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With so much momentum around real-time filmmaking, we know many of you are eager to try creating cinematic scenes with the latest best practices for fast iteration and powerful storytelling workflows. Today we published a Film Sample Project on the Asset Store for users looking to get started using Unity for linear content such as cut-scenes for their games, short films, or other use cases.

Mike Wuetherick is a Senior Producer on the Made with Unity team. His team has worked on a number of large cinematic projects over the past 2 years, including the Oats Studios ADAM Episode 2 & 3 shorts, and most recently the Baymax Dreams collaboration with Disney Television Animation.

Introducing the Unity Film Sample Project

This package contains an example Unity project preconfigured for anyone interested in creating linear content, such as short films or even an animated series. It uses layout tips from how projects like Adam 2: The Mirror and Baymax Dreams shorts were created, and also serves as a starting point for creating your own cinematic project in Unity.

The project uses the new HD Scriptable Render Pipeline, Post Processing Stack V2, Timeline, Cinemachine and includes a number of additional editor utilities, custom timeline tracks, and other useful tools that we’ve built while working on linear productions with Unity.

You can find the Film Sample Project on the Unity Asset Store.

In order to get started with the Film Sample, you’re going to need a copy of Unity installed.  This project was created with Unity 2018.2, and it should work with any 2018.2.x version of Unity.

Once you have Unity installed, create a new Empty project, and then navigate to the asset store and import the Film Sample project.

Note: the Film Sample is a complete Unity project, which means that it should be imported into an empty project.

What is included

The package includes:

  • Basic project structure and organization, including a custom Unity editor window layout designed specifically for working on linear productions (for example, Timeline window is visible by default).
  • Multi-scene loading framework
  • Base directory structures for: content, scenes, timelines
  • Library of tools, timeline extensions and other goodies that we have created and found to be useful for episodic production, check under the Tools menu
  • A sample short containing 3 shots from the Oats Studios short ADAM: The Mirror, with the original assets created by Oats Studios for the shorts, including:
    • ADAM Character
    • WASP Character
    • Traption Guard Character
    • original mocap camera movements from the short
    • Note: the 3 characters are provided with the original rigs that Oats Studios created for the shorts. For example, the ADAM character is different than the version that was previously released in the ADAM 1 Character pack, which was designed to be used with the Unity Humanoid Rig.
  • Animations for the 3 characters + mocap camera, as generic rig animations
  • An Empty Series set of scenes & timelines designed to be used as the starting point for a new episodic series

Credits

  • The Airlock environment assets were created by Virtuous Games for Oats Studios, and the Motion Capture was shot at Animatrik studios.
  • The characters, content and scenes were created by Oats Studios, and are copyright Unity Technologies, Aps.

Walkthrough

Content Organization

All of the content for the Film Sample project is organized using a specific folder structure, shown below. This is done both as a best practice, and also a requirement for the Multi-Scene framework that is included in the project. It is recommended that you organize your content similarly.

The section below will describe how to configure the scene framework for your own projects.

Content

  • All 3d models, animations, characters, props, audio etc are located under this folder.

Scenes

  • Includes the scenes for the samples & tutorials.

Timeline

  • Includes the Timeline sequences for the sample episodes.

Getting Started with the Film Sample

The Film Sample includes 2 samples for you to use, as well as a number of tutorial scenes that demonstrate specific concepts in Timeline and Cinemachine for you to use in your own productions.

The first sample is pre-built and uses some of the assets from the ADAM Episode 2 short to show how you can organize your content, Unity Scenes and Timeline to create your own production.

The second sample is an empty template with pre-created Unity scenes and Timeline sequences, all designed for you to start building your own sequences from scratch!

To load the samples, navigate to the Scenes folder in the Unity project.

As shown in the screenshot above, you will see a number of folders under Scenes. The samples are located in the EmptySeries and FilmSampleV1 folders.

Under the Scenes/FilmSampleV1 folder, you will see a file called FilmSampleSceneLoader. When selected, the Inspector will show the following:

The multi-scene loading system is designed to be easy to use and generic — its primary goal is to allow you to define and load a list of Unity scenes in one of two categories: Main Scenes or Set Scenes.

The buttons at the bottom of the dialog will load the appropriate scenes:

  • Load Full Workflow ⇐ loads all of the scenes in the list, both Main and Set scenes
  • Load Set Only ⇐ will only load the list of scenes in the Set scenes list

With two workflows for scene loading, environment/lighting artists can load the subset of scenes to do their work without needing to load up the full timeline with all of the characters, animations, etc. The full workflow in larger productions can potentially become quite sizable, so this shortcut was created for lighting and set designers.

If you open the Film Sample V1 scene loader and select Load Full Workflow you will be presented with the setup shown in the header image at the top of the blog. This sample includes three shots from ADAM: Episode 2, and demonstrates using Timeline with Nested Timelines, as well as a couple different ways to approach creating cameras for your shorts — one with only Cinemachine, and one that shows the original mocap cameras that were created by Oats for the original shorts.

If you navigate to the Scenes/EmptySeries folder, you will find a corresponding scene loader for the Empty example. You can use this sample as the starting point for creating your own custom production!

The Film Sample includes many other tools, custom Timeline tracks, editor shortcuts and other utilities designed to make creating linear productions like ADAM easier. Check the FilmSample Readme file included in the project for more information.

We look forward to seeing what you create!

Join us at Unite Los Angeles

If you’re joining us at Unite LA 2018, you can sign up for one of our workshops, such as Unity for Film: Tools for Linear Storytelling. Stay tuned for future online workshops and webinars on harnessing the power of Unity for real-time filmmaking!

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  1. This mentioned Unity Analytics are needed. I made a new empty project without analytics and I got some errors. Then I greated empty project with analytics included then everything worked fine. So somehow Analytics module is required.

  2. Catalin-Alexandru Nastase

    October 12, 2018 at 4:42 pm Reply

    “com.unity.modules.unityanalytics”: “1.0.0” line is missing from manifest.json generating 2 compile errors.

    1. Someone else mentioned this as well, I’ll have to dbl check what could possibly depending on this – don’t know why the Analytics module would be required?

    2. Did you import the package into an empty project? if so, which template did you use to create the empty project?

  3. Thank you Team Unity, I just started working on Cinemachine for cinematic for my game and boom a full example project is here for my ease.

  4. Great, except:
    – keyframe compression is enabled, causing all the character’s feet to slide around!
    – No Undo support on the tools
    – Wasp’s Rifle has the wrong material

    1. Thanks for the feedback.

      I’ll see what I can do for the undo support on the tools. This is a library that we’ve been building up (and continue to work on for our own projects) over the past few years, strangely enough no one has ever mentioned lack of undo before ;}

      I’ll do a pass on the animations, definitely a great point about the compression – definitely something that you want to disable for the majority of productions like this (we definitely did for both ADAM and Baymax Dreams). Animators are picky about this sort of thing ;}

      ps I swear I fixed Wasp’s rifle ;\

  5. What great timing; I am currently spending time doing some tinkering with Timeline & CineMachine.