Blizzard is well known because of its early releases of Warcraft: Orcs & Humans in 1994, the Diablo series, the StarCraft series, and in 2004 the company released one of the most played multiplayer game ever released – World of Warcraft.
The company is one of the most well known and most loved computer game creators, updating their game releases list in 2018, by releasing teasers and short presentation videos for games like Heroes of the Storm, and Overwatch.
If you’ve ever wondered how Blizzard creates those amazing videos, you are in luck, because in this article we will explore exactly that idea.
Our team did its research and found some software that Blizzard uses in order to create the fascinating cinematics we’ve all become accustomed to. Here is what we found.
Autodesk Maya (recommended)
Maya is a powerful rendering tool that is used by the team at Blizzard to help them create incredibly vivid animation videos and game cinematics.
You can create a 3D model from scratch, animate it, apply different simulations, and then render it at high quality.
What makes Maya stand out from the crowd of 3D animations besides its incredible power, is the built-in programming language called MEL (Maya Embedded Language).
This feature offers you unprecedented customization power, allowing you to either import already created scripts, or create your own from scratch.
Here are some of the best features found in Maya:
- Polygon modeling – greater speeds of processing for Boolean operations when dealing with polygon geometry
- Can easily simulate and render real-like liquids
- Can create realistic soft or rigid body simulations depending on the 3D model or cinematic need
- Quickly render incredibly complex scenes
- Can generate templates for easy reuse of renders, settings, etc.
- Ability to integrate with other software options allowing you to create and customize all elements of the project
- Can create custom scripts, and apply external scripts by using either the MEL, or Python programming languages
- A powerful engine that allows you to manage large data sets and apply them easily to complex scenery
Source Filmmaker (SFM) is a very powerful movie-making tool that is used by the Blizzard team to create immersive and beautifully textured videos for their games and cut-scenes.
This software uses the same assets like the ones found in the games, allowing you to use any of them in your project. Any item or scene that can be found in the game, can also be used to create amazing cinematics.
SFM is a very flexible engine, allowing you to create 3D recordings that can be edited later and exported either as a movie or as a still image.
The number of elements that can be contained in the movie are unlimited and include items such as – lights, cameras, objects, animations, effects, etc.
SFM offers you access to an incredibly wide range of usable elements (more than 6000 items) – maps, models, objects, sounds, effects, animations, etc., but you can also import your own.
Because of the way this software is built, and because everything you create is stored in a 3D motion database, you can edit any element freely, at any point in the process of creating the cinematic.
In case you are not a professional, and can’t create 3D models from the bottom up, you can always create animated short movies by using the graph and motion editor, or you can download assets from the library.
Even though Source Filmmaker might seem easy to use at first because of its friendly and easy to understand user interface, it is an incredibly complex and powerful tool, so feel free to try it out.
RedShift is another powerful tool that is used by the Blizzard team to create incredibly vivid and detailed cinematics for their games.
This software is designed to work fast, being fully GPU-accelerated, and offers you access to a wide range of features fully integratable with standard computer graphics applications.
Here are some of the best features found in RedShift:
- Efficient memory management – great rendering power that is able to animate hundreds of millions of polygons or textures
- Ability to create incredibly realistic lighting effects
- Full support for OpenVDB rendering in almost all 3D apps – Houdini, Maya, 3DS Max, Cinema4D, etc.
- Powerful tessellation with support for both edge and vertex creasing
- Multi-lobe anisotropic specular by using the built-in Marschener BRDF
In this article, we explored some of the software used by Blizzard to create the incredibly realistic and complex cinematic clips we’ve all been used to for a long time.
Can you create cinematics like that? This article offers you all the tools you need to do so, so feel free to try any of the applications mentioned in this article.
Feel free to let us know what your opinion is about these software options and how Blizzard used them in the comment section below.
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