Join Craig Barr for an in-depth discussion in this video Navigation, part of Unreal Essential Training.
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- Navigation in the Unreal Engine 4 Viewport is very easy and very flexible. There are three primary ways to navigate the Viewport. For this specific area or example, we're going to look specifically at this area within the user interface, the Viewport. As you can see we have our objects, we have our scene in here, we want to be able to look at how we can navigate around within that 3D space. There are three primary ways to do that. The first one I want to point out is, if you're familiar with 3D content creation packages, for example, Maya, this first format is much like the Maya-centric way of navigating around.
That is that I can hold down the alt key and if I hold down my left mouse button, I'm simply orbiting around from where I stand in this view. Now we'll look at how we can adjust that differently in a moment, but let's first take a look at what each mouse button will do in conjunction with alt here. So alt alt left mouse button is going to orbit or tumble around. Alt middle mouse button is going to allow me to pan or track back and forth based on where I am in my scene. And alt right mouse button is going to allow me to zoom back and forth by driving the mouse back and forth as I hold down alt and right mouse button.
So that's the Maya-specific way, now let's jump to the second way, the second way to move here is this mouse-centric way, or this mouse-driven way. The way that works is that if I simply don't hold any key down on the keyboard, but if I hold the left mouse button here, I can tumble around from where I am, so I can kind of orbit and tumble around by just the perspective that I'm at, but I can also push my mouse forward and navigate through the scene. I can push my mouse backward as well to do that.
So this is that very mouse-driven kind of way to walk around in the scene. Left mouse button, holding down is going to drive us through the scene, middle mouse button is going to pan and track us around, and the right mouse button is going to allow us to get this look up and down, or orbit and tumble way of working with that, so that we can see specifically different areas if we wanted to work with that. So the third way to work within the Unreal Engine 4 Viewport when it comes to navigation of the Viewport, is this first-person perspective, or kind of this game mode perspective, and that is using the hotkeys W, A, S, and D.
For example if I wanted to move forward, I could hold down the W key and then the right mouse button key, and I can actually fly my way, or navigate through the Viewport, wherever I'm pointing the mouse. So this is a quick way to actually fly around, and get right to your assets very quickly. Another way I can work with this is if I hold down S, and right mouse button, this will bring me backwards, just like the W will bring me forward, S is going to bring me backward, and holding down A and right mouse button is going to bring me to the left, and D and right mouse button is going to bring me to the right.
So in conjunction with W, A, S, and D, you can really quickly navigate around the Viewport and simply kind of fly to wherever it is that you're pointing the mouse. This is a really handy way to quickly get to a lot of the assets as you're working. Now, we talked about these three different ways of navigating the Viewport from wherever it is that we may be, what if we want to be able to have an object-centric way of navigating the Viewport? And what I mean by that is, right now if I use any of these, we're kind of confined to where we are, and that is kind of the view-perspective, Especially this Maya-perspective.
If I hold down alt and left mouse button I'm tumbling and zooming based off of where I am in space right now. Well what if I want to work with this object here, this lighthouse, and I want to be able to zoom in and frame in on that and work specifically with that? This works in a lot of the same way as the Maya hotkey, which is F for frame and focus on an object. So if I click and select my lighthouse object, let's just use my W key and move in, I'm actually grabbing the light there, I don't want to do that, I want to grab the actual lighthouse itself.
So I've just moved around that light and I've clicked the lighthouse, and now if I just click F, it's going to frame and focus in on that object. What this gives me now, is if I hold down alt and left, I'm now tumbling and orbiting around the framing and focusing of that specific object. This is really handy, because now if I want to work with that object, I am using that as the center point, or the origin as to where I'm tumbling and orbiting around.
This of course works with all the different objects. If at any time I need to work with a specific object, I'm grabbing the fog right there, but if any time I want to work with a specific object, I can simply click it, hit F, and now my navigation in the Viewport is centric to that object as I work. Now we've looked at ways that we can navigate the Viewport using the keyboard and the mouse, so that we can actually travel around within 3D within the Viewport, in our scene and with our objects, but how can we view them differently? Well up here in the top-left corner, you'll see that we have a perspective button, and this is where we can access different cameras.
By default we're always going to be viewing through the perspective, but anytime we can switch to kind of an orthographic view, for example a top view, and you can see here that we're viewing the entire scene, I just hit F because we had that shed selected, and now that kind of framed everything in for me and we can view it in this way. One thing to point out, being in an orthographic view, we can't tumble in 3D space. Instead what we can do is simply pan and track around, using our hotkeys as we go or our mouse.
We can't orbit around but we can simply move around in this zoom way, or pan and track. So the only thing we can't do is the tumble orbit. But this is nice to be able to work in this way to be able to work in an orthographic view and be able to take a look at objects in a non-3D sense. One of the things I want to point out while we're in here is another functionality that is very cool within Unreal Engine 4, and that is the ability at any time to be able to access a measuring tape. So if I hit my right click, Or hold down right click within the Viewport, I want to measure here, beside this shed, this line, I can actually come along here and get the crosshairs, middle click, and be able to drag that, and get an approximate measure within simple units as to how long a section is.
That's available at any time with the middle mouse, and it's live with the viewport. It's just a quick, giving you an estimate of length of something. So if at any time I needed a quick measurement tool within my Viewport while I'm navigating, I can simply get the crosshairs and use my middle mouse drag to be able to do that. Now let's switch back to our perspective view, and here we are using one Viewport, one view at a time. What if I want multiple views at a time? Well this is where I can go to the top-right corner, and we can see this little maximize window here.
If I click that, it's going to bring me into a four-view window Of note, all of the three ortho windows are connected as far as my zoom and pan goes. I've got the measurement tool on there. If I hold down right mouse button and I pan around and move up and down, you'll see that all three ortho views are updating as I work with that. Same with zoom. If I use the middle mouse scroll wheel or middle mouse button here, I can zoom in and out and all three ortho views are gonna update as I work.
Of note here, also you'll see that I have this view here which is the front view, that's telling me that from this indication here, front is being highlighted. Down here I have top, over here I have left, and over here I have perspective. At any time of course, I can go in and change these to be specific to which angle I want to view them at, but also I can change them in the way that they're displayed. So in our perspective view, we have it fully lit, with all the materials and nice lighting happening in there and all the atmosphere and effects happening, but over here we have a wireframe view, and at any time I can go into a lit view, at any time I can switch it into an unlit view, and that unlit view is just essentially a flat lit view, or an RGB or diffuse view, I can also switch into a variety of different lighting or shader views.
Let's put this back to wireframe on here, and maybe down here we want that on a fully lit view so we can see that top of that shed. So now we've looked at Viewport navigation within Unreal Engine 4. We've looked at the three ways that we can navigate the Viewport: The Maya-centric way, the mouse kind of traveling way, and this first-person perspective way of traveling or navigating the Viewport, as well as how we can view our scene, either by using the perspective camera by default, by accessing different ortho cameras, and as well as using the four-view window, so we can be able to go in and access our scene within different views.
- 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