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I need to rant about the "eyes adjust" auto-brightness effect as much as i can.

nkarafo

Member
Why so many like this effect? Why is it here to stay?

A game i'm waiting for ages to be released (Titanic Honor and Glory) have recently added the effect (or made it more pronounced) and it looks so much worse because of it, yet the producer sounds excited when he sees details slowly appear from absolute darkness or blinding light because "duuuur, it's like how our eyes adjust".

I'm talking of course about this:



And before you post, let me first say NO. This is NOT how your eyes work.

This is how your eyes see the outside world when you are in a tunnel or building:



Do this now. Close all windows in your house except from one so it's somewhat dark and stand in front of than one open window and look outside. With your eyes, not your phone camera. Yeah, the world doesn't look like an atomic bomb blast stuck in time, does it? If it does then you should stop reading and go to an ophthalmologist ASAP.

So no, it's not a realistic effect of how or eyes adjust with light changes and all that fluff. Our eyes do something similar, sure, like when you are in a dark room and someone turns on a bright light very abruptly, it's painful for a second but it's not the same. And if you are in a pitch black room, eventually you will be able to see a bit more. It's a much, MUCH more subtle thing though. This annoying overblown crap above is what happens to shitty cameras, not your eyes. So, if you like this effect because it's fancy/artistic/cinematic or something, more power to you. But if you just accept it because it's "how your eyes work", you have been misinformed. It's a camera defect, just like chromatic aberration. It's something you would normally want to avoid.

Here's also why this visual effect is crap, even artistically though. It's like an auto-brightness adjust on your TV/monitor settings. In some games (like Resident Evil 8) it can get pretty bad. Everything looks overly dark or overly bright until you sit still for, like, 3 or 4 whole seconds for the TV to adjust and for the details to actually appear. It's like a video lag of some sort. Why would you want it? And unlike other undesired deffects like chromatic aberration that rarely add anything, this effect can't be disabled, even on PCs! It's a visual effect buried deep in the game's graphics/lighting code i imagine.

Also, think about it, would you turn ON an auto-brightness effect on your TV video settings?

This thing has become a standard, only because it's another fancy visual effect like motion blur, chromatic aberration, vignette, piss filter, grain filter and all the other stuff they put in front of you in order to distract you and make it harder to see. Because in modern games, fancy visual effects > visibility. Maybe they don't trust their own art or something so they add all that stuff to cover it. Who knows.

In conclusion, playing older games without this crap looks and feels so much better (and realistic because without this, it's closer to how our eyes work).

So, don't let this take over every game and would you mind cutting off some points from your user reviews when you see one using it heavily so we might get rid of it in the future?

Thanks.
 

kyliethicc

Member
Some games are actively trying to replicate photography/cinematography. Hence why plenty of 3rd person games add effects onto the "camera" that are not realistic for how we see with our eyes.


As for 1st person games trying to replicate how human vision works, Call of Duty Modern Warfare does a few interesting things like this:

 
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nkarafo

Member
But being able to fly, being shot repeatedly and recovering after a little rest, being able to run and jump forever, being able to fall hundreds of feet without a scratch, etc., etc., is realistic?
I don't mind doing all that as long as i can see properly what's happening.

If the world is a blinding flash stuck in time when i'm taking cover in a building, it makes my game harder without the benefit of "being realistic" which is usually the argument for this kind of effect and the reason most people think it exists for.
 

MetalRain

Member
I wonder if this effect is some sort of performance optimization.

You don't need to render outside world if player can't see it or if it's so hard to see, you can render it in lower detail. Games are full of tricks like that, it wouldn't surprise me if this was the case.
 
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Wildebeest

Member
Eyes have two ways to adapt to different levels of light. Pupil dilation and using different light sensing cones. Pupil dilation to dark means you let more light in, so bright things would look brighter. Using the more sensitive cones is something that takes longer to adjust to and is normally represented by desaturated colour palettes in games. Although some games look washed out all the time for no raisin.
 

nkarafo

Member
One answer - HDR.
This was a limitation of technology back in the day. Now we have HDR to do this properly
Older games don't have this problem though.

It's like they created a new problem and now use HDR to fix it.

Just an option to disable the damn thing would be enough.
 

rofif

Gold Member
Older games don't have this problem though.

It's like they created a new problem and now use HDR to fix it.

Just an option to disable the damn thing would be enough.
I don't know about some games but for example half-life 2 hides level loading behind that white wall.
And if you sit closer in the dark, normal light does seem brighter. It's not entirely unrealistic
 

Wildebeest

Member
I don't know about some games but for example half-life 2 hides level loading behind that white wall.
And if you sit closer in the dark, normal light does seem brighter. It's not entirely unrealistic
Half Life 2 the lost coast was the first to really demo this sort of effect. I don't think it was in the base game at launch.
 

nkarafo

Member
And if you sit closer in the dark, normal light does seem brighter. It's not entirely unrealistic
This isn't a black or white issue though. I get that some subtle changes in brightness can be had and look realistic. But games go overboard. There's a difference between something looking a bit brighter and the flash of an atomic bomb blast.
 

Sosokrates

Founder of western console warring.
It does happen in real life , I once went in an abandoned train tunnel and once your in the entrance was just a white light
 

rofif

Gold Member
Half Life 2 the lost coast was the first to really demo this sort of effect. I don't think it was in the base game at launch.
It was in half life 2 int he tunnels. You could not see the end of tunnel 1:46

Not an "eye adaptation" but along these lines.
The whole eye adaptation is still not a terrible idea. The screens are not bright enough and have dynamic range wide enough to make your eyes adapt. Just as 60fps is not enough to not have any motion blur since you need like min 240hz to stat filling missing information with frames.

Anyway - We now have real HDR displays, so I think this effect can start dying.
 

nkarafo

Member
It does happen in real life , I once went in an abandoned train tunnel and once your in the entrance was just a white light
I travel through tunnels every day. I can clearly see the outside world from the opening. I don't think i have super sight.
 

kikkis

Member
It's actually difficult problem to solve with modern pbr pipelines while maintaining both good looks of filmic tone mapping and visibility needs of gameplay. Some suggest local tone mapping to solve but it's not as filmic like said with good contrasts and there really isn't any performant algorithms for local tone mapping.
 

Sosokrates

Founder of western console warring.
I travel through tunnels every day. I can clearly see the outside world from the opening. I don't think i have super sight.

Well the entrance was small, its a 2 track train tunnel entrance that has been bricked over, there is just little holes where bricks have come out and a entrance about the size of a hobbits door, inside its pitch black, I had a 2000lumen flashlight which could not illuminate the tunnel.

I think angle, light conditions etc etc must determine visability.
 

nkarafo

Member
You travel through pitch black tunnels?
Yes.

And it's not like games use pitch black interiors anyway. Even something as a normal house, with a slightly dark ambience, is enough for devs to make the outside look like a blinding flash from a window. They go overboard all the time with this.
 
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amigastar

Member
Elex is notorious when it comes to auto adjust by entering and leaving a house.
But see for yourself
 
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Schmick

Member
It absolutely happens in real life but it depends on how fast you are travelling. Of course game designers may exaggerate.

Your pupils take longer to adjust when transitioning between a dark area to a bright area.

For instance, in a car, travelling through a highway tunnel; the artificial lighting near the end of the tunnel provides higher illumination then the rest of the tunnel to assist with that transition from dark to bright.
 

Yoboman

Member
Yes.

And it's not like games use pitch black interiors anyway. Even something as a normal house, with a slightly dark ambience, is enough for devs to make the outside look like a blinding flash from a window. They go overboard all the time with this.
What pitch black tunnels are you travelling through every day?
 

rofif

Gold Member
No need for HDR. This was never a problem in the past.



Just don't use the effect.

It's that simple.
just because old games didn't use it, does not mean it was correct.
In this example, the cave/bunker is not very dark and the outside is not very bright.
There is absolutely a room for the effect. don't be delusional
 

Portugeezer

Member
I wonder if this effect is some sort of performance optimization.

You don't need to render outside world if player can't see it or if it's so hard to see, you can render it in lower detail. Games are full of tricks like that, it wouldn't surprise me if this was the case.
In some cases it probably is as it would hide anything which may not be properly rendered yet.
 

rofif

Gold Member
I don't know their names.
but you don't travel the tunnels in complete darkness.
You travel in a metro. Your eyes HAVE NOT ADJUSTED to the dark because it is not dark in the metro.
If You traveled in pitch black tunnel and saw an opening to a 12 'o'clock beach party, it would be super bright....

why are we even arguing how eyes adaptation works lol. This is how it is.
Screens just don't work that way to make your eyes adapt. Unless you play good hdr screen in complete darkness
 
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nkarafo

Member
If You traveled in pitch black tunnel and saw an opening to a 12 'o'clock beach party, it would be super bright....
It would be bright, yes, but not bomb blast white flash bright.

But it's not just pitch black tunnels either way. In games, even tunnels with lights inside will generate that blinding light regardless. In both Forza and Drive Club, there are big tunnels that are far from pitch black, yet the exit is still a blinding white that only clears up if you pass it. Even if you are close to the exit you still can't see shit. In other games you are in a house, with plenty of ambient light, yet it's still a wall of pure white light outside the windows.

I don't doubt that this happens in real life in a very subtle manner. But game devs don't know subtlety.
 

NinjaBoiX

Member
I wonder if this effect is some sort of performance optimization.

You don't need to render outside world if player can't see it or if it's so hard to see, you can render it in lower detail. Games are full of tricks like that, it wouldn't surprise me if this was the case.
My first thought.
 

Hendrick's

Gold Member
If you start looking for ways that games are not like real life, you are going to find an endless list of things because games are in fact not real life.
 
Well, it's because they want to simulate camera behaviour as closely as possible for a more cinematic experience, no? Some people like it, some people don't. 🤷‍♂️
 

winjer

Member
It's called eye adaptation, it happens with our eyes when going from a dark place to a bright one.
But in games and cinema it's exaggerated to the point of being stupid.
I wish game devs would stop trying to copy the worst parts of films, like eye adaptation, film grain, chromatic aberration, motion blur, etc.
 

Closer

Member
Look at how realistic it is the light not bouncing everywhere and having eyes cameras without irises too
 
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DeepEnigma

Gold Member
Some games are actively trying to replicate photography/cinematography. Hence why plenty of 3rd person games add effects onto the "camera" that are not realistic for how we see with our eyes.


As for 1st person games trying to replicate how human vision works, Call of Duty Modern Warfare does a few interesting things like this:

Basically this. It’s an artistic choice of choosing between how the camera focuses and produces the image vs our actual eyes.
 

Karonoth

Member
I'm all for realism and immersion, but developers being obsessed with adding camera effects has always been a bit dumb for me. Especially when the game is in first person, and you are supposedly seeing though your characters eyes, not a camera.
 

Reizo Ryuu

Member
It's an exaggerated camera effect, and it can be kinda annoying at times.
There's is this tunnel at the end of the highway in FH5, and while you can go full blast through the tunnel, right after it is a pretty strong turn, but because of this exaggerated brightness you can't actually tell you need to start braking.
Whenever I do a race on that track with friends, I always tell them over chat to remember to start braking before exiting the tunnel lol.
 

IFireflyl

Member
There's is this tunnel at the end of the highway in FH5, and while you can go full blast through the tunnel, right after it is a pretty strong turn, but because of this exaggerated brightness you can't actually tell you need to start braking.
Whenever I do a race on that track with friends, I always tell them over chat to remember to start braking before exiting the tunnel lol.

As I was reading through this I knew that a game had pissed me off with this issue recently, but I couldn't remember which game it was. It was this. If I'm not mistaken, that's during a race where the sharp right leads into a dirt road and then into a small town area. And that stupid blinding light made it impossible to see when you should start to turn right, and you couldn't even see the checkpoint markers you had to go through until you were right on them.
 
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