Ambient Occlusion (AO): Why it’s needed.
Last time we talked about Ambient Occlusion in Game Art (Part 1), let’s delve a little deeper.
When we first look at objects, for a fraction of a second, we evaluate shapes and contours, and determine the silhouette of things around us. That allows us to mentally compartmentalize things into, say, “That area is a car” and “that bunch of stuff is a tree” and so on.
Once we identify individual objects’ boundaries, we then see the inner details within the boundaries, like “That’s a car mirror” or “That’s a hubcap” and so on.
In both cases contrast is what we are seeing. Or “where one thing ends, and another begins.” Contrast defines boundaries. That’s why the pictures in this very blogpost have a black stroke, or boundary, around the text; to aid in readability. Strokes work very well for 2D elements, which is why virtually all game interface elements have them, game company logos have them, and important text like game titles have them.