Unreal Engine 4.22 does more than pre-visualisation
With the launch of Unreal Engine 4.22 Epic gifted us with a range of new tools and features to help the engine in every way from VR experiences to virtual production pipelines. Unreal even dedicated virtual production its own section in its covering article. Although it was nice to give virtual production the recognition, it was pitched in a slightly underwhelming way, as a realtime pre-vis tool.
Delivering final pixel quality in Unreal Engine.
Virtual production is obviously able to provide pre-vis to the VFX industry and has been dong so for years. But we’ve moved beyond this now with Realtime Pipeline™. Today we are delivering final pixel quality with realtime rendered CG assets in Unreal Engine.
Unreal engine for virtual production
So lets take a look at what Unreal Engine 4.22 brings in for those of us interested in virtual production.
Unreal Engine released its new real-time compositing with composure (early access). This feature gives crew members the ability to see how their green screen will work with their Unreal level. When used as pre-vis it can provide the director with an idea of the final product or help third party compositors work off set in postproduction.
The Engine now provides support fir the use of Media Frameworks and professional video I/O systems, this means capturing and rendering content can be done within the engine. This opens the engine up allowing it to become a key part of a bigger system.
You can now use the Unreal Engine to leverage your post-processing pipelines to allow effects like ‘light wrap’ (when over the talent layer theres a mask of the background which allows the lighting on the talent to be adjusted making a smoother composite.) Unreal is now fully optimised to help when using applications like AfterEffects or Nuke.
Chroma-keying, despoil and tone mapping can all now be adjusted with the introduction of built in render mapping. This gives Unreal developers the ability to adjust their levels with the use of custom passes that can be made. Providing full freedom with render passing.
Theres a improvement to hardware accelerated video decoding (although its experimental for now). On windows you can now use your GPU to improve processing of H.264 streams. This provides better smoother video and higher resolution movie files with lower stress your CPU.