GDC 2014

GDC 2014 Session Scheduler

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Export Schedule:

Surface Tension: Liquid Effects in The Last of Us

Eben Cook  |  Lead Visual Effects Artist, Naughty Dog

Location: Room 3016, West Hall

Format: Session
Track: Visual Arts
Vault Recording: Video

In The Last of Us you spill a lot of blood during melee combat and gun fighting. It was important that the effects had a realistically rendered appearance even if the amount and use of blood was stylized. The blood and water in the game needed to have the physical properties of liquid, such as surface tension, reflection and refraction, all represented by a shader on a particle. This session goes in depth to show the tools and shader techniques developed for the blood and water particles in The Last of Us.


Technical artists will leave the session with an understanding of how surface tension, reflection and refraction were represented in the liquid shader used in The Last of Us. Additionally, they will learn about the specialized input textures the shader requires, as well as the tools developed to produce those shaders.

Intended Audience

This talk is for technical artists or rendering engineers. They have experience writing shaders (or constructing them in a node graph editor). They also have at least a basic understanding of vectors and UV distortion. Familiarity with particles is a plus.