With the official release of Unreal Engine 5.1.0 comes heaps of new and improved features across the entire real-time creation engine, from improved Lumen soft ray tracing through to new unseen virtual production tools. Today we’re going to focus on the virtual cinematography with the new addition of virtual anamorphic lenses. (See all Unreal Engine 5.1.0 virtual production features here)
What Are Anamorphic Lenses?
Before we dive into the engine, it’s useful to understand what exactly a anamorphic lens is. The video below is a brief introduction to Anamorphic lenses, coving their technical designs and distinctive imagery features.
Anamorphic Lenses in Unreal Engine
Epic Games brought 2 key features to the “CineCameraActor” in Unreal Engine 5.1.0, anamorphic depth of field and camera cropping.
Anamorphic Depth of Field – The depth of field framework now adds support for anamorphic lenses that have a vertically stretched bokeh shape. Anamorphic bokeh’s are now achievable without the previously required custom bokeh texture maps.
Camera Cropping – As the name suggests camera cropping allows users to easily crop camera views to a commonly-used or custom aspect ratio.
Testing Anamorphic Depth of Field
See the below demonstration of Anamorphic Depth of field in Unreal Engine 5.1.0:
We tested the new anamorphic abilities and found although the adjustment of bokeh was a great addition to the cinematics toolkit, theirs still a substantial amount of development to be done to capture the true beauty of real anamorphic lens. Unfortunately the virtual anamorphic lenses fall down on their ability to provide all desired image effects. The anamorphic support fails to offer correct distortions across the focus fall offs, lens flairs and field of views.
Although it’s important to remember, this is the first official integration of anamorphic shooting within the engine and sure to be the first of many iterations. Hopefully in coming versions this support will grow to provide full anamorphic feature support. But for now, an exciting development area to watch.
Enabling Anamorphic Lenses and Camera Cropping
Anamorphic Settings – Anamorphic bokeh settings in the Cine Camera and Post Process Volume settings under Lens Settings using the Squeeze Factor setting.
Camera Cropping – Crop your camera’s aspect ratio in the Cine Camera details panel under Crop Settings. Choose a common aspect ratio or use Cropped Aspect Ratio to specify one.
For further information on Depth of Field in Unreal Engine, refer to Epics Cinematic Depth of Field.
See full Unreal Engine 5.1.0 release notes here.