My journey becoming a Unity game developer: Cutscenes-Composing the Shot

Objective: Composing the shot in the scene by using Virtual Cameras.

Composing the shot in this scene.

Composing the Shot refers to way visual elements are arranged to convey an intended message within a camera’s frame.

Let’s begin with opening the storyboard to show the vision of what the scene should convey to the viewer. We will need to 2 cameras to capture this scene with one being over the shoulder of Darren, and the other camera will pan from Darren taking the key card to Darren being shown successful in stealing the key card.

Now we need to install Cinemachine which is dynamic, smart, codeless cameras that allow you to get the best shots based on scene composition and interaction. Now to start Composing the Shot, we need to install Cinemachine from the Package Manager. After installing Cinemachine, if you don’t see its title on the top menu, remove and reinstall it again. You may have installed it previously then removed it, but you still have the Cinemachine folder in Assets that might have interfered with the download.

Click on Cinemachine and select Virtual Camera. Name it CM OTS Shot for Darren’s over the shoulder camera shot.

Added Virtual Camera for Darren’s over the shoulder shot.

Align the CM OTS Shot Virtual Camera to look over Darren’s shoulder. Then, align the Main Camera’s view to the CM OTS Shot camera’s view.

Aligned Main Camera view to the Virtual Camera’s view.

With the Virtual Camera still selected, in Body we will change to Do Nothing since we aren’t following anything at this time. For Aim, leave on Composer, go to Look At and change to the Security Card.

Come down and adjust the Dead Zone and Soft Zone. The Dead Zone will target what we’re looking at until the target reaches the boundary of the zone in which the camera will pan with the target. The Soft Zone is how much room the target has to move within the composed shot. The Tracked Object Offset allows you to position the zones to be off-centered from the target’s center position.

Dead Zones, Soft Zones, and Tracked Object Offset adjusted to set up composing shot.

Using the Director’s storyboard scene, the final result has the virtual camera positioned over Darren’s shoulder.

Create a second virtual camera and position it on the other side of the Security Guard. Set the Body to Do Nothing and Aim leave on Composer. Place the Security Guard’s Card game object in Look At. Once it’s aligned according to the storyboard image with the new Virtual Camera selected, Align with View under GameObject menu. Rename the camera to CM Mid Shot.

Second Virtual Camera positioned for the composing shot.

To switch between one Virtual Camera to another to see their view, you must select the other camera first then click on Solo under Status: Live. The Main Camera moves into the position and rotation of each virtual camera to actually show the scene using the Cinemachine Brain.

Switching between virtual cameras by clicking on Solo controlled by the Cinemachine Brain.

We will keep customizing the behavior of these virtual cameras as we set up the scene using more of Cinemachine’s suite of tools.

Learning to become a Unity game developer.