Join Craig Barr for an in-depth discussion in this video Assembling the scene, part of Unreal Essential Training.
- [Voiceover] Once we have our assets created, and we've imported them into our project directory here for our Unreal Engine 4 project, it's time to start assembling the scene. Now this is an iterative process, it's not as simple as just throwing a bunch of objects in there. What I mean by that is that we are going to put in all of our assets that we have in the scene, and we can populate it with more assets or duplicates and copies of assets, for example the rocks that we need to populate the scene, but there are other effects and other things that need to happen after this process, that is adding things like foliage, maybe adjusting the landscape, maybe putting some particle effects and things like that, and those are all different processes that come later, but for now focusing on just the assembling of the scene, specifically to the static meshes or models for that matter, we can start to do that right here from our content browser.
I'm in our content directory here, underneath models. Now we have our simple little geometry brush scene built, and then what I can start to do is go under my buildings folder and begin to bring in these assets. Now, these assets have materials specifically assigned to them and we're going to get into those materials a little bit later, but for now we're just looking at assembling the scene with our hero props. So we'll drag in this lighthouse and as you can see I'm just dragging it along the landscape.
It's not going to let me intersect with that right there, that's fine, but I can simply do that with my translation tool. So I'm just going to hit F to frame in and I'm going to bring this lighthouse as close as I can essentially to our proxy or simple stand-in piece. Now, this lighthouse actually has what is referred to as a capital on the top, and we want to place that right on top of there, so I'm going to turn off the lighthouse reference for now, and I'm going to take the lighthouse capital and I'm going to drag that into the scene, but specifically I want to snap it on top, and you'll see that as I left mouse click drag it in, it will snap to the top of that geometry, which makes it a lot easier for me to simply place this object, especially when I hit F to frame it in.
That should be fine for what we need there. I'll just hit escape actually so I'm not inadvertently grabbing anything, so there's our basic lighthouse in there. Let's bring on the lighthouse reference here again, and work with this stuff here, so just, I'm constantly hitting F to focus in so that it's easier for me to rotate or orbit around. Now we should put in things like this little shed, so let's bring that in here. We can see that when this object comes in of course, its scale is incorrect. I'm going to rotate this around, and then I'm going to hit my R hotkey for scale, and I'm going to uniformly scale this up and I'm just using the reference or simple proxy objects that we created with our geometry brush here as a scale reference.
So now I can start to place these objects in. Let's turn off our LH reference here for a moment and we can see that this object is actually sitting a little bit above the landscape terrain, so this is a case where I'm going to just position this in by pushing it down a little bit, not too much, but just kind of placing it around so that we have it sitting on the environment quite nicely. So there we go. The one thing I'm noticing here though, with our lighthouse, we may want to turn this door around.
We can see that we have stairs here, so let's hit the E key and just rotate this lighthouse body around and we'll probably have to adjust the upper capital of it a little bit here as well. Let's see how that's looking. So if I just select the lighthouse capital up top and just make sure that that's okay, and actually that is lining up okay. I can see it's off a little bit on this side. I'll just bring that in, and it's hanging off a little bit on that side as well. There we go.
So I'm going to hit the S key and right mouse button out a little bit, and there we can see that we have our shed and our lighthouse, roughed in based off of this proxy geometry here. So we have that brought in, let's leave that alone there for now and go into our props folder here, and we have a couple of things. We have this row boat. Going to drag this in. We can see that that is much too small for what I'd want to do, so I'll just simply uniformly scale that using the R hotkey. Using the E hotkey I'm going to align it in the direction that I have my proxy geometry set up, and I'll hit F to frame in on that, and we definitely want it a little bit lower into the landscape and then rotate it in.
The idea with this boat is it's been sitting here a little while, it's an older rowboat that's maybe not used any more, and we want to have this set up kind of nice for our scene, so I'll maybe put it on an angle and we can put things like lanterns and things like that in there. So that's pretty good, it's sitting down into the environment, we're getting some nice shadow there, and we can see that this old boat is kind of, essentially decomposing away where it's sitting. Now we need our car. Let's take the Beetle and just drag it in and in doing this with the Beetle here of course we do want to keep an idea of our scale.
Let's bring this around this area here. That looks pretty good. I think in our scale we had it a little bit too large, which is fine, with our little proxy object, that's okay. I'm going to maybe bring this up a little bit, not too, too big though. And that's fine I'm just going to hit F to frame in or focus in on that, and we may want to bring it down and hit E, I think it needs to be rotated forward just a little bit, and we want to make sure that we don't have any tires kind of hanging off the ground here. I think that's pretty good.
We have that nicely set up in there. Now what we need to do is start to populate the scene with a couple more of the bigger objects here. So we have our hero assets in place, and they're looking pretty good. I'm starting to think that the rowboat might be a little bit big, so that's not a problem though, we can always just come in and grab that and uniformly scale it down if need be. I don't think it's too, too bad. Maybe something like that. I think that'll work. And then what we can do is start to populate this landscape with some ambient props, so things like these rocks.
So we have a bunch of different rocks in here, a bunch of different boulders, and the nice thing about this is the materials that are applied to these, if I bring one of these in, we can see that there's lots of detail on that rock, but you'll see when I move it, the material is actually swimming, and this is actually because the textures that are being applied, this is applied in world space, and the nice thing about this is it actually kind of works for what we need. That way, when I place it and move it around, we're always going to have a different texture if we really want to get that specific with it.
The texture's always going to look quite different on these rocks. Now this is going to take some time to populate this properly, but the idea here is that I'm just going to take a bunch of these different rocks and position them in, scaling them, rotating them, translating them to populate our scene, but the great thing about this scene is that we have other ambient props here to populate the scene. So things like this tree stump for example. This is something that we may want to bring in to the scene here and just place in and around the environment so that we're kind of filling it up with kind of nice ambient objects, and of course we have things like log stacks or log piles, and we can drag these into the scene.
You know, perhaps we put one back in here and rotate that around just to kind of break it up so it's a little bit different than the one we've already placed. We have these leaning planks for example here as well. This is something that we can place leaning up against our shed here and let me just rotate this guy in. There we go, something like that. In fact, I'm going to make them lean a little bit more. There we go, and if I want I can just hit N to make sure it's hitting the ground there as well. So that's fine, we have a bunch of separate little logs that we could start to bring in.
Here's another wood stack if we wanted something to maybe sit in between the lighthouse and the shed and we have different little components and pieces that we can really kind of populate this environment with to kind of break it up. And of course we don't want to get too crazy with that because we're going to fill this up with a lot of the different rocks. We do have some other structures that need to go in here, for example the foliage is really going to break up this background when we get to that, but let's just start to maybe put in a couple of these little ambient rocks in here. So that's the idea of assembling the scene with our assets, our props.
Before we dive in to any of the material editor hook up, we want to look at what Unreal materials are about, so we'll take a look at that in a little bit, but the idea behind anything you're doing in Unreal to keep in mind is that the content browser really does kind of rule the way your assets are and keep that organized nicely so that it's simple to drag and drop and place those objects in the scene. Just start to populate and bring your overall project to life.
- Customizing the Unreal UI
- Creating a new project
- Creating landscapes
- Blocking out levels
- Assembling a scene
- Working with materials and lights
- Adding post-processing effects
- Defining bodies of water
- Adding atmospherics, foliage, and wind
- Working with the Blueprint editor
- Creating cinematics
- Monitoring performance
- Packaging a game for distribution