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Visuals in RichCast

Visuals can be used to enhance your title through

RichCast's powerful visual tile.

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Rule of Thirds

  • With your empty frame in front of you, mentally draw a grid that breaks the frame into thirds, both vertically and horizontally. Anything interesting that happens, (important objects, the eyes of a character, etc) should happen at the points where your gridlines cross. Objects in the composition become less important the further away from these points they get.

Depth of Field

  • In situations where you need to separate a character from a background or from other characters, try creating gaussian-blurred versions of the layers which you don’t want the player to focus on. This simulates the shallow focus often seen in movies and can be done in many free art packages.

Safe Zones

  • Ensure to not display anything important within 10% of the edge of the screen - this ensures that the player's focus is within the scene and away from areas of the device which are typically reserved for system HUD elements.

Text

  • Avoid the display of text within Visuals; it makes localisation problematic (or a series of visuals would need to be created - and we do not have Logic to detect system language so to cater for would require a user select a Language as a Choice).

  • If writing is to be included within a visual then it should be on a separate layer to make future iterations easier to update.

The 180 Degree Rule

  • If you have two characters in conversation, imagine that your camera is on one side of the pair. Mentally draw a line between the subjects and never cross it. This will create consistency between the eyeline of the two characters and the player will never get spatially lost in your scene.

Unassigned Voice Files

  • It’s not uncommon to find a file hasn’t assigned properly, usually down to a filename issue. If you have found a Speak tile without a voice clip assigned check your file names and see if any have been given duplicate names in error as this can sometimes happen, particularly with longer scripts.

On Screen Eye Height Determines Height of Characters 

  • When the player is playing first person, seeing the view as if they were there… The Position of someone's eye line on the screen when close up and talking to them determines their height.

    • Eyeline high = taller than me

    • Eyeline - ⅓ from top of screen = my height

    • Eyeline below the ⅓ line = smaller than me

Establishing Shots

  • When moving to new locations focus more on the location than the character. Once you’ve established the new location - then move to the character(s), either bringing them into the shot, zooming in , or cutting to a new scene within that location.  

Sizing of Pictures

  • Most scenes consist of around 6 layers typically: a full screen background, maybe a few foreground layers, and a couple of characters.

  • Backgrounds fill the full screen and should be 1080x1920 resolution (2k) in JPG format. We’ve allowed for 4k images to allow higher resolution if the image is used for panning or zooming.

  • Images should be around 85% compressed, meaning most background (full screen) images are around 100k.

  • Only have the image the size actually needed. Don’t be tempted to have large transparent images that only have a small area of detail on it. Crop to the detail.

PNG vs JPG

  • PNG’s tend to be very large due to the fact that every pixel can be any level of transparency. So, if there are no transparencies, don’t use PNG’s, use JPGs.

  • Large files will cause lag for the player on slower data connections.

  • Often a PNG is used because there is a character on a background when pixels are either solid or completely transparent. For this, we suggest using our Green-Screen option with a JPG. Ensuring that there is a hard edge on the detail, i.e., the pixels are either 100 green (RGB 40,190,40) or the image you want. To ensure no edges appear green.

Clipping

  • While it can be tempting to create a multi-layered image in a PSD, then render off each layer as a PNG, leaving lots of space for easy placement in RichCast, do bear in mind that this makes for much bigger files with much slower download times. The best way to handle this is to:

    • Render any solid background base as a JPEG.

    • Cut and paste any additional layers onto their own new image so that they are automatically cropped and to scale.

    • If the layered image has soft edges or things that are at multiple opacities (eg, hair, net curtains, etc), then use PNG.

    • If the edges are relatively hard, then use JPEG with a green background layer of the RGB values: 40,90,40. 

    • It’s best to name the layers of a scene so that you can easily group them together, eg. “DraculaMaindeckLayer1” 

    • Import your files into RichCast and place their keyframes manually using the numerics at the top left as a guide.

    • If using JPEGs with the recommended RGB value of 40, 90, 40, your ideal slider positions in RichCast’s GreenScreen dialogue are 50%, 100%, 0%.

Green Screening

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  • RichCast offers an in build green screen function that will automatically remove the background of an image or video if it is the correct colour. This can be selected within the visual tile by selecting the green screen option:

Pixel Density

  • When showing an image in multiple sizes, it makes sense to use multiple images of the object. As a rule:

  • If an object is enlarged/reduced by up to 150%, use one image.

  • Any more, use two images. 

  • This way, pixel density is relatively similar and small details more readable.

Videos

  • Ensure that the files are well compressed and are only as big (dimensions) as they need to be.

  • Think about the resolution. If the whole screen is 2k (1080*1920) and the video only occupies a quarter of the screen, then reduce the resolution to the size you want it to cover. This also ensures consistent pixel density and leads to better clarity.

Blackout

  • RichCast has the ability to fade between tiles at a speed of 0.5 seconds, but sometimes it’s good to be able to fade in from, or out to black, and at a slower speed.

  • The best way to enable this in a title is to create a JPEG of a black square, 64x64 pixels in size. This is small in file size while being big enough to easily handle inRichCast.

  • The Blackout square can then be stretched to fit your frame size whenever you need to use it as the top layer and fade-out with keyframe opacity.

  • It can be also useful to use your Blackout to fade back layers in a scene (eg, foregrounding a character, credits text, etc). 

  • You can also use a Whiteout image similarly for misting, etc.

Extra Threads

  • Rather than place a single Visual Tile at a point on your main thread, you might want to add multiple tiles which are triggered independently of the main thread of your story.

  • The best way to do this, is to place a junction tile where you want your visuals to start, then create a small branch off your story for visuals.

  • Note. The longer your visual threads, the greater the risk of losing synch with the narrative of your story, especially if you’re using choices in the main thread. The best solution here is to keep your visual threads short, succinct and connecting from the main thread at regular intervals.

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Wait Tiles on Visual Threads

  • When used in conjunction with blocking, Wait tiles come in useful between Visual tiles on their own thread, allowing you to pace the visuals of your title. 

  • As closely placed visual tiles will jump slightly due to the implementation of the fade option, it’s good to have a basic wait of 0.3 seconds between any back to back Visual tiles. This can also be extended for pacing.

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