Documentation

The Complete Guide to SLATE

Camera Track

CameraTrackInspector

Overview

The Camera Track is where you create all your cutscene Camera Shots and is responsible for rendering the cutscene. There can only ever be one Camera Track in a cutscene and always under the Director Group. As soon as the Camera Track becomes active, the Director Render Camera becomes active as well, setting itself as the main camera through which the cutscene rendering takes place. As such, the Camera Track has a control with which you can set when it becomes active and when it deactivates through it’s inspector panel, called Active Time Offset. This is useful if you don’t want cutscene rendering to take effect immediately.

Gameplay Blending

Another option available in the CameraTrack, is it’s Blend In and Blend Out settings. These two settings together, control the blend in that there will be from the gameplay camera (Camera.main) and to the first Camera Shot of the track, as well as the blend out that there will be from the last Camera Shot of the track and back the gameplay camera. This can create a seamless transition from gameplay to cutscene and back that can be seen in many games. If you don’t want such blending to take place, you can of course set one or both of these settings to 0.

Cinematic Letterbox

The final setting in the Camera Track, is the CineBox Fade Time. This simply allows you to control the time that the cinematic letterbox effect will take to fade in/out once the Camera Track becomes active. If you don’t want a cinematic letterbox, you can set this value to 0 as well.

Camera Shots

CameraTrack

The Camera Track works closely with Camera Shot clips which is the only type of clip that can be added in the Camera Track. Camera Shots being the eyes of a cutscene, in SLATE everything has been put into making the process of blocking and staging a cutscene as intuitive as possible. Shots within the scene are easily recognizable by their special gizmos and their animation path if any, can also be viewed within the scene for the selected shot.

ShotGizmo

 

Shot Creation

CamShotEmpty

Once you place a Camera Shot clip within the Camera track, it’s possible to either create a new shot, or select an existing shot through the Shot Picker, which gives you a convenient preview of all the shots available in the scene. If you chose to create a new shot, it’s helpful to remember that the new shot will be created at the same position and rotation as your current scene camera view, which is convenient if you already have a frame of what you want to shoot.

ShotPicker– Shot Picker –

CamShotInspector

Shot Animation and Control

With SLATE, it’s easy and fast to create moving camera shots without the hassle, due to the ability of the Camera Shot clip (and many other clips as well), to be animatable by themselves and have Animatable Parameters. As such, a shot clip can be keyed to perform a specific “move” within it’s active period of time. The keyable parameters include the shot’s Position, Rotation, Field of View as well as Focal Point, the later being used for a Depth of Field effect in case you have Depth of Field Image Effect in your project and attached to the Director Render Camera.

Controlling the camera shot can certainly be done through scene view (and you can also double click the clip to select the shot camera), but the camera shot clip inspector includes a preview section of the shot, through which you can control the shot directly, or even animate it in case the current time of the cutscene is set within the clip’s length as usual, while the Look Through Cam button, can be used to sync the scene view camera with the shot and thus control the shot camera through the scene view camera and controls.

ShotBlocking

As usual with all animatable clips in SLATE, a mini DopeSheet is shown over the clip in the timeline, through which you can control the animation keys, but for a finer control over the animation of the shot, all four Animation Curves for Position, Rotation, Field of View, and Focal Point, can be expanded within the clip’s inspector to alter if required.

CamShotCurves

 

Transitions

Last but not least, shot clips have an optional Blend In Effect and Blend Out Effect, which in practice are used for controlling the transition effects from one shot the the next if any is required. The options for Blend In Effect are:

  • None, which simply means that it’s a clean cut.
  • Fade In, will fade into the shot from black. This is particular useful if the previous shot has a Fade Out effect.
  • Cross Dissolve, will cross dissolve the previous shot into this shot.
  • Ease In, will seamlessly and smoothly transition Position, Rotation Field of View and Focal Point from the previous shot and to this shot.

The options for the Blend Out Effect are currently one, that being Fade Out, which works closely with the next shot’s Fade In.

ShotTransitions

 

Steady Cam Effect

The SteadyCam effect slider on the Camera Shot Inspector ca be used to apply a noise effect (typically introduced by a steadycam rig). Please note that this effect is only visible in runtime.

SteadyCamEffectThe effect applied at 0.5 out of 1, on an otherwise completely non-animated shot.

 

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