UE the best tool to develop my project?

For performers we wanted to create interactive graphics effects on live stage for best graphics results.

something like this ://youtu.be/maEyV0MacpM

Question is what can be the best tools and methodology to achieve this.
I want mostly concentrate on artistic side of the project so possibly with no coding.
UE it’s a beautiful realtime graphis engine but what about content creation and animation?
It’s also not built for this kind of projects, there are any experience building this kind of live effects? What I need to concentrate on, particle system?

Options I’ve considered are:

  • match moving + realtime animation software
  • Motion capture + game engine for real time effects animation
  • Animation software for effects design and animation + game engine for live rendering
  • Augmented reality technique
  • Something else?

UE4 can definitely handle the particle effects side of things.

In terms of the performance side there are two options I can think of that would work with UE4.

  1. Kinect 2.0
    There is already a community driven Kinect 2.0 plugin which will allow you to use the Kinect realtime for interactive experiences. Though the Kinect has trouble with complex movements.(namely rotation as the kinect is a singule device capturing the scene from one direction).

  2. Perception Neuron.
    Neuron is an inertial motion capture platform that can be used in real time. Their Kickstarter just completed funding (over 2X their goal). It was designed with VR, mocap, and stage performances in mind, but can be used for many other applications and it doesn’t matter if it’s real time or not. The nice thing about this solution is that it is inertial which means it has sensors built in that track its own movement through space; no line of sight is necessary. That means it can be hidden under a costume if necessary. That said for it to be wireless it does need a WIFI connection, though I think clothing isn’t thick enough to interrupt the signal. So far they’ve only shown Unity integration, but they confirmed that their will be Unreal integration as well. It releases to backers February of 2015.

You can find out more here: https://www.kickstarter/projects/1663270989/project-perception-neuron/

You can definitely do that, however if there’s not any integration for the motion capture hardware you want to use then you would have to code it yourself. Depending on the interaction you may have to code things for that as well. That would be the case with any game engine.

UE can also create this kind of effects?

://vimeo/68406063 (after min 5:27 the final result)


Will I need to code to create this kind of effects or can just use blueprints?

Also game engines are to only option to achieve real time interactivity?

My concern it’s the fact UE as the others game engines are made with other goals in mind, so reading the documentation I find references to a lot of things I really don’t need (AI, actors, guns, levels, …) where my main need it’s to create/import assets and animate them. I’d try to simplify the work as most is possible.

Yes, you can make those things with blueprints only. But as darthviper said hardware integration is what you need to worry about, and that goes for every game engine.
Btw, UE4 is a game engine but that doesn’t mean it is used for games only. There are many other areas it is used for which you can see in WIP, Released Projects sections of the forum and all over the internet.

I will use only commercial hardware already integrated into UE for easyness, the choice appear to be only Kinect 2 right now. Hope more than 1 Kinect can be used with the plugin.
Neuron appear to be nice but it’s too complex, cost more and it’s invasive, can’t think classical ballet performers going around wearing all this things.

My question was not about UE4, it’s mostly an effort to be sure game engine are the only tool I can use for this project.
3D graphics it’s not my work (even if it’s my passion from the outside) so it’s difficult for me to understood the whole 3d chain from asset modelling to animation to realtime rendering and interact with.
Also about 3d chain apart from UE4 what other pice of sw will I need to complete this kind of project? 3d modeller + animator or can I just use available assets and animate them inside UE?

Basically you need a modeling and a texturing software. For modeling you can use 3ds , Maya, Modo, etc. or use Blender if you dont want to spend money, and you’ll need Photoshop(or Gimp, which is free) to prepare your textures. Once you prepare your models and textures you import them into the engine and create those animations and scenes. You won’t need an animator i think since there are no character animations from what i see in those example videos. Epic also gives us a ton of free assets but i dont know how much of them you’d find useful so you should get UE4 for one month, check out the free assets and then decide if you need to hire a modeler or not. You will still be able to use the editor if you decide to cancel your subscription for as long as you wish.

Always reading Blender does have a steep learning curve, not good for someone most interested into the artistic part and don’t want to being lost in technicalities.
Others are really expensive, what about Cinema 4D? Can be good for my specific needs? Need I to wonder about costly addons?

Cinema 4D works as well, though i have no experience with it. Addons depend on what you need for your projects. If you need very high quality, unique textures you may want to use Quixel dDo or Substance Painter. And for organic modeling Zbrush or Mudbox helps a lot. I dont know if you have any time constraints but you may want to hire someone for modeling and handle UE4 side yourself if you have no idea where to begin with modeling and texturing. Learning all of those softwares we’ve mentioned and then getting a convincing result can take quite some time.

In my opinion this actually just depends on the user -> e.g when you havent used a 3d program before, it is pretty easy to start with blender. :slight_smile:

I heard that C4D is a pretty user friendly program, but in my opinion it is not so good to use it, because not many people have experience with this program -> so when you have a problem it could take a while until you solve it :wink:

Maya LT is cheap and has a ton of information and tutorials around. Along with the largest share of the 3D software market using it.

Sure I’ll ask for help, I’ve already contacted one really good 3d artist in my country. All depends on costs, so I’m trying to assemble a pipeline where I can manage most of the tasks.
About animator: in fact I think we will use characters, since Kinect input will animate characters that will be not visible in fact but will interact with all the other digital elements flying around. Meaning I need an animator or not? Also animator is needed normally only to animate characters? Or might I need it also to animate the other non-character elements?

Never used a 3d program before. My concern is as I read Blender it’s especially difficult to start learning on. You mean it’s difficult to learn only if you need to convert your experience from other programs?

I’ve had a try on Maya many years ago when still was Alias Research. Wonderful but complex, and also if I good understand focused on animation, that I still need to understand if it’s a part we need to focus on in an external specialized sw or we can do it all in Unreal.

In my opinion it is and was like that :wink:

I dont know how Kinect integration works so i cant say anything about character animations. But i dont think particle and object animations would require an animator.

you can make those things with blueprints only. But as darthviper said hardware integration is what you need to worry about, and that goes for every game engine.
Btw, UE4 is a game engine but that doesn’t mean it is used for games only. There are many other areas it is used for which you can see in WIP, Released Projects sections of the forum and all over the internet.