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What software can I use for a (very) short film ?

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efwfew16 node
Hello,

I have an assignement to do a short 'movie' (less than a 30 secs, including 2d title screen) for my class. I was wondering what software was used for this type of work, as I've mostly done still beauty shot.
A few points that I think is important
-I have almost no shot including an animation, as this is what i'm the most unfamiliar with (only one short walk cycle, the rest are almost 'cuts' as far as character movement goes)
-I have a very dark environnement, light are keys, as well as god rays/particles. (a lot of the lighting needs to come from a fire torch)
-the style is 'stylized' (Sorry for the very broad term, think Fortnite, Overwatch, Paladins)
-As far as simulations goes, I have the character shirts and pants (still not sure about it, but I thought it could be worth saying it)
-If it matters, but I don't think so, I use Maya, zbrush, painter, designer and marvelous designer for the assets.

In the past i've used Marmoset and Arnold on maya for my shots, and sometimes unreal. I planned on using Arnold at first, but I was wondering if Unreal engine could be a suitable software. I like the particles system and the real time lighting that I think could speed up the work. I also find arnold environnement lighting a bit of a pain to work with. Is unreal used for rendering very short beauty movies ? I am a 'beginners' in rendering videos, and not still image, hence my question. Does pro studios use their own software ? 

Hope the question isn't too dumb, thanks!

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  • Ghogiel
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    Ghogiel greentooth


    For 30secs of stylised footage, UE4 might be a good choice. The whole lookdev, shader and materials I think will be a lot quicker turnaround with realtime lighting in an engine. And yes, UE is certainly an industry leading software in film/TV in it's niche, they've used it a lot to prototype storyboards to work out timing/pacings for film scenes and used it in an interesting way in recently in the mandalorian. For stylised looking materials and characters realtime renderers is a good fit, a lot of the limitations of the medium are less problematic or as apparent.


  • efwfew16
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    efwfew16 node
    Ghogiel said:


    For 30secs of stylised footage, UE4 might be a good choice. The whole lookdev, shader and materials I think will be a lot quicker turnaround with realtime lighting in an engine. And yes, UE is certainly an industry leading software in film/TV in it's niche, they've used it a lot to prototype storyboards to work out timing/pacings for film scenes and used it in an interesting way in recently in the mandalorian. For stylised looking materials and characters realtime renderers is a good fit, a lot of the limitations of the medium are less problematic or as apparent.



    That's good news, yay! Thanks
    One last question, I imagine for the little animation I have to do, I could animate it inside maya and then export it to unreal ?
    Would creating my scene in maya with animation, assets, character, and then exporting it all inside unreal, plugging the texture, creating light and camera would work ?
  • poopipe
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    poopipe high dynamic range
    You'd have to hook it all up in a sequence and jump through a few hoops but you can do that
  • RN
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    RN sublime tool
    efwfew16 said:
    I have an assignement to do a short 'movie' (less than a 30 secs, including 2d title screen) for my class. I was wondering what software was used for this type of work
    Hi. That's odd. Why is your course asking you to do an assignment and not telling you what software you can / are allowed to use to produce it? There's nothing wrong about you coming here to ask, but if you do have to come here then I believe you're not being properly taught, it's an audiovisual course that won't tell you what tools to use.
  • efwfew16
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    efwfew16 node
    RN said:
    efwfew16 said:
    I have an assignement to do a short 'movie' (less than a 30 secs, including 2d title screen) for my class. I was wondering what software was used for this type of work
    Hi. That's odd. Why is your course asking you to do an assignment and not telling you what software you can / are allowed to use to produce it? There's nothing wrong about you coming here to ask, but if you do have to come here then I believe you're not being properly taught, it's an audiovisual course that won't tell you what tools to use.

    I'm a last year student it's a end of college project. We can use whatever software we want/prefers. As far as me not being taught properly.. well I don't to want write my last year of college but yes the education i'm getting is garbage and is making me stress the living hell out of me when i'm being reminded that I need to find a job after.

    I started the project with 5 peoples and 3 out of them quit, so i'm in task of doing most of the modeling texturingof the assets and i'm the only one that used Unreal in the past so i'm also doing the lighting. The other person did most of the concept art and is doing the character model/texturing. It wouldn't be a problem if we were confident in ourselves/have an excellent level with the software but it's not the case. I'm happy that it's a short film but i don't have high hope of it being what's gonna get me a job, so i'm trying to find a balance between working on it/learning software and doing portflio pieces. My main teacher that I have has no experience in 3d, but 2d. He's busting our nuts with the 3d parts and doesn't seems to get it. Sorry for the language, the whole covid has lead to some problems in my personal life and my college project is making me tired. 

    Also for your question, yes we've never done any animation that went past a sphere moving  in my 3 years of college (despite students almost begging for it) which is why our projects has as little animation as possible, and why I was wondering if Unreal could support external animation

    Anyway it's been 3years of mess, glad it's almost over if I manage to graduate. Felt kinda good to rant
  • RN
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    RN sublime tool
    efwfew16 said:
    Also for your question, yes we've never done any animation that went past a sphere moving  in my 3 years of college (despite students almost begging for it) which is why our projects has as little animation as possible, and why I was wondering if Unreal could support external animation
    Sorry for the delay. Yes, there have been animated projects rendered using Unreal and Unity as real-time renderers.

    The process is this: animate in your DCC package (Maya, Blender, 3ds etc.), export as Alembic (it's a mesh streaming format, it doesn't store the character rigs but the deformed meshes themselves and the resulting geometry from your physics simulations), and then import the Alembic file(s) into the engine, set up the materials based on the face sets (face set = all Alembic faces that use the same material), set up the lighting etc. and render. Here's some material:

    However, if you're animating on something like Blender and planning to export your animated scenes to those engines, you should consider rendering in Blender directly. Any Blender version above 2.80 includes a real-time renderer called Eevee. 
    Rendering an animation with Eevee is similar to taking one screenshot per frame, although when you hit the "render animation" button with Eevee on the program does some extra steps so these "screenshots" have a higher quality than you literally screenshooting and pasting the images yourself. 
    Using a real-time renderer is actually a 'near real-time' process, since it takes from seconds to minutes to finish a frame -- which is still much faster than the several hours that it would take to render a single frame with Cycles + denoising all at production settings. 

    Compared to Cycles (Blender's other renderer, it's a path-tracer, slow but photorealistic), the results are quite nice:


  • efwfew16
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    efwfew16 node
    RN said:
    efwfew16 said:
    Also for your question, yes we've never done any animation that went past a sphere moving  in my 3 years of college (despite students almost begging for it) which is why our projects has as little animation as possible, and why I was wondering if Unreal could support external animation
    Sorry for the delay. Yes, there have been animated projects rendered using Unreal and Unity as real-time renderers.

    The process is this: animate in your DCC package (Maya, Blender, 3ds etc.), export as Alembic (it's a mesh streaming format, it doesn't store the character rigs but the deformed meshes themselves and the resulting geometry from your physics simulations), and then import the Alembic file(s) into the engine, set up the materials based on the face sets (face set = all Alembic faces that use the same material), set up the lighting etc. and render. Here's some material:

    However, if you're animating on something like Blender and planning to export your animated scenes to those engines, you should consider rendering in Blender directly. Any Blender version above 2.80 includes a real-time renderer called Eevee. 
    Rendering an animation with Eevee is similar to taking one screenshot per frame, although when you hit the "render animation" button with Eevee on the program does some extra steps so these "screenshots" have a higher quality than you literally screenshooting and pasting the images yourself. 
    Using a real-time renderer is actually a 'near real-time' process, since it takes from seconds to minutes to finish a frame -- which is still much faster than the several hours that it would take to render a single frame with Cycles + denoising all at production settings. 

    Compared to Cycles (Blender's other renderer, it's a path-tracer, slow but photorealistic), the results are quite nice:


    Thanks for the help- really appreciate it.
    I'm also aware about blender and it's render engines, i've read greats things and seen some great results, however i'm not interested in it at the moment. Maybe when I have more time on my hand!
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