We often say that a film is a ‘comprehensive art.’
To make a single film, many fields must work closely together.
The Dark Elf cinematic video to be introduced at Art Lab was also produced through close collaboration
with the Lineage W business development team, the Lineage W art team (Lineage W Camp),
the sound team (Sound Center), and the art team (Visual Center).
Dark Elf was a series that created a new narrative in Lineage and brought changes to in-game combat.
The Dark Elf of Lineage W has inherited the features of its predecessors.
We will reveal its behind-the-scenes story of the four organizations contemplating
and working together to illustrate the original heritage through the cinematic video.
[Lineage W] Light and Shadow
– Dark Elf Cinematic Trailer
An Elf became corrupted and lost immortality as he was obsessed with power.
Dark Elf left the forest to build a new empire in Lastavard.
But the peace did not last long.
Those who have begun to divide appointed Dantes as the new king.
Blinded by great ambition and power, Dante who fell into the schemes
of Demon summoned Giltas, the Ruler of the Otherworld.
Vladika and Red Knights barely prevented Giltas from being fully summoned,
but many Dark Elves were sacrificed and Lastavard fell in this war.
Afterwards, the Dark Elves remained in Cavern of Silence to wash away the sins of
their predecessors and expanded their territory by striving to restore Lastavard.
It took 150 years. However, someone attacked their region,
and many Dark Elves were sacrificed again.
After much deliberation, the Dark Elves decided to go out into the world again
to inform the old allies of the threat looming against them
and to fight the invaders and the traitors who had colluded with them.
Dark Elf, Heritage of Heritage
Reproducinge the 'basis' of the original
Dark Elf appeared as a character that changed the battle style and created a new narrative when the compatibility between existing classes was fixed from PC Lineage. Lineage W is also expecting a new narrative to be generated by updating its Dark Elf character after the first Siege in April.
The Lineage W business team unraveled Dark Elf with three keywords: ‘connecting the original heritage’, ‘light and shadow’, and ‘past and present, contrast between life and death’. Among them, the focus was on inheriting the sentiment and narrative of the previous work, that is, the heritage.
The timing of the cinematic video that was released is also after the first siege in April. Therefore, traces of the Siege can be found throughout the video, such as barricades and collapsed Guard Towers. Dark Elf can be said to be the same class as the salvation needed for Monarch who has become powerless after being defeated in a siege.
Dark Elf from Lineage W is based on the narrative, “They lost their splendid glory but rise to revive the clan.” It inherited the characteristic parts of the original Dark Elf, such as gray hair, black clothes, a red scarf, and dark skin, and it enhanced the lonely and dark aspect by illustrating dark circles, facial scars, and slim body shape on the character.
Homage to the previous video
In the cinematic video, we paid homage to the cinematic video of the setting and climax of PC Lineage, The Cross Rancor: the sky and the earth. It originated from ‘light and shadow’ and ‘life and death’ emphasized by the Dark Elf of PC Lineage, and it visually shows the contrast between ‘life and death’ through intersecting battle scenes. In addition, the key words used in the video were used in the lyrics. Even at the climax, in order to symbolically express ‘light and shadow’, the Dark Elf that broke the stained glass on the ceiling and appeared for the first time was portrayed with backlight.
Delicate visualization that makes use
of the Dark Elf's unique features
Cinematic video should effectively tell a story within a short running time. The Visual Tech room based in Visual Center utilized new visual technologies and programs such as Marvelous Design and Unreal Engine Real Time to produce this Dark Elf image with more sophisticated way. In order to effectively reverse the gloomy video atmosphere in the first half to the climax, we worked closely with the sound team to work on the visuals.
Pre-production to try something new
From the pre-production stage of the battle scenes that intersect before and after the siege to the climax where the Dark Elf appears, many employees shared their opinions. In general, when making a video, the storyboard is drawn on several panels, but the storyboard of the siege part for this video was divided into two long pictures before and after the siege. The storyboard, drawn as long as it progresses horizontally in one space, was viewed as a set, and the character’s movement and objects’ position were calculated and placed. Based on this, each scene was subdivided and cross-cut so that every single cut is naturally connected.
Lighting and animating, the key to visuals.
In the beginning, in order to effectively differentiate ‘life and death’ and to depict confusion and misery, the background before and after the siege was composed in different forms. Afterwards, in the process of continuous communication with the Lineage W business team, only the situation before and after the siege was modified to be seen more intuitively in the same background.
To portray these two intersecting scenes, two levels and separate lighting were needed. The moment the camera moved horizontally and intersected, the objects were set to appear and disappear naturally without bouncing off each other, and the lighting was organized to contrast the color and the environment. We also focused on expressing frustration, which is the main mood of the video. In particular, when the camera moved slowly along the horizontal axis, the lighting became dimmed that the scene of the singing soldier gives you goosebumps, leading to a natural transition between scenes.
From the beginning of video production, the actors of each scene in the Visual Tech room discuss ideas together. Then, sometimes they produce animatics performed by themselves. Of course, the scene that are difficult to act directly by the actors is being performed through movie scenes or figures. At the time of pre-production, the animator’s idea of matching a soldier who was attacked and collapsed during a siege battle with a soldier who became a corpse was applied to the video through an animatic process. Thanks to this, the team managed to create a cut transition that was as natural as possible.
An even more realistic skin texture than the real one
When expressing the skin textures, we focused on the frustration of the character who lost the siege. The soldier’s skin full of the blood and sweat, the scars on the Dark Elf’s face, and the soldier’s old armor can be seen everywhere, and the density of these textures is emphasized to accelerate the harsh atmosphere of the battlefield. After collecting real or movie images, using functions such as masks and filters based on the base texture in Substance3D*, a random skin area was determined and colors were added at random. With the functions, the detailed scenes gently changed to gradation colors to express rich colors. In order to actualize the texture of the blood as well as the real one, we used the latest Material* of Unreal Engine and obtained a vivid sense of reality as a result of expressing the thickness and brightness step by step.
*Substance3D: 3D design software
*Material: A paint that can be applied to an object
Implementing visual effects for the climax
The duration of the appearance of the main character, the Dark Elf, in the entire video is not very long. However, we tried to make a strong impression with a dramatic visual. In order to contrast with the desperate emotions of the soldiers appearing in the beginning part, we processed the Dark Elf’s emotions not to be expressed well. The god who appears by breaking the ceiling is homage to the past Lineage cinematic images. As the moment the stained glass breaks is the best climax, we tried to reproduce it realistically.
The Houdini Fracture* function was used for the broken stained glass section. The UV values* of the broken glass cross section were settled, and the shape and texture of glass fragments were applied. A pile of shattered glass was created at the same time the Dark Elf fell, and an RBD simulation* was operated in Houdini. Finally, after applying the Material in Unreal Engine and checking that normal simulation data is loaded, we replaced the existing stained glass object in Sequencer*
*Houdini Fracture: A simple and natural way to split objects in Houdini, a professional VFX program.
*UV Value: The coordinate system of the texture
*RBD Simulation: Dynamics representing the motion of an object
*Sequencer: A multi-track editor of Unreal Engine for creating cinematic sequences with real-time previews
Considering the efficiency of data, the scene was composed mainly of large pieces of glass, and a particle Emitter*was added to express small fragments. With this work, the small fragments reflected the light, creating a feeling of brilliance and light leaking through. As a result, we were able to effectively express the appearance of the Dark Elf slowly appearing from the shadows.
*Emitter: Unreal Engine’s particle system for various special effects
Sound that drives cinematic images
The sound of cinematic video plays a big role in directing. From the beginning of the work, we worked on the OST through several meetings to create the overall atmosphere of the video with the Lineage W business team and Visual Center.
Listen to the Dark Elf
In order to maximize the sense of despair felt by the soldier, a ballad was produced with a calm melody that contrasts with the tragic situation. We wanted to express it like an oral folk song that anyone would know if they lived in the Lineage W worldview’. An easy melody was made by using easy and repeating motifs like ordinary folk songs.
In addition, in accordance with the concept of a medieval ballad, a mode*was used to bring out the feeling of a medieval melody, and the atmosphere of the song was created at a free tempo* by referring to Gregorian chant*.
In order to express the empty feeling, we directed the vocals to be the mid-point where there was not too much force or missing.
*Mode (旋法): A combination to convey an atmosphere based on the arrangement order of each constituent note of the scale
*Gregorian chant: Unaccompanied religious music used in the Roman precedent style
*Free Tempo: Playing freely within a range that does not deviate from the music essence
In the case of lyrics, the main keywords used in the past Lineage cinematic videos were used to make a musical homage. First, we wrote the lyrics in Korean and translated them into English. In the process, we worked carefully so that the nuances of the Korean lyrics and English lyrics fairly matches.
In addition, in order to metaphorically tell the story of the Dark Elf class, we tried to convey a poetic feeling by using symbolic words. Dark words were used to express the characteristics of the class that was weak in the dark. “Shadow” was used as the symbol of the Dark Elf, and the lyrics in the form of a prayer implied the climax scene in which the Dark Elf appeared.
Transitional sound to increase immersion
In Lineage W, each class has story content. To help with this narrative, different themes are used for each class. This in-game Dark Elf theme was applied in the highlight at the end of the video to visualize the game. The theme was produced by raising the range to create more tense and speedy feeling by revealing the movements of the Dark Elf well.
Sound effects with details
By following the camera moving horizontally, the scream of the siege can be heard even at the point of silence after the siege is over, creating an atmosphere to feel the horror of the battlefield and the fear of death. The screams were made using bamboo Soguem* and a homemade Death Whistle* instrument. It was recorded in various ways by changing the shape of the mouth to sound like a real human voice rather than a sound with a phonetic value* and we designed the sound with the sound effects called Pitch Shift* and Phaser*.
*Sogeum (小笒): Korean traditional woodwind instrument blown horizontally
*Death whistle: An instrument that produces a human scream
*Phonic value (音價): A phonetic phenomenon caused by a unit action based on the basic conditions of the pronunciation organ
*Pitch Shift: Change in pitch
*Phaser: Effect that modulates the phase of sound
In the scene where the Dark Elf appears, in addition to the sound of stained glass breaking, a twinkling bell sound was added to express hope for salvation.
A way towards creating
a single comprehensive art
In order to produce a cinematic image effectively, several components must be well coordinated. This video aims to connect Lineage and Lineage W as one while inheriting the heritage of the original, centering on Lineage of the ‘basis’. In order to effectively contain these themes, the Lineage W business team, Lineage W art team, Visual Center, and Sound Center exchanged ideas from the beginning of the planning and tried to harmonize the flow and movement of the video, visual composition, and sound. We expect that the collaboration of NC’s specialized organizations will produce more valuable results by exemplifying the process of this video production