To achieve a wow effect, production companies use various tools, from computer graphics to AR. But the most important thing is to implement these ideas so that the line between the real and the virtual worlds becomes blurred. In many ways, Unreal Engine helps to achieve this, or rather, artists who know how to work with it.
Why do esports tournament organizers need an Unreal Artist?
Unreal Engine is a 3D computer graphics game engine. Starting as a tool for first-person shooters, the engine has grown to become an open and versatile platform for all of the GameDev industry. This game engine has many tools to help manage and improve the artwork for the games. In addition to games, Unreal Engine can be used for animation, movies, shows, and so on.
Using engine tools, an Unreal Artist makes tournaments unforgettable for the viewer.
“I’m involved in many CG processes: from simple modeling to scene setup in Unreal Engine 4. Plus, using Pixtope, I seamlessly embed our AR environment, with all the characters and elements, into a real-time broadcast. My goal is to make viewers believe that this fictional world could be real, at least during tournaments,” shares Mariia Myrza, Unreal Artist at WePlay Esports.
Unreal Artist in action
The preparation process for any show is unique, although it has some steps in common. It all starts with an idea and concept development. Once the primary details are settled, the artist can move on to more practical tasks. For example, an artist can start testing animation at the draft stage using blocking out. The central part of development is the environment and asset design.
“Apart from Unreal Engine, I use many other tools. Some are better for generating, say, trees, others for texturing. For unique artwork, you need to create 3D models from scratch, or you can generate a bunch of ordinary stuff using ready-made solutions. The selection of artists’ tools should be comprehensive. A good deal of software that is available on the market now allows you to save time on mundane tasks and concentrate on truly unique content,” comments Mariia.
Of course, a good work of art basically depends on the implementation. Lighting plays a vital role in this task. 3D characters and other things should look like they are an integral part of the scene, not cut-and-paste pictures.
“The greatest experience I would like to share is WePlay AniMajor. All the company departments worked towards creating the first-ever anime-themed Dota 2 Major. Personally, I set up Dota 2 heroes for live-time broadcasts to show up during the Picks and Bans stage. The goal was to insert characters into the real world without a hitch. The borders between the real world and the elements of our augmented one needed special attention. Light and shadow erased the line between stylized assets and the physical stage.”
Innovation: part of Unreal Artist’s work
Unreal Artists can bring almost any idea to life. Moreover, if you arrange a brainstorm with AR specialists, CG professionals, and programmers, you can come up with a unique solution that will have no equal. WePlay AniMajor was the first to offer viewers an AR map with real-time updates.
“Working with augmented reality, WePlay Esports is always outdoing themselves. For WePlay AniMajor, the team developed a virtual map of the Dota world from scratch. Our programmers have written the logic, so analysts can use the map on a tablet. They would show the movements and positions of the players so that viewers could better immerse themselves in analytics,” says Mariia Myrza.
Tips from Mariia
Don’t hesitate to ask
Unreal Engine is a highly specialized area of knowledge. So, meeting even one master in this field is the best gift you can ask for. It’s hard to figure out many nuances on your own and the support of like-minded people always comes in handy.
“I started delving into Unreal Engine in 2016 and discovered that there was next to no information available on the topic. Therefore, I started browsing social media, searching for specialists with experience. I asked them things directly, and almost always, they would give me valuable advice. So in a couple of years, I created my small community of professionals who help each other grow,” shares her experience Mariia Myrza.
Unreal Engine is an innovation in the world of gaming and design. And like any other new technology, it is constantly improving. New features appear, documentation changes, and much more, so any specialist has room to develop.
“If you already have a certain skill set that helps you do your job, then it’s time to move on. When I started working with Unreal Engine, everything seemed complicated. Now I specialize in AR technologies in broadcasting, so my first attempts at working with Unreal Engine look like child’s play,” thinks Mariia.
Observe and follow suit
To remain the best, you must raise the bar every day and learn from the best. In fact, a valuable lesson can come from anywhere.
“I created the conditions for constant growth for myself. For example, on Instagram, I mainly follow professionals in their field, and I constantly watch their work. I try to imitate something or even improve it. General knowledge also helps, so beginner artists should study the environment, material characteristics, light, anatomy, colors, natural phenomena, etc. This will help hone your skills,” sums up Mariia Myrza.