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UDK Video thread

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UDK Video thread

Postby The Fob » 02 Aug 2013, 00:52

Ok, here it is.
The only reason, I made the general discussion thread is because I actually wanted to make this thread and thought that just one thread in this section looks silly. :)

Anyway, as some of you may have seen on BSN and/or youtube already, I am starting to learn how to use UDK to create new cutscenes, primarily for MEHEM but maybe eventually also for other mods (I am thinking "show off some war assets mod" or SOSWAM :)) but that's for the future.

I thought it might be good to create a thread where to discuss the more technical details of making scenes in UDK and, since this is a board full of very technically adept people, some of you probably have experience with it already.

Since I am mainly working by tutorials at the moment, I'd be very happy to get feedback, suggestions and ideas.

To get things going, here are a few samples of what I've done so far:

This was my first attempt at an animated scene in matinee. Here the earth is still just a 2D texture on a flat mesh and the lighting on the ship is actually controlled through 3 different moving light sources. The UV of the reflection material is based on the specular map of the Normandy but that is actually something I want to improve, I don't like how the entire ship seems shiny, I only want certain parts to be.
Somehow the part where the Normandy's air lock is seems to be buggy and behave differently then the rest of the ship in terms of lighting reflections.
By the way, the Normandy model and textures are extracted from ME3's EC DLC (from the evac scene during the beam run). It's a much more high res model than the one you find in the intro or the Citadel docks. Also it's a skeletal mesh and I believe, I can animate things like the cargo bay doors but I haven't tested this yet. Maybe the airlock is a a bone of the mesh and therefore behaves different? I'll have to check that.

Ok, secondly, here is a video of IronHandJustice's UDK map for ME3 video scenes:

As you can see, it's a very impressive scene but unfortunately, none of our computers is strong enough atm to actually build the lihting of all the objects in this map, which is why I want to create a map that for each video only shows what is needed (IHJ is getting a new computer shortly, so maybe things will work out for him).

In the mean time, I have tried to recreate earth, as we see it in BW's cinematics, , as seen here and here.
My result so far (in preview lighting only:
Image
To do this, I am basically using this tutorial and add a couple of cloud layers/modify some values. The image above does not yet include a second sphere for atmospheric thickness. I have that in already in a newer version. I'll try and upload screens of it in the enxt couple days.

Things I am concentrating on right now:
- Making particle effects for the "smoke" that can be seen in BW's videos
- Getting high res lighting and particle effects for close up weapons fire and explosions

Some questions:
- What we really need to proceed with cool videos is high resolution textures, especially for ships. I downloaded MapZone 2.6 yesterday but it looks fairly complicated. If anyone has suggestions and tips on making high res textures (or also, if someone would be willing to make some), it'd be really appreciated. Ottams already created a high res texture for a human cruiser, which now looks spectacular but at the moment, I have no idea how to do anything like that.
- For me, when I click "create a videa" in matinee, it always crashes, even though the build and everything else works. This only happens when I set the output format to AVI. It actually works when I set it to "Screenshots". Does anyone have any ideas why this might be the case?

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Re: UDK Video thread

Postby The Fob » 04 Aug 2013, 14:06

Well, got a first little scenery together. Still misses a lot of assets but it proves that things work so far and now we can go ahead and make some scenes:

Note: This is just very quick and dirty MS Encoder footage, no camera control whatsoever and some of the effects are still completely unbalanced but it's a PoP.

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Re: UDK Video thread

Postby BDelacroix » 04 Aug 2013, 18:23

On a tangent, I'm curious about the texture on the larger ship. I tend to make my hulls more gritty and dirty and wanted to try something a bit more clean with the newer model I have in development. Not exactly MEHEM related other than seeing that hull texture reminded me of it.
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Re: UDK Video thread

Postby The Fob » 04 Aug 2013, 23:34

I got the package with these textures from IHJ, so I did not import them myself but if I am not completely mistaken, it's the texture made by Ottamis. See here and here.

By the way, if you happen to make textures for Mass Effect ships, please consider sharing. The cruiser is great for close ups but there are a lot of ships that we can only show at a distance at the moment because of their textures. E.g. the human dreadnoughtImage

the human carriers:
Image

or (a bit better but still not really up there) the turian frigate:
Image
and lot's of others.
I am more than happy to provide the low res textures and models for reference to anyone who'd be willing to help out.
I tried a bit myself but I suck at texturing. Any help would really be appreciated.


Oh by the way, I am now starting to work on particle effects. Here is my first go at the reaper weapons:

I used this as a reference.
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Re: UDK Video thread

Postby MatthewDratt » 05 Aug 2013, 07:43

I think it looks great but for IronHandJustice's video there's a lot needed done. Such as shaders, lighting, animations, camera work. In my opinion that would not fit in. I understand it might not reach Bioware's production, but sometimes things just don't work either.
Also I feel like maybe there is way too much happening. In the background everything is very brightly lit and you can see a lot of whats happening in the background, which is very unlike Bioware. (Try messing with Depth of field?) In Biowares cinematics, you focused on what was happening in the front screen while the background wasn't very visibly "apparent". (Also idk whats the plans but... don't give Shepard any new lines unless you mess around with his/her's ACTUAL voice over in my opinion-Also if you need voice overs I use a lot in my Halo mods I make so I can give you a few, in my opinion my VOs have good acting and very clean mics. Just message me if you still need VOs/want to replace dirty VO work with cleaner actors, ect).

But for the repear weapon, I think the bitmap charge at the beginning could probably close/become smaller a tad faster. The bitmap kinda freezes and it looks strange. I think it'll work but I think it would look better a tad faster to hide that. Or maybe if you could somehow animate the bitmap while it's full like that... (can't think of an example... like the "lightning" moving around as its all big like that)

For the Normandy exit video I would suggest slowing the camera down at the end. The camera turns and then it just freezes which looks odd for me.
Think of the screen in 3rds vertically. When earth fills up about 1/3 of the screen I'd suggest slowing the camera down until the video ends. Right before the video ends Earth becomes centered. It would make the camera movement much more smoother and would easy out of the camera spin and would fit the mood of the scene better for me. I do kinda like Jedsithors video reply and how he does it but the camera is moving far to fast for the scene in my opinion. I like how Earth makes the "Mass Effect Arch" but zooming in on Earth like that was far too fast for the "sad outro" kinda mood.

There are obvious textures fixes and lighting fixes but yeah.

Also I haven't been keeping up too much with this but have you tried messing with the Field of View? Try messing with that and see what looks like Biowares.

I haven't had too much experience with UDK... well none really (I can't get off my current game engine because I don't wanna have to relearn agh) but I have a decent computer. If you guys just need scenes rendered out or something and it's simply to just hand files over and hit render then I could help I assume.

Just dropping my full thoughts on what I've seen. Wish the project best of luck and thanks a lot for doing this!
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Re: UDK Video thread

Postby The Fob » 05 Aug 2013, 14:36

Thanks, appreciate the feedback and the suggestions. Good point about the DOF, I'll have to use a post processing effect there.
As for the beam sequence, in this example, the frame rate is just horrible because it was captured with MS Expression and lost a lot of quality along the way.

I do actually like that there's a lot going on in the background. It is supposed to be a huge battle after all.
Also thankks for the offer with the rendering. I'll let you know if I run into trouble with compiling the maps as they get more complex.

By the way, one more documentation vid, this time with a moving camera and Normandy:
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Re: UDK Video thread

Postby MatthewDratt » 05 Aug 2013, 18:34

Immediately at the start the camera moves left and then down. I think the left movement is a bit jarring and can simply taken out.
:09 the Reaper clips the camera (you probably noticed)
:10 the camera stops. For big action sequences I think the camera should always have some movement to it. Especially for the Normandy flying around. I think you should cut to the next scene with the camera still moving or just slowing down.
:16 I would recommend focusing the camera on something. Say if you no longer want the camera to be focusing on the normandy for some reason, I would maybe move the camera a tad up so we can see those background ships fighting. Or maybe have a ship fly across the screen with a reaper chasing it.

A lot of the background troops seem stationary, which in my opinion is fine because it leaves them in the background and not a distraction, but like another ship quickly flying through view or something could add action.
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Re: UDK Video thread

Postby The Fob » 05 Aug 2013, 23:28

Thanks. Yep, this corresponds pretty much exactly with my todo list for this scene. A few other things I want to do in addition:
- Make the debris in the background move very slowly, as it is drifting
- Add more smoke/haze and a couple of small explosions in the background
- Improve lighting on the Normandy (It's a bit too dark sometimes atm)
- Add stars (I always to this last because the only way I figured out to make it look good make the lighting builds take forever)
- Have the Normandy actually fire at the reaper as it flies through the claws (Need to make a new particle effect for that.
- Have a couple of fighters and occuli flying by as we "wait"for the Normandy at around 0:06
- Change the opening shot, so that we actually see the cruiser and the Normandy from the fromt first and the Normandy banks down the side as they fly by.

The scene is supposed to end right after the Normandy comes out the back of the reaper. The more stationary angle at the end is just a buffer for me. This is my first more complex moving scene, so it does take me quite a few hours to get everything in place and straightened out. It might be a while until I am back with a more polished version. :)
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Re: UDK Video thread

Postby IronhandJustice » 06 Aug 2013, 13:51

MatthewDratt wrote:I think it looks great but for IronHandJustice's video there's a lot needed done. Such as shaders, lighting, animations, camera work. In my opinion that would not fit in. I understand it might not reach Bioware's production, but sometimes things just don't work either.
Also I feel like maybe there is way too much happening. In the background everything is very brightly lit and you can see a lot of whats happening in the background, which is very unlike Bioware. (Try messing with Depth of field?) In Biowares cinematics, you focused on what was happening in the front screen while the background wasn't very visibly "apparent". (Also idk whats the plans but... don't give Shepard any new lines unless you mess around with his/her's ACTUAL voice over in my opinion-Also if you need voice overs I use a lot in my Halo mods I make so I can give you a few, in my opinion my VOs have good acting and very clean mics. Just message me if you still need VOs/want to replace dirty VO work with cleaner actors, ect).

But for the repear weapon, I think the bitmap charge at the beginning could probably close/become smaller a tad faster. The bitmap kinda freezes and it looks strange. I think it'll work but I think it would look better a tad faster to hide that. Or maybe if you could somehow animate the bitmap while it's full like that... (can't think of an example... like the "lightning" moving around as its all big like that)

For the Normandy exit video I would suggest slowing the camera down at the end. The camera turns and then it just freezes which looks odd for me.
Think of the screen in 3rds vertically. When earth fills up about 1/3 of the screen I'd suggest slowing the camera down until the video ends. Right before the video ends Earth becomes centered. It would make the camera movement much more smoother and would easy out of the camera spin and would fit the mood of the scene better for me. I do kinda like Jedsithors video reply and how he does it but the camera is moving far to fast for the scene in my opinion. I like how Earth makes the "Mass Effect Arch" but zooming in on Earth like that was far too fast for the "sad outro" kinda mood.

There are obvious textures fixes and lighting fixes but yeah.

Also I haven't been keeping up too much with this but have you tried messing with the Field of View? Try messing with that and see what looks like Biowares.

I haven't had too much experience with UDK... well none really (I can't get off my current game engine because I don't wanna have to relearn agh) but I have a decent computer. If you guys just need scenes rendered out or something and it's simply to just hand files over and hit render then I could help I assume.

Just dropping my full thoughts on what I've seen. Wish the project best of luck and thanks a lot for doing this!


Hi there.

As Im doing the video MrFob has referenced, and I've read you don't like some of the scenes, can you be more specific?

I respond your points (the most part, have technical/time explanation), and a bit in general.

At the newer versions, the emissives for the reapers have been lowered a lot. Besides this, I know that the projectiles need rework, as lighting. Lights and shadows are not under my scope right now, as the entire map needs a huge-computing lightmass calculation rebuilt. This is going to be done once I have my new computer. My current one, is simply not able to process such massive ammount of things.

So, there is a heavy hardware limitation that is preventing me to upgrade all properly. Is terrible when you have 1 hour to work, and you spend 40 minutes looking at the "compiling" screen. Once I have my new pc, i will remove the FX limit from UDK and let the 32GB RAM be worthy of each cent I will spent on it. Seriously, is going to be the difference between driving a van and pilot an X-wing.

Earth textures are going to be replaced by the ones seen in MrFob's videos. Same for the advanced effects. Materials will be upgraded as soon as I have some time to work at them.

I advance that this version is the first beta in order to have the whole sequence together. After the three video sequences are complete, I will start a upgrade phase for all assets. This first recording phase have lasted more than 400 hours of work, starting from almost-everything-scratch, from february to now. That's why this still not has a production-looking xD. Is more a "programming/sequence/what is going to happen" looking rigth now. Some effects as shots or movements, explosions and similars, are all triggered and syncronized via unrealscript code. Is quite hard to do, and I focused on the syncro at first place :(

Third part needs still to be recorded and assembled.

Regarding VA's, the sounds are distorted on purpose to be "radio", as bioware shows on their videos. This version had the music too loud, and voices cannot be apreciated as they are. Some of them needs just to be adjusted at the same audio level.

So, my two cents on what's missing:
-Textures/effects/lighting upgrades. Special mention to the carrier SSV Titanicus (Labeled as dread by MrFob).
-Animation upgrades
-Camera upgrades
-Audio upgrades
-FX upgrades (another team member is doing this)

You say that for example animation and cameras need reworking. Do you have any suggestions for particular moments?

Thanks for the comments.

PD: That was the version 1 of the videos: :lol:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4c_TWL-HMLg[/youtube]
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Re: UDK Video thread

Postby Ottemis » 06 Aug 2013, 16:43

So sorry guys, I seriously want to help more but due to the recent Texplorer issues I am horrifyingly swamped trying to get my own .MODs back up and running again ><
I'll have a look again at this once I'm done.

On that note though, I have done a retex of the Normandy, though it's the ingame model (docked), the wrap for the Cinematic version is apparently different. Another thing I plan to look into soon-ish.
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