Unreal Engine – Sports Car Cinematic Animation

I have been doing a refresh and in-depth learning of Davinci Resolve and whilst I have been using it for years, I have never gone into in-depth learning. Which I have done now and it’s been incredibly useful. I have leveled up with Resolve and also learnt how to use Fusion – which is something I had not touched before as most my compositing I was doing in After Effects.

In the process of doing this I wanted to create a few more projects and a car cinematic was one I had in mind. It was really difficult / next to impossible though to find a set of clips available for download for creating a car cinematic, so I decided to pull together some shots in Unreal Engine.

This goes without saying, but Unreal Engine’s real time render engine is amazing and so useful in creating animations. I can literally render off some tests shots in a few minutes as opposed to hours or even days if I was doing path tracing using Blender Cycles or Renderman etc… Although path tracing gives the better results, Unreal is getting better all the time and it’s quite capable of creating realistic to photorealistic cinematics and animations.

The scene and the car model are from the Unreal Engine Marketplace.

Key learnings from this project:

Although this info is available online, I jumped into this so should have done a bit of testing / and taken more care with some in-depth prep beforehand.

  1. High Poly Model: For cinematics you should use a high poly, smooth edges model and one that is highly detailed. I used a car made primarily for video games, and whilst the model is great, there were some shots I just couldn’t use as the edges and low poly parts of the mesh were clearly visible and just looked unrealistic.
  2. High Poly Model: Also you get the best and most smooth looking reflections from high poly models. Some of the reflections were a little blocky due to the low poly mesh.
  3. Take Care: Care take in the preparation work – this pretty much applies to all CG work and most other work for that matter. But the more care you take the better result you will get.
  4. Dust trails: This was the longest part of the work. I considered using Embergen to generate the dust trails, but I really wanted to be able to just play around with the animations have have the trails follow with no additional work. So I used Unreal Engine Niagara particle system – I found a couple of tutorials on YouTube that were useful, but I was getting a confetti type effect that didn’t look that realistic, so after sometime and trial and error I got an effect that looked more realistic and one I was happy to use.
  5. Exporting: The whole process didn’t take that long and was primarily done in my spare time, although I have been using Unreal for several years and I am very familiar with the program. The renders export out really quickly, that is a joy as its makes the process so much more flexible and easy to render again it something does not come out right the first time.

Download the video clips:

I have made the individual clips available for free download and for more info/and to download please see the post here