Unity user explores Unreal Engine 4: Part 4

Mar 06, 2020 at 10:52 am by nemirc

This time, I continued working on the basic learning (or rather re-learning) of the basic elements in UE4. If you are coming from Unity + the PostProcess Stack 2, then you are familiar with post-process volumes, which is one of the ways UE4 handles post-processing (the other being actually configuring the camera).

Actually, this feature was also present in UDK, but, in this specific case, I don’t fully remember how Post Process Volumes were configured in UDK (meaning the actual post-process where you do color correction, image effects, etc.), so I need to learn these from scratch.

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To create a Post Process Volume in UE4 you just drag the volume from the “Modes” pane (I have no idea why it’s called “Modes” since it’s mostly used to create primitives and objects).

The Post Process Volume (and also the post-process settings in the camera) has a lot of different settings for color correction, image effects, film effects, etc. You can also add post-process materials to it. These materials are special materials that modify the entire look of the image. For example, if you create a post-process material that desaturates the image, all the screen will be desaturated and shown in gray-scale.

One thing about Post Process Volumes is that you actually see the effect on the viewport (at least on my trials, using the third person template that comes with the engine, the look of the viewport didn’t change when I changed the post-processing settings in the camera asset that is used in the game). This is a nice feature, specially since UE4 doesn’t have a “Game Window” like Unity (a window where you can see how the game looks).

Since you are using volumes, you can easily transition from one volume to the next very easily. Volumes have a “priority” setting that lets you define which one is the most important, in case of overlapping volumes. Also, when you walk from one volume into the other one, you get a nice smooth transition.

Another thing you can do is use LUTs to control the overall image coloring. For those of you who don’t know, LUTs are basically an image stripe that you can use to remap all colors of an image to another color (for example, turn shades of red into bright blue). They can be a very effective way to control he looks. I am assuming you can use coding to control the amount of grading for the LUT, but I will find out when I actually get into programming (to be honest I don’t know if I will use blueprints or coding, since I am not entirely sure if I should use blueprints for some things, since blueprints is actual coding, unlike Unreal Kismet which was more event-driven).

In the Post Process Volume settings, you can also see settings for mobile. However, my focus is not on mobile, so I didn’t really pay much attention to those. Still, I thought it was important to mention them for those who may want to use UE4 for mobile games.

When I was working on Enola, in UDK, I used post process materials to add some effects like screen distortion or “hit effects” on the screen at certain situations. A Post Process Volume might be good for regular scenarios, but if you need something special for certain situations, the best option in UE4 seems to be using post process materials (I need to clarify I say “seems to be” because I am still exploring UE4, and I cannot state anything as absolute truth).

I decided to try a very simple material, just to see what would happen. You can see the result below, it’s some sort of depth material.

Learning how to use post process materials will take some time, so I think that’s something I will do on my free time (but if I come up with a very nice screen effect using post process materials, I will write an article about it). Until next time!

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