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Using your own OpencolorIO configuration in Unreal Engine

Updated: Dec 15, 2023

Nowadays, the use of ACEScg colorspace is taken for granted in any serious VFX production. ACEScg colorspace is used not only for consistency, but it's actually improves the render quality. To know more, recommends to read the excellent book CG Cinematography, written by Chris Brejon. The book is available online on the author's website , and the reader can click here to directly access the ACEScg chapter.

Unreal Engine already has it's own ACES configuration. However, Unreal Engine's ACES differ a little bit from the official ACES configuration. To know more about the Academy Color Encoding System click here .

Inside Unreal, the artist has the option to use his own OCIO configuration file. In this tutorial, it's being used the ACES 1.3 configuration. The reader can download the necessary files by clicking on this link .

To use a specific OCIO config, right mouse click over the content browser, then go to miscellaneous > OpenColorIO Configuration.

Creating an OpencolorIO config file in Unreal Engine.
Creating an OpencolorIO config file in Unreal Engine.

In this example, I named it My_ocio. Double left-click over to open the configuration window.

OCIO config widget created.
OCIO config widget created.

The first thing to do, is to assign a configuration file. Here the artist has to assign the config.ocio file, available in the downloaded configuration or created by the artist.

Now, it’s necessary to specify which colorspace will be available to use and display view as well. For this, add a new array element and assign a specific colorspace / display-view to each created array.

Here, it is a common configuration:

In the viewport, click on Lit, go to OCIO Display, then choose the OpenColorIO asset.

Then, choose the colorspace and display view.

The correct configuration is ACES - ACEScg as colorspace, and ACES - sRGB as display view:

Note that the ambient become more darker. Darkness is good. The artist can use real photometric values and use higher light exposures without generate hotspots or washed out scenes.
Note that the ambient become more darker. Darkness is good. The artist can use real photometric values and use higher light exposures without generate hotspots or washed out scenes.

What's Next...

The Unreal artist can obtain easily great looks by using the Slick3d.Art Cinematic Volumetric Luts for Unreal Engine. As the name suggests, they are not simply 3D Luts, they are volumetric 3D look-up tables to be used in a post process volume material slot.

There are 108 luts available, with the look and mood from pop movies as Alien, Star Wars, 300, Interstellar, Jurassic Park, Game of Thrones and many others.

Each volumetric Lut was created from a high quality .exr texture, completely ready to be used with ACEScg colorspace.

The artist has the option to tweak the luminosity amount, saturation amount and contrast amount directly in the volumetric material. This gives the artist an easy and total control when applying the Lut to the current scene luminosity setup.

The Luts are ready to be use in Unreal Engine version 5.1 and above. The artist gets a .zip archive that can be extracted and used in any project. Besides, there is a tutorial explaining how to set up and use the Luts, and a reference list showing the look and feel of each Lut material.

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