My journey becoming a Unity game developer: Beginning Cutscene-Creating cinematic cuts

Objective: Create 14 virtual cameras to represent the cinematic cuts in the Intro cutscene. Also, we will animate the 1st virtual camera to animate Darren sliding down the rope.

Final shot of Darren sliding down the rope.

First, we want to setup an animation track of Darren sliding down the rope behind the glass display case. Click on the Intro Cutscene game object and create a new Timeline name Intro_Timeline. Create an Animation Track and drag the Actors game object into its slot which holds Darren’s animation of him coming down the rope.

To get the animation clip of Darren coming down the rope, click on the Actors object and double-click on the Animator Controller slot. We will see the name of the animation clip assigned in the state. Click back on the Intro Cutscene object, then click on the hamburger menu and select Add from Animation Clip. Find the name of the animation clip and select it to the Timeline editor.

Animation track for Darren sliding down the rope created in Timeline.

When we played the animation, Darren slid down the rope but didn’t land on the ground. Also, Darren himself is scaled to be too small for the scene. Click back on the Intro Cutscene object, scrub the Timeline pointer to the position where Darren begins to touch the floor. Move Darren down the Y-axis until he actually touches the floor. Scale his size up along the 3 axis to 3 which will make him a normal looking height compared with the guards. Position Darren if needed to land behind the case just like the notes show.

Darren’s animation is played with landing and size adjusted.

Next, drag the Main Camera with the Cinemachine Brain attached to it into the Timeline editor which will create a Cinemachine Track. In the Main Camera Cinemachine Track timeline, right-click and select Add Cinemachine Shot. Drag the CM Darren Down Rope virtual camera into the Virtual Camera slot under the Cinemachine Shot component. We will do this for the other 13 virtual cameras as well, and make sure to slide the cameras in Timeline to connect with the camera in front of them.

Cinemachine track created with Cinemachine Brain attached to the Main Camera added to its slot. Cinemachine shots created for each virtual camera.

Let’s animate the cameras of Darren sliding down the rope starting with the first 2 virtual cameras. Drag the Darren Down Rope virtual camera animation clip down to where Darren is halfway down the rope which is around the 1:30 mark. Move the second virtual camera named Darren Drops Down and connect it to the first virtual camera. When we scrub the timeline, we will see the animation blend from Darren beginning his slide down the rope to the 2nd virtual camera’s position showing Darren landing behind the case.

The first and second virtual cameras blended together showing Darren coming down the rope.

Finally, we will animate the Darren Down Rope virtual camera showing Darren sliding down the rope. In the Timeline editor, create a new Animation Track, and drag the Darren Down Rope game object into its slot. Click the REC button to start the animation, then click on the Darren Down Rope object itself. To create the 1st keyframe, just go to anyone of the Transform positions and retype the position’s value. Then scrub the timeline to the end of the animation, and move the camera to come down with Darren but still stay above him. Use the Soft Zone settings as well as the Tracked Object Offset to position the camera into the animated position.

Darren Down Rope virtual camera animated to show Darren sliding down the rope.

Final shot of Darren sliding down the rope behind the display case from the first and second virtual cameras shots.

Final shot of Darren sliding down the rope to the floor.

There are 13 virtual cameras left to animate the Intro Cutscene. Until next time which will be Darren Side Shot camera.

Learning to become a Unity game developer.