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Office Holiday

Epic Games' offices will be on holiday from June 22nd to July 7th. During this period support will be limited. Our offices will reopen on Monday, July 8th. 

[Closed] Epic's cinematic workflow?

I wonder what's the cinematic workflow at Epic, especially in regards to character and camera movement coordination. Since the camera import doesn't work (sadly), it is now sort of a split workflow (final character animation in Maya, final camera movement/cutting in UE4) that I feel is quite inconvenient.

My current workflow:

  1. A previs pass for character&prop animation as well as camera movement/cuts. [Maya]

  2. Import the rough character&prop animation, re-create camera movement/cuts in matinee, add a rough lighting pass. [UE4]

  3. Final animation pass for the characters/props and camera work. [Maya]

  4. Import final characters/props animation and adjust camera movement/cuts/blends accordingly in matinee. [UE4]

Frankly, having the ability to import the camera directly from Maya/Max one-on-one would be such an enormous time saver that I wonder how you guys can live without it.

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asked Mar 11 '14 at 05:00 AM in Everything Else

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ue4-archive ♦♦ STAFF
49.9k 3665 1991 9113

avatar image ue4-archive ♦♦ STAFF Mar 11 '14 at 05:00 AM

This may be relevant - perhaps a bit more of a "10,000ft view"

From Triangle Game Conference 2012 alt text

avatar image ue4-archive ♦♦ STAFF Mar 11 '14 at 05:00 AM

This is actually an old pipeline (Gears 2 and some of Gears 3). If you go a little further in that presentation, I present our more current pipeline.

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The question has been closed Mar 24 '14 at 05:22 PM by Ben Halliday for the following reason:

Archive thread


3 answers: sort voted first

Here is our current Production Pipeline for Creating Cinematics:

  1. We bring in rough MOCAP data into the editor and begin to shoot our scenes using Matinee cameras. Characters usually have ‘Pan’ hands, No facial, jitters and some glitches at this point but can easily be worked with to build out a scene none the less.

Each shot uses a camera and we view the overall piece through the director track. We edit the scene by adjusting cameras, animations, and miscellaneous items in the timeline. We also create our edit by simply adjusting where camera cuts fall in the director track. As a general rule we try to only use three cameras if possible. Some larger and more complex scenes require more cameras but keeping a limited number of cameras to begin with greatly simplifies editing timelines we have found.

  1. Once we are happy with our layout (Scene), its timings and camera moves we lock the scene down so there are no more major changes for animators to deal with. All shots are numbered at this point and we then export all of the Unreal Camera Data out to Maya. We also export the skeletal mesh characters in matinee to Maya so the animators can then animate characters based on our cameras. This saves the animators time because they don’t have to animate things the camera does not see and it leads to better animation in the cinematics overall.

Please let us know if you need instructions on how to export data and we can send that along.

  1. Once the animators have finished creating their animations for a shot we replace each numbered shot one by one in matinee with their new refined animation and simply get rid of any old animation data in the scene.

Example numbering for shots # 1–3 : 010,020,030

  1. We try not to change cameras at this point so that the animators work is not lost and we only add minimal polish like better lighting or minimal ambient camera motion. For example we would not recompose a shot unless we have discussed it in depth with an animator and the change is absolutely necessary. This avoids wasted work.

Notes:

  1. We review this entire process as we go and sometimes make modifications to shots, cameras and animations.

  2. At the moment in UE4 relative to initial is not working but I believe we do have plans to add that, or a similar feature in the future so that we can share cameras between Maya and Unreal easily.

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answered Mar 11 '14 at 05:00 AM

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ue4-archive ♦♦ STAFF
49.9k 3665 1991 9113

avatar image ue4-archive ♦♦ STAFF Mar 11 '14 at 05:00 AM

Thanks for the info! I hope your second note will happen sooner rather than later. Exporting is no problem but I didn't use it since the current build (1808360) still has an issue with the exported camera's rotation values in Maya. (I reported this issue on 09.08.13)

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Hi! I noticed this thread and have interest. :) Sorry me for breaking your discussion...

1 Did you ever thought about some special editor for directors/animators, or maybe to change Matinee for it?

For example, you have few "frames", which means specified camera's track. And you can see this tracks with some storyboard's pictures.

alt text

And it's also would be usefull when this tracks can be saved in different packages to allow animators work with only one track and see results separately from others.

2 I think your animators use "Maya ART tools" for this. Can you specify how exactly it works?

Thank you!

dir.jpg (73.8 kB)
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answered Mar 11 '14 at 05:00 AM

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ue4-archive ♦♦ STAFF
49.9k 3665 1991 9113

avatar image ue4-archive ♦♦ STAFF Mar 11 '14 at 05:00 AM

Both of the features you requested above are awesome ideas and already part of our plan for a future version of the Matinee tools!

As for 2) with the current Matinee, the only way to do that in-editor is to use multiple Matinee assets (timelines) and influence the same actor with both. Now different users can work on different tracks without colliding, but unfortunately you can't "scrub" the scene together very easily. As mentioned above, this workflow is important to us and we're looking at how to improve it with a future version of the tools!

--Mike

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Hi Mike, Are you looking to implement exporting translational data / splines into 3dsMax? We're animating fish and blocking out the movement in Matinee before finessing in 3dsMax.

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answered Mar 24 '14 at 04:39 PM

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Chard
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avatar image Ben Halliday STAFF Mar 24 '14 at 05:21 PM

Hey Chard,

This is an old archived thread, here mostly for reference. If you have a question about the Matinee system, you should make a new question so we can give you updated information. Thanks!

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