Once you've made your amazing effects in UDK you're going to want to render them out at a nice high resolution to show them off - this tutorial will take you step by step through setting up a matinee sequence and the required command line arguments to render out individual frames, ready for composition back into a video in something like After Effects.

 

STEP 1

Create your effects and a simple scene to show them off in - here I've just created a very quick box environment with a point light and the default UDK Plasma Explosion effect, but this can be as simple or complicated as you need.  

A quick scene setup

A quick scene setup

STEP 2 

Create a new PlayerStart Actor and make sure it's somewhere out of sight and with some collision beneath it - a very simple BSP box is fine.  

Add a player start

Add a player start

STEP 3 

Now open Kismet and right click to create a new Matinee Sequence.  

Create a new Matinee  

Create a new Matinee

 

STEP 4 

Open the Matinee sequence by double clicking on it, then select your particle effect and right click in the timeline sidebar and Add New Particle Group.  (if you go back to the Kismet Window you should now see a new Emitter_X variable connected to the New Particle Group in the Matinee.  If not just select the particle group and right click in the Kismet window and select New Object Var Using Emitter_X then connect it manually.)

Create a new Particle Group  

Create a new Particle Group

 

STEP 5

Move the time slider forwards to 0.5s or 1s to give a bit of lead in time, then select the Toggle Track and press enter to add a keyframe.  Select Trigger for a Burst particle effect or On for a looping one (although I think either works for both to be honest).  Now double click the particle effect (or select it and press F4) and untick the box for Auto Activate.  

Now if you press play in the matinee the effect should trigger at the correct point in the timeline.  

 

Add a keyframe for Triggering

Add a keyframe for Triggering

STEP 6

Create a new Camera Actor and, with it selected, create a new Camera Group in Matinee.  

Add a camera

Add a camera

STEP 7

Click the little video camcorder icon next to the Camera Group to attach the camera to the viewport and fly it into position.  If you want to you can add a couple of keyframes and have a moving camera if that suits the effect.  

Now right click and add a new Director Group and add a keyframe at time 0 to change to the Camera Group

Add a director group

Add a director group

STEP 8 

As a quick test that everything is set up correctly so far hit play on the Matinee and you should see the camera snap to where you've set it and the particle effect play.  

Now go back into Kismet and right click and add a New Event > Level Loaded and connect the Loaded and Visible to the Play of the Matinee.  

Add Level Loaded Event

Add Level Loaded Event

STEP 9 

Save the Map and Package file making sure they're in the default directories for UDK to load them automatically:  

Map: C:\UDK\UDK-2013-07\UDKGame\Content\Maps\YourMap.udk

Package: C:\UDK\UDK-2013-07\UDKGame\Content\YourPackage.upk

Now create a shortcut to C:\UDK\UDK-2013-07\Binaries\Win64\UDK and right click on it and select Properties.  In the Target box add the following commands as required:

  • ResX= - Set horizontal resolution for game window.
  • ResY= - Set vertical resolution for game window.
  • FPS= - Set a specific number of frames per second.
  • BENCHMARK - Run game at fixed-step in order to process each frame without skipping any frames. This is useful in conjunction with DUMPMOVIE options.
  • DUMPMOVIE - Dump rendered frames to files using current resolution of game.
  • DUMPMOVIE_TILEDSHOT=X - Similar to "DUMPMOVIE", but captures each frame as a tiled shot for very high resolution frames (files will be very large, try starting with 2)
  • NOTEXTURESTREAMING - Disable texture streaming. Highest quality textures are always loaded.
  • MAXQUALITYMODE - Forcibly overrides certain system settings to their highest quality regardless of performance impact.

(copied from http://udn.epicgames.com/Three/CapturingCinematicsAndGameplay.html)

For example:  C:\UDK\UDK-2013-07\Binaries\Win64\UDK.exe ParticleVideoMap ResX= 1024 ResY= 720 -FPS= 30 -BENCHMARK -DUMPMOVIE -NOTEXTURESTREAMING - MAXQUALITYMODE

Double click on the shortcut to run it and, after the UDK splash screen, the level should load straight into your Matinee sequence and be saving out a screenshot per frame in the C:\UDK\UDK-2013-07\UDKGame\Screenshots directory.  Now all you need is something like After Effects to turn the screenshots back into a video and voila! a Full HD fixed frame rate video to show off your effects!