No announcement yet.

The Vault - UDK shortfilm

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    The Vault - UDK shortfilm

    Hey Guys

    I have always been a fan of the unreal engine and the games that epic makes. so when i heard about UDK I was really keen on giving it a go. However I never really had the time as I was working on other projects . Once the I finally got some spare time. I decided to use the unreal engine to make a short 3d animated movie starring myself. The first thing I did was to 3d scan my head.

    For this project i had only one rule and that was that everything had to be created by me. Only problem was that I was a novice 3d modeler, I hadn't ever worked in this field before but that wasnt going to stop me.

    I first started writing a script for my story

    with the script completed, I started working on the skeletal meshes/characters. Since I had mostly worked with hard surfaces/ creating mechanical components, I struggled when it came to modelling human anatomy. I realised it wasn’t practical to model human features through polygon manipulation in 3ds max, so I turned to zbrush, After about 19 failed attempts I finally turned a zphere into a baseline skeletal mesh.The base line model was then used to sculpt facial and body features for the characters of my story. With sculpting finished I moved onto texturing. Then finally to retopology /UV mapping. Although it was very daunting at first, I soon became very comfortable with zbrush and was very surprised at how easy it was to use.

    With all the character created, I then had to give them bones so they could move around. The tedious task of skinning/rigging was then performed. I hated this stage..

    I also wanted the face to be rigged as well, but instead of placing a whole bunch of bones, I used morph targets. Now I had fully rigged/textured/ low poly models ready for my animated movie.

    Then the question to ask was how am I going to animate my rigged characters? Key framing the body movements is so 1990’s, I wanted to go for something a bit more exciting/fun. Body Mocap sounded like the way to go but I didn’t like the idea of placing 40-60 markers around my body. Attaching 40 balls to your body just sounds wrong/weird. Also mocap can be expensive, I didn’t want to spend too much money developing my own mocap studio. So after a bit of research I found out that I could setup a markerless mocap studio at an affordable cost.

    With the studio setup, a calibration was performed to determine if the environment was suitable for markerless mocap. The results were good.

    Now I had to suit up into appropriate clothing to help the software as much as I could to track my movements and reduce post processing clean up times. One thing I should say is that the system is not entirely markerless, I still have 3 additional balls present on my suit, 2 on my hands and one of my head. The reason for this is because of the poor camera resolution used in the setup, Head and hand movements can be tracked and most of the time the results are good but to get that extra crisp movement tracking I attached motion controllers on those joints to reduce clean up times.Also since my movie involves a bit of action, I needed some props in order to aid in more accurate actions. So I paid a visit to the $2 dollar shop and bought an arsenal of weapons. With everything ready to go and with the help of a friend doing the directing, it was time to record actions following the script.

    Since i can only post 9 images per post , the video link for the final outcome was :

    I will continue adding more images in a second post

    After the first series of takes were completed and tracked, I found out that the mocap studio was performing well. I brought in one of my rigged characters into the scene and it would track my movements without any issues.

    So the body mocap was going according to plan. However I hadn’t recorded any takes with facial mocap . But this was no problem. I had bought a 3d camera scanner and it could also be used for facial mocap by continuously scanning your face at 30fps. First my face was calibrated to the camera while posing various facial expressions.

    Then my rigged characters were imported into the software, and I would link each scanned facial expression to a particular morph target. Once linked I could run the simulation in real time and observe my characters follow the same facial expressions as me. Best of all there is no need to stick 138 balls on your face. The process is completely markerless!!

    In fact this is same technology that was used in the latest batman video game(Arkham Origins) that came out. Jokers face was animated using markerless mocap. checkout Faceshift for more info.

    Ok with the facial mocap sorted out I got a bicycle helmet and using my DIY skills created a camera mount for my prime sense camera. The optimal distance for accurate scanning was 30cm so the distance between camera to my face was 30cm. Now I could track both body and facial mocap at the same time for those tricky shots where both movements were required.

    All the actions were then performed, tracked, and using post processing techniques on motion builder the mocap was cleaned up .

    One thing I have to say is that once again I am not really a stunt actor and so I did end up injuring myself during one of the takes where somebody dies and falls down. Unfortunately I missed the pile of pillows when I hit the ground and came into work the following week with a black bulging eye. Everyone taught it was laser related...( since i am a laser scientist)

    Anyway I have got to get back to the lab, I will continue to update this thread after work, you can check out the final outcome in the link above.


      You will have to learn well unreal material editor, unreal matinee and others very well !

      Here's a movie i made with matinee kismet and others.. didn't take me to long was just a test to take conclusions in order to make a big one, As well as predefining my workflow when making one.


        Nice cinematic man.

        With the mocap stage completed. I got everything together and began importing models into UDK. After all my skeletal meshes were imported with their animations, I started creating the environments by starting off with the terrain. Then static meshes were developed on 3ds max and imported into the engine. They were placed at various locations, to create the scenery. Once placed, the textures(on photoshop) were then created, followed by the materials and finally lighting added. A final layer of post processing for each scene was added to add an extra layer of polish. Over 75 static meshes were created during this stage of the project. I did use 5 static meshes(trees and foliage) of the default engine as well in one of the scenes because those models were pretty good and went together with the scenery present. Here are some scene screenshots:

        The Jungle

        A red desert

        Materials/shaders for the custom textures were also created:

        using the tools in the unreal engine, individual takes were put together into scenes(kismet and matinee). Multiple cameras were used to obtains different shots during a scene, these shots were then edited and used to compile into a movie.Particle effects for weapons / wind gusts were also created from scratch during the movie. Skeletal mesh weaponry was also created from scratch.

        Matinee video editing

        lighting and post processing were added to all the scenes

        With regard to voice acting, the primesense camera has a built in microphone and speaker, so the facial mocap voices were recorded during the mocap stage of the project. The voices for different characters were then alternated by modifying the audio files on audacity. Sound effects/ music was added in the background and finally all scenes were put together to create the movie.

        Initially when I wrote the script I was hoping for a 5min video but as I kept working on during the mocap stage I taught this was going to lead up to a 10min video and then when I put everything together it was 30mins. So I cut out 10 minutes worth of footage to drop it down to 20 min. I was hoping to cut it down further and didn’t want to remove anything else so I kept the remainder intact.
        The movie was rendered on camtasia and uploaded to youtube. Note: I have never done any acting in my life before and so the facial motion capture doesn’t look too good due to my inability to act…
        Link to video (watch it in 1080p):


          Also I created the following poster for the shortfilm and had it printed in A3

          And why not 3d print a 40cm tall statue as well:

          how about printing a T-shirt as well...

          and I guess since i am using the unreal engine I may as well create a simple FPS using Kismet

          I think thats all, o wait by the way in the film , I come across a special gauntlet. So special that I decided to build one in the garage using a high power laser:

          you can check out , how powerful it is by going to the following video:

          The project took me about 8 months to complete. This was because I was learning while creating.

          The softwares used were:
          3ds Max
          Unreal Engine
          Artec Studio


            Wow that's crazy ! Is it a game or what exacly ? Really good looking like gears of war.

            i'd add more desaturation to the graphics more bloom and some DOF.


              yea it is a simple game, I didnt set out to make a game but since I pretty much already had everything ready from the movie, I put everying together to make a simple Fps, its kind of like duck hunt very simple.