Join Craig Barr for an in-depth discussion in this video Introduction to the user interface, part of Unreal Essential Training (2016).
- The key to understanding any software package is to first become familiar with where everything is as well as why it is there. So let's take a tour of the Unreal user interface. So, before we dive in there, I just want to point out our beautiful scene that we're working with here, and this credit here goes to Everett Gunther. I want to give credit to the artist that built this. You can go to his website EverettGunther.com right up here on the top and you can see right front and center here is the project that we're working with so Everett was excellent in providing these assets for us to work with with this course.
So I encourage you to check out his work he's done a great job on a lot of excellent Unreal Engine projects. So we're in our user interface and we're working with this great beach project or this lighthouse scene, and we want to get familiar with Unreal Engine 4 user interface. So let's take a look at some of the basics here that we can work with and we want to identify how things are laid out and why they're laid out the way they are. The first area that we want to start with is the way that a lot of these different bars are set up.
So at the top you'll see that we have a tab that's sitting up here. This is important because this is a tab bar right up top here and this will allow us to actually drag and place other items in there. As we get deeper into the course you'll see that we'll be able to take difference assets or different menu sets, different interfaces and be able to drag them and dock them up there in a series of tabs, much like file folders that you can access and jump in between as well. So the next thing is the toolbar.
And this is the main toolbar here within the user interface for Unreal Engine 4. The nice things about Unreal Engine 4 is that a lot of time and effort has clearly gone in to making sure that it's very efficient, it's very clean, and it's not overly cluttered with anything that you may not require in building your content for your project. So you'll find that, that everything has been placed quite efficiently. So the toolbar, for our main things, like saving, getting into things like accessing your content, which is the content browser, which we actually have right down here, and you can see that this tab here, content browser, is the main area for accessing our project content.
As well we have up here on the left, modes. Now, the modes area is where you're going to grab components and be able to start to build and assemble your scene. Within the modes area we have basic things like this place mode. Place mode has things like basic pieces of geometry, basic things like cubes, spheres, cylinders, cones, lights, here's where we get into our standard lights, directional points, spot, sky light for environmental lighting, visual effects, VSP which are geometry brushes, and these are great for blocking out scenes or blocking out areas that may be eventually replaced with a static mesh or an actual fully textured asset from another package.
Volumes to be able to work with to get deeper into your game creation, and then of course this all classes is going to let you dive into and access just about everything all at once in here. So we have, next, paint, and this is our painting modes that you can get into working with painting color, painting textures, for example you can get into painting vertex colors, or texture maps as well. Creating new textures and working with specific UB channels in there as you work. The landscape mode is an area where we can build and actually sculpt landscape and once you are happy with the way you've editted or created your landscape you can quickly paint that landscape to have whatever texture set that you want to have across that landscape as well.
And then we have a foliage mode, and this is where you can dive in and start to create things like grasses and trees and things like that. So, these are the basic modes that you work with here within Unreal, and then of course, the main center right here in the middle is our view port, and this is where we will see everything within the scene, how everything works within the scene. This is where we will be able to access everything in our 3D environment, to be able to tumble around and work with our objects, and there are small little menu sets within the view ports to navigate with.
Everything from which camera you are working with, in this case we're working with the default which is the perspective camera. I'm going to give you tips for accessing that with hot keys. To accessing how things are lit, the default lighting in this scene here for example is a fully textured, fully lit scene, and this will give you ways to actually access your data just by simply clicking on it, hitting the Escape key at any time will deselect anything of your objects. In the top right corner here we have the world outliner.
Now, if you're familiar with other 3D software packages, specifically packages for building content, something like for example Miah, 3DS Max, a lot of these packages have something that has a stack or an outliner available where you can access all of your objects, and this is where it's going to stack and provide a list of everything, from the lights that are being utilized to actual models, or in this case, as Unreal refers to them, actors, different effects.
When we get deeper into the different modules within Unreal, things like creating cinematics, for example matinees, this is where you can even access them as well. So the outliner is really your global list of all of the objects within the scene. At any time if I click on anything within the world outliner, you'll see the details folder down below highlight with attributes, parameters, specific to that asset that I have clicked here within the world outliner, so for this case here I'm selecting a point light, and I can access all of the attributes related to that point light in this details panel of the view port.
So that's a quick overview of the user interface as it relates to Unreal Engine 4.
- 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