foreground Artist: Neilan Naicker, Mike Fadollone
FX Artists: Eben Cook, Mike Dudley, Doug Holder, Keith Guerrette, Iki Ikram
Lighting: David Witters