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Suggestions for Cinematic Studio Sample - Startup Guide (PDF)

Discussion in 'Film, TV, Animation & Cinematics Previews' started by akent99, May 22, 2021.

  1. akent99

    akent99

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    I just installed the open beta and went through the guide. I would classify myself as entering intermediate level of skill with Unity (not expert). Some suggestions for the tutorials in the guide.
    • Sometimes the descriptions for steps I think are saying the goal followed by the instructions, which is not always clear. (I am trying to "do" the goal, but not understanding how to.)
    • Quite a few of the instructions say what to do, but are very terse as to why. That means I can follow the tutorial to end up with the tutorial result, but have no idea how to apply those steps to a new situation.
    • In one place it says "Deply the S01 heirarchy and select the Prefab that corresponds to the instance of "Sneaky Chicken" sequence asset in S01." What does "Deploy" mean in this context?
    • The instruction "In timeline, invert the S01 and S02 clips". There is no explanation on how to do this however. I tried to drag S01 to where S02 is, but it refused. So I ended up deleting S01, dragging S02 back, then trying to reinsert S01 after S02, then extending it out longer to get the length right. Just saying "Invert" however does not describe how to achieve it.
    • "From the Sequences window, open the Sequence Asset in Prefab edit mode: under Asset Collections, double-click on the "Sneaky Chicken" Sequence Asset." - I assume the text after the colon is describing how to achieve the goal before the colon (double click to enter edit mode?)
    Some other suggestions
    • II have dreams (yeah, will see if they happen!) of creating a series of short episodes. There are multiple locations (sets). The sample shows a much simpler scenario. It would be useful to include advice on how to organize multiple videos from the one project.
    • I also tend to create multiple Unity scenes per episode as the sets can be large (e.g. a full Japanese school from the Asset Store, expanded with surrounds, additional buildings, distant mountains, forests, etc). So it has terrain, lamp posts with lights, and so on. Another location is downtown. Another is a characters home and neighboring houses. So I really want episodes and scenes and then generate a video per scene breaking it down into sequences and shots etc. Examples of how to introduce multiple levels of hierarchy in a project would be useful.
    • Maybe even simpler - it is not clear how to organize the project if there are two scenes in the one project. What do you share between scenes vs create a new set of things per scene?
    • For characters with variants, the tutorial suggests you can record alternative versions for a sequence and then flip between them (for the chicken). But I think variants are also used for different sequences? Then if I have multiple scenes, and multiple episodes, when should a new character prefab etc be created with a separate set of variant sequences, vs putting them all in the one character with a really long list variants. It seems like variants on a character prefab are both for alternatives for a sequence, and for different sequences. I think. (The confusion is the problem.)
    • It would be nice to know how to include sequence into my own project without all the other assets (chickens, Trex, etc). I assume this might come later.
    • The separation of lighting was interesting. It makes sense, but it raised questions like "what if my set has lights in it too - is that okay? E.g. street lights, or indoor room lights" I was not sure if I should delete all those lights and add them into the lighting section, or if mix and matching is fine (e.g. leave set lights in the set, but use the new Lighting support for spot lights etc for a specific scene in the film)
    • Playing around a bit with the project, I notice errors on the console upload_2021-5-21_23-30-4.png (the project is just a new project with the open beta added - nothing else)
    One parting comment as well, this one out of ignorance, my locations use terrain and objects for buildings etc. I don't understand if I can put terrain into a set prefab to easily reuse across scenes. I need to keep all the scenes looking the same. Currently I am creating a scene per set, then nesting multiple episodes in the scene. I am not sure if sets as described in the doc can include terrain or not.

    But it did work. Going to try some more later.
     
  2. marc_tanenbaum

    marc_tanenbaum

    Unity Technologies

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    Great feedback! The team is combing through it. :)
     
  3. SDuverne

    SDuverne

    Unity Technologies

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    Thanks for your feedback on the documentation! We'll definitely take your suggestions into account to improve the tutorial instructions and the overall user experience in our guides.
     
  4. thomastt_unity

    thomastt_unity

    Unity Technologies

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    Hi @akent99,

    These are interesting questions :)
    • II have dreams (yeah, will see if they happen!) of creating a series of short episodes. There are multiple locations (sets). The sample shows a much simpler scenario. It would be useful to include advice on how to organize multiple videos from the one project.
    • I also tend to create multiple Unity scenes per episode as the sets can be large (e.g. a full Japanese school from the Asset Store, expanded with surrounds, additional buildings, distant mountains, forests, etc). So it has terrain, lamp posts with lights, and so on. Another location is downtown. Another is a characters home and neighboring houses. So I really want episodes and scenes and then generate a video per scene breaking it down into sequences and shots etc. Examples of how to introduce multiple levels of hierarchy in a project would be useful.
    • Maybe even simpler - it is not clear how to organize the project if there are two scenes in the one project. What do you share between scenes vs create a new set of things per scene?
    There is feature not shown in the sample that can help you achieve what you described. With Sequences, we have introduced a new Timeline track: Scene Activation Track. On the same model as the Activation Track, it allows you to enable/disable content from loaded scenes.

    How to use it? See "Setting up Scene activation in a Sequence" section: https://docs.unity3d.com/Packages/c...l/sequences-window.html#the-structure-section

    With this, you can have multiple episodes re-using the same set. Also, you can split your episodes with different scenes.
    - Scene 1 -> Episode 01
    - Scene 2 -> Episode 02
    - etc.

    You get several benefits by doing so:
    - It won't load all your episodes in memory every time you want to work on one episode.
    - It minimizes the possibility of dirtying data you are not working on.
    - It won't lock all episodes in your versioning control system if you are working collaboratively with a team.

    • For characters with variants, the tutorial suggests you can record alternative versions for a sequence and then flip between them (for the chicken). But I think variants are also used for different sequences? Then if I have multiple scenes, and multiple episodes, when should a new character prefab etc be created with a separate set of variant sequences, vs putting them all in the one character with a really long list variants. It seems like variants on a character prefab are both for alternatives for a sequence, and for different sequences. I think. (The confusion is the problem.)
    What the tutorial suggests is correct. The idea is to offer a friendly way to manage and iterate on your data. We don't enforce one organization over another. One can use this system to try different styling of a character in a shot. Someone else can use it to organize the data related to a character - what the Sample does. It's up to you to decide what organization is best for you project.

    • It would be nice to know how to include sequence into my own project without all the other assets (chickens, Trex, etc). I assume this might come later.
    Let me rephrase your sentence. Are you asking for a way to export one sequence structure from one project then import it back into another?

    • The separation of lighting was interesting. It makes sense, but it raised questions like "what if my set has lights in it too - is that okay? E.g. street lights, or indoor room lights" I was not sure if I should delete all those lights and add them into the lighting section, or if mix and matching is fine (e.g. leave set lights in the set, but use the new Lighting support for spot lights etc for a specific scene in the film)
    Yes that's fine to have lights in scenes. If you want to animate them (flicker effect, on/off etc.), it will be easier to use a Sequence Asset as you can handle the timing and animations more easily. It's totally fine to have a mix of both if it fits with your needs.

    Hope that clarifies things for you.
     
  5. akent99

    akent99

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    Thanks for the reply. There have been some other threads with discussions as well, but to follow up on the questions you had back to me above:
    • I have tried the sequence activation and think I worked out how to create a location set in a scene, then activate it at the right time in the timeline (so it is effectively an alternative to adding a "set" to my sequence). But it does mean the lights and baking etc can all be done in that scene, addressing my question in the other thread.
    • (The other way I worked out that can work (not sure what went wrong last time I tried) is to create a new scene and master timeline per episode+location. In my case, "Ep1-Location1.scene", "Ep1-Location2.scene" and so on. Then load the set on the master timeline so it is always there. If action moves from a first location to a second, and then back to the first I might have sequence1 and sequence3 in the first location, sequence2 in the second location... - or just create three scenes to keep it simple.)
    Regarding my other question sorry, I was actually talking about how to load the correct Unity packages into my own project. I found another thread talking about using "add from GitHub" with a special syntax of com.unity.sequences@1.05... (something like that). Basically, if I have a project, how to add the right packages into it rather than starting from the pre-built download package.

    But making progress.
     
  6. Sean__R

    Sean__R

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    Interesting tool. I would love to set up my own scene to learn this tool.

    1. Do you have tutorials explaining how to import your sets and characters? Are there video tutorials?
    2. How do you put the assets into the timeline so the tool is happy?
    3. Can you stager the sequences on multiple tracks like After Effects?
    4. How do you set up the virtual camera and hand key frame the camera?
    5. Can you import camera animation from Maya and use it to animate a virtual camera?
    6. How do you hook up an Ipad Pro to do the virtual camera animation?
    7. How do you set up the sequences in the "Structure" window?
    8. Do you have presets for camera lenses? Can you animate the camera lenses? Can you animate depth of field?
    9. Do you use regular lightbaking techniques on high quality?
    10. Can you blend audio tracks like you blend cameras together?
    11. Can you animate the color of lights as well as the light radius, range, and intensity?
    12. Can you animate material attributes?

    Cheers,
     
  7. marc_tanenbaum

    marc_tanenbaum

    Unity Technologies

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    That's a lot of questions @Sean__R! ... I probably can't answer all of them, but I'll hint you in the right direction as much as I can.

    1. Do you have tutorials explaining how to import your sets and characters? Are there video tutorials?
    A lot of tutorial material is still in development, so no, not really at this time.

    2. How do you put the assets into the timeline so the tool is happy?
    Not sure what you mean by the tool being "happy". Generally, we suggest you work with prefabs.

    3. Can you stager the sequences on multiple tracks like After Effects?
    We're not an effects program nor an NLE, so I'd suggest you be careful about assuming that the behavior would match. I'm not sure I know what kind of staggering you're thinking of (I'm far from an After FX expert).

    4. How do you set up the virtual camera and hand key frame the camera?
    Hand keyframing is almost diametrically opposed to what the virtual camera is for. If you want to keyframe the camera, you're better off doing that in a DCC (like Maya, as you mention in the next question). The virtual camera, on the other hand, is great for capturing real handheld camera movement. That said, it's possible to tweak the results of a Virtual Camera recording after the fact.

    5. Can you import camera animation from Maya and use it to animate a virtual camera?
    Again, these concepts aren't very well aligned. The Virtual Camera is a mobile app for capturing handheld camera movement. If you want to record camera motion in Maya, you can certainly use that to drive a Camera in Unity.

    As an aside, there may be some confusion here between the Unity Virtual Camera app and a Cinemachine Virtual Camera. The VCam app is a mobile app for capturing handheld motion. Cinemachine is a tool for procedurally guiding the camera. I guess it might make sense to author the camera path in Maya, and then allow a Cinemachine Virtual Camera to procedurally guide other properties.

    6. How do you hook up an Ipad Pro to do the virtual camera animation?
    Documentation is posted here.

    7. How do you set up the sequences in the "Structure" window?
    Documentation is posted here.

    8. Do you have presets for camera lenses? Can you animate the camera lenses? Can you animate depth of field?
    Lens presets can be written, though we don't yet have a solution for realistic distortion that matches real-world lenses. Yes, settings (including DoF) can be animated.

    9. Do you use regular lightbaking techniques on high quality?
    I'm not a lighting expert. My sense is that yes, you can apply this technique as you might in other scenarios.

    10. Can you blend audio tracks like you blend cameras together?
    Audio is largely outside the domain of our team. Audio can be added to Timeline tracks...I'm not super experienced with blending.

    11. Can you animate the color of lights as well as the light radius, range, and intensity?
    Yes.

    12. Can you animate material attributes?
    Yes. It's possible to expose attributes that can then be animated.
     
  8. akent99

    akent99

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    I am using a Scene Activation track and creating a new Unity Scene per location as I believe baked lighting is tied to the Unity Scene, so you cannot flip different sets in and out (as I understand it). Its not perfect, but still useful.

    I wrote up a blog here if useful https://extra-ordinary.tv/2021/06/25/the-new-unity-sequences-support-for-cinemachine/
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2021
    marc_tanenbaum likes this.
  9. Sean__R

    Sean__R

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    Thank you, akent99. I will read your blog. :)

    Cheers,
    Sean
     
  10. Sean__R

    Sean__R

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    Thank you Marc,
    I can't wait to use the tool when it comes out.
     
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