Friday, September 30

Unreal Engine 5 Video May As Well Be Real Life

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The video you’re about to see is not camera footage of the Etchū-Daimon train station in Japan. It is a video made by 3D artist Lorenzo Drago.

Created in Unreal Engine 5, with lighting from Lumen, Drago says he did “all modeling, texturing, lighting and animation” in the clip, with the exception of the foliage you see briefly, which came from Quixel Megascans. That means he built almost everything himself. The steps, the walls, the lights, the cables, the works, with some textures made by hand and others from photos.

“For this project, I wanted to get as close to photorealism as possible”, he says. “I used camera matching to get accurate proportions and made careful use of reference. I adjusted the measurements afterwards to help with modularity.”

“Aside from detail textures and alphas created from photographs, I created all textures from scratch in Painter and made custom materials in Unreal for use with vertex painting or masks to break up repetition.”

While the quality of the space itself is incredible—and took around a month to complete—what helps make the whole thing look and feel real is the way the camera is used. “To shoot the video”, Drago says, “I used real-time VR tracking to emulate a handheld camera and flashlight.”

See? Just…wow. This is the part where I must remind you that this video was crafted meticulously just for this footage, and so we can’t and shouldn’t be expecting this level of fidelity in our actual games any time soon. But still. 

Let’s end with some trivia. Firstly, this video wasn’t captured in real-time. Drago says it can be done, but that “image quality is worse”, so this is instead a high-res render captured at 7fps. And if you were wondering, he did it on an AMD Ryzen 7 3700X with an RTX 2080.

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