Cinema Director: Making movies but in a fun way.
Most professional AAA games these days include a host of generated cut scenes, either in-game or very annoying cut-out movies.
There have even been many cases where artists have even made complete movies using the tools provided by game engines, such as Valve’s source engine or the popular Unreal Engine.
For indies and small teams however, these tools have either been out of their price range or require a certain level of knowledge for the user to make the most out of them. Until now.
This is where Cinema Director from Cinema Suite Inc. comes in. It provides a “Bowl full of awesome” right at your fingertips for the creation of cut scenes, full movies or just quick outtakes you can use in your games. And all this for the price of several cups of coffee (something most developers will drink in one intense session anyway).
At its core, Cinema Director provides a very advanced yet simple to use interface that sits neatly on top of Unity’s built in animation functionality, this includes everything from the new Animation dope system to Mechanim (it can even use Unity’s legacy animation system if you prefer!). You could, if you wish, replicate everything Cinema Director does by hand in the Unity Editor, but it would take a lot of time and effort, with no promise of success.
In the director’s chair, you are given a whole load of power to craft your creation, as you can see below in the Cut Scene editor window that Cinema Director gives you:
From here you can organize every single moving piece in a sequence, including camera angles, audio clips, actor poses and animations, and so much more. There is also a huge collection of presets to accelerate your cut scene production and make it go even further, from simple fade in/out scene transitions and color transitions (changing the mood lighting!) to directed physics interactions.
So far this might seem the “run of the mill” cut scene editor tool, with not much to set it apart from some of the other competitive cut scene editors available at the Asset store today, like Aperture Cutscene editor, USequencer or even the more expensive asset simply called “CutScene”. However Cinema Director’s capabilities go far beyond such a basic interface.
To put it simply, everywhere you go within the tool reminds you of the level of professionalism placed in a tool similar to the likes of the Source Film maker tool (created by Valve) or even the Unreal Matinee film editor. At each level the developers have pitted themselves against the best competitive engines and brought that power and simplicity straight to Unity.
A very useful feature that Cinema Director also provides is Theming (see picture below).
The last feature I want to point out (another one that really makes this asset stand out) is the sheer build quality and the level of details in its packaging. Not only is the full source of the asset available once you have purchased and downloaded it (no hidden components or codes here) but it also comes with some of the best documentation I’ve seen from any asset provider, including a keen focus on the newcomer or beginner. The publisher has gone to great lengths to ensure you have everything you need to start crafting your cut scene or movie in just a few minutes.
With themes, you can quickly style the camera view for your scene with a selection of built in styles, from your gripping Vintage / Vignette look and feel to the all too terrifying heat map / FLIR (aka predator!) view. At the time of writing there are about 11 themes available and ready for use out of the box.
One area that Cinema Director needs to improve on at the moment though is the integration with the new UI system that Unity has introduced. But at the rate this publisher is going I would expect good news on this matter to turn up shortly.