This years Zelda Breath of the Wild made me realize how much I love well executed stylized looks in videogames!
Until now I mainly worked on realistic to hyper realistic environments but I thought Ill try something new and go for a BotW inspired look.
Im still early in the process of creating this scene. I decided to use UE4 and so far I got my cellshaded post process done and Im starting to like the look of the grass (still missing a color texture) so its time to create some actual assets and start thinking about the composition!
The grass is still missing a color texture but other than that I like where its going. Im quite happy with the shape, density, lods (If possible I want this scene to run at 60fps on my GTX 860M) and the way it blends with the terrain.
My light reflections are completely fake while I think they are normal dependent in BotW but for now I like the look of it.
It also has transmissive properties similar to those in BotW:
Reference shot of the grass from BotW:
The cellshading on the characters is also similar to BotW with a strong outline thats broader and brighter in direct light accompanied by two tones separating light and shadow. I mix a small amount of AO back into the final result as I like to retain some of the shape to better blend dynamic objects with the background and am obviously not constrained by switch hardware
This goes a bit against the "frame by frame animation"look that Zelda seems to be going for where dynamic objects are considerably less detailed than static backgrounds but I always thought that in BotW characters can look slightly out of place. I hope to counter that with the hint of AO.
Reference shot of a character from BotW:
I feel like the one thing that Im still missing here is that I cant quite figure out when to use the outline. Its really hard to find a pattern in BotW, sometimes its completely visible even in the shadows and sometimes its completely gone or only on some parts of the mesh. (This screenshot has almost no outline in shadows, in the cave at the beginning of the game it encloses the whole character.)
Next up Im going to start working on some rocks and a character model to replace the beautiful unreal mannequin! (a coworker recommended a young link which I think is a great idea, or maybe zelda?) I might also start shaping the terrain if I get sick of the Mario Hills
Im doing this in my spare time after work so its slow going but Id really like to finish this before the end of the year!
Thanks for taking a look at my work, feedback is very welcome!