Realtime Cinema Environments in Unreal Engine

Taught by Liam Whitehouse

Course Number:
Software Version:
Original Run Date:
December 2021 
5 hours 35 minutes 
This course covers how to create a highly detailed photoreal real-time environment using World Creator, Quixel Bridge, and Unreal Engine 5. Taught by Liam Whitehouse, the course is first one at fxphd to be distributed in 4K resolution and includes over 20GB of project file downloads (available with a Premium Membership) so you can follow along with the course.

Liam is a New Zealand based Senior VFX Generalist, who has been in the 3D industry since 2003. He has worked on various projects over the past 18 years including most recently the photoreal canyon environments for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier on Disney Plus, and the hollow earth environments for Godzilla vs Kong, as well as VFX work on other upcoming high profile feature films.
Realtime Cinema Environments in Unreal Engine
Watch our overview of the course

Class Listing

Class 1: Overview

Overview of course materials, introduction to objectives and goals for creating the 3d environment and introduction to Unreal Engine. In the first class, we will open the final scene and learn the basic UI and commands of Unreal Engine so that we can navigate the scene, transform and add or remove static mesh geometry and modify individual objects.

Class 2: World Creator

Learn how to create a UE4/5 compatible terrain “landscape” which will plug into the UE landscape system used for open-world games and large scale VFX environments several KM in size in World Creator (a GPU-accelerated terrain generation software). Using reference imagery of Mars we will generate terrain in World Creator and then export it ready to use in Unreal Engine.

Class 3: Landscape System

Creation of our landscape system. We will attach a landscape material to the terrain and plug in “splat maps” exported from World Creator to make erosion and material masks on our landscape surface.

Class 4: Nanite Enabled Meshes

We cover in detail how to import and correctly use “Nanite” enabled meshes from the Quixel Megascans asset library. We will see how Nanite geometry works, and talk about some production tips on how to create and manage Nanite assets that are either photogrammetry scans, hard surface models or high resolution ZBrush sculpt exports.

Class 5: Materials and Textures

A look at how to set up materials and use textures in Unreal Engine for assets. We will create several different materials and adjust their properties, look at how to color correct and control the attributes of Quixel Bridge materials imported into UE5.

Class 6: Sky & Atmosphere

Setting up the Unreal Sky Atmosphere system to create a cloud system, atmosphere and link it to a sunlight system. We will learn how to adjust the atmosphere colour, density and the sun and skylight to achieve the photoreal lighting effects for our sequence.

Class 7: Lighting

A look at the Lumen Realtime Global Illumination Engine and how it can be used in artistic ways to create amazing new lighting setups in a cave scene in UE5.

Class 8: Camera

Using the UE5 Cinematic Camera, based on a real-world ALEXA 65 digital cinema camera with Cine Prime lenses. We will set up the depth of field, exposure, lens flare effects and other Cinematic Camera effects for our shots.

Class 9: Using Sequencer

Learn how to create a “Master Sequence” and use Sequencer, the Unreal engine tool for animation and recording of in-engine cinematics. We will animate our cameras and geometry to create several shots ready for color grading and export.

Class 10: Final Touches

Using the Filmic Curve and Color Grading tools in the post process volume. We will also learn how to achieve high-quality Cinematic Rendering and export from UE5 and the render settings inside the Sequencer to produce the highest quality results.