See how this short animation was created by using the sequencer and the movie render queue in Unreal Engine. I am still learning how to use these tools more efficiently, but this workflow does the trick. 🙂
Add an animation curve with the Camera Rig Rail
After setting up your level with a landscape and the objects you want to animate, you are ready to go. For our animation I used the photorealistic canyon landscape by Gokhan Karadayi from the Unreal Marketplace. I then imported by ship model from Blender via the Datasmith plugin.First I placed the Camera Rig Rail actor in the scene where I wanted the animation to start. Then you just extrude new points, and adjust the curve as you like it. When you are done with the rails, you need to create a level sequence and assign the camera rig rail and your object (the ship) to the sequence. Then you attach the rail as a new binding to the ship, and tick the “Lock orientation to rail” checkbox for the camera rig rail. This makes the ship follow the rail and always look in the direction it is moving.
Finetuning the animation
To add realism to the animation, add some rotation keyframes to the ship, when it is going through curves.Set up your cameras and add keyframes as you like. If you want a camera to follow the ship, just apply the same steps as you did for the ship (attach it to the camera rig rail). I installed 10 cameras at different locations to get a variety of camera angles and effects.Set your camera settings. I like to use the 16:9 DSLR Filmback, with a high focal length (85 mm or higher). However for some establishing shots I also use a focal length of 30 or even 12 mm. A low aperture (F-Stop) value gives you a nice depth of field effect.
Rendering with the movie render queue
To get higher quality renders, I used the movie render queue instead of rendering directly from the sequencer. For more information, the Unreal documentation is quite helpful.For anti-aliasing I used a sample count of 16, which gave a much nicer motion blur effect to the renders.After rendering my camera cuts, I imported them to Premiere Pro and applied some color correction and sound effects.