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Motion Design in Unreal Engine

By Jonathan Winbush
After EffectsCinema 4D

Unreal Engine is a program you can't ignore anymore. From real-time rendering to incredible integration, we're excited to show what it has to offer motion design

If you’ve read my article here on School of Motion or even watched the Unreal Engine 5 hype video a few weeks ago, you know that Unreal Engine is all the buzz right now. You may be thinking, "Can I use real-time rendering to speed up my workflow?" and quite possibly, "Are studios actually using this technology?" The answer is...yes.
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Unreal Engine offers a number of incredible features for game developers, commercial production, and feature films, but it is also a workflow enhancer for motion designers. Slap a helmet on your head, because I'm about to blow your mind.

Motion Design in Unreal Engine

Capacity for the Unreal

To give a clearer picture, check out Capacity! Capacity is a motion design studio that's been cranking out high-level content using Unreal Engine for game trailers and conference openers.
Capacity is a perfect example of how you can use Unreal Engine in motion graphics to create high-end animation.
From CG trailers for Rocket League and Magic the Gathering, to creating broadcast packages for the Promax Game Awards, the team at Capacity will tell you that Unreal Engine was essential in their workflow.
Unreal Engine allowed them to take action on feedback received from their clients almost instantly. Just imagine what that kind of real-time response could do for you own projects.

Unreal Engine Fits Into Your Pipeline

During this year's NAB, I took part in C4D Live and created a show opener for the event. This was a showcase in working between Cinema 4D and Unreal Engine. The seamless integration of these powerful tools allowed me to deliver a show-stopping—and award winning—video for all to enjoy.
If you want to know more about that project, check out this interview with Maxon. I walk through setting up the scene in Cinema 4D, building assets, and then showing the power of real-time lighting and environment changes inside of Unreal Engine.
For those After Effects users out there, I just finished a logo animation for Grant Boxing using similar techniques. I sprinkled a little After Effects in there to polish everything up and give it that professional sheen.
Unreal Engine can be used alongside the applications you already know and love today to create something awesome.

More than Quick Revisions

Think about this scenario, you already created your motion graphics piece for your client using Unreal Engine. All your assets are already there right? Wouldn’t it be cool to offer your client more bang for their buck?
Since your assets are already built out in Unreal Engine, and it's a real-time rendering program, you can then go to use that project to create new experiences iterated from your existing project; think augmented reality or virtual reality.
This video is using Unreal Engine 4, but the principle remains the same

Fix it In Post

Green Screen tech has been a crucial staple in Hollywood magic for decades. But, the pre-production has to be tight, and poor production methods can create costly flubs. The mistakes made in this phase land in the lap of post-production artists, leaving them with the responsibility to correct those mistakes.
But, what if post-production started in the earlier production phases? Introducing, virtual sets...
Virtual sets have become very popular because of shows like the Mandalorian. Environments in Unreal Engine are linked to cameras on set and then displayed on massive screens behind the talent. Virtually eliminating the need for a greenscreen while laying the power of post-production into the hands of directors.
Don't like the way a scene looks? Maybe the color of the lights are casting weird across your set pieces? Real-time rendering offers an opportunity to instantly make changes. Post-production artists are there, in the beginning, calling out what issues are going to pop-up and make suggestions during filming.
Unreal is definitely changing the landscape for what’s possible in our field.
The best news is that Epic Games has made this magical piece of software 100% free to anyone that wants to use for VFX, Motion Graphics, Live production, 3D basically anything that doesn’t involve creating a video game.

Looking Forward

The future is now, so it’s a great time to future proof yourself in the field and gain a headstart on this emerging tech.
Companies like Digital Domain, Disney, Industrial Light and Magic, The NFL Network, The Weather Channel, Boeing and even motion design studios like Capacity are all using Unreal Engine.
School of Motion is excited to explore the future of mograph, so it's a safe bet to expect more content about Unreal Engine. Now get out there and start creating!

Experiment, Fail, Repeat

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