With Unreal Engine’s support for DMX, professionals in live events, broadcast, and more are empowered to use real-time rendering for accurate lighting previsualization.
The design process for live events can be very complex, with lighting, video content, scenography, automation, and special effects combining to form endless possibilities. Fortunately, the tools available today allow for the creation of remarkable live experiences, and things are about to change even more. Now you can accurately previs DMX-controlled lighting and effects right in Unreal Engine.
Montreal-headquartered multimedia powerhouse Moment Factory collaborated with Epic Games to create a sample project to showcase Unreal Engine’s DMX support, which enables you to accurately previs DMX-controlled lighting and effects. The free project, which can be downloaded from the Learn tab of the Epic Games launcher, shows how to create live experiences, combining video, lighting, architecture, sound, and special effects.
The new free Unreal Engine sample project allows users to learn and explore how to previsualize complex live lighting and effects that will be controlled via the Digital Multiplex (DMX) protocol. With Unreal Engine’s support for DMX, professionals in live events, broadcast, and more are empowered to use real-time rendering for accurate lighting previsualization.
Epic Games first introduced support for connecting the engine to external controllers and devices that use the DMX protocol with the release of Unreal Engine 4.25. Since then, Moment Factory has been working closely with Epic to create this sample project, providing rigorous testing and valuable user feedback that informed the development process of Unreal Engine’s DMX plugin and led to significant enhancements in the Unreal Engine 4.26 release. Moment Factory’s feedback also provided a deeper understanding of market expectations when it comes to previsualization and the production of virtual and live events.
Juxtaposing the surreal with the real
Since its inception in 2001, Moment Factory has delivered more than 450 unique projects worldwide, including the critically acclaimed Lumina Night Walk series. Productions span the globe and include clients such as Madonna, Jay-Z, Billie Eilish, and Childish Gambino, alongside high-profile companies like Disney, Microsoft, and Sony; installations feature in such diverse settings as airports, cathedrals, and zoos.
“By putting this tool in the hands of our show designers at Moment Factory, Epic Games crash-tested the development of their engine, using the concrete needs, expectations, and examples of the show production industry,” says Jean-Baptiste Hardoin, Creative Director at Moment Factory. “We approximated the conditions of a real-life show production in order to test the limits of mixing content, lighting, pyrotechnics, lasers, camera movements, realistic scenic renders, and audience. Ultimately, this created a strong use case for Unreal Engine in a real-life production and previs workflow.”
The DMX sample project incorporates stage design that juxtaposes the surreal with the real, placing dreamlike scenography at the center of a massive arena, accompanied by a lighting rig designed to leverage Unreal Engine’s photorealistic rendering.
According to Epic Games, the sample project has been produced using the GrandMA lighting console for its programming and features typical fixtures from the industry. The project contains the entire light show as a DMX Sequencer track recording, a one-to-one copy of the incoming DMX data stream that can be watched either from the FOH (front of house) perspective or from the provided animated sequence. For reference, the show file is also provided.
In the context of live event previsualization, the project has been designed from the ground up to be as close as possible to its real-life technical counterpart. All lights, fixtures, and effects seen inside the project are entirely driven by the Sequencer DMX track, in sync with the soundtrack and the other show elements. To provide an example of how Unreal Engine can be used as an intricate part of the production workflow, it also demonstrates the ability to drive additional virtual creative elements using DMX, further expanding the possibilities.
All users can now download the complete sample project for free to learn, explore, and use in their own live event lighting and effects design. Just follow the link: https://www.unrealengine.com/marketplace/learn/dmx-previs-sample.