Unreal Engine 4

Started by Seth, July 01, 2015, 05:28:39 pm

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It's a bit cartoonesk, I liked the beach much better.


Yeah I know it is a bit gamish, cartoonish kinda render, but try to do that quality animation ;)
We've been doing TG for years now, hu ? And who can bring an animation of that quality, with that many animated details, that light and camera moves, that design and all ? And I am not talking about what a studio team with freaking army of render machines behind them. Nope, I am talking about us. Who, in here, can show me something that good ? :D

So yeah, I agree, the beach looks much better but the lighthouse stuff is still better than what we usually do ;)


Agree here too.
But again to be fair, TG animations and scenes are not worse and its not too much harder to build a scene in TG than any other soft. But UnReal has real time... Which would make all the difference in the world in TG. Because the only *real* problem with TG (IMO) Is that it takes too long to get good feed back.
When I don't finish a project the way I set out to in TG, its almost always because I loose interest after too much trial and error with too much time, not because TG can't do it.

It should NEVER happen, that you get a scene done and then you discover problems! But because of no good feed back, often the only way to know for sure if there is a problem (like popping) is to do an expensive render.

The thing about UNreal is, its only going to get better, and faster, and more Real. And GPUs are only going to get more powerful and cheaper. And for story telling where the scene is not viewed in real time, the quality is as good as anything out there already.
It has been eaten.


July 05, 2015, 01:43:13 pm #18 Last Edit: July 05, 2015, 01:48:17 pm by Oshyan
The realtime engines (Unreal, Unity, Crytek, and more) are doing amazing things, and have been for years actually. The thing to keep in mind of course is that the main reason most of it looks so good comes down largely to good assets (i.e. 3D models, textures, etc.). This was especially true in years past, but even now as the engines get more capable of handling larger textures and higher geometry counts, having good assets matters a lot. Unreal and others are adding cool realtime effects (that have been standard in rendering engines for years), like Depth of Field, and approximations of GI (even TG's GI is still more accurate outdoors though), but in general the number of capabilities and quality still pale in comparison to a full, "offline" render engine (including TG).

Unreal (and others) come with lots of great, high quality assets that these companies spend thousands of dollars (probably much more in some cases) developing. Take the Kite demo for example. The terrain was created in World Machine by a dedicated artist, and then they sent a team of people on location with a bevvy of expensive photo equipment to take 1000s of reference and texture photos, as well as photogrammetry of all the objects they planned to use. Then they made 3D models of all those objects from these real world samples. Sure, then they populated the rocks, trees, etc. around, but consider the actual in-engine modeling process - it was probably some of the *least* of the actual work done here (animation of the main character surely took more time and effort, for example). Have a look at what it took to build it:
Oh yeah, and the main character in the demo? They had a *dedicated team* just for him:

The same is true of amazing demos like this one (not realtime):
Everyone *loved* it when it came out, but look at the Making Of video here. So much comes down to the quality of the assets. What would happen if you took those same assets and used them in TG? How long would it take you to "build" the scene (mainly placing objects) by comparison, and how realistic would it look vs. what Whiskeytree did there? Here's a quote on how that project was created:
Athens was an internal development project to improve our layout tools and see how much geometry we could push through our lighting pipeline (XSI / Arnold). The project had a 6 week schedule though we finished the project in 5 weeks. At the peak of asset creation we had 14 artists dedicated to the project during the first 3 weeks. Once assets and layouts where complete the crew scaled back to just a few people to finish the shot.

14 artists! Even after it was scaled back, there were still "just a few people" finishing it. The vast majority of scenes here are created by *one person*. That makes a huge difference, as you can hopefully imagine. So OK, you can start up Unreal and get an amazing looking scene in a few minutes. But that's primarily because there is a big library of assets there. Those didn't come for free either, of course, they have an asset creation budget, a team of people creating things *just* for people to be able to use them with their products. Epic is one of the most successful, profitable companies in the game industry, so it's nice they're using some of that money to create shared assets for people to use. :)

Anyway, it all just makes me wonder what would happen if you took the same assets that are being used in these demos and use them TG. I think it's only then you'd have really valid comparison. I don't think it's about Terragen "not doing a good job" now, like I said it's more about the assets people have available, and the resources to create those assets (e.g. the Unreal project has a whole team of asset generators who have budget to go on-location). The animations (camera moves) in the lighthouse demo are all simple, easily done in TG. Even the grass animation doesn't look any better (to my eye) than doing Mesh Deformation in TG, a technique that few have really experimented with but is readily available since TG 3's release.

Personally (well, and professionally) I would love to see people do more with TG's capabilities, and you see folks like DocCharly65 coming in here and doing some frankly amazing things with animation that no one has tried before. So there's clearly a lot of untapped potential, and it is partly just driven by interest/desire, ingenuity, and persistence. But ultimately for scenes of the quality we're talking about, it really comes down to resources and time (and budget), unfortunately. And few in the TG community seem to have enough of any of them to not only push the envelope, but to come out the other end with new and innovative *finished* products. For example DandelO has stunned the community multiple times with totally unexpected and impressive animations of various things, but seldom if ever has he been able to produce a finished product with it. That's no knock on what he *has* done, I think it just comes down to what I was saying above: lack of time, resources, and budget. Hire DandelO, Hannes, or any number of other talented, creative people here (i.e. give them money), and pair them with a team of asset builders, animators, etc. and you could have some pretty amazing things coming out of TG. Think about what Ulco creates *by himself*. Planetside animated both the Garden of Eternity and Ponte Salario, but all the asset building was done by him or with e.g. Xfrog models. Now imagine what could be created with the kind of resources behind Unreal, but on a TG project...

All that being said, we're definitely interested in TG being a more capable asset generator for other systems, as well as improving tools for world building in TG itself of course.

- Oshyan


I agree with mostly everything you stated but when you say "The animations (camera moves) in the lighthouse demo are all simple, easily done in TG.", I must say that after so many years looking at TG renders and animations, I am still waiting for something like that to happen in here.


But the camera moves are simple. Only the circling near the end might be a little harder. The animation module needs of course more work.


July 05, 2015, 04:44:20 pm #21 Last Edit: July 05, 2015, 04:49:36 pm by Kadri

That sounded kinda wrong without showing anything.
This is a scene from my animation made with Terragen.
There is flicker.The reflective surfaces made the animation too long, i had to cut corners.

Anyway...For basic camera moves it is up to the user what he can make in Terrgen.
And if you import camera moves from other software there is nothing you can not do.


This is a bad encoded version with temporary sound.


yeah man, but the animation is not only about camera moves :)
I've been doing camera moves on TG and I imported some from Maya few years ago to have more interesting moves. But I was talking about the overall quality f that UE4 anim.
Sorry to tell you that your short link doesn't match the quality of the lighthouse thing. None of my anim matches that quality. And... well, you know I am not saying TG is bad, otherwise I would not have spend years on it. What I am saying is some game engine, working real time, can make quite good looking atmo, and texture and it is simple enough to work with.

Of course you need good obj and all, but try to do a good forest render with shitty obj in TG ! the problem is quite the same. I never stopped complaining about trees quality since the beginning of my playtime with Terragen :D


That shot was only about camera moves. Quality is of course another thing.
That scene took over 3 hours per frame and needed much more higher settings that i can not afford unfortunately.
We are talking about different things as it looks :)


I'm not sure what you're looking at then Seth. Something that is not the animation (movement), or some other aspect of the movement that is not the camera? Or do you mean overall scene quality? That is, as I said, mostly due to the quality of the assets.

- Oshyan


Like what you wrote Oshyan. I agree mostly too. But the one thing is just the really fast feed back that makes problem solving much quicker and more enjoyable.

However, if we are talking about your Athens link, then I agree 100%. In that case, feed back would be VERY fast in TG, since objects render in almost no time even with high settings in all respects. In this case again, it is as you said and not bad at all. And Of course, moving objects around by hand is much much better in TG now than when I started. I am quite happy with that mostly.

Also, I had never seen that Athens video before. I really enjoyed it!

It has been eaten.


Quote from: Oshyan on July 05, 2015, 08:21:52 pm
I'm not sure what you're looking at then Seth. Something that is not the animation (movement), or some other aspect of the movement that is not the camera? Or do you mean overall scene quality? That is, as I said, mostly due to the quality of the assets.

- Oshyan

I meant the overall quality of the animation movie :)
Not only the camera moves.
Because if you're talking about only the camera moves, well then, I agree we can do smooth stuff in TG, of course, and far better importing from third party software.

What I wanted to say was that after so many years, I never watched an entire animation movie from TG like that stuff from UE4.
I am not talking about background sky or mountains in movies, but just TG stuff :)

A bit like the logo intro from "I can't remember which company" Matt did few years ago. And even that short shot... I would like to see it before the compositor worked on it.

I am not sure I made myself clear, but I don't want to say TG is bad, obviously, otherwise I won't bother using it, but sometimes, I wonder why the f#ck we don't have a bunch of freaking movies everywhere on the internet advertising it !
I think that last sentence is quite a summary...

So, either it's because something's wrong in the way we use TG, or it is impossible to do animation movies without a NASA computer and a huge render farm or we, users, are just a bunch of losers.
Because I can't understand that we don't have those TG movies, and that UE4 has loads of stuff already all over youtube


Funny way to say it seth. But I understand your meaning now ;D
It has been eaten.


I think render time is certainly a significant issue, though that's true for *any* non-realtime software when doing landscape animations. You do see some more Vue animations, but most are of poor quality (there are lots of poor quality TG animations to be found on YouTube as well, if that's your interest, hehe). So yes, I would say render time is probably one major reason we don't see more. Unreal of course solves this problem, producing "good enough" results without *any* render time (essentially).

There are lots of benefits to realtime engines, and a few drawbacks, some of which will be more important to certain users... Choices may need to be made, but fortunately both Unreal and TG are compatible with similar asset formats, generally speaking, and Unreal is of course free. So experiment with both! :D

- Oshyan


QuoteI am not sure I made myself clear, but I don't want to say TG is bad, obviously, otherwise I won't bother using it, but sometimes, I wonder why the f#ck we don't have a bunch of freaking movies everywhere on the internet advertising it !

I think cost is certainly a factor. The cost of the TG animation version is beyond the budget of your average hobbyist I am afraid. I wish there were a limited no cost version with animation.