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Video: How powerful skies define narrative in The Last of Us

January 24, 2018 | By Emma Kidwell

January 24, 2018 | By Emma Kidwell
More: Video

"Today I want to talk to you guys about skies," begins Naughty Dog's Keith Guerrette. "Something that's the most overlooked, and often snubbed in part of your environment--part of your visual presentation. It's the sky."

In this 2014 GDC session, Guerrette walks through the artistic considerations of creating a compelling, dramatic sky to cast as a backdrop for The Last of Us

Guerette provides an overview of what the sky can do, along with the power that a well-designed sky can have on players when establishing a tone.  The hardest part about creating good skies, he admits, is making them move.

With the aid of pictures and video, Guerrette shows the audience how different skies played a huge role in The Last of Us. But first, he breaks down the effect lighting can have everything from how people perceive facial expressions all the way to time of day. 

For example, Guerrette explains how the passage of time is relayed through light direction and how the narrative is effected by lighting. Setting the sky is imperative for setting the mood.

 Visual effects artists curious to see how they can utilize the power of the sky in their projects can now watch the talk completely free via the official GDC YouTube channel!

About the GDC Vault

In addition to this presentation, the GDC Vault and its accompanying YouTube channel offers numerous other free videos, audio recordings, and slides from many of the recent Game Developers Conference events, and the service offers even more members-only content for GDC Vault subscribers.

Those who purchased All Access passes to recent events like GDC or VRDC already have full access to GDC Vault, and interested parties can apply for the individual subscription via a GDC Vault subscription page. Group subscriptions are also available: game-related schools and development studios who sign up for GDC Vault Studio Subscriptions can receive access for their entire office or company by contacting staff via the GDC Vault group subscription page. Finally, current subscribers with access issues can contact GDC Vault technical support.

Gamasutra and GDC are sibling organizations under parent UBM Americas.

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