Even More Unreal!

Last post, I began describing my experience using Unreal Engine software. It has truly been the most exciting and inspiring time I’ve had since I first got into 3D. Nothing else compares and I have become immersed in it. As a designer involved in product development and marketing for many years, my work largely consists of creating models of a single product and its design variations, as well as animations showing how they function. Largely, it is a process that competes with photography as it can be photo real, but without environmental limitations.

One of the great features of Unreal Engine is the use of cinematography, i.e., moving the ‘camera’  through the scene to create animation. For the most part, using Maya for animation in the past, the models moved, not the camera. Rendering in Maya is so time consuming that moving the model and the camera can be time/cost prohibitive. Rendering speed is the number one feature of Unreal Engine. It is lightning fast! Almost a hundred times faster than Maya.

So, it’s taken some time to learn what Unreal can actually do for me. The results continue to amaze. One learning sample Unreal offered for my exploration was a downloadable big city metropolis, originally used in the latest Matrix film, full of moving traffic and people that interact with me in real time. And the detail is as real as you want to make it. I’m fully aware that artists in the gaming industry have been experiencing this for a long while now, but it is all new and fun to me.

My goal isn’t in gaming though. There is already plenty of that being created out there. It’s story telling that excites me. With Unreal, I am virtually looking through the camera lens, being my own director. I have enjoyed all the anthology-type short story series that Netflix and Hulu have offered in the past few years, containing multiple short videos, from 5 to 10 minutes long, some using stylized looks, while others are photo-realistic. It’s perfect for the independent designer. I have my own movie and sound studio right on my desk.  

For years, I thought I had to model the whole scene. Now I’m more interested in putting the scene together with prebuilt elements and filming it. So, for my first test clip, I decided to create a short street scene in a “CyberCity”, inspired by Philip K. Dick and  William Gibson’s sci-fi cyberpunk novels. I’m still a step away from animating my character and making the characters talk. Close, but not quite. I’m starting with voiceover/narration for now. My first person character can talk inside his head as he moves in space and interacts with his environment and other characters. 

I’m still loving 3D model making, but this adds so much creative stimulation. In the new environment for film and video cinematography, there is no longer “on location”. A giant surrounding cylinder screen with background images replaces the location and can change in a heartbeat. That’s the principle I’m using inside my little clips. So my character can walk several blocks with a constantly changing parallax background, as the camera moves with the viewer.

Check out my first one minute clip. I’m excited to show it to you. 

Let me know what you think. More to come soon.

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Bill Giobbi (bgob1) is founder and owner of Linea Forma Design, a 38 year old design firm specializing in creating graphic content for print, web and video. He is a graphic designer, industrial designer, model maker, technical illustrator and a digital 3D content creator/animator, with a love of all things design.
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4 Responses

  1. Elisa

    Excellent, Bill!!

    • bgob1

      Thanks, E. More soon.

  2. Gayle

    Awesome Bill! Looks very fun. You even got your love of cars into the clip haha. Nicely done. Hope you outbid that dude!

    • bgob1

      Thanks. It’s so fun. I named the car a Petrolliac LeGas convertible. Did you like the “dummy” behind the wheel?