Death In Numbers – Unreal Engine 5

This is a ten week project that I did all entirely myself. I wanted to create a story about an antagonist of a story winning over the protagonist. Too many times in stories we see a protagonist win in pride and glory, but I want to paint the opposite of this in video. More about this project is listed below!

The process of this project has come a long way, and the biggest challenge of them all was the learning process of Unreal Engine 5. The power of real-time rendering is something I wanted to get a taste of, as directing lighting at an instant glance is not to be taken for granted.

In the beginning of the process, I started with a previsualization of how I wanted the short film to go. I did some research and development online of sources that I wanted to use, compiled them all together in Adobe Premiere Pro, edited the whole project to my liking, then exported this for review with some peers. From this point on, I had to start production in getting this final.

For the environment, I did some research and found Gaea, described as “industry’s most loved terrain design tool for VFX, games, and virtual production.” I learned how to use it and exported it as my environment for the short film.

Shown on the right is my Nuke composite for the moons I created for the short film. I created two layers each; one for the moon and another for the numbers. I created the numbers in Photoshop using a font that I found online that matched the style I wanted to go for, then exported them with an alpha for Nuke. For the animation of the numbers changing, I use a switch node at specific frames to change the number on the moon to match my sequence. After that, some small changes with color correcting and some distortion for another layer of detail and I was done!

In Unreal Engine 5, I wanted to explore more of what it could do, so I looked into doing facial animations for the characters in the short film. In the end, there were no faces for the characters to animate and came to the conclusion I would have to rig a face for Unreal to use. This was a fun aspect to explore and I feel more comfortable using it now!