Alternate Uses for Unity
We usually think of Unity as a game engine, a collection of tools for making video games; we all know it’s good at doing that job. But, its use shouldn’t be exclusive to making games, there are many other uses for Unity. Unity is a powerful multimedia tool capable of deploying to nearly every modern platform out there. Here are our 5 best uses for Unity besides game development.
Those touch screen devices are popping up everywhere. Traditional maps at shopping malls are being replaced by interactive touch screen maps, McDonald’s has a touch screen experience for ordering food now, and large movie theatre chains let you buy tickets through a kiosk. All of these solutions need a rich multimedia platform to run on, and solutions like these aren’t getting any less popular. Unity’s extensibility makes it possible to integrate into whatever existing back ends these companies already have, and Unity’s powerful graphical capabilities make it easy to blow people away visually. Again, Unity’s various export options make it possible to build to whatever platform the touch screen surface supports.
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Previsualization for Film
This one is pretty similar to Animation, but not quite the same. Live action filmmaking requires a lot of pre-planning: in many cases, the more planning, the better. Drawing traditional storyboards can be a good starting point, but sometimes it can be useful to have a more detailed and realistic approximation of how these scenes will look. With Unity, the Asset Store, and The Cinema Suite, this becomes very possible. Like we talked about with Animation, Unity and Cinema Director (part of the Cinema Suite) can work together to make great animated sequences in Unity, so why not apply this same concept to previsualization?
With our product Cinema Pro Cams, you are able to use the same real world lenses you may find on set right in the Unity game engine, so you can more accurately tell what your final shot is going to look like. Cinema Mocap 2, and our soon to be released facial motion capture tool will be great for making your characters move with very little effort. On Unity’s Asset Store, you can find many props, characters, environments and building tools. It’s a great way to populate your virtual scene. Finally, you can use Cinema Director to time it all out and approximate how your film is going to look when its shot and edited.
Video game engines like Unity are already capable of handling huge amounts of complex geometry and rendering realistic looking lighting and surfaces. Using a game engine like Unity to explore virtual building for engineering and architectural purposes is a no brainer. It’s fairly easy to import data from Sketchup or Revit right into Unity, and then spice it up with Unity’s high end graphical capabilities. Instead of just looking at concept renders and blueprints to clients, architects can use a game engine to create 3D experiences, that can be deployed to the client’s cell phone, desktop or web browser. We at Cinema Suite have dabbled in this ourselves, actually!
Game engines are becoming a serious option for animated film makers. I know what you’re thinking: why would I use a game engine to make an animated film instead of just using a solution build from the ground up for that? Well, there’s a few good reasons. At the rate we’re going, we will eventually reach the point at which pre-rendered graphics and real time generated graphics are indistinguishable. We’re not quite there yet, but we’re getting there. 360 degree videos are cool, but real time rendering is what VR is made for, and in the next few years we will start seeing a whole new type of film making. One in which you are right in the middle of what’s going on, and able to look around. Real time rendering is key for this.
But, Unity isn’t a bad option for traditional animated film making as well. Just check out this real time short film Unity made recently. When you combine the high powered graphical capabilities of Unity, and a timeline editor like our own Cinema Director, making animations in Unity is a real option. You’re not limited to real time with Cinema Director either, as it includes a frame by frame export option, and has support for supersampling. The Unity + Cinema Director combo has other benefits as well, as you can uses things like AI and physics simulations to automate things like crowd shots and destruction, saving time over animating these things by hand.
Video games aren’t just for entertaining anymore. They can have serious uses for training in the medical and military industries. Take for example, Clinispace Virtual Sim Center. It’s a “serious game” made with unity that allows people in the medical profession to practice patient care and clinical management in a virtual environment. Having to deal with various scenarios before the real thing happens improves efficiency, and Unity’s extensibility, realistic graphical capability, and ease of use make it ideal for making industrial simulators.
There are tonnes of alternative uses for Unity. Its general ease of use, high graphical performance, and extensibility make it great for a variety of entertaining and useful applications. Interactive experiences are here to stay, and Unity only makes them easier to create and deploy. Combined with The Cinema Suite, Unity is one of the best animation and film pre-visualization tools out there. Industrial uses in the medical, architectural, and military fields show how Unity can be used for serious purposes as well. As time goes on, it’s clear that these kinds of things are only going to become more embedded in our culture, so it’s great to learn a multi use platform like Unity now.