Join Craig Barr for an in-depth discussion in this video The Matinee UI, part of Unreal Essential Training (2016).
- [Voiceover] Unreal Engine 4 contains a powerful animation tool set that enables artists and developers to create cinematics, cutscenes, or even dynamic gameplay, utilizing the Matinee tool set. Now this can be found underneath the Cinematics icon, which is at the top of the viewport, typically within the Unreal Engine 4 user interface. And I think before we dive into working with Matinee, it's important to understand how the user interface works, how it looks, where everything is, and just the general overall operation of this tool set.
So, let's take a quick look at an example of a matinee, and then we'll kind of dive in and look at the user interface for Matinee. So if we go to the Cinematics pull-down menu here, in this case I want to take a look at Matinee Actor. If I just click on that one, this is going to bring up already a built scene, or a work-in-progress scene here, that really kinda helped build a cinematic to showcase our beach or lighthouse project here. The basics of Matinee, just to quickly scrub through what is happening in here. This will allow us to place cameras and edit and transition between them to really showcase our project.
Now you can see I'm simply scrubbing back and forth. If I wanted to take a look at specific elements or cameras as to how they're showcasing this environment in these different ways, I can simply scrub back and forth. Now the Cinematic tool set that exists here within Unreal Engine 4, as I mentioned, is referred to as Matinee. Let's take a look at a blank empty matinee actor to get used to how the user interface is built here. So I'm gonna simply shut that one down. So, again, if you come to the Cinematics icon on the top of the viewport, we'll click the pull-down menu and let's click Add Matinee.
That's gonna produce a brand new blank matinee scene for us. Now, a couple things have happened before we look at this. You'll see that in the viewport, all of our camera positions or frustums have been actually selected here and highlighted within the scene, and we can see those at any time if we'd like to be able to work with those. Just to point out, if at any time you want to enable or disable the view of any of these camera settings, you can simply go to the Show area within the viewport, and come down to Advanced.
By default, the camera frustums will be displayed, and any aspect ratio bars to do with the cameras will be in there as well. So, just to point that out, if you do wanna turn those off, you can simply On and Off to have those highlighted or not. Let's leave them on for now. Now, in working with Matinee, here in Unreal Engine 4, you'll see that, much like any of the other modules within Unreal Engine 4, you're going to get this tab-based system. So this is its own user interface for Matinee, and, if we want, we can create a much larger space by simply left-mouse-clicking on the tab and dragging and docking it up at the top.
Now, it is a little bit interesting to point out how Matinee works. Given the nature of what you're doing here, you're going to be working with a lot of camera animation, typically, and you're also gonna want to see how that's working in your viewport. So it is important to have lots of screen space, or real estate if you will, to work with you cameras, your animation related to your cameras, but you're also gonna wanna be able to see how the viewport works. So, sometimes you're gonna find it nice to just simply drag that out, and be able to have a good view of your viewport as you work away as well.
So, let's take a look at this UI here again. I'm just gonna drag that back up to the top. Now the basics of the user interface for Matinee are as follows. If you're familiar with any of the other modules within Unreal Engine 4, you'll recognize quite a few elements here that are standard throughout the Unreal environment. We have the menu bar at the very top here, which is the same throughout all of the other menu sets or user interfaces within Unreal Engine 4, and then we have the Matinee tool bar. You can see some familiar pieces up there, specifically this playback section up in here.
Of course, we have the ability to snap to frames or to snap to key frames as working here as well. And then we have over on the end of this tool bar icons and functions specific to working with cinematic scenes or animation sequences. And this is simply where you can rapidly click to view or highlight and frame into selected aspects of a sequence, the entire sequence, or even how the overall sequence is going to appear within your graph editor as you're working.
So, it's a quick way to frame up or view the frames you're working with. At the very end here, we have the ability to record a window to create a separate video, and then we have the ability to output an entire movie. And this is where you could create an entire cinematic separate video that can be utilized outside of Unreal Engine 4. Down below you'll see that we have the Curve Editor. The Curve Editor is much like a graph editor, if you're familiar with animation editors outside of Unreal Engine 4, for example, other 3-D software packages, like Maya, for example.
In here you'll find a lot of the familiar processes and tools, such as working with tangents and curves to be able to grab key frames and be able to work for example in linear space or how you want to work with your animation key frame set as you go along in your curve editor. Down below, you'll see this Tracks tab. Now, Tracks contains the most important aspects of building a cinematic in Unreal Engine 4, and that is your camera groups and how you're going to operate with cameras.
So just to divide this Tracks area up, I'm simply gonna right click at this pane on the left here, and I'm gonna just go down to Add New Director Group. The reason why I wanted to do that is I wanted to split this up to show basically how you will work with creating cinematics in here. You'll typically create camera groups down below in this section right in here. And this is where you're going to create all your different cameras, be able to work with how they're animated, or the time frame of that animation with your cameras, and then you're going to have your director track above here, and that's going to essentially deal with how you're going to be transitioning between all of your cameras.
The Director group, at the end of the day, is your final track, which will help with the output of your final cinematic. So there's a quick overview of the Matinee user interface. The one last thing I should point out, of course, if you're familiar with the Unreal Engine 4 environment, is the Details panel. And this is much the same as what you'll find out here. For example, if I click on any actor or mesh out here, we're going to have our details, all of our attributes, parameters, and any properties related to the actor I'm working with.
In this case, in Matinee, it'll typically be your camera set. If you're working with other aspects or actors outside of cameras, which you can in Matinee, things like meshes, lights, particles, sounds, and different events that you can stack into this editor, you will work with the Details much as you're familiar with outside in the rest of the user interface.
- 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