A couple of months ago, we were getting super excited about the release of Forza Horizon 5 by Playground Games and Xbox Game Studios. At the time, what we couldn’t tell you is that expert photographer and BenQ ambassador Nicole Francine Holmes was pivotal in the making of the open world racing game. Nicole’s expertise in photography and Playground Games’ desire to have a realistic depiction of Mexico in the game came together very nicely. Photogrammetry is increasingly important in making graphics for video games, and Nicole provided Playground Games with countless photos on which the design team based in-game assets.
We had a chance to talk to Nicole about her involvement in Forza Horizon 5, and are grateful she took the time to answer our questions:
- How did you get involved in the Forza Horizon 5 project?
- In August 2019, Playground Games contacted me to see if I would be interested in taking texture and photo reference captures for a high profile game development project. They found me on the internet and saw that I lived in Mexico and that I spoke English. At that time, I had never heard of Playground Games or Forza Horizon, and thought that maybe the email was some kind of scam. I replied to the email and said I was interested in learning more about the project.
- Can you share what your role as a professional photographer was in the development process?
- My role was taking photos and producing reference photography with photography techniques such as photogrammetry. As a photographer, my role was very important in the development process as the game’s visuals are based on real photos. As a result, the visuals in this game are outstanding and the reference photographs are an integral part of that.
- Forza games in general pride themselves on realism and accuracy. Do you think your work helped with this?
- I do, as the imagery is real and accurate. The skies are real skies, the bark of trees is accurate as are the stones and rocks, the sand at the beaches, the leaves on the trees, the grass and all surfaces, the texture on the outside of a building, and even down to the colors of the buildings. We did very detailed photography for this project, and a Color Checker was absolutely necessary.
- Do you think people playing Forza Horizon 5 will benefit from the content you contributed?
- I think if you have never been to Mexico, you will be extremely surprised with how beautiful Mexico is and how much it has to offer. It is an amazing country, rich in culture, food, and a variety of landscapes such as the ocean, lakes, mountains, volcanoes, snow, forests, deserts, and cities