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Rendering internals in Archaica - lighting step by step.

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Here is a short and general description about how the lighting in Archaica is generated.


  1. On all the screens there are transparent and emissive materials (we just didn’t hide them).
  2. Archaica renderer evolved from light-pre pass to more deferred (for performance reasons - less draw calls). There is still option for computing lighting per-material (for example crystals use this).

Final effect

D 02 full scene

At first let’s take a look at indirect diffuse lighting (~ambient)

Every next screen shows another light technique added

Only height ambient (two colors interpolated by height):

01 height ambient only

Shadow color (fake secondary diffuse term). Takes into account scene height and normal (and it’s also colorized):

02 ambient shadow colorsec diff

With SSAO applied:

03 ambient shadowcolor ssao

And the last component: secondary directional light without shadows (fake simulation of the reflected light). So this is the full indirect lighting (diffuse; only secondary light adds something to the specular lighting term):

04 ambient shadow color ssao sec

SSAO alone:

05 ssao

Indirect specular lighting (exaggerated)

Computed as a single fullscreen pass:

06 secspec no mul reflectance

The direct lighting (diffuse and specular)

Direct light without shadows:

B 01 noshadows

Shadows alone:

B 02 shadows

And mixed - full direct lighting:

B 03 direct light

Additionally - full (direct and indirect) diffuse and specular lighting alone:

B 04 only full diffuse

B 05 only full specular

Final Light composition

The final lighting in Archaica:

C 01 full light no bloom

Bloom alone:

C 02 only bloom

Mixed - final lighting and bloom:

C 03 full light

As a curiosity - a final lighting without tonemapping:

C 04 no tonemapping

Final scene

Without fog:

D 01 full scene no fog

FINAL SCENE - with fog and godrays:

D 02 full scene

Additional comparison - Without colorgrading (colorgrading adds only a small correction to final look):

D 03 no colorgrading

And as a bonus - Archaica gbuffer


E 01 diffuse


E 02 gbuf normal


E 03 gbuf depth

Reflectance (exaggerated):

E 04 gbuf reflectance powiekszon


E 04 gbuf roughness

Hope this is useful and interesting :)

Fell free to ask if You are interested in any part of computing the light (and final scene look) in Archaica!

sortris - - 1 comments

Great article! Thanks for that :)

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pturecki - - 4 comments

Thanks! There will be more articles like this one ;)

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Freaking-Pingo - - 2 comments

An inspiring article. I have a reasonable understanding of the technical terms used in this article, yet I don't feel creative enough to actually produce such content myself. Do you know any literature that is a good read that could help widen my horizon on processes such as this?

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pturecki - - 4 comments

Thanks! It's hard to find all this information in one place. Try these two cool links I quickly found (and there are many more for sure):

Frame rendering in DeusEx:

and list of interesting tricks about doing various effects:

Hope this helps a bit. Cheers!

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Freaking-Pingo - - 2 comments

The resources looks interesting, I'll surely have a go at them. Thank you.

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pturecki - - 4 comments

You're welcome!
Crytek presentations are very good too:

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Bojan.Endrovski - - 1 comments

The game is looking amazing! Would love to read some more about how all the passes are used to make the final rendering.

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pturecki - - 4 comments

Thanks! We need to finish next Beta version and we try to find some time for more detailed article :)

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