High Priority – Game Art

Exploring Common Post-Processing Methods


In the ever-evolving landscape of video game development, creating visually stunning and immersive experiences is a top priority for developers. Post-processing plays a crucial role in enhancing the visual appeal of games, allowing developers to fine-tune and polish the graphics before they reach the player’s screen. In this article, we will delve into some of the most common post-processing tools and methods utilized in game engines to achieve breathtaking visuals.

Anti-Aliasing (AA):

Anti-aliasing is a technique used to smooth out jagged edges in rendered images, reducing the visibility of pixelation. Different types of anti-aliasing, such as FXAA (Fast Approximate Anti-Aliasing) and MSAA (Multisample Anti-Aliasing), are commonly integrated into game engines to provide a more visually pleasing and realistic look.

Dynamic Resolution Scaling:

Dynamic resolution scaling dynamically adjusts the rendering resolution based on the load and performance requirements. This technique helps maintain a consistent frame rate during resource-intensive scenes, ensuring a smooth gaming experience without sacrificing visual quality unnecessarily.

Depth of Field (DOF): Depth of Field mimics the way the human eye focuses on objects, blurring elements in the foreground or background to draw attention to the main subject. Game engines often incorporate DOF effects to add cinematic quality and improve the overall visual storytelling within the game environment.


Bloom enhances the visual impact of bright areas in a scene, creating a soft and glowing effect around intense light sources. This post-processing effect is commonly used to simulate the way light scatters and flares in the real world, contributing to a more visually appealing and atmospheric game environment.

Motion Blur:

Motion blur replicates the natural blurring that occurs when objects are in motion, adding a sense of speed and fluidity to the gameplay. Game developers utilize this effect strategically, especially during fast-paced action sequences, to make movements feel more realistic and immersive.

Ambient Occlusion (AO):

Ambient Occlusion is a shading technique that simulates the soft shadows that occur in areas where objects are close to each other. This effect adds depth and realism to the game’s lighting, creating more convincing and detailed scenes. Screen Space Ambient Occlusion (SSAO) and Horizon-Based Ambient Occlusion (HBAO) are popular techniques used in game engines.
Color Grading: Color grading allows developers to adjust the color balance, saturation, and tone mapping of a scene to achieve a specific visual style or mood. This powerful tool is often employed to create distinct atmospheres, from the desaturated tones of a post-apocalyptic world to the vibrant hues of a fantasy landscape.

Tone Mapping:

Tone mapping adjusts the brightness and contrast of a scene to ensure that it is suitable for display on a standard monitor or screen. This post-processing method is essential for maintaining visual fidelity across a wide range of display devices, ensuring that the game looks as intended regardless of the player’s setup.

HDR (High Dynamic Range):

HDR enhances the contrast and brightness range in a scene, making it more visually appealing and realistic. This post-processing technique is crucial for simulating the wide range of brightness levels seen in the real world, from dark shadows to bright highlights.

Screen Space Reflections (SSR):

SSR simulates reflective surfaces by rendering reflections based on what is currently visible on the screen. This effect is especially important for games featuring water, glass, or other reflective materials, enhancing the overall visual fidelity.

Volumetric Lighting:

Volumetric lighting, also known as god rays or crepuscular rays, simulates the scattering of light through particles in the air. This effect adds depth and atmosphere to a scene by highlighting light sources and creating realistic beams that interact with the environment. Volumetric lighting is often used to accentuate the mood of a game, especially in outdoor or atmospheric settings.

Chromatic Aberration:

Chromatic aberration is a post-processing effect that simulates the distortion of colors at the edges of objects, replicating the optical imperfections of lenses. While it’s not always used for realism, some developers leverage chromatic aberration to achieve a stylized or retro look, adding a unique visual flavor to their games.

Lens Flare:

Lens flare is a post-processing technique that replicates the scattering of light within a camera lens, creating artifacts such as streaks and halos around bright light sources. Although often criticized for its overuse in certain contexts, lens flare can be employed judiciously to enhance realism or contribute to a specific visual aesthetic.

Dynamic Contrast (or eye adaptation):

Dynamic contrast adjusts the contrast levels dynamically based on the content of the scene. This helps to enhance the visibility of details in both bright and dark areas, creating a more visually balanced and appealing image. Dynamic contrast is particularly useful for maintaining visibility in scenes with extreme lighting conditions.

Film Grain:

Film grain adds a subtle texture or noise to the image, replicating the characteristic graininess found in traditional film photography. This effect is employed to evoke a vintage or cinematic look, contributing to a game’s overall atmosphere and mood.


As game development continues to push the boundaries of what is visually achievable, post-processing tools and methods play a pivotal role in creating immersive and captivating experiences. Allowing developers to craft visually stunning worlds that engage players on a deeper level.

See you next time!

The High Priority Team