Uncharted 4 Artist Talks About “Beauty” in Games: Quality, Lighting, Composition, Color and More

Uncharted 4 Artist Talks About “Beauty” in Games: Quality, Lighting, Composition, Color and More

Andrew Maximov is one of the newest artists that joined Naughty Dog. His name might sound familiar to you because we showcased his art and interviewed him a while ago, and recently he hosted a lecture at the Art Institute of California, presenting a renewed version of his GDC 2013 talk on the analysis of beauty in video games.

The lecture is incredibly interesting, and shows us aspects of many games we’re familiar with, but that most of us wouldn’t even think about.

Maximov talks about the balance of the multiple and diverse elements that create beauty, and especially between visual fidelity and art. It’s something that gets discussed rather often, and his take on the topic is very refreshing and compelling.

I won’t spoil it too much, and you can check out the full video and the slides below.

Incidentally, Maximov also talks a bit about Uncharted 4, explaining why the giant snake-shaped rocky formation appears so often in the frame in the gameplay demo we saw at PlayStation Experience.


For example if you notice, a lot of games tend to have a giant landmark object in the back, that’s sort of a landmark that you’re going to. This is a: good for gameplay, b: it actually allows you to have consistent composition with the proper background. For example, we at Naughty Dog spend a lot of time trying to guess the places where the player is going to path through, in order to try to frame that object in the background, to make sure to get a really nice looking composition specifically tailored and art directed for that particular spot.

He also provided an interesting detail on how Naughty Dog handles color in the Uncharted games:

What’s important here is to realize that making it pretty never comes as an afterthought. For example all of our Uncharted games, actually starting from 2, had a Color script, which is basically a script of… colors, for every single level of the game consecutively, because we want to be able to kind of pull back and see the progression of our colors in the scope of the entire project, and how they enhance the mood, and how they work with you to make sure that you feel the change of scenery, because there’s also a change in color. Because they influence you differently.

You should really watch the whole video below, not just because it’s an extremely interesting and pleasant lecture, but also because it’ll make you look at beauty in games in a way that quite possibly you haven’t thought about before.

If you want to see more of Andrew Maximov’s art, you can check out his own website.