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Creating a Cutscene in Unity

When creating cutscenes, there are two main ways that it is done in games. The first is to render out the cutscene as a video and play that video for the cutscene. The second is to have the cutscene rendered in real-time with the gameplay engine. The latter is what I am going to show in this article.

I am going to create this cutscene from the director’s notes and storyboard.

To get this cutscene started, we need to drag the actors into place, which is models with the animation sequence attached.

Next, we are going to use Cinemachine from the Package Manager to handle the Camera changes.

We will use Cinemachine to create a virtual camera that will take over the main camera and set it to the settings of the virtual one for the cutscene. After adding the virtual camera to the scene, the main camera snaps straight to its position and rotation and gets the CinemachineBrain component added to it. That will allow the main camera to be affected by the other Cinemachine objects.

When adding the next virtual camera for the other camera angle, the second virtual camera overrides the first, taking over the main camera view. You can change that with the Priority setting.

Now we have the locations of the camera shots as seen in the director’s notes.

To switch from one virtual camera to another, we will use the Timeline track for Cinemachine, which allows you to set the duration of each shot.

You can change the length of each shot, change the order, and even blend between the shots.

If we add an Animation track for the animation sequence, we can now see the animation as we play through the Timeline; this will make animating the cameras much more straightforward.

Add an animation track for the over-the-shoulder pan so that we can animate the camera.

Then we do the same thing for the mid-shot camera.

Next, we add an Activation track for the keycard to disappear when the main character grabs it.

The last thing to add is the fade-in from black with a Canvas and a black image with an animated alpha.

Here is the finished cutscene.

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