Home / Development / Insomniac and Naughty Dog weigh in on the benefits of HDR for devs
‘Because Ratchet & Clank wasn’t authored in 4K the addition of HDR has a lot more punch than the improved resolution,’ says chief architect Al Hastings

Insomniac and Naughty Dog weigh in on the benefits of HDR for devs

Hot on the heels of Sony confirming that it would introduce support for high dynamic range (HDR) to all of its PS4 models, two of the platform’s biggest studios have offered their thoughts on the nascent visual technology.

HDR allows compatible displays and monitors to show a wider spectrum of tones, meaning that colours can appear brighter while blacks are made richer and darker, without sacrificing overall graphical quality.

Sony’s original PS4, as well as the newly-unveiled PS4 Slim and PS4 Pro, will all support the output format.

Christian Gyrling, lead programmer at Uncharted and The Last of Us developer Naughty Dog, praised the tech as expanding the available palette for games artists.

“My personal versus company feel [is that] HDR is really the future for me and for the studio,” he told IGN. “We’re really excited to allow our artists to make use of these colours.

“For a long time now they’ve wanted to show these colours but we’ve had to do things like tone mapping and various other things.

“We’re working hard to make this most believable image, representing the world as fine as we can detail-wise, but the groundedness is lost a little bit when you suddenly have to crunch down your colours to something they weren’t intended to be.

“Opening that up now means that those artists now have a couple of more tools in their arsenal to say: ‘You know, I really love opening up the range here and showing all the brights and all the darks at the same time, and I don’t have compromise.’”

Insomniac Games’ chief architect Al Hastings said that the studio would be implementing support for HDR in both its upcoming Spider-Man game and already released titles, such as Ratchet & Clank – adding his belief that the format could be even more effective at boosting visual quality than the much-discussed 4K ability of the PS4 Pro for older titles.

“For our Spider-Man project we’re really working as hard as we can to build a really rich, detailed version of New York City and the amount of detail and improved fidelity you can get on a 4K display – especially a 4K display that has HDR – is pretty stunning,” he explained. “It’s a real step forward.

“At the same time, I’m going back and changing our last Ratchet & Clank to also support HDR and 4K output and, so far, what I’ve found is because it wasn’t authored with 4K in mind the addition of HDR has a lot more punch than the improved resolution.”

Take a look at Sony’s sizzle reel for the PS4 Pro’s 4K and HDR visuals (if you can view them on your current display) below:

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