Unreal Engine Part 6: Setting up cameras and post-effects

Set up cameras and post-effects in your environment with part 6 of Rob Redman's video tutorial series for Unreal Engine...

If you've been following along then by now you should have a pretty good grasp on how
Unreal Engine likes to do things and also have a pretty solid level to be experimenting with. One thing we haven't looked at is rendered output, so in this instalment we will look at cameras and post effects, bringing a little more custom style to our level.

As it stands the level looks a bit bright, over-saturated and lacking in subtle cues to aid the viewer along the narrative, so we will use some tools, like depth of field to help us out. Open up your level and let's get started.

Previous tutorials

Part 1: Setting up a new project
Part 2: Introducing materials and landscapes
Part 3: Adding foliage and rocks
Part 4: Particle smoke
Part 5: Introducing the skybox

Editing blueprints

Open up your level and from the row of icons above the main view click on the arrow next to blueprints, then select Open Blueprint class and choose firstpersoncharacter from the drop down menu. This opens the blueprint editor, at which point select Viewport from the 3 main viewer tabs. You should see your player, with a camera attached.

You can easily start editing premade blueprints by selecting them from the correct menu, even if they don't show in the outliner.

You can easily start editing premade blueprints by selecting them from the correct menu, even if they don't show in the outliner.

Selecting blueprint parts

Now you have the editor open you will see your character object in the viewer. This includes a few items we won't touch, from the forward vector, the arms and weapons and so on. What we are looking to adjust is our first person view and the settings for this will show in the details area, once the camera is selected, just like in most areas of UE4, so select the camera and check out the options. Click the arrow next to Post Process Settings, to unfold the options we need.

Most of what we want is folded into the post process settings area.

Most of what we want is folded into the post process settings area.

Saturation

The main thing I want to tackle here is the colour. I feel things look a bit over saturated, so open up the Colour Grading section and reduce the saturation to a lower figure. You can do this by RGB channel individually, although I chose to turn all down the same; to .6. Click compile and save, then head back to the level editor and play the level, to see the effect.

A little desaturation helps add a touch of grittiness to the level.

A little desaturation helps add a touch of grittiness to the level.

Depth of Field

To add a touch of cinematic feel to the game and also help guide the player a little you can add some depth of field. This is where certain distances from the camera become blurred, depending on the size of the aperture of the lens. A lower number means a bigger aperture and therefore more blur. We can also set the focus distance and blur type here. I went for circle for this as it's easier to demonstrate for you by pushing the effect. Normally I would use the more visually pleasing Bokeh type.
There are methods to force focus on a target object as well but that's outside the space we have here.

Focusing on the level not the character object helps push the player into the scene more.

Focusing on the level not the character object helps push the player into the scene more.

Global illumination

If you are used to working in 3d software you probably know about GI, which in this situation is the effect of ambient lighting. I'm not overly fond of the depth of shadow in the level, so I'm going to increase the GI intensity to compensate, rather than adding in more lights or adjusting others. I also tinted mine with a touch of blue to help everything gel.

A little more light in the scene.

A little more light in the scene.

I've barely scratched the surface of what you can do with post effects here but it should have given you enough of a glimpse to get your teeth into things and start really pushoing your own visual style. In the next instalment we are going to look at some event based elements, maybe looking at building a teleporter.

Previous tutorials

Part 1: Setting up a new project
Part 2: Introducing materials and landscapes
Part 3: Adding foliage and rocks
Part 4: Particle smoke
Part 5: Introducing the skybox
Grab a copy of our Unreal Game Engine tutorial book today!

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