Unreal for Filmmakers

Taught by Michela Ledwidge

Course Number:
Software Version:
Unreal 4 
Original Run Date:
February 2018 
6 hours 52 minutes 
Convergence between film/TV and video game pipelines has arrived in the form of virtual production tools and video game features that support linear storytelling. As realtime film continues its slow progress towards mainstream acceptance, there has never been a better time to get to grips with storytelling “in engine”. Understanding the why, how and when to use realtime rendering as opposed to offline rendering is a valuable skill for any filmmaker. The key to effective use of realtime engines on-screen and on-set is understanding how game cinematics are produced.

Professor Michela Ledwidge has designed this course to teach you how to build on your traditional film/TV skills and apply them in the creation of a realtime short film. Using the Unreal Engine, Michela provides a detailed overview of concepts every artist should know about designing, building and re-purposing assets for realtime use, as well as setting up a pipeline for publishing desktop, mobile, and VR experience. Building on the popular fxphd course “Writing, Directing and Animating a Short Film”, this new course “Unreal for Filmmakers” contains nearly seven hours of instruction as well as animated film assets.

Michela Ledwidge is an artist and director with over 25 years production experience in experience design, realtime audiovisuals and software development. As an early web pioneer, Michela’s career spans storytelling and systems design. She is co-founder of studio Mod that creates immersive interactive experiences and is also a Vice President of the Australian Directors Guild. Michela helped set up the University of Sydney Digital Humans lab and launch the #MeetMike avatar experience at SIGGRAPH2017 in partnership with Epic Games.

Her personal website is http://michelaledwidge.com
Unreal for Filmmakers
Watch our overview of the course

Class Listing

Class 1: Project setup

Project setup. Project Templates. Folder structure for UE4 and external assets. Asset management including level creation in Content Browser

Class 2: Asset import and review

Asset import and review. What to import. What to recreate and enhance in-engine. FBX import options. Static and Skeletal meshes. Materials and Textures. Camera setup

Class 3: Cinematics setup

Cinematics setup. Matinee vs Sequencer. Master Sequence and Level Sequences. Shot setup. Sequencer Tracks for Camera Cuts, Animation and Sound

Class 4: Mesh particle system for bees

Mesh particle system for bees. Material update using texture coordinates.

Class 5: Mesh particle system for leaves

Mesh particle system for leaves. Static mesh import. Material update for SimpleGrassWind effect. Bone/Socket location and velocity update. Copy/paste parameters.

Class 6: Main Menu screen

Main Menu screen. Credits screen. Keyboard shortcuts. Widget blueprints. Unreal Motion Graphics UI Designer (UMG) Designer and Graph modes. Text and buttons. Execution flow between Widget and Level Blueprints. Keyboard events.

Class 7: Credits screen layout

Credits screen layout. Animation in-engine using Curve Editor and key interpolation types. Hide Mouse Cursor. Built-in events like OnAnimationFinished. Event Dispatchers.

Class 8: Interactive overview

Interactive overview. Level blueprints. Actions. Built-in events vs custom events. Sequencer event track. World Camera Shake action. Debugging using Format Text and Print Screen actions.

Class 9: Post process effect overview

Post process effect overview. Post Process Volume. Effect Bounds. Effect keyframes in Sequence. Vignette. Depth of Field. Dirt Mask. Ambient Cubemap.

Class 10: Packaging for Windows

Packaging for Windows. Project Settings. Maps and Modes. Target Hardware. Supported Packages. On device testing. Updates. Camera position. Button size. Button state colours.

Class 11: Packaging for iOS on Windows

Packaging for iOS on Windows. Apple Provisioning Profile & Certificate. Remote Build Options. Mobile onscreen joystick. Power of 2 settings in texture. Particle optimisation. Alignment optimisation. Console commands for troubleshooting.

Class 12: Render Movie

Render Movie. Sequence Shots and Sub Scenes. Muting tracks. Render Movie Settings.

Class 13: VR introduction

VR introduction. Project Settings. Spectator Pawn. Sequencer updates. Landscape manage, sculpt and paint. Import library project. Migrate actor to new project.

Class 14: Landscape paint

Landscape paint. Target layers. Layer info. Landscape material setup. Layer Blend. Landscape Grass Type.

Class 15: VR setup

VR setup. Clean up - boy visibility. SteamVR plugin for HTC Vive. Blueprint functions. Blueprint actions for HMD. Set World to Meters Scale. Set Tracking Origin. Player Start.

Class 16: Deep dive into advanced project - A Boy and His Ki

Deep dive into advanced project - A Boy and His Kite (GDC2015). Open world landscape. Maya Animation and Rigging Toolkit. Animation State Machines. Crowd agents for spawning flocking fauna. UMG Animations for heads-up display. Random sound cues.