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Edge Of Light - An Unreal Engine 4 Cinematic

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    Edge Of Light - An Unreal Engine 4 Cinematic

    Hey guys,

    I wanted to share my cinematic done with Unreal Engine 4.
    It's nothing nearly professional and I don't pretend it to be, so please consider this cinematic a "beginner" quality video.
    It's just my first finished project with Unreal Engine 4 and despite the quality I'm really proud of it so if you have some spare time please consider watching and comment it.

    I'll link the video just below here, but if you'd like to know something more about my story or want to have more information about the cinematic itself feel free to check out the rest of the post.

    I recommend to watch the video before reading the whole post because there are some spoilers.



    BACKSTORY

    My dream job is to be a game developer as probably many (if not all) of you.
    "Unluckly" life is not the same as the one we dream of and like in my case it brought me to a completely different route from programming and designing games, but back in 2015 I saw an opportunity, a path I could take to help me getting closer to my dream.
    This happened when I read this post: https://www.unrealengine.com/en-US/blog/ue4-is-free
    Since then I tried to get into Unreal Engine 4 but unfortunately I really couldn't because my job and other real life stuff were keeping me away from it.

    Some months ago I lost my full time job so I had a lot of spare time.
    This was when I finally started to learn how to use Unreal Engine 4:

    I spent some time learning how to basic program with blueprints and then I moved to learn the sequencer.
    It was then that I got an idea: why not try to make a cinematic so I can learn a lot more about the sequencer? And what about using all the amazing free assests there are in the marketplace so the final result will be visually-apealing too?

    What happened after that is in front of your eyes.

    Q&A

    General stuff
    • Why did you decide to share the cinematic?

      Well, when I started to create it I was thinking about a 1-2 minute cinematic with some little combat/action elements but everytime I was near the completition of the cinematic I kept saying to myself "why not add this or this? And what about this as well?".
      The final result was a 15 minute long video with a little story to tell.
      I liked it so much that I really wanted to share it with other people and know what they think about it.
    • As you said it is not a professional-quality cinematic but why are there so many cuts and bad cuts through the video?

      While I was making the cinematic I found out that the right music is really important to make all things come together.
      Unluckly even if I had a quite large pool of music assets to choose from, most of them were not right for what I was trying to achieve and as you probably heard, some music assets are repeated even if sometimes there are some modifications (pitch/tone/cuts etc.).
      This was a forced choice I had to make because of the lack of custom created music assets, so sometimes I had to cut a determined cut-scene around the music itself.
      The fact I kept adding little chunks of 30 seconds/1 minute duration cinematic-ideas didn't help either.

      This is why there are many bad cuts during the cinematic.

      Of course the lack of experience with the sequencer and as a "director" made things worse...
      As you are reaching the end of the video I think you can definitely see that the quality of the cuts increases.
    • If you can see for yourself that some cuts are bad, why did you decide to keep them anyway?

      My intention was to create the best cinematic I could with what I had (assets, knowledge etc.).
      Unfortunately my inexperience with the sequencer did not help.
      The first cuts of the cinematic are not well organised (camera cuts, audio, animations etc.) and this makes every cut really hard and time consuming to change.

      Aside from that I also thought it might be an informative way to show people (and mostly me) how motivating is to actually see the improvements you can make during time.
    • How long did it take to create the cinematic?

      It took me around 4 months, probably a bit more.
    • That's a lot of time for a 15 minutes video, isn't it?

      I'm sure it is but you have to consider I was actually learning how to use the sequencer and also I'm still not an expert with the Unreal Engine itself.
      Working with the sequencer taught me a lot: from "customizing" a certain animation to choosing the right music for a particular cut, from how to focus the camera to how to blend multiple animations together etc.
      The process of thinking of how to create a scene, realizing it, making it right and adding details is quite long, longer if you are a beginner.


    Technical stuff
    • I cannot find some assets you used in the cinematic. Did you miss any to the list?

      I personally recorded the sounds of the gates and the big sword when they open/close/move (you probably can hear the bad quality) but aside from that I listed all the assets I used.
      If you cannot find a particular animation or particle effect or sound etc. it is because I created or modified it.
      An example is the "teleport effect material" used by the main character.
      I modified its material by adding the "appear effect" nodes of the monsters' material of the "Action RPG demo".
      This is one of the little things that can make your cinematic feel unique and that takes away a lot of time, depending on what you want to modify and how.
    • So you didn't just use the assets as they were?

      Of course not.
      For example The Soul Cave asset was a great starting place to begin the cinematic and I didn't modify it much but all other places are 100% made by me using Paragon/Kite Demo assets.
      Another example is that I had to modify some sound assets (cutting or adding "weird" effects etc.).
    • Why did you record the gate sounds for yourself? Couldn't you find some free good-quality sound files around the web?

      I did it so I don't have to give attribuition to anyone.
      You can find everything on the internet but you never know if it's copyrighted or if it's under some license (and what license it is) etc. so just to be sure I recorded these sounds personally and then I used an online sound editor to give them some effects.
      The reason I needed these sounds is because I couldn't find anything appropriate in the free assets I had.
    • I'm bothered with how the characters' clothes don't move or move in a weird way. What happened in this case?

      I don't like it too.
      Unfortunately the paragon animation assets seem to not come with clothing animation included.
      I tried to look around (google, unreal tutorials etc.) for a fix but it seems that the only way to solve this issue is to use the actual character animation blueprint which you don't have to use to animate the characters in the sequencer.
      You can definitely remake all the animations for the cloths for each single animation asset but I don't have neither the experience nor the knowledge to do it in a proper way.

      If someone says me otherwise or knows an easy fix on how to solve this issue I'd be glad to hear it and willing to make a v2 of the cinematic.
    • When the main character is carrying the girl, the animation is not fluid at all. Didn't you try to use a "ragdoll actor system" with the girl?

      I tried it but since I had to attach the "girl actor" to the "main character actor", the ragdoll system didn't work well.
      Again, if someone knows how to easily fix the problem or has another solution please let me know.
    • Why are there some FPS drops during the cinematic?

      My apologies
      My computer is almost 6 years old and the cinematic was not directly rendered with the Unreal Engine 4.
      I recorded the video with a third-party software so the cinematic is actually played during in-game runtime.
    • Why did you use a third-party software to record the video?

      It was not a choice.
      To create the cinematic I used Unreal Engine 4 v4.21.
      Unfortunately this version of the Engine does not render the audio, so I was forced to "play the game" and start the cinematic while playing and then start the recording with another software.
      Also except the first few seconds of the cinematic and other particular cases (e.g music) I didn't use the sequencer audio but the actual sound cues placed in the scene, so I think it would've been impossible to render the audio using Unreal Engine anyway.
      A part from the recording (and some modified sound assets) everything is done with Unreal Engine 4.
    • Why are there so many changes in the resolution quality of the materials/particle effects etc. during the cinematic?

      This is one of the problems when you use different assets meant for different projects.
      For example you can definitely see the difference between paragon quality particle effects and infinity blade quality particle effects or between paragon meshes and kite demo meshes.

      The texture streaming was also a problem since its pool was a bit too large to handle for my PC.
      Remember that it's an in-game runtime cinematic and not a rendered video.

      But all in all I'm very happy with the final result.
    • I noticed there's a bit of inconsistency with the audio volume. Why?

      Another problem of using different assets.
      When you have many sound assets from different asset packs it is hard to have the same volume.

      I tried to do my best to keep it consistent throughout the cinematic but the problem is that I made it in a long period of time and I had no experience.
      The second part of the cinematic should be more consistent in terms of audio volume.
      In the next cinematic, if it'll ever happen, I'll do a better job for sure.


    Lore/story stuff
    • Has your cinematic got some lore? And if yes, what's the story?

      Yes, it has. Basically the enemy main character is a leader of an evil force and he wants to capture enough souls to become more powerful.
      He captured his "eternal" enemy's "girlfriend" so he could trap him and get both her and his souls together.
    • That's a bit poor explanation/story. Is it really just it?

      Actually no. It is more complex than just what I said. The fact is that I don't really want to "spoil" anything.
      I prefer that the viewer uses his/her imagination to think of what could've happened before this cinematic and the story behind it.
    • You said you don't want to spoil anything. Considering the open ending too, does that mean there will be a sequel to the cinematic?

      I don't want to give away much information in case I'll be making a sequel.
      Most of it depends if people like the cinematic and if they do I'll probably make a sequel but I'm also fine with leaving the things as they are.
      I really like that open ending.
    • If the sequel won't happen what can I do to understand some weird "unexplained" things happening in the cinematic?

      Leaving unexplained things to people's imagination is what makes the whole thing more "exciting".
    • Can you tell us more about the characters? What are their names?

      The enemy leader's name is Koreux, the main character's name is Taenur and the girl's name is Sarah.
      I can't say much about Koreux and Taenur because I want to leave their characters with a veil of mystery.
      Sarah is a human and she got to know Taenur not very long time ago.
    • Sarah is a human... Does that mean Koreux and Taenur are not?

      Who knows?
    • During the cinematic we've seen "a lot" of "resurrections". Don't you think it is a bit overused for just a 15 minutes video?

      Koreux didn't die. He just sacrificed part of the power he gained with Taenur and Sarah's souls to protect himself from defeat.
      Taenur got another soul from the statue so when he "died" after the first fight against Koreux he just lost one (the one that Koreux "stole" from him) and he just "awoke" with the help of the statue.
      Sarah's they only one who really got resurrected.
    • That's a bit forced if you don't know all the lore. Can't you say anything else about it?

      I really want people to think of what might be the story behind this cinematic.
      I like to let others give their own interpretation of things.
    • What happened to Taenur's armor when he "awoke"?

      He received the power to travel between "dimensions". That's why in one "dimension" his armor is white and in another one is black.
    • Dimensions... is this linked to the fact that Koreux and Taenur are not humans?

      Aren't they?
    • In the last fight we've seen Taenur's armor changing its eyes color from blue to red. Also you can hear that something changed in his voice. Did he enter in a berserker-like state?

      Maybe.. or maybe it was the "statue influence" residing in him that got stronger. Who knows?
    • Why "Edge of Light"?

      The title represents both a situation where you're stepping into a dark/evil path and a change from a safe spot to a dangerous one.


    Funny stuff
    • The main character is Greystone from the Paragon free assets but we mostly see him as a Paragon minion. Why a minion?!?

      Hey! Minions need some love too! Give them the respect they deserve!
    • Are you still chasing your dream?

      Of course I am.
      Oh and if someone is interested in hiring me I assure you that I don't eat much, I'm not noisy and I'm reliable! I'm better than a pet, trust me!
    • I'm wondering if Barcellona players are still waiting for Liverpool players to shoot the corner...

      Ahem.. ehm... *cough* I think we are a bit off-topic here but.. yeah, probably they are.
      (For reference: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n1knvHCGgUY )


    --------------------------------

    I might have missed something but I'll update the post if that's the case.

    Anyway that's all! If you've read everything you're my hero!

    Now please be easy on "harsh" comments and please be constructive if you have to criticise my work!

    Thanks everyone!

    #2
    So the camera work isn't half bad really. I mean if I had to say where the biggest improvement could be made I would suggest adding a whole lot more oomph to the impacts. You gotta add a little camera shake some dust maybe etc to make the characters landing on a surface carry more weight if that makes sense. The weapons clashing is the same idea you want to make those impacts feel heavy to the audience. But aside from that everything else is actually pretty good really. I would suggest looking up some talks or tutorials on how to get those impacts to feel right it will really take your stuff up a couple of notches in a hurry. All those old hollywood tricks for film making are great for this so look into that some.

    Keep making stuff this has a lot of potential and I definitely want to see how far you can take things

    Comment


      #3
      Thanks for the advices TerrorMedia !

      I'll try to do what you suggested me and I will also check those "hollywood tricks" you were talking about for sure.

      Thanks again man, I really appreciate your advices and I'm glad you enjoyed the video

      Comment

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