In-Game photo studio for icons linked to items etc

I want to create a system that dynamically takes pictures of actors on demand, so they can be represented as icons in inventories, unit portraits in selections and things like that.

Both items and units are highly procedural and their looks differ from instance to instance, which means I can’t just create pictures in advance and save them with the assets.

So I need to be able to spawn and capture actors at any time in the game. My question is: how should I go about it, so that there is no interference with the game whatsoever? I mean, I could just spawn a photo-studio with the item and capture component inside at some ridiculously far away location, but I am hoping that someone has ideas how to do this the clean and proper way, like with a hidden seperate scene or something.

If you look into several engine demos, you might see often there’s a “black flipped cube” bellow the world map where Epic spawns things such as the animated logo model of Unreal 4, warning 3d texts, item preview, etc.

I would do the same, spawn a Blueprint of target model + camera where meshes are marked “only owner can see”, inside the black cube, then capture a “portrait” render texture of the procedural model and assign the texture to UI elements.

Ok, I just don’t know what you mean by “black flipped”. Is that some kind of special material?

No, flipped normals.
The black cube have normals flipped to be visible from the inside, so it can be used as a flat black background hiding everything from the level outside.

So that means the cube is technically still visible from the outside as well, right?

There’s also an option for the scene capture component to render only specific actors. That’s probably helpful, if just to reduce the rendering costs.

I guess I will figure this out. Thanks, so far.