The Shipment - Sci Fi short(est) film

Hello everyone,
since I’m stuck at home, like most of the poeple in the rest of the world, I had plenty of time to speed up the process of assembling my first scene in Unreal Engine. I picked up an unfinished hangar environment and a spaceship i did few years ago, and tried to optimize them for realtime. The ship is still heavy as a rock, I will have to figure out something, but the environment, which is still a blokout so far, is entirely modular and is coming along. I also wanted to play around with the lighting and cameras, just to set the mood, so I can understand where I need to put more details and spend more time on. Here are the results so far:

And some screenshots using cameras I will need to animate.


I’ve to say I had a lot of fun learning how build an environment while I was actually building it. UE has been fairly simple and logic so far. I have quite a lot of issues and doubts though, that I’d love to discuss here if someone is willing to share some tricks and knowledge. I’ll drop a few in the next post.

  1. Litghtmaps: Despite increasing the resolution of the lightmaps on the relevant assets up to Green, which I don’t know if it’s good pracice or not, I still get quite low res lightmaps. I tried to change the “static lighting level scale” from 1 to 0,1 and I also tried to build for production, but despite making the build time waaaaay longer, I didn’t achieve a noticeable better look. Any idea of what might be? Most of my lights are stationable and I’m not sure where I can improve the samples for those lights.

  1. Light density: It seems to be pretty low and also I checked if my stationary lights with shadows are overlapping each other and it’s all good. But despite that, the framerate is dropping a lot when I show/hide them. I think I have quite a lot of them, but I don’t know if they’re too many for Real time standards:

Regarding the lights, I’m wondering if IES profiles are heavy and if replacing a group of lights like in the circle no. 3 with just one with a light function will help. Also in the circles no. 1 and 2 I’m using a static light with shadows for illuminating the scene and bake the shadows, and on top of it I’m using a stationable light with an extremely low intensity value and no shadows to control the Volumetric Scattering Intensity. The results is looking good, but definitely is not helping the performance. Is there a way to have a static light and to control the Volumetric Scattering Intensity?

  1. Reflections: I tried to activate Ray Traced Reflections. In theory looks much better than SSR, but there is plenty of noise and I can’t get rid of it. So annoying that went for **SSR **(quality at 4 is pretty good). Is it a common issue or am I doing something wrong?

  1. Bloom: I kept the bloom at very low intensity, untily I discovered the Convolution method. Looks much nicer that the normal one, at least for static renders, but as soon as I move the camera it takes a moment to process the lights to create the effect. Since I’m planning to have camera movements, I was wodering if there is a way to avoid this issue or should I stick to the normal bloom instead.

  1. Exponential Height Fog: It’s MARVELLOUS! I just started to play around with it and it’s incredibly good, but I have a problem: since this is an outer space station, I need to confine the effect to the interior of the hangar only. But I can’t figure out a way to do that. Is there a way to create two separate environments within the same map, one affacted by the fot an one not?

I’m super happy to dicsuss these topics and everything elese related to lighting, as I’m really just learning here and there are some many things I can do better, or in a more clever way!

Then I got carried away… I tried to figure out a decent way to solve all the challenges I had to face to make this video. Many things are still very rough, this is “just” the complete edit of the film. Not it’s time to work on the textures and the shading and then fine tune each shot. C&C on very aspect are more than wellcome, as I still want to improve some many things on this and I’m happy to discuss! Thanks for watching!

I cannot discuss lightning but I can say that’s very neat skills you got in your hands!
The only thing I’d change is this walking animation, when Mr Mannekin goes to its ship. that’s Han Solo’s style!
keep it up man!