Epic Bootcamp Animation 2023 - Europe

A great rush of information

Banner for the Epic Bootcamp Animation Europe 2023

I signed up for the Bootcamp expecting not to be accepted, given that it's aimed at animators with a couple of years of experience, but hoping to learn a whole lot about Unreal Engine. In four weeks they really managed to cover a lot of ground.

It really provided a wide panoramic on all the different systems that compose the Unreal ecosystem, but boy is that a wide subject. We didn't even touch sound, and there is still so much I only got a pretty vague idea about.

For me the highlights were definitely the systems allowing for automatically capturing human performances, I've used both LiveLink and Rokoko in my final project.

The whole course was anchored around the Entropy Project, each student had to hit a weekly milestone, building up a 30 seconds animation, starting from the storyboard and ending up with a complete nugget of a short, complete with sounds. The roughly 500 participants were divided into around 20 teams, each with a mentor giving us advice and feedback (in my case they also provided great movie recommendations). Each student was given one of four blocks, each staring and ending on a precise frame, which in theory can be randomly selected and composed into a cohesive narrative. In practice each team voted the three best videos to represent them in the final product. My impression is that generally speaking the best videos were those who gave themselves a little bit more latitude with the frame matching, but who really came up with a creative vision. My video rightly didn't make the cut.

I was in block one, which focused on the hero making the decision of crossing the threshold of a temple, and basically start on their hero's journey by taking a precious object. In the reference we were given it was a glowy gem, and I didn't even think to change what it was.

I focused on combining freely available assets and photogrammetry to reconstruct the look and feel of the romanesque sanctuary of an area of Northern Catalonia, of which I grew quite fond while doing fieldwork for the Artsoundscapes project. It came out looking a little more desertic than the original.
I was also inspired by the shrine trials in Zelda: Breath of the Wild, my narrative idea was to have this unnamed pilgrim entering this shrine, which would judge his spiritual intentions, and award them a gem if they were found pure. Otherwise, they would be magically killed.
Instead of Hyrule, it would be a sort of Middle Ages with decaying temples, wandering pilgrims and Goth kingdoms, but also with mysterious magic. I don't think I truly manged to convey all of this in 30 seconds.

Built with lots of Creative Commons and Public Domain assets, I'm also including those that were used during the development but were not included in the final version.

3D assets:


Made with Unreal Engine 5.2, face animation with LiveLink and MetaHumans. Video edited with Davinci Resolve, with some sound effects in Audacity.

On the whole it was a super fun and engaging course, I think E-MUSE is going to have a lot of use of the stuff I learned. For example we could try to build museums in Fortnite, as an even more immersive (at least by some definition of the word) alternative to our work in WebXR.