Thursday, July 18th, 2019 Posted by Jim Thacker

Check out ‘cinematography simulator’ Cine Tracer

Cinematographer Matt Workman has released Cine Tracer, an interesting work-in-progress ‘cinematography simulator’ based on Unreal Engine.

The software – half game, half professional tool – enables users to plan shots or capture storyboard frames using virtual sets featuring digital recreations of real-world lights, cameras and props.

The latest build of the software, Cine Tracer 0.33, also introduces support for real-time ray tracing for users working with Nvidia’s new RTX GPUs.

A new Unreal Engine port of Cinema 4D plugin Cine Designer
Cine Tracer began life as Cinema 4D plugin called Cine Designer, designed to enable cinematographers to visualise real-world camera shoots.

Speaking to Ian Failes of befores & afters, Workman commented that the plugin “did really well, for a niche market”, but that the cost and learning curve of DCC software kept it from becomeing mainstream.

Cine Tracer – a port of Cine Designer to Unreal Engine prompted by Epic Games itself – is intended to address both issues, providing users with a lower-cost standalone tool and familiar game-like workflow.

Block out shots virtually using readymade recreations of real-world lights and cameras
The product website describes Cine Tracer as “technically” a game, although it’s more in the mould of a modding toolset, or the creative mode in a sandbox title.

For indie film-makers, it offers the possiblity of carrying out fairly detailed previs work, blocking out shots by creating digital representations of real-world sets using stock 3D characters and props.

The software also includes pre-built representations of a range of real-world lights and camera types.

Users can adjust lighting colour and intensity – Cine Tracer works in lumens, although it’s a guide to real-world lighting, not an accurate representation of it – and camera properties like ISO and focal length.

It’s also possible to pick focus by clicking directly in the viewport.

Once set up, a shot can be previewed with ray traced shadows, reflections, AO, translucency, and GI via the support for Nvidia’s RTX GPU architecture introduced in Unreal Engine 4.22.

As well as rehearsing camera moves, users can capture stills for storyboards, at a range of aspect ratios.

You can see the workflow in more detail in this YouTube playlist.

Pricing and system requirements
Cine Tracer 0.33 is available for Windows 10 and macOS 10.13+. To use real-time ray tracing, you will need to be working on Windows and have a suitable Nvidia GPU.

The software is available via Steam only. It is currently in early access, and costs $89.99.

Read more about Cine Tracer on the product website