CG Spectrum's 12-week real-time intensive is for media professionals and studios looking to up-skill their teams and foster the next generation of real-time artists. Learn Unreal Engine from the ground up and create high-quality short films from scratch. Prior experience in Unreal Engine is not required.
Who is this for:
Get access to a cutting-edge curriculum, 5 x weekly live sessions with industry mentors, small classes (2 real-time experts for every 4 participants), personalized feedback on your work, plus a supportive community to network and share ideas with others. Here's what you'll be learning:
Learn the basics of game editor workflows, including how to install, open, create and publish a game project. Become familiar with file management practices used in the industry, then start bringing models and animations from Maya into Unreal Engine. Get an in-depth look into the material editor within the game engine to match results seen in Substance Painter, and see how to create material effects that need to be prepared and tweaked within the editor.
Assignment: Install Unreal Engine and use basic level building tools, including migrating 3D assets between projects and importing static and skeletal meshes from Maya, plus explore the material editor and build material effects.
Explore the necessary plugins, tools, and settings to develop a solid foundation in world building. Dive into landscapes, starting off with a powerful tool known as Gaea. Explore additional methods of creating landscapes in Unreal, with the Landmass tool, and texture these landscapes. Move into more advanced texturing methods, such as creating your own blending materials, bringing in your textures from Gaea, and delving into the water system in Unreal Engine.
Assignment: Create a landscape in Unreal Engine with advanced textures and a water system.
Good lighting is critical to building a compelling scene. Learn the basics of light, from enabling ray tracing in your project, to exploring light types and how they work. You'll be guided through a film breakdown where you dissect a shot and see how to replicate it. Next, you'll concept, plan, and layout your environment. With a blockout of an environment in place, you'll start replacing grey boxes with proper models and bring your environment to life. You'll also learn photogrammetry: the process of scanning real-life objects into 3D models to use in your 3D worlds.
Assignment: Use reference to grey box and set up lighting for a landscape, before fleshing out the scene with assets and a reality capture scan.
Continue building your environment, replacing the blockout. Finalize core sections, and start detailing. Add decals, advanced materials, and foliage to make your world feel more compelling and more real. Discover how to work with cameras in Sequencer, adding camera shake. Learn set dressing: the process of adding props to your scene to make it feel more lived in. This lesson covers Raytracing features, such as shadows, reflections, and advanced global illumination methods, plus lighting and atmospheric effects such as fog, and volumetric cloud effects.
This lesson covers optimization workflows for your world environments. Discover how to breathe life in your scene, and gather tricks to help you grow as an artist. Then, in what is arguably the most satisfying part of the process, learn how to render shots with the Movie Render Queue. You'll see how to choose the right file formats and best settings for maximum quality. With shots rendered out, you'll learn color grading (and see why it is a critical part of the process) and become confident using Davinci Resolve, the industry standard for colorists.
Learning the basics of Unreal and how the animation systems work includes understanding the underlining workflows used in game production which also apply to assembling character animations within cinematics. This week, you'll learn to work with characters controlled by user input within your project. Begin from scratch with a new character, and learn to use existing blueprints to save time. Animate your interactive character and be introduced to animation blueprints, including a jumping control. Next, you'll whitebox a level and see how to quickly convert design ideas into actual gameplay. Use modular environment pieces and trigger volumes to build a level with an obstacle challenge for the player to overcome.
Assignment: Add player movement using animation blueprints followed by grey boxing an Unreal Engine level for gameplay.
Learn rigging in Maya. Start with a high-level introduction to Maya's interface and build a basic rigged prop. See how these steps are applied in game development, then delve further into rigging toolsets to create your first character skeleton. Move on to motion capture and see how it’s used in real-time development. You'll learn some of the systems used in the industry to create high-level character animation, and how to use the output in motion builder.
Assignment: Create a rigged prop and character, then animate them using motion capture.
Practice a typical industry-level workflow using a character and a prop within an environment using Unreal Engine’s cinematic tool ‘Sequencer’. This will illustrate successful Unreal-based retargeting and animation blending which crafts new storytelling content within your scene. Using a pre-setup robot skeleton, you'll build your own control rig from scratch and explore solutions for achieving fully animation-ready rigs within Unreal. As facial performance capture is a crucial part of virtual production, you'll learn to capture and process facial animation and bring characters to life using Faceware Studio.
Assignments: Implement sequence blending into your project and complete the control rig. Apply facial performance capture from a live or pre-recorded source to a MetaHuman inside of Unreal Engine, and create a recorded track using Take Recorder of that animation.
Learn virtual production techniques within Unreal Engine using the Cine-Camera actor, Movie Render Queue Tool, and third-party editing and finishing applications. Automate mundane tasks and increase control and creative interactivity by exploring blueprinting methods to set up a user-controlled virtual camera. To achieve cinematographic realism achieved by human-operated cameras, you'll look at VCams, the Virtual Camera app, and a tracked Virtual Camera using a motion controller allowing you to have human-operated virtual cameras. Practice organizing sequences into subsequences, using proper naming conventions, and learn World Outliner organization for linear cinematic media projects. Finally, use Take Recorder to record animation in your viewport at runtime, and use it for playback and as separate animation sequences.
Assignment: Using an Unreal project, frame up and export six still frame camera positions. Complete a rendered sequence using the virtual camera created from blueprints and integrate tracked virtual camera shots within your sequence.
Discover how to create customized digital human characters for your linear cinematic projects without an extensive background in character design. Setting up your characters within Unreal to be ready for virtual production and real-time workflows is crucial, yet the process is often overlooked. Since we’re working in an environment normally used for non-linear content, you'll learn how those systems and tools can help create a more defined character setup inside the editor. This allows for automation, procedural animation, blueprint-based events, and more.
Assignment: Create multiple digital humans to integrate into your project.
Advance your virtual production skills by blocking out a sequence involving traveling subjects. Using a pre-existing base sequence of actions and props you'll learn how to shoot them in a way that feels intense and action-packed. This sequence will be worked on over multiple sessions to solve timing and shot selection, eventually creating a video file of the finalized shots.
Assignment: Construct a vehicle sequence using the sets provided and block out a high-action sequence.
This week will cover In-Camera VFX workflows, and you'll watch an interview with a lighting artist within an LED virtual production environment. Explore behind the scene setups and discuss some of the challenges facing technical artists within this field. As you continue to work on your project, you'll also reflect on thoughts from industry professionals within the virtual production space. Consider what direction you would like to focus your work towards and what steps you can take going forward to achieve that goal.
Assignment: Listen to interviews and gather questions and thoughts for discussion with your mentor that will help focus your career direction.
Limited places available, register your interest
12 week intensive
Simon has been working in the game industry since 2005, and was credited as the only technical cinematic animator for Batman: Arkham City at Rocksteady Studios.Read full bio
Carl has worked in the industry professionally for over 17 years. He started his career at Gearbox Software and is currently a World Building Director at Gearbox Software.Read full bio
Deepak is the Producer for film, TV, and virtual production at Epic Games' Unreal Online Learning platform and is sharing his real time production expertise with students at CG Spectrum.Read full bio
The CG Spectrum training solidified my skills using Unreal Engine.
Having used it briefly before, and feeling overwhelmed by how big the range is of what you can do using the engine, the training taught me the areas I would need for virtual production very well. I now feel confident with the skills I have gained.
Study options for all skill levels, from short introduction courses to full industry programs.
12 weeks - 20hrs weekly
Go from installing the Unreal Engine to creating a fully playable character within it. This short course helps beginners wanting to work in film or games get the hang of working with the engine and surrounding pipelines including basic rigging, animation and motion capture.