Next Level | Real-Time workflows with game engine technology

We caught up with Real-time Supervisor, Jake Martin to chat about processes and workflows and the benefits of using game engine technology.
Thought October 20, 2021

You most recently worked on the epic virtual concert for Pentakill. What were some of your favorite moments from the project?

Some of my favourite moments was first and foremost the song Gathering Storm.  Kayle aka Noora Louhimo absolutely melts your face with her vocals.  I also really enjoyed the destruction of the various environment pieces, like the meteor crashing into the stadium and Mordekaiser tackling the giant metronome spire, that were expertly crafted by our amazing VFX team.

How was Unity well suited to craft and execute the Riot Pentakill, Lost Chapter virtual concert?

I thought Unity was a fine choice for the project. I’ve used both Unreal and Unity.  Each have their positives and negatives, but both are excellent choices for a project like this.  Unity’s HDRP pipeline was familiar enough to the traditional CG artists where they could just jump right in and get started creating.

Tell us about some of the challenges you faced and how you and the team overcame them.

The biggest challenge was training up some of the team on Unity. We overcame that hurdle pretty early on because all the artists were excited to learn and not afraid to ask questions.

Unity’s resources and community were also a big help. Any new software can be intimidating when you first open it.  Pair that along with real project deadlines and it can be a huge source of anxiety.  Thankfully if there were any questions we couldn’t answer, we could always fall back to the Unity documentation, forums, or the many YouTube channels out there for support.


What are some of the main differences between the traditional CG pipeline and the real-time pipeline (used for this project)?

Probably the most glaring difference is the need for real-time performance. Traditional CG can throw in everything, including the kitchen sink to make the art assets as beautiful as possible.  Real-time, on the other hand, is a balance of beauty and efficiency.  Sometimes you have to trade a few thousand polygons for an extra millisecond or two.


Why real-time for previs? What are the benefits of using this game engine tech?

Previs has always been a discipline of speed. Having to iterate quickly based on design changes, last-minute script rewrites and deliver technical schematics as fast as possible. While real-time technology has its roots in game development, these “game engines” have expanded way beyond that.  The benefits of utilizing a real-time rendering engine such as Unreal or Unity are the speed at which you can visualize look-dev and design iterations.  You can see your lighting changes in seconds while modifying materials and post-processing at the same time.  Although, the speed of rendering is definitely a plus, these real-time engines come with a huge assortment of tools to help with building environments, particle effects, sound design, material creation, animation and cinematography.

Jake Martin, Real-time Supervisor

Discover more about our virtual production toolkit here and get in touch with our teams regarding your next project here