Composure Quick Start

Please note that the following Quick Start was built around the most simplistic use case for Composure to give a basic overview of how the system works. The above video demonstrates the type of quality and interaction that can be achieved when using Composure in a production environment.

Goals

The Composure Quick Start Guide aims to quickly get you up and running with the basics to compositing cinematics in Unreal Engine 4. If you are completely new to Composure, this guide is for you!

Objectives

After going through this Quick Start, developers will know the following:

  • How to enable the needed Composure Plugins.
  • How to set up a scene to be used with Composure.
  • How to set up the Composure Blueprints.
  • How to create a shot that uses Composure.

1 - Composure Required Setup

For this Quick Start, we are going to be re-creating the third shot that comes with the Composure content sample that you will find on the Epic Games Launcher. However before we can start to do this, we are going to need to download a few additional files, create a new level, and make sure that we have the needed Actors and Blueprints. After completing this section, your project will be ready to start compositing computer generated footage with real world footage.

To fully follow along with this Quick Start you will need to download and create a new UE4 project that uses the Composure sample. You can use the Composure sample on the Learn Tab of the Epic Games Launcher.

Steps

  1. First, download and extract the following .FBX file, which contains the camera animation used for the third shot and nothing else.
  2. From the Epic Games launcher, make sure you have downloaded and installed the Composure sample project. If you already have the Composure sample, go ahead and launch it now.
  3. Once the Composure sample has loaded go to Edit > Plugins and then in the Compositing section, make sure the Composure Plugin is enabled:
    Click for full image.
    If the Composure Plugin has not been enabled, you will need to restart the Editor.
  4. Once the Editor restarts go to Project  Settings > Engine > Rendering > Postprocessing and enable the Enable alpha channel support in post processing (experimental) option.
  5. Next, over in the Content Browser create a new folder called ComposureQS and then from the Main toolbar go File > New Level and select the Empty Level option. When the level loads, save the new level in the ComposureQS folder with a name of CQS_Shot_03_Remake. ComposureQS_S1_2.png
  6. Now, locate and open the Advanced Compositing map in the Content Browser and double-click on it to open it up.
  7. Select the following assets that have been placed in the level and when completed, press CTRL + C to copy the assets to the clipboard.
    Click for full image.
    • Directional Light
    • Post Process Volume
    • SkyLight
    • CompositingStaticMesh_PatioGround
    • Patio Columns Railings Walls
    • Patio Roof
  8. Open up the ComposureQS level that was previously saved and then press CTRL+V to paste the copied Actors into the level.
  9. Over in the World Outliner, click on the Sky Light and in the Details panel under Light change the Source Type to SLS Specified Cubemap and in the Cubemap input, select the 3D5A2486_Panorama_hdr_orient_CC .HDR Cubemap.

End Result

With the level lighting now setup and all of the needed Actors added to the level, in the next part of this Quick Start we will take a look at adding and setting up the rest of the needed Actors and Blueprints Composure requires to work.

2 - Composure Actor Setup

In the last section, we added the needed assets to help us visualize what is going on and also light the scene. In this section, we will add the needed Actors and Blueprints so that we can start to use Composure.

Steps

  1. From the Modes panel, locate the Cine Camera Actor and drag it into the level, positioning it at 0,0,0 in the world.
    Click for full image.
  2. Go to the Blueprints folder in the Content Browser and add the following Blueprints to the level, making sure to position each Blueprint at 0,0,0 in the level.
    • BP_AdvancedCompositing
    • BP_AdvancedCompositingSkeletalMesh
    Click for full image.
  3. Select the BP_AdvancedCompositing and in the Config section set the Sequencer Camera to the Cine Camera Actor that was added to the level.
    Click for full image.
  4. Then select the BP_AdvancedCompositingSkeletalMesh and under the Mesh section, set the Skeletal Mesh to SK_Mannequin.
    Click for full image.

End Result

With the needed Blueprints and Actors placed in the level, in the next section of this Quick Start we'll start by taking a look at setting up Sequencer to work with Composure.

3 - Composure Level Sequence Creation

In this part of the Composure Quick Start, we are going be creating and setting up a new Level Sequence that will contain all the needed data to re-make the third shot in the demo sequence.

Steps

  1. From the Toolbar click on the Cinematics button and from the displayed list, select the Add Level Sequence option.
  2. Select the ComposureQS folder for the location to store the level sequence and name the sequence shot0030_remake_001.
  3. Once the new Level Sequence has been created, the Sequencer editor will open automatically and once it does, immediately set the Time Snapping Interval to 24 fps (film).
  4. Next, click in the Sequencer timeline and while holding down CRTL, scroll the mouse wheel to zoom the timeline out so you can see more of the timeline.
  5. Click on the Play button icon to display the Playback options and then set the End to 1591 and the Start to 1098.
    You must set the End frame number first and then the Start frame number in this order to get this to work correctly. Trying this any other way could result in things not working in the desired manner.
  6. Press the Home key to zoom the Sequencer view to this new frame range and the Up arrow key to set the play head to frame 1098.
    Before
    After

End Result

With the Level Sequence now created, in the next section we will take a look at adding and setting up the Actors and Blueprints Composure requires to work correctly.

4 - Composure Level Sequence Setup

In the last section, we created the needed Level Sequence for Composure to work. In the following section, we will set this Level Sequence up so that it will work with Composure when played.

Steps

  1. First, in the Sequencer tab add a new Camera Cut track by pressing the green +Track button and selecting Camera Cut from the displayed list.
  2. Over in the World Outliner, select the Cine Camera Actor and then drag it from the World Outliner to the Sequencer window to add it to the timeline.
    Click for full image.
    When adding any content over the next few steps, make sure that the timeline is on frame 1098 or things will not match up correctly.
  3. Then in the Camera Cut track, press the +Camera button and select the Cine Camera Actor that was just added to Sequencer.
  4. Next, add the following Blueprints to Sequencer by selecting them in the World Outliner and then dragging them into Sequencer tracks, just like with the Cine Camera Actor and when completed your Track view should look like the following image:
    • BP_AdvancedCompositingSkeletalMesh
    • BP_AdvancedCompositing Blueprints
  5. In the Track list, under the BP_AdvancedCompositingSkeletalMesh Blueprint press the Plus sign next to the Animation section and from the displayed list, select the mocap_patio_walk animation.
  6. Make sure that the timeline is on frame 1098 and then in the Transform section of the BP_AdvancedCompositingSkeletalMesh, set the Location and Rotation to the following values:
    • Location: -20, -140, 0
    • Rotation: 0, 0, 5
    Click for full image.
  7. Next, right-click on the CineCameraActor1 in the Track list and from the menu select the Import option. From the displayed window, navigate to the shot0030_camera_export.fbx file that was download in the first section of this Quick Start select it and then press the Open button to import it.
  8. In the Camera Cut track, click on the Camera icon to see through the camera and then scrub the timeline to see the camera and mannequin move in relation to one another.
  9. Now, we need to add the following Composure specific inputs by clicking on the Plus icon on the right hand side of the BP_AdvancedCompositing Blueprint and selecting the following items from the list:
    • Input 0
    • Input 1
    • Distortion Displacement Map
      The Distortion Displacement Map track will look empty after adding the image Sequence due to the Image Plate asset having a frame rate of 0.
    • Overscan Sensor Width
    • Overscan Sensor Height
    • Compositing Mode
    • Shadow Color Grading > Gain
    Click for full image.
  10. With the required Composure tracks now added, make sure that the timeline is set to frame 1098 and then enter the following data by pressing the Plus sign next to each track and selecting the data or by inputting a number in the number input:
    • Input 0 shot0030_background
    • Input 1 shot0030_matte
    • Distortion Displacement Map shot0030_distortion
    • Overscan Sensor Width 37.795
    • Overscan Sensor Height 21.238
    • Compositing Mode Shadow + Occlusion
    • Shadow Color Grading > Gain X: -0.28, Y: -0.35 Z: -0.25
    Click for full image.

End Result

With Sequencer and Composure now setup to be used together, in the next section we will take a look at setting up the needed Game Mode and Level Blueprint Logic that will help all of this work together when the Play or Simulate button is pressed.

5 - Composure Game Mode & Level Blueprint Setup

In the following section, we will go over setting up the Level Blueprint and Game Mode so that Sequencer and Composure can work together when you run your project. When completed, you will have a re-creation of the third shot from the Composure example project.

Steps

  1. First, open up the Level Blueprint and click on the Class Defaults button. Then, over in the Details panel, under Actor Tick, press the Show Advanced Properties button and change the Tick Group to Post Update Work.
    Click for full image.
    "If you fail to change the Actor Tick group, you will introduce one frame of latency in the camera position/direction because the Advanced Compositing pipeline query these inputs from the Player Camera Manager and all Tick generated animations in the scene. Moreover, this is the last Tick group that gets updated before triggering the rendering command, and since we are manually triggering this through Composure, it needs to be in the Post Update Work Tick group to work correctly.
  2. Select the BP_AdvancedCompositing Blueprint in the World Outliner and then inside the Level Blueprint, right - click and choose the Create a Reference to BP_AdvancedCompositing option.
    Click for full image.
  3. Drag off the out of the BP_AdvancedCompositing variable output and from the displayed list, search for the Process Current Frame node and add it to the graph, connecting the Event Tick output to the input on the Process Current Frame node.
    Click for full image.
  4. Next, drag of the Event Begin Play node output and from the displayed list, search for the Set View Target with Blend node and add it to the Event Graph.
    Click for full image.
    You will need to disable Context Sensitivity in the Blueprint search box to see this node in the list.
  5. Right- click in the Event Graph and search for a Get Player Controller and connect it to the Target input on the Target with Blend node. Then connect the CineCameraActor camera to the New View Target input on the Target with Blend node.
    Click for full image.
  6. Now in the levels World Settings under Game Mode set the Game Mode Override to the SimpleComposureGameModeBase and then save your level.
  7. To see what the final video will look like, first, make sure that you have the sequence open in Sequencer and then change your play mode to Simulate and press the Play button or scrub the timeline to get the images on the plates to show up like in the following video.

End Result

With the character now being able to mix seamlessly with the foreground, background and lighting this brings us to the end of the Composure Quick Start. Keep in mind that this is just a small example of what is possible with the Composure system. In the next and final step, there will be some "On Your Own" challenges you can attempt and links to additional documentation.

6 - On Your Own

In this example, we used Composure with Sequencer like you would in a video editing pipeline but you can use Composure for anything that requires compositing real world footage with computer generated footage. You could also use Composure for an augmented reality experience where the backplate texture is a video feed from the camera. Now that you know the basics on how Composure works, here are some additional things you can try.

  • Try changing the character that is used by using the Animation Retargeting system.
  • Try to fade the scene in/out using a Fade Track.
  • Add Music from the Content/StarterContent/Audio folder with an Audio Track.
  • Cause the scene to enter slow motion with the Play Rate track.

Optionally, you can Render out your cinematic as a video file:

  1. Click the Render Movie option.
  2. Make sure the Frame Rate is set to 24.
  3. Under General, define the Output Directory then set the Game Mode Override to SimpleComposureGameModeBase. When that is completed, click the Capture Movie button to start rendering. A preview window will appear while rendering and will close when complete.