Latest release includes set of new features supporting virtual production, real-time ray tracing, massive-scale physics and destruction.
Epic Games today has released Unreal Engine 4.23, with a new set of features and enhancements that help artists continue to push the boundaries of cinematic quality and realism for real-time experiences. This latest update includes next-generation virtual production tools to achieve final pixel quality in real-time, developer-focused tools to maximize performance, and massive-scale physics and destruction effects at cinematic quality.
Key features and enhancements now shipping in Unreal Engine 4.23 include:
- Next-generation virtual production tools: Now filmmakers can achieve final shots live on set. With LED walls powered by nDisplay, filmmakers can bring real-world actors and props into a photoreal Unreal Engine environment background, capturing interactive and accurate lighting and reflections in-camera. Filmmakers can also switch to a digital green screen for real-time compositing in UE4. Additional virtual production capabilities include the ability to interactively and collaboratively explore digital UE4 environments with new VR scouting tools, leverage enhanced Live Link tools for real-time data streaming, and remotely control UE4 from an iPad or other device for increased on-set flexibility.
- Enhanced real-time ray tracing (beta): First introduced in UE 4.22, ray tracing has received numerous enhancements to improve stability and performance, and to support additional material and geometry types including landscape geometry, instanced static meshes, procedural meshes, and Niagara sprite particles. These improvements deliver a better out-of-the-box experience and end results for users.
- Chaos physics and destruction (beta): With Chaos, artists can fracture, shatter, and demolish massive-scale scenes at cinematic quality with unprecedented levels of artistic control. Simulate in real time, or pre-cache larger sims for real-time playback. Chaos is also integrated with the Niagara VFX system to trigger the generation of secondary effects such as dust and smoke.
- Virtual texturing (beta): Unreal Engine 4.23 introduces both Streaming and Runtime Virtual Texturing, where large textures are tiled and only the visible tiles loaded, thereby reducing texture memory overhead for light maps and detailed artist-created textures, and improving rendering performance for procedural or layered materials respectively.
- Unreal Insights (beta): The new Unreal Insights system collects, analyzes, and visualizes data on UE4 behavior for profiling, helping users understand engine performance from either live or pre-recorded sessions. As well as tracking various default sub-systems and events, users can also add their own code annotations to generate trace events.
- HoloLens 2 support: Support for the Microsoft HoloLens 2, initially released in beta in May, is now production ready. Features include streaming and native deployment, emulator support, finger tracking, gesture recognition, meshing, voice input, spatial anchor pinning, and more.
Source: Epic Games
Dan Sarto is Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network.