scenography and spatial cinematography in unreal


  • Rearrange a world with Scenography in mind. 
    • Go location scouting and find some key areas where action can take place.  
    • Drop in a camera and add or change the level blocking to create a vignette
    • Add Quixel Assets to enhance your scene. [through Bridge]
    • Think about your framing in relation to the Rule of Thirds.
    • Add your motion capture data to your avatar from last week and bring the animation into this scene. 
    • Get a screen recording of the scene unfolding. 
  • Write up a paragraph or two on how your scene relates to the ideas we discussed around Scenography
    • Visual Framing
      • Composition
      • Tangents
      • Depth and Parallax
    • Movement
      • Saliency
        • Sight Lines – Leading Lines
      • Affordances
        • Object, Surface, Complex, Spatial
      • Prospect and Refuge
    • Time
      • Space
      • Repetition
      • Transitions

Original Story

Tuna lives in a flower right next to the curvy roads. In order to find happiness, she has to find her way back to the ocean.

Developed Story

Tuna lives on a maze-like deserted plateau carved with curvy markings. In order to find happiness, she has to find her way back to the ocean.

  • Tuna has been living in the place she calls “home” forever. It is un-bearingly hot and gloomy but she grows to be grateful for it. After all, this place is all she knows.
  • She wanted to escape and explore the world but she is too scared. In order to do so, she would have to go through the maze-like plateau first to find the edge of the plateau, and then find the most suitable area to climb off. It is an invisible hell she lives in and she is trapped.
  • One day, the clouds are finally cleared, revealing the sun behind. The place is still hot but she knows something is different. Later, it rained, the taste of water makes Tuna feel more alive than ever. She started to dance, which she barely does. She begins to wonder if water is all she has been missing all her life.
  • The next day, everything goes back to normal. The clouds came back and the heat becomes more unbearable than before. Tuna can not stop thinking about the pleasure she gained from the rain. She is determined to find the source of the water.
  • Journey
    • to figure out how to escape from the maze
    • to find the position of the stair-ish rocks to climb off
    • to find clues of the water source – a tiny stream of water
      • the closet she can find could be either a lake or an ocean.

Scene Rearrangement

Workflow to always go back to – Todd’s demo.


Read my previous blog on the world building here.


Framing + Why

For the camera movement, I decided to create a sense of isolation through reptitions of showing the island. For the composition, I pay attention to the rules of third as well as the spatial area.

For the firepit scene, I also made sure Tuna seems extremely small in comparison to fire pit to foreshadow the turmoil she will face when she wants to escape in the storyline.

For the movement, the laying one would be her shurgging out of despair. For the firepit one, she would crouch to examine the surrounding and look into the fire pit. However, I couldn’t get the animation recorded through sequencer. It would be awesome if the animations are captured within the sequencer so the story is more cohesive.


  1. how to show animation in the scene and put it in the sequencer?
  2. how to go back to the main game page to add more cameras?

Process Images

I used the sculptor and foliage to paint the platform more like a plateau. I used the foliage tool to place certain items around. I originally placed a lot but it was too distracting and unnecessary for the story so I only kept the minimal amount of items.

Details for the Developed Story

Since I have enriched the story a little bit. There are several things I need to reconsider:

  1. Depressing color-scheme:
    1. Hot-> orangish-brown for the plateau
    2. light yellow atmospheric fog as always
    3. Light grayish-blue as the master color scheme
  2. Features
    1. Occasional seagulls flying – indicating that ocean is not too far away
    2. Few bushes to show existence of life between the cracks of the stones
    3. Dry texture of the rocks and road – make sure it is hot to touch with your bare feet
    4. coffin-shaped cave made up with stones – Tuna’s so-called home
    5. Wild fire everywhere
    6. Steaming hot surroundings
  3. Places & actions that can take place – Mixamo and RADiCAL
    1. Within the Coffin
      1. Tuna sleeps and turns back and forth – insomnia
      1. Laying shrugging
      2. laying sleeping
      3. waking
      4. walking out of the coffin – female start walking, walking, female stop walking, walking in circle, female stop and start
      5. Goes out and does her daily routine – shows the player the surrounding
    2. On the Plateau – The rainy day
      1. crying
      2. dancing
    3. The Escape
      1. running, running tired, turn to running, injured run
      2. climbing down the side of the plateau
        1. climbing down wall
        2. climbing
    4. Animations to recapture
      1. Sense of salvation
        1. Joyful jump and dance for a while, cry on the floor while kneeling down
      2. Over-joyousjoyful swimming in the ocean
      3. Look up to the sky while taking in all the water she can in the ocean

For future scenes:

  • Aim to focus on her sense of isolation, loneliness, and hopefully salvation if she escapes
  • seagulls flying on the sky
  • Tuna treading in water, over-joyous swimming in the ocean, Look up to the sky while taking in all the water she can in the ocean

Costume Design

I wanted to work with Marvelous on Saturday vbut I spent the whole day working with Unreal to find better angles and create a more cohesive story. I will update the character design in terms of costume design through Marvelous design!


At “Home” – Tuna’s outfit would be slight light lighter color but would still be depressing

  • simple dress style as referenced image
  • show femininity
  • bare foot

During the rain and When she finds the ocean

  • outfit becomes even lighter color
  • more mermaid like
  • skin glowing
  • more radiant and fluorescent

MotionBuilder Recap

I did several times in MotionBuilder to be familiar with the workflow. I understood that I need to delete the animation data as well as the skeleton for Roots before exporting it to fbx. In this way, I will get the normal skeleton when importing it to unreal rather than the squid shaped skeleton as below.

I had so much fun working in front of a green screen. But there are problems where when I kneel, the data through RADiCAL seems hard to analyze it. So some of the actions I recorded are not as accurate.

To see the skeleton, I need to select the whole branch and increase the size up to 100.00.

The hand is hidden in the thigh. How do I fix the problem?

This is a funny example of when I kneel. The RADiCAL only bends my knees a little bit.

And UE crashes when I was playing around with the RecorderSequencer.

Published by Yiting Liu


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