How I get UNREAL ENGINE to look like a movie | FULL BREAKDOWNJan 02, 2022
For a year and a half I have been trying to figure out the
engine. Ever since I saw the qixel revival trailer that blew everyone away. I knew I had to crack this program and for the last year and a half I dabbled in the
engine. but I got acceptable results. I wasn't happy with the progress I made and ultimately just went to the 3D program. I was left wondering how people got beautiful results like this, but recently I felt something click with my latest project, so I'm here to speed up your Unreal Engine's progress by breaking down my latest project and sharing everything I know in this video to helping myself in the past and everyone else asking how I can make amazing art in Unreal Engine now before I start I have to mention that there is no way I would have made it this far in my journey with Unreal Engine if it wasn't for the help of great teachers and friends, starting with Steve Begin, who took a couple of hours every Friday morning to answer my questions.
Jonathan Winbush, who is somebody. w has a tutorial ready for every unrealistic question i ask to sam en rococo who picks up the phone every time i call to help troubleshoot and recently to william foshea whose tutorials have been a blessing during this project. I've linked these artist pages below because if you're trying to take a deep dive into the unreal engine or even just understand what all the hype is about. download, so if you want to continue, click the link in the description to start your download right now, don't waste time, then watch this video again to prove all this, it's great, so without further ado, let's make an art incredible.
These images were made as a tribute to the late environmental artist mount shrine for his posthumous collaboration album with musician sky too high, the
full10 minute music video will be released later this month in honor of caesar whose work I personally raised the bar of ambient music. Now, music is actually my number one way of generating images, so the first thing I did was listen to his album Imaginary Pathways, which I linked below, it inspired imagery of nightlife, flashing lights, and even old 90s video games. , so I've gathered references, compiled them into Prefs, and use them to create this custom concept framework.
I love this workflow because it efficiently guides me towards my specific project goals. The Unreal Engine project to
lookyour best actually starts from this point. The new project window. Each of these templates turns certain settings on or off in the engine, depending on what you're trying to do. They can be turned back on later, so no. concerns i will walk you through everything starting with enabling rage tracing and if you have an rtx card that supports ray tracing and your computer can handle it then this is a no brainer its the best way to ensure you get the best Unreal Engine results.
Let's also enable starter content, which starts us off with some items and materials to make life easier. Let's open our project and make sure ray tracing is set up. Properly navigating to edit project settings, type ray tracing in the search bar and confirm that the ray tracing box is checked in the middle. wondering why ray tracing isn't working properly like me if these steps are not followed so we can optimize our setup for the best cinematic results we need to start with a scene lit to point a camera so let's start building drag an object off the floor of our home content folder navigate your space by holding the right mouse button and pressing w a s or d like you're in a pc game q and e will raise and lower the camera while pressing f snap your vi ewport to any selected object now this slider on the top right of your viewport which controls your movement sensitivity while the options on the left toggle the adjustment for position scale and rotation lets grab some more walls and basic shapes from the actors window place hold the alt key to duplicate things until you have what you want and make sure you organize everything in your world liner it can get really messy very fast it's very important that you organize your stuff now i always use a human size figure for scaling when i build stuff at first you can get it for free along with a ton of other assets and cutscenes
fullunreal market demo.
It's a great way to reverse engineer beautiful scenes and learn through experimentation. a character for size reference at this point things are getting a bit dark so let's grab a couple spotlights to light our standing DJs with color and intensity now pretty self explanatory but the fade radius which is used to control how far the light travels you can also change the length of the inner and outer cone to get different
looks but i want to add a custom lighting fixture so i made this in cinema 4d i made it unreal engine and used a emissive material on the bulbs to give the scene a technical look and since I'm using a handful of emissive materials in this scene, let me show you how to set up a simple light emitting material with color and intensity sliders. right click in the content browser and create a new material folder inside we will right click to create a new master material which i will call mm emissive light right click and create a material instance titled my emissive light so the material instance is what will be applied to the objects in our scene to maintain performance and load times during tweaks, rather than applying the master material to everything which takes much longer to render, make changes to finally slow d own your scene but first we need to build the master material to easily edit the material instances so let's double click on the emissive light master material to jump and ya this window can look like Familiar to anyone who's made material before in blender or octane or redshift, we're going to plug different nodes into their respective channels starting with or with a color value so hold three and left click on empty space to create a constant vector of three which is now just an rgb value for this node to appear on our material instance we need to promote it to a parameter, parameters are the things you can wrap in the material instance, if I don't promote this to a parameter I'll have to open this master material every time I press save and it will take like five seconds which is way too long , so let's call it color to control the intensity, let's hold m on your keyboard and left click to create a multiply node and hold s and left click to create a new scalar parameter that we'll call l intensity for control our intensity in the material instance channel it in multiply b the color in multiply a and all that in emissive color don't forget to save and voila, apply Let's add our material instance to the custom bulb we created and double click the instance to open it, you'll notice the color and intensity parameters on the right based on the parameters we created in our master material choose an intensity choose a color and have fun now the scene looks and needs some atmosphere so look at the difference this is about to make in the actors window type exponential height fog and put it all in your scene scroll down to the box volumetric fog check box and place it on film sets, they usually add a bit of fog or atmosphere to achieve this subtle look. indoors and outdoors so it's no different in our 3d scenes let's go back and adjust the fog density slider oh but it's capped at .05 we want more so write a bigger number and break the rules , looks good and lastly we're getting weird results in the corner here so set the color fog scattered to black perfectly fixed now this is a live show setup we're creating and what a live show doesn't have stunning visuals to accompany the music so come on Let me show you how I set up an emissive video screen to play any video you want.
Let's make a video folder and drag an mp4 video file inside. up and double click on the video we just dragged, save and close. You will now notice that an underline video resource has been created. If we drag it onto a plane that can act as a screen, a new master material will be created and automatically. apply to our plane let's double click on the master material to make a couple of adjustments you can see the texture swatch node references the media player video we just created and is now piped to the base color if you want a challenge Please pause watch the video here and set an intensity parameter for this texture and pipe it into the emitting color; otherwise let's create a multiply node by holding m and left clicking and a scalar parameter with s plus left clicking we can name that screenbrightness and pipe it into multiply b the texture into multiply a and then multiply into a misscolor and hey, if you have something like that congratulations let's go ahead and save and close create a material instance by clicking on our master material and clicking create material instance double click on the instance and look at the display brightness parameter we just set , but how do we get this video screen to play in our viewport because right now it isn't and even if we hit the big play button on the right and jump to our level we still get nothing? and also i'm not trying to make a level playable i want to make some nice cinematics now if you're familiar with davinci resolve adobe premiere final cut unreal engine has something similar built in which allows you to add layer clips and anything else you want to edit or animate , it's called a sequencer and it's crucial not only to export sequences but also to be able to play back what you're working on so let's make a sequence right click and make a sequence inside the folder we'll right click go to the animation and we will create a new level sequence. and make a media track so we can add our media player resource now by default this doesn't fill the whole timeline so you'll need to drag it all the way now if you rub the timeline you'll notice it still its not playing so right click on your media track go to properties and choose your media texture video now if you rub or press play things should work fine open your material instance and adjust the brightness of the screen too now if you're trying to play this video in its real time level the process is a bit different there's a tutorial in the description if that's what you need but for easier playback let's change the cinematic viewport clicking on perspective in the viewport and selecting the cinematic viewport right at the bottom so now i have a little scene with the to work let's fix our camera settings since i started this channel in 2006 i have been making live action short films and making my short films look like real
movies was and always will be the goal and i found my knowledge of the world's cameras Real actually translates to 3D art, so if you're a 3D or VFX artist and have access to a cheap DSLR or even a cheap 35mm film camera, definitely grab one and start shooting and I promise you'll You're going to learn a lot, have a lot of fun, and all of that knowledge will translate to 3D as well, so let's start breaking down these cinematic camera setups in Unreal Engine in the Actors window.
Let's find the
moviecamera act. or drag and right-click to pilot the camera. Movies nowadays are usually shot in an aspect ratio of two three five to one or two three nine to one, in other words they are super wide screens, that specific aspect ratio is usually always wider than the screen of television or computer monitor on which it is displayed, resulting in empty space above and below the image. These black bars are so crucial to the cinematic look that people slap them on top of anything to make it look legit, although it's not the end of it. all to make your iPhone shot cinematic can certainly help so these cinematic bars are achieved by setting your aspect ratio to somewhere between 235 and 239 so with your camera selected go down to settings on the back of the film, make surehave it set to custom and enter 64 for the width 27 for the height and you'll notice that the width ratio of the ax is set to 237 which is perfectly in between our two filmic aspect ratio options but what about the depth of countryside?
We're going to lock that down, so think of this set of lenses here as the limits that our camera can operate at if you're trying to zoom out to 16mm but can't because you chose a 24mm to 70mm lens to attach to your virtual camera for the most freedom go with universal zoom giving us the ability to play between four millimeters and one thousand millimeters and stop down to 1.2 now if you know real world lenses the aperture or f-stop is essentially the amount of light that is it lets in the lens, the more light it lets in, the out-of-focus items are blurrier, so to get that nice background blur I keep my minimum f-stop at 1.2, although you can set it to .95 or lower if you want to get it going, it just depends on the shot to focus on something specific, leave your focus method on manual, check the Draw debug focus plane box and work the manual focus distance to find your subject or you can c To set up your focus method to track, open the follow focus settings and drop everything you want. ant to focus regardless of where the camera is, so now that we've decided on our minimum and maximum camera settings, let's choose something that looks good, like 50mm with a 1.2 aperture, but improve the depth of field quality with a cheat code. press the tilde key to bring up the console command menu, type r temporary point to a point up zero sampling cheers to william faulchey for this one he made a whole video explaining how and why this looks better you can find in the following description above we have a frame rate which is very important for filmic looking movies to run at a standard 24 frames per second as we are making movies. second, so you can get an idea of your final export, the last thing we'll be controlling in the camera is exposure because the unrealistic defaults are auto exposure and we want manual control over what our exposure does so to disable the automatic exposure, let's click on settings project settings exposure type and turn off automatic exposure let's change the auto exposure histogram to manual then in our camera settings in the post process open exposure and change the metering mode, as well as exposure compensation and regardless of the metering mode setting you should now be able to adjust the exposure to your liking Unreal Engine is a deep program and I've thrown a lot of things at them so far and we're not done yet we still have to talk about the export settings, but if you're still with me, I just want to say thank you. hey to all of you are the ones who really care about this stuff if you really enjoy this content please consider subscribing i do a lot of deep dive content like this in the world of 3d vfx and storytelling and if you want to get your hands on all my assets project and more check out my patreon to see if that's for you but let's dive back into unreal engine because there are still settings we need to tweak to get the most out of this program before enabling ray tracing but how do we adjust your settings to get the cleanest results? you're like why doesn't this look 100 right one reason is because you don't have post processing volume on your scene where we can control the bloom bokeh shape color correction film grain and most importantly adjust our settings graphic we're going to drag a post process volume from the actors window the place is now restricted by default to this little box but we want to modify the global settings not just the settings for this little little area so with the volume of selected post process let's find without linking and toggle the infinite spread by the way you can press g to toggle the icons on and off if that's helpful for you so let's bring the lens down and work on our bloom settings you can take the intensity of the method and the threshold to adjust them, bloom is important because it is a real world camera attribute that occurs whenever When things get very bright in dark areas the scene would be boring without bloom and using bloom convolution actually allows you to choose custom bloom shapes by changing the core but I personally didn't go that far with this scene below , under picture effects I like to add a little vignette to simulate a real world lens vignette, which is actually something you'll see removed from photographs or images, but I think it can help draw the eye towards the center of the frame, but be subtle with this grain its another one you can toggle to dirty your footage super clean this is so important i'll actually render grainless so i can add a super specific film grain from a pack or something in davinci but if not i don't have that option , this is much better than not having any at all so add it but again subtle motion blur is next so if we roll out the render functions ado, we can adjust our motion blur.
I like to keep the standard of my film. h is technically double your frame rate in our case it's 24 fps so 1 over 48 or 180 degrees in other words just set your amount to 0.5 and you'll be fine in most situations now I love them some crusty reflections and i had a hell of a time trying to clean them up i actually had my directx setup on directx 11 and my reflections looked like booty so sensei steve was like nah man directx 12 if you're trying to enable tracing so open the ray tracing reflections in your post render volume and make sure you have enough bounces two works for my scene but if you want to see reflections in reflections in reflections you'll need to increase that number up to two three four bounces, etc. until i'm happy with the samples per pixel makes a big difference too, i'll usually keep doubling the number until i'm happy with the result or until my frame rate drops significantly which you can see by the way by going to window top left and checking Show fps you can always increase samples per pixel before exporting so choose something that will keep your frame rate up to that point that's all I'm doing as far as setting up post process , but if I missed anything please leave a comment below, I learn things from you all the time.
There are two more things I want to talk about before this video ends well, first is how I fetched custom mocap data, fed it into unreal engine and cleaned things up, and second thing is my final export setup and all the code of tricks I use to push our render goes beyond what we're seeing in the viewport so since this is a dance club we need some 3d characters to dance which means it's time to get out rococo mocap suit strap on gloves and turn up the pace. I danced I danced with my little legs from the start we're talking like 10 minute takes I do this over and over and over again until I have enough 10 minute takes to fill a dance club but there's only so much dancing a man can handle like this that i recorded some animati in loop Also, to complete the mob, to get this rococo custom mocap data and make it unreal, i will first rerender using rococo's awesome filters and export a maximo skeleton because i'm about to pair this data with a maximum mesh, etc. max i will search for t-pose and then download the characters in t-pose i want to attach to the custom mocap data i just recorded so in order to pair any character with any animation we have to import everything in a specific order drag a character fbx in an appropriate folder which will indicate the fbx import options we can now leave everything blank but I have to point out that this checkbox used t0 as the pose ref now to my knowledge as t-pose is the entire pose not just at frame zero we don't technically need to check this box but if your fbx is animated with t-pose only at frame 0 you'll definitely want to check this box that way you can pair this character with other animations i'll check this out though because it doesn't hurt and impo.
While in our character folder, we see that a skeleton was created. This is the asset we'll use for any and all characters and animations we import from here on out, so when dragging a new character we'll make sure the skeleton is set to t-pose james skeleton sharing that skeleton allows us freely switch between characters and animations; otherwise we'd have to do this one by one for more than a hundred characters and that's just not possible right now when we import the custom mocap data that I batch drag and drop again we want to make sure we're using the same t- pose james skeleton and import everything so far so good but if we compare the base character t-pose with the animated character one looks normal and the other looks gumby so let's fix this double click the animation data and go to the frame one t-pose to correct long neck syndrome, click on options just above the bone tree and select show retargeting options, select all your bones with ctrl, right click and select translation set to form recursive. reorient ing skeleton bam the neck is fixed but now the characters float and it has these football shoulders so to fix the float just set the hips to scaled animation to fix these shoulders lower the shoulder bones 30 degrees and raise the arm bones another 30. that balances things out but if you save and close these arm changes they won't stick you need to keyframe and then hit apply if you want to do any further adjustments you certainly can but for my scene of club, the simple neck and shoulder solution will work just fine. and just a final note that you will need to do this for every single animation but now you can change the character by changing the skeletal mesh and the animation they are doing making sure the animation mode is set to use the animation asset now.
Wind Bush's tutorials on character stuff in Unreal Engine really helped me figure out some of this stuff, so definitely look for his channel in the description if you're trying to dig into all of this and we've finally gotten to the l. The last part of this epic tutorial exports the settings and we're going to use the movie render queue to control those export settings. The movie render queue says forget real time, let's turn this setting on for the best possible images to get the movie render. queue running we need to enable the plugin by going to plugin settings typing render movie and checking both options here once you do that it will ask you to restart and then you can go to queue movie render window cinematic let's do click on the green render and select our sequence now to modify the export settings let's click on the unsaved settings to bring up the settings and presets window by default we are exporting a jpeg sequence but if you want to have the same control about your image for color correction say in davinci resolve or premiere pro i would definitely export an exr stream and disable the jpeg you can check multilayer if you want to include other render passes in your ear xr too let's add some anti-aliasing too , which really helps clean up motion blur swatches and bo staggered rows There are two different types of anti-aliasing, but for this project I'm using 64 temporary samples and controlling the anti-aliasing button, so there's a lot to go into. how and why this all works, but this video would be twice as long if I went deeper than this, so if you want to dig into this and really understand it all, read the documentation for the movie render queue. link in description it's very well written easy to understand and they do a fantastic job walking you through each and every detail and finally we have console variables cheat codes that allow you to boost its setup on export now i have all these console variables from that documentation link i just mentioned so check it out so you can copy and paste all this into your projects so these top five turn off any noise removal that occurs while ray tracing is enabled. be a little sharper, it is recommended that the following fourcommands to be set to zero when we are running our current anti-aliasing settings and this part of the console variables is telling the engine to turn on the motion blur depth, field bloom and tone map settings to their maximum remember when we adjusted our ray tracing reflection samples per pixel in our post process volume, well i also have that as a console variable where we can take this number much higher than it is in our viewport, the variable of Final console I have for you is the dot screen percentage r this is huge because what you are doing is essentially rendering a higher resolution version of your image than reducing it down to its output resolution so if we are exporting a 1920 by 817 which, by the way, is that cinematic aspect the proportion that we exceed the point screen percentage r 100 keeps the co sas by default but if we set the screen percentage r to 200 unreal will output a 3840x1634 image twice the resolution but scale it down to fit its original resolution The solution improves your sharpness like crazy and is definitely a console variable you don't want to miss and with all that we finally find ourselves in the output settings set your directory set your resolution check the box for a custom 24fps frame rate press ok and render your scene.
They are all champs for making it this far in this video. It feels so good to finally understand this program after a year and a half and I know you can also click the link in the description. and download Unreal Engine for free, whether you're creating games in real time or photorealistic cinematics. Unreal Engine has something for everyone and please subscribe to this channel so you don't miss the 10 minute music video I prepared from this project. I also got a couple more in depth videos before the end of the year so stay excited, stay passionate and I'll catch you all later, peace.
If you have any copyright issue, please Contact