Using Image Plate Actors & Image Plate Tracks

In this example, we use the Image Plate Actor and Image Plate Track in Sequencer to place a 3D character in a 2D video environment.

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This feature is currently in the experimental stages of development and some aspects of the feature may not work as expected.

During the development of your own projects, you may want to use an image sequence as a backdrop for your 3D characters. Maybe you want to have a menu with a 3D character in front of a 2D background containing moving images, or you want to superimpose a 3D character over a 2D background giving the illusion that the character is in that environment.

Using the Image Plate Actor enables the display of frame-accurate image sequences in fullscreen when it is attached to a Camera. When using the accompanying Image Plate Track in Sequencer, it enables you to playback those images within the context of your cinematic You can also use the Composure Editor to fine-tune and improve the quality of the final render.

In this example, we focus on setting up an Image Plate Actor and Image Plate Track in Sequencer to playback an image Sequence with a 3D character in the foreground.

EndResultImage.png

For this how-to guide, we are using the Blueprint Third Person Template project with Starter Content included.

Steps

  1. Download and extract the Example Image Sequence assets to your computer or generate your own Image Sequence assets outside the Editor.

  2. Inside your project, select the Edit option from the Menu Toolbar and select Plugins.

    ImagePlate_01.png

    In order to access and work with the Image Plate Actor and Image Plate Track, we must first enable the associated plugin.

  3. In the Plugins menu, search for and select the Image Plate then click the Enabled check box and accept the confirmation, then use the Restart Now button to restart the Editor.

    ImagePlate_02.png

  4. Once the Editor has restarted, in the Content Browser of your project, create a Cinematics folder. Inside that folder, create a new Level Sequence called Master.

    ImagePlate_03.png

  5. From the Modes panel, search for and drag an Image Plate Actor into the Level Viewport.

    ImagePlate_04.png

  6. From the Modes panel, drag a Cine Camera Actor into the Level, then in the World Outliner, drag-and-drop the Image Plate onto the Cine Camera Actor to attach it.

    ImagePlate_05.png

    This will enable us to scale the Image Plate Actor while keeping it attached to the Cine Camera Actor.

  7. Select the Image Plate in the World Outliner, then, in the Level, use the translation widget to move the Image Plate away from the Camera to increase its size.

    ImagePlate_07.png

    This will enable us to add content that will fit within the Cine Camera's view frustum (you can increase or decrease the size of the Image Plate based on your own content).

  8. In the Content Browser, drag your Master Level Sequence into the Level Viewport and check the Auto Play option in the Details panel.

    ImagePlate_08.png

    If we play our game, this will enable us to automatically playback our Level Sequence.

  9. Open your Master Level Sequence and add the Cine Camera and Image Plate Actors from the Level, then add a Camera Cuts Track and assign it to the Cine Camera Actor.

    ImagePlate_09.png

  10. In the Content Browser, right-click on the Cinematics folder and choose Show in Explorer.

    ShowInExplorer.png

  11. Inside the Cinematics folder on your PC, create a folder called footage. Inside it, add your Image Sequence Assets (from Step 1).

    ImagePlate_10.png

    You may see an import message prompt when returning to the Editor. You can choose Don't Import.

    ImagePlate_10b.png

  12. Save all of your content, then close and re-open your project to refresh the project's folder structure and assets.

  13. Inside your project's Cinematics folder, select Add New. Then, under Media, select Image Plate File Sequence and call it MyImagePlate.

    ImagePlate_11.png

  14. Open the MyImagePlate Asset and point the Sequence Path to your footage folder, change the File Wildcard to .png and update the Framerate to 30.

    ImagePlate_12.png

    In our example we are using .PNG files however if you are using a different supported file format , please use your files wildcard extension.

  15. Inside your Master Level Sequence, on the ImagePlate Track, click the +Track button and select Image Plate.

    ImagePlate_14.png

  16. Click the +Image Sequence on the Render Texture Track and select your MyImagePlate Image Plate File Sequence Asset.

    ImagePlate_15.png

    You will now see your Image Sequence appear on the Image Plate in the Level as well as within Sequencer.

    ImagePlate_16.png

  17. In the Content/Mannequin/Animations folder, drag the ThirdPersonWalk animation into the Level and place it within the Camera's viewpoint, facing away from the Camera.

    ImagePlate_17.png

    For the Cine Camera Actor, you may need to adjust the focus settings which you can do by clicking the eye-dropper icon and then selecting the Image Plate Actor in the level.

    ImagePlate_20.png

  18. From the Sequencer Toolbar, click the Render Movie button to render out the sequence.

    ImagePlate_18.png

  19. Choose an Output Directory then click the Capture Movie to render out the movie.

    ImagePlate_19.png

End Result

You will now have a 3D character that appears to be walking in the 2D background image sequence.

This example focuses on setting up the Image Plate Actor and using the Image Plate Track and getting image sequences to play back using the Image Plate File Sequence asset. If you would like to learn more about lighting techniques or more advanced compositing features, on the Learn tab of the Epic Games Launcher, the Composure Compositing Framework project offers a more advanced use case of Image Plates and uses the Compositing Framework to provide a more stylized version of this guide.

ComposureFramework.png

If you would like to learn more about compositing and more advanced compositing techniques, please see the Composure Editor documentation.

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